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What is the Meaning of Anat?







Anat was a revered Goddess in Canaanite mythology. Before we explain what the Goddess Anat represents, it is integral to first briefly highlight key aspects of Canaanite civilization and history. Canaanites, the direct ancestors of Palestinians, lived in Canaan, or what is modern-day Palestine. The name Canaan comes from the ancient Semitic verb Kana’a (كَنَعَ), which means “to settle down”. Indeed, the Canaanites were amongst the first peoples to settle rather than lead nomadic lives, as was common during their time period. The Canaanites settled across the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea and their towns spanned all the way to present-day Gaza.

Canaanites were known for their cosmopolitanism, with both foreign and local tradespeople traversing Canaanite towns. As Mark Woolmer notes, Canaanite society was ethnically interconnected and culturally diverse, with an open-minded attitude exemplified amongst inhabitants of Canaan.

When it comes to Canaanite trade and industry, two shipwrecks discovered in the Palestinian city of Askalan in 1999 showed that an important industry in Canaan was wine-making. In fact, the sunken cargo ships included 11 tons of wine, and the topographic evidence showed that the ships were used to deliver wine orders to other foreign countries outside of Canaan.

The Canaanites were indeed very industrious and had a booming trade system. But their idea of what we now refer to as the “economy” was very different. What differentiated Canaanite economic activity from the Western, Calvinist economy was that the Canaanite concept of “profit” remained internal and sort of in-house. Profit was not transformed into an external, offshore project demanding en masse profit. Wealthy Canaanites were just wealthy for themselves, without any links between them and other wealthy individuals. The Canaanite person enjoyed the wealth she/he made at the end of a trade and that was it. Furthermore, the home and the temple were at the center of Canaanite society. As such, whatever “profit” made was partially taken home to meet the needs of the family, and the remains were “invested” (for lack of a better term) in the temples, for use by others who needed it.

Clearly, today’s ideas of investment and profit were present in Canaan, but they were conceptualized in a much different light than the capitalist orientation characterizing Calvinist thought. Summed up, the Canaanites did not develop a collective class awareness as was the case with Calvinists. The profit mindset in Canaan was mercantilist at its core, and utmost importance was placed on the home and temple as the supreme tenants in society, rather than capitalist individualism.  

As it relates to Canaanite faith, the people of Canaan believed in several deities that formed the core of Canaanite mythology. One prominent deity is the Goddess Anat, known for being the fiercest mythological woman of her time. Anat is described as an independent, strong-willed woman. She was known for cutting off heads of serpents and the enemies of Ba’al, her brother, who was killed by Mot (God of death). Anat is often represented with a lily in one hand, and a serpent in the other. The lily means sexual appeal, and the serpent stands for fertility. It follows that Anat also represented sexuality and fertility in Canaanite mythology. Not only that, but Anat is a symbol of sacrifices made to serve a greater purpose, as well as old habits that no longer work and need to be disposed of.  

Our brand challenges social norms and attempts to get rid of outdated modes of thinking about gender, sexuality, and even “the economy”. The Canaanite Goddess Anat, through her bravery, strength, and outright sexuality, inspires our brand immensely. We aim to transcend all boundaries and challenge social constructs at a global level, without a limit, and borrow from our Canaanite ancestors and other ancient civilizations as we do so. 

 

*Source used: The Sociology of Canaanite- Phoenician Civilization ( by Fredrick Ma'atouq. Published by Al-Maaref Forum, in Arabic language ) 


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  • this story really resonated with me, especially as someone who is half Palestinian and living in diaspora. Beautiful story and brand.

    • Ella.X