Cananaanite FAQ & Helel - Correspondence with Gwen Saylor Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 09:19:17 PST
From: Gwen Saylor
To: Christopher B Siren
Subject: Re: Helel

Chris --
Again, please accept my apology for having delayed so long in responding. I have eliminated a number of irons in my proverbial fire, so shouldn't have this mess again. For me, this is an important correspondence that we are having because it relates so tangibly to what I am trying to impart in my book.

First Topic -- Helel --

I've changed my view on who Helel is, because the evidence seems to be overwhelmingly toward Helel's being the Morning Star. I believe now that Helel must be an epithet of Ashtar. I have in front of me the book I quoted from before, Angels: An Endangered Species, by Malcolm Godwin, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1990, ISBN 0-671- 70650-0. On pgs. 91 and 92, are what the author says is "the original Canaanite version" of the Biblical passage Isaiah 14:12-14:

How hast thou fallen from heaven, Helel's son Shaher!
Thou didst say in thy heart, I will ascend to Heaven.
Above the circumpolar stars I will raise my throne
And I will dwell on the Mount of Council in the back of the North
I will mount on the back of a cloud.
I will be like unto Elyon.

Godwin says, "This ancient epic was recorded seven centuries before Christ in a Canaanite scripture. Five centuries later a Hebrew scribe copied it almost verbatim . . ." The source is not here given, there is no index, and there is no bibliography. However, unlike many of these Angel dictionaries, this one seems well researched otherwise, with sources often noted. On pg. 116, there is a note under the subtitle "The Nephilim," which states, "Helel: Son of the Canaanite Shaher who is often identified with Lucifer himself. But he is really the leader of the Nephelim, those gigantic offspring who were sired by the angels upon the daughters of Cain. These Nephelim were the builders of the Tower of Babel." At the beginning of this segment, "The Hordes of Hell," the author notes, "The following diagrams of Hell have been compiled from less questionable sources although it must be admitted the veracity of many of those sources might be in question." NO DOUBT! But the point is that he has refuted his earlier translation by saying in this second quote that Helel was a son of Shaher. If the man really is quoting from a Canaanite text, he has turned his words around in the important portion. I begin to doubt that he is quoting a Canaanite passage, because, as you will remember from my last post, we know "Mount of Council" should be translated "in the Assembled Body" and "in the back of the North" should be translated "Mount Sapon" *even* in the Hebrew. I'll write a letter to the author through the publisher, and we'll see if we can get some answers. It seems to me that the point in time at which the Canaanite text was inserted in the Bible is the moment that the "Morning Star --> devil" concept diverged from the "Morning Star --> goddess" concept for all time in the eyes of Christians and Jews. What I mean by that is that the use of "ben" in the Hebrew likely indicates the use of a similar word in the Canaanite (IF the Canaanite exists), but that, at any rate, "Lucifer" never was a *son* of "the Dawn" anyway, but *a daughter!* So, in fact, the reference was to Ashtar. ALSO -- The most modern Canaanite text I know of at all dates to 14th century BC (Ugarit). The Larousse says there are at present four groups of texts: (1) Gubla near Beirut, dated to c. 3,000 BC; (2) Ugarit, which is today Ras Shamrah, dated to first half of the 14th century BC; (3) a group which consists of inscriptions and illustrations on monuments, and the literary works of Philo of Byblos, Damascius, Mochus, the Bible, and Assyrian and Egyptian texts; and (4) Carthaginian documents and information obtained from the archaeological digs at Carthage. Apparently Godwin is not talking about Ugarit or Gubla. Our quote, which is supposed to have been written by Isaiah, is considered to have been written 736-35 BC, which is right at the "seven centuries before Christ" Godwin is claiming for his "Canaanite" text.

Another possibility -- Note that in my last post to you the Hebrew word is noted as "hel-lel" in the footnote of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and that you say in the Phoenician FAQ that "Mt. Lel" is where El lives. Could "Hel-lel" be "Hel of Lel?" Often the Morning Star and Sun are associated with a particular mountain, and the Morning Star Goddess is called the "Torch-Bearer" or "Light-Carrier" of the Sun (even "Path-Sweeper"). I don't have a copy of any but the Romanized Hebrew, but in it I see that Helel is designated as "heeyeel ben-shaaxar." The New World Translation is an original translation, however, so I don't doubt that it's probably significant that it says "hel-lel." Even this Romanized "heeyeel" translates for all extents and purposes to "hel" elongated. My sister-in-law is a Jehovah's Witness and I'll ask her if she'll find me references on this when she's back from her trip to Salt Lake. She has a couple of nice reference sets of books that refer to the various translations her church has decided are correct. These give other references.

BTW -- Sitchin (The 12th Planet) says the Way of Enlil was the northern hemisphere's zodiac, the Way of Enki was the southern hemisphere's zodiac, and the Way of Anu was what we now refer to as the path of the planets as they cross our night sky.

The Encyclopedia of the Bible (edited originally Marijnen) says about Melech: "`King.' Name of a deity venerated by the Ammonites under the name of Milcom. The Israelites worshipped him under the name of Molech." And under Molech: "A West Semitic (especially Canaanitic and Phoenician) deity." Also, "In the Hebrew O.T. the form is actually Molek. The etymology of the word is uncertain; it means `king' in Hebrew and `prince' or `regent' in Akkadian, where it takes the form Malik or . . . Malkum." The Larousse says the Baal of Tyre was solar and was later also marine. It says his title was "Melkart, `God of the City.'" And it says Philo, in his History of the Uranides," identified Melkart with Heracles (born of Demarus). We both know Philo is a bunch of runtogether nonsense, but sometimes it contains clues. The interesting fellow that posted us from Spain on alt.mythology said in his post I received Wed. night that Indro Montanelli in History of Rome, Ch. XII, "Carthage" (he's translating from the Spanish) says: "Of course, Carthaginians had too their gods. They had brought them from their mother country, Phoenicia, but they changed their names. In exchange of Baal-Moloch and Astarte, as they were called in Tyr and Sidon, they called them Baal-Haman and Tanit. Behind those there were Melkarth, which means `key of the city,' Eshmun, lord of riches and health, and finally, Dido herself, the founder of the city, which had the same place in Carthage than Quirinus in Rome." It sounds like they may have taken apart their god into two gods! Curiouser and curiouser. My guess is that if you came from Tyre, where you worshipped a certain goddess and your city god (who was her consort), when you got to your new hometown of Carthage you'd adopt a new god of the locality, but you wouldn't want to displease your violent goddess by leaving out her consort, so you'd keep him, too. This would explain the difference between Baal-Haman and Tanit(h) of Carthage and Sutekh (or Baal or Set) and Anat(h) of the Hyksos. The many variations on spellings that I've gathered are as follows: Melech, Molech, Milcom, Melkom, Moloch, Molek, Malec, Malik, Melek, Malkum, Melqart, Melkart, Milk, and Melqarth. In Islamic belief this deity is called Malec or Malik, and considered to be the principle angel in charge in Djahannam, their version of hell (Mercatante). The Jews say Malakh ha-Mavet is the Angel of Death, that "malak" means "angel" or "messenger," and that "melek" means "king" (The New Jewish Encyclopedia). BTW - The Larousse says Eshmun = Adonis.

I am seeing a pattern here: (1) The Christians have "God" and other people's deities are called "gods." (2) "El" is the high god of the Phoenician pantheon, and everyone else wants to say it just means "god." (3) "Baal" is the son of the Phoenician high god, a god in his own right, and every town around takes on their own deity and calls it "Baal-whatever," which they say means "Lord Whatever." (4) "Malik" probably means something cool, but every god of a city starts being called "Melech," because it's a cool thing to be called. (5) And every goddess no one can figure out should either be called "Astarte," or the modern thing to do with them is throw all unknown goddesses in a pile with all known goddesses and name it "Great Goddess." I'm wondering how old the source is for your reference that Nergal is called Malik in the Babylonian literature. The Phoenicians go a long way back.

Second Topic -- Phoenician FAQ --

I think something should be said in the introduction about the fact that Phoenicians called themselves by their city states, and that the Lebanese consider themselves descended from the Phoenicians. "Phoenike" was the Greek term for the Biblical "Canaanite," which is "Kinanu" in Akkadian. The Romans turned the Greek word into "Poeni," or Punic.

El --

I don't think he had a tail and Dagan was the high god of the Philistines, "People of the Sea," enemies of the Phoenicians. The Larousse tells a story about the struggle between Aleyin (El Elion, the god of Melchizedek) and Mot, which *recurs every year*. Within this story from Ugarit the author says, "Latpon, one of the sons of the god El . . ." (so he can't BE El), and later when the Temple of Baal is being built (this is also from the Ugaritic):

"Latpon El Dped answered: `I shall labor, I, the magician of Asherat. I shall work, I who perceive. Behold, Amat Asherat fashions the bricks. A house shall be constructed for Baal, for he is a god; and a holy enclosure, for he is a son of Asherat.'
"And the Lady Asherat-of-the-Sea, of all the gods Mistress in Wisdom, said: `Rest from thy toil, for thou art of great age. Rest, because of thy lungs...And delight also in his rain.'"

The stories of Keret and Danel are called legends of mortals in the Larousse. Keret is son of El and a mortal woman. This Epic of Keret (Ugaritic) is a different story than the one you tell. What is your source for "demoness" in reference to Sha'taqat? Are you sure this isn't an underworld deity? The Larousse says Keret was a "soldier of the goddess Sapas" and king of Sidon. It goes on to say that El ordered him to resist an invasion by Etrah, or Terah, a moon god. Allied with the enemy were the tribe Zabulon (later a portion of the Israelites) and the Koserites (enemies also of the Egyptians). The battle took place in the Negeb to the south of Palestine. He later paid for his wife in gold and silver, but The Larousse says, "he does not seem to have emerged victorious from the struggle."

The Larousse says El made the rivers flow into the abyss of the ocean and thus assured the fertility of the earth. He was sometimes represented as a bull. The Facts On File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, by Anthony S. Mercatante, gives El the epithet "Creator of creation." Among the most frequent Old Testament titles of El are: El Shadday (Mercatante - El, the One of Mountains), El Olam (El of Eternity, worshipped at Beer Sheba), El-Bethel (El of the House of El, appeared to Jacob), El Berith (El of the Covenant). Elohim is the plural of El; it designates the pantheon.

Asherah -

Called "In Wisdom the Mistress of the Gods" and "Creator of the Gods" (Larousse). Associated with a stump of wood and later a tree or post. Also associated with a triangle on a staff, a cross, a double-headed ax, a tree, a headdress for priests, and a wooden image (everything this sentence Mercatante). She was many times represented on the stelae in the temple to Baal at Ras Shamrah (Larousse). I'm not convinced that Asherah was one of the wives who participated in the beach scene with El. Please quote what the Ugaritic says in your source, because the Larousse is kind of sketchy in this apparently broken text. It does say that seven gods were born then under the same conditions, "the seventh" being Sibani, whose FATHER is called Etrah, who may be the same as the Terah (Moon) of the Keret story. The chief deity of Byblos was a goddess called "Baalat," "The Lady" (Larousse). We don't know who she was, but there is an Egyptian bas-relief (Louvre) of her with a uraeus suspended from one of her horns (Larousse), which brings me to the attachment I see in the identities of Asherah and Iusaas, Ra's lady that he was not given until later (Larousse). Keep in mind that Philo identified Asherah with Gaia (Ge). The Encyclopedia of the Bible (Marijnen) says: "Asherah or Asheroth. Canaanite-Phoenician goddess, related to Astarte and frequently named with Baal. She was worshipped in close vicinity of Israel as the goddess of fertility and as mistress of the steppe and the woods. Her symbol was the trunk of a tree or a pole (covered also with clothes or cloths), which was also called Asherah by the Canaanites. There was repeated agitation for its destruction (e.g., Deut. 7:5)." Harold Bayley's The Lost Language of Symbolism (pg. 354) says the "rod or stem of Jesse may be equated with the Ashera, a phallic object mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with the worship of Ashtoreth. The Ashera was an upright stem or pole answering symbolically to the English maypole." By far the best description of an Asherah that I have yet found is in B.Z. Goldberg's The Sacred Fire (pg. 102): "The asherah so often mentioned in the Bible was originally an accidental stump of a tree and later the trunk of a tree with its branches purposely cut away. It had an opening or fissure, called the Door of Life. Around this door, there were thirteen tufts of hair representing the thirteen periods of a woman in a year. Above it, there was an emblematic representation of the clitoris." I don't know why "of-the-Sea" was so often appended to Asherah's name, but I have a hunch she was a lot more than a Sea Goddess. I personally believe she was an Earth Goddess and complex.

Kothar-u-Khasis -

The Larousse calls these two brothers, Kusor and Hasisu. They proposed to put a skylight in Baal's temple, but Aleyin said no so a higher appeal was made. Aleyin compromised with: "I myself shall place them. Kusor, the mariner, Kusor, son of the law, he shall open the window in sanctuaries, the sky-light in the middle of the temples. And Baal shall open a fissure in the clouds - above the (face) of Kusor-and-Hasisu." So the deluge would never need be feared, because Baal would only make the rain fall when Kusor opened the windows of the temple. Kusor became the regulator of the seasons, the inventor of mechanical devices and of the fishing boat. He possessed also the arts of incantation and soothsaying. All of this is Larousse and Ugaritic.

Baal -

Often El's enemy. The god's true name was known only to the initiated. Baal was a sun god, and as such was associated with the Morning Star, his mother and consort (and sister) Ashtart (Encylopaedia Britannica). The Baalim (plural of Baal) were gods possessing the power to control nature, such as fertility and harvest (The Encyclopedia of the Bible). Baal is said to have had a secret name (Larousse). Worshipped as Baal Hammon at Carthage with a consort, Tanit(h). Encyclopaedia Britannica translates "Baal Hammon" as "the Glowing Baal." Also worshipped as Baal Tsaphon, "Baal of the North;" Baal Shamim, "Baal of the Skies;" etc., etc. Various Semitic towns still have a "Baal" at the beginning of their names, which usually indicates they once had Baal worship. The Jews still use "Baal" as a title of respect for esteemed men. Also worshipped as Hadad (in Canaan), Eshmun (by the Sidonians), Ishkur (in Akkad and by the Hittites), the number X (by the Hittites), Baal Hadad, Adad, Teshub, or Teshup (by the Hurrians), Sutekh (by the Hyksos), Hadad-Rimmon (and either one or the other in Aram and Damascus), and Ramman (in Akkad). Also spelled Ba`al, Beel, Be`el, Ball (Mercatante).

Ashtar -

Ashtar(t), Astarte, Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth, Ishtar, all the Morning Star, which we now call Venus in its aspect of rising heliacally before the Sun, was sometimes shown with a cow's head, and later symbolized by a star or a lion (Larousse). The oldest known image of Ashtart, at Paphos, portrays her in the form of a white conical stone (Mercatante). Worshipped through priests and priestesses (prostitutes) (Mercatante). I don't find Yam in the Larousse accounts, nor do I find Athtar (except as an Arab god that equals Ishtar, only male). I'm wondering if your Yam is Aleyin? "Athtar" seems to simply be Ashtar. The Larousse account that is telling the same story you are (I think so, it's hard to tell because they are quite different) says:

A special sacrifice in the season of the harvest, to reawaken the spirit of the vine which the ass, nibbling the leaves, might have eaten, shows Qadesh and Amurru - in other words, Anat and Aleyin - intervening. Asherat-of-the-Sea gives them the following order:

Tie up the ass, bind the stallion. Make ready the vine-shoots with silvery leaves - of vivid green. Remove the she-asses from the vine. Qadesh and Amurru obey.

Qadesh is a title of Anat, meaning "holy" or "sacred." More about that in the next section.

Anat -

Anath, Anata, Hanata, (Anahita? - Persian) probably synonymous with the Carthaginian Tanit(h), introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos along with Sutekh. Part of her cult consisted of sacrifices of young men (Mercatante). By the name, Qadesh, "the Holy," whose animal attribute was the lion in Egyptian documents, she was the consort of the god Amurru, god of the West, who in Egyptian texts was given the name Reshef (Larousse). Encyclopaedia Britannica says Reshef or Reshuf was a Phoenician "flame" or "lightning" god, especially popular in Cyprus, and derived originally from Syria. Mercatante says Reshef, "Great God, Lord of Eternity, Prince of Everlastingness, Lord of Twofold Strength among the Company of the Gods," was a god of lightning and the thunderbolt, worshipped in Syria and Egypt. Also Reshpu, Resheph, Reshep, and *Reshiph-Mical*. Qadeshim (sacred men) and Qadeshoth (sacred women) is what the prostitutes in the temple of Ashtart were called in the Old Testament (Encyclopaedia Britannica). I have her as *daughter* of Baal and the sister of Aleyin (Larousse). At Avaris she was the consort of a god sometimes called Baal, sometimes Sutekh (Larousse). She was also sometimes the consort of her brother Elion (Aleyin).

Aleyin -

El Elion (of the Bible), "the All Highest," also Elioun or Elyon, was called "The Baal of the Earth," Rode the clouds with 7 companions and 8 wild boars. At Salem (the early Jerusalem) Melchizedek worshipped El Elion (translated in the OT as "the most high God"). Son of Baal and Asherah, his consorts were his sister Anat and his mother. The same as Amurru and Reshef (See Anat).

I hope you find lots to chew on here. Let me know what you think. Could you post me back quick so I'll know you got this?