Tag Archive: allat


Goddess Al-Lat

“Virgo” by Josephine Wall

“Al-Lat’s themes are religious devotion, meditation, purity, home, justice and children. Her symbols are the moon, silver, and white stones.  A Persian and Arabian moon Goddess, Al-Lat is the feminine form of Allah. Post-Islamic writings banished Her name from holy books, but Her presence remained behind as a domestic guardian, the giver of children and protectess of all good and just deeds.

Around this time of year, Muslims observe Ramadan and begin a time of abstinence to purify themselves and honor their sacred book, the Qu’ran. During this fast, people are instructed to look within and rededicate their hearts to the tenets of their faith. To do this and also honor Al-Lat, fast for this day if physically feasible. Or, just abstain from one well-loved food or beverage for the day and study your own sacred text(s). Pray to Al-Lat for insight into the deeper meanings of the words. Write down any osbervations in a journal so Al-Lat’s presence will inspire good deeds and positive action for many years to come.

To attract Al-Lat’s protective energies into your home, grasp four white items (coral and moonstone are excellent choices), saying,

‘Within these _________of white,
Al-Lat, place your protective light.
Where’er these _________s are placed around,
your safety and presence shall abound.’

Put these as close as possible to the four directional points of the area that needs guardian power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Evening Wind” by Aaron Paquette

Patricia Monaghan explains that “in Arabic, Allah means ‘god.’ Similarly, Al-Lat means simply ‘Goddess,’ the supreme reality in female form.  Al-Lat is a mythic figure of great antiquity, one of the trinity of desert Goddesses named in the Koran, Al-Uzza and Menat being the others.  Like the Greek Demeter, Al-Lat represented the earth and its fruits; it follows that She also ruled human generation.

Al-Lat was worshiped at Ta’if near Mecca in the form of a great uncut block of white granite, which Her worshipers addressed as ‘My Lady’ or Rusa (‘good fortune’).  Women were required to appear before Her naked and circle the sacred rock; if these conditions were met, the Goddess would grant all requests.  Solid as the earth She represented, Al-Lat was considered unshakable and immovable.  Thus Her people swore their most solemn oaths by Her, with the following words: ‘By the salt, by the fire, and by Al-Lat who is the greatest of all” (p. 41).

“Al’Uzza, Allat and Menat, the Triple Goddesses of Arabia” by Thalia Took

Thalia Took tells us that “Al-Lat, whose name is a contraction of al-Illahat, ‘the Goddess’, is mentioned by Herodotus as Alilat, whom he identifies with Aphrodite. She is sometimes also equated with Athene, and is called ‘the Mother of the Gods’, or ‘Greatest of All’. She is a Goddess of Springtime and Fertility, the Earth-Goddess who brings prosperity. She and Al-Uzza were sometimes confused, and it seems that as one gained in popularity in one area the other’s popularity diminished. The sun in Arabia was called Shams and considered feminine, and may represent an aspect of Al-Lat. She had a sanctuary in the town of Ta’if, east of Mecca, and was known from Arabia to Iran. Her symbol is the crescent moon (sometimes shown with the sun disk resting in its crescent), and the gold necklace She wears is from a pendant identified to Her. As a Fertility-Goddess She bears a sheaf of wheat; and in Her hand She holds a small lump of frankincense, as Her emblem is found carved on many incense-holders.” [1]

According to Wikipedia, “in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian Goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

The Goddess occurs in early Safaitic graffiti (Safaitic han-‘Ilāt ‘the Goddess’) and the Nabataeans of Petra and the people of Hatra also worshipped Her, equating Her with the Greek Athena and Tyche and the Roman Minerva. She is frequently called ‘the Great Goddess’ in Greek in multi-lingual inscriptions.  According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal (and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt).

Allat-Minerva from As-Suwayda, Syria (National Museum of Damascus)

 

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, considered Her the equivalent of Aphrodite:

‘The Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians Alilat, and the Persians Mitra. In addition that deity is associated with the Indian deity Mitra (Vedic). The Persian and Indian deity were developed from the proto-indo-iranian deity known as mitra.’

According to Herodotus, the ancient Arabians believed in only two gods:

‘They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples. They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat.’

 

 

 

 

 

In the Qur’an, She is mentioned along with al-‘Uzzá and Manāt in Sura 53: 19–23. The tribe of ʿād of Iram of the Pillars is also mentioned in Sura 895–8, and archaeological evidence from Iram shows copious inscriptions devoted to Her for the protection of a tribe by that name.

Al-lāt is also explicitly attested from early Islamic records discussing the pre-Islamic period. According to the Book of Idols (Kitāb al-ʾAṣnām) by Hishām ibn al-Kalbi, the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Al-lāt resided in the Kaʿbah and also had an idol inside the sanctuary:{{quote|Her custody was in the hands of the Banū Attāb ibn Mālik of the Thaqīf, who had built an edifice over Her. The Quraysh, as well as all the Arabs, venerated al-Lāt. They also used to name their children after her, calling them Zayd al-Lāt and Taym al-Lāt. […] Al-Lāt continued to be venerated until the Thaqīf embraced Islam, when the Apostle of God dispatched al-Mughīrah ibn-Shu‘bah, who destroyed her and burnt Her temple to the ground.

The shrine and temple dedicated to al-Lat in Taif, was demolished by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, on the orders of Muhammad, during the Expedition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, this occurred in the same year as the Battle of Tabuk (which occurred in October 630 AD). Muhammad sent Abu Sufyan with a group armed men to destroy the Idol al-Lat (also referred to as al-Tagiyyah) that was worshipped by the citizens of Taif.  The destruction of the idol was a demand by Muhammad before any reconciliation could take place with the citizens of Taif who were under constant attack and suffering from a blockade by the Banu Hawazin, led by Malik, a convert to Islam who promised to continue the war against the citizens of the city which was started by Muhammad in the Siege of Taif.” [2]

Bas-relief: Nemesis, Allāt and the dedicator (Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Now, what’s interesting is that Muhammad himself commanded his followers to offer prayers to these “Allah’s daughters” (Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Menat).  He later retracted it and blamed it on the Devil after supposedly receiving a revelation from God that the verses should be removed and was “comforted by God” after doing so.  It is important to note that such “after the fact corrective revelations” are very common with cults, using the old time excuse, “The devil made me do it”. [3]

To me, this is nothing more than another example of the patriarchy showing it’s true colors: demanding the rejection and destruction of the Great Mother and forcing Her underground in an attempt to elevate their mighty sky god in order to dominate and control the populace; using tactics such as war – causing suffering and death – to convert and force their religion on the people in order to achieve their own selfish and manipulative means.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brother Andrew. http://www.bible.ca, “Islamic roots of polytheism: Allah’s Daughters: Lat, Uzza, and Manat “.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Al-Lat”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Arab Triple Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Al-lāt“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arabianwomen.nielsonpi.com, “Women in the Ancient Arabia and the Middle East“.

Benel. Al-muqaddasarabianblog.blogspot.com, “Deity: Allat”.

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “al-Lāt“.

Isidorus. The Pomegranate Seeds Discussions, Q’re, the Maiden“.

Nabataea.net, “Nabataean Pantheon“.

 

Goddess Asherah

“Lioness” by Karl Bang

“Asherah’s themes are kindness, love, divination and foresight.  Her symbols are lions, lilies, a tree or a pole.  Asherah, a Canaanite Goddess of moral strength, offers to lend support and insight when we are faced with inequality or overwhelming odds. In art, She is often depicted simply as an upright post supporting the temple. This is a fitting representation, since Her name means ‘straight’.

Traditionally, Asherah is a mother figure often invoked at planting time, embodying a kind of benevolent, fertile energy that can reinforce just efforts and good intentions. Beyond this She is also an oracular Goddess, specifically for predicting the future.

In Israel, Ta’anit Ester commemorates Esther‘s strength and compassion in pleading with King Ahasuerus to save her people held captive in Persia. It is a time of prayer when one looks to the divine to instill similar positive attributes within us. For help in this quest, we turn to Asherah with this simple prayer:

‘Lady, make me an instrument of kindness and mercy
Let my words be gentle and true
My actions motivated by insight and fairness
Where there is prejudice
Let me share your vision
Where there is uncertainty
Let me share your vision
Where there is disharmony
Let me show love
Amen.’

Plant a tree today to remember Asherah, and tend it often. As you do, you tend attributes in your heart.”
(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ashera” by Hrana Janto

Asherah was the great Canaanite Mother Goddess since about the 13th century BCE and is arguably the most important Goddess in the Canaanite pantheon.  Like Anat, She is a was well-documented Goddess of the northwest Semitic pantheon.  We have long known Asherah from the immense library of thirteenth-century cuneiform tablets found in Syria at the site of Ugarit.  She is the Shekinah, consort and beloved of Yahweh; God-the-Mother.  Her sacred pillars or poles once stood right beside Yahweh’s altar, embracing it.  Moses and Aaron both carried one of these Asherah “poles” as a sacred staff of power.  The Children of Israel were once dramatically healed simply by gazing at the staff with serpents suspended from it.  This symbol, the snakes* and the staff, has become the modern universal symbol for doctors and healers.

According to the 13th century cuneiform tablets found in Syria at the site of Ugarit, She is the wife of El in Ugaritic mythology, known as Elat (the feminine form of El; compare Allat); a fertility Goddess and the wooden cult symbol that represented Her. As El’s first wife, She was said to have birthed 70 sons. All gods of the myths were born to Asherah and El, with the exception of Baʿal, whose parentage is uncertain. El had 2 wives but it was Asherah alone who nursed the newly born gods. Seeing as She had birthed so many children it is only normal that She was worshipped as the true fertility Goddess, force of life and nature. She manifests in domestic herds and flocks, in groves of trees and in the nurturing waters. Her powers and her presence were invoked not only during planting time but also during childbirth.  She is the Goddess who is also called Athirau-Yammi: “She Who Walks on (or in) the Sea.”  She was the chief Goddess of Tyre in the 15th century BCE, and bore the appellation Qudshu, “holiness.”

“Asherah” by Sandra M. Stanton

“She was often portrayed with a lion or ibex on either side as in the bottom register of the Canaanite ritual stand from Taanach, late 10th century BCE in the tree trunk on the right. A Tree of Life with 3 pairs of branches, an ibex and a lion on either side can be seen two registers above. Later, after patriarchal systems prevailed, Her name came to mean grove or trees. As a Goddess worshipped in Her own right in the ancient Hebrew religion, She was associated with all that was symbolized by the Tree of Life. In making the first Menorah, the ancient Hebrews were instructed to have three branches coming out of either side of a central stand with an almond shaped cup and a flower at the end of each one, resembling an almond tree. Among the trees considered to be the Tree of Life, the almond tree was highly regarded as it was the first to flower in spring, even before leafing out. The progression from Asherah, to the Tree of Life to the Menorah is revealed in the 4th century CE Roman gold glass base in the tree branches depicting a Menorah with a lion on either side. Asherah is wearing a necklace from Deir el-Balah, 14th-13th century BCE with an ibex-headed pendant from Ashod, 4th century BCE.” [1]

Food for Thought – “The Hebrew name used for God in Genesis is Elohim, a derivative of El. Many people find the passage in Genesis that says, “Let us make humankind in our own image” a little confusing. If there is only one true God, then who was he talking to? Some have said he was talking to the Holy Spirit, another aspect of Elohim, which is also seen as a male type or at least, as a non-gender. Others have asserted that he was talking to Eloah, the female aspect of Elohim. The world Elohim is actually plural, so that implies there is more than one “Being” involved in Elohim. Since there were only two kinds of people created, male and female, one could probably assume that man was made in the El’s image while woman was made in Eloah’s image. Thus, we were all, male and female, made in Elohim’s image, encompassing both the male and female aspect of God.” [2]

“Asherah” by Sami Edelstein

“There are more than 40 references to Asherah in the Old Testament.  Asherah appears as a Goddess by the side of Baʿal, whose consort She evidently became, at least among the Canaanites of the south.  We remember that, according to the Bible itself, in the ninth century BCE Asherah was officially worshipped in Israel; Her cult was matronized by Jezebel who, supposedly, imported it from her native Phoenician homeland. However, most biblical references to the name point obviously to some cult object of wood, which might be cut down and burned, possibly the Goddesses’ image (1 Kings 15:13, 2 King 21:7). Her prophets are mentioned (1 Kings 18:19), and the vessels used in Her service referred to (2 Kings 23:4). The existence of numerous symbols, in each of which the Goddess was believed to be immanent, led to the creation of numerous forms of Her person, which were described as Asherim.  In reference to the Tree of Life of which She is associated with, an object called an Asherah was a sacred pole carved out of the terebinth tree and placed next to the altars of Yahweh, thus worshipping both the mother and the father at once. Her own specific places of worship were on hilltops, (called  “High Places” in the Bible), and in forests and groves. Through Her association with trees, She was seen as the part of Elohim who brought fertility, new growth, successful crops and watched over nature. Along with life in nature, She was also seen as the Bread of Life for the Hebrew people. Hebrew women would make special loaves of Asherah bread, which would be blessed, then ritually eaten. Some scholars say this is the precursor of the communion wafer.  These practices and the cult objects themselves were utterly detestible to faithful worshippers of Yahweh (1 Kings 15:13).” [3]

“After Abraham was called by Yahweh and recruited some followers, he had a difficult time cutting out Asherah and the other regional gods. However, as time progressed in the Old Testament, the temptation to worship other gods lessened, while the blatant worship of Asherah along side of Yahweh continued.  It was difficult for the religious leaders in early Judaism to suppress Asherah because of a universally desire to recognize a nurturing, compassionate, Mother Goddess.

“Come with Me” by HandmaidenPhi

Hebrew women had a closer attachment to Her, seeing as how they did not play much of a role in their religion. Of course, there were some great women such as Esther, Deborah, and Rebecca, but women playing a part in early Judaism was definitely the exception instead of the rule. In archaeological sites that date back to Biblical times, small statues of Asherah are found in what would likely be bedrooms and kitchen areas. It is widely accepted that although the religious leaders frowned on the worship of Asherah, the common people, mainly women, would still have small figures of Asherah in their households.  This should not come as a surprise, since women of that time had a considerably lower status than they do today, and since there were no priestesses for them to go to for support, they had to find their own faith. What could Yahweh know about childbirth without epidurals? How could they pray to him for relief of menstrual pain in a time before Ibuprofen? What did Yahweh know about being beaten by a husband or raped by a neighbor?

There were no Battered Women’s Shelters then, or anti depressants for post-partum depression. It would not make sense for them to pray to a male god for female issues. I’m sure that if there was ever a society that had only one Deity and it was a Goddess, the men might feel strange praying to a Goddess to cure him of impotence or premature ejaculation.

It would appear that Hebrew men slightly understood this dilemma that their wives and sisters faced and they were more lenient on Asherah worship than they were of Ba’al worship or other gods. An interesting, but little known fact about the Temple of Jerusalem is that an Asherah statue was housed there for two-thirds of the time that the Temple stood during Biblical times. Apparently, one of the wives of Solomon brought it with her when she married him, and he allowed it to remain in the Temple for quite some time; and he was viewed as the wisest man who ever lived! Also, when Elijah wanted to prove the power of God or Yahweh, he called out the 450 priests of Ba’al and the 400 priestesses of Asherah. Although he was there to disprove both Ba’al and Asherah, he focused on the priests of Ba’al and derided them during their prayers, eventually killing them all, but he does nothing to the priestesses of Asherah.” [4]

“Other traces in the Bible either angrily acknowledge Her worship as Goddess (II Kings 14.13, for instance, where another royal lady is involved), or else demote Her from Goddess to a sacred tree or pole set up near an altar (II Kings 13.6, 17.16; Deuteronomy 16.21 and more). The authors of the biblical text attack Asherah relentlessly. They praise Asa, king of Judah (911-870 BCE), for removing his mother Ma’acah from official duties after “she had an abominable image made for Asherah” (I Kings 15.13, II Chronicles 15.6). They condemn the long-reigning Manas’seh of Judah (698-642) for doing “what was evil in the sight of the Lord” in “making an Asherah” (II Kings 21.7).

And they trumpet the achievements of Josiah (639-609), including the destruction of offerings made to Asherah at the temple in Jerusalem, the abolition of “the Asherah from the house of the Lord,” and demolition of a shrine there in which women “did weaving for Asherah” (II Kings 23).  These passages reflect both the popularity of Asherah’s worship and efforts to stamp out Her cult during in the Iron Age. But it was only in the succeeding Persian period, after the fall of Judah in 586 BCE and the exile in Babylon, that Asherah virtually disappeared.

“Tree of Life” by Willow Arlenea

Ultimately, the campaign to eliminate the Goddess has failed. “Asherah was buried long ago by the Establishment,” declares respected biblical scholar William H. Dever. “Now, archaeology has excavated her.” Dever is quite certain that he knows who the Asherah of ancient Israel and of the biblical texts is–She is the wife or consort of Yahweh, the one god of Israel. Many of his colleagues would agree.” [5]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Canaanite

Element: Fire

Sphere of Influence: Sex and love

Preferred Colors: Green, red

Animals Associated With: Lions, serpents

Best Day to Work With: Friday

Strongest Around: Ostara

Associated Planet: Venus   [6]

*A word about snakes:  The Serpent, though a frightening symbol because of its ability to bring death, stood also for ancient wisdom and immortality.  (Note that it hung out in the Tree of Knowledge and preached a doctrine of immortality, “ye shall NOT surely die.”) Many early societies revered the snake and used it to symbolize different ideas.  In much the same way, today we revere the Lion or other ferocious big-cats even though they’re dangerous.  An early American symbol used the snake as a statement of power, a warning, saying, “Don’t tread on me!”

Sources:

Amenahem, Bathia.The Mother Goddess: As She Appears in Cultures Around the World, Judaism“.

Archeology, The Lost Goddess of Israel.

A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Athirat“.

The Esoteric Seminary, “The Hebrew Goddess“.

The Goddess in World Mythology, “Asherah“.

Order of the White Moon, “Asherah by Medussa“.

PaganNews.com, Asherah“.

Suggested Links:

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Asherah: Hidden Goddess of the Bible“. (p. 39 – 54).

crdmwritingroad

Coralie Raia's Writing Road Blog

Moody Moons

A Celebration of the Seasons & the Spirit

Nicole Evelina - USA Today Bestselling Author

Stories of Strong Women from History and Today

Eternal Haunted Summer

pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern Viking Blog written by an ancient soul

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman Polytheism

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.