Anat: Goddess of Canaan


Anat by Grace Kelly from Anat Prayer Card

Anat (‘Anatu) of Canaan is best known for her loyalty to Ba‘al Hadad (Ba‘lu Haddu) (Note 1), and for her fierce warriorship. She is the daughter of El (‘Ilu), who presides over the Divine Assembly (Note 2). Anat is also the sister and cohort of Ba‘al Hadad, the Mighty Cloudrider.

Fiercely loyal to Ba‘al, Anat attends his feast celebrating his victory feast over Yam, God of the Sea. After She arrives, Anat seals the doors shut, then proceeds to kill every enemy of Ba‘al who attended. Up to her waist in blood, Anat stomps around on the skulls littering the floor, in search of more enemies. Still full of bloodlust, She runs out of people to kill, so Anat attacks her furniture. Afterwards, Anat washes up and makes Herself presentable.

rom the Ba‘al Epic
“She smites the people of the seashore, destroys mankind of the sunrise.
Under Her are heads like vultures. Over Her are hands like locusts.
Pouring the oil of peace from a bowl, the Virgin Anath washes Her hands,
The Progenitress of Heroes, (washes) Her fingers.
She washes Her hands in the blood of soldiery, Her fingers in the gore of troops.”

(The New World Encyclopedia)

In the Ba‘al Epic, Anan searches for the remains of Ba‘al, who had been killed by Mot (Motu), the God of Death. Finding his body, She gives Ba‘al a proper burial, assisted by her sister, Shapash (Shapshu), the Goddess of the Sun. Still enraged, Anat goes off in search of Ba‘al’s killer. Finding Mot, She murders Him, burns his body, chops it up, and scatters the remains around the countryside.

Meanwhile, El receives a dream that Ba‘al and Mot have returned from the dead. Upon his return, Mot complains to El about Anat. Indignant, Ba‘al brawls with Mot until Shapash mediates their dispute. Meanwhile, Anat does not receive any reprimand for what She did.

In the “Tale of Aqhat,” a child is promised to Daniel (Dani’ilu) (Note 3) for his piety and devotion. When Aqhat comes of age, he receives a compound bow from the Gods. At his coming out feast, envious Anat spills her wine (a sign of gross impoliteness). She tries to entice Aqhat to give Her the bow. He laughs at Anat, saying it is silly for a woman to have one. Seething with rage, Anat plots his murder. After Aqhat dies, She steals the bow but accidently breaks it. Then Anat breaks down and sobs for both Aqhat and the bow.

Called the Impetuous Maiden, Anat is a Goddess to be reckoned with. Under no one’s authority, She is her own person. She could be considered a Goddess of War, Fury, and Loyalty.

From the Ba‘al Cycle
“Did I not demolish the darling of `El, Yam the Sea?
Did I not make an end of Nahar the River, the great god divine Rabim?
Did I not snare the Dragon, vanquish him? I did demolish the Twisting Serpent, the Tyrant with Seven Heads?”
(The New World Encyclopedia)

Notes about the Gods of Canaan and the Old Testament.

Note 1: This is the Ba‘al who is often disparaged in The Old Testament. Some of his aspects such as “Cloudrider” were transferred to Yahweh. Several of the Psalms (11 and 29, for example) are odes to Ba‘al. The passage of Elijah defeating the priests of Ba‘al is a rewriting of the Ba‘al Epic to have Yahweh be the Lord of Weather and Rain. (1 Kings 18.)

Note 2: El is the High God of the Canaan Gods. He is called the “Father of Men” and “The Kindly, Merciful One.” Many of El’s titles are now used for Yahweh, such as El Shaddai (God Almighty). Again, several of the Psalms are odes to El (19 and 68, for example).

It is thought that El is now assumed to be Yahweh under another name. In fact, the more mild aspects of Yahweh such as mercy and compassion were assimilated from El to form the God of the Old Testament. Yahweh, before the merging, was a desert God, with a violent temper. As a battle God, He fought for his worshipers.

Note 3: Daniel (God’s judgement) is originally a Canaanite name.

You can purchase Anat prayer card and others here: Wyrd Curiosities



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