Archive for July 2010

God of the Week: Indra

July 26, 2010

07/26/2010: Indra

Indra is the Indian king of the gods. He is a thunder god, similar to Zeus or Thor.

“Of the gods of the atmosphere by far the greatest is Indra,whose name occurs among the list of Mitannian gods. He ismore anthropomorphic than any other Vedic deity. His head,his arms, and his hands are mentioned, as is his great belly in which he puts the soma; he moves his jaws after drinking soma, and his lips are beautiful. His beard waves in the air, he has tawny hair and beard. His long, strong, well-shaped arms wield the thunderbolt, which was fashioned for him by Tvastr or Usanas. This is his chief weapon, and it is described as a stone, as hundred-jointed and thousand-pointed, hundred-angled, sharp, and metallic; rarely it is said to be of gold. Occasionally he bears a bow and arrows, hundred-pointed and winged with a thousand feathers, and sometimes he carries a goad. He travels in a golden chariot drawn by two or more horses, as many as eleven hundred being mentioned. He is a gigantic eater and drinker; at his birth he drank soma and for the slaying of Vrtra he drank three lakes or even thirty. He eats the flesh of twenty or a hundred buffaloes, and when he was born the worlds quaked with fear. His mother is described as a cow and he as a bull; she is also called Nistigrl, and he willed to be born unnaturally through her side.

-Mythology of All Races, Vol 6
by A. Berriedale Keith
Louis Herbert Gray, Editor

Moving Blogging Activity

July 22, 2010

And it doesn’t even have anything to do with soft drinks. I have just never really liked the Universal Heretic moniker I came up with one lazy afternoon (I was actually thinking of Frank Herbert’s Heretic’s of Dune, a flawed by vital part of the Dune cannon).

I will be continuing to throw my weird and arcane thoughts out to the world at:

I’ve always been found of real nutty concepts, like the Hollow Earth and others. The title seems a bit less serious and fits me a bit more. I’ll probably continue the Modern Christian Mythology series over there, but the God of the Week posts I might let die (and rise again?). I do have a few more cued up, so I’ll let those auto-post, but after that we will be sadly without a weekly divinity.

God of the Week: dUTU URU

July 19, 2010

07/19/2010: dUTU URU

dUTU URU is an ancient Hittite sun goddess, more commonly referred to simply as the sun goddess of Arinna. The Hittite king Mursili II (1321 – 1295 BCE) was known to have worshiped her.

She is believed to have derived from the earth goddess of the famed neolithic site of Çatalhöyük.

Modern Christian Mythology: Long Lives of the Patriarchs

July 14, 2010

Modern Christian Mythology: Long Lives of the Patriarchs

Many cultures have mythological tales that set the origin of their culture in a glorious or past. Their forefathers, whether real or mythical are often given great wisdom, insight, and near supernatural powers. And, long life spans was a particularly sought after trait in pre-scholastic societies in which long life was the only measurement of a man’s wisdom. An explanation does not need to be given for every story that is obviously mythological. Who,after all, spends an extraordinary amount of time explaining the flight ability of Pegasus? But, when we do have a parallel, it can be quite interesting to look at to gain insight into the evolving nature of myths and legends.

And, the case of the long lives of the Biblical Patriarchs does have a very interesting parallel, indeed, since their ages appear to be inspired by earlier Sumerian legends of the long lives of their early kings, many of whom are believed to be purely mythical.

Now, the list of the patriarchs is given in two locations in the Bible, each differing from each other (Genesis chapter 4 and chap 5, the J source and P source, respectively). The names are slightly different and are in a slightly different order in each list. When the P source was compiling his list, he must have come into contact with the Sumerian king list and used it as a source.

They understood the reigns as the lifespan, just in need of conversion. The focus on _ is their age at the time of the birth of their children

“In P’s list there are ten patriarchs before the Flood …
the Babylonians told similarly of ten kings who reigned before the
Flood, and who reigned moreover for the portentous period of …432,000 years.
These are their names, with the number of years that each
reigned, according to Berossus 2; —

-S.R. Driver, The Book of Genesis with introduction and notes

Priestly List Sumerian Kings
1 Adam 130 Alorus 36,000
2 Seth 105 Alaparus 10,800
3 Enosh 90 Amelon 46,800
4 Kenan 70 Ammenon 43,200
5 Mahahalel 65 Megalaros 64,800
6 Jared 162 Daonus 36,000
7 Enoch 65 Edoranchus 64,800
8 Methuselah 187 Amempsinus 36,000
9 Lamech 182 Otiartes 28,800
10 Noah 500 Xisuthros 64,800
Flood age 100
Sum 1,656 Sum 432,000
Sabbaths 86,400 Sosses 86,400

Once the total number of units were “known”, the lives of each of the patriarchs were filled in. Some of the numbers may have had significance (the life span of Enoch, who was associated with the sun, was 365 years) other may have just been random numbers (both Mahahalel and Enoch had “65” assigned to them).

There’s other correlations between the names in the list, too:

(information from Driver, paraphrased by me)

  • The third names, Babylonian Amelon and Hebrew Enosh both mean “man”
  • The fourth names, Babylonian Ammdnon and Hebrew Kain, both mean “smith”‘
  • The fifth names, Babylonian Amegalarus, a variation of ‘ man of Aruru,’ (a Sumerian god), Hebrew Mahalal’el is a variation on, ‘praise of EL’
  • The eighth names, Babylonian Amenipsinus is a corruption of ‘the man of Sin’, (Sin being the moon-god), and Hebrew Methushelah ‘or man of god’ or ‘man of the moon-god, depending on the original name

So, why would the writer of the Priestly Code use a pre-existing list of Sumerian kings to compose his list? Can you imagine an ancient historian trying to put together the history of his people and happening upon a actual written record that he could use to calculate his own time frame? What a great find that would have been. He must have been ecstatic.

God of the Week: The Harpies

July 12, 2010

07/12/2010: The Harpies

The Harpies were ancient Greek deities, half bird half woman creatures that stole food from the unwary:

The Harpies, who, like the Furies, were employed by the gods as instruments for the punishment of the guilty, were three female divinities, daughters of Tbaumas and Electra …

They were represented with the head of a fair -haired maiden and the body of a vulture, and were perpetually devoured by the pangs of insatiable hunger, which caused them to torment their victims by robbing them of their food; this they either devoured with great hungar, or defiled in such a manner as to render it unfit to be eaten.

-“The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome”, by E. M. Berens

Modern Christian Mythology: Ritual Satanic Abuse in the ’80’s

July 7, 2010

Modern Christian Mythology: Ritual Satanic Abuse in the ’80’s

Remember the 1980’s, when pretty much everyone in America was either abused by or accused of being in a satanic cult? And Ronald Reagan was in office, too. Ah, good times. It all seems to track back to 1980, which saw the publication of a book entitled, Michelle Remembers. Michelle Remembers contained the supposed “recovered memories” of satanic ritual abuse by it’s author, Michelle Smith. Once published, it caught on like wild fire among evangelical Christian circles, and it started a wave of “recovered memories” all across the nation. The book has since been pretty thoroughly discredited for containing uncorroborated events and highly unlikely scenarios (hey, when the Church of Satan threatens to sue for libel, it’s pretty bad). But, at the time, no one seemed even remotely interested in questioning the book and it was viewed as an accurate testimonial of a victim of a secret nationwide underground ring of satanists groups that were continually killing babies and sacrificing animals (and, of course, continuously re-hiding the remains so they would never be found). Several other books were published in it’s aftermath, most where also discredited.

Not only where the existence of these satanic cults called into question, but the entire practice of “recovered memories” and the use of hypnosis in therapy was ended by all credible therapists. For a couple of light reading books about the belief in recovered memories and the chaotic mess sloppy investigation can cause, see Remembering Satan and Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. And, of course, there’s also the Salem Witch trials, which should always be kept fresh in our minds.

God of the Week: Yaw

July 5, 2010

07/05/2010: Yaw

Yaw is not just the angle about the vertical axis on airplanes. It is also an ancient Leventine god, and a possible precursor to the Hebrew god Yahweh. Yaw (aslo pronounce Yah, or Yam) was an elohim, one of the 70 sons of the high god El. He was a sea god, and a god of the primordial chaos.

The meaning of the epithet “Yamm” is sea. He is regarded in the Baal myth as one of Baal’s major adversaries. He is referred to several times in the OT (explicitly or implicitly) where it is claimed that the Lord has dominion over him. He is accompanied in the texts by two sea monsters, namely, Litar (Leviathan) and Tunnan (Tannin in the Bible) and he himself rules the sea.