Mary & Levantine Goddesses

by Nisut Mark James

Because we as Esoteric Kristians think of Mary as more than just the Mother of the Messiah, it becomes necessary for us to associate her with the Goddesses of the Ancient Near East, the land that contained Israel and many other nations.This land is also called the Holy Land and the Levant, thus the word, Levantine. Because the Jews took much of their tradition from the Canaanites,and because Mary was a Judeo-Christian Goddess (sometimes called the Bridge between Judaism and Christianity), there are several parallels between her and other Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) Goddesses.

Asherah/’Athirat – Perhaps the ANE Goddess that Mary shares the most attributes with is Asherah, the Lady of the Sea.

Asherah figurine common in every ancient home. Mothers and daughters would make these from clay or dough. Notice the emphasis on milk giving, thus life-giving.  Mother Mary is shown feeding Yeshua and in some cases expressing milk to the world or to special saints.
Asherah is often called the Progenitress/Creatress of the Deities, just as Mary is called the Mother of God in the monotheistic tradition. Asherah is also known as She-Who-Treads-on-the-Sea, just as Mary is known as the Star of the Sea (in Latin, Stella Maris). Asherah is the bride of El in Canaanite religion, just as Mary is the bride of the Father (also known as El) in Christianity. Like Mary, Asherah’s relationship with Baal (her “son”) was misconstrued – she was not his Bride, just as Mary is not the Bride of Yeshua.

Asherah is also known as the Lion Lady. Mary is the Mother of the Lion ofthe Tribe of Judah (Yeshua), so it makes sense that she would also be called the Lion Lady. Mary would then be associated both with the Tribe of Judah and the astrological sign Leo. Asherah is also identified with the Shekinah of Israel. Add to this that the name Mary / Miriam means “She of the Sea”and has actually been theorized to be a priestess name, something all priestesses of Mary or Isis were called in ancient times, including in the time of Yeshua, starting with the first Miriam, Moses’ sister, who came “out of Egypt” just like Mary.

Isis with Horus at the

Mary is expressing her milk, just as Asherah does in the ancient figurines (pictured above), and  as Isis does in the image left.

Anne Safyre writes: “Her milk is star-dust…offered to all creation.  Got milk?”

Titles that Mary and Asherah can share:
– Goddess (‘Elat)
– Great Lady She-Who-Treads-on-the-Sea (Rabatu ‘Athiratu Yammi)
– Holiness, Holy One (Qdsh, Qadashu)
– Creatress/Progenitress of the Deities (Qnyt. Ilm, Qaniyatu ‘Ilima)
– Turquoise Lady
– Lion Lady (Labi’atu)
– Tree of Life
– Milk-giver, Lifegiver
– Lady of the Stars of Heaven
– Queen of Heaven

‘Anat – Though more associated with the Magdalene by our Mystery School,qualities of ‘Anat can be found in Mary. For instance, ‘Anat is a Virgin,in the sense that she is the spouse of no one, and not in the sense of perpetualsexual abstinence. Mary is often identified as the woman in Genesis who willtrample the head of the Serpent. In this role as Conqueror, Mary is identifiedmore with the Matronit of Israel (the War-Mother) than with the Shekinah(the Nurturing Mother). This is also true of ‘Anat, who is seen as the Goddessof War in the Canaanite pantheon. ‘Anat is the Goddess of Sexuality, War,and Maidenhood. Further similarities between ‘Anat and Mary can be seen intheir shared titles.

Anat, “The Lady”

Titles that Mary and ‘Anat can share:

– Virgin/Maiden (Btlt ‘Nt, Batulatu ‘Anatu)

– The Lady (Sht, Sitt in Arabic)

– Our Lady

– Strength of Life (‘Az Chayim)

– Mother of Nations (Ybmt L’mm, Yabamat Li’imim)

– Maiden (Batalat)

– Queen of Heaven

– Mistress of All the Gods

– Immaculate One

Astarte/’Athtartu – Again, Astarte is more closely identified with the Magdalene, but does share some traits with Mary. Astarte is also a Goddess of Love and sexuality, and sometimes of war, who came to be worshiped throughout the Mediterranean world. Her quality of being a universal Goddess of the Mediterranean world is also similar to Mary’s quality of now being the universal Goddess of the Earth.

Titles that Mary and Astarte can share:

– She of the Womb

– The Strong One

Qadesh, Qetesh, (Qudshu, some call her now). Can be found in the book,”Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel” by Othmar Keel andChristoph Uehlinger, translated by Thomas H. Trapp (Minneapolis: FortressPress, 1998) and “Aserah: Extrabiblical Evidence” by Walter A. Maier, III(Harvard Semitic Monographs #37 1986). The latter, in particular, has an excellent section on Qadesh, whom the author wishes to identify with the Ugaritic Athirat. One can buy his conclusion or not; but he has an excellent review of the relevant material.

Pictured above, Semiramis BuildingBabylon
Semiramis – is the Goddess of Ancient Babylon, the Mother of Tammuz, and the founder of the City of Babylon. She gave birth to Tammuz, the Savior-God of Babylon who died so that the land might be preserved. Apparently, Semiramis was worshiped as greater than Tammuz, because she was seen as the Mother of the Gods. One might conclude that the Babylonians saw her as holding such titles as: Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate – titles which Mary holds in Catholicism. Semiramis was also assumed into Heaven in the form of a dove at the end of her life. Little is known about Semiramis, and some of what is “known” was invented by fundamentalist Christians who sought to discredit Mary by equating her to Semiramis and calling them both, “the Whore of Babylon.”  Pictured at right /above is a museum figurine of Semiramis.  She looks like the original bat girl.  To view the figurine in larger detail, and to read all about Semiramis’ intriguing but mysterious life, including husbands, son, mysterious birth and childhood, go to Semiramis, Goddess-Heroine.

Shekinah – The Shekinah, the Goddess of Israel, is really just atransformation of the Canaanite Goddess Asherah. After the suppression ofthe worship of Asherah, the Israelites developed a Goddess who would beacceptable to the Yahwist priests. Thus Shekinah, said to be an emanationof God Most High, was born. Shekinah is the Mother Goddess of Israel, andas such is identified with Mary as the Mother Goddess of Christianity. Mary can be considered the incarnation of Shekinah.

Matronit – The Matronit is the War-Goddess of Israel. Some see Maryas the Matronit, others the Magdalene as the Matronit. I believe that theMagdalene is the Matronit, but Mary does share some attributes with the Matronit.She is the Conqueror of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. By giving birthto the Messiah, Mary conquers the Serpent by conquering the hate and evilin the world.

Mary Magdalene – Mother Mary shares many similarities with Mary Magdalene,the Bride of Yeshua. For instance, both can be called the Mother of the Church;both can be called the Queen of Heaven; both can be called the New Eve. However,they are not the same Goddess. Whereas Mary is a Water Goddess, of purityand of holiness – Magdalene is an Earth Goddess, of sensuality, beauty, andbalance. Mary is the High Mother, the Supernal Mother. Magdalene is the HolyDaughter, who is closer to the Earth.

PLEASE NOTE: Mary is not the incarnation or even the culmination ofall these Goddesses. In fact, the Magdalene is identified more with someof them. But Mary shares attributes with these Goddesses, just as she sharesattributes with the Magdalene. The two are very similar, yet dramaticallydifferent in some ways. Mary’s role should not be confused with that of theMagdalene, and both are equally important Kristian Goddesses.

Questions – Please copy and paste the followingquestions into a new e-mail, answer them, and send them to theMystery School with the subjectline:  Shemsu 1 answers from __________  (your magikal name).

1.  The Goddess that Mary is most closely associated with is _______.

2.  What does Stella Maris mean?

3.  What are the titles Mary shares with the Goddess mentioned in questionnumber 1?

4.  What are the titles Mary shares with ‘Anat?

5.  What main quality do Astarte and Mary share?

6.  What are the titles Mary shares with Astarte?

7.  Semiramis is the Mother of _____, and the founder of _______.

8.  What three titles might Semiramis share with Mary?

9.  In your own words, what are the Shekinah and the Matronit? (We willexplore this more in our reading of the book, Hebrew Goddess, so don’tworry if your thoughts, definitions or opinions are not as well-formed yet on these two.)

10.  What titles can Mary share with Magdalene?

11.  Essay Question:  Do you think Mary’s similarities to all these goddesses diminishes her importance or her “mission” to Earth? Do you thinkshe even had a mission other than to come and give birth to the Logos? Explain, tell why and why not, etc.

12.  Report:  Write a two page report (500 words or more) on anyone of these Levantine Goddesses.  Choose one that appeals to you andtell us about her.  Include the links you use for your research.

13.  Write a comparative essay.  Don’t panic at that essay word. This means type up a nice long email in which you go on and on aboutone of the Levantine Goddesses above and Mary, comparing their similaritiesand differences.

14.  Write an invocation to Asherah using the Canaanite and Ugariticwords given in the lesson, the English titles, and her attributes such as milk and life giver.

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