The Quintessential Mother Lion


My curiosity was piqued when I saw Scott Shephard’s (Carnegie Institution for Science) live streaming presentation on the Mysterious Planet X, and more so when I saw classroom footage of Professor Jordan Peterson (University of Toronto) discussing the mythological origins of our solar system.

On ancient Babylonian clay tablets impressed with cuneiform symbols, Planet X is mentioned in the epic battle of all times. It is contained within the Babylonian creation story, the Enuma Elish, under the guise of the god/planet, Marduk.

According to the Babylonians, Marduk existed in the furthest realms of our solar system, but was called in by several of the outer gods/planets to squelch the controlling powers of their father, Aspu (the sun) and their mother,Tiamat (the planet that became Earth) because the young gods/planets desired to seek greater glory for themselves.

The story goes, that Tiamat transformed from a harmonious, nurturing mother to a vicious fighting fury when Marduk arrived with his blazing army. The Babylonian text describes her as an evil, destructive monster. From later Babylonian and Sumerian history, we learn that many of the reigning kings of the times were also named Marduk. It was to their political advantage to be revered as descendants of a god that played the role of hero against a villainous female force.

But if you consider another perspective, Tiamat was the quintessential mother lioness, instinctively protecting her offspring from harm. She was the fierce defender of not only her beloved Apsu, but of the very children that had betrayed her by bringing on Marduk’s attack.

How often have we witnessed this same story played out, over and over throughout the history of humanity. And how many times have we seen a kickass woman rise up to defend the rights of the people or stand up to a force that threatened to destroy what we hold dearest to our hearts? It is a theme we also see throughout history!

I truly enjoy how we see contemporary authors bring it out through strong female protagonists in their novels. For example, Andy Weir’s character, Jazz Bashara, in his latest futuristic work, “Artemis” is lays her life down to save the entire population of the moon’s only city. Or Madeline Miller’s powerful rendition of the Greek goddess, Circe’s story in her book, “Circe” where the goddess gives up immortality for her love of humanity. We see the theme repeated in Julia Alavarez’s novel, “In the Time of Butterflies”, where Minerva and her sisters give up their lives to save their beloved country from a cruel dictatorship.

I am inspired by the women in mythology, in our imaginations and in our real world that in one way or another make the choice to get over their fears and insecurities when it is their time to be the difference.

Agi’sti Tis’Stu

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