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Ba’al Hadad was a Canaanite storm god, while he is related to every other storm god, including the Greek Zeus, the Roman god Jupiter (especially under the name ‘Jupiter Dolichenus) the Hittite god Taru, Hurrian god Teshub, and the Rigvedic Indra, the Norse god Thor, HB- Tubal-Cain, Cain son of Adam? Sumerian, Iskur, Akkadian god Adad, but there is a difference between the most ancient storm gods and later ones, one those early storm gods was the Egyptian god Seth, which is often now rendered Set, so let us consider what the difference was and how it changed, if indeed it did?
The ancients have been given to say, ‘what is above, is below’ as if the heavens were a reflection of earth, indeed in a great many ways they are not far wrong, but it may also be said, what is understood below is reflected in the heavens. For many, many moons ago mankind only recognised two seasons; the times when things grew and the time when they did not, and this effected the number of gods they had. Take ancient Egypt as an example, while they had their higher deities, the Sun, Ra-Re, Nun-Nut the heavens, Geb the Earth, they only had two seasonal gods, Osiris first god of Spring and Summer, and Seth-Set god of Winter, therefore Seth had all the qualities and responsibilities of the storm god. It is the same in the Old Testament, where we find Able the equivalent of Osiris and Cain, who is the equal of Seth, and Cain’s punishment for killing his brother Able, who represented wheat and was harvested, was to roam across the face of the earth as a storm god. But later the Egyptians recognised three seasons, as did Moses when writing of Noah, and later it became four, and the storm god Zeus was joined by the god of Autumn, Herakles.
Ba’al Hadad was therefore the Equivalent of the Egyptian god Seth and the Hebrew god Cain, thus, he was a storm god, and storms are both destructive and benevolent, for in dry countries the gathering of storm clouds also brings with it the promise of life rejuvenating water.
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 through his consort Shapash 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 called 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 it seems at some point Ba’al Hadad battles against Lotan the seven headed serpent, the Greek god Zeus would have delegated this job to Herakles and he did, this was Herakles 2nd labour, the killing of the serpent Hydra, in short the seven heads were the seven months when things grew, and the vegetation and crops and so forth were watered either by well or spring water and irrigation systems, so the seven heads were the water coming up from the ground, as each month passed a head was cut off: for a fuller explanation of this see under the labours of Herakles in Herakles the birth and other myths. Of course, the Canaanite storm god did not have a Herakles to help him so the fights and decapitates the Hydra- Lotan himself.
A great palace is then built for Hadad, 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 escaped or were sent forth from it. Hadad then invited Mot, death, the god of the underworld and also a son of El to the feast. But he 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. It seems that even El the supreme god is upset at the apparent demise of Ba’al Hadad, and his consort Shapash stops shining through grief at the loss and the land starts to dry up and crack, and the well waters turn rancid, and the people mourn for there god. Meanwhile Anat, Hadad’s sister with the aid of Shapash goes looking for him, they find the dead calf and thinking it is her brother she holds a great funeral feast and helped by Shapash 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, till finally El having dreamt of Hadad Shapash the sun god retrieves Hadad from the underworld and reinstates him. 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.
The story of Hadad’s demise is very similar to the Egyptian story of the death of Osiris, who was killed by Seth-Set, the main difference seems to be that Hadad plays both roles, Anat who goes looking for Hadad, is the Canaanite equivalent of the Egyptian moon goddess of Virgo who goes to find Osiris; Hadad as Osiris dies, slain by Mot who plays the part of Seth, there again whereas Osiris is reborn as Horus, and Seth realises there is not point in killing him, because Horus will simply be born again next spring even if under a different name, Hadad is brought back, reborn as himself and Mot realises there is no point in killing because like Horus he will simply be born again. The seven years in between killing Hadad the first time and then returning again are really seven lunar months, for the feast Hadad had prepared was the feast of harvest festival, when the sun king officially dies, so he was killed in Libra and did not return until Taurus seven months later, for Taurus was the start of Spring in those times, when the bull’s seed was sown. To further understand this, it would help to read ‘The Mort d’Osiris’ book 3, of SV Egyptian myths section.
Ba’al Hadad while predominantly a storm god, appears also to a god of fertility, being responsible for the growing of crops, thus plays a key role in the growing part of the year, while he is not seen during the dry season, when he is pretended to be hiding in underworld. He is like all gods of his type in reality just another personification of the Sun.