Friday, February 24, 2012


Nergal is an ancient Sumero-Babylonian deity and the god of the netherworld, where he rules with his consort Ereshkigal. He is an evil god who brings war, pestilence, fever and devastation. He is sometimes regarded as representing the sinister aspect of the sun god Shamash. He is the subject of an Akkadian poem which describes his translation from heaven to the underworld. The foremost center of his cult was the city Kuthu. His attributes are the club and the sickle.

From: Here

Nergal (Erragal, Erra, Engidudu - 'lord who prowls by night') -, the Unsparing, god of the underworld, husband of Ereshkigal, lover of Mami. As Erra he is a hunter god, a god of war and plague. He is submissive to Ea. He can open the doorposts to the underworld to allow the passage of a soul.

He achieved his post by refusing to stand before an address of Namtar. When Ereshkigal called him to be punished, he dragged her off of her throne by the hair, and threatened to decapitate her. She offered him the position as her consort and he accepted.

He is an evil aspect of Shamash. He allows Enkidu's spirit to visit Gilgamesh at the behest of Ea. He is sometimes the son of Ea. Prior to his first journey to the underworld, he builds a chair of fine wood under Ea's instruction to give to Ereshkigal as a gift from Anu. He is advised not to take part of the food, drink and entertainment offered there. He is tempted by Ereshkigal and eventually succumbs, sleeping with her for seven days. He then takes his leave, angering her. The gatekeeper lets him out and he climbs the stairway to heaven. He hides from Namtar in heaven, but is discovered and returns to the underworld to marry Ereshkigal. In some versions, on the way back to the Underworld, he seizes control of Namtar's attendant demons and grabs Ereshkigal by the hair. In this position she offers marriage.

He commands the Sebitti, seven warriors who are also the Pleadies, they aid in his killing of noisy, over-populous people and animals. He rallies them when he feels the urge for war, and calls Ishum to light the way. They prefer to be used in war instead of waiting while Erra kills by disease.

He regards Marduk as having become negligent and prepares to attack his people in Babylon. He challenges Marduk in Esagila in Shuanna/Babylon. Marduk responds that he already killed most of the people in the flood and would not do so again. He also states that he could not run the flood without getting off of his throne and letting control slip. Erra volunteers to take his seat and control things. Marduk takes his vacation and Erra sets about trying to destroy Babylon. Ishum intervenes on Babylon's behalf and persuades Erra to stop, but not before he promises that the other gods will acknowledge themselves as Erra's servants.

From: Here


Nergal represents a very particular aspect of death, one that is often and rightly interpreted as inflicted death, for Nergal is also the god of plague and pestilence as well as being closely associated with warfare. Nergal's warlike qualities identify him to a considerable extent with warrior gods such as Ninurta and Zababa (Van deer Toorn et al 1999: 622). In his aspect of a war god, Nergal accompanies the king into battle, delivering death to the enemy. Death brought on by Nergal also had a supernatural dimension, disease often being attributed to demonic agency in Mesopotamia. Indeed, Nergal controls a variety of demons and evil forces, most notoriously the ilū sebettu, the "Seven Gods" who are particularly prominent in the myth of Erra as ag ents of death and destruction (Foster 2005: 880-911). Nergal's association with demons and disease further enhances the apotropaic qualities attributed to him and his circle, although such qualities are often attributed to chthonic deities as a class. The Late Babylonian apotropaic figrines representing Nergal (Ellis 196 or the use of the Erra epic as house amulets (Reiner 1960) can be seen as a manifestation of this.

Genealogy and Syncretisms

Nergal's earliest incarnation is in the Early Dynastic Period as Meslamtaea, the god of the underworld whose main cult centre was in the city of Kutha (Lambert 1973: 356). From the Old Babylonian Period onwards, Nergal was syncretised with Erra, a Semitic death god (Wiggermann 1998-2000d: 217). Son of Enlil and Ninlil or Bēlet ilī (Black and Green 1992: 136), Nergal had several spouses: Laṣ, a little-known goddess of possibly non-Sumerian origin; Mamma/Mammi/Mammitum (Lambert 1973: 356), likewise a relatively minor deity; Ninšubur, attendant of Inanna/Ištar; Admu, a West Semitic goddess (Wiggermann 1998-2000d: 219-20); and finally Ereškigal, to whom his marriage is a relatively late development. In the myth of Nergal and Ereškigal (Foster 2005: 506-24), Ereškigal reigns as queen of the underworld into which Nergal is sent to apologize for having offended Namtar, Ereškigal's vizier. There, Nergal is seduced by Ereškigal but manages to trick his way out of the netherworld, otherwise known as "the land of no return". Ereškigal is beside herself with grief at the loss of her lover and finally has him brought back to her. From this point onwards, they rule the underworld jointly (Gurney 1960). Nergal seems to have been 'forced' into this union in more ways than one, for the myth probably reflects a deliberate attempt in the Old Babylonian Period to reconcile northern and southern Mesopotamian traditions which ascribed rule of the netherworld to Ereškigal and Nergal respectively (Dalley 2000: 164).


For the rest: Go Here

Nergal actually seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only a representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.

Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla). In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal and Allatu/Ereshkigal.

Ordinarily Nergal pairs with his consort Laz. Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion.

Nergal's fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Sharrapu ("the burner," a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti. A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta and Nergal. Nergal has epithets such as the "raging king," the "furious one," and the like. A play upon his name—separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (lord of the great dwelling) -- expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks either to the combative demigod Heracles (Latin Hercules) or to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars) -- hence the current name of the planet. In Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

Nergal's chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaeda or Meslamtaea, "the one that rises up from Meslam". The name Meslamtaeda/Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period. Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning "the son of Enlil". As God of the plague, he was invoked during the "plague years" during the reign of Suppiluliuma, when this disease spread from Egypt.

The cult of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical. Hymns and votive and other inscriptions of Babylonian and Assyrian rulers frequently invoke him, but we do not learn of many temples to him outside of Cuthah. Sennacherib speaks of one at Tarbisu to the north of Nineveh, but significantly, although Nebuchadnezzar II (606 BC - 586 BC), the great temple-builder of the neo-Babylonian monarchy, alludes to his operations at Meslam in Cuthah, he makes no mention of a sanctuary to Nergal in Babylon. Local associations with his original seat—Kutha—and the conception formed of him as a god of the dead acted in making him feared rather than actively worshipped. Nergal was also called Ni-Marad in Akkadian[citation needed]. Like Lugal Marad in Sumerian, the name means "king of Marad," a city, whose name means "Rebellion" in Akkadian, as yet unidentified. The name Ni-Marad, in Akkadian means "Lord of Marad". The chief deity of this place, therefore, seems to have been Nergal, of whom, therefore, Lugal-Marad or Ni-Marad is another name. Thus, some scholars have drawn the connection of Ni-Marad being yet another deified name for Nimrod, the rebel king of Babylon and Assyria mentioned in Genesis 10: 8-11.

From: Wiki 

Nergal, Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian) [Iraq}, was a chthonic underworld god, worshipped from c. 3500 BC to 200 BC. His centers of worship were Kuthu and Tarbisu. He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil and the consort of the underworld goddess Ereskigal. He is depicted as the god of war and sudden death as well as the Emeslam. He is usually shown as a bearded figure emerging from the ground carrying a double-edged mace-scimitar typically embellished with lion heads. By the Hellenic period he is identified with the god Hercules. A.G.H.

From: here


Also see:
JSTOR (free) PDF:
Hymn to Nergal
The Marriage of Nergal and Ereshkigal -- the text
4.15.2 A hymn to Nergal (Nergal B): transliteration | translation
4.15.3 A tigi to Nergal (Nergal C): transliteration | translation
Gateways to Babylon: Nergal
Gateways to Babylon: NERGAL AND ERESHKIGAL : How the God of War conceded defeat to the Queen of the Great Below

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Egyptian god of war, the personification of those aspects of kingship to do with conquering other countries. Montu was the old chief god of the Theban nome, before Amun took over this role. The first traces of a cult of Montu are therefore to be found in the Theban area. Four rulers of the 11th Dynasty, ruling from that town, bore the name Mentuhotep (Montu is satisfied), which indicates the importance of the god at that time. The first large temples for Montu were also built then. In the 12th Dynasty the god became somewhat overshadowed by Amun - the most popular king's name of that time was, for example, Amenemhat (Amun is in front) - but Montu always kept the title 'Lord of Thebes'. As time went on he was linked with the sun god in the form of Montu-Re, but eventually also with Amun as Amun-Montu-Re. Montu was also identified with a special form of Amun, that of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis. The Buchis bull, the sacred bull of Hermonthis, was a manifestation of Montu. The god was usually depicted with the head of a falcon and a headdress consisting of two feathers and a sun disk. From the Late Period there are also depictions of Montu with the head of a bull.

From: here

Montu was also thought to act as a guardian of happy family life. He is referred to in marriage documents to ensure that each party lived up to their commitment. Infidelity is described as "the abomination of Montu" and was definitely frowned upon. He was one of the deities who protected Ra on his nightly journey through the underworld and battled the serpent of chaos (Apep).

Montu was often depicted as a man with the head of a falcon wearing a headdress of two long plumes, a solar disk and the double uraeus (like that of Amun). He is generally armed, but uses a variety of weapons. Because of his links to the bull cults he was also depicted with the head of a bull (wearing the same headdress).

Montu was closely associated with Ra as a solar god and often appears as Montu-Ra. He was also merged with Atum and even associated with Set (possibly because of his martial aspect or because he could counteract the negative side of Set). The Greeks considered Montu to be a form of Ares, the god of war.

He was thought to be married to Tjenenet, Iunyt and Rettawy. It was sometimes suggested that the child of Montu and Rettawy (who like Iunyt was a female aspect of Ra) was Horus the child, linking Montu with Horus and therefore the pharaoh. When Amun became the national god, he and his wife Mut were sometimes described as the (adoptive) parents of Montu.

From: Here
In Ancient Egyptian religion, Monthu was a falcon-god of war. Monthu's name, shown in Egyptian hieroglyphs to the right, is technically transcribed as mntw. Because of the difficulty in transcribing Egyptian, it is often realized as Montu, Montju, or Menthu.

Monthu was an ancient god, his name meaning nomad, originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of the sun, Ra, and as such often appeared under the epithet Monthu-Ra. The destructiveness of this characteristic led to him gaining characteristics of a warrior, and eventually becoming a war-god.

Because of the association of raging bulls with strength and war, Monthu was also said to manifest himself in a white bull with a black face, which was referred to as the Bakha. Egypt's greatest general-kings called themselves Mighty Bulls, the sons of Monthu. In the famous narrative of the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses II was said to have seen the enemy and "raged at them like Monthu, Lord of Thebes".

From: Wiki
Symbols: weapons, bulls, falcons
Cult Center: Hermonthis

Montu was the falcon-headed god of war. He was called the "lord of Thebes" even though his chief seat of worship was 10 miles to the south in Hermonthis. Hermonthis was the capital of the Theban nome.

Montu was portrayed as a falcon-headed man wearing a headdress consisting of the sun-disc encircled by the uraeus topped by two plumes. In his hands he would hold various weaponry, including the schimtar, bows and arrows, and knives.

Early in Theban history, Montu was an important and prominent god. Later when Amon rose in popularity, Montu became overshadowed and was incorporated into the Theban worship of Amon. He was sometimes shown with a bull's head during this period. He was said to be the destructive element of the sun's heat. Also, Montu was said to slay the sun's enemies from the prow of the night-boat of the sun.

From: Here
Also see:
Montu, Solar and Warrior God
Montu « Henadology


Montu @ Thebes
Precinct of Montu



Ammut, whose name means ‘Devourer of the Dead’, is a Goddess of the netherworld depicted with the head of a crocodile, the front legs of a lion or leopard and the rear of a hippopotamus. Ammut is generally known for her role at the famous judgment scene (Book of the Dead spell 125), in which the heart is weighed against Ma’et, where Ammut sits on all fours waiting to consume the heart which has not been purified. In spell 168, however, she is said to keep the soul sound in the netherworld insofar as she has received offerings from one while alive.

From: Hendalogy
Ammut was a creature which dwelled in the Hall of Ma'at awaiting the judgement of the deceased that passed through there. Those souls who were found unworthy to dwell in the Afterlife were devoured by her. The process of judgement involved the weighing of the deceased person's heart against the feather of Ma'at. If the heart (the seat of the soul, according to the ancient Egyptians) was found to be heavy with sin and impurities and did not balance with the feather, Ammut would devour them.

The goddess was depicted with the head of a crocodile, the forequarters of a lion, and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus.

From: here
Other Names: Eater of the Dead, the Devourer.

Patron of: destruction of the souls of the wicked.

Appearance: a demon with the head of crocodile, the torso of a leopard and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus.

Description: Ammit sits beneath the Scales of Justice before the throne of Osiris where she waits for the daily flow of souls to come before Osiris for judgment. During the Judging of the Heart, if the deeds of the soul being judged are found to be more wicked than good, Anubis feeds the soul to Ammit. This results in the total annihilation of the person, and there is no hope of further existence.

From: here

In the The Book of the Dead, Ammut sat at the judgement of the dead in The Hall of Double Ma'at (when the deceased's heart was weighed on the scales against Ma'at), ready to devour the souls of the unworthy - the final death for an Egyptian! It has even been suggested that she was also a protector of Osiris, because of her position at the Judgement.

She was also known as the 'Dweller in Amenta' or the 'Devourer of Amenta', the place where the sun sets. Amenta, as used by the Egyptians, was applied to the west bank of the Nile - Egyptian cemeteries and funerary places were all on the west. To the Egyptians, west was a direction linked to death. Amenta was also the name of the underworld - the place where Ra traveled during the night. Ammut, therefore, was not only a demoness of death, but a demoness of the underworld. In at least one papyrus, Ammut was depicted as crouching beside the lake of fire in the infernal regions of the underworld!

The The Book of the Dead is a selection of spells, designed to assist the deceased through the trials of the underworld. This also, of course, assists the dead to not get eaten by Ammut. The papyrus of Ani, in a speech made by the gods to Thoth, says:

The Osiris [the scribe Ani], whose word is true, is holy and righteous. He has not committed any sin, and he has done no evil against us. The devourer Ammut shall not be permitted to prevail over him.

From: Ammut, Great of Death, Easter of Hearts, the Devourer
In ancient Egyptian religion, Ammit (also spelled Ammut and Ahemait, meaning Devourer or Soul Eater) was a female demon with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile—the three largest "man-eating" animals known to ancient Egyptians. A funerary deity, her titles included "Devourer of the Dead", "Eater of Hearts", and "Great of Death".

Ammit lived near the scales of justice in Duat, the Egyptian underworld. In the Hall of Two Truths, Anubis weighed the heart of a person against Ma'at, the goddess of truth, who was sometimes depicted symbolically as an ostrich feather. If the heart was judged to be not pure, Ammit would devour it, and the person undergoing judgement was not allowed to continue their voyage towards Osiris and immortality. Once Ammut swallowed the heart, the soul was believed to become restless forever; this was called "to die a second time". Ammit was also sometimes said to stand by a lake of fire. In some traditions, the unworthy hearts were cast into the fiery lake to be destroyed. Some scholars believe Ammit and the lake represent the same concept of destruction.

Ammit was not worshipped, and was never regarded as a goddess; instead she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma'at.

Ammit has been linked with the goddess Tawaret, who has a similar physical appearance and, as a companion of Bes, also protected others from evil. Other authors[who?] have noted that Ammit's lion characteristics, and the lake of fire, may be pointers to a connection with the goddess Sekhmet. The relation to afterlife punishment and lake of fire location are also shared with the baboon deity Babi.

From: Wiki

Her name, is generally translated as "Devourer", but could also be the chilling "Bone Eater", and she was known as "Devourer of millions" leading to the suggestion that the god Am-heh was one of her aspects. Some scholars have linked Ammit with the Hippopotamus goddess Tawaret, because of the similarities in their appearance and their role in fighting evil. According to some traditions, she lived by the scales of justice, but other sources suggested that she (like Am-heh) lived by a lake of fire into which the souls of the guilty were thrown. According to these traditions, she did not devour the souls, but protected the lake. This has led some to suggested that she may be linked to Sekhmet due to her lionine characteristics and her role in protecting a lake of fire.

She was generally depicted as a demon with the head of a crocodile, the torso of a wild cat, and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus. However, she also took human form.


From: here

Also see:

Egypt: Judgment of the Dead in Ancient Egypt
Book of Coming Forth by Day

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kubera/Kuvera - कुबेर

In the Vedic times in Indian Mythology, Kubera was a being associated with evil. He was envisaged to be the chief of all evil creatures living in darkness. It was only after Hinduism consolidated into what it is today that this hideous dwarf began to get acknowledged as a god and as one of the eight guardians of the world. He still remained the king of the Yakshas. Today, in the Hindu pantheon, Kubera is widely known as the god appointed the guardian of the treasures of the gods. He often rides in his airborne magic chariot Pushpak and showers jewels and other precious objects onto the lands he passes over to succor the poor.

There are two versions of how Kubera was elevated to the stature of a god. The first version postulates that Kubera performed stringent austerities for thousands of years and, as a reward, was promoted. Another rather more romantic version is that one day Kubera had gone to rob a temple of Shiva, who is the king of robbers. During the robbery Kubera's taper had somehow been blown out. No matter how hard the dwarf tried he could not relight the taper. Nevertheless, he persisted with his efforts no matter how nefarious they were and, on the tenth attempt, he succeeded. Shiva is a benign god who is often pleased by the most illogical of efforts. This perseverance of Kubera's in his attempt to rob the god's temple won him much admiration from Shiva who subsequently granted the dwarf access to the Hindu pantheon of gods.

Kubera is physically envisioned as a dwarf with an ugly and deformed body. His skin is white and he has three legs. He has a set of only eight teeth. Why this is so is rather mysterious, as are so many physical features of the other Hindu gods. Since Kubera was so deformed, he had difficulty in moving around. Brahma took pity and ordered Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods and a god in his own right, to build the disabled god a chariot. Vishwakarma conceived and built Pushpak, an aerial chariot which moves of its own accord and which is so large that it can contain a whole city. Kubera flies in this fantastic chariot and throws down jewels and other precious objects to people on the ground to aid them with averting poverty.

Kubera has three famous half-brothers, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Bivhishana. All three find mention in the great Indian epic story Ramayana and are relatively better-known than Kubera, especially to Indian children. This association has spawned many interesting tales and here are some of them.

It was Ravana, the eldest of Kubera's half-brothers, who stole Pushpak from him and made use of it to further his nefarious activities. The accounts of his misdeeds with the aid of the magic chariot are amply narrated in the Ramayana. First, Ravana abducted Sita, Rama's wife, from her cottage in a forest to his capital in Lanka where he held her captive. When Rama attacked Lanka to rescue his wife, Ravana used Pushpak to parry Rama's forays until Rama, Vishnu's seventh incarnation, at last overcame the evil king's forces and used Kubera's magic chariot to transport himself with his wife back to his kingdom in Ayodhya. After that the fantastic contraption was back in the hands of the dwarf god who again began going about his usual business of consolidating the wealth of the worlds.

The tale of how Ravana and his other two brothers were conceived is also an interesting story. The fabulous city of Lanka was built by Vishwakarma and the Rakshasas, the demons of Indian mythology, got hold of it. For some reason or another, the Rakshasas annoyed Vishnu who decided to attack the city. The evil ones fled because, although Lanka was the best fortified and richest city in the world at that time, they feared that it was still not safe enough against an attack by a god of Vishnu's stature. At this time Kubera, always the opportunist, took over the ghost city and settled there with his own attendants. This was not for long for as soon as Vishnu was pacified, the Rakshasas became determined to get their city back from the deformed god. They sent a beautiful maiden to seduce Kubera's father. She succeeded and from their union was born the three half-brothers of Kubera. Ravana, like quite a few notorious Rakshasas before and after him, performed stringent austerities which earned him the boon of invincibility from Shiva. With this boon he ultimately defeated his own half-brother Kubera and got back the city of Lanka for his people, the Rakshasas. After the loss of this luxurious asset Kubera approached Vishwakarma with the request of creating a residence for him. The builder god conceived for him a palace on Mount Kailash, in the Himalayas. The opulent palace was an appropriate abode for Kubera as it was in the north, the portion of the globe of which he was the guardian. Of course, as guardian of the treasures of the gods and the nine Nidhis, special treasures of indefinite significance, Kubera had for himself the most splendid city in the world on Mount Mandara, a mythical mountain in the Himalayas. Within this city, Alakapuri, is the most beautiful garden in the world, Chaitraratha. Both are a part of the many sybaritic possessions of Kubera.

Kubera is assisted in his duties by his constant attendants, the Kinnaras, male creatures, and their female counterparts, the Kinnoris.

From: here
Affiliation Deva, Lokapala, Guardians of the directions (Dikpala)
Abode Alaka
Mantra Oṃ Shaṃ Kuberāya Namaḥ
Weapon Gadā (Mace)
Consort Riddhi or Bhadra/Kauberi/Charvi
Mount Man/elephant

Kubera (Sanskrit: कुबेर, Pali/later Sanskrit: Kuvera, Tamil/Thai: Kuperan), also spelt Kuber, is the Lord of wealth and the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas in Hindu mythology. He is regarded as the regent of the North (Dik-pala), and a protector of the world (Lokapala) His many epithets extol him as the overlord of numerous semi-divine species and the owner of the treasures of the world. Kubera is often depicted as a fat man, adorned with jewels and carrying a money-pot or money-bag, and a club.

Originally described as the chief of evil spirits in Vedic-era texts, Kubera acquired the status of a Deva (god) only in the Puranas and the Hindu epics. The scriptures describe that Kubera once ruled Lanka, but was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, later settling in the city of Alaka in the Himalayas. Descriptions of the "glory" and "splendours" of Kubera's city are found in many scriptures.

Kubera has also been assimilated into the Buddhist and Jain pantheons. In Buddhism, he is known as Vaisravana, the patronymic used of the Hindu Kubera and is also equated with Pañcika, while in Jainism, he is known as Sarvanubhuti.

Kubera is often depicted as a dwarf, with fair complexion and a big belly. He is described as having three legs, only eight teeth, one eye, and being adorned with jewels. He is sometimes depicted riding a man.[1][2] The description of deformities like the broken teeth, three legs, three heads and four arms appear only in the later Puranic texts.[3] Kubera holds a mace, a pomegranate or a money bag in his hand.[1] He may also carry a sheaf of jewels or a mongoose with him. In Tibet, the mongoose is considered a symbol of Kubera's victory over Nāgas—the guardians of treasures.[4] Kubera is usually depicted with a mongoose in Buddhist iconography.[2]

In the Vishnudharmottara Purana, Kubera is described as the embodiment of both Artha ("wealth, prosperity, glory") and Arthashastras, the treatises related to it—and his iconography mirrors it. Kubera's complexion is described as that of lotus leaves. He rides a man—the state personified, adorned in golden clothes and ornaments, symbolizing his wealth. His left eye is yellow. He wears an armour and a necklace down to his large belly. The Vishnudharmottara Purana further describes his face to be inclined to the left, sporting a beard and mustache, and with two small tusks protruding from the ends of his mouth, representing his powers to punish and to bestow favours. His wife Riddhi, representing the journey of life, is seated on his left lap, with her left hand on the back of Kubera and the right holding a ratna-patra (jewel-pot). Kubera should be four-armed, holding a gada (mace: symbol of dandaniti—administration of justice) and a shakti (power) in his left pair, and standards bearing a lion—representing Artha and a shibika (a club, the weapon of Kubera). The nidhi treasures Padma and Shankha stand beside him in human form, with their heads emerging from a lotus and a conch respectively.[5]

The Agni Purana states that Kubera should be installed in temples as seated on a goat, and with a club in his hand.[6] Kubera's image is prescribed to be that of gold, with multi-coloured attributes.[7] In some sources, especially in Jain depictions, Kubera is depicted as a drunkard, signified by the "nectar vessel" in his hand.[8]

The exact origins of the name Kubera are unknown.[7] "Kubera" or "Kuvera" (कुवेर) as spelt in later Sanskrit, means "deformed or monstrous" or "ill-shaped one"; indicating his deformities.[7][9] Another theory suggests that Kubera may be derived from the verb root kumba, meaning to conceal. Kuvera is also split as ku (earth), and vira (hero).[10]

As the son of Vishrava ("Fame"), Kubera is called Vaisravana (in the Pali language, Vessavana) and as the son of Ilavila, Ailavila.[11] Vaisravana is sometimes translated as the "Son of Fame".[7] The Sutta Nitapa commentary says that Vaisravana is derived from a name of Kubera's kingdom, Visana.[10] Once, Kubera looked at Shiva and his wife Parvati with jealousy, so he lost one of his eyes. Parvati also turned this deformed eye yellow. So, Kubera gained the name Ekaksipingala ("one who has one yellow eye").[6] He is also called Bhutesha ("Lord of spirits") like Shiva. Kubera usually is drawn by spirits or men (nara), so is called Nara-vahana, one whose vahana (mount) is nara. Hopkins interprets naras as being water-spirits, although Mani translates nara as men.[6][12] Kubera also rides the elephant called Sarvabhauma as a loka-pala.[11]

Kubera also enjoys the titles "king of the whole world", "king of kings" (Rajaraja), "Lord of wealth" (Dhanadhipati) and "giver of wealth" (Dhanada). His titles are sometimes related to his subjects: "king of Yakshas" (Yaksharajan), "Lord of Rakshasas" (Rakshasadhipati), "Lord of Guhyakas" (Guhyakadhipa), "king of Kinnaras"(Kinnararaja), "king of animals resembling men" (Mayuraja), and "king of men" (Nararaja).[7][11][12] Kubera is also called Guhyadhipa ("Lord of the hidden"). The Atharvaveda calls him the "god of hiding".[12]

From: Wiki (also has more info available)
In Hinduism, Alaka (Sanskrit:अलक), which is also sometimes called Alakapuri, is a mythical city. It is the home of Kubera, the king of Yakshas and the lord of wealth, and his attendants called yakshas.[1] The Mahabharata mentions this city as the capital of the Yaksha Kingdom. This city rivals the capital of Indra the king of the Devas in its architecture, opulence, and overall splendor.

Alaka in Sanskrit means, 'lock of curly hair'.[2] It is also a common name for Hindu girls.[2]

From: Wiki
Kuber is regarded as the god of wealth, in Hindu mythology. Lord Kubera is also known as the god of yakshas (savage beings). Kubera is always remembered with the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi. Chanting of Kuber Mantra blesses the worshipper with money and prosperity by drawing new avenues and sources of income and wealth. Mantra of Kubera helps to increase the flow of funds and the ability to accumulate wealth. Kubera Mantra is as follows:

"Om Yakshyaya Kuberaya Vaishravanaaya Dhanadhanyadi Padayeh
Dhana-Dhanya Samreeddhing Me Dehi Dapaya Swaha"

Meaning: Kubera, the lord of yakshas, bless us with wealth and prosperity.

One, who worships lord Kubera and Lakshmi, can never fall short of money and material comforts. The special puja of Kubera is performed on Dusshera, Dhan triyodasi and Deepawali, asking for prosperity and his blessings.

From: here
KUVERA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] In the Vedas, a chief of the evil beings or spirits living in the shades: a sort of Pluto, and called by his patronymic Vaisravana. Later he is Pluto in another sense, as god of wealth and chief of the Yakshas and Guhyakas.

He was son of Visravas by Idavida, but he is sometimes called son of Pulastya, who was father of Visravas. This is explained by Mahabharata, according to which Kuvera was son of Pulastya, but that sage being offended with Kuvera for his adulation of Brahma, "reproduced the half of himself in the form of Visravas," and had Ravana and other children.

Kuvera's city is Alaka (also called Prabha, Vasudhara, and Vasushtali) in the Himalayas, and his garden Chaitaratha on Mandara, one of the spurs of Mount Meru, where he is waited upon by the Kinnaras. Some authorities place his abode on Mount Kailasa in a palace built by Viswakarma.

He was half-brother of Ravana, and, according to the Ramayana and Mahabharata, he once had possession of the city of Lanka in Ceylon, which was also built by Viswakarma, and from which he was expelled by Ravana. The same authority states that he performed austerities for thousands of years, and obtained the boon from Brahma that he should be immortal, one of the guardian deities of the world, and the god of wealth. So he is regent of the north, and the keeper of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, and all the treasures of the earth, besides nine particular Nidhis, or treasures, the nature of which is not well understood.

Brahma also gave him the great self-moving aerial car Pushpaka.

His wife is Yakshi, Charvi, or Kauveri, daughter of the Danava Mura. His sons are Manigriva or Varnakavi and Nalakubara or Mayuraja, and his daughter Minakshi (fish-eyed).

He is represented as a white man deformed in body, and having three legs and only eight teeth. His body is covered with ornaments. He receives no worship. The name Kuver, as also the variant Kutanu, signifies 'vile body,' referring to his ugliness. He is also called Dhanapati, 'lord of wealth;' Ichchhavasu, 'who has wealth at will;' Yaksharaja, 'chief of the Yakshas;' Mayuraja, 'king of the Kinnaras;' Rakshasendra, 'chief of the Rakshasas;' Ratnagarbha, 'belly of jewels;' Raharaja, 'king of kings;' and Nararaja, 'king of men' (in allusion to the power of riches). From his parentage he is called Vaisravana, Paulastya, and Aidavida or Ailavila. As an especial friend of Siva he is called Isasakhi, etc.

DHANA-DA `Giver of wealth.' Kuvera, the god of riches
DHANA-PATI `Lord of wealth.' Kuvera.
DHANESWARA `Lord of wealth.' I.e., Kuvera

From: here
...Vaishravana - Lord of Wealth in the Buddhist pantheon. He is the Buddhist counterpart of Kubera, the Brahmanical god of riches. According to the Brahmanical tradition, 'Kubera' was the son of a sage 'Vishravas', hence the name Vaishravana.

Vaishravana had performed austerities for a thousand years, in reward of which Brahma gave him immortality and made him god of wealth, guardian of all the treasures of the earth, which he was to give out to whom they were destined. His abode was said to be on Mount Kailas; but when Brahma appointed him god of riches, he gave him Lanka (Ceylon) as his capital, and presented him, as recorded in the Mahabharata, the car pushpaka, which was of immense size and moved at the owners will at the marvellous speed. But later on he was forced to moved to Mount Kailas by his brother Ravana who had captured the throne of Lanka. Ravana also took pushpaka from him.

Kubera is also worshipped by the Buddhists. He is considered as one of the Lokapalas, guardian of Mount Sumeru, as well as one of the Regents of the four cardinal directions. As a Regent of the North he is called Vaishravana and his adobe is Alka in the Himalayas, abounding in wealth and magnificence, where he is attended by Yakshas and Kinnaras.

The Buddhist texts, the Divyavadana and the Lalitavistara provide information pertaining to the legend and iconography of Vaishravana. In Tibet, he has been one of the primary protectors of the Gelupa sect since the fourteenth century A.D. There is a special ceremony in Tibet for imploring Kubera for riches, which is called Yan-Yung, and he plays an important part in Tantra, sorcery and exorcism. In Northern Buddhism he has two main aspects that of a deity of wealth and that of a warrior protector. In the present manifestation he has been shown as the god of wealth. Though Vaishravana holds many attributes, e.g. a sword, a banner, lemon and flat vessel etc., but his most common attribute or insignia is mongoose (nakula), often vomiting jewels, and in all descriptions Vaishravana is said to be fat and pot-bellied in appearance. His female counterpart is Vasudhara, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Here he is seated in an easy posture on a lotus throne. His right foot is slightly pendent and supported by a conch-shell. His left hand holds a jewel-spitting mongoose. There is a precious jewel offering in front of him. He has open eyes, frowning eyebrows and an upturned lower lip. His beard has been designed in the shape of curls. He is wearing a five-jewelled crown, and various ornaments - earrings, necklaces, armlets, bracelets, waist-bands and anklets. There is a snake around his body and he is adorned with flowing scarves.

From: here

Also see:
His Yantra
Feast of Kubera
Related Japanese deity and associations with Kubera
Lord Kuber
Working with Kubera - The God of Wealth
Statue: Kubera (Vaishravana) - God of Wealth & Kubera (Vishravana) - God of Wealth and Prosperity

Buddhist counterpart:
Another site
Info and art

Gayatri - गायत्री

Gayatri (Sanskrit: गायत्री, gāyatrī) is the feminine form of gāyatra, a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. Gayatri is a consort of Brahma and the goddess of learning.[1] Brahma married her when there was a need for a companion during a yajna.[1] Brahma had to start the yajna along with his wife.[1] His wife, Savatri, could not be found at the time so Brahma asked Indra to help him find a solution and Indra found Gayatri, who some believe, came from the Gurjar community.[2]. So Brahma married Gayatri to start the yajna in time.[1]

Upset by this act, Savatri cursed Brahma that he would not be worshipped on earth except at Pushkar.

Originally the personification of the Gayatri mantra, and revered by Hindus worldwide, the goddess Gāyatrī is considered the veda mata, the mother of all Vedas and also the personification of the all-pervading Parabrahman, the ultimate unchanging reality that lies behind all phenomena. Gayatri Veda Mata is seen by many Hindus to be not just a Goddess, but a portrayal of Brahman himself, in the feminine form. Essentially, the Goddess is seen to combine all the phenomenal attributes of Brahman, including Past, Present and Future as well as the three realms of existence. Goddess Gāyatrī is also worshipped as the Hindu Trimurti combined as one. In Hinduism, there is only one creation who can withstand the brilliance of Aditya and that is Gāyatrī. Some also consider her to be the mother of all Gods and the culmination of Lakshmi, Parvati and Sarasvati.

Gāyatrī is typically portrayed as seated on a red lotus, signifying wealth or else on a swan or peacock.[1] She appears in either of these forms:

Having five heads with the ten eyes looking in the eight directions plus the earth and sky, and ten arms holding all the weapons of Vishnu, symbolizing all her reincarnations.[citation needed]
Accompanied by a white swan, holding a book to portray knowledge in one hand and a cure in the other, as the goddess of Education.

It is a Sanskrit word, Ga means to sing, Yatri means Protection. Gayatri has three phases and so it is called tripada. It is also called tripada because it is Vedmata, Devmata and Vishwamata. Vedas have originated from Gayatri mantra and so it is known as Vedmata. It is Devmata because it helps in manifestation of divine virtues (gun), actions (karma) and nature (swabhav).

From: Wiki
Gayatri is a Sanskrit word, made up of two words "Gaa" and "Yatree". "Gaa" means to sing and "Yatree" means protection. Hence it means that those who "worship Gayatri gets protected". Goddess Gayatri is considered as the essence of Upnishads. Gayatri mantra was written and developed by Brahmarishi Vishwamitra. The Puranas mention that only 24 Rishis since ancient time have understood the whole meaning and used the whole power of the Gayatri Mantra. Rishi Vishvamitra is supposed to be the first and Rishi Yajnavalkya the last.

Introduction :-
Gayatri is known as Veda Mata i.e. the mother of all Four Vedas. A person totally devoted to Goddess Gayatri can achieve great success in the path of self advancement as Goddess Gayatri inspires man towards righteous.

Gayatri on swan and lotus:-
It is said that Goddess Gayatri resides in each and every human heart in the form of a swan. If a person meditates deep within he sees a swan which is considered as goddess Gayatri. The swan is the symbol of God realization. The lotus is considered as seat of Goddess Gayatri which means the presence of Divinity and wealth.

From: here
Gayatri Devi is an incarnation of Saraswati Devi, consort of Lord Brahma, symbolising the "shakti" (strength) and "dev" (quality) of Knowledge, Purity and Virtue. Saraswati Devi is held to be the patronness of the Arts, being a poet and musician, as well as skillful composer. In the form of Gayatri Devi, with the blessings of Lord Brahma, she is believed to have given the four Vedas to mankind.
Goddess Gayatri

Gayatri is depicted seated on a lotus. She is depicted with five faces representing the pancha pranas /pancha vayus(five lives/winds): prana, apana,vyana, udana, samana, of the five principles/ elements (pancha tatwas) earth, water, air, fire, sky (prithvi, jala, vayu, teja, aakasha). She has 10 hands carrying the five ayudhas: shankha; chakra, kamala, varada, abhaya, kasha, ankusha, ujjwala utensil, rudrakshi mala.

Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati are three goddesses representing the presiding deities of the famous Gayatri mantra chanted thrice a day. Gayatri is the presiding deity of the morning prayer and rules over the Rigveda and the garhapatya fire. Every grihasta (householder) was expected to keep 5 or 3 sacred fires ( Five fires: ahavaneeya, dakshagni, garhapatya, sawta, aavasadha.) in his house to perform Vedic rituals.

From: here
Gayatri is the name of one of the most important Vedic hymns consisting of twenty-four syllables. This hymn is addressed to Lord Surya (Sun) as the supreme generative force. The hymn says, "We meditate on that glorious light of the divine Surya, may he, the lord of light illuminate our minds".

One of the sacred texts says, "The Gayatri is Brahma, Gayatri is Vishnu, Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas" Gayatri later came to be personified as a Goddess. She is shown as having five heads and is usually seated within a lotus. The four heads of Gayatri represent the four Vedas and the fifth one represents almighty God. In her ten hands, she holds all the symbols of Lord Vishnu. She is another consort of Lord Brahma.

From: here
The Gayatri is the divine power that transforms the human into the divine and blesses Man with a brilliant light of the highest spiritual illumination. The nature of the Gayatri Mantra is such that you can repeat it while meditating on any form you like. It is generally conceived of as a female deity by the majority of devotees. One who worships God as mother adheres to this belief. But in it's true light, the Gayatri never speaks of a female at all. You cannot find a single word in the entire Gaytri Mantra, which speaks of a female.

The feminine form of the word Gayatri cannot make it's deity a female. Gayatri is discribed as having five faces. She is worshipped as a Panchamukhi, Five-Faced Goddess. The first is "Aum". The second is "Bhoorbhuvassvah". The third is "Thathsavithur Varenyam". The fourth is "Bhargo Devasya Dheemahie". The fifth is "Dheeyo yo nah prachoedayaath". Gayathri represents these five faces the five Pranas (life forces). She is the protector of the five Pranas in Man. Gayathri is the embodiment of all deities. It is not related to any particular sect, caste, idol or institution.

From: here
The five faced and ten armed Gayatri is one of the popular Brahmanical female divinities, though she is neither one the seven Matrikas nor one of the ten Mahavidyas. Puranas attribute to her a myth or two, personalise and associate her with Brahma as one of his consorts, many scholars, however, and perhaps more reasonably, opine that Gayatri personifies the Shakti energy, of the Vedic 'mantra' of the same name, not a goddess as is Parvati or Lakshmi. The Vedic Gayatri 'mantra' is revered as the supreme of all 'mantras' and the 'shakti' that it generated as the apex of 'mantra-shakti'. In all probabilities India's visual culture humanised this 'mantra-shakti' as the goddess Gayatri and gave her the name of the Vedic 'mantra'.

The Brahma Purana alludes to Gayatri as one of Brahma's consorts, though this allusion itself has symbolic dimension. Once Brahma was going to perform a 'yajna'. He wanted his other consort Swara to accompany him in performing it. Swara was not, however, available at that time. As mandated under ritual norms, the 'yajna' could not be accomplished singly without a consort. Brahma hence asked his other consort Gayatri to sit with him and perform the necessary rites. In the meantime Swara came back. She lost her temper as soon as she saw Gayatri seated with Brahma in her place for the 'yajna'. Infuriated Swara cursed her to turn into a river. However, before the curse materialised Gayatri accomplished the 'yajna'. In the Puranic tradition, Gayatri hence symbolises in simultaneity the 'mantra-shakti' for which she initially stood, sacred river by Swara's curse, and accomplishment of 'yajna' for being instrumental in performing it.

Perhaps for her diverse attributes, Gayatri subsequently emerged as one of the most powerful Tantrika deities. She is often meditated on as an aspect of Mahalakshmi. Though in the north not many shrines are devoted to her, she is in live worship all over, and is the presiding deity in various Tantrika practices. However, in South she is one of the most popular female divinities worshipped on par with Padmavati. The five-faced coral complexioned goddess represents multi-faceted female energy and thus embodies in one supreme form all feminine potentials manifesting in different individual goddesses. Though the deity's complexion is all over the same, her all five faces have different colours suggestive of energy's different constituents. She is required to deliver various goods and hence her ten hands, carrying different attributes disc, mace, wine cup, lotuses, conch, goad and cane, besides, two hands in the posture of 'Abhaya' and 'Varada' assuring fearlessness and bestowing bliss. In her usual iconography she carries also a whip and noose and hardly ever imparts 'Abhaya' and 'Varada'. The artist in the painting has substituted with 'Abhaya' and 'Varada' at least two instruments of war, perhaps for perceiving in her a more benevolent protective and bliss-bestowing mother, not much of a chastiser. Alike, not splendour, the painting strives at attaining a kind of cosmic mysticism, which its background reveals. From its oceanic depths and against its darkness she illuminates like rising sun which the colour of her body, costume and lotuses symbolises. Tantrikas revere Gayatri as the most auspicious and as one whose bare presence accomplishes all desired.

From: here
Also see:

Painting One
Painting Two
Painting Three
More paintings
Shri Gayatri Yantram

Also, because the Gayatri mantra is so closely linked to her, here are tons of links about it (meaning, interpretation, signifigance, etc)--
Gayatri Mantra - Detailed Meaning and Exposition
Gayatri by Words - A detailed explanation behind each word
Importance of Gayartri Mantra
Gayatri Mantra - गायत्री मंत्र
The Gayatri Mantra - Inner Meaning & Analysis of the Most Popular Hindu Hymn
Gayatri Mantra - Meaning and Translation
The Gayatri Mantra

The Mantra with meaning, etc
Gayatri Mantra

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Helios - Ἥλιος

Homeric Hymn 31 to Helius (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"And now, O Mousa Kalliope, daughter of Zeus, begin to sing of glowing Helios (the Sun) whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa (Wide Shining), the far-shining one, bare to the son of Gaia (Earth) and starry Ouranos (Heaven). For Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, his own sister, who bare him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos (Dawn) and rich-tressed Selene (Moon) and tireless Helios (Sun) who is like the deathless gods. As he rides in his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming form the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him. Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, he rests there upon the highest point of heaven, until he marvellously drives them down again through heaven to Okeanos (the Ocean-Stream). Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance that cheers the heart. And now that I have begun with you, I will celebrate the race of mortal men half-divine whose deeds the Mousai have showed to mankind."

Orphic Hymn 8 to Helius (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Helios (Sun), Fumigation from Frankincense and Manna. Hear, golden Titan, whose eternal eye with matchless sight illumines all the sky. Native, unwearied in diffusing light, and to all eyes the object of delight: Lord of the seasons, beaming light from far, sonorous, dancing in thy four-yoked car. With thy right hand the source of morning light, and with thy left the father of the night. Agile and vigorous, venerable Sun, fiery and bright around the heavens you run, foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide, over all his steps propitious you preside. With various-sounding golden lyre ‘tis thine to fill the world with harmony divine. Father of ages, guide of prosperous deeds, the world’s commander, borne by lucid steeds. Immortal Zeus, flute-playing , bearing light, source of existence, pure and fiery bright; bearer of fruit, almighty lord or years, agile and warm, whom every power reveres. Bright eye, that round the world incessant flies, doomed with fair fulgid rays to set and rise; dispensing justice, lover of the stream, the world’s great master, and over all supreme. Faithful defender, and the eye of right, of steeds the ruler, and of life the light: with sounding whip four fiery steeds you guide, when in the glittering car of day you ride, propitious on these mystic labour shine, and bless thy suppliants with a life divine."

Helios' Appearance: Often represented as a handsome youth with a rayed headdress indicating his solar attributes.

Symbol or Attributes of Helios: Rayed headdress, his chariot pulled by the four horses Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon, the whip he drives them with, and a globe.

Helios' Strengths: Powerful, fiery, bright, tireless

Helios' Weaknesses: His intense fire can burn

Birthplace of Helios:The Greek island of Rhodes

Parents:Usually said to be Hyperion, supposedly a still-earlier sun god, and Theia

Spouse: Perse

Children:By Perse, Aeëtes, Circe, and Pasiphae. He is also the father of Phaethusa, Phaeton, and Lampeta.

Some Major Temple Sites:The island of Rhodes, where the famous huge statue "The Colossus of Rhodes" probably depicted Helios. Also, the island of Thrinacia was said by Homer to be Helios' special territory, but its actual location is unknown.

Basic Story:Helios rises from a golden palace beneath the sea and drives his fiery chariot across the sky every day, providing daylight. Once he let his son Phaeton drive his chariot, but Phaeton lost control of the vehicle and plunged to his death or, alternately, set the earth on fire and was killed by Zeus to keep him from burning up all of mankind.

Interesting Fact: Helios is a Titan, a member of the earlier order of gods and goddesses which preceded the later Olympians. Whenever we encounter the "os" ending in a name, it usually indicates an earlier, pre-Greek origin.

In modern Greece, many hilltop chapels are dedicated to "Saint" Ilios, and are likely to mark ancient temple sites for Helios.

Alternate Spellings:Helius, Ilius, Ilios.

From: here
HELIOS (or Helius) was the Titan god of the sun. He was also the guardian of oaths and the god of gift of sight. Helios dwelt in a golden palace located in the River Okeanos at the eastern ends of the earth. From there he emerged each dawn driving a chariot drawn by four, fiery winged steeds and crowned with the aureole of the sun. When he reached the the land of the Hesperides (Evenings) in the West he descended into a golden cup which carried him around the northern streams of Okeanos back to his rising place in the East. Once his son Phaethon attempted to drive the chariot of the sun, but losing control, set the earth on fire. Zeus then struck him down with a thunderbolt.

Helios was depicted as a handsome, and usually beardless, man clothed in purple robes and crowned with the shining aureole of the sun. His sun-chariot was drawn by four steeds, sometimes winged. Helios was identified with several gods including fiery Hephaistos and light-bringing Apollon.


HE′LIOS (Hêlios or Êelios), that is, the sun, or the god of the sun. He is described as the son of Hyperion and Theia, and as a brother of Selene and Eos. (Hom. Od. xii. 176, 322, Hymn. in Min. 9, 13; Hes. Theog. 371, &c.) From his father, he is frequently called Hyperionides, or Hyperion, the latter of which is an abridged form of the patronymic, Hyperionion. (Hom. Od. xii. 176, Hymn. in Cer. 74; Hes. Theog. 1011; Hom. Od. i. 24, ii. 19, 398, Hymn. in Apoll. Pyth. 191.) In the Homeric hymn on Helios, he is called a son of Hyperion and Euryphaëssa. Homer describes Helios as giving light both to gods and men: he rises in the east from Oceanus, though not from the river, but from some lake or bog (limnê) formed by Oceanus, rises up into heaven, where he reaches the highest point at noon time, and then he descends, arriving in the evening in the darkness of the west, and in Oceanus. (Il. vii. 422, Od. iii. 1, &c., 335, iv. 400, x. 191, xi. 18, xii. 380.) Later poets have marvellously embellished this simple notion: they tell of a most magnificent palace of Helios in the east, containing a throne occupied by the god, and surrounded by personifications of the different divisions of time (Ov. Met. ii. 1, &c.); and while Homer speaks only of the gates of Helios in the west, later writers assign to him a second palace in the west, and describe his horses as feeding upon herbs growing in the islands of the blessed. (Nonn. Dionys. xii. 1, &c.; Athen. vii. 296; Stat. Theb. iii. 407.) The points at which Helios rises and descends into the ocean are of course different at the different seasons of the year; and the extreme points in the north and south, between which the rising and setting take place, are the tropai êelioio. (Od. xv. 403; Hes. Op. et Dies, 449, 525.) The manner in which Helios during the night passes front the western into the eastern ocean is not mentioned either by Homer or Hesiod, but later poets make him sail in a golden boat round one-half of the earth, and thus arrive in the east at the point from which he has to rise again. This golden boat is the work of Hephaestus. (Athen. xi. 469; Apollod. ii. 5. § 10; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1632.) Others represent him as making his nightly voyage while slumbering in a golden bed. (Athen. xi. 470.) The horses and chariot with which Helios makes his daily career are not mentioned in the Iliad and Odyssey, but first occur in the Homeric hymn on Helios (9, 15; comp. in Merc. 69, in Cer. 88), and both are described minutely by later poets. (Ov. Met. ii. 106, &c.; Hygin. Fab. 183; Schol. ad Eurip. Pholen. 3 ; Pind. Ol. vii. 71.)

Helios is described even in the Homeric poems as the god who sees and hears every thing, but, notwithstanding this, he is unaware of the fact that the companions of Odysseus robbed his oxen, until he was informed of it by Lampetia. (Od. xii. 375.) But, owing to his omniscience, he was able to betray to Hephaestus the faithlessness of Aphrodite, and to reveal to Demeter the carrying off of her daughter. (Od. viii. 271, Hymn. in Cer. 75, &c., in Sol. 10; comp. Soph. Ajax, 847, &c.) This idea of Helios knowing every thing, which also contains the elements of his ethical and prophetic nature, seems to have been the cause of Helios being confounded and identified with Apollo, though they were originally quite distinct; and the identification was, in fact, never carried out completely, for no Greek poet ever made Apollo ride in the chariot of Helios through the heavens, and among the Romans we find this idea only after the time of Virgil. The representations of Apollo with rays around his head, to characterise him as identical with the sun, belong to the time of the Roman empire.


HELIOS was the Titan god of the sun who predided over the various facets of the solar body, from the measurement and divisions of the day, the year and the seasons, to the powers of heat and fire, and the gift of sight.

The name Helios takes a number of forms in the different Greek dialects, such as the Doric form of the name Halios.

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἁλιος Halios Halius Sun (Doric spelling)

Helios had a large number of poetic epithets and by-names.
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ὑπεριων Hyperiôn Hyperion He Who Goes Above (hyper, iôn)
Ὑπεριονιδες Hyperionides Hyperionides Son of Hyperion, He Who Goes Above
Τιταν Titan Titan Titan God, The Straining God
Ηλεκτωρ Êlektôr Elector The Beaming (êlektôr)
Ελευθεριος Eleutherios Eleutherius Of Freedom (eleutherios)
Σωτηρ Sôtêr Soter Saviour (sôtêr)

From: Theoi (see additional links for tons more info)
Helios (play /ˈhiːli.ɒs/; Greek: Ἥλιος "Sun", Latinized as Helius) was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod (Theogony 371) and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia (Hesiod) or Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn) and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. The names of these three were also the common Greek words for Sun, Moon and dawn. Ovid also calls him Titan, in fact "lumina Titan".[1] The Emperor Julian the Apostate, forsook to show Romans that Helios was the only true god, and that the other Roman gods were just an image or manifestations of the supreme solar divinity, during that time the solar monotheism was the official religion of the Roman Empire, and Sol Invictus, was recognized as the supreme god.

Helios was imagined as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. Homer described Helios's chariot as drawn by solar steeds (Iliad xvi.779); later Pindar described it as drawn by "fire-darting steeds" (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.

As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However, in spite of their syncretism, they were also often viewed as two distinct gods (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus.

The best known story involving Helios is that of his son Phaëton, who attempted to drive his father's chariot but lost control and set the earth on fire.

Helios was sometimes characterized with the epithet Helios Panoptes ("the all-seeing"). In the story told in the hall of Alcinous in the Odyssey (viii.300ff), Aphrodite, the consort of Hephaestus, secretly beds Ares, but all-seeing Helios spies on them and tells Hephaestus, who ensnares the two lovers in nets invisibly fine, to punish them.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his surviving crew land on Thrinacia, an island sacred to the sun god, whom Circe names Hyperion rather than Helios. There, the sacred red cattle of the Sun were kept:

You will now come to the Thrinacian island, and here you will see many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep belonging to the sun-god. There will be seven herds of cattle and seven flocks of sheep, with fifty heads in each flock. They do not breed, nor do they become fewer in number, and they are tended by the goddesses Phaethusa and Lampetia, who are children of the sun-god Hyperion by Neaera. Their mother when she had borne them and had done suckling them sent them to the Thrinacian island, which was a long way off, to live there and look after their father's flocks and herds.[3]

Though Odysseus warns his men, when supplies run short they impiously kill and eat some of the cattle of the Sun. The guardians of the island, Helios' daughter, tell their father about this. Helios appeals to Zeus telling them to dispose of Odysseus' men or he will take the Sun and shine it in the Underworld. Zeus destroys the ship with his lightning bolt, killing all the men except for Odysseus.
Solar Apollo with the radiant halo of Helios in a Roman floor mosaic, El Djem, Tunisia, late 2nd century

In one Greek vase painting, Helios appears riding across the sea in the cup of the Delphic tripod which appears to be a solar reference. Athenaeus in Deipnosophistae relates that, at the hour of sunset, Helios climbed into a great golden cup in which he passes from the Hesperides in the farthest west to the land of the Ethiops, with whom he passes the dark hours. While Heracles traveled to Erytheia to retrieve the cattle of Geryon, he crossed the Libyan desert and was so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the Sun. Almost immediately, Heracles realized his mistake and apologized profusely, in turn and equally courteous, Helios granted Heracles the golden cup which he used to sail across the sea every night, from the west to the east because he found Heracles' actions immensely bold. Heracles used this golden cup to reach Erytheia.[4]

By the Oceanid Perse, Helios became the father of Aeëtes, Circe, and Pasiphaë. His other children are Phaethusa ("radiant") and Lampetia ("shining").[5]

From: Wiki

Also see:
Theoi -- has tons of info!
Helios Index & General Myths
Helios & Phaethon Myth
Helios God of
Helios Loves
Helios Estate & Attendants
Helios Cult


Sun God Helios and his son Phaethon

Helios summary
Helios - Shadow of Olympus
Helios - Sun God and Cattle Man
Helios info

Modern festivals -- Heliogenna (Winter Solstice)
Some prayers and info
Some info

His sisters --
Deity of the Week: Eos - Ἠώς
Σεληνη - Selene