Canaanite Creation Myth

Canaanite creation rock art Israel

Canaanite Creation from Cosmic Egg

Deciphering rock art from Israel, israelrockart.com.

According to research, almost every culture has its own creation myth, and a version known as the Cosmic Egg circulated in Egypt and Canaan thousands of years ago. The exact details of the Cosmic Egg myth vary depending on the culture, but it is generally believed to be a metaphor for the birth of the universe. The unusual rock art presented here depicts the steps of creation in accordance with the Canaanite Creation myth. By combining the rock art scene with a known creation text, we obtain textual and visual confirmation of the myth.  The array of symbols engraved in this rock art corresponds to the stages of creation as described by Syrian philosopher Dameskios, based on the writings of Mochus (13th century BC), the Phoenician proto-philosopher (N. Darshan). The following quote portrays the Canaanite creation stages: 

“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 

Interpretation of rock art is not an easy task. At first glance, the scene is unclear because the engraved symbols seem unrelated, obscuring the narrative. However, there are guiding clues that reveal its meaning. A circle, for example, has a special meaning in rock art; it symbolizes either the sun or an egg. The relative sizes and heights of the circles indicate that they represent different things. In this case, the smaller lower circle represents an egg, while the larger upper circle represents the sun. Other clues include a symbol that appears to be reminiscent of the Egyptian milk tree, Fig. 2. This example illustrates how the Egyptians conceived of God feeding hands. It is very similar to the rock art depiction of the god Olamus. The connection between the three decoded symbols reveals the steps in the Canaanite Creation version, as indicated in Fig.1.

Deciphering the rock art 

Fig.1 shows a rock art image depicting the Canaanite Creation myth with an array of five symbols that illustrate the order of creation as outlined in the text, 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
Canaanite cosmic egg creation negev desert rock art
Fig. 1 Canaanite Cosmic Egg myth, Negev Desert     Fig. 2 Egyptian Milk Tree

The creation narrative is explained as follows: The leftmost symbol represents the upper and lower air, separated by a wavy line resembling a human figure. Next, we see a representation of the god Olamos engraved with only his hands, a symbolic gesture derived from the Egyptian Milk Tree. He creates Kushar, the craftsman god of wisdom, which creates the egg seen as the small circle beneath him. The earth and the heavens were created from this egg. The large 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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5 Comments to Canaanite Creation Myth

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

    • 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.”

    • 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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