Saturday, May 8, 2010

Atargatis

Atargatis (called Derketo by the Greeks and Philistines) is the Syrian fertility goddess of the earth and water who also happens to be the first mermaid. One Greek story says that Atargatis fell in love with a shepherd-boy. He, being a mere mortal, was killed by her divine lovemaking. When she realized she was pregnant she became distraught and remorseful. After the birth, and leaving the baby (Semiramis) on the shore, Atargatis threw herself into a pool to drown. Instead she was changed to a fish woman (mermaid.) Another story says that Atargatis was hatched from an egg that fell from heaven and landed in the Euphrates river, where some fish pushed it to shore. There on the banks, a dove incubated it and helped it to hatch. To show her gratitude to the fish, Atargatis persuaded Zeus to put an image of the fish in the stars creating the constellation Pisces.
As a goddess, Atargatis was worshiped throughout Syria and beyond, but mainly in the city of Hieropolis. At her temples there were fish ponds containing her sacred fish that only her priests were allowed to touch. Supposedly the fish knew their own names and would come when called. Glueck noted in 1936 that "to this day there is a sacred fish-pond swarming with untouchable fish at Qubbet el-Baeddwī, in Lebanon. She is often associated with Astarte, Ishtar, Venus Urania, Hera, Rhea, Cybele, Aphrodite.

2 comments:

  1. Great Post thank you,
    thought you might like my Mermaid Queen machinima film
    with Lisa Thiel's lovely song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBKZG6Fc7aE
    Bright Blessings ~

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