and the Drug Propaganda: Phoenissa
Phoenissa, the Bloody One, was the mother of the Phoenicians.
Phoinis, crimson, Tyrian purple, the color of congealed and menstrual
blood, was the unique sea-shell dye for which the Phoenician coast was
long famous. Menstrual blood was considered life-giving. Its Latin description,
purpura, purple, means 'very very pure,' purus. The Greek
Phoenix was the transformed Phoenissa, the Snake-Bird Goddess,
called Asherah, 'The Laughing Goddess" by the Phoenicians.
Asherah means 'queen' in Akkadian-Phoenician and 'princess' (Sarah)
in Hebrew. Jezebel, wife of King Ahab (874-852 BC), was a high priestess
of Asherah. Until Josiah put a stop to it (2:Kings:23:7), Asherah was
considered El's wife in Judah. Crete, and all the surrounding islands,
were as much a home of 'Lady Asherah of the Sea' as Phoenicia. The fierce
Asherah below comes from the Ionian island of Corfu, c.600 BC. Corfu's
Greek name, Kerkira, means 'the Island of Circe,' 'the ecstatic weaver'
of magical plants who stung like a bee and bit like a snake.
The greatest Phoenician trading center from 1800 to 1200 BC was the
port city of Ugarit in North Syria, modern Ras Shamra, a metropolis
connecting Crete, Cyprus and Greece with Egypt, Babylonia, Khatti (Turkey)
and Assyria (northeast Iraq, south Turkey). Syrian, Anatolian, Cretan
and Cypriot copper, tin, wine, grain, opium, kannabis, olive oil, dyed
wool, timber, rare stone, minerals, finished metal products and ships
were traded for Babylonian, Egyptian, Somali and Ethiopian copper, gold,
grain, wool, fabrics, incense, ivory, ebony, wine, beer, foodstuffs,
medicines, jewelry and cosmetics.
The cuneiform tablets we have were dug up in the library of the high
priest near Ugarit's two main temples (to Baal and Dagon, the Bull and
the Fish). They were baked hard in the conflagration (earthquake, invasion?)
that destroyed the town, c.1200 BC.
One Ugaritic text reveals Mot, Baal's evil twin, God of the Underworld,
enraged at Baal's conquest of the seven-headed Leviathan. Mot repays
Baal with terror and death, but not before Baal copulates with a heifer,
who bears him a Bull. Thereupon Baal dies and the Earth becomes barren.
Anath decides to avenge her brother Baal: "She cleaves Mot with a sword.
She winnows him with a fan. She burns him with fire. She grinds him
in the millstones. She plants him inthe fields." As if by seed, Baal
is resurrected in the renewed Earth. Shapsh, the Sun Goddess who sees
all, is dispatched by El to find Baal, who is once more battling with
Mot. After seven years, Mot will have yet another victory. The rites
enacted by Anath are a virtual duplicate of the rites enacted by Demeter
in the Hymn to Demeter, the etiological myth of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Baal is the Phoenician Dionysos. Baal's struggle, that is, was pharmaco-shamanic,
a sacramental ritual, as the stela below, from Ugarit, c.1600 BC, indicates.