21 Days of Goddesses til’ Imbolc

Day 13 — Anatha (War, Peace Maker, Progenitrix of peoples, divination, healing, and renewal )

Anat, Anatu, Anath, Anatha is a major northwest Semitic goddess. Syria: especially Ugarit, Mount Lebanon. Also worshipped by Canaanites, Amorites, Egyptians (Elephantine), Libyans, and Hebrews.

A major goddess of fertility, sexual love, hunting and war, the Goddess Anat was known among the Canaanites in prehistoric times, and was doubtless of considerable importance in that region. From the fertile agricultural area along the eastern Mediterranean coast, her cult spread throughout the Levant by the middle of the third millennium BC. Around the beginning of the Phoenician period (circa 1200 BC) Anat enjoyed a significant cult following. She was very prominent at Ugarit, a major religious center, and appears frequently in Ugaritic literary works incorporating mythical elements, in deity and offering lists, and in votive inscriptions.

The Girl, bloodthirsty and unrestrained; She Who binds the severed heads, from Her slaughter in battle, to Her back and the cut-off hands, or some say penises, to Her girdle; She Who plunges knee-deep in the blood of troops, and hip-dip in the blood of heroes; the Maiden; Virgin Anath, of violent passions, especially those of love, hunting and war; She Who fertilizes the fields with blood; Goddess of the earth, grain, sacrifice, death and resurrection; Mountain Mother; Queen of heaven; Lady of Heaven; She Who sprinkles the earth with dew; Mistress of all the Deities; Wetnurse of Deities; She Who concieves but does not bear; Progenitrix of peoples.

Offers and symbols: grain; cedar; heather; lion; heifer; dog; horse; dew; ambergris; henna and rouge; goat-skin, sickle; the number 77 (number of times She and Baal — her son/consort,brother -made love); cakes made in Her image; the month of September.

Her attributes vary widely among different cultures and over time, and even within particular myths. She likely heavily influenced the character of the Greek goddess Athena.

In Ugaritic texts, Anat is depicted as violent, delighting in war, but also as the establisher of peace; she is depicted as sexual and fertile, bringing forth offspring, while still continuing to be called a virgin and a maiden.

Text fragments describe her appearance in battle:

“Anat appears as a fierce, wild and furious warrior in a battle, wading knee-deep in blood, striking off heads, cutting off hands, binding the heads to her torso and the hands in her sash, driving out the old men and townsfolk with her arrows, her heart filled with joy.”

Although terrible as a war deity she was regarded as a just and benevolent goddess of beauty, sexuality, and of the fertility of crops, animals, and men. Her grace and beauty were considered among the acme of perfection. Anat is a complex and somewhat paradoxical goddess as can be seen from the epithets applied to her. Although she is regarded as the mother of gods, the most common epithet at Ugarit is batulat, Virgin or Maiden. She is sometimes called Wanton, in reference to her putative lust for sexual intercourse and the bloodshed of war. Other common epithets include: Adolescent Anat, Fairest daughter-sister of Baal, Lady, Strength of Life, Anat the Destroyer, and Lady of the Mountain.

After Baal descends to the underworld, Anat mourn his death, and she searches the world and the underworld for him, her concern described in maternal terms. Anat finds Baal’s body and carries it to the gods’ sacred mountain, Saphon (Zephon), where she performs funeral rites and ritual sacrifices of animals, after which Baal is revived.

In the North Canaanite stories of Aqhat, Anat covets a special bow and set of arrows which are given to Aqhat. These were created for Anat by the craftsman god Kothar-wa-Khasis. When Aqhat grows to be a young man, the goddess Anat tries to buy the bow from him, offering him gold and silver and even immortality, but Aqhat refuses all offers, saying that he accepts that it is the lot of humans to be mortal. He also insults Anat, saying that bows and arrows are tools for men, not women (asking “what would a woman do with a bow?”), angering the huntress goddess.

Like Inanna in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Anat complains to El and threatens to harm El if he does not let her take vengeance on Aqhat; El concedes. Anat arranges for her attendant Yatpan, in the form of a hawk or vulture, to attack Aqhat. However, instead of merely knocking the breath out of him and stealing the bow, Yatpan kills Aqhat; Yatpan then runs away and the bow and arrows fall into the sea. Aqhat’s death makes the land infertile (due to drought) for a time, and his wise younger sister Paghat sets out to avenge him by killing the vulture that killed him; Anat regrets her decision and mourns for Aqhat (and the loss of the bow), but the ending of the story is missing.

Long before the Greek Perseus killed the snake-haired Medusa, she was known as the Dark Moon aspect of the Libyan triadic goddess, Anatha. As Libyan Medusa, she represented wisdom, the dark moon, and death and rebirth. She and her Amazon priestesses, wore leather pouches filled with live snakes. She was associated with divination, healing, and renewal.

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Feminist, Publicist, Pagan, Nature lover, Human Rights lover, Travel Addicted.

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Monique Vidal

Monique Vidal

Feminist, Publicist, Pagan, Nature lover, Human Rights lover, Travel Addicted.

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