Baal's Cedar: Natib Qadish, Canaanite Religion
Natib Qadish, a polytheistic religion which reveres the Canaanite deities, is based on ancient culture and the cuneiform texts found at the city of Ugarit. The Canaanites lived 3200 years ago in the areas of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine.
I share articles and commentary rooted in polytheistic, Near Eastern, Levantine, Middle Eastern, Anatolian, and Natib Qadish perspectives. I teach about the deities, festivals, cultures, divination, magic, divination, and beliefs.
Hope: A Response to "Pagan Voices Fall Silent"
I had not intended to do a blog post today. It is a holiday for me, the ‘Ashuru Shamni, the Festival of Oil. It is a time when I make offerings of olive oil and ask that Baʻlu Haddu pour his blessings of protection over my community. But Ms. Cara Schultz in "In Syria and Egypt, Pagan Voices Fall Silent", a post made just yesterday, and Ms. Galina Krasskova: Pagan Voices Fall Silent: Polytheism in the Middle East, a response today, give me pause.
I realize how "large" my small my Natib Qadish polytheistic community is and how it grows, and has grown steadily in fourteen years, and how it feels growing pains. And I know that I must ask Baʻlu Haddu to pour his blessings of protection over not just my immediate community of qadishuma, but over those who honor him and who would honor him in his own troubled homelands, the Near East and the Middle East.
The plight of the polytheists and of the practitioners of alternative religions or philosophies in that region of the world is a worrisome. Often it's a dire situation. But, I think that big good change is happening. The fact that we can and are having this conversation is a blessing. Call me a wide-eyed delusional optimist, and it's much easier for me to be so when I have the luxury of not having rockets fly over my head and troops coming door-to-door, but I think that goodness comes. Shapshu’s torch of enlightenment will burn away the fog of repression, fear, and hatred. Sun burns away the fog. Day always follows night.
I don't subscribe to the fatalistic attitude of the "Pagan Voices fall Silent" article. These voices are whispering, and there are more of them. And some of them are even daring to raise their voices. I feel that for every one I know, there are two who I *may* know but who aren't "out" enough to talk: just lurk. And that's ok by me. And there is more happening, just beneath the surface. I like how Ms. Krasskova described the matter like seeds: growth and change happens even when we don't see it. I shall continue to watch, and I am excited, joyous, and nervous as anybody as the new leaves begin to shape, but I am patient and do not need to dig at it to know that it is growing.
I have a friend in Israel who just told me yesterday that Israel had been dry, drought-afflicted, for so long, but when he began making offerings to Ba'lu Haddu, the rains have returned.
And just today, the only broken link I deleted from my other blog, Kina’ani, was a North American link. I actually added two from Israel. I know that I will be adding more, one day. For that one day is today—not so long ago, I never thought I would be able to have such a list of links. And that one day is tomorrow, too.
We live in incredible times. The deities are awake, they are alive; they are listening, and they are at work at every-day small miracles that add up to make a world of difference. Small miracles may not make the 6 o’clock news, but they make a subtle, but crucial difference.
When you keep these folks in your prayers and when you make your offerings to the deities on their behalf, keep in mind that it isn't just folks in Egypt and Syria. They are in Lebanon, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, too. I recall, but can't confirm, a rumor of alternative religion-ists in Jordan, and I have a hunch they are farther afield, too, both in North Africa (the old stomping grounds of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, whose name means "favored of Ba'al the storm god") and also where the Tigris and the Euprhates flow.
So have hope, friends, especially my friends over there. I'm praying for you all and I know those prayers are answered. Have hope, but dare, too, to be silent and allow others their silences until they are ready to speak again.
Baʻlu Haddu tajjuru-kumu wa tushalimu-kumu,
May Baʻlu Haddu (the storm god, the god of the people), protect you and bring you wellbeing and peace.
The 8th day of the month of Khiyyaru, in Shanatu 85. This means that the new moon was eight days ago, and it began the month of Khiyyaru. The Canaanite city of Ugarit was rediscovered 85 years ago. Our next holiday, 'Ashuru Shamnu, the Festival of Oil, is going on today until sunset.
This is a photo of a palm-of-hand amulet as a door knocker. The palm-of-hand amulet is called a hamsa or a khamsa by the Jews: this is an Arabic (not the Hebrew) word for the number five and refers to the number of fingers. The Muslims call it the Hand of Fatima or the Fatima Hand. In Natib Qadish tradition, we call it a kappu because kappu is the Ugaritic word for "palm-of-hand". It is a symbol of protection and good fortune. It is an ancient polytheistic symbol. The first image of the palm-of-hand on its own, that I have seen, dates to 1000 BCE (3,200 years ago) in Israel.
The photo here is taken in Morocco by Bernard Gagnon, and used under the GNU Creative Commons license. It can be accessed on Wikimedia Commons.
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