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Canaanite Creation Myth

Canaanite Creation Rock art Negtev Desert

Canaanite Creation from Cosmic Egg

The creation epic, of the world and humans, repeats in many cultures.  It explains the world origins followed by the creation of man in a noble fashion befitting such a grandiose event. The beautiful Canaanite creation story, engraved in rock art, quoted here attests to the wonders of such a tale. Many creation versions exist in the world and one of them the Cosmic Egg that appears in Egypt and Canaan.

Canaanite Creation

Canaan, the closest culture to the people of Israel had such a myth, probably influenced by Egyptian mythology, found in Negev Desert rock art. The array of symbols in this rock art fits the creation stages as told by Dameskios, a Syrian-born philosopher from the fifth century AD, based on the writing of Mochus (13th century BC) the Phoenician proto-philosopher (N. Darshan – Canaanite Mythology).

“First was the upper air and lower air, these two were the first and from them, God World (Olamos) was created, he was the limit of reason. Saying which, from the merger itself, created Kushar, the God of Wisdom, and then created the egg. Kushar has the opening power given to understanding, he creates the initial separation in nature which is completely inseparable. After the formation of top and bottom air incurred at one end and two spirits created mid, the wind of west and south, and there are who consider these winds previous to God of the World. Kushar is the first step that can be understood and the egg is considered heaven because they say that when it was divided into two halves it created heaven and earth. “

Rock Art clues 

This rock art deciphering is not straight forward and at first sight, the scene baffles the viewer. The engraved symbols seem unrelated and the storyline is obscure. However, there are clues that help us to explain the scene’s meaning. For example, the circles have a special and repeated meaning in many rock art, either sun or an egg (like the creation story presented in the Cosmic Egg Creation article). The relative sizes of the circles, big and small,  and their relative heights suggests that they represent different things.

An additional hint in this image came from the symbol that resembles the Egyptian milk tree, Fig.2. It shows how the Egyptians envisioned God feeding hands similar to a symbol representing the god Olamus. With three decoded symbols the connection between them clears. It fits exactly the creation steps in the Canaanite Creation version, as seen in Fig.1.

Deciphering the rock art 

This rock art shown in Fig.1 matches  the Canaanite Creation  sequence  that contains five motifs, which fits exactly the rock art symbols progressing from left to right as follows:

  1. First was the upper air and lower air
  2. from them, the God World (Olamos) created
  3. the merger itself, created Kushar, the God of Wisdom
  4. and the egg is considered a heaven
  5. it divided into two halves it created the heaven and earth
cannan cosmic egg creation negev desert rock art

Fig. 1 Canaanite Cosmic Egg myth, Negev Desert                                                                                       Fig. 2 Egyptian Milk Tree

The leftmost symbol represents the upper air and lower air, a wavy line separates the top from the bottom. Next shown the god Olamos with hands only, a work action gesture inspired by the Egyptian Milk Tree. He creates Kushar, the craftsman god of wisdom that creates the egg seen as the small circle beneath him. In turn, creating the heavens and earth from the egg. The big circle (the sun) and the “camel’s” hump (the sky) represent heaven, the camel’s body represents earth, and the dog underneath represents the underworld.

More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.

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4 Comments to Canaanite Creation Myth

  1. Avatar Haim Berger says:

    Looks Amazing Yehuda I will be happy to meet and discuss these ideas with you

  2. Avatar Malka Cohavi says:

    מרתק! !!!
    האם הספר בעברית גם אינטרנטי? או רק באנגלית? מבקשת לרכוש וגם לראות ולהתבונן בחומרים נוספים של אומנות הסלע בתודה

  3. Avatar Christopher Nilsson says:

    Never heard of the god Kushar.

    • admin admin says:

      Yes, a bit unknown! Here is a citation from “Ancient Jewish History”
      “.. became the Vulcan of the Greeks and Romans, the god of the smiths. In Canaan his name was Kauthar,-Koshar,-Kushar, the wise craftsman, the inventor of tools and weapons, as well of the arts. He was the discoverer and the patron of music.”

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