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Canaanites Gods and Goddess: Anat

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Anat-Anath was a moon goddess of strife and war, and supposed lover of Ba’al Hadad, and never happier than she was knee deep in the blood of El’s enemies, indeed the accounts of her make her seem very similar to the Egyptian goddess Hathor, and thus the Roman Diana, the Greek Athena. However, the is something she is given to have said that may give an insight to what she really represented.

The boast of Anat

Anat is given to boast that she has slain Yam, beloved of El, to the seven-headed serpent, to Arsh the whom the gods adored, to Atik the calf of El, to Ishat the bitch of the gods, and to Zabib the daughter of El, but there is no mention of El being upset by her actions, this raises questions that need to be answered; how could El not be angered by the slaughter of his calf, his great ally Yam, and his own daughter, even if he cared nothing for the serpent, for Arsh and Ishat.

First thoughts

It would appear to me that she is acting like a female version of Herakles, and that the labours she performs may relate to certain months or signs of the zodiac. So, to me certain tasks stand out, the calf of El, called Atik which seems to signify ‘argumentative or quarrelsome, surely could be the Bull of Taurus, and the capture of the Cretan Bull is Herakles seventh labour. The slaying of the seven-headed serpent could be, Herakles second labour the slaying of the serpent Hydra. But any similarity between the labours of Herakles and what Anat boasts of achieving seem unobtainable beyond those initial thoughts. In Herakles labours he was primarily engaged in ending the growth of Spring and Summer, bringing about harvest and making way for winter; that does not tie in with what Anat has done, so the serpent and the bull what they first seemed.

Second thoughts

Arsh is one of the stars of Lepus, which was placed under Orion, hares were noted for causing extreme devastation to crops, and land as they nest above ground in depressions, they multiply rapidly; hares are also very much associated with the moon, which would go a long way to explaining why Arsh would be thought of as a darling, or much adored one, by the gods. Now in the Greek myths of creation we hear of Eurynome coming out of the chaos before creation had started, she soon couples with the serpent Ophion, changes herself into a dove and lays the primordial Egg, at her command Ophion wraps himself seven times around the egg, from which when it hatches all creation comes forth. Later Ophion boasts that he is responsibly for creation, for which the angered Eurynome kicks out his teeth and banishes him to the caverns beneath the earth.


It would seem there are two possible things that Anat could be doing, she might be paving the way for the arrival of Spring, or she maybe involved in a battle with the primal gods. Yam appears to represent the primal waters of chaos at first, he might well be the sea that Eurynome danced on when she came forth from chaos and finding no place for her feet, she separated the sea and sky and danced on the waters. Now Yam was also kicked out of the heavens and became god of the sea and rivers although Athtart is named as the one who crushes his head. So, it would appear that the great serpent who may be called Lotan by the Canaanites, Ophion by the Greeks is thrown down from the heavens, into the caverns below the earth and becomes the seven-headed serpent called Hydra, which the cosmic ocean is thrown down and becomes the god of the sea and thus rivers. And in the myths of the Hare-Lepus the Aztecs believed one of the gods threw a hare at the face of the moon, and the god Indra was recorded to have placed a hare in the moon; the story goes roughly that, Indra disguised as a beggar came into the company of a hare, a fox and an ape, wishing to test the hospitality he asked them to find him something to eat, the fox and the ape had no problem but the hare could find nothing suitable, so it returned threw itself on the fire, to provide it’s guest with a warm supper, as a reward Indra placed him in the moon. So, it seems three primal deities have been defeated by Anat so far.

Three down, three to go

The calf of El, I have noticed that according to Kircher on the Egyptian constellations that a great barque-barge is depicted and it carries a bull, it appears to stretch from Leo to Aries, now Osiris, and Horus of Egypt have the house, or station in Taurus, and they were both associated with bull, and we can hardly forget how much effort Moses put in to wean the Hebrews off worshipping the golden calf when he led them out of Egypt. The Egyptians at some point believed the Sun god was carried across the heavens by a barque-come barge, they later gave this task to the Scarab god, and the Greeks swapped it to a chariot. Bull cults existed all over the known ancient world and some have persisted to this day, most obviously in India, and the Roman Mithraic cult was based around the Bull, but it seems the lofty Bull was somehow removed from the highest part of the heavens and placed nearer the earthly realms. The fall of the Bull may have come about because it ceased to mark the vernal equinox around 17000BC, and was replaced by the Ram of Aries. One last point before we move on, there is a constellation called the Thigh, which in sits very close to the centre of the high heavens and the Bull of Taurus is generally depicted without its hind legs-thighs, could this be a reminder that it had previously occupied a much higher position?

And then there were two.

Ishat [fire] the bitch and Zabib [flame] there are several points to consider here, for one it seems there are two other constellations which seem to have changed their place, the Ara or Altar, which could certainly lay claim to possessing fire, or flames; and secondly the original claws of the Scorpio seem to have been replaced by the Scales of Libra. I note that Varahu Mihira named the scales, Libra as Juga, but he also called it fire after it’s earlier form as an altar, by others it was shown as a censor and more often a lamp, all having connection to flame; one thing is for certain the present place of Ara the Altar was not its original place. It also seems in classical astrology that the scales and Scorpio were one sign, and constituted the house of Venus, this planet it was said appeared at creation and goddess Venus bound men and women under the yoke of matrimony, and considering the Latin Jugum/iungo-gere and so on= to join together, unite; to yoke, harness to a mate was used to indicate the beam or joke of the balance, its almost a j-joke, others linked Mars with this constellation who the Greeks called the Fiery one. And in reflection we might recall Venus as the Morning Star, Isaiah 14-12,

“How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth.”


While we may not consider the evidence and suggestions I have put forth as conclusive or beyond question, it is blatantly obvious that Anat is boasting that she has brought to an end the reign of the previous primordial gods, allowing a new pantheon of gods to take over, although it would seem that they would not cease to exist, but simply return to lower positions of authority, the Greek god Zeus did this in the war against his father Cronus and the ancient Titans, and the Roman Jupiter would later do the same to Zeus. Small details matter little, overall the matter is proven.