OGOD

Celtic

Egyptian

Etruscan

Phoenician

Roman

 

 


 

 

Shapash is the Phoenician Sun-Goddess, called the "Torch of the Gods", or "Pale Shapash". She is all-seeing, and is frequently dispatched on errands by El or Anat, acting as their messenger or herald. Much like Hermes, the Greek Messenger-God, She is also a psychopomp, or Deity who leads souls into or out of the Underworld. The idea of the Sun as a traveller to the Underworld is known from other cultures such as Egypt, where in their myths the Sun journeys each night through the land of the dead (or the back/dark side of the world) to emerge once more in the East. In one tale Shapash descends with the Warrior Goddess Anat into the tomb of Ba'al, the Storm God and husband of Anat, and while there weeps so many tears that She becomes drunk on them like wine. Later She retrieves Ba'al from Sheol, the Underworld, where Mavet the God of Death reigns, and returns Him to Anat.

Like Her daughter 'Um Pachal, Shapash can cure the venom of snake bites, which is compared to the darkness or mists that the rising sun dispells.

As is to be expected in a very hot land, Shapash the Sun Goddess can be an ambivalent Deity, depending on the time of year, who can either cause the crops to grow with Her gentle warmth or wither from Her excessive heat. She is sometimes allied with Mavet, and at such times, Ba'al the Rain God is considered dead, and the heavens seem to stop. Perhaps this refers to the summer solstice, when the Sun is at its most powerful and at its most northerly point in its yearly cycle; the word solstice does mean "sun stands still", as it appears to set in the same spot for several days in a row before once more moving towards the south. When Ba'al is restored (i.e. when the drought of summer is ended) He does battle with Mavet, but Shapash convinces Mavet to concede, and Ba'al is triumphant.

In another legend, Mavet desires the Virgin Anat, the Warrior Goddess of bellicose character Who is happiest up to Her knees in the blood of soldiers. (Notwithstanding the fact that in the Ba'al Epic She kills Him, cutting him up in tiny pieces and sowing Him like wheat in a field!) To this end He seizes Shapash and Yarikh, the Moon God, and takes Them down to Sheol. Anat goes down there after Them Herself, and upon seeing Mavet decides that She does after all desire Him too, so She agrees to a game of chance. For several nights She plays against Him, each night winning a fraction of the light of the Sun and Moon back, and then making passionate love to Mavet. At the end of eight nights She has won both Her own freedom as well as that of Shapash and Yarikh, and is then able to bring them back out into the world.

Also called: Shapshu, Sapas, Shapas, Shaph

 

 

 

 

 

 

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