Spring is the time of year that always puts me in mind of the many dead and resurrected deities who were featured in various seasonal myths around the world. This is a look at Baal, but if you want more dead and resurrected gods and goddesses click HERE
The Tale: Baal, the storm god of the Canaanites, had emerged triumphant in his war with the sea god Yam and became very hubristic. He insisted he had authority even over Mot, the god of death and warned Mot that the only places on Earth that he could visit were the deserts.
Infuriated, Mot invited/ dared Baal to visit him in his subterranean realm, the land of the dead. Baal accepted the dare/ invitation lest he lose face and once there Mot fed him the food of the dead – mud – thereby trapping Baal in the Netherworld.
With Baal thus imprisoned no rains fell on the Earth and drought consumed the world, killing vegetation and the animals who fed on that vegetation, then the animals who fed on THOSE animals, etc.
In an interesting variation on these other seasonal myths in the story of Baal the “dead season” is not winter but summer, which, given the intense heat in that part of the world, was potentially more destructive to nature than winter.
The Savior: Humans prayed to the goddess Anat – Baal’s wife – to return the rains to the Earth. Anat prayed to the other gods to intercede with Mot to release Baal but they refused. Finally, missing her husband terribly, Anat descended into the Netherworld to plead with Mot directly.
Mot still refused to release Baal and so the infuriated Anat battled the god of death, ultimately defeating him. She slashed him so badly with her stone knife that he was helpless to prevent her liberation of Baal.
The rains were thus restored to the Earth, but because he had eaten of some of the food of the dead while in Mot’s domain Baal was required to spend part of every year in the Netherworld. This would once again prevent the cooling winds and rain during the summer months, allowing the symbolic “death” of nature.
At summer’s end Baal would return from the land of the dead and would unleash the rains in order to restore fertility to the land.
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.