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NCowham: The Sabbatic Goat

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.mythology,alt.pagan,alt.satanism,talk.religion.misc
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: NCowham: Re: The Sabbatic Goat
Date: 23 Sep 1995 04:27:15 -0700

[from alt.magick: Nyk Cowham ]

In article <43heim$>
  "Bill Heidrick" writes:

> ("Mogg Morgan") writes:
> >Is the Sabbatic Goat the Celtic Deity Cernunnos?
> >So suggests eminent Celtic scholar Anne Ross.
> This is impossible, if you mean historically.  Modern usage of the last
> few centuries has muddled this, as other things.  Cernunnos is the
> Roman name for Huon, among other Celtic and pre-celtic european deities.

There is no evidence to link Cernunnos with the horned figure depicted on the
Gundestrupp bowl. Indeed there is no evidence that the figure is even a god,
rather than a simply man wearing antlers for some ritual purpose; the shaman
thesis posited by John Matthews may be an equally valid interpretation of the

The Sabbatic Goat may have several origins via distorted imagery. As is well
known ancient pagan iconography often used the motif of the horn as a symbol
of power and potency (probably phallic, as in the Chinese belief in the Rhino
horn's power as an aphrodisiac). Thus, horned animals were commonly worshipped
in the ancient world - an example being the Minoan bull which was ritually
sacrificed seasonly in an elaborate ritual.

The gods of Sumeria and Akkadia were often depicted with headresses adorned
with horns to denote their divine powers. Thus, in terms of archetypal imagery
the horn is symbolic of the solar-phallic power of creation and fecundity.

How this relates to the Sabbatic tradition, it is very hard to say. It all
depends upon the origin of the sabbat. Personally I believe the sabbatic rite
was always a syncretic mix of many half forgotten and half understood pagan
cults. One possible origin of the Sabbatic goat, however, is that it was the
survival of the rites associated with the worship of the Egyptian goat-god (or
Ram-god) which Herodotus mentioned. Lewis Spence wrote:

"Greek writers furnish us with much graphic material concerning these animal
cults, as in some instances they were eye-witnesses of the ritual connected
with them. Herodotus states that the god Pan and another goat-like deity were
worshipped with a wealth of symbolic display and gorgeous rite as gods of
generation and fecundity." (Spence, _Egypt_, p.288).

These animal cults *may* have passed along North Africa, along with other
Egyptian cults and joined with the cult of Tanit in Carthage giving an offshoot
cult which may have travelled to Europe via the Moorish invasion of Spain. It
is interesting to note that the magic of the medieval witch was associated with
the use of wax effigies or _maumets_ (Mohammets? or Maut, the mother?) which is
a method of sympathetic magic most extensively used in Egypt in the form of
_Shabti_ magic, or effigy magic. However, this is only one possible origin of
the witch cult, but not necessarily the only one. It does provide an explanation
of the sabbatic goat (as do a possible connection with the Greek mysteries of
Pan and Dionysus).

Frater Nekronos, 494 ','         
				  "_Babalon he megale, he meter ton pornon_"
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