Wednesday, November 23, 2011


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

From: Shapash
Shapash or Shapsh(u) (Ugaritic/Canaanite), a deity attested at Ugarit in the Ba'l Myth, KTU 1.161, KTU 1.100 and ritual texts, she was the Canaanite goddess of the sun, daughter of El and Asherah. She is known as "torch of the gods" and is considered an important deity in the Canaanite pantheon and among the Phoenicians. The Akkadian sun god, Shamash, was the Mesopotamian male equivalent of the female Canaanite Shapash. She may also be related to a preeminent deity at Ebla named Shipish, and to Shams or Chems, a pre-Muslim Arabic sun deity worshipped at sunrise, noon, and sunset.

In the Epic of Ba'al, Shapsh plays an important part in the plot as she interacts with all of the main characters, and in the end she is favourable to Ba'l position as king. She announces that El supports Yam. By delivering her verdict in the final struggle of Ba'l with Mot, she reveals her role as judge among the gods, and by her judgement against Mot, as saviour of humankind, two aspects, Brian B. Schmidt observes that that conform with what is known of Shamash's function in Mesopotamia. After Baal is killed, she helps Anat bury and mourn him, and then stops shining. Following El's dream about the resurrection of Ba'al, El asks Anat to persuade Shapash to shine again, which she agrees to, but declares that she will continue to search for him. In the battle between Ba'al and Mot, she threatens Mot that El will intervene in Ba'al's favour, a threat which ends the battle.

In the Tanakh, worshiping Shemesh is forbidden and is punishable by stoning. Worshiping Shemesh was said to include bowing to the east, in the direction of the sun, as well as rituals related to horses and chariots, which were associated with her. King Josiah was also said to have abolished sun worship (among others).

From: Wiki
Shapash, Shapshu Shapash is the goddess of the Sun. Called the Luminary of the Deities, the Torch of the Gods, She sees all that transpires on Earth by day and guards the souls of the dead in the underworld by night. A major deity of the Ugaritic pantheon, She assists `Anat in Her search for Ba`al. Like the Akkadian Shamash, She is a deity of justice, often serving to mediate for the deities in disputes. She is related to Shamsh, Chems, an Arabic Sun-goddess worshipped at sunrise, noon, and sunset. She may also have been a preeminent deity at Ebla named Shipish. The Akkadian/ Babylonian sun god Shamash or Shemesh, also a bringer of light, upholder of law and order, and prophetic oracle, was originally a goddess, as demonstrated in personal names Ummi-Shamash which means My Mother is Shamash.
An actual ancient prayer:
Me, I spoke to my Ba`al;
to Shapash, the eternal Sun;
to `Athtartu; to `Anatu;
to all the gods of Althaya

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