From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities. Currently focusing on divinities placed in an atheist "graveyard".

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Tiamat's Fate

The tale of Tiamat could be seen as a creation story.  It could be seen as patriarchy overwhelming matriarchy.  If there are those that honor this creatrix, this goddess of chaos, I did not find them.  I did however find a tale of her fate.  A tale of a wounded heart:   first by the patriarch’s threat to her children, then by the death of her consort before a final death claimed her.  Yet if she lives on in memory, is she truly dead?  I don't know.  Mayhap, her inclusion in the god “graveyard” was deserved though not in the fashion the atheists intended.


Tiamat’s fate

In the beginning
neither heaven nor earth
only Apsu and Tiamat
he of fresh and she of salt waters
nothing marred their realms
no land, no turbulence
then Tiamat birthed two
followed by two more
who birthed their own
in time, Ea was born
the clever god of rivers
ruling over even his forbearers

Loud and unruly descendents
make for a tired god
marring his sleep and calm
his solution was a bloody one
angrily refused by Tiamat
hurt and horrified over the threat
Apsu proceeded in spite
only to be discovered
slain by magic of Ea
adding that realm to his own

Jealous relatives report
to the widowed salty goddess
whose monstrous army marches
vengeance for her lover’s death
Ea, fearful and uncertain
calls upon his son, Marduk
to defend father and kingdom
Marduk's condition for that honor
his is the kingdom upon victory
all agree, gifting robes and scepter

Armed with thunder and storms
Marduk defeated her monsters
alone Tiamat faces her grandchild
howling for his blood, for vengeance
only to be slain by storm wind and arrow
heart wounded a third and final time
Marduk was not done with this ancestor
with a club he split her like a clam
half forming the heavens
the remaining became land
placed forever over her lover’s waters

Last modified on
Tagged in: creation Ea Marduk Tiamat
I'm an eclectic polytheist whose main divinities are Heru-ur, Bast, Sobek, Yinepu Isis, Zeus-Serapis, and Yemaya. I'm a mother, wife and Librarian living in the Rocky Mountains stumbling on my path and wondering what the heck I'm doing. Blessed be.


  • Fritz Muntean
    Fritz Muntean Sunday, 12 January 2014

    In the Enuma Elish, a Sumerian creation myth of the 13th to 11th century BCE, the chaotic state of the world -- before Creation took place and the world took on a recognizable form -- is represented by a monstrous deity named Tiamat. Many of today's Pagans have come to think of Tiamat as a benign and nurturing deity: a kind of watery Mother Goddess. But Tiamat is not really a 'goddess', at least not in the sense we commonly use the term.

    A misunderstanding occurs whenever English-speaking people take too personally the apparent genders of the ancient deities. Classical languages (and indeed almost all modern languages) arbitrarily assign a nominal gender to all nouns, a practice that modern English retains in a vestigial form only in third-person singular personal pronouns. So if the Greek world for victory, nike, is (arbitrarily) designated as 'feminine', then the divinity representing victory, Nike, becomes (arbitrarily) a Goddess. In most cases, nothing more personal or concrete, as far as gender, is implied.

    It may be true that nouns were originally assigned gender for some reason. But a very large number of nouns have different genders in Greek and Latin, in French and German, so these reasons must vary wildly from culture to culture and are, at any rate, lost in the mists of time.

    It is of some interest to note that in the Canaanite creation myth that parallels the Sumerian, the word for the Chaotic (acreative) Power of the Sea is 'Mot'. The languages are closely related, as are the words themselves, but Mot is masculine in Canaanite, and therefore a God. The ensuing battle is engaged by Baal, the Canaanite rain God, in company with his fierce warrior sister/consort Anath, an erotic, blood-thirsty, Kali type of Goddess related to the Sumerian Inanna and the Akkadian Ishtar, who later developed into the Philistine Astarte and the Punic Tannit. The Canaanite word for Sun, by the way, is feminine, and so the Canaanites had -- you guessed it -- a Sun Goddess.

    So if the Sumerian word for the kind of chaos represented by the storm- and tide-driven waters of the Persian Gulf happens to be feminine, and the Sumerian word for the ordering powers of the wind that dries up these chaotic waters and allows agriculture and civilization to develop happens to be masculine, then only an ungenerous (paranoid, and typically English-speaking) person would consider such a myth to be an attack by 'the patriarchy' the kind of concrete femininity that resides in human womankind.

    Furthermore, to worship this force of blind chaos as a kind of saintly martyr to ancient patriarchal oppression is to invoke into the world all the primitive destructive powers of Tiamat. In the light of these concerns, let us just be thankful that Chthulu isn't a feminine noun in some ancient language.

    If anyone feels that they absolutely have to worship a really truly scary warrior Goddess, try Anath instead, but do read part 2 of the 14th century BCE Ugaritic text entitled 'Concerning Baal'. Especially the part that begins (in the Coogan translation) "The gates of Anath's house were shut . . ."

  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite Wednesday, 14 November 2018

    I know this is an almost five-year-old article and comment, but it was recommended for me not too long ago and after reading all this and reflecting for a while, I have to disagree with much of Mr. Muntean's rather unnecessary lecture on ancient noun genders and how to view and worship ancient figures.

    First of all, I don't believe many modern pagans view Tiamat as only a benign and nurturing deity, or even as that at all. She is very complex and, while certainly primordial and chaotic, hardly outside of the powers of creation, as she is the sea itself, from whence all life originally came.

    I think the Enuma Elish clearly reflects the creative and motherly (which still does not have to mean especially "benign and nurturing") aspects of Tiamat, and the fact that she is repeatedly referred to as a "she", and her husband repeatedly referred to as a "he", and that they have children and grandchildren that possess genders and a degree of anthropomorphism further illustrates that these may not the most ambiguous nouns.

    I have even read a translation of a certain cuneiform tablet which states very plainly that "Marduk defeated Tiamat with his penis"... whatever that may or may not be a metaphor for, or indeed a literal reference to, it doesn't seem like an ambiguous use of gender or related terms to me.

    I don't think Ms. Brokaw's excellent, poetic post, sharing her personal understanding and appreciation of what she even refers to as a chaotic force, required what reads as a rather condescending linguistic lesson. She even says it could be seen as patriarchy overwhelming matriarchy and indeed it can.

    Mr. Muntean seems to be disregarding the value and even flexibility of metaphor and symbolism, and how much passing time and the evolution of human thought, understanding and spirituality affects how certain myths are viewed and applied to our age and experience, and there is nothing wrong with this.

    A "saintly martyr"..? I have never exactly viewed Tiamat quite in that light and that seems a slightly unfair exaggeration to bolster his very literal, linguistic (and somewhat defensive) criticism.

    Lastly, he rather ironically deigns to say "If anyone feels that they absolutely have to worship a really truly scary warrior Goddess, try Anath instead..."

    Just because one honors her and appreciates her story and even interprets it a certain way doesn't necessarily mean they worship her in the way that he is claiming and berating, or that they are invoking her destructive powers, which, again, are not all she possesses.

    But more to the point, how about simply letting people worship or honor who they want to, how they want to, regardless of personal scholarly interpretations? Talk about patriarchy overwhelming matriarchy...

  • Melia/Merit Brokaw
    Melia/Merit Brokaw Sunday, 12 January 2014

    Interesting! Thanks for commenting!

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information