PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in canaan

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Which the Goddess Returns to Jerusalem

 Evarékhekha ve-Asherá u-ve-Yahvetá

"I bless you by Ashera and by her Yahweh."

 

A friend of mine emigrated to Israel. Where better to worship the gods of Canaan than in the Land of Canaan, right?

Israel is a hard place to make a living. Everything costs about what it does here in the States, but salaries are much lower. Just about everyone works three jobs: one to pay the rent, one for expenses, and one for discretionary income.

Among his other jobs, my friend made little ceramic statues of Ashera, Goddess-Mother of the Canaanite pantheon. A few of the tourist stores agreed to take them on consignment. Every now and then one would sell and bring in a few shekels.

Just as things were getting desperate, my friend got a call from a friend at Hebrew University.

“I've got a gig for you,” he said.

It turned out that an Italian film-maker was coming to Israel to make a film about the history of Judaism. The good news: they wanted to buy twelve of his little Asherot. The bad: they planned to film them all being broken, to represent the rise of aniconism in monotheist thinking.

My friend was torn. He desperately needed the money, but he just couldn't bring himself to sell his little goddesses, knowing that they were going to be broken.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Little Gods

Back before Hebrew became the First Language of monotheism, it was a fine old pagan language in its own right, with words (for example) for “standing stone” (matsevá) and “stone circle” (gilgál).

The Hebrew word that usually gets translated “idol” is 'elíl. Scholardom has generally read this word as a cacophemism based on the root √ ' L L (alef-lamed-lamed) meaning “weak.” This even though words similar to 'elil occur in other Semitic languages—for example in Sabaean, the South Semitic language of the Arabian kingdom of “Sheba”—in religious contexts as well.

It occurs to me, however, to wonder if the derivation from “weak” is really the correct one. Hebrew (like its sister Semitic languages) has a pattern of word-creation called “reduplication,” in which the second part of the word is repeated; reduplicated words are usually diminutives. Hence, kélev, “dog” becomes k'lavláv, “puppy”; qatán, “little” becomes q'tantán, “teensy.”

I wonder if 'elil is the same. 'El = god. 'Elil = “little god.”

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Shana tova, ya Ariel.
  • Ariel Aron
    Ariel Aron says #
    Thank you for sharing this lovely hymn.
How You Can Pray Your Way to a Firmer, Shapelier Butt (and a Few Other Things Besides)

You could call it the Threefold Salute.

In my head. On my lips. In my heart. (Touch brow, mouth, chest.) Or the other way: In my heart. On my lips. In my head. Up the tree or down?

It's a formal greeting. It's a ritual salute. In body language, it says: So mote it be.

When you enter a sacred space, pause at the threshold. Bend and touch the ground. (If you can't actually touch the ground from this position, at least reach for it.) As you straighten your spine, standing up, touch heart, lips, head. Then enter.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pagan Manners

A while back I attended a wedding in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The name of the synagogue where the wedding was held was Beit Yâm, “House of the Sea”: a good name for a sea-side congregation, one might think.

Indeed. The interesting thing about the Hebrew word báyit (beit means “house of”) is that when combined with the name of a god, it means “temple.”

And, in fact, Yâm is the name of a god: he's the Canaanite (and hence, old Hebrew) god of the sea. It says so right here in the tablets of Ugarit. To this day in the laws of kashrût it's forbidden to slaughter an animal beside a body of water, lest someone should see and mistakenly think that you were sacrificing to Yâm.

The presiding rabbi did a nice job with the service. Afterward I shook his hand and told him so.

I did not, however, tell him that his temple was named for a pagan god.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Eggs for Ashtart

If I believed in reincarnation, I'd say that it's probably a Long Memory. Since I don't, I can only say that I don't know.

She's old, and something is wrong, badly wrong. That's why the old country woman has come to the city, and is standing here nervously in the crowded street, looking up to the high temple, golden in the morning sunlight, that crowns the top of the hill. She has come to see the Lady, because she needs a favor, and she needs it badly. On her hip she bears her gift: you don't come empty-handed to the Lady, especially when you have a favor to ask. It's a poor woman's offering, a basket of eggs, but she has lovingly painted each one with the brightest colors she can find, to make them beautiful for the goddess.

That's it: as it were, a snapshot from the past. No before, no after. It's a memory, or rather an image, that I've had in my head since early childhood at least, one still frame from a vanished movie.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Last modified on

Additional information