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Anat

Anat or Anath is the Canaanite warrior Goddess, the maiden who loves battle, the virgin Goddess of sacrifice, a warrior and archer. She is famous for having a violent temperament and for taking joy in slaughter. In the 14th century BCE Ugartic text The Epic of Ba'al, She defends Her brother the storm-God Ba'al, called by His title Ayelin, "Mightiest," against Mot or Mavet, the force of sterility and death who represents the intense heat of the dry season which causes the crops to wither. But Mot triumphs against Ba'al and sends Him to the land of the dead; Anat, with help from the sun Goddess Shapash, Who has access to the Underworld, brings Him back to life. Anat then takes revenge on Mot, cutting Him up into tiny pieces, winnowing Him like grain, grinding Him up, and then sowing Him in the fields. Ba'al and Mot are symbolic of the alternating seasons of rain and drought, of life and death, and by grinding Mot up and scattering Him like grain, Anat allows for the season of plenty to come again and the wheat to be reborn another year.

Before Anat goes into battle She prepares Herself by anointing Herself with henna and ambergris, and dressing in saffron (gold) and murex (purple) dyed clothing, both of which are famously expensive, and royal, colors. She then proceeds to slaughter the enemies of Ba'al, across west and east, hanging severed heads from Her back, and affixing hands to Her belt. Laughing and rejoicing, She wades to Her knees in the blood of soldiers, "to Her thighs in the gore of quick warriors." When the slaughter is finished (and it takes a while), She then washes Herself in the rain-water of Her brother Ba'al, and again adorns Herself with ambergris.

Though often called "virgin," Anat also has a strong sexual aspect, much like the war and sex Goddess of the Irish the Morrigan, and, though She is not usually considered the consort of Ba'al, was said to have had seventy-seven children by Him, after They had copulated in the forms of cow and bull. Given this, calling Anat a "virgin" probably should to be taken to mean "independent young woman."

Though She is the daughter of El, the patriarch of the Gods, She does not hesitate to threaten Him when She feels Ba'al is being treated unfairly. If El does not grant Ba'al a splendid palace like all the other Gods have, "I shall surely drag him [El] like a lamb to the ground, I shall make his grey hairs run with blood, the grey hairs of his beard [thick] with gore."

Not surprisingly, people sought to placate Anat, and She was invoked to grant peace: "Remove from the earth war, Set in the dust love; Pour peace amidst the earth, Tranquility amidst the fields" (also from the Epic of Ba'al).

Her worship was also known in Egypt, where She was considered the consort of the chaos God Seth, and Her sexual aspects led Her to be associated with Min, who, if you've ever seen a picture of Him, is very obviously a God of male fertility. She was especially popular in the New Kingdom, and She was one of Ramesses II's patron Deities, Who watched over Him in battle. He even named one of his (zillion) daughters Bint-Anat, or "Daughter of Anat" in Her honor.

Anat represents necessary endings, sacrifices to be made to serve a greater purpose, or old habits that may no longer work and need to be let go. In this way the field of growth grows green again.

Alternate names: 'Anat, Anath, Anaitis, Anait, Anat-bethel. She is called Rahmay or Rahmaya, "the Merciful"; this is also the title of one of the two wives of El, with Athirat-of-the-Sea, Who are the mothers of the Gods of dawn and dusk, Shachar and Shalem. As Anatha-Baetyl, likely of Syrian origin, She is sometimes called the wife of Jehovah. In Egypt She could be called Antit.

Epithets: She is called "Adolescent Anat", Batalat 'Anat, "the Maiden," "Sister of the Mighty One," i.e. Ba'al.



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