Mythology for Primary: SUPERMOON – Lunar Divinities

The moon (picture of Supermoon, 14/11/16, taken by J. Booth, Ramsey, Isle of Man) was not just the Earth’s largest satellite, not just the great silver disc in the heavens, but a powerful, influential and yet secretive deity for the ancient peoples. Associated with a god in some societies and as a goddess in others, the moods of the moon from its brightest full seemingly huge on the horizon to the slightest sliver of crescent above the sea, the mountains or the desert blackness, changing tides, changing moods and casting a pure white light in the darkness, bringing light into the darkness, yet still enough hidden was a highly moving sight for those who walked a world where divinities were present everywhere and in everything.


To the Egyptians, the moon was the Great Traveller, Khonsu. Each night, he voyaged across the night sky and, along with Djehuti (Thoth), the god of Wisdom, Khonsu was a marker of time, the waxing and waning of the moon marking the lunar months. He was a member of the Theban Triad along with his mother, Mut and his father, the state god Amun. Khonsu protected those who travelled at night, lighting their way in the darkness. Depicted as a mummified child (bearing the sidekick) and carrying the crook and flail, showing his association with the Pharaoh, and the Was sceptre. He is also occasionally depicted as a hawk headed man, but in both incarnations, he wears a full silver moon sitting in a golden crescent moon. as a crown. His association gradually grew towards being with healing, despite the fact that, at Karnak in particular, he superseded Montu, the god of war.


In Mesopotamia, the moon was associated with the god Sin (after whom the Sinai desert was named). He was linked with the Sumerian lunar god, Nanna. His common designation was d. En.Zu – the Lord of Wisdom, a probable title based upon the importance of astronomy and astrology for the Mesopotamians in their daily lives. The off spring of Sin and his consort, Ningal, were Shamash (the Sun) and Ishtar (the morning star, planet Venus). This again was perhaps a link to the early period when Ur was the dominant city and Sin was titled “father of all the gods”, “chief of all the gods”, “creator of all things” amongst others, a period when he was the preeminent deity in the pantheon. He was believed to wear a beard of purest lapis lazuli and often depicted as riding a great winged bull, and his symbols was the crescent moon.

Tarikh, the Canaanite god of the moon, the Lord of the Sickle and the bringer of dew, was associated with the goddess of the orchards, bringing the dew to ripen desert fruits. The Lord of the sickle may have a dual meaning – the harvesting of the fruit as well as the crescent moon. The centre of his worship cult was Jericho.


Selene/ Artemis (Roman Luna/Diana) was the goddess of the hunt, and the moon, and in her darker incarnations, Hekate, as the goddess of the night and witchcraft. Slightly to the East, the Hittite god was Kašku (or Arma in Luwian) and was granted similar attributes to Hermes in the Greek pantheon when it was his nocturnal associations.


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