In the beginning, in just six days, Elohim created the Heavens and the Earth. In this order: Light; the Division of the Waters; the formation of Land and Sea, Grass, Herbs and Trees; the establishment of the Sun, Moon and Stars; the making of Sea-Monsters, Fish and Birds; the making of Land-Monsters, Mammals and Reptiles; and finally Humankind, to whom was given the task of caring for Creation on Elohim's behalf. Then Elohim rested on the seventh day, his work ordained, made, named, completed. And it was very good. This is the Jewish version of Creation.

Presented at the beginning of Bereyshit (Genesis), it appears to be the Hebrew myth of Creation as well (I make the distinction between "Jewish" and "Hebrew" on the basis that "Judaism" came into existence in 70 CE, after the destruction of the Temple and the loss of sovereignty in the homeland; what existed before was not called Hebrewism, but we have no other name for it, although Israelitism might serve for the latter years.) In fact, 
an earlier "Hebrew" version almost certainly existed, and this is not it. What appears in Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a post-exilic, proto-Judaisation of a Creation myth that had predominated throughout the Middle East since Palaeolithic times. Its retelling - in some cases its dramatic re-enactment in mime and monologue - formed the central aspect of the New Year rites, either in the spring, when the world was reborn out of winter, or in the autumn, when the Earth revived with the first rains after the long summer drought (and in Tanist cults, both).

The tablets excavated at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit, the earliest known site of a written alphabet) in northern Syria in 1929, date from circa 1400 BCE, known as the Amarna Age, from Tel el-Amarna in Egypt. In them is recorded the Canaanite version of that myth which formed the other major aspect of the New Year rites. It places El at the head of the pantheon of the gods, as King, as Father of Years (Ib-Rachum - almost certainly a variant form of Av-Raham/Abraham), with his consort, his sister-wife, Asherah (almost certainly a variant form of Sarah). Beneath them, probably their son, came Ba'al, the storm-god (and as such linked to fertility), who was the ruler of the gods and the creator of humankind. Like El, he took the form of a bull. His sister, who was also his consort-wife, was the warrior goddess Anat, a goddess of considerable sexual passion and sadistic violence. Ba'al's prominence was achieved by his defeat of the primordial water-dragon known as Prince Sea or Judge River - Rahab, Leviathan, Tiamat (Tahamat), Mot and others take this role in various other Hebrew texts. Ba'al's attempts to build a temple to celebrate his victory (possibly the original Tower of Babel) were however interrupted by Mot, the god of the summer drought and the winter dearth, who killed Ba'al and took his body down to the Underworld, She'ol. Distraught, his sister Anat went after him to find him; she fought and killed Mot, brought Ba'al back to life, and returned with him to the world of light. Parallels with the story of Osher, Isis and Set in the Egyptian traditions hardly need stating.

Like the fisher-king, like Jesus in the later Christian re-incarnation, Ba'al's return guaranteed the end of both the summer drought and the winter dearth, and a return to fertility. It was for this reason that one of the two New Year festivals was placed in the autumn, and why there were two priest-kings in every year (this may also be an explanation of the continuous supplanting of the elder brother by the younger; a Tanist cult in which the elder served first, and then the younger. If so, the act of stealing Esav's birthright is now explained, and the move of New Year from spring to autumn can also be understood: it was not a move at all; rather there would have been two new years, and the coronation of the new priest king would have coincided with each).

The origins of this myth are Beney Chet (Hittite), though we may well recognise in them such later myths as those of Ceres and Persephone in the Greco-Roman world, of OsirisTammuz, Attis and Adonis across the Middle East, and later Jesus, Bran and King Arthur too. The Hittites came from Anatolia, which today we think of as Turkey, but would then have been identified with Urartu, or Mount Ararat. Somewhere around 2200 BCE, they established an immense empire which extended north, to the far side of the Black Sea and the sources of the River Danube, and a good deal further south, to encompass Syria, Egypt and Kena'an (Canaan). Later tribes descended from them include the Dana'ans, who became first the inhabitants of Argos and the Biblical tribe of Dan, and later the Celts of western Europe, as well as the Phoenicians, the "People of the Sea", a group of whom re-entered Kena'an (Canaan) from Crete after the fall of Kenossos - and displaced, or perhaps replaced, the tribe of Dan - bearing the name Pelishtim or Philistines (see the essay "The Leprachauns of Palestine").

Anatolia means the land of Anat; Ba'al to the Hittites was Bel, which means Lord. Ephron, from whom Av-Raham purchased the Cave of Machpelah in Chevron (Hebron), was a Hittite (Genesis 23:5 ff), but a god not a man - the same god whom the Greeks knew as Phoroneus. Several of the Biblical patriarchs took Hittite wives, of whom the best remembered is Esav, both of whose wives were Hittite (Genesis 36:2). The cult of Anat and Ba'al became the predominant cult of Kena'an for the next two thousand years. Traces of it can be found in the legends of Av-Raham and Sarah, and it is echoed throughout the Tanach; it finds (perhaps) its final form in the mythical tale of Yesha-Yahu ben Yoseph and his sister-spouse Miriam, better known by their Latin names as Jesus and Mary. Bethany, where Mary's twin-sisters Miriam and Martha lived, was called in Hebrew Beit Anatot, the House of Anat; Anatot was also the town in which the Prophet Yirme-Yahu (Jeremiah) was born, and where his father was a priest - we must presume of Anat. Yechezke-El (Ezekiel) records in horror that the women wailed for Tammuz at the north gate of the Temple in Yerushalayim (Ezekiel 8:14), which means on the north side of the altar. Tammuz was the Mesopotamian name for Ba'al, his mother-spouse being Ishtar, or Inanna previously, when he was Utu or Dumuzi. Variations of the tale can be found throughout the Middle East, and all make their appearances in the Old Testament: Egyptian (Isis and Osher), Assyrian (Astarte and Adonis), Mesopotamian (Ishtar and Tammuz), and the oldest of the oriental versions of the same myth, the Sumerian (Inanna and Dumuzi). The Hebrew tales of Av-Raham and Sarah reflect an earlier Aramaean version of the same myth. For essentially the vast majority of myths and legends recounted in the Tanach are in fact reworkings in liturgy, song and folk-tale, of the same constant theme, the Grand Theme so to speak, the "Common Source", of these two parts of the New Year Myth: the slaying of the Cosmic Dragon and the Journey to the Underworld. When the Hebrews made their historic claim that "YHVH Is One", they had first to transform the previous Unity of this Grand Theme, from many variants of the myth to a single one, from pantheism to at least the illusion of monotheism, and particularly from the female to the masculine.

This is the story of Creation as recorded in 
one of the oldest known texts, the Babylonian "Enuma Elish" (the illustration shows Marduk chasing Tiamat, but in the language of the Common Source it could as well be St George or King Arthur chasing the Dragon, or indeed Siegfried chasing Fafner in the Nibelungenlied; and note that the depiction of Tiamat here is not simply as a dragon, but an early form of what will become, in one culture, the Keruvim or cherubs, in another the angels):

"When on high the heavens had not yet been named, and the Earth beneath did not yet bear a name, Apsu the Begetter and Tiamat the Mother of All Living Creatures produced a brood of dragon-like monsters (their waters were mingled together and the gods were created in the midst of Heaven)..."

Several generations passed, and the descendants of these primeval beasts became the gods of the Earth and the heavens. But Apsu, who is the abyss, was disturbed at finding his domain invaded by the new gods, and so he induced Tiamat (Tohu = תהו) and Chaos (Vohu = בהו) to join him in contesting their supremacy; he, however, was subdued by the cunning of Ea, the God of Wisdom, who challenged and killed Apsu. Tiamat was left to carry on the struggle alone.  

Tiamat (or Tahamat as she is sometimes called) then married her own son Kingu and bred another race of monsters from him, intending to use them to take vengeance on Ea. But Ea's son, the sky-god Marduk, was appointed as their champion by the alarmed gods. Marduk dared to oppose Tiamat. Tiamat's army was her eleven monsters, Marduk's the seven winds, plus his bow and arrow and his storm-chariot, and a terrible coat of mail. He smeared his lips with a prophylactic red paste, and applied to his wrist a herb that made him immune to poison; he also put a crown of flames around his head. The first battle was verbal. When the real fight started, Marduk caught hold of Tiamat and sent one of the winds with a bolt of lightning into her belly to rip out her guts, then brained her and shot her full of arrows. He seized Tiamat in a huge net, and "with his merciless club he crushed her skull". Then, having bound the corpse with chains and proclaimed his victory, he likewise chained the eleven monsters and cast them into prison, where they became the gods of the underworld. Finally he snatched the "Tablets of Destiny" from Kingu's breast and fastened them to his own breast. Tiamat's carcase was hacked in two pieces, one of which he fixed on high, to stop the upper waters flooding the earth (i.e. the vault of the heavens which the Bible calls the Rakia - רקיע); the other half he used as a rocky foundation for the earth and seas themselves. He then also made the sun, moon, five lesser planets and the stars, and gave his kinsmen charge over them; finally he created Humankind from the blood of Kingu, who he had also condemned to death for instigating Tiamat's rebellion."

There is much here that needs explaining:

Apsu the Begetter was the seed of original creation, the void of uncreation within which the possibility of Creation was latent. He reappears in Jewish legend as Ephes (אפס) = Nothingness; and in the Hebrew language as the number Nought (אפס). In the Genesis version of the story he has been replaced by his Phoenician counterpart Baou or Bohu, likewise the god of primal nothingness, here rendered as Vohu (בהו). From King Arthur to St George, by way of Beowulf and the Hydra who protected the Golden Fleece, it is this legend of the slaying of Tiamat by Marduk which provides the source for the all the dragon myths of Europe, the Middle East, and even China.

Ea in Hebrew becomes Yah (יה), the moon god, the oldest form of Yahweh or Jehovah (יהוה) - at least, according to orthodox Jewish explanation - or, much more likely, the female counterpart of YHVH, as the Greek Io is to Jove. His ownership of Wisdom is reflected in the Seven Pillars of the Temple. At the same time, Io the sister of Phoroneus (Ephron), likewise becomes Yah in the Hebrew, the Greek and Babylonian forms distinguished only by their gender; and still today many Jews argue for Yah as a masculine lunar deity.

In another Jewish borrowing from the same Babylonian New Year cosmogony, Marduk becomes Mordechai; his wife Ishtar - Tiamat as the Queen of Heaven - becomes Mordechai's niece Ester (Esther). The story, recounted in the Book of Esther, forms the centrepiece of the festival of Purim, which for many centuries after the Exile was the date of the Hebrew New Year in the Spring. The name Chaman (חמן - Haman), likewise associated with the festival, comes from the Babylonian word chaman = a stone idol (cf Leviticus 26:30), and in fact the whole tale of Ester reflects the New Year rituals still practiced by the Farsis of Iran today.

The Tablets of Destiny occur in several Celtic myths. As well as marrying the High Priestess, ownership of them was vital in claiming the sacred kingship; as Moshe acquired predominance from his two similar tablets.

The emergence of Earth from the primeval watery chaos is metaphorical of the dry land emerging annually from the floods of the Tigris and Euphrates - as is the Flood story itself. The festival at which this story is retold belongs to the Babylonian New Year, on the first of Nissan, in the spring. In today's aetiology, we can read the emergence as the birth of a child from the womb, but scholars claim that we cannot say for certain if this would have been understood in Biblical times as well; I would disagree, and refer you to the paragraph beginning "but in every case", below.

By contrast, the Canaanite New Year was the first of Tishrey in the autumn. (Hebrew New Year followed this date until the exile, when it was moved to the 1st of Nissan). However, because the process took seven days, and the Rabbis held the creation of Humankind to be the central event of Creation, it was deemed to have begun five days earlier, on the 25th of Elul, with Adam's birthday on the 1st of Tishrey.

This anthropomorphic description of the violent eruptions of the primal elements and their evolution into the universe (no less credible nor meaningful a metaphor than is the "Big Bang"), is the commonplace myth of the ancient world, albeit with regional variations.

In the Hittite version, Bel (Canaanite Ba'al) and not Marduk is the hero.

In one Greek version, Mother Earth is named Tiamat, who created the giant Typhon, whose birth caused all the other gods to flee to Egypt, until Zeus played the Marduk role, killing both Typhon and his monstrous sister Delphyne with a thunderbolt.

In another Greek version, the central figure of Creation is not Tiamat but Eurynome, goddess of all things, who rose naked from Chaos (Chaos is rendered in the Hebrew by Tohu - תהו- as the deeps of the sea are by Tehom - תהום - both of them sourced from the root-word Tiamat), divided sea from sky, danced among the waves, stirred up the wind, was impregnated by it in the shape of a great serpent named Ophion or Ophioneus, and laid the World Egg.

(In the Orphic myth Night, the Creatrix, lays a silver egg from which Love - Eros or Phanes - is hatched to set the world in motion. Night inhabits a cave, displaying herself alternately as Night, Order and Justice. But just as the Orphic is generally discarded as belonging to a mystic tradition, so too its Hebrew equivalent. This figure of Night appears only in those late Jewish myths recorded in the Mishnah, where she is known is Lilith - from the Hebrew Layil - ליל = Night. The Lilim were Night Spirits akin to the Greek Erinnyes; Lilith is said to have been the first wife of Adam, before he was given Chava (Eve). In the Genesis account, the god of darkness Choshech - חשך - supplants her).

In Berossus' version (9th century), Marduk becomes El. After the death of Tahamat, the goddess Aruru forms Man by mixing El's blood with clay.

An alternate Syriac version borrows the story of the Egyptian sky-goddess Nut and her union with the earth-god Geb, a story which is itself paralleled in the Greek account of the sky-god Ouranos (Uranus) mating with the earth-goddess Gaia; on this occasion the hero Shu simply lifts Nut out of Geb's arms, where Marduk had literally cut Tahamat in half to disengage her from Apsu.

But in every case the pattern is identical: Creation is achieved by the god struggling with water, personified as a (phallic) sea-monster or sea-serpent (Leviathan, in the Job version; elsewhere Lotan, Rahab, the Great Dragon of King Arthur, Beowulf's Grendel et cetera). Water is the creatrix, equally male and female; for birth to take place, the waters must literally break; likewise the dividing of the waters establishes the male and female principles necessary to the engendering of life; just as, previously, for the seed to be implanted there must first be the bloody cutting of the hymen. The upper waters (shemayim - שמים) are always male, the lower (mayim - מיים) female. The rite of circumcision reflects the cutting in twain of the sea-serpent, at once breaking the female hymen (in female circumcision) and pruning the male vine that it may run to seed.

Above all, the story of Creation is a rite of the fertility goddess, who is also, in one of her aspects, the sea-goddess who rises on the foam of the tides like Aphrodite, is served by the cultic skin-sloughing serpent, and is worshipped in the form of the moon, because it is the moon whose gravity pulls the tides and whose orbits reflect the menstrual cycle. Sea, snake, moon - fertility. We see this repeated throughout chapter after chapter of the Tanach, the matriarchal deity whom the pious, paternalistic, patriarchal Pharisees expelled from her caves and her hill-shrines and her sacred groves, but never finally from the hearts and souls of Yisra-El. Her name - this female principle, triple-goddess of earth-sea-sky and of maidenhood-maternity-grandmotherhood? In Babylon Ishtar, in Assyria Asherah, among the Aramaeans Sarah, in Phoenicia Astarte, among the Canaanites Ashtoreth, among the Hittites Anat, among the Jebusites Anatha, in Egypt Isis, in Lybia Nethe, amongst the Greeks Kore, Io, Demeter or Circe, among the Danaans Athene, among the Christians Mary, in Rome Diana, among the Danaans Hebe, among the Hittites Chawa, and in the tribe of Yehudah Chava Em Kol Chay - Eve, the Mother of All Living Things - the fertility goddess. To the Celts she was Guenevere, or Brigit.

Tahamat's army contains just eleven monsters, for she is herself the 12th, as Nisan is the first month among the twelve calendrical deities. Nor is it difficult therefore to know what sort of monsters they were - any glance at the horoscope will do, though the horoscope has changed considerably over the past two thousand years, its symbols frequently substituted, so perhaps a glance at the beasts of Hercules' Twelve Labours would be more sensible. Ea by contrast does not fight, but sends out the seven planetary deities on his behalf. That the planets were victorious is visible in the subordination of the 12 deities to the underworld, and on Earth of their organisation into 12 tribes (Yisra-El, Yishma-El, the Greek amphictyony, the 12 Lords of Brittany et cetera) ruled by the 7 principal gods in Heaven (or by the god of the seventh day, who subordinated all the others, in the Hebrew version). The defeat of Tahamat by Ea may also explain the subservience of female to male throughout the cosmic order!

Once victorious, a pantheon of seven ruling gods, seven planetary deities, is formed, and together these create the world, each fashioning his or her own day, complete with appropriate physical phenomena. The order of their hierarchy is reflected in the order of creation (that the Hebrews held at least some residual belief in the seven is clear from Zechariah 4:10).

TABLE OF GODS PLANETS DAYS (see also Number 7)

Note how the principal god of each cult rules the fifth day, where the Hebrew rules the seventh. Note how the Hebrews resolve the problem of [not wanting to identify] identifying the gods in the days of the week by giving each day a number instead of a name. A reconstruction of the Hebrew ruling pantheon might give us:

SUNDAY: Shemesh (שמש)

MONDAY: Lavanah (לבנה). Ya'akov's "Uncle Laban". Yareyach (ירח), possibly derived from YAH (יה); whence the important moon-shrine of Yericho (Jericho), the third major shrine alongside Ur and Charan.

TUESDAY: Nergal (cf 2 Kings 17:29/30, an extremely important fragment to understand how the "Common Source" came into being).

WEDNESDAY: Nevi (נבא), whence the word for Prophet. Or possibly Adonay Tsevaot (יי צבאות).

THURSDAY: YHVH (יהוה), El (אל) or Ba'al (בעל).

FRIDAY: Shechinah (שכינה), the Sabbath Bride as Queen of Heaven, would be interesting, but in fact is too late an addition; much more likely Sarai (שרי), the Aramaic equivalent of Asherah.

SATURDAY: Elohim (אלהים) or YHVH.

But for the editors of the Tanach, this could not be made to work, because to Ezra and his generation all gods were the same god, each day and each planet being ruled by YHVH or Elohim, with the seventh day treated as special, the day of rest that is hallowed above all other days. In the Temple, however, each of the seven retained his or her pillar of wisdom - the names of two, Bo'az (בעז) and Yachin (יכין), being known - a place that is to say at which oracles were delivered on different days of the week; each too retained its branch on the Menorah (cf Zechariah 4:10), its colour in the No'achic rainbow, and its share of the sevenfold vengeance for the killing of the scapebull Kayin (Cain). A suggestion of divine marriage between gods and goddesses is also hinted at through a pairing of god days, excluding the seventh, who is predominant: thus the first and fourth connect light and darkness (the heavens made and separated from darkness on the first day; the sun, moon and stars created on the fourth); the second and fifth days connect the upper and the lower waters of the firmament, (division of the heavens by means of a firmament on the second day, the filling of the sky above and the waters below with birds and fish on the fifth day); and the third and sixth days marry the two earth divinities, giving birth thereby to earth itself, as well as to vegetation, on the third day, mammals, reptiles and humans on the sixth). For centuries the strange phenomenon has been noticed of light appearing to have been created before the sun, moon and stars came into existence: this explains why.

The fact that the middle branch of the Menorah - the great seven-branched candlestick that stood in the Temple with a branch for each day - grew into the fourth day, as the middle of seven, rather being placed at the beginning, seems to indicate that:

a) the week may have begun on Friday, with Shabbat on Thursday, a logical positioning that coincides with the principal deity in all other cults

b) it is highly unlikely to have begun on Sunday until the post-exilic reformation.

What Zechariah 4:10 actually says is, that the seven deities of the seven lamps of the Menorah are "the eyes of YHVH that run to and from through the universe." The central stem runs into the fourth day, which is the day of the creation of the heavenly bodies, sacred to Nabu, inventor of astronomy, who becomes the Hebrew Nevi, Prophet, Interpreter of the Heavens. It is in this capacity that the Hebrews refer to Adonay Tsevaot, the Lord god of Hosts; but Nov also means a high place, as in a hill-shrine (Nov of pre-Yerushalayim was destroyed by King Sha'ul in 1 Samuel 22 ff as part of his Set-pursuit of Tammuz-David into the Underworld). The connection of Nabu with Mercury reinforces the role of the Prophets as "messengers of God".

The monsters depicted on the Menorah are presumably those defeated with Tahamat, and it is interesting that they should have been depicted at all on so sacred an object as the Menorah, which held so central a place in the Temple. They are shown as:

Lower left panel: 2 dragons facing each other, probably the Fleeing Serpent and the Crooked Serpent.

Upper left and right: 2 fish-tailed creatures, presumably the great Dragons of Genesis 1:21.

Lower Centre: probably Rahab, whose moon-priestess was so important to the capture of Yericho (Jericho).

Lower Right: probably Tehom or Ephes.

Upper Centre: 2 winged creatures in the predominant panel beneath the central stem; presumably keruvim (cherubim), who are likewise represented on the Ark of the Covenant. (Represented? Surely not? But in fact the edict against representation is a Rabbinic interpretation of the commandment against the making of graven images, itself only added to the original Seven Commandments after the exile.)

It seems hardly necessary after all this to note that the seven archangels were also held to have had a day of the week in their demesne, for the archangels were the earliest means used by the Hebrews to transform this polytheism into the cult of the One god. The angels were quite simply a lowering of the status of the gods, expelling them from the inner palace of Heaven. Hence the Christian mythology of the Fall of Lucifer.

Josephus' "Wars" (5:5) confirm this picture of the Menorah and its links to the gods (Josephus is not reliable about the history of his own time, which he wrote for the Roman Emperor after defecting from Jewish leadership to Rome; but he is generally very reliable when it comes to artefacts and details of the Hebrew cult).

In the Enuma Elish (see above) the order of Creation is: separation of Heaven from Earth and Sea; creation of planets and stars; creation of trees and herbs; creation of animals and fish; 5th and 6th tablets damaged; Marduk forms Man from the blood of Kingu, mixed with earth.

Blood in Hebrew is Dam (דם). The blood-red Earth of Edom (אדומ) is Adamah (אדמה). The first man, created from the earth, was Adam (אדם).

We can deduce that a second, parallel battle must have taken place on land, from the pairing of of Tohu (Chaos) with Bohu (Nothingness) in pre-Creation, and the pairing of sea-beasts (Tahamat) with land-beasts (Behemot) after the Creation. The serpent in this case being named Bahamat, and probably treated as a twin of Tahamat. Tohu (Chaos) and Bohu (nothingness) are present in Genesis 1:2; Tehom becomes the deep, so we can deduce Baham for the land. And indeed Behemot (בהמות) is the later name for cattle, and is used in this story; Job 40:15 however makes it a great monster, which translators usually render as the hippopotamus.

In the Genesis 1 version of Creation there is no mention of the god YHVH (יהוה), nor of a garden in Eden, nor of a snake, nor of a temptation to eat fruit, nor of a fall from grace. There are no sacred trees, no moral blandishments, no human banishments. Even the gods are absent, for in Hebrew theology all gods are One god, under the common name of Elohim, which is in fact multiply plural. In seven days the seven gods created the world, the order of Creation tallying with the order of the divine hierarchy (even if this does lead to the seeming absurdity of Light pre-existing the Sun and grass coming before stars). Though this myth may well have been brought back by the exiles from Babylon, it is also sufficiently ancient, and as we have seen sufficiently similar to other ancient myths, that it must almost certainly have been the nub of cosmogony among the Canaanite ethnoi for centuries; even, perhaps, in something closer to its original form. What appears in Genesis is the sanitised version, pagan elements plucked out, the whole bowing to Ezraic dogma. We cannot know at what point the fertility goddess and the world serpent were expunged, but as with the parable of the Garden of Eden version of Creation, there is no doubt that both were indeed expunged, driven out, and anathematised by the pharisaic Rabbis of literal Judaism; their sacred groves and cultic shrines guarded shut by "cherubs bearing flaming swords". There are sufficient stories in the patriarchal collection, and sufficient references, vilifications and attacks in the Prophetic collection, to suggest that the old pagan ways - and especially the worship of the moon-goddess and the cult of her ever-dying ever-reborn son and spouse who is at once the right-hand of the deity and the Lord of the Underworld - continued to be as prevalent amongst ordinary people as pagan Christmas is amongst Europeans today; and that the re-emergence of the Cult of the Risen Lord, through the issuing of the first Gospel in the 70s CE, was not entirely coincidental of the fact that Jewish hegemony, which suppressed the cult, had come to a sudden end in 70 CE.

In the Genesis 1 version of Creation Chava (Eve) is unnamed and human creatures unmentioned except in passing, in verse 26, where Adam stands for the species, not the individual; and not even the species Man, but the Promethean precursor and progenitor of Man, member of the aboriginal tribes of Nephilim and Anakim, the Hebrew Titans, the pre-human demi-gods who were the 'kinsmen' Marduk appointed to rule the Earth in his place. The myth exists, it should be added finally, not to explain the origins of the world to Man - which is how we tend to read it today - but that the gods might be exalted, and the workings of the heavenly court understood by all. The myth would have been recited, possibly even acted out by masked priests, as part of the New Year festivities - much as we [still, occasionally!] perform Nativity Plays today.

Finally, it is hardly possible to avoid registering the curiously logical pattern of evolution that appears to run through this story; quite remarkable in fact how close the ancient view was to the Darwinian, and how consistent with "Big Bang" (our modern equivalent of "Let there be light"). Beginning only with the elements in liquid form, substance comes from the sudden appearance of light, out of which the universe is born in an instant. An atmosphere (firmament) forms around the Earth and gradually Earth itself emerges with the continents separating from the seas. Life then issues from the earth in the form of plants. The Earth is now placed in the cosmos, galaxied with the sun and moon and stars. From the sea animal life next emerges, becoming birds beasts insects et cetera out of these first reptiles. And finally Humankind itself, the last act before the accomplishment of Creation. Perhaps it is the understanding of this that has allowed even the most religious Jews to take Darwin on the bearded chin.

רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים): The mysterious Wind or Spirit which the Christians would name the Holy Ghost, the tangible yet intangible, visible yet invisible, the beating pulse which is anthropomorphised as the deity. The wind is linked to the sun, as water is linked to the moon. In one Phoenician version of Creation, the primary chaos (Tehom) was acted upon by the wind, which became enamoured of its own elements. In another, Baou (a variant of Bohu) the female principle, is impregnated by the wind-god, who is her husband Kolpia (identified with the Greek Nix, Night, who in the Genesis version becomes Choshech (חֹשֶׁךְ), Darkness. According to Hesiod, Nix was the Mother of All Things, a now familiar epithet. The Hellenic Greeks identified Nix as Eurynome, who took the serpent Ophion for her lover.) In the Genesis account the Wind does not impregnate, but merely 'hovers' (merachephet - מְרַחֶפֶת); however, note that Deuteronomy 32:11 similarly describes the Ru'ach Elohim as "an eagle hovering over her young".

But which wind is it? Leviticus 1:11 places sacrifices, and quite specifically the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, at the north side of the altar, as at Athens - and remember Ezekiel 8:14, which finds the women weeping for the very paschal lamb that was sacrificed by Av-Raham in place of Yitschak! The Greeks named the north wind Boreas, and Pliny the Elder in his "Natural History", as well as Homer, suggest that mares often turn their hind-quarters to the north wind and breed foals without a stallion. In mating thus with Boreas, and in laying the World Egg, Eurynome was described as a dove; her Sumerian counterpart, Iahu, means "exalted dove"; and it was disguised as a dove that Marduk sliced Tahamat in two. The dove re-appears as a symbol of the mother goddess in the Jesus story.

In creating the seven planetary powers, Eurynome set a Titan and Titaness over each (Titan, like Adon and Ba'al, means "Lord") These were: Theia and Hyperion for the sun; Phoebe and Atlas for the moon; Dione and Crius for Mars; Metis and Coeus for Mercury; Themis and Eurymedon for Jupiter; Tethys and Oceanus for Venus; Rhea and Cronus for Saturn (Cronus the Titan is not the same as Chronos, the Father of Time). The Eurynome myths belong to an early Greek people named the Pelasgians. It is thought that these people migrated to Greece from Kena'an at about 3500 BCE. Euripides, Homer and others tell us that they later called themselves Danaans; (see "The Leprachauns of Palestine"), this is the Greek version of the tribe of Dan who also gave their name to Denmark and to the Tuatha de Danau, the original "leprachauns" of Ireland. Danaus arrived in Argos with 50 daughters, the classic college of priestesses.

The later Greeks identified the seven planets as Helios/illumination; Sele
ne (Moon)/enchantment; Ares (Mars)/Growth; Hermes (Mercury)/Wisdom; Zeus (Jupiter)/Law; Aphrodite (Venus)/Love; Cronus (Saturn)/Peace.

Beside the Horse's Tomb at Sparta, seven planetary pillars were set up, according to Pausanias, to be adorned by worshippers. On each day of the week oracles were delivered at the base of the pillar. Presumably the pillar which Ya'akov set up was a megalithic stone (baetyl or Beit-El) of similar type.

According to the Orphics, Nix (Night) was black-winged. Zeus was terrified of her, and the creature hatched from the World Egg which the Wind seeded was not Eros but Phanes, who the Oracle of Colophon named Iao. Eros had golden wings, was both male and female, and had a different head for each season: a ram in the spring, a lion in the summer, a snake in the winter and a bull at the New Year in autumn. The river that went out of Eden in Genesis 2:10 is also said to have had four heads; we will see later that they are the same foursome. Nix lived with Eros in a cave, guarded by the Great Mother Rhea, wife of Cronus, the Greek Saturn. In Greek mythology Cronus was overthrown by his son Zeus, who then became chief of the gods. Can we, identifying Iao with YHVH, and noting he was the equivalent son of Cronus, therefore presume that the Hebrew god likewise overthrew his father, claimed Saturday for his day, Saturn for his planet, and Rhea-Eve for his wife? Saturn’s attribute was peace, and the Temple of YHVH was set up in the City of Peace, Yerushalayim - Uru-Sala'am (ערו שלם).

Copyright © 2015, 2016 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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