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Who is Tammuz? Mesopotamia – West Asian religion

By |2018-04-24T12:02:10+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The god Tammuz (probably) with grain growing from his shoulders A West Asian god Tammuz (or Dumuzi) was a West Asian god who personified growing food, like Persephone in Greece or Osiris in Egypt. Like Osiris, Tammuz was male. The Sumerians worshipped Tammuz as early as 2600 BC - and probably much earlier - and so did all the other people [...]

Attis and Cybele – West Asian mythology

By |2018-04-15T12:08:20+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Cybele and Attis standing together, while two much smaller human worshippers pray to them. From the Hellenistic kingdoms, in what is now Turkey, in the 100s BC Cybele, Magna Mater or the Great Mother, was a West Asian fertility goddess like Isis or Demeter. You sacrificed to Cybele to make sure the wheat and barley would grow well. There are many versions [...]

Greek mystery cults – ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T10:04:50+00:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Torchlight parade (this one is actually in India) Most Greek religious rituals were about sacrifice to the gods. But there was another form of religious activity also, which we call the mystery cults. People who wanted to participate in the mystery cults also kept on doing the usual sacrifices. You didn't have to choose. It's like [...]

What was Eleusis? a Greek mystery cult

By |2018-04-23T08:41:53+00:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Demeter, Persephone, and Triptolemos (the boy), an 1899 drawing from a stone carving found at Eleusis . Beginning at least as early as the Late Bronze Age (about 1400 BC) and maybe much earlier even than that, the people of Eleusis in Greece celebrated a holiday there every year that celebrated the time [...]

Dionysos and the dolphins – Ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T08:41:52+00:00July 12th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Dionysos turns a ship into grapevines, and the bad sailors into dolphins (Athenian black-figure vase from the 500s BC) One story about Dionysos, which you can see painted on this vase, is that he once disguised himself as a rich young man and sailed on a Greek merchant ship on the ocean. The [...]

Who was the Egyptian god Horus? – Gods of Ancient Egypt

By |2018-06-10T23:26:34+00:00June 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|

Good luck charm of the eye of the god Horus (Old Kingdom, ca. 2000 BC) Horus was the son of Re Horus was an Egyptian god, originally from Upper Egypt (Southern Egypt). In the Old Kingdom, people thought of Horus as having the head of a falcon, and his name means "falcon" in [...]