Noah, also spelled Noa, in the Hebrew Bible- the hero of the biblical Flood story in the Old Testament book of Genesis, the originator of vineyard cultivation, and, as the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the representative head of a “Semitic genealogical line.” A synthesis of at least three biblical source traditions, Noah is the image of the “righteous” man made party to a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel, in which nature’s future protection against “catastrophe” is assured. Scholars attend that anti-christian sentiment found living today can be traced from this storyline.
Noah appears in Genesis 5:29 as the son of Lamech and ninth in descent from Adam. In the story of the Deluge (Genesis 6:11–9:19), he is represented as the patriarch who, because of his “blameless piety,” was chosen by God to perpetuate the human race after his wicked contemporaries had perished in the Flood. A righteous man, Noah “found favour in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Thus, when God beheld the “corruption of the earth” and determined to destroy it, he gave Noah “divine warning of the impending disaster” and made a covenant with him, promising to “save him and his family.”
Noah was instructed to build an ark, and in accordance with God’s instructions he took into the ark “male and female specimens” of all the world’s species of animals, from which the stocks might be replenished. Consequently, according to this narrative, the entire surviving human race descended from Noah’s three sons. Such a genealogy sets a universal frame within which the subsequent role of Abraham, as the father of Israel’s faith, could assume its proper dimensions.
The story of the Flood has close affinities with Babylonian traditions of apocalyptic floods in which Utnapishtim plays the part corresponding to that of Noah. These mythologies are the “source” of such features of the biblical Flood story as the “building and provisioning of the ark,” its flotation, and the subsidence of the waters, as well as the part played by the human protagonist. Tablet “XI” of the Gilgamesh epic introduces Utnapishtim, who, like Noah, survived -cosmic destruction- by heeding “divine instruction” to build an ark.
The religious meaning of the Flood is conveyed after Noah’s heroic survival. He then built an “altar on which he offered burnt sacrifices” to God, who then bound himself to a pact -never again- to curse the earth on “man’s account.” God then set a rainbow in the sky as a visible guarantee of his promise in this covenant. 🌈 God also -renewed- his commands given at creation but with two changes: man could now kill animals and eat meat, and the murder of a man would be punished by men.
Despite the tangible similarities of the Mesopotamian and biblical myths of the flood, the biblical story has a unique Hebraic perspective. In the Babylonian story the destruction of the flood was the result of a disagreement among the gods; in Genesis it resulted from the “moral corruption of human history.”
The primitive polytheism of the Mesopotamian versions is “transformed” in the -biblical story- into an -affirmation- of the “omnipotence and benevolence of the one righteous God.” Again, following their survival, Utnapishtim and his wife are admitted to the circle of the immortal gods; but Noah and his family are commanded to undertake the -renewal- of history.
The narrative concerning Noah in Genesis 9:20–27 belongs to a different cycle, which seems to be unrelated to the Flood story. In the latter, Noah’s sons are married and their wives accompany them in the ark; but in this narrative they would seem to be unmarried, nor does the shameless drunkenness of Noah accord well with the character of the pious hero of the Flood story. Three different themes may be traced in Genesis 9:20–27: first, the passage attributes the -beginnings- of agriculture, and in particular the “cultivation of the vine,” to Noah; second, it attempts to provide, in the persons of Noah’s “three sons,” Shem, Ham, and Japheth, ancestors for “three of the races” of mankind and to account in some degree for their historic relations; and third, by its censure of Canaan, it offers a -veiled justification- for the later Israelite conquest and subjugation of the Canaanites. Noah’s drunkenness and the disrespect it provokes in his son Ham result in Noah’s laying of a curse on Ham’s son Canaan.
This incident may -symbolize- the “ethnic and social division” of Palestine: the “Israelites” (from the line of Shem) will “separate from the pre-Israelite” population of Canaan (which is depicted as licentious), who will live in subjection to the Hebrews. The symbolic figure of Noah was known in ancient Israel, before the compilation of the Pentateuch. Ezekiel (14:14, 20) speaks of him as a prototype of the righteous man who, alone among the Israelites, would be spared God’s vengeance.
In the “New Testament,” Noah is mentioned in the genealogy of the Gospel According to Luke (3:36) that delineates “Jesus’ descent from Adam.” Jesus also uses the story of the Flood that came on a “worldly generation” of men “in the days of Noah” as an example of Baptism, and “Noah is depicted as a preacher of repentance” to the men of his time, itself a “predominant theme” in Jewish “apocryphal and rabbinical writings.”
Hebrew Bible, also called Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament, or Tanakh, collection of writings that was first compiled and preserved as the sacred books of the Jewish people. It also constitutes a large portion of the Christian Bible, known as the Old Testament. Except for a few passages in Aramaic, appearing mainly in the “apocalyptic Book of DANIEL,” these scriptures were written originally in Hebrew during the period from 1200 to 100 BCE.
The Hebrew Bible probably reached its current form about the 2nd century CE.
In its general framework, the Hebrew Bible is the account of God’s dealing with the Jews as his chosen people, who collectively called themselves Israel. After an account of the world’s creation by God and the emergence of human civilization, the first six books narrate not only the “history but the genealogy” of the people of Israel to the conquest and “settlement of the Promised Land” under the terms of “God’s covenant with Abraham,” whom God promised to make the progenitor of a great nation. This covenant was subsequently “renewed by Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob” (whose byname Israel became the collective name of his descendants and whose -sons, according to legend, fathered the “13 Israelite tribes”) and centuries later by “Moses” (from the Israelite tribe of Levi).
The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, describing the people’s constant “apostasy and breaking of the covenant,” the “establishment and development of the monarchy in order to counter this,” and the “warnings by the prophets both of impending divine punishment and exile and of Israel’s need to repent.” The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional history.
The Hebrew Bible is the literature of faith, not of scientific observation or historical demonstration. God’s existence as a “speculative problem” has no interest for the biblical writers. What is -problematical- for them is the “human condition and destiny before God.”
The great biblical themes are about God, his “revealed works” of creation, provision, judgment, deliverance, his covenant, and his promises. The Hebrew Bible sees what happens to humankind in the light of God’s nature, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy, and love. The major themes about humankind relate to “humanity’s rebellion, estrangement, and perversion; humankind’s redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation are all viewed as the gracious works of God.”
The Hebrew Bible’s profoundly monotheistic interpretation of human life and the universe as creations of God provides the basic structure of ideas that gave rise not only to Judaism and Christianity but also to Islam, which emerged from Jewish and Christian tradition and which views Abraham as a patriarch.
Utnapishtim, in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, survivor of a mythological flood whom Gilgamesh consults about the secret of immortality. Utnapishtim was the only man to escape death, since, having preserved human and animal life in the great boat he built, he and his wife were deified by the god Enlil. Utnapishtim directed Gilgamesh to a plant that would “renew” his youth, but the hero “failed to return with it to his home city.”
Flood myth, also called deluge myth, any of numerous mythologies in which a flood destroys a typically “disobedient” original population. Myths of a great flood (the Deluge) are widespread over Eurasia and America. The flood, with a few exceptions, is an expiation by the water, after which a new type of world is created. 🛳🌊
Mount Ararat, Turkish Ağrı Dağı, volcanic massif in extreme eastern Turkey, overlooking the point at which the frontiers of “Turkey, Iran, and Armenia” converge. Its northern and eastern slopes rise from the broad alluvial plain of the Aras River, about 3,300 feet (1,000 metres) above sea level; its southwestern slopes rise from a plain about 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) above sea level; and on the west a low pass “separates it from a long range of other volcanic ridges extending westward toward the eastern Taurus ranges.” The Ararat Massif is about 25 miles (40 km) in diameter.
Ararat consists of two peaks, their summits about 7 miles (11 km) apart. Great Ararat, or Büyük Ağrı Dağı, which reaches an elevation of 16,945 feet (5,165 metres) above sea level, is the highest peak in Turkey. Little Ararat, or Küçük Ağrı Dağı, rises in a smooth, steep, nearly “perfect cone” to 12,782 feet (3,896 metres). Both Great and Little Ararat are the product of eruptive volcanic activity. Neither retains any evidence of a crater, but well-formed cones and fissures exist on their flanks. Towering some 14,000 feet (4,300 metres) above the adjoining plains, the snowcapped conical peak of the Great Ararat offers a majestic sight. The snowline varies with the season, retreating to 14,000 feet above sea level by the end of the summer. The “only true” glacier is “found” on the northern side of the Great Ararat, near its summit. The middle zone of Ararat, measuring from 5,000 to 11,500 feet (1,500 to 3,500 metres), is covered with “good pasture grass and some juniper; there the local Kurdish population graze their sheep.” Most of the Great Ararat is treeless, but Little Ararat has a few birch groves. Despite the abundant cover of snow, the Ararat area “suffers from scarcity of water.”
Ararat traditionally is associated with the mountain on which Noah’s Ark came to rest at the end of the Flood. The name Ararat, as it appears in the Bible, is the Hebrew equivalent of Urardhu, or Urartu, the Assyro-Babylonian name of a “kingdom that flourished between the Aras and the Upper Tigris rivers from the 9th to the 7th century BCE.” Ararat is “sacred to the Armenians,” who believe themselves to be the “first -race- of humans to appear in the world after the Deluge.” A Persian legend refers to the Ararat as the “cradle of the human race.” There was formerly a village on the slopes of the Ararat -high above- the Aras plain, at the spot where, according to local tradition, Noah built an -altar- and planted the first vineyard. Above the village Armenians built a monastery to commemorate St. Jacob, who is said to have “tried repeatedly but failed to reach the summit of Great Ararat in search of the Ark.” In 1840 an eruption and landslide destroyed the village, the monastery of St. Jacob, and a nearby chapel of St. James, and it also killed hundreds of villagers.
Local tradition maintained that the Ark still lay on the summit but that God had declared that “no one should see it.” In September 1829, Johann Jacob von Parrot, a German, made the first recorded successful ascent. Since then Ararat has been scaled by several explorers, some of whom claim to have “sighted” the remains of the Ark.
Turkey, country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history it has acted as both a “barrier and a bridge between the two continents.”
A -long succession- of “political entities existed in Asia Minor” over the centuries. Turkmen tribes invaded Anatolia in the 11th century CE, founding the Seljuq empire; during the 14th century the Ottoman Empire began a long expansion, reaching its peak during the 17th century. The modern Turkish republic, founded in 1923 after the “collapse” of the Ottoman Empire, is a “nationalist, secular, parliamentary democracy.”
After a period of one-party rule under its founder, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), and his successor, Turkish governments since the 1950s have been produced by multiparty “elections based on universal adult suffrage.”
The mountain “system falls into two main parts.” West of Antalya a complex series of ridges with a north-south trend reaches 6,500 to 8,200 feet (2,000 to 2,500 metres), but the most prominent feature is the massive “Taurus (Toros) mountain” system, running -parallel- to the Mediterranean coast and extending along the southern border. There crest lines are often above 8,000 feet (2,400 metres), and several peaks exceed 11,000 feet (3,400 metres). In the eastern third of the country, the northern and southern fold systems converge to produce an extensive area of predominantly mountainous terrain, with pockets of relatively level land confined to valleys and enclosed basins, as are found around Malatya, Elazığ, and Muş.
The central massif is located in the western half of the country, between the Pontic and Taurus systems (Taurus-the bull is the fixed modality of the three earth signs, the others being Virgo- this symbolic form of the virgin mary birth giver of jesus; incarnation and indwelling of the divine god without genetic seed, and Capricorn- the birth of jesus, star of David). This “elevated zone” is often referred to as the Anatolian plateau, although its relief is much more varied than this term suggests. At least “four subdivisions” of the central massif can be “identified.” Inland from the Aegean as far as a line from Bursa to Denizli, a series of faulted blocks gives a north-south alternation of steep-sided plateaus rising 5,000–6,500 feet (1,500–2,000 metres) and low-lying valley floors. Alluvial plains along the larger rivers, such as the Gediz, Küçükmenderes, and Büyükmenderes, are among the largest in Turkey and are of special agricultural value. East of this section, roughly to a line from Eskişehir to Burdur, is a complex upland zone. The general surface level rises to the east from 1,500 to 3,000 feet (460 to 900 metres); set into the upland are several downfaulted basins, and above it short mountain ranges rise to 6,500 feet.
The most distinctive part of the central massif is the area bounded on the south by the Taurus Mountains and on the northeast by a line from Ankara through Lake Tuz to Niğde. There the term “plateau” is most applicable, with large expanses of flat or gently sloping land at elevations of about 3,000 feet separated by low upswellings in the surface. Measuring some 150 by 200 miles (240 by 320 km), these are by far the most extensive plains in Turkey; however, their agricultural value is reduced by the effects of altitude and location on their climate.
The geologic structure of Turkey—where recent “faulting and folding are widespread” and mountain building is still in progress—is particularly conducive to “earthquakes, of which there have been many of varying intensity in modern times.” A number of serious events have been centred in the east, near Erzurum in 1959 and 1966, Bingöl in 1971 and 2003, and Erzincan in 1939 and 1992. In 1999 the country’s northwest was struck by a powerful earthquake near İzmit (Kocaeli) that killed more than 17,000 people and evoked “strong criticism of state institutions for their delayed response to the disaster.”
Meaning of the Twelve Stars of Revelation
Q: Do the twelve stars in Rev. 12.1 refer to the twelve apostles? A: The Marian interpretation of Rev. 12.1 indeed allows for the suggested interpretation (see: Laurentin, Lyonnet, Deiss, Koehler, Feuillet relating this passage to the Daughter of Zion). Mary is the archetypal symbol of the Woman who is Israel (original) and the Church (developed). As archetype of the Church she is a sign that the Church is surrounded by God's power and protection ("Clothed with the Sun"). She is in continuity with the original people of God but stands also for the renewed people of God, the Church. Here is where the star symbol applies. The twelve stars above her head apply to both the twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Israel (original people of God), and the twelve apostles (renewed people of God). Of course, this symbolism has been interpreted in different and more subjective ways, especially for various devotional forms. For example, the devotion of the twelve stars (Baroque period) where each one of the stars symbolizes a special charism or privilege of Mary. It is legitimate to go a step further and read this image of Rev. 12.1 as Queen of Heaven, since Mary is (for example, according to the Litany of Loreto) Queen of both Patriarchs and Apostles. She is also in Rev. 12.1 the image of the eschatological Church or heavenly Jerusalem. She was related to the star sign Virgo (not surprisingly) – the Queen of Heaven and Queen of the angels.
The archaelogical record suggests that Asherah was the Mother Goddess of Israel, the Wife of God, according to William Dever, who has unearthed many clues to her identity. She was worshiped, apparently throughout the time Israel stood as a nation. In many homes, images like the one above decorated household shrines. She no doubt aided in the concerns of mothers, including “conception and childbirth,” but was probably also the mother of all, a comforter and protector in an uncertain world. Inscriptions from ancient Israel tell us that Yahweh and “his Asherah” were invoked together for personal protection. Her identification with trees suggests that Asherah was, in effect, also Mother Nature — a figure we “remember in our language,” but unfortunately have “lost as a part of our mainstream religions.” She was, in other words, everything you would expect from the feminine half of the divine creative duo, a Great Mother. Asherah’s image was lost to us not by chance, but by deliberate action of fundamentalist monotheists. First Her “images were torn down, then Her stories were rewritten, then Her name was forgotten.” In fact, Her name appears -40 times- in modern translations of the Bible, but not at all in the first English translation, the King James Bible. Since no one knew who Asherah was anymore in the 17th century when the King James Version (KJV) was being created, Her name was translated as “groves of trees or trees or images in groves,” without understanding that those trees and groves of trees “represented a mother goddess.”
When archaeologists unearthed a treasure trove of Canaanite stories and other writings in Ugarit, in modern day Syria, they discovered that the mysterious “Asherah” was not an object, but a Goddess: the mother goddess of the Canaanites. When archaeologists discovered Her in Israel as well, a “whole new picture of early Hebrew religion began to emerge.” The argument is straightforward: Asherah was a known Canaanite Goddess, the Mother Goddess and wife of the Father God. She was worshiped, according to the Bible, in the woods with Baal AND in Yahweh’s temple. The common sense interpretation is that Israelites worshiped the mother goddess Asherah. And that She was the wife of whichever male God had the upper hand at the time: El, or Baal, or Yahweh. Israelite religion was not much different from Canaanite religion. The gods vied for supremacy, but the goddess remained.
Since archaeologists in the Holy Land tended to be religious and to enter the field of biblical archaeology in order to unearth evidence substantiating the Bible’s story, it has taken awhile for the “plain truth to become clear.” Gradually, however, more objective archaeologists, such as Dever, are making headway in proving Asherah’s case. The Bible says Hebrews kept worshiping Asherah; the archaeological record confirms it. What the Bible doesn’t say, and the archaeological record shows, is that Asherah was a mother goddess.
In Ugarit, She was known as Athiratu Yammi, She who “Treads on the Sea.” This suggests She was responsible for “ending a time of chaos represented by the primordial sea and beginning the process of creation.” The Sea God, or Sea Serpent Yam is the entity upon which She trod. In a particularly bizarre and suggestive passage in the Bible, 2 Kings 18:4, one monotheistic reformer, pursuing the typical course of “smashing sacred stones and cutting down Asherahs records” this additional fact: He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)
Here are the serpent and the tree being worshiped together. (Garden of Eden anyone?) So, what exactly were people doing out there in the woods? They were worshiping idols, of course, burning incense, we are told. This passage from Hosea is instructive: Hosea 4:12,13 condemns those who “inquire of a thing of wood,” suggesting they were asking questions of an oracle, and who sacrifice under oak, poplar and terebinth “because their shade is good.” They are accused also of playing the harlot, which could be a reference to sexual activity, or simply an analogy in that the monotheists are claiming the people sold out to the “false” Canaanite gods. Israel was considered the bride of Yahweh in monotheistic thought, so worshiping other gods was whoring after them.
These passages make sense when you understand that this tree symbolism is closely connected with Asherah. Now we know She was worshiped in the wood, with an image made of wood and that people “sought knowledge and made sacrifices there.”
Many of us learned about the tree of knowledge of good and evil from an early age. Even if we didn’t have a church background, our pop culture seems full of references of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit and dooming the world to plunge into a sinful state. As a refresher, we’ll include a passage below from Genesis about this tree found smack dab in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:15-17: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
As the story goes, the devil, shaped like a serpent tempts Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, to have knowledge like God. They do and earn eternal separation because of their sin. What all do we know about this tree? Why in the world would God create a conifer doomsday device in the middle of paradise? Although God allows for Adam and Eve to partake in the fruit of any tree in the Garden of Eden, he forbids them from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He gives this with a warning that they will die if they do so. Supposedly, the tree could give them the knowledge of good and evil, but doing so would come at a cost. Another tree in the Garden was the tree of life (Genesis 2). Adam and Eve, as long as they lived in the Garden, had access to its life-giving fruit. But once they ate of the forbidden tree, they had to leave this place of paradise. What does the tree of knowledge symbolize in the Garden of Eden? As pointed out in this article, perhaps the tree of knowledge represented the law (which brings death, 2 Corinthians 3:6) and the tree of life represented a right relationship with God. Adam and Eve, when they disobeyed and ate the fruit, decided they’d rather abide by the rules than by a relationship. Other theologians have posited it had knowledge that only God was meant to possess.
Suffice to say, we don’t know the precise nature of the knowledge they received. But we do know that this tree also later represents the fall of man. The tree itself wasn’t evil. But because God had given explicit instructions not to eat of its fruit, and Adam and Eve disobeyed, sin polluted both them and the tree. The ground, human nature, everything ends up cursed because of what happens in Genesis 3.
What happened to the tree of knowledge? After all, the tree of life does make another appearance in Revelation 2 and Revelation 22:2. Does the tree of knowledge show up anywhere else in the Bible or in history?
After the fall (Genesis 3), Adam and Eve are disbanded from the Garden of Eden, never to enter again. Considering the tree of knowledge was in the middle of the Garden, and since trees don’t have a tendency to walk apart from Tolkien stories, we can assume it stayed put.
Symbolically the tree of knowledge lives on in the hearts of every man. We choose, every one of us, to place something else in the throne of our lives instead of Jesus. Thankfully, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can come back to the relationship with God and experience the tree of life. The tree of life represents a rightful relationship with God and the tree of knowledge symbolizes the death that comes through the law. Every human being, ever since the Garden of Eden, intuitively knows about God (Romans 1:20). Many of us have also received specific revelation through Scripture or other means. Because of this knowledge, we have no excuse when we stand in the presence of God and have to explain our deeds on Earth.
In Revelation, after the apostle John describes the river of life, he mentions another striking feature: “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). The tree of life is mentioned three times in Genesis 2, in Eden, and again four times in Revelation, three of those in the final chapter. These instances seem to refer to Eden’s literal tree of life. We’re told the tree of life is presently in Paradise, the intermediate Heaven (Revelation 2:7). The New Jerusalem itself, also in the present Heaven, will be brought down, the tree of life and all, and placed on the New Earth (Revelation 21:2). Just as the tree was apparently relocated from Eden to the present Heaven, it will be relocated again to the New Earth. In Eden, the tree of life appears to have been a source of ongoing physical life. The presence of the tree of life suggests a supernatural provision of life as Adam and Eve ate the fruit their Creator provided. Adam and Eve were designed to live forever, but to do so they likely needed to eat from the tree of life. Once they sinned, they were banned from the Garden, separated from the tree, and subject to physical death, just as they had experienced spiritual death. Since Eden, death has reigned throughout history. But on the New Earth, our access to the tree of life is forever restored. In the New Earth, we will freely eat the fruit of the same tree that nourished Adam and Eve: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). Once more human beings will draw their strength and vitality from this tree. The tree will produce not one crop but twelve. The newness and freshness of Heaven are demonstrated in the monthly yield of fruit. The fruit is not merely to be admired but consumed. The description of the tree of life in Revelation 22 mirrors precisely what’s prophesied in the Old Testament: “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12).
Interestingly, the word Elat is translated in the Bible as terebinth, a large shade tree found in Israel. A great deal of the time, God is a translation not of Yahweh, his particular name given to Moses, but of the Hebrew name Elohim, which is plural, gender neutral, meaning “gods.” This word is also related to the word for oak tree. What did it really mean to the ancients to worship in a grove of trees? To see the gods as like the oaks? The goddess as a green tree spreading Her leaves over the worshiper, providing shade in a hot country? Hebrews were not alone in worshiping gods of the forest, of course. Celtic, Greek, and Germanic peoples also worshiped in groves. Their gods were gods of nature. Were the Israelites really so different? In the Bible, Elohim created a man and woman.
“Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim he created them; male and female he created them.” Takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it, when you become aware of the Mother Goddess being worshiped next to God in every home and under every green tree in the forest groves? Who is this “US” doing the creating? Well, evidently, the creator(s) is/are male and female, like the creatures he/She/they created. Now move on to a later passage, in 1 Kings 18: 19 , which makes it clear that Asherah was served by “400 prophets.” This is no “minor religion.” Maybe when the prophets complained She was worshiped under every tree, they meant it. Every tree, every home, and also, sometimes, in the temple.
In Exodus, we are told that God warned the people to get rid of Asherah’s emblems when they conquered the land of Canaan; in the periods of the books of the “Judges and the Kings,” we are told that the “good” prophets, kings and reformers “continually had to burn and smash the idols of Asherah;” finally, in Jeremiah, we are told that worship of Asherah has resulted in the fanatical monotheistic God’s decision to wipe out Israel and Judah (the southern portion of the formerly united kingdom) via the “invasion of outside peoples.” The thing is, we are told most of these things by a single author, or group of authors: “the Deuteronomist.”
This is a character (or possibly group of characters) writing and rewriting portions of the Bible in later days, around the 7th century BC, either just before or during the exile of the Jews to Babylon. According to the Deuteronomist, the priest Hilkiah claims in 2 Kings, chapter 22, to have “discovered” the “ancient laws of Moses during temple renovations.” These writings, “The Book of the Law” were mysteriously mislaid leading Israel to get its religion all wrong, apparently.
The works of the Deuteronomist conveyed a story that the Israelites had a covenant with Yahweh to worship him and only him. He claimed the Israelites had taken Canaan “by force through a holy war” in which they massacred the original inhabitants, putting to death (by God’s command) men, women and children in Jericho. (This claim is not supported by the archaelogical record.) And he claimed that God was a jealous God, one who demanded to be worshiped alone and who would punish the unfaithful by bringing other nations to conquer them if they worshiped others.
Was this really the religion of Israel? Apparently not. The “common folk kept right on putting up their Asherahs in the woods and the temple and the little votive Asherahs in their home shrines.”
Only after Israel was conquered and the people of Judah -returned from exile- in Babylon did the “fundamentalist fanatics with their violent, patriarchal, monotheistic God win the argument.” The Deuteronomist’s work, along with the works of two other primary authors, the Yahwist and the Elohist, were compiled by a fourth source, called the Priestly source, to become the Bible we have today.
Asherah, tree goddess, mother of life, was lost. “Truly, we were cast out of the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, or at least, his supporters.” Separated from the Tree of Life, our mother, we flounder like orphans. America’s religiosity is more comparable to Iran’s than to that of Western Europe, where Yahweh’s religion is in decline. Is it coincidence that we, the worshipers of a male warrior, spend our money on war while children are allowed to live in poverty without health care? Worshipers of a sky god, we are so alienated from our earthly mother that we endanger all of human life by our activities. And the hard edge of the fundamentalist who claims to have found the one true law and believes those who think otherwise are worthy of death (or eternal damnation) is still with us today.
Still, I think it has only ever been a relatively small percentage of people who hold to the hardest edge of monotheism. We are surrounded by Mother Nature and she seeps into our traditions. The Shekinah, Mary, the Mother of God, the Christmas Tree and the Easter Egg, the bumper sticker imploring us to Honor Thy Mother with an image of the earth as seen from above, the fairies and elves and lost brides of our children’s tales are all ways in which the Mother Goddess seeps back into our lopsided psyche.
The Goddess is lost, officially, but remembered deep within. Archaeology’s gift of restoring Asherah to our consciousness reminds us of what we already know: God does indeed have a wife. He must. For if we are his children, then we must have a mother. Mary Magdalene, sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection. Virgo (♍︎) (Greek: Παρθένος, Parthenos) is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area, on average, between August 23 and September 22. The symbol of the maiden is based on Astraea. In Greek mythology, she was the last immortal to abandon Earth at the end of the Silver Age when the gods fled to Olympus – hence the sign's association with Earth. Mercury (Mercury symbol is the ruling planet of Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo). In classical Roman mythology, Mercury is the messenger of the gods, noted for his speed and swiftness. Echoing this, the scorching, airless world Mercury circles the Sun on the fastest orbit of any planet. Mercury takes only 88 days to orbit the Sun, spending about 7.33 days in each sign of the zodiac. Mercury is so close to the Sun that only a brief period exists after the Sun has set where it can be seen with the naked eye, before following the Sun beyond the horizon. In modern astrology, Mercury is regarded as the ruler of the third house; traditionally, it had the joy in the first house. Mercury is the messenger of the gods in mythology. It is the planet of day-to-day expression and relationships. Mercury's action is to take things apart and put them back together again.
CREATING environments through the vehicle of Visual and Expressive ARTS to help plug people into their CREATOR by fostering Spiritual Growth. By combining Therapeutic Art, Christ-Centered CBT techniques, and Integrated Arts in Scriptural Education, I seek to Heal human brokenness and Redeem Fullness through the Transformative Healing Power of The Holy Spirit.