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Angels are NOT Christian

To: alt.religion.angels,alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan
From: (paghat)
Subject: Re: Angels are NOT Christian
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 10:33:34 -0800

In article <>, daybrown

> One of the earliest is an image of Astarte with wings.
> The naked angel also, however, if you look at her feet, has talons.

Although that is called an Astarte plaque, that is only a modern name & it
is impossible to identify it as a goddess or just composite animal or a
nature spirit. There are literary discriptions of desert wind spirits that
this image perfectly matches, which would make her a a type of Lilith.
There is an owl on the same plaque which in the near east was identified
with the wind-demonesses of the desert, but of course the owl was also
sacred to the Athenian Athena, who was probably in part derived from the
Syriac Anath, one of the key ancient near eastern goddesses the Greeks
generically called Astarte, so the identification is not impossible --
though when archeologists identify "astarte" figurines and plaques they
are doing so generically & are not saying they represent any divinity
specifically called Astarte.

Stork liliths are described in detail by Zechariah in the vision of the
Woman in the Ephah. An ephah was a container capable of holding holding
about six gallons. The same word indicated a Mesopotamian cultic cell or
room. Sealed within this ephah was a woman whom Zechariah equates with
wickedness (any goddess figure from a rival religion would be said to be
wicked). Flanking the ephah were stork-winged women. These Liliths flew
away with the ephah, delivering it to Babylon, where the Babylonians built
for the woman in an Ephah a new temple [Zech 5:5-11]. The woman in the
Ephah was apparently Zarpanitu, the great mother of Babylon, & her
stork-liliths were composite human/animals of that sort that served as
Akkadian doorway & gate guardians.

The personal name of the woman in the Ephah was Risha, "Wickedness"
[5:8].  Throughout scripture, divine names other than God's are commonly
mispelled as derogatory puns, & the name Risha undoubtedly played upon the
name of some divinity known to Zechariah, I would assume Rissah as a name
for some desert wind spirit such as the SumeroAkkadian Liloth. There was a
camping place named Rissah in the Wilderness of the wandering [Nm
33:21-22], the meaning of which has been lost, having a non-Hebrew origin.
Yet a Hebrew meaning can be imposed, assuming a relationship to rasis, a
droplet, and rasas, to moisten. The word rasas is used only once in
scripture, to describe how bread is "moistened" with oil [Ezek 46:14],
suggesting that Rissah could have been a genius of the olive tree much as
Lilith dwelt in the halupa tree of Inanna, or was honored in the form of a
wellside rock over which oil was poured as an offering. Just such a 
Rissah was associated with the Syrian god Rimmon, so Rissah & Rimmon would
be roughly the equivalent of Anath & Baal.

"Rishah subverts the sinner" [Pr 13:6] indicates a female angel of
darkness who tempts humanity with her beauty. "Out of the Wicked (rasha)
comes forth Wickedness (resha)" was said to be an ancient proverb even in
the days of Samuel [1 Sm 24:13], and may in those earliest times have
extended its simple punning to something more religious and complex, such
as a condemnation of Canaanite worship of Anath who who came forth from
Asherah, each with her own orgiastic festivals & feasts. As Rissah was a
source of food in that she "moistened" flour with her oil, she undoubtedly
received cakes as fertility offerings. For this reason yahwists criticized
those who "ate the bread of Reshah" [Pr 4:17]. A Psalm contrasts the
Temple of God to the Tent of Resha [Ps 125:3], distinguishing between the
Tabernacle as a place of God, versus the tent of a harlot and her client
-- but note that Babylonian Women of Zarpanitu used to set up tents at
festivals in which to display idols of the Mother, & whether or not there
was any literal "harlotry" associated with these endeavors, to radical
yahwists it was spiritual harlotry, an attitude not shared by everyone
(not even by all Jews) but only by the yahwist minority. Risha might also
be punned with Rizia, "Delight," & to the majority, Rishah was delightful.
"You have plowed Resha!" [Hos 10:13] is a clear allusion to Rissah's
status as a kedeshot or Sanctified Woman, spoken of by a prophet notably
obsessed with pleasing his own harlot bride, as in the book of Hosia he
repeatedly strove to get his pagan wife to return home. 

> This harkens back 10,000 years all the way to Chatal Hoyuk, which had
> sacred images of vultures. The Vulture Goddess ate your body in order to
> carry your soul up to heaven. Has a lot to do with the excarnation
> procedure in India which places each body in a large open box so that
> the vultures may feed, but leave the bones for the family to retrieve
> later to save in an ossiary.

Of course the so-called Astarte plaque represents a stork not a vulture.
Since so many North African goddesses had vulture wings, this stork-winged
& stork-legged figure accompanied by owl MIGHT have emulated the
vulture-goddess in some different context, but unlike the vulture the
stork is not a carrion eater so the cultic meaning would be very

The ancient cultic meanings of the stork (or similar stork-legged birds)
was quite distinct from that of the vulture. The semitic name for Stork
could also mean Maternal -- the modern fairy tail of storks dropping
infants down chimneys may well have an extremely ancient origin! But of
course spirits or divinities with rule of childbirth selected which
infants lived & which died, & in days when a great many infants died, such
rulers of childbirth were more fierce than not, & apt to kill mother &
child both, as was believed to be true of stork-winged Liliths.

Philo of Alexandria notes that storks express filial piety. Having been so
well cared for in their youth, the young in turn take care of their aged
parents when they are grown too feeble to leave the nest [De Decalogo 23].
The stork was anciently a symbol of Lilith, who built her wicker house in
the top of Inanna's halupa tree. Hence the psalm, "As for the Stork
(Hasidah), the fir-trees are her home" [Ps 104:17]. Now here's a wild
"coincidence" for ya: Hasidah was also the Hebrew name for the titular
heroine of the Book of Esther (i.e., Ishtar -- in Greek again Astarte).
The Book of Esther nowhere mentions the Hebrew god, so the only divine
names encountered are those of Esther (Ishtar) & Mordecai (Mardok).

The seeming contradiction of the stork Hasidah as Maternal and delightful
and moist, and Hasidah as demonic stork-legged & stork-winged Lilith
dwelling in deserts amidst owls & jackels, is a mystery easily rendered
comprehensible. Zoharic Hasidah is regarded as a female form of the (male)
sephirah Hesed [Zoh I:162b]. The Zohar tells us, "The truth is, this upper
world is really a female principle, though we usually give it a male name,
Hesed" [I:163a]. She is called Hasidah because she has boundless
compassion and "she is given to deeds of lovingkindness" [Midrash Tehillim
104:14], that is, she is Hesed's earthly emissary. Upon the sephiroth tree
(which begs parallels to Inanna's halupa), Hesed stands on the right-hand
or masculine side, but "he" in many ways resembles Aphrodite, and
represents that aspect of God which is drawn toward unrestrained love.
Within the male Hesed, there dwell a number of female lights, including
Ahavah (Love), Debikah (Cleaving), Hashikah (Love), & Haphizah (Delighting
In) [Genesis Rabbah 80:7]. They inspire not only spiritual love, but also,
when unrestrained, lusts of the flesh; hence the double-association of
Hasidah with the gentle aspect of God (or the Shekhinah, female presence
of god), and with erotic Lilith; much as the Ugaritic Great Father is
called "Gentlehearted El" but is the father of the raging and warlike
Anath. The "loves" that dwell within Hesed embrace even that which is
evil, because their capacity for love is unbounded and untempered by
judgment. Hesed's balancing sephirah on the left of the Tree is Gevurah
the female power of justice. The Furies that dwell within her (Yirah, Emah
and suchlike) restrain the romantic inclinations of Hesed's delightful
horaea. When Hesed's "keys" or horaea issue from him like a flock of birds
to descend to the earth, so too do Gevurah's "keys" or furies descend, &
the furies are restrained from unjust punishments by the loving horaae, as
the horaea pentient for forgiving & loving even the most monstrous of men
is restrained by the furies.

-paghat the ratgirl

> If I died in summer in the Ozarks, it'd be kinda nice to think of part
> of my body being incorporated into a bird that flies over these
> mountains all summer long.
> I remember one spring, planting in the freshly tilled garden, looking up
> to see 11 vultures circling above me. I wondered if they knew something
> about my state of health I was unaware of. Not a bad way to go, doing
> what I love to do.

"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
   -from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
See the Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl:

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