Anat

Anat : The Girl; Lady of Heaven; Mistress of All Spirits; Strength of Life; Lady of Mercy

Anat, Queen of Heaven, Lady of Love and War, has dominion over love, sex, war, battle, fertility, and maternity. She has dominion over death, too. She’s the spirit who can slay the Grim Reaper. (She cleaves him with a sickle, maybe even his own.)

Her mythology survives via fourteenth-century BCE Ugaritic cuneiform tablets. (The Ugaritic people may or may not be the biblical Canaanites, but if not, they are very closely related.)

Anat is the lowest common spiritual denominator in what is now the Western reaches of the Middle East. She was venerated by ancient Amorites, Canaanites, Egyptians, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Syrians. It is the ultimate irony to imagine that peace might theoretically be achieved in this spiritually and politically turbulent region if only everyone would once again venerate the war goddess Anat.

Calling Anat violent is like saying a tsunami is wet—a drastic understatement. Many of her myths involve Anat killing someone or something. She’s so fierce, she actually kills Death after he messes with her brother. She personally grinds up Death’s bones and scatters them to the winds. Anat muzzles sea monsters. She kills to the left and slays to the right. Don’t get in her way when she’s angry: like Ogun or Kali, once Anat’s dander is up, she’s almost impossible to stop.

Anat’s name is contained in the word anathema. Her rage is never far from the surface. She has tremendous wells of frustration and anger and is easily provoked.

She is simultaneously a goddess of reproduction and war, life and death. Sex and violence in her myths are graphic, even by modern standards. Anat does not merely lead devotees into battle; she exults in gore and bloodshed, wading waist-deep in blood.

In Egypt, Anat was considered to be the Pharaoh’s spiritual bodyguard. Pharaohs named their dogs after her to emphasize their ferocity. They named their racehorses after her, hoping to gain the goddess’ favour and blessings because Anat doesn’t lose.

Although some perceive Anat and Astarte as distinct goddesses, general consensus is that Astarte is a title for Anat, just as Ba’al is a title for her brother/lover, Hadd. (Astarte is the title; Anat is her proper name.) The ancient Egyptians, however, considered Anat and Astarte to be two separate, closely related spirits, possibly sisters. When two distinct spirits are recognized, then Astarte is milder than Anat. In the language of modern Vodou, Anat would be the Petro to Astarte’s Rada.

She may be fierce and bloodthirsty, but Anat will go to hell and back for those she loves: nothing stands in her way. There is no obstacle that she cannot pulverize. She has proven that she can even beat death. Should you find yourself in trouble with any of the various Death spirits (Holy Death, Grim Reapers, and so forth), Anat has the help you need—if she chooses to give it. Anat is petitioned for courage and victory in combat, but she is also a goddess of fertility. Petition her to prevent miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as for general fertility.

ALSO KNOWN AS:

Anath; Anta; maybe Astarte

ORIGIN:

Semitic

ICONOGRAPHY:

Phoenicia: Anat is depicted as a beautiful woman in a chariot drawn by seven lions. She wears a crown of myrtle leaves and is accompanied by doves. Both Phoenicians and Hebrews depict her with cow horns and a Hathor-style hairdo.

Syria: Anat is depicted as a cow.

Egypt: Anat is depicted as a naked woman riding bareback, brandishing weapons or robed in flames, armed with a sword and bow. She may wear a belt of severed hands. She is often portrayed caressing or blessing a young child with her left hand.

ATTRIBUTES:

Battle shield; frame drum; sickle; bow and arrows; sword

Parents:

Asherah and El, according to Ugaritic myth

Consorts:

This depends on tradition: Baal (Ugaritic); Set (Egyptian); YHWH (Jewish)

Sacred animals:

Cows, doves, deer, dogs, dolphins, gazelle, horses, lions, vultures

Trees:

Acacia, myrtle

Planets:

Moon, Venus. She personifies Venus as the morning and evening star. In the daytime, Anat leads her followers to war. At night she inspires them sexually.

Petitions:

Anat loves gambling passionately and may attempt to cajole you into a game. Never gamble with her. Ever. Not even in dreams. She never loses. Ever.

Anat plays a frame drum and can be communicated with through drumming.

OFFERINGS:

Call Anat with the fragrance of coriander. She likes weapons. Give her hand-shaped Milagros. (See the Glossary entry for Milagros.) She accepts offerings of sweet baked goods, like cookies or small cakes, particularly if you make them yourself. Create them in her image, in the image of her attributes or a lunar shape. She likes statues of herself. Ancient devotees decorated her image with rouge and hennaas a substitute for blood, adorning their own hands and feet with henna in her honour. Make sure to give her constant, ongoing respect, loyalty, and devotion. She is a hot-tempered, insecure, albeit extremely loyal spirit; you will have to reassure her of your devotion on a regular basis.

SEE ALSO:

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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