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Canaanites Gods and Goddess: Mot (Mawat)

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He was a god of death and the underworld, he was not worshipped from a cult point of view, for who would openly worship death; but even putting it that way is deceiving, for he was the personification, of the face of death, he had no power over fate or destiny, he simply was death itself, from darkness we came to darkness we return, as the priest said,

In the name of the father, the son, and into the hole he goes.

The myth

Mot’s main appearance in myth concerns the death of Ba’al Hadad, after Hadad had finished his labours and was victorious he had a great palace built, of cedar, silver and gold, and on its completion Hadad holds a great feast for all the other gods, and through the urging of Kothar-wa-Khasis his smithy and architect he opens a great window Kothar-wa-Khasis had designed high up in building, and it seems thunder and lighting, his protectors, or weapons escaped or were sent forth from it.

Hadad then invited Mot, death, the god of the underworld who was also a son of El to the feast. But Mot is greatly angered when he arrives for what desire does the eater of flesh and blood for bread and wine, and he threatens to tear Hadad into pieces and swallow him, for no one, not even the gods can stand against or death.

What happens next is fragmented, but it seems by advice availed that Ba’al Hadad copulates with a heifer and when a bull calf is born he dresses in his cloths and has it presented to Mot as a gift, he then disguises himself and sneaks into underworld and there he hides in the darkness. While Mot thinking the bull is Hadad himself kills the bull.


This idea of time, Uranus, Cronos, Zeus swallowing their own children, is often encountered in myth, the idea is always the same, time is like a serpent or snake that devours its own tail while constantly regenerating itself.


It seems that even El the supreme god of creation is upset at the apparent demise of Ba’al Hadad, and the land starts to dry up and crack, and the well waters turn rancid, and the people mourn for their god.

Meanwhile Anat, (who acts like the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who goes to look for missing and presumed dead Horus) Hadad’s sister goes looking for him, she finds the dead calf and thinking it is her brother she holds a great funeral feast and buries him.

Anat then seeks out Mot and when she finds him she slays him with her sword, burns him and scatters the remains over the fields for the birds to eat, but the drought does not relent and the people weep, for death and the dead have no power over life.

But finally, Shapash the sun god, knowing that Hadad was still alive, and merely hiding from the eyes of men and death retrieves Hadad from the underworld and reinstates him. The earth regenerates, new plants appear, the crops burst forth, mankind rejoices, as the fountain of life appears.


Seven years later Mot returns and attacks Ba’al Hadad once again, but when Shapash tells him Ba’al has the support of El, the battle ceases and Mot surrenders and bows down to Ba’al Hadad as king. Mot behaves in the same way as the Egyptian god Seth, who thinking he has slain and disposed of his rival Osiris, is dismayed to find he has returned under the name Horus, after several fruitless battles with Horus Seth is forced by the gods to accept Horus’s kingship, like Ba’al Hadad, Osiris had his astrological station in the house of Taurus the bull. See my Egyptian book 3, The Mort d’Osiris.

Last words

This is myth concerning the changes of the seasons, Enki may be taken as a personification of the fountain of youth or eternal life, without water there is no life, it is constant throughout creation, no planet, or moon in the entirety of creation, which is still ongoing, can produce life without water.