The Gods

Deity of the Day

Hodr

Norse God

 

Hodr, sometimes called Hod, was the twin brother of Baldur, and the Norse god of darkness and winter. He also happened to be blind, and appears a few times in the Norse Skaldic poetry.

Their father, Odin, was concerned about Baldur, who kept suffering from terrible nightmares. So, Odin traveled to Nifhelm, the land of the dead, where he resurrected a wisewoman and asked her for advice. She told him that Hodr would eventually slay Baldur, so Odin went back to Asgard, not happy about these developments.

Odin spoke with Baldur’s mother, Frigga, who decided to have all the creatures on earth swear an oath not to harm Baldur – this way, Hodr could use no weapon against his brother. Unfortunately, Frigga missed her chance to speak with the mistletoe bush. Tricked by Loki, Hodr created an arrow from the mistletoe branch which pierced Baldur’s body, killing him instantly. In some stories, it is not an arrow but a spear instead.

The death of Baldur at Hodr’s hand signified the darkness ruling over the light. As the nights grew longer and colder, the sun faded away each year. There are some clear similarities between this story and many others which detail the changing of the seasons, such as the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, and the legend of the Holly King and the Oak King in NeoWiccan beliefs.

Despite being tricked by Loki, Hodr was the one responsible for the death of his brother, and there was a general rule that deaths like Baldur’s must be avenged. Odin tricked a giantess into conceiving a child for him – and this child grew rapidly, reaching adulthood in just one day, to become the god Vali.

Vali journeyed to Midgard and killed Hodr with an arrow, mirroring the death of Baldur. In Norse mythology, Baldur’s death is one of the signals that Ragnarok, the end of the world, is coming.

 

 

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Deity of the Day for November 25th – Amun, Egyptian God

Deity of the Day

 

Amun

Egyptian God

 

Amun is considered as one of the most important and powerful gods of ancient Egypt. He existed as early as the primeval times of the Ogdoad cosmogony and evolved as one of the gods responsible for the creation of the world from the chaos that is Nun. He if often represented as bearded man wearing a cap surmounted by two tall plumes made of red ostrich feathers usually seated on a throne holding the ankh on one hand and the was scepter on the other. His name may also be spelled as Amon, Amoun, Ammon, Amoon, or Amen that translates into the “Hidden One” suggestive of his role as the invisible god of the wind and air. His wife and consort in the Hermopolitan worship is Amaunet.

Aside from his human form, he may also be seen in several other representations. He used to take the form of the goose thus acquiring the epithet “the Great Cackler”. He is sometimes seen as a man with the head of the frog, uraeus or cobra. As a snake, he could regenerate himself by shedding his skin. He is also seen as a man with head of the ram or simply just as ram because at some point he was a god of fertility. He may also be seen as lion crouching by the throne or an ape or even a crocodile. During the Ptolemaic Period, he is depicted as a man with four arms, the body of a beetle, the wings of the hawk, the legs of a human, and the paws of a lion.

Amun is believed to be a self-created god. His first wife was named Wosret but later married Amaunet and Mut. With Mut, he sired a son named Khonsu, the god of the moon. He was originally a deity of local importance in Thebes as a creative force. He rose to prominence when he assimilated another Theban god Montu, the deity of war in the Eleventh dynasty. He became the principal god of the city. During the Middle Kingdom, he rose to national importance when the Theban chief Ahmose I expelled Hyskos from the country. The royal family, in honor of the deity, built several temples to his name – the most prominent of which are the Luxor Temple and the Great Temple in Karnak.

During the New Kingdom, Egypt came close to being a monotheistic state with Amun at the center of attraction. Amun was adopted into the Ennead cosmogony. He and the sun god, Ra, became the hybrid god Amun-Ra. Amun-Ra was thought of as the father and protector of all the pharaohs of Egypt since then. His cult was responsible for the rising role of the women in the society – they wielded great powers and held positions of authority and responsibility. Queen Ahmose Nefertari, for example, was granted the title the “God’s Wife of Amun” – an epithet given to the wife of the pharaoh in acknowledgment of her role and position in the state religion of Amun. The pharaoh Hatshepsut even claimed that her mother was impregnated by Amun in the guise of Pharaoh Thutmoses II

His cult spread further even to neighboring states and countries particularly Nubia. Amun-Ra became the principal deity of Napata during the twenty-fifth dynasty. The people there believed he was Gebel Barkal. By this time, he was considered an equivalent of Zeus by the Greeks.

One of the grandest festivals in ancient Egypt is the Opet Festival. Here, the statue of Amun traverses in the route of the Nile from his temples in Luxor to Karnak in celebration of his marriage to Mut. This festival epitomizes his role in procreation as the “Ka-mut-ef” or the “bull of his mother”.

To date, he and Osiris are one of the most chronicled male deities especially in relics and tablets both of which were referred to as the King of Gods.

 

Source:

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

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Deity of the Day for November 18th – Priapus, God of Lust and Fertility

Deity of the Day

Priapus

God of Lust and Fertility

 

Priapus was a minor Greek fertility god best known for his large and permanently erect phallus. He was the son of Aphrodite, but there’s some question as to whether his father was Pan, Zeus, Hermes, or one of Aphrodite’s other numerous lovers. Priapus was a protector of gardens and orchards, and is typically portrayed as a homely old man with a raging erection.

According to legend, before his birth, Hera cursed Priapus with impotence as payback for Aphrodite’s involvement in the whole Helen of Troy fiasco. Doomed to spend his life ugly and unloved, Priapus was tossed down to earth when the other gods refused to let him live on Mount Olympus.

He was raised by shepherds, and spent a lot of time hanging out with Pan and the satyrs. However, all this cavorting in the forest with the fertility spirits proved frustrating for Priapus, who remained impotent.

Eventually he tried to rape a nymph, but was thwarted when a braying donkey alerted her to his presence. He pursued the nymph, but the other gods helped her hide by turning her into a lotus plant.

In some stories, his lust left him with a permanent erection, and in others, he was punished by Zeus for the attempted rape by being bestowed a set of huge (but useless) wooden genitalia.

In the Greek countryside, Priapus was honored in homes and gardens, and doesn’t appear to have had an organized cult following. He was seen as a protector deity in rural areas. In fact, statues of Priapus were often adorned with warnings, threatening trespassers, male and female alike, with acts of sexual violence as punishment.

His name gives us the medical term priapism, which is a condition in which a man can’t get rid of his erection, despite a lack of stimulation, within four hours. It is actually considered a medical emergency.

 

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Deity of the Day for November 16th – Poseidon, The Greek God

Deity of the Day

 

Poseidon

The Greek God

 

Poseidon the Earth Shaker:

In Greek mythology and legend, Poseidon is the god of the sea. However, his domain includes some aspects of the land as well, and in fact he is known as “earth-shaker” in many stories, because of his penchant for causing earthquakes. Poseidon was responsible, according to Greek legend, for the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, which was all but destroyed by a giant quake and tsunami.

The Battle for Athens:

One of the twelve gods of Olympus, Poseidon is a son of Cronus and Rhea, and brother of Zeus. He battled Athena for control of the city which would later become known as Athens, in honor of the victor of that dispute. Despite Athena’s role as the patron goddess of Athens, Poseidon played an important role in the city’s daily life, sending a giant flood to punish the Athenians for not backing him in the fight.

Poseidon in Classical Mythology:

Poseidon was a very important deity in many Greek cities, including but not limited to Athens. He was honored on a regular basis with offerings and sacrifices, particularly by sailors and others who made their livings from the sea – fishermen, and those who lived along the coastlines wanted to keep Poseidon appeased so he wouldn’t cause a devastating earthquake or flood.

Sometimes horses were sacrificed to Poseidon – the sound of his roaring waves were often associated with horses’ hooves – but Homer describes in the Odyssey the use of several other animals to honor this deity:

Take an oar, until one day you come where men have lived with meat unsalted, never known the sea… and make a fair sacrifice to Lord Poseidon: a ram, a bull, a great buck boar.

Pausanias described the city of Athens and its Hill of Horses, and makes a reference to both Athena and Poseidon as being connected to the horse.

There is also pointed out a place [not far from Athens] called the Hill of Horses, the first point in Attika, they say, that Oidipous reached–this account too differs from that given by Homer, but it is nevertheless current tradition–and an altar to Poseidon Hippios (Horse God), and to Athena Hippia (Horse Goddess), and a chapel to the heroes Peirithous and Theseus, Oidipous and Adrastos.

Poseidon also makes an appearance in stories of the Trojan War – he and Apollo were sent to build walls around the city of Troy, but the King of Troy refused to pay the reward he had promised them. In the Iliad, Homer describes Poseidon’s rage, in which he explains to Apollo why he is angry:

I walled the city massively in well-cut stone, to make the place impregnable. You herded cattle, slow and dark amid the upland vales of Ida’s wooded ridges. When the Seasons happily brought to an end our term of hire, barbaric Laomedon kept all wages from us, and forced us out, with vile threats.

As vengeance, Poseidon sent a giant sea monster to attack Troy, but it was killed by Heracles.

Poseidon is often depicted as a mature, muscular and bearded man – in fact, he looks remarkably like his brother Zeus in appearance. He typically is shown holding his powerful trident, and is sometimes accompanied by dolphins.

Like many ancient gods, Poseidon got around quite a bit. He fathered a number of children, including Theseus, who slew the Minotaur on the Isle of Crete. Poseidon also impregnated Demeter after she had rejected him. In hopes of hiding from him, Demeter turned herself into a mare and joined a herd of horses – however, Poseidon was smart enough to figure this out and turned himself into a stallion. The result of this not-entirely-consensual union was the horse-child Arion, who could speak in the human tongue.

Today, ancient temples to Poseidon still exist in many cities around Greece, although the best-known may well be the sanctuary of Poseidon at Sounion in Attica.

 

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Deity of the Day for November 15th – The Dagda, Father God of Ireland

Deity of the Day

The Dagda, Father God of Ireland

 

In Irish legend, the Dagda is an important father figure deity. He is a powerful figure who wields a giant club that can both kill and resurrect men. The Dagda was the leader of the Tuatha de Danaan, and a god of fertility and knowledge. His name means “the good god.”

In addition to his mighty club, the Dagda also possessed a large cauldron. The cauldron was magical in that it had an endless supply of food in it — the ladle itself was said to be so large that two men could lie in it. The Dagda is typically portrayed as a plump man with a large phallus, representative of his status as a god of abundance.

The Dagda held a position as a god of knowledge as well. He was revered by many Druid priests, because he bestowed wisdom upon those who wished to learn. He had an affair with the wife of Nechtan, a minor Irish god. When his lover, Boann, became pregnant Dagda made the sun stop setting for nine entire months. In this way, their son Aonghus was conceived and born in just one day.

When the Tuatha were forced into hiding during the invasions of Ireland, the Dagda chose to divide their land among the gods. Dagda refused to give a section to his son, Aonghus, because he wanted Aonghus’ lands for himself. When Aonghus saw what his father had done, he tricked the Dagda into surrendering the land, leaving Dagda with no land or power at all.

 

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Deity of the Day for October 30 – Cernunnos

Deity of the Day

Cernunnos

 

Cernunnos is a Celtic god associated with sexuality, fertility, the hunt, and the underworld. He was worshipped by the iron age Celts all across Europe as late as the first century CE, and his worship must have begun centuries before that.

Cernunnos is a Romanized name meaning “Horned One.” The name is most likely derived from “cornu,” the Latin word for horn. The Romans had a habit of changing local names to fit the Roman pattern: most Roman names end in “us.” Thus “Cernunnos” was probably the new Romanised name given by the Gauls to all their very old horned gods, in which case its use may have been widespread through out Gaul after it became a Roman province.

The images of Cernunnos are unusually consistent. He is usually portrayed as a mature man with long hair. He is usually bearded, although the most well known image of him on the Gundestrup Cauldron features him clean-shaven. His main attribute is his horns, those of a stag. He wears a torc (an ornate neck-ring worn by the Celts to denote nobility). He often carries other torcs in his hands or hanging from his horns. He is usually portrayed seated and cross-legged, in the meditative or shamanic position.

Cernunnos is nearly always portrayed with animals, in particular the stag. Less often he is associated with other beasts, including bulls, dogs and rats. He is also frequently associated with a unique beast that seems to belong only to him: a serpent with the horns of a ram. The serpent was commonly associated with death and the otherworld, and is hence described as cthonic. Cernunnos carries it in his left hand, and in his right he carries a torc, the Celtic symbol of nobility, the symbol of having been initiated into that special state.

It is frequently mentioned how major a god Cernunnos was in the Celtic pantheon. However, this is based on artwork, not literary sources. There is, in fact, only one known actual mention of Cernunnos in history – his name is inscribed above the head and shoulders of a stag-horned figure from ancient Gaul. The presumption of his widespread cult comes from the multitude of images similar to this monument. The named Gaulish figure is of a balding, bearded, elderly god. Other depictions identified as Cernunnos display a variety of ages.

Lord of the Hunt

Always bearing the horns of a stag, Cernunnos is identified with the hunted, which in turn identifies him as hunter as well – shamanistic practices across the world bear witness to the concept that in order to catch your prey, you must identify in spirit with the prey.

God of Sexuality, Fertility, and Abundance

Stags are sexually aggressive creatures, and the antlers can certainly be considered phallic, marking Cernunnos as a god of fertility and abundance. This aspect is represented in other symbolism as well: cornucopiae, fruit, grain and coins.

Lord of the Underworld

Along with knowledge, the serpent is also a frequent symbol of death. The cycle of hunter and hunted of course intimately revolves around death and life from death. As Herne the Hunter, generally considered to be the British Celtic version the same figure, he is the leader of the Wild Hunt.

 

 

Source:
WikiPagan

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Deity of the Day for October 28th is Geb, Egyptian God of Earth

Deity of the Day

 

Geb,

Egyptian God of Earth

 

Perhaps the best known activity of Shu and Tefnut was to give birth to two children, Geb and Nut; Shu was then responsible for separating the two and creating fro them the earth and sky. Geb was the god of the earth. The coffin Texts told of Ra’s boredom the chief god complained he had been too long at leisure, and had grown weary of it:” If the earth were alive,”Ra thought, “it would cheer my heart and enliven my bosom.” so the earth was created both to make Ra’s life more interesting and to give him a place to rest when he became weary.

 

The usual depiction of Geb was as a male figure wearing on his head either the white crown of Lower Egypt or a goose. The goose was his sign and he was known in the Book of the Dead as the Great Cackler.
Since he was the god of the earth, which was known as “the house of Geb,” he was involved with life on the surface and with death beneath. On the earth’s surface he was responsible for trees,plants and seeds that put their roots into his soil. Beneath the ground he was responsible for dead bodies buried in tombs. Since he was intimate with the dead, he was shown in many papyri as one of the gods sitting in judgment when the heart of the deceased was weighed on the scales before Anubis and Thoth .

On one occasion Ra called Geb before him to complain that the snakes of the earth were causing him trouble. As they came from Geb’s territory, they were his responsibility, and Geb was ordered to keep a watch over the snakes and inform the other gods of their plans and activities. Ra promised Geb help in this matter, in the form of spells and charms for people intelligent enough to make use of them to draw the snakes out if their holes in the earth. The assumption must be that Geb did as he was commanded since nothing else seems to have been said on the subject.

Much of Geb’s fame lay in the children he fathered , since his offspring were to become the next generation of powerful gods. he and Nut produced, as we have seen, Osiris, Isis , Seth , and Nephthys, the gods who were to rule over the earth, skies , and underworld. A hymn to Osiris described the manner in which Geb turned over the rule of the earth to his son: Geb ” assigned to ( the leadership of the lands for the good of affairs. he put this land in his hand, its water, its air, its verdure , all its herds , all things that fly, all things that flutter, its reptiles , its game if the desert, legally conveyed to the son of Nut. ” later , when Osiris was confronted by enemies and in serious trouble, his father came to his aid.

The Pyramid Texts tell us that Geb put his foot on the head of Osiris’ enemy , who then retreated2a . Another document placed Geb in the conflict between Horus ( his grandson ) and Seth ( his son). he tried ti separate his warring heirs and assigned Upper Egypt to Seth and Lower Egypt to Horus, but he made it clear in a speech before the Great Ennead that he was giving the choice territory ti Horus because he was the son of Geb’s first-born and therefore very dear to him.

Geb and Nut were accorded no temple of their own, though Geb was apportioned parts of major temples, such as the one a Dendera. Most likely he was chiefly worshiped at Heliopolis where he was the ground in which the temple to Ra was built. In the Tutankhamun collection at the Egyptian Museum, there is gilded wooden statue of Geb that had been placed in the tomb to protect the Boy-King.

 

Source:

Ancient Egypt

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Deity of the Day for October 25th is Ninurta

Deity of the Day

Ninurta

 

Ninurta (Nin Ur: Lord of the Earth/Plough) in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the deity Ninhursag.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny which Enlil requires to maintain his rule. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes” (the Warrior Dragon, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the Bison-beast, the Mermaid, the Seven-headed Snake, the Six-headed Wild Ram), and despoils them of valuable items (Gypsum, Strong Copper, the Magilum boat [1]), and finally Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet to his father, Enlil.

The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he appears under his name Ningirsu, “the lord of Girsu”, Girsu being the name of a city where he was considered the patron deity.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases humans from sickness and the power of demons; on the other he is the god of the South Wind as the son of Enlil, displacing his mother Ninlil who was earlier held to be the goddess of the South Wind. Enlil’s brother, Enki, was portrayed as Ninurta’s mentor from whom Ninurta was entrusted several powerful Mes, including the Deluge.

He remained popular under the Assyrians: two kings of Assyria bore the name Tukulti-Ninurta. Ashurnasirpal II (883—859 BCE) built him a temple in the capital city of Calah (now Nimrud). In Assyria, Ninurta was worshipped along with Aššur and Mulissu.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek harvest-god Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their fertility-god Saturn.

From: Wiki

The god Ninurta has been described in the handbooks of mythology as the warrior god and the god of hunting, and sometimes his role as the patron of agriculture has been emphasised in the scholarly literature. These are important aspects of Ninurta and the definitions are correct. The god Ninurta is a very complex figure and in the present paper I will deal with his aspect as scribe and the god of wisdom, a role which has not been much discussed so far. Ninurta is the city-god of Nippur, the city of letters, where more than 80% of all known Sumerian literary compositions have been found (Gibson 1993). It seems inevitable that scribal activity in the city must have been patronized by some god of the city. Ninurta is a suitable candidate for this role. There is some evidence which confirms that Ninurta is a god patronizing scribal activities. In later Babylonia, the god of scribal arts was Marduk’s son Nabu. In my paper I will claim that the relationship between Marduk and Nabu was modelled on the relationship between Enlil and Ninurta and Nabu’s role as the scribe among the gods was the inheritance of Ninurta.

A Sumerian myth Ninurta’s journey to Eridu describes Ninurta’s acquisition of powers in Abzu and he determines the fates together with An in assembly (see Reisman 1971). This myth is an etiological myth. Eridu housed the god of wisdom Ea and his abode Abzu was mythical source of the divine wisdom. According to my view this Ninurta’s journey to Eridu was an etiology how Ninurta obtained his wisdom among the other powers for the benefit of the land. In Babylonia, Ninurta’s successor Nabû lived in Borsippa, where his temple Ezida had a by-name bīt ţuppi “the tablet house”. Ninurta’s connection with the Tablet of Destinies is attested in the poorly preserved Sumerian myth “Ninurta and the Turtle”.

Ninurta’s wisdom and his passion for the scribal arts are attested in his epithets. In Lugale he is called “the very wise” (gal-zu, ln. 152) and “gifted with broad wisdom” (gíštu-dagal, ln. 153). When Ninurta blocked the powerful waters threatening the land by means of stones in the epic, he is described to have applied his great wisdom and cleverness on the situation (347ff.). The Standard Babylonian epic of Anzu describes how Ninurta took hold of the Tablet of Destinies in the battle against Anzu who had stolen it. The possession of the Tablet of Destinies was also an important characteristic of Babylonian Nabu in his capacity as the god of scribal arts. We know that the Anzu epic existed already in an Old Babylonian version which told the same story. So I feel confident to claim that as the holder of the Tablet of Destinies, Ninurta precedes Nabu.

In the Standard Babylonian version, after Ninurta’s triumph over Anzu the great gods entrust to Ninurta a divine secret. By seeing the sign of Ninurta’s victory, Dagan rejoices, summons all the gods and says to them: “The mighty one has outroared Anzu in his mountain … Let him stand with the gods his brethren, that he may hear the secret lore, [let him hear] the secret lore of the gods” (III 26.30-31). The knowledge of the secret lore (pirištu) is an award which was not promised to Ninurta by the mother goddess before he went to the battle, but attested in the other sources. Ninurta was called šēmi pirišti “who has heard the secret” (Lugale 153, še-uraš), or bēl pirišti “the master of the secret lore” (see van Dijk 1983: 6). Among the mystical names which are given to Ninurta in the epilogue of the Anzu epic is E-Ibbi-Anu (III, 133) which is explained as ‘Master of the Secret Lore’ (bēl pirišti – en ad.hal).

There exists a remarkable inconsistency in the Anzu epic in regard to who is Ninurta’s father: throughout in the epic it is Enlil who is called the father of Ninurta (I 208, II 19.22) until in II 101 it is surprisingly Ea (cf. SAA Anzu III 159)! Marduk or Enlil and Ea/ Enki also alternate as fathers of Nabû, the Babylonian god of scribal arts (Pomponio 1978: 161-6. Thus the Epic of Anzu offers enough evidence that Ninurta was a wise god who controls the tablet of destinies and this must be related to his role as the god of the scribal arts. The Babylonian god Nabû has taken over these roles to which Sumerian Ninurta of Nippur was the ancestor.

Ninurta’s wisdom is probably connected with his swiftness. Ninurta’s victory over his enemies was celebrated in the first millennium rituals by a cultic footrace. Swiftness celebrated in these rituals originates with the swiftness of attack by which Ninurta defeated the enemies, but it is also swiftness in understanding. Ninurta is like a victorious king on the military operation who realizes quickly the intentions of enemy and how to vanquish them. The swifter computer the better it is as we all know.

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