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Canaanites Gods and Goddess: Yam

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He was the Canaanite god of the sea-Ocean and all rivers, here we have a god who equates to both being a god of the earthly seas and rivers and also the sea of Heaven, or chaos, that which existed before creation began, which the Egyptians call Nun, but he also, is considered to have some relationship the biblical Leviathan, and also to be one of the Elohim, sons of El, and to the Mesopotamian god Taimat. It would also thus seem to me that he bears some relationship to the Serpent who the Greek goddess Eurynome mated with and laid the cosmic egg, thus we must take a more in-depth look at his story and others, to find out the hidden mystery behind his existence.

The beginning

It is alluded to in prophecy, that to know the future you must know the past, and yet it would seem to truly know, or understand the past is as difficult as to know the future, even though the past is documented, by words, objects and buildings, it seems harder to make sense of it than the unproven and undocumented future. And yet again, that may not be true for the Old Testament is full of predictions of the future, and the works of Nostradamus also. And so even as God the creator may have always been, and will be forever, what he created began and will end. And in the ancient myths we find mankind trying to explain this, the theory of the ‘Big Bang’ is not new, that is most obvious from the Egyptian myths of creation, let alone the biblical account, and it was known to the Greeks, but long before them, the Babylonians, Sumerians, the Canaanites, so often called Philistines, and to all religions that existed from the very first days that mankind looked up into the heavens and saw Chronos, the clock of time.

Setting the scene

And the Egyptians state, that before creation there was the Word, and beside the word was an empty void, that they called Nun, for nothing was in her, they described her as a barren ocean, that was as deep as high, as short as long, no boundaries enclosed her, there were no shores for her waves to flounder on, no bottom, no sky or heaven to hold her in her place, no trace of life existed within her deep relentless blackness, not even chaos existed.

The gift of the creator

But nevertheless, she was betrothed to the Word, and the Word belonged to he who was and would ever be, the Creator. Now, who could tell, or imagine when the Creator would decide to create? Thus, they decided that this void was a woman, and worse still that she was betrothed to the Creator; how foolish a man can there be than one, who hoping to delay marriage puts an engagement-betrothal ring on a woman’s finger. For some time, she contented herself with hopes and the making of plans, but as time passed and no progress appeared to be made, her frustration grew, for the Creator had not bestowed any gifts or blessings upon her, she was born of instinct not wisdom, thus, then till this day, she never knew or heard the word, patience. Soon she began to remind of his promise to her, at first once a month, then once a week, then once a day, then all day and every day, till finally he could take no more, and the Word came forth with a mighty roar, and the biggest bang in history occurred, and he filled her, and the barren Nun became the fertile Nut and she conceived and creation began.

The Greek story

The Greeks went through many changes as they developed, being both influenced and influencing the customs and religious belief of those nations and tribes around them and those they came into contact with as they colonized other parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, mother earth, moon, horse, cults and many more came and went or intermingled, but gradually the sun cults came to the forefront, such changes occurred in all beliefs, all over the known world. The gods of the old world were defeated and replaced by new ones, as Zeus replaced Cronos, and the Roman Jupiter replaced Zeus, as the Greek sea god Oceanus begat Nereus, and both were replaced by Poseidon, and Poseidon by the Roman Neptune, and thus, there are several Greek myths concerning Creation, just as there are two version in the Old Testament, the one that concerns us most of all at this stage begins from chaos.

Chaos to creation

In the blackness of the void only chaos was there, when without warning or known reason Eurynome rose naked from the darkness, but there was nowhere for her to stand so she separated the sea from the sky, and being alone she started to dance upon the water, and the waves stirred the air and she danced towards the south, as she moved and the air swirled around and behind her, the North Wind arose. Something new she thought, something to begin creation with and she turned around swiftly and caught the North Wind in her hands and rubbed it between them. Suddenly the great Serpent Ophion appeared above her and watched, the North wind was cold and Eurynome danced faster and faster, to keep warm, and Ophion became aroused as he could not restrain himself any long and coiled himself around her beautiful body and coupled with her and aided by the fertilizing North Wind Eurynome conceived. She then turned herself into a dove and brooded above the waves until at last she laid the Universal Egg. At her command the serpent Ophion wrapped his coils around the egg seven times and remined there till soon enough the egg cracked in two and all the things of creation came forth, the Sun, Moon and the Stars, the earth and planets, mountains rose, seas formed, trees and plants and every kind of living creature came forth.

Then Eurynome and Ophion retired to Mount Olympus and set up home; but once there Ophion made her angry by continually claiming he was the father of the Universe, soon enough like a spooked mare she bruised his head with her heel, then she kicked out his teeth, and banished him to the dark caverns beneath the earth.  

Canaanite connections

Among the Canaanite the goddess Atharit, she who treads on the sea, and is also titled, the Creator of the gods, and who is the consort of El, is without doubt the equivalent of the Greek Eurynome. Now they called the sea god Yam, who is also referred to as a serpent and a god of the primal chaos, therefore there is a connection to the Greek serpent Ophion, both have their domains in the abyss or caverns below the earth, and Yam like Ophion was kicked out of the Mountain and home of the gods, called Sappan and Olympus respectively, and if we consider the circumstances around the Old Testament Eve, we have a similar occurrence, for she to is seduced by, albeit by words by the serpent, and he is punished by being thrown out of heaven and thrown down to the ground, and turned presumably from a toothed serpent to a toothless snake. In astrological terms the serpent in question, is Ophiuchus vel Serpentarius, (Ophiochos, in Greek). There is some confusion amongst the various authors, who associate the Canaanite seven headed dragon, come serpent, Lotan with Yam, but this a mistake, Lotan is called the Hydra in the labours of Herakles, and is not the same as Yam. There has also some suggestion that he is associated with the Biblical Leviathan, this too is erroneous for Leviathan is said to abode in the highest heavens, that will be cast down in the End of Days, when a third of the stars will cast down from the heavens, we call this serpent Draco. There has been a tendency amongst the authors whenever they find an ancient deity fighting a seven-headed serpent to link them to Yam, including the Sumerian god Ninurta, but as with others Ninurta is monster slayer in general and is just an earlier personification of Herakles (the Roman Hercules).


Thus, according to the myth Yam has his head crushed and cast out of the heavens and dwell in the sea, and becomes father of the sea and river like the Greek sea and river gods Oceanus, then Poseidon, and rules over storms and winds. But that is not the end of Yams story, for new gods are on the horizon.

Old verses new

Before the arrival of Ba’al Hadad, the old gods reigned supreme, El was the god most high, his son Yam, the cosmic ocean of chaos, was now the god of seas and rivers, he commanded the winds and in his rage created storms, he was the supreme judge, bringing storms and sudden torrents upon those judged unworthy, but the Canaanites had become farmers, they turned away from El, and shunned Yam, and made Hadad their greatest deity, and El informed Yam that he must defeat Ba’al, drive him from his throne, or they would all have to bow before Hadad. And a great war arose in the heavens, at first Yam held his ground firmly, and Hadad seemed wounded, but Hadad had not come alone, he ordered his great smithy, Kothar-wa-Kasis (equal to the Greek Hephaestus) to help him, and Kothar hit Yam with two great magical clubs he had made, Yam collapsed and Hadad finished him off. Athtart the queen of heaven proclaimed his victory, and call him the ‘Rider of the clouds’ which we still recall today via Jim Morrison, ‘Riders on the Storm’. The victory complete and Yams body now shattered into pieces, Athtart urges Hadad to scatter it far and wide, which he does, and he announces that Yam is dead, and will be no more, and that heat is assured. Likewise, the Egyptian storm god Seth had dismembered the body of Osiris and scattered it into the Nile, hoping the river would carry it to the sea and scatter it further.


The only problem was that the followers of Hadad, did not want constant heat, without water nothing would grow, and now it seemed Yam was dead, and the storm god had tired of war, who now would water the fields, what cost would there be upon them for neglecting and destroying the very gods who had created them?  But Yam like his replacement Ba’al Hadad, could not be held by death, both would arise again, but that is another story.