Friday, March 21, 2008
Goddess Mari (known by many names)
From Barbara Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Mari Basic name of the Goddess known to the Chaldeans as Marratu, to the Jews as Marah, to the Persians as Mariham, to the Christians as Mary; as well as Marian, Miriam, Mariamne, Myrrhine, Myrtea, Myrrha, Maria, and Marina. Her blue robe and pearl necklace wre classic symbols of the sea, edged with pearly foam.(1) Many place names evolved from Marian shrines. Among them were Amari or Ay-Mari, the Cyrprian home of Aphrodite Marina; Marib, City of the Moon, seat of the queens of Sheba; Marea in western Egypt; Maronea near Lake Ismaris; Maru, mother-city of the Medes; Sa-Maria, a country whose name meant literally "holy blood of Mary." (2) One of the entrances to her underworld womb, a sacred cave accessible only by sea, was Mar-Mari, "Mother Sea."(3) The Goddess's Amorite city of Mari was one of the wonders of the ancient world. Its six-acre temple-palace astonished archeologists who uncovered i in the 1930s. Mari dominated the area now known as the Holy Land until it fell to the armies of Hammurabi in 1700 B.C.(4) Semites worshipped an adrogynous combination of Goddess and God called Mari-El [biblical Mariel] (Mary-God) corresponding to the Egyptian Meri-Ra which combined the feminine principle of water with the masculine principle of the sun.(5) Sometimes the deity was named simply Mere, an Egyptian word for both "waers" and "mother-love."(6) Mer was also a component of the names of Egyptian queens in the first dynasty. One of Egypt's oldest names was Ta-Mera, Land of the Waters, which could also be interpreted as Land of the Great Mothers.(7) The Syrian version of Mari or Meri was worshipped in combination with her serpent-consort Yamm, derived from Yama, the Hindu Lord of Death. Yamm alternated with Baal, "the Lord," as the Goddess' favorite and a sovereign over heaven and the abyss. Indian Yama was one of the consorts of Kel-Mari, as Kali was called in the south.(8) Tantric Buddhists still speak of the "Slayer of the Death King," Yama-Mari, who was identified with the Dalai Lama.(9) [The Dalai Lama is currently in the news because of the riots in Tibet and environs peopled by ethnic Tibetans in China, and the brutal Chinese suppression of the "unrest."] Jews and early Christians used the smae combinatin of names, Mari-Yamm or Mariam, for the mother of Jesus.(1) The spirit of the archaic Mari entered into Bablonian diviners known as mare baruti, sea-mothers, who operated in the bit mummu or womb-chamber, where statues of the gods were said to be "born" (made animate).(11) In similar womb-chambers the Hindu goddess was worshipped as Kau-Mari or Kel-Mari.(12) She is still invoked as Marici-Tara, the Diamond Sow on the lotus Throne, "Glorious One, the sun of happiness." She is the Goddess "whose mayik vesture is the sun," forerunner of the Gospels' "woman clothed with the sun' (Revelation 12:1), who was identified with the virgin Mary.(13) Northern Europe knew the same Goddess as Maerin, wedded to Thor at her shrine in Trondheim.(14) To the Saxons she was Wudo-Maer: literally, a Wood-Mary, or Goddess of the Grove. To the Celts she was Maid Marian, beloved by Robin, the witches' Horned God. Their greenwood cult caused church authorities considerable trouble in the 14th century.(15) Mari was the same Merian or Merjan worshipped in Persia as Queen of the Peris (Fairies).(16) Iran had its mother goddess Mariana from very ancient times.(17) She might be traced to the land of Akkad, created by a Goddess called the Lady Marri, Mother of the World.(18) A king of Mari in 2500 B.C., united with the Goddess, took the royal name of Lamki-Mari.(19) She was also the Great Fish who gave birth to the gods, later the Mermaid, Mare-mynd, mareminde, marraminde, maraeman, or mereminne.(20) [Also the "Great Fish" that symbolically swallowed Jonah in the biblical account, where he stayed for parts of 3 days and nights, just as Christ spent parts of 3 days and nights in Hell talking with the lost souls after his death]. In short, she was always Mother Sea. Her Latin name was Maria, "the Seas." ["Mare" - "sea of" - was used extensively in naming various sections of the Moon, a rather appropriate usage, I must say.] St. Peter Chrysologus [Peter Golden-word, 5th century bishop of Revenna, friend of Pope Leo the Great] called her Christian incarnation, the virgin Mary, "the gathering together of the waters."(21) But she was also the earth ahd heavens, since her earliest form was a trinity. She was worshipped in pre-Roman Latium as Marica, mother of the first king Latinus, who was also her priapic goat-footed consort Faunus. She was probably the same Goddess worshipped by the Slavs under the name of Marzanna (Mari-Anna), who "fostered the growth of fruits."(22) Mari and her pagan consort were incongruously canonized as a pair of Christian saints, Addai and Mari (Adonis and Aphrodite-Mari). Their legends called them "bishops" dispatched to Aphrodite's cult center at Edessa, probably because their portraits appered there, and it was easier to Christianize them than to destroy them. Their cult began with Nestorian Christians who called them "Holy Apostles Addai and Mari."(23) Another Christianization was St. Maura, from the Goddesses' Fate-name Moera, "older than Time."(24) As the Fate-spinner who held men's denstines in her hand, she generated a taboo: on St. Maura's day, women were forbidden to spin or sew.(25) [My guess is that Moera, Fate-spinner, is a direct link to the old proto-Indo-European and later Hindu belief about an astral Spider spinning out the creation of the Universe and its fate. I believe this concept is directly related to the "ashtapada" (eight limbs) game board on which some say proto-chess was first invented]. Medieval Spain knew the Goddess Mari as a "Lady" or "Mistress" who lived in a magic cave and rode through the night sky as a ball of fire.(26) This may have meant the red harvest moon, or possibly the moon in eclipse - always a dire omen. [Or possibly literal balls of fire - meteors, or the more mysterious "light balls" that appear hovering above the horizon, similar to but not satisfactorily explained as "St. Elmo's Fire."] The Goddess Mari was said to give gifts of fairy gold and precious stones, which might turn into worthless lumps of coal by the light of day.(27) In later centuries, the same worthless gifts were given to "bad" children by St. Nicholas at Christmas. The island of Inis Maree had a ruined temple, sacred to a certain "St. Mourie" - none other than the Goddess Mari for whom the island was named. In 1678 the Presbytery of Dingwall "disciplined" some people who sacrificed bulls to the divinity of Loch Maree on the 25th of August, a day dedicated to Aphrodite-Mari for more than 1500 years.(28). Notes: (1) Graves, W.G., 438. (2) Graves, W.G., 410-11; Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 179; Herodotus, 41, 400. (3) Hughes, 159. (4) Keller, 46-49. (5) Budge, G.E., 1, 86; Book of the Dead, 602. (6) Budge, E.L., 76. (7) Budge, D.N. 160. (8) Briffault, 1, 474. (9) Waddell, 364. (10) Ashe, 48. (11) Lindsay, O.A., 41. (12) Mahanirvanatantra, 149. (13) Waddell, 218, 361; Mahanirvanatantra, x1. (14) Turville-Petre, 91. (15) Graves, W.G., 441. (16) Keightley, 22. (17) Thomson, 135. (18) Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 287. (19) Albright, 98. (20) Steenstrup, 105. (21) Ashe, 147. (22) Larousee, 208, 291. (23) Attwater, 31. (24) Bachofen, 57. (25) Lawson, 175. (26) Lederer, 210. (27) Baorja, 238. (28) Spence, 37.