Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dark Goddess: Tiamat

Tiamat is a Babylonian goddess of Untamed Primeval Force or Chaos; she was also known as the goddess of all salt water bodies. Her counterpart was Apsu, god of the fresh waters. The two gave birth to all the Babylonian gods and goddesses, but Apsu was unhappy with the clamor of all his children. Tiamat did not agree with his complaints; she was a young mother and, as the embodiment of chaos, she was not bothered by the children’s constant clatter. Apsu took all he could and then approached Mummu, his helper, and they plotted together to kill the children. But the children stood up to him and under the guidance of Enki, god of magick, killed their father and his aide. At first, Tiamat was not displeased with her children. She understood their need for self-preservation and she had not agreed with Apsu’s displeasure. However, as time went by and Tiamat aged, she became lonely for Apsu and began to resent her children’s actions. Enki, in his guilt, had gone to live in the swamps, where he had produced a son with Damkina. This son was called Murduk, who eventually becomes the god of light and justice. When Tiamat decides to rise up against her children in revenge, they send Murduk to face her. After a fierce battle, Murduk surprises them all, tearing into the heart of Tiamat and crushing her skull. He renders her body into pieces. Murduk uses one half of her ribs to create the earth and the other half to create the sky. Her eyes become the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. From Chaos is created order and a new world.

Why is Tiamat considered to be one of the dark goddess? Perhaps it is because she is the origin of chaos and most humans fear chaos for it is the embodiment of the unknown and unexpected. Perhaps it is because she allows her children to kill her mate; or because she eventually rises up herself to kill her children. There are many justifications that can be used in these situations, but the truth is that our justifications are based upon the minds of humans and Tiamat possessed the mind of a goddess. Her reasoning is unknown to us. Through death, Tiamat gives birth to order and a new world – from chaos comes order. Perhaps part of understanding the dark goddesses is understanding that dark is not evil.

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