Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Moon goddess and god

SELENE was the Titan goddess of the moon.  In Roman mythology, the moon goddess is called Luna, Latin for "moon". In later times Selene was identified with Artemis (Diana), and the worship of the two became amalgamated. She rode, like her brother Helios, across the heavens in a chariot drawn by two white horses, cows, or mules.

                                              The statue of Selene
 Selene, Hesperos, Phosphoros (Louvre, Paris)

In the traditional pre-Olympian divine genealogy, Helios, the sun, is Selene's brother:
Selene's main symbol was the crescent. Animals that were associated with her were the Greek kyon (κύων, dog in Ancient Greek), the bull (& the cow), as well as the cock. These animals were Selene's followers during the night and the morning twilight.

Obverse:  Mithras slaying the bull in a cave, above which in the upper corners Sol (top left) and Luna (top right) emerge. Luna has a crescent behind her shoulders. Around Sol's head is a crown of twelve rays, plus another that darts out in the direction of Mithras. Also in the upper left is a raven. The dog, serpent, scorpion are set at their standard positions. The tail of the bull ends in ears of wheat.
Reverse: Banquet scene. In the middle, a bull's hide, of which the head and one hindleg are visible. Sol and Mithras recline on it side by side. Mithras holds a torch in his left hand and extends his right hand behind Sol. Sol is dressed only in a cape, fastened on his right shoulder with a fibula. Around Sol's head is a crown of eleven rays. He holds a whip in his left hand and extends the right towards a torchbearer who offers him a rhyton. In the lower right is another torchbearer, with raised torch in his left hand. In his right hand, a caduceus held into the water emerging from the ground. In the middle, an altar in the coils of a crested snake. In the upper left corner, Luna in a cloud, looking away. Traces of red paint on the attire of Sol, Mithras and the torchbearers.

Apollonius of Rhodes (4.57ff) refers to Selene, "daughter of Titan", who "madly" loved a mortal, the handsome hunter or shepherd—or, in the version Pausanias knew, a king— of Elis, named Endymion, from Asia Minor.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 56 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Endymion] a man of unrivaled beauty, he was loved by Selene. When he was given a wish of his choice by Zeus, he chose to remain immortal and unaging in eternal sleep." 

 Selena kisses Endymion while he's asleep. Ceiling at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
                                                   Selene and Endymion

                                                        Ubaldo Gandolfi
                                                               Sebastiano Ricci
                                                                Victor Pollett

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 46. 97 ff :
"Mene [Selene the Moon] helped Bromios [Dionysos], attacking Pentheus with her divine scourge; the frenzied reckless fury of distracting Selene joining in displayed many a phantom shape to maddened Pnetheus [who became lunatic or moon-struck], and made the dread son of Ekhion forget his earlier intent, while she deafened his confused ears with the bray of her divine avenging trumpet, and she terrified the man."

Lunar eclipses and the phenomena of the "red moon" were believed to be caused by the evil magics of Thessalian witches, who drew the goddess down from the sky in order to extract her blood. It was customary for villagers to beat cymbals at these times, to negate the witches' power and restore the goddess to the sky.

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 207 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Medea the witch cries out to the sky gods :] Thee too, bright Luna [Selene the Moon], I banish, though thy throes the clanging bronze assuage; under my spells even my grandsire’s [Helios the Sun’s] chariot grows pale and Aurora [Eos the Dawn] pales before my poison’s power."
Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 6. 442 ff :
"Medea . . . than whom is none more potent at the nightly altars [casting magic spells]; for responsive to her cry and to the juices she scatters in desolate places the Stars are halted trembling and Solis [Helios the Sun] her grandsire is aghast as he runs his course . . . the Atracian poisons made Luna the Moon [Selene] to foam and that spells of Haemonia were rousing up the ghosts."

 Medea, Anthony Sandys

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 365 ff :
"Circe turned to prayers and incantations, and unknown chants to worship unknown gods, chants which she used to eclipse Luna’s [Selene the Moon’s] pale face and veil her father’s [Helios the Sun’s] orb in thirsty clouds."

                                                              Circe, Franz von Stuck


Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 30 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The Nemean Lion, an invulnerable monster, which Luna [Selene] had nourished in a two-mouthed cave, he [Herakles] slew and took the pelt for defensive covering."

Seneca, Hercules Furens 83 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Let Luna [Selene the moon] in the sky produce still other monstrous creatures. But he [Herakles] has conquered such as these [i.e. the Nemeian lion, born of the moon]."

Orphic Hymn 9 to Selene (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Selene (Moon), Fumigation from Aromatics. Hear, goddess queen (thea basileia), diffusing silver light, bull-horned, and wandering through the gloom of night. With stars surrounded, and with circuit wide night’s torch extending, through the heavens you ride: female and male, with silvery rays you shine, and now full-orbed, now tending to decline. Mother of ages, fruit-producing Mene (Moon), whose amber orb makes night’s reflected noon: lover of horses, splendid queen of night, all-seeing power, bedecked with starry light, lover of vigilance, the foe of strife, in peace rejoicing, and a prudent life: fair lamp of night, its ornament and friend, who givest to nature’s works their destined end. Queen of the stars, all-wise Goddess, hail! Decked with a graceful robe and amble veil. Come, blessed Goddess, prudent, starry, bright, come, moony-lamp, with chaste and splendid light, shine on these sacred rites with prosperous rays, and pleased accept thy suppliants’ mystic praise."

Virgil, Georgics 3. 390 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"‘Twas with gift of such snowy wool, if we may trust the tale, that Pan, Arcadia’s god, charmed and beguiled you, O Luna [Selene the Moon], calling you to the depths of the woods; nor did you scorn his call."
[N.B. Virgil is probably alluding to the story of Selene's seduction by the shepherd Endymion. The name Pan is most likely used metaphorically, i.e. as the god of the flocks he was the source of the fine fleece which Endymion used to entice the goddess. A vase painting depicts Endymion waving such a fleece before the goddess' chariot. Alternatively, the story might be derived from a play on the Greek word, panselênê, i.e. "full moon," and/or be connected with the birth of Selene's daughter Pandeia.

  Pan and Selene, Hans von AAchen
                                            Theosophy & Alchemy & Planet
The Hecate-Artemis-Selene triad occurs in Roman-era poetry.

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 198 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Nonnus describes Artemis-Hecate-Selene as a triple goddess :] O daughter of Helios (Sun), Mene (Moon) of many turnings, nurse of all! O Selene (Moon), driver of the silver car! If thou art Hecate of many names, if in the night thou doest shake thy mystic torch in brandcarrying hand, come nightwanderer . . . If thou art staghunter Artemis, if on the hills thou dost eagerly hunt with fawnkilling Dionysus, be thy brother’s helper now!"

  Titian, Actéon and Diana
Let's look at other religion.

Tanit was a Phoenician lunar goddess.

Stele with Tanit's symbol in Carthage's Tophet, including a crescent moon over the figure


In Hindu art, the god Soma was depicted as a bull or bird, and sometimes as an embryo, but rarely as an adult human. In Hinduism, the god Soma evolved into a lunar deity. Full moon is the time to collect and press the divine drink. The moon is also the cup from which the gods drink Soma, thus identifying Soma with the moon god Chandra. A waxing moon meant Soma was recreating himself, ready to be drunk again. Alternatively, Soma's twenty-seven wives were the star goddesses, the Nakshatras - daughters of the cosmic progenitor Daksha - who told their father that he paid too much attention to just one of them, Rohini. Daksha subsequently cursed Soma to wither and die, but the wives intervened and the death became periodic and temporary, and is symbolized by the waxing and waning of the moon. Monday is called Somavāram in Sanskrit and modern Indian languages, such as Hindi, Bengali, Kannada Marathi and Telugu, and alludes to the importance of this god in Hindu spirituality.

 In Hinduism, Chandra  is a lunar deity and a Graha. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma (lit. "juice"). The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope.                                                          
                                                        Chandra with Rohini
 Chandra, Hindu Moon god, British Museum - 13th century, Konark

Sin (Akkadian: Su'en, Sîn) or Nanna (Sumerian: DŠEŠ.KI, DNANNA) was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.

Let's look at moon symbolism.

Tintoretto - Battle of the Archangel Michael with the devil

                                                        Virgin of Guadalupe

                                      The Virgin On The Crescent, Albrecht Durer

We can't forget our  little darling. LOL!

 Baphomet, from Eliphas Levi's "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie"