Lady of Carthage; Queen of the Stars; Face of Baal; She Who Nourishes; The Foster Mother; Serpent Lady; Lady of the Moon and Stars
Carthage (modern North Africa, centered in Tunisia)
Tanit, the celestial queen, is the goddess of star-gazers and astrologers. A goddess of fertility and abundance, Tanit was the supreme spirit of Carthage, the North African Phoenician nation now most renowned for its hero Hannibal. Tanit’s almost two-thousand-year-reign lasted from the ninth century BCE through the Romanconquest, only finally eradicated by Islam, although rumors of surviving vestiges of her worship among Amazigh (Berber) mountain tribes periodically surface.
Tanit was an international goddess. Her veneration spread to Phoenician colonies in what are now Malta, Sardinia, and Spain. Septimus Severus (11 April 146–4 February 211 CE), the first Roman Emperor born in North Africa introduced the worship of Tanit to Rome.
There is debate as to whether Tanit is a Phoenician importation or an indigenous Amazigh (Berber). It’s possible that she’s both. Tanit may be an Amazigh goddess who was identified as Astarte by the Phoenicians. Tanit may also be another name for Neith.
• The Romans identified Tanit with Juno Caelestis.
• Tanit may hide behind the mask of Spain’s Black Madonna of El Puig.
Astrologers, stargazers, Berbers, or those with ties to North Africa
Tanit is a beautiful bejeweled woman. She usually wears long earrings and a necklace.
A Punic stele depicts her wearing a triangular garment bearing cornucopias in each hand, from which flow pomegranates and grapes. A third or fourth century BCE statue found in Ibiza, Spain, portrays her as a crowned, enthroned woman holding a dove.
Full or crescent moon, ears of wheat, cornucopia of fruit
Consort: Ba’al Hammon
Symbol: She is represented by a geometric symbol resembling a circle atop an upward-facing triangle, the two shapes separated by a horizontal line. Her symbol adorns many Cartha ginian grave markers.
Amulet: The hand-shaped amulet now called a hamsa or Hand of Fatima was once called the Hand of Tanit.
Creatures: Doves, Snakes, Dolphins, Fish
Wheat, Figs, Pomegranates
• The Tophet, near Tunis—her sanctuary is long rumored to be the site of child sacrifices. However although the burial site was located, it’s impossible to determine how the babies and young children died. An opposing theory suggests that the rumors are defamation and that the Tophet was a graveyard especially devoted to children who may have died of many causes during this era of high infant and child mortality.
• The ruins of Tanit’s temple at Kerkouane, Tunisia.
• The Church of El Puig, Spain, is built atop her old shrine.
Anat; Astarte; Ba’al; Ba’al Hammon; Black Madonna of Regla; Juno; Neith
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.