goddess spotlight: anath

one of the things that i have been thoroughly enjoying about my (re)embrace of magick into my life after a very long break of self-denial, is the vast body of knowledge now available online about goddesses from all over the world.

brief soapbox: even with the recent re-popularization of witchcraft with the most recent spiritualism revival, i still see a huge lack of diversity and inclusiveness in many parts of the magickal community.

to be clear, if you’re of European descent and you identify culturally, ethnically, or spiritually with mostly European deities, there’s nothing wrong with that. but if everything you post about all goddesses is Euro-centric and excludes those in the magical community that identify with a more diverse pantheon from the African continent, east asian pantheon, and even the goddesses of the Americas, then a large chunk of our community is left out.

and i know that despite my efforts to be inclusive and not always assume that the goddess is white or pale skinned to everyone, even i can get better.

so anyway, this post is about Anath, a goddess in the Canaanite pantheon. first, the ancient land of Canaan was made up of what is now modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. it existed through the early bronze age through the first century C.E. the canaanite religions were considered semitic.

Anath, also called Anat, Anit, Anatu, Anot, Anti, Anant, or Anat-her, is a primarily Syrian (but was worshipped throughout all of Canaan, which, as you remember from the preceding paragraph comprised modern day Syria, but also several other modern day countries) goddess of war and violence, but also fertility.

she is a warrior goddess and a goddess of the hunt, and depicted as highly sexual, but at the same time is referred as a virgin or maiden goddess. she is said to be the goddess who conceives without bearing.

she was said to bind together the severed heads of foes from battle and sling them over her back, and to cut off the penises of vanquished enemies and tie them to her belt. that’s pretty next level, if you ask me.

Anath was the sister, but also lover, of Baal (also spelled Ba’al), a god of storms and fertility, who eventually descended to rule or partly rule the underworld. some sources refer to her as his wife, some refer to her as his consort, and others simply imply that she was his lover, or one of his lovers.

geographical history

in Egypt, Anath was frequently paired with or worshipped as Ashtart, and is therefore thought to also be the forerunner to the goddess astarte, found in Canaanite religions, however, many scholars argue that some Canaanite texts or accounts refer to Astarte as Anath’s sister, and, therefore, they are not the same deity. they do, however, have the exact same attributes of war, violence, sexuality, and fertility.

the Eyptians also referred to Anath as the ‘queen of heaven’ and said to be the daughter of Re and ally of the god Set.

in Mesopotamia, she came to be known as Antu, the wife of Anu, and her name meant ‘goddess of heaven.’ she was also the mother if Ishtar, from the Gilgamesh epic.

there is even documented evidence that a group of Jewish refugees in Egypt worshipped a goddess named Anat-Yahu (Anat-Yahweh) in the 5th century BCE, which shows that, at least at that time, the worship of a god and goddess together was quite prevalent, even in the Abrahamic religions before the establishment of organized Christianity.

Anat is also mentioned in the Zohar, an important Kabbalah text, as Anathiel, one of the holiest of angelic powers.

there are also some connections between Anath and the Hindu goddess Kali, who had some similar attributes and associations.

Correspondences:

Animals: cow, steer, lion, dog, horse, panther (in Egyptian worship of her)

Color: red

Appears as: a ferocious and blood-thirsty warrioress, or a young maiden with flowers in her hands

Day: December 4th

Sacred Month: September

Associations: the fertility of people; fertility of the Earth; grains and crops; love and passion; war and violence; sexuality

Plants: heather, grain crops, cedar,

Other: wearing of henna on the skin is symbolic of worship to Anath by the Canaanite women during fertility festivals; sickles, with which grain was harvested; the shield and spear