More divination art and
oracle decks:


The Telluric Runes


The Irish Ogham



  THE ALPHABET

Aleph

Alliance, union, trust, cooperation

Beth

Domain, family, home, social situation

Gimel

Consequences, result, outcome, cause and effect

Dalet

Departure, transition, closure, initiation

He

Aspiration, inspiration, hope, planning

Waw

Attachment, commitment, habit, obligation

Zayin

Struggle, constraint, disease, injury

Het

Security, peace, wealth, prosperity

Tet

Progress, movement, wholeness, development

Yod

Action, initiative, enterprise, adventure

Kap

Nurturing, love, acceptance, devotion

Lamedh

Guidance, lesson, improvement, correction

Mem

Reflection, self-awareness, intuition, retreat

Nun

Chaos, unexpectedness, misfortune, setback

Samekh

Support, reliability, stability, foundation

Ayin

Observation, learning, curiosity, perception

Pe

Expression, communication, sincerity, self-determination

Sade

Healing, nourishment, restoration, cure

Qoph

Solution, ingenuity, adaptability, strategy

Resh

Reason, logic, practicality, calculation

Shin

Justice, defense, anger, need

Tav

Purpose, identity, destiny, truth

Oracle card: Pe

Main cult city: Uruk

Associated deities: Ishtar, Astarte

A major deity to Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians, Inanna was heavily featured in their myths and cult practices, her worship spreading throughout the Mediterranean and enduring for thousands of years. Her influence connects her to numerous goddesses of various other pantheons and cultures to this day.

As goddess of sex, war and the wielding of power, Inanna is a commanding and distinctive deity. Born of supreme sky-god An- or lunar and earth deities Nanna and Ningal- she is associated with the planet Venus, mirroring its wild wanderings across the sky as Queen of Heaven. Her regal and impetuous nature is expressed through her sensuality and relentless ambition, using her charms and cunning as well as brute force to meet her aims.

Neither a virgin nor a mother-goddess, Inanna's body and drives are first and foremost at the service of her own goals, livelihood and pleasure. Her consort Dumuzid- god of shephards and agriculture- is but one of her lovers; the wandering Queen of Heaven is not linked to home or progeny.

Myths

Wishing to expand her domain as a goddess, Inanna coveted sacred vessels called Mes- holding tools and forces of civilization such as Kingship, Truth, Metalworking and Law- which were in possession of Enki, the god of knowledge. Inanna initiated a drinking contest with Enki, taking possession of the Mes while Enki was too inebriated to object and fleeing back to her own palace. At first angered by the deceit and sending demons after her, Enki relented and ceded the Mes to Inanna with his blessing, as a form of her coming of age and an acknowledgement of her growing dominion.

In another attempt at gaining power, Inanna visited her sister Ereshkigal, queen and goddess of the Underworld, and usurped her place on the throne. The gods and judges of fate however decried her brazen act, striking her dead for her hubris and keeping her body in the Underworld, demonstrating that some powers could not be overturned. Inanna was rescued and revived through the aid of her faithful servant Ninshubur and Enki.

Inanna's more altruistic aspect was demonstrated after the sky god Enlil decimated humanity with a great flood. Weeping at the disaster, she appeared to Utnapishtim- the survivor of the flood who had built a ship to save animals and grains- with the oath that she would not allow such destruction to occur again, enlisting the support of the other gods in her pledge.

Reveling in her own body, desires and conquests, Inanna is the goddess of the Self, celebrating the primal acts of living and being. Inanna represents how our personal desires and will, along with the consequences of our actions, are sacred forces which continually shape our own power and destiny.

 

Oracle card: Sade

Main cult city: Sidon

Associated deities: Asclepius, Attis

The worship of Eshmun, god of healing, medicine and purification, was initiated in Bronze-age Syria, eventually spreading as far as Spain and lasting well into the era of the Roman Empire. A favourite deity of both the general population and rulers, Eshmun's temples featured sacred pools for therapy and cleansing as well as numerous votive offerings in the form of figurines- especially that of children- left as prayers to ensure their subject's good health or recovery. As the patron deity of the Phoenician city of Sidon, he also represented divine protection and guardianship over its people.

Myths

Eshmun was a mortal youth who enjoyed spending his days hunting through the wilderness. He was renowned for his beauty and a sky goddess, named Astrono?, fell in love upon sight of him and pursued him relentlessly. Refusing the goddesses' advances, Eshmun evaded her in vain until, in desperation, he castrated himself with a hatchet only to die from his wounds. Deeply regretful, Astrono? revived Eshmun by granting him the status and immortality of a god and the powers of healing and renewal.

Celebrated as a compassionate god who hears and heads the prayers of his followers, Eshmun's regenerating forces are also linked to the sprouting of plants and spring, the burgeoning of new life over death. Eshmun is a healer of wounds, illnesses and pains, whether physical or mental, nourishing the strength and hope needed to bring about wellness and new beginnings.

 

Oracle card: Taw

Main cult city: Ebla

Associated deities: Shamash, Utu

Described as the 'Torch of the Gods', Shapash was the Canaanite goddess of the Sun, representing its all-seeing light as well as being a judge and messenger among the gods. She had a temple at Ebla, indicating that she was one of its foremost, patron deities. An prominent player in the Epic of Baal, Shapash is portrayed as wise and reasonable, deeply invested in maintaining a proper order for the greater good. While advising and assisting the other gods, she often serves as a righteous voice of reason.

Myths

When the god El appointed the sea-god Yamm as king of the gods, a younger god named Athtar lowered his torch in protest (possibly representing the morning or evening star), which Shapash reprimanded. As Athtar complained to her that he had no leadership role within the gods, she advised him against losing favour in El's eyes through petulant actions, yet also reasoned that his lack of titles was because he was still a youth.

Overthrowing Yamm as king, the rain god Adad had to defend his right to the throne against Mot, the god of death. As the gods believed Adad had been killed by Mot, Shapash lowered her own torch in respect and sorrow, dimming the light of the sun. She also mourned with Adad's sister Anat, aiding her in the sacrifice of many animals to prepare a funeral feast. However, El had a vision that Adad was alive and Shapash was sent to search through the lands and retrieve him.

As Adad and Mot remained locked in violent battle and a seemingly endless stalemate, Shapash finally chastized Mot, warning him that El's position was in favour of Ba'al and that he would destroy his palace and remove all authority from Mot lest he surrendered. Upon hearing of this new order, Mot subsided and accepted Adad's right to rule.

Through her conscientious care and reasonable judgement, Shapash bestows both light and clarity upon the gods and the world alike.

 

Oracle card: Zayin

Main cult city: Ebla

Associated deities: Apollo (as god of plague)

God of war, pestilence, fever and lightning, Resheph was an important Canaanite god, his worship spreading as far as Cyprus and eventually included in his own right into the Egyptian patheon. Despite his menacing and deathly attributes, his numerous temples and iconography demonstrate that he was regarded as a powerful defensive and protective deity, represented by arrows, the mace, shields and the antelope. His name, meaning "Burning" or "Smiting", personifies the heat of intense battles, whether against enemies or the threat of disease and death itself.

Resheph was also guardian and gatekeeper, described as "door-warden of the Sun"- or of the Sun goddess Shapash- in Ugaritic texts. As one of Ebla's patron deities, one the four walled city's gates was dedicated to him. His Egyptian icons show him wearing the Hedjet, the white crown of Upper Egypt, linking him to pharaohs and kingship. He was also associated with cemeteries and gardens.

Although no existing mythological records describe Resheph's personality and relationship with other deities, his enduring cult and the respect accorded to his figure speak of a god entreated for defense and might, bestowing the fiery resolve and strength necessary to face and vainquish adversity.

 

Oracle card: Mem

Main cult city: Manbij (Hierapolis Bambyce)

Associated deities: Aphrodite, Cybele

Atargatis' cult originated in Syria along the Euphrates and was associated with the great river's role in fertilizing the arid earth. As with several Mesopotamian deities, Atargatis' cult expanded throughout many localities and cultures, becoming heavily syncretized through the ages and records. Her myths and iconography are therefore intwined- sometimes confused- with those of other goddesses, such as Astarte and Aphrodite. However she was an important and distinct goddess within many cities of the Levant, frequently portrayed on coinage wearing a mural crown, symbol of a tutelary deity responsible for the protection and well-being of her land and people.

As a deity linked to the life-giving power of water and springs, her many temples featured ponds or lakes populated by fish dedicated to her. Many Syrian cultures were said to forbid the eating of fish and doves which were both sacred animals to Atargatis. Her cult practices revolved around female sensuality and fecundity, involving phallic imagery and votive offerings. Her temple priests were described as eunuchs and/or men donning traditionally female clothing and adornments, emulating the goddess' own attributes.

Mythical accounts related to Atargatis are often from Hellenic sources, therefore syncretized with myths of Aphrodite's such as her flight from the raging titan Typhon into the Euphrates and subsequent assistance from fish.

Another myth describes Atargatis' birth: A divine egg fell from the heaven into the Euphrates where it was rescued by two fish which carried it to shore. There the egg was covered and hatched by doves and the new goddess of life-giving water came forth.

As the ebb and flow of a mighty river, Atargatis fosters a connection to our natural life-sustaining rhythms and sensuous energies, awakening receptivity to potent forces hidden just below the surface.

 

Oracle card: Kaph

Main cult city: Beth Yerah

Associated deities: Yarihbol

Yarikh was the god of the moon to the Canaanites, his worship dating back to the early bronze age. His early cult centre was possibly the city of Beth Yerah, its name meaning "House of the Moon God"; however no text records have been found to attest it. Yarikh has also been associated to the city of Jericho and its fertile date palms growing out of the desert.

As god of the moon, Yarikh also oversees the night sky and the illumination of the stars. Associated with the nightly dew which irrigates desert plants, his title of lord of the sickle refers to the crescent moon as well as a fruitful harvest.

Myths

Yarikh fell in love with Nikkal, goddess of trees and orchards. At first, Nikkal's father, the god of Summer, objected and suggested several other goddesses for Yarikh to marry. Nonetheless, Yarikh had only eyes for Nikkal and offered numerous bride prices of gold and silver. Eventually Yarikh gave Nikkal a necklace of lapis lazuli, representing the starry night sky, and her father at last relented and agreed to their union which caused the arid desert to bloom with lush fruit trees.

Yarikh's devotion to Nikkal and nightly watering of the desert are reminders that love and fruitful growth thrive from reliable, constant effort and nurturing care.

 

Oracle card: Het

Main cult city: Byblos/Gebal

Associated deities: Hathor

Ba'alat Gebal- meaning "The Lady of Gebal" was the tutelary goddess of the Phoenician city of Gebal (named Byblos by the Greeks), her worship associated with its prosperity, valuable commodities, trade and diplomacy. Byblos was an important center for the trade of precious materials such as cedar of Lebanon- prized by the Egyptians for their ships and temples, Phoenician and Syrian oils and wine, Egyptian papyrus coveted by the Greeks and gemstones from the middle east and India. Ba'alat Gebal's temple was a key element in promoting fruitful diplomatic exchanges between the numerous empires involved in Byblos' trade, featuring offerings and tributes from kings and wealthy merchants such as votive tablets and stone vessels of precious oils and ointments. She was invoked for the protection and safe transport of goods and the oversight of fair and successful transactions.

Presiding over Byblos' vibrant cultural and commercial exchange between Phoenicia, Egypt and Greece, her iconography was highly cosmopolitan, syncretized with numerous other Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Hellenic goddesses. She was at times portrayed wearing the moon crescent of Astarte, the horns of Hathor or the sun-disk of Isis, although a two-feathered headdress was exclusive to her. This great goddess of plenty nonetheless maintained a unique character as guardian of her flourishing and sophisticated ancient city.

Through the colourful affluence of her city, the Lady of Gebal represents the gifts of openness, exotic fashions and customs and the pleasures of discovering the many treasures of the world.

 

Oracle card: Yod

Main cult city: Tyre

Associated deities: Hercules, Heracles

Melqart, the god of rulership, seafaring and commerce, was the patron god of the Phoenician city of Tyre, inextricably linked with its development and its far-reaching trade and colonies. Traveling with Phoenician ships, his temples and votives could be found beyond the Mediterranean, along the Atlantic coast where the Phoenicians founded the cities of Lixus (Morocco) and Gadir (Cadiz, Spain). Melquart was invoked in sealing oaths and contracts, as a protector of trade practices, and his temple at Tyre also served as the city's treasury. His worship lasted well into the Roman era, spanning over 10,000 years. Hellenized as Melqart-Heracles, his image was often features of coinage, riding a hippocampus. The Cippi of Melqart, two marble votive pillars unearthed in Malta, are inscribed in both Phoenician and Greek scripts and served as a Rosetta stone to decipher the Phoenician alphabet.

Myths

Upon wandering from the desert and reaching the sea, the primeval people saw floating islands on which rested an eternally burning tree with an eagle nesting within and a serpent entwined around the trunk. The god Melqart appeared to them, teaching them how to build ships which could reach the islands and instructing them to sacrifice the bird to the gods once they arrived. Once the emergent seafarers performed the ritual, the islands were connected to the land and the city of Tyre was founded, thanks to the god's ingeniosity and help.

Melqart was also credited with the discovery of Tyre's most renowned precious commodity. While walking along the shore with a beautiful sea nymph named Tyros, Melquart's dog caught a murex sea snail, breaking its shell. The snail's deep purple secretion stained the dog's fur and upon seeing it, Tyros expressed the desire to have a robe in this regal colour. Melqart gathered more murex and devised a way to extract enough dye to make the nymph's garment. Thus the famous 'Tyrian purple' dye was created, ensuring the fame and wealth of Tyre for centuries to come.

As an enterprising god involved in Phoenicia's most thriving endeavours, Melqart watches upon those who expand their horizons and exerce fruitful leadership, venturing into the unknown with optimism and ambition.

 

Oracle card: Qoph

Main cult city: Carthage

Associated deities: Juno

Legendary queen Dido was the founder of the Phoenician city of Carthage, central to the mighty Cartaginian empire. She figures prominently in Virgil's Aeneid, however this story differs significantly from earlier accounts by Greek authors believed to have been informed by Carthagenian sources.

Myths

Dido was the princess of Tyre, sister of the ruling king, Pygmalion of Tyre. Dido's husband, Acerbas was the high priest of Melqart, which was the second most powerful position in Tyre after the king. Even though Dido had been meant to rule alongside her brother, Pygmalion had usurped the power to himself, going as far as having Acerbas assassinated in order to access his great wealth. When Pygmalion's attendants came to Dido, she ordered them to throw Acerbas' bags of gold into the sea as a holy offering to his spirit. She then convinced them to flee with her, as they feared Pygmalion's reaction when he would learn of what had happened to the gold. Unbeknownst to them, the bags had been filled with sand and Dido was still in possession of Acerbas' gold.

In proud Tyrian fashion, Dido took to the sea with her new court of attendants to escape her brother's abuse of power, determined to seek a new land. They eventually arrived at the coast of the Berber nation (modern Tunisia) where Dido asked the king Larbas for some land for her refugees to settle on, the size of a single oxhide, which the king conceded. By cutting the hide into thin strips, Dido could encircle the area of an entire hill. This clever solution is immortalized as the Dido problem in calculus, which determines the largest possible area of a plane with a boundary of a specified length. Upon that hill, the settlement of Carthage- meaning "new city"- was created and grew into a prosperous and powerful city-state.

Carthage and Dido's peace were troubled when Larbas demanded that Dido join him in marriage lest he waged war on the city. Wanting to preserve the safety of her empire and the sanctity of her original marriage to Acerbas, Dido had a large sacrificial pyre built under the guise of a last honour to her previous husband, in order to marry Larbas. However, when she announced that she would go to her husband, she ascended the pyre and slew herself with her sword. According to this myth she was subsequently deified and the people of Carthage worshipped her as one of their tutelary gods.

It remains uncertain whether Dido was a living, historical figure or mostly mythical. However, the account of the defiant princess and shrewd Queen carving her own path and empire remains to this day, a testimony to the power of cunning strategy and determination.

 

Oracle card: Samekh

Main cult city: Ugarit

Associated deities: Zeus, Amun, Tammuz, Adonis

Also known as Ba'al and I?kur, Adad was a dominant god throughout the Levant, his figure an important feature of Babylonian, Akkadian and Ugaritic myths and worship. As god of storms and rain, he was associated with agriculture and the fertility of the land, therefore a protector of human civilization. The name 'Ba'al' is a title meaning 'Lord', as Adad was viewed as the ruler of the gods and a representation of rulership.

In contrast to his brother Yamm, god of the chaotic and forbidding powers of the sea, Adad represents natural forces which work in favour of civilization and survival. Adad's stormy rains irrigate the land and he presides over the germination and healthy growth of crops. Unlike Yamm who tyrannized the other gods, Adad frequently negociates and seeks advice from them, representing a friendlier and more domesticated side of nature as well as a form of leadership which promotes mutual growth instead of conflict. Although possessing the fearsome powers of storms and lightning and capable of destruction, Adad is ultimately a just and beneficient ruler, keeping the balance between untamed forces and peaceful growth, death and rebirth and the cycle of the seasons.

Myths

When father of the gods El designated Yamm, the god of the sea, as king of the gods, Yamm's capricious and violent nature was poorly received by the other gods. Adad expressed his own desire for the throne and began devising plans to overthrow Yamm. With the support of other deities and after a fierce battle, Adad defeated Yamm who retreated to the sea. However, without the approval of El, Adad was without a proper palace or court. Adad's sister Anat, the goddess of war, first went to El to forcefully demand his consent, to no avail. Adad then commissioned Kothar-wa-Khasis, the god of craftsmanship, to fashion beautiful gifts for Asherah, El's consort, in order to gain her support. This more diplomatic approach succeeded and Asherah convinced El to grant Adad his own palace.

To celebrate his new kingship and palace, Adad invited all the gods to a banquet, including the god of death, Mot. However, Mot replied in anger that he feasted only on human flesh and blood, not merely bread and wine. The monstrous Mot threatened Adad, stating that he would break him to pieces and devour them one by one. Alarmed by the savage god, Adad first considered forfeiting his kingdom to him, telling El that Mot might be soon king in his stead. As Mot searched for Adad, Shapash, the sun goddess, advised Adad to trick Mot with a substitute of himself and go into hiding within the earth. Giving a calf the form of a human, Adad dressed it in his robes and fled as Mot arrived.

Finding the remains, the other gods, including El, mourned Adad's death. The land became parched in his absence and plants stopped growing. In desperation, Anat traveled to the underworld, searching for Adad's soul. As Mot teased her over Adad's death, she slayed him in a rage, cutting up his body and scattering him to the birds. As she announced to El that Mot would not rule since he was dead, El had a vision that Adad was still alive as well as the rightful ruler. Shapash then went to look for Adad who returned to the joy of the other gods. Adad released his life-sustaining storms and rains through the windows of his palace and crops were restored.

As a powerful god of storms, Adad nonetheless secures his kingship with the help and approval of his pantheon, as a leader's worth lies in their capacity and will to work for the greater good.

 

Oracle card: Shin

Main cult city: Beit She'an

Associated deities:Nike, Sekhmet

Warrior-goddess Anat was a major deity in Ugarit, her name and figure appearing in other Levantine iconography throughout the Bronze age. She was also attested and worshipped in Ancient Egypt. Represented as a youthful maiden with unabashed enthusiasm in battle, myths frequently show her engaged in bloodshed, through warfare and conflict as well as hunting and the slaughtering of animals in sacrifice. Often called 'the virgin'- meaning 'unmarried' rather than 'chaste'- she is openly sexual and seductive. Although Anat's wrath is ruthless and violent, she plays a key role with maintaining the proper order between the gods. She is a fierce protector of her brother Adad, the king of the gods, their relationship portrayed as that of siblings as well as lovers (though not consorts). As a source of constant support of Adad's reign, Anat is a personification of the power behind the throne.

Associated with fearless battle and victory, Anat was chosen by Rameses the Great as his protector, naming his daughter, sword, hunting dog and war horse in honour of the goddess and expanding her temples in Canaanite cities he conquered.

Myths

Anat took the same joy and satisfaction in battle as one would a festive dance or lavish meal. In response to Adad becoming king, she groomed herself with care, bathing in fragrant water, anointing herself with coriander and ambergris and applying rouge as a maiden before meeting a lover. She then set out to strike down the remaining enemies of Adad- the men of the Western Shore and of the Eastern Sunrise- in a frienzied slaughter, sending their heads rolling and hands flying, wading knee-deep in blood. Upon her returning to her palace, the warrior goddess was not yet sated from battle. Anat gathered her house's tables and benches, arranging them in rows as an army, and hacked them to pieces until at last her heart was content. She cleaned herself of blood and poured an offering of oil, in sign of peace restored.

In moments of leisure and tenderness, she was described playing the lyre and signing to Adad and his daughters, expressing her fondness for them and wishing their continued happiness.

During Adad's conflict against Mot, the god of death, Adad was believed dead and Anat began a desperate search for his soul. While searching the underworld, Mot taunted her, describing how he had devoured Adad's body. In a vengeful rage, Anat savagely attacked Mot, splitting him with a sword, mincing him, burning and grinding his remains and scattering them upon the ground for the birds to feed on. It would take seven years for the god of death to regenerate and return.

Anat's wrath was not always without consequences: In the Tale of Aqhat, Anat coveted a wonderful set of bow and arrows made by Kothar-wa-Khasis, the god of craftsmanship. The bow had been given to a mortal, king Danel, who in turn had offered it to his son, Aqhat. Anat appeared to Aqhat in an effort to buy the bow, offering him gold and silver and even immortality. The young man refused but went so far as to offend Anat, stating that a woman would have no use of a bow anyway. Incensed, the hunter goddess sought to punish Aqhat by sending her attendant in the form of an eagle to steal the bow from him. However the attack caused Aqhat to fall and be killed and the bow to be broken. Anat mourned the death of Aqhat and the loss of the bow but also expressed concern that his death would cause crops to fail. The ending of this myth is too damaged to be retreived, but it is assumed that Aqhat was eventually revived.

Anat's unwavering devotion to Adad and unabashed joy in battle represent the raw passion and committment which cuts a path through every doubt and hurdle, urging us on towards victory and fulfillment.

 

Oracle card: Gimel

Main cult city: Memphis

Associated deities:Ptah, Hephaestus

Although worshipped in Ugarit, Kothar-wa-Khasis, god of crafts, art, metalsmithing and magical spells, was associated with Egypt- said to inhabit the city of Memphis- and shared numerous characteristics with the Egyptian god Ptah. Kothar's skills and cleverness play an important role within his pantheon. His exquisite and powerful objects are coveted and commissioned by other gods, serving decisive purpose in both diplomacy and conflict. As the architect of the gods, he is enlisted to design and build their palaces as well as weapons imbued with magic. Through his wondrous creations and his sly wit, he often influences the gods around him and outcomes of events, his very name meaning "Skillful and Clever".

Myths

Kothar was one of the deities who objected to the appointment of the chaotic sea-god Yamm as leader. Although the beginning of the Epic of Baal is lost, it is believed that the royal palace which Kothar has to build for Yamm was not up to his standards, due to Yamm's impatience rushing Kothar's work. The other gods were concerned that the violent Yamm would take offense but Kothar declared that Yamm was unfit as a ruler and threatened Yamm that he would be defeated by his rival, the god Adad, with magical weapons. The situation further prompted Adad to seek support from the rest of the gods and move against Yamm.

As Adad battled Yamm, he feared that the relentless power of the monstrous god would overwhelm him yet Kothar assured him of his victory. He created two fighting clubs, giving each a magical name and power- Yagrish (Chaser) and Ayamuri (Driver)- with which Adad was able to vanquish Yamm, realizing Kothar's earlier foreshadowing.

After Adad's victory, Kothar set out to work on his regal new palace. As Kothar discussed the palace's windows, Adad objected, citing fears that his children could be abducted or otherwise harrassed by the recently dethroned Yamm. Despite arguing that Adad would rescind this decision, Kothar nonetheless set out to build the palace according to Adad's specifications, using cedars of lebanon, gold, silver and lapis lazuli. Upon completion of his magnificent abode, Adad invited the other gods for a celebratory feast, which served to fully seal his victory over Yamm. Newly reassured and confident of his security, he returned to Kothar with the request to add windows to the palace, to which the architect god laughed, exclaiming "Did I not tell you that you would change your mind?". Through the new windows, Adad was then able to release his storms and rain, irrigating the earth.

In another myth, Kothar expressed gratitude to a mortal king, named Danel, for his hospitality, gifting him a wondrous bow and arrows.

Through the expertise, foresight and beauty involved in his creations, Kothar-wa-Khasis masters not only his craft but destiny itself, demonstrating that creativity and competence are a powerful form of magic, available at our own fingertips.

 

Oracle card: Beth

Main cult city: Ugarit

Associated deities:Shekinah

The mother of the gods in Ugarit and to the Canaanites, Asherah's worship . Her recurring symbol and object of worship, a pole or pillar representing a sacred tree, was a widespread feature in other deities' temples, a demonstration of her motherly and life-sustaining power ever present behind their own. Her worship was especially tied to the household and to family matriarchs who were known to burn incense and make offerings of cakes and votive female figures within their homes. This practice endured through ancient Israel, alongside the cult of Yahweh, as Asherah was regarded as his consort or feminine divine presence by certain Israelites. Consequently, Asherah is one of the few other deities mentioned in the Bible. Asherah was also especially favoured by the mothers of kings since their own role reflected her own as queen mother of heaven.

As consort to the father of the gods El, Asherah was titled "creatrix of the gods", portrayed as protective of all her many children, even as they quarreled between themselves. She would frequently negociate for peaceful outcomes or intercede in their favour to her husband El.

Myths

As king of the gods, god of the sea Yamm began terrorizing the other gods with his demands and quick wrath. Asherah attempted to appeal to Yamm, offering him various rewards, though Yamm demanded the she offered herself. Asherah was considering the sacrifice to ensure peace between her children, however the others vehemently objected, especially Adad, the god of storms, who intended to defeat Yamm and usurp his leadership.

Despite Yamm's uncontrollable behaviour, Asherah expressed some sorrow at his defeat, at first disregarding Adad's victory like her husband El. Although when Adad approached her with gifts, seeking her approval and help in being granted a royal palace by El, she relented, conceding that a proper order had been established and that Adad was deserving of his title and palace.

As in heaven, Asherah represents the quiet force of safety and peace watching over the unity of home and family. Her unconditional love and support run deep like the roots of a life-sustaining tree, ensuring warmth and protection for all generations below her.

 

Oracle card: Nun

Main cult city: Ugarit

Associated deities:Typhon, Tiamat

The tempestuous god of the sea, Yamm is a key player in the Epic of Ba'al, representing the powers of primitive chaos and the untamed sea in contrast to his brother Adad, the god of rain who irrigates crops and aids in maintaining order. Although represented as tyrannical and aggressive, Yamm was nonetheless regarded with respect by Ugaritic and Phoenician worshippers. As expert seafarers, the Phoenicians were well accustomed to contending with the sea's unpredictable and overwhelming forces. Their ships featured carved horses' heads at the bow as a tribute to acknowledge and appease Yamm, since horses- as with Poseidon- were associated with the sea god. Despite his role as an antagonist against Adad and the more affable deities, Yamm is a necessary part of the creation and constant renewal of life, urging decisive changes and constant adaptability.

Myths

When the god El bestowed kingship over the gods to Yamm, several gods expressed concerns over the sea-god's temper and violent nature. Their worries were soon substantiated when Yamm flew in a rage over his new palace, built by Kothar-wa-Khasis, the god of crafts, which had to be built in a haste due to Yamm's own impatience. Asherah, the mother of the gods, attempted to placate Yamm by offering him various gifts until Yamm demanded that she offers herself. As she reported this request to the others, they were further outraged, though Yamm's threats of destruction still makes them too fearful to act against him. However, Adad openly defies Yamm, declaring that he ought to overthrow him and claim the throne.

Yamm repeatedly threatened Adad, demanding his surrender, until a violent battle errupted at last between the two gods. Their forces were closely matched but Yamm's formidable powers began to overwhelm Adad. Khotar-wa-Khasis, the god whom Yamm had first bullied and spited, presented Adad with two magical striking sticks which drove him back to the abyss where he admitted his defeat.

As Yamm's capricious whims and daunting forces, the cycle of life and events can be chaotic and destructive. However its gift is to let us face the true measure of our character and strength, revealing our own hidden powers.

 

Oracle card: Aleph

Main cult city: Lagash

Associated deities:-

Nanshe was a popular goddess celebrated in temples and numerous hymns throughout Mesopotamia. A daughter of the god Enki, she had been appointed by him to watch over the Persian Gulf, especially fishing boats to ensure that their crew and cargo would safely return to shore. She could communicate with and through bats and sea birds, especially the pelican. She was further associated with food supply and distribution as the 'Lady of the Storerooms', overseeing weights and measures to make sure they were precise, accurate and honest.

As the great equalizer, Nanshe was the goddess of social care and justice, watching over the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of society such as refugees, widows, orphans and the poor. Her temples were sanctuaries where food and shelter was offered to those in need. Portrayed as a most patient and compassionate goddess, Nanshe's wrath could nonetheless be incured by acts of dishonesty or evil. Her yearly festival required querents for her aid and wisdom to swim in a river as an act of cleansing and test of their pure intentions. She was regarded as an advisor and judge to humans as well as the gods.

Nanshe was also an oracular goddess, with the power to bestow visions and messages through dreams. However, as with her assistance, her gift of sight could only be received by those free of guile and pure of heart.

Kindly and fair Nanshe's recognition of the smallest, most deprived people is a reminder that even the gods acknowledge that all lives deserve dignity and protection, that compassion and care are the most important forces of civilization.

 

Oracle card: Resh

Main cult city: Eridu

Associated deities:Ea, El, Thoth

Originated in Sumer, the worship of Enki- god of knowledge, creation, civilization and magic- spread throughout Mesopotamian and Levantine cultures, his oldest shrine, unearthed in the ancient city of Eridu dating back to 4,400 BCE. Associated with the fertile properties of water, he was often portrayed with two streams flowing to his shoulders, representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. As the creator of humankind, he was credited with the invention of tools for civilization such as language, writing, the arts and law. He was also associated with the fixed stars in the Southern sky.

Enki is a benevolent and helpful figure, his knowledge and ingenuity frequently called upon by other gods and mankind alike. Invested in the well-being and good functioning of the universe, he can also be mischievous and sly, willing to bend the rules and resort to trickery in order to solve problems. Nonetheless, Enki shows a dislike for battle or violence, favouring intelligence and cunning rather than conflict to restore peace and balance. Enki is also associated with divination and exorcism, his link to fresh water representing a source of pure and cleansing power.

Myths

The gods had decided that they needed servants to aid them in the daily running of the cosmos. They asked Enki where they could find such help so he fashioned the first human out of clay and blood. In order to create more, he enlisted the help of his consort Ninhursag, the earth goddess of fertility, and Nintu, goddess of birth, who took on the responsibility of forming the humans out of the clay.

As humanity rapidly multiplied, the world became noisy and boisterous, which annoyed Enlil the head of the gods. He devised to send a succession of plagues and disaters to eliminate the humans. Enki set out to thwart Enlil's plans by informing a human named Atrahasis on how to protect humanity: With each new threat, mankind would exclusively worship the deity responsible for each particular disaster, which would cause the deity to feel shame and relent. Realizing that humanity was being forewarned, a furious Enlil decided to send a great flood to wipe out the whole of creation and demanded from all the gods that they swear an oath not to speak of it to humanity. Enki circumvented the promise by speaking to Atrahasis indirectly, as a voice through reeds. Unable to prevent the flood, he advised Atrahasis to build a large boat for his family and animals, which survived the flood. Enki's trickery was discovered but he argued that he had not broken his oath and that Enlil's wholesale destruction was unfair, punishing the guilty and innocent alike. In order to preserve life on earth, a compromise was reached by agreeing that Enlil would no longer flood the earth but that the next humans created would be less fertile and shorter-lived.

Enki was known to advise and protect all who asked for his aid. This caused him to arbiter a conflict between Shukaletuda, a gardener chosen to guard Enki's sacred palm tree, and the goddess Inanna. Shukaletuda had raped Inanna as she had fallen asleep underneath the tree and the goddess was pursuing him in a rage, prompting Shukaletuda to ask for Enki's help in hiding. Enki instructed him to hide within a large city where he would blend in with others, as Inanna unleashed plagues and storms across the earth. At last, Inanna herself went to Enki, explaining the situation and demanding justice to which Enki had to agree and he revealed Shukaletuda's hiding place, allowing for Inanna's retribution.

With his clever approach and problem-solving nature, Enki assists us in navigating a complex and sometimes messy world with the assurance that good and fair outcomes can reached through a measured outlook and some quick thinking.

 

ABOUT PHOENICIA

The Phoenecians are at once ubiquitous and mysterious, their innovations and trade a vibrant feature of Mediterranean history, yet records of their cultural lives, in their own words and from their own sources, remain elusive. The very name of Phoenicia comes from the Greeks, meaning "the land of purple", in celebration of one of the most highly prized of Phoenician goods, regal 'Tyrian purple' dye and cloth sought after by Mediterranean royalty and nobles.

The rich history of the Phoenicians begins around 3500 BCE, as nomadic herders from Mesopotamia adopted agricultural systems and formed more permanent settlements. As the cultivation of grain, olives and wine flourished, those settlements grew into thriving trade centers, the world's first great cities. Also called Canaanites, this semitic-speaking cultural group evolved through the Levant, reaching the Mediterranean coast where the sea offered even greater horizons. From their port cities of Sidon, Tyre and Byblos, the Phoenicians launched an enduring campaign of far-reaching commerce and colonization, as master seafarers and navigators, ferrying their precious commodities- cedar of Lebanon, fine wine, glass and purple cloth- to and from every empire of the Mediterranean and dominating the Iron Age with their unstoppable growth. The Phoenicians city-state of Carthage, founded around 800 BCE, encompassed the Western Mediterranean, reaching as far as Spain (then Iberia), Morocco and Sicily.

The Carthaginian empire eventually ended in a clash with the growing Roman empire- the Punic Wars, around 260 BCE. Despite their eventual annexation to emerging powers such as the Romans, Greeks and Persians, the land of Phoenicia did not disappear as much as blend into the surrounding cultures, its indelible presence lingering to this day, down to the very root of our written words; the alphabet.

The Phoenician Alphabet

While pictograms and cuneiform symbols had been in use for centuries to represent words and concepts, the Phoenicians devised the first alphabet; a list of basic, phonetic sounds with which to write down spoken words. This method had the advantage of being more concise and easy to learn than hundreds of glyphs or images. Choosing 22 Egyptian Hieroglyphs based on phonetic sounds, the symbols were simplified for imprinting or carving onto clay tablets; the first inscriptions in Phoenician dating back to approximately 1050 BCE. Through their trade routes, the Phoenician's novel writing system spread through Mediterranean and Levantine cultures, sprouting the evolution of most alphabets, such as the Arameic, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Coptic, and Latin alphabets.

The Phoenecians themselves did not use the alphabet as a divination tool. However, all languages carry the magic of meaning and symbolism. As it was written, the Phoenician Oracle spoke vibrantly for itself, through each object and tool chosen by this ancient people to represent each letter, every one a vital, familiar and empowering element of Phoenician as well as universal human life.

 

USING THE ORACLE

The cards

Each card's Phoenician letter and literal and symbolic meaning can be explored under The Alphabet list. Features on each card and chosen for every letter is a Mediterranean plant or tree with special significance to Phoenician or Levantine cultures.

Phoenician deities

16 Phoenician deities and their myths are featured through this work, each associated with a card. You are invited to discover those deities' influence while using the deck, including the many syncretized deities or those of your own practice and choice.

Drawing and reading

The cards drawn from the deck feature three divination messages which can be interpreted for your query. You are encouraged to work freely and openly, using your own intuition along with all symbols, elements or deities featured through the cards' information and visual artwork. They are tools of inspiration as well as divination.

Any number of cards can be selected and read, by clicking on the cards and the 'Reading' button once you are ready to read. The 'Shuffle' button shuffles the cards in a random order with every click.

A suggested, simple spread is drawing 3 cards as a Past-Present-Future representation: The first card states what led to the current query; the second represents the current state of affairs; the third suggests the next best course of action or a possible outcome.

Happy reading! Questions regarding this oracle are welcomed, I can be reached through the following:

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