Reclaiming Forgotten Voices by Freia Serafina

Marduk fighting Tiamat

Last night I found myself crying over Tiamat. Tiamat is one of the most ancient Babylonian Creatress Goddesses. She is known as the Goddess of the Salty Sea and is considered the primordial Creatress in Sumerian religion. Tiamat was slaughtered in the vilest of ways to demonstrate the death of the Goddess and the rise of the God. She was defiled and written about in such a way as to discredit women and provide justification for the slaughtering, defiling, and enslavement of “enemy” women abroad and “bad” women at home.

As I was reading Carol Christ’s Rebirth of the Goddess, I found myself shaken to the core at the ways in which Tiamat was defiled and destroyed in the “epic” called the Enuma Elish. As someone who is well aware of the ways in which the Goddess and women have been usurped throughout time and space, I was still so broken down after reading it that I had an actual ugly cry in my living room. I want to tell you to read the Enuma Elish to understand why I feel this way, but I also want to warn you about the way you might feel afterwards. It is a difficult read.

As with many other epics meant to usher in new patriarchal warriors and civilizations, the Goddess, Tiamat, is vilified in order to justify her murder. In this tale, Tiamat gives birth to a race of evil monsters filled with venom, “… snarling dragons wearing their glory like Gods.” What many people gloss over, is the fact that she birthed these creatures in order to protect herself and defeat the god, Marduk, who was attempting to usurp her. The author uses this dreadful depiction of Tiamat in order to instill fear in the reader. But it’s not the venom filled monsters that scare me the most about this tale. No. It’s the violence enacted upon Tiamat by Marduk that disturbs me most deeply. Marduk shoots his net to entangle her, beats her in the face, sends wind into her swelling (pregnant?) stomach, blowing her body apart. Even after all this, he shoots an arrow “… that pierced the gut and cut the womb.” After taking her life, Marduk flings her body down and straddles her carcass. The God then celebrates his victory and legitimates the violence done to women. I began to weep after reading these words.

The murder of Tiamat doesn’t just live in the forgotten past; it stays with us and is seen in every past and current act of violence against women. Echoing Christ’s words, “When warfare become a part of life, men and boys are trained to become aggressive, violent, and dominant. The spoils of war, offered to men as a reward for killing, are the wealth of other cultures and the right to rape and capture “enemy” women.” As I sat here, crying in my living room, I thought about the words and the demise of Tiamat. I thought about all of the women throughout history who have been lost and forgotten. In my misery, I wrote the following words that I wish to offer you now as a reclamation of memory and power.

Tiamat. Mother. Forgotten Mother. Lost Mother. Defiled and Forsaken Mother. Discredited Mother. Usurped Mother. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I know you. I love you. You are not Forgotten. You are not Misplaced. You are not Lost to the Unknown. I carry you in my heart, in my bones, in my blood. You are the water that runs through me. You are my flesh and my body. I honor you as I bleed. I honor you as I speak. I honor you as I scream. I will scream for you and every other woman that has been defiled. I will scream and rage against those that would defile us. As my blood pumps through my veins and pour itself out onto the sacred Earth, I will speak your name. I will speak your name for all of the women throughout all timelines and spaces that have been lost, forgotten, defiled, and usurped. I am your child. I am your sister. I am your mother. I am your blood. I am you. As I take breath, you live within me. As I release my last breath, your mystery sustains me and carries me into the salty waters of Creation. Thank You Mother. Thank You.

Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu

BIO: Freia Serafina (M.A. in Theatre, M.F.A. in Film, current PhD in Religion student with a focus in Women’s Spirituality) is an adjunct professor who is currently focusing on the intersection between ritual and the performing arts. She is also the founder of a virtual women’s spirituality institute, Dance of the Seventh Daughter, and the Divine Feminine Film Festival. Freia is a Priestess of Inanna-Ishtar and Red Tent facilitator. Learn more: www.seventhdaughter.org



Categories: General, Goddess Spirituality

Tags: , , ,

6 replies

  1. Your reclamation of memory and power is beautiful! When we heal our myths, we heal ourselves and the world.

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  2. “The murder of Tiamat doesn’t just live in the forgotten past…” like you I feel the horror and fear the violence on a level that is escalating. I cannot any longer write about women in myth or as individuals without reference to what we are doing to the earth – the violence to her matches our own – Susan Griffin nailed this in Women and Nature in the 70’s – but somehow women have gotten separated from what’s happening to this earth they need to survive – what is happening to earth is happening to us.

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  3. Beautiful. Thank you.

    I’m a believer the story of Sekhmet is also a patriarchal version of her power, strength and tenacity. Her story, making her a mercenary for her father, Ra, a killer of humanity until she’s drugged into a stupor is not her authentic story either. Instead we got a story of a raging female that cannot be trusted, is hysterical, can be used as a tool, duped and drugged, etc instead of a Goddess who gives women an archetype for strength, tenacity, endurance, saying no without guilt and setting healthy boundaries. All these patriarchal versions need to be re-written.

    Karen Tate

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  1. Reclaiming Forgotten Voices by Freia Serafina – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

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