(The image used as the backdrop of this movie is a photograph of one of the many Aramaic papyri discovered in Elephantine, the first nome of Upper Egypt, where there was a large Jewish settlement and a temple of Yahweh.)


Egypt : 6th century BCE : the women of the Hebrew settlements in Egypt are confronted by the exiled scribe & prophet Jeremiah

(Jeremiah 44:16 - 44:19) :

As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us
in the Name of Yahweh
we will not hearken unto thee

instead we shall remain faithful
to every promised word
that ever flowed from our mouth
to burn incense
unto the Queen of Heaven
and to pour out libations unto Her

as we have always done
we, and our ancestors.
our kings, and our princes
in the cities of Judah
and in the streets of Jerusalem

for then we had food enough
and we did well
and evil was not seen

but since we have neglected
to burn incense
unto the Queen of Heaven
and to pour out libations unto Her
we have wanted for everything

by the sword
by the famine
we are consumed

and when we burned incense
unto the Queen of Heaven
and poured out libations unto Her
did we bake crescent cakes to offer Her
and did we pour out libations unto Her
without our men?


As in many ancient and indigenous traditions, the Great Goddess is invoked by Her titles and epithets.

Malkuth haShamiyim - in English "the Queen of Heaven" - in Vulgate Latin "Reginae Caeli" - grew to become one of the best loved of the divine epithets that exists in the liturgy and rituals of the Catholic Madonna.

The same tradition holds true of the Panaghia of the Eastern Church.

She is addressed as Basileia, Basilissa, Anassa and Despoina - primal names of royal power that reach back to the dawn of the Minoan/Mycenaean civilisation.

This multi-layered meaning is present in many languages and on the surface may simply represent a linguistic abstraction arising from the gender of the noun.

Yet it may spring from far deeper tap-roots and transmit some memory of matrilocal marriage in which a king is raised to power by right of marriage to an heiress of the ruling lineage : the personification of the right to rule.

The encoded phrase in early tongues may be seen to cloak a subliminal message, a cyphered thread.

One that holds profound Elysian significance for those who still have eyes to see and ears to hear ...

For the original words of the title of Malkuth haShamiyim : the Queen of Heaven were strategically reinterpreted to mean "Kingdom of Heaven".

They enter into orthodox scripture in that very form ... and the Goddess is once again lost in translation.

The Greek version of this phrase that appears in the New Testament gospels is : he Basileia ton Ouranon.

Basileia is an ancient Greek word which meant both "queen" and "royal woman" and may also denote "sovereignty" and "royal domain".

That this profound phrase should flow with the imagery of paradise itself speaks volumes ...


Malkuth haShamayim

The setting is Egypt in the 6th century BCE. Jerusalem has fallen for the first time, its Temple has been destroyed and the Babylonian Exile has begin.

Jeremiah, the scribe and prophet flees to Egypt - where, contrary to modern portrayals - the Jewish people have always found safety in time of danger - and discovers that the older form of the Hebrew religion is still being practised there - beyond the centralised control of the Kings of Judah.

In the Temple of Yahweh (Yaho) in Elephantine, the first nome of Upper Egypt, the Hebrew God is worshipped with Anath-Bethel (also named as Anath-Iahu) and with Ashima-Bethel.

We know this from the papyri which survives which contains the records of the offerings.

An image of one of these papyri is used as the backdrop of this movie.

The was also a Yahweh temple at Hamath in Syria which the Hebrew God shared with Ashima-Bethel.

Asherah, Anath/Astarte and Ashima seem to have formed a triad of ancient aspects of the indigenous pre-monotheistic Hebrew Goddess - each of whom was also worshipped in conjunction with Yahweh at one time.

When at the end of the 7th century BCE, King Josiah decided to consolidate his grip on power and managed for a short time to unite "Church and State" in one person - he outlawed all the shrines and sanctuaries of Yahweh outside of the Temple of Jerusalem in an attempt to exert overall control.

New scrolls were presented to the people as the writings of Moses which preached a far harder line and anachronistically provided a justification for the primacy of Jerusalem, (which had only become part of Hebrew territory under David, the second of the kings to reign after the creation of the monarchy).

From that time onward the subsidiary temples in other parts of Judah and in other lands found it difficult to survive but within the lifetime of Jeremiah the reforms of Josiah would further divide the people and open up the land to invading armies.

This account in the Book of Jeremiah is one of the few accounts in which the people are allowed to defend their ancient traditions in the face of the usual fundamentalist threats. Over centuries the ancient traditions of the Queen of Heaven were gradually re-shaped so that they could become incorporated into orthodox doctrines and eventually emerged in the form of the Shekinah and the Matronit.

A very similar process in Christian history happened in the case of the Madonna of the Roman Church and the Panaghia of the Eastern Orthodox Church.


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