from Rushing to Eva
by Mary M. Leue

Cohane has a lot to say (Philip Cohane, The Key) in his book about Bride, Ana and Danu as names of early Goddesses. We shall return to these names below. His book is an exploration for his thesis that, behind these names, lies an earlier Great Goddess whose name - variously - he posits as Awa, Hawwah, Ava - or EVE. Recent studies of the mitochondria in our cells lend credibility to such a single ancestry thesis for mankind. In a program in1987 on the televised series "Nova" entitled "Daughters of Eve," such an hypothesis was explored more fully. In this program the interesting fact was pointed out that genetically, we are very various when one studies the DNA, but unitary in terms of the mitochondria - suggesting a unitary origin! I find this fact both fascinating and provocative

There is no evidence of an early Goddess named Ave or Awa in either Irish or British mythology, but, as Cohane says, "If Ava or Haue/Hawa were the names of an earlier goddess of fertility who was superseded by a younger god, Oc/Og, then the evidence is about what one would expect to find." He mentions a "thirteenth century writer" who refers to Haue and Oc as "Godys," or pagan deities. He also cites numerous place-names in both countries which contain the prefix Awa or Ava, such as Kill Avala, the Avon river and Avalon (the Arthurian blessed island off the west coast of Britain whose name may be related to the Welsh word for apples, but which also might refer to Ava, whose name means water, as in the river Avon - and, parenthetically, isn't the possible association of "Ava (or Eve)" and "apples" interesting! - and Oc/Och/Og, as in the many Ogbourne villages near Marlborough, the 0g river, tributary to the Kennet and the Ock river a few miles to the north. Cohane ends one of his chapters by saying "the name of the oldest fertility goddess in the world, known to the Semites as the 'mother of all living,' the name out of which evolved Eve, our name for the first woman, was


The history of Og/Oc is also a fascinating one, and one very often associated with Awa or Hawa. Tradition lists the only other human survivor of the flood beside Noah and his family as 0g. In Greek legend, the first king of both Attica and Boeotia, founder of Thrace and of the Achaean League, builder of Thebes, is Ogygios! He is said to be responsible for a series of floods in Boeotia and elsewhere, and is confused by later sources with Noah. Another Greek tradition deals with Aigeus, also said to be a founder of Greece, specifically of Athens, who comes from Asia Minor via Cyprus and Crete, and whose son Medus is said to be the father of the Medes. He is known as the Goat King (from the Greek word for goat, aig), and is said to have brought to Greece both the goat and the cult of Aphrodite, from the older fertility cult of Astarte or Ashtaroth. Cohane believes that these two figures, Ogygios and Aigeus, can be traced back to a single original source known in the Old Testament and Rabbinical tradition as 0g, who as king of Bashan, was a giant who was saved from the flood by climbing on the roof of the ark. As founder of the fertility cult at the city of Ashteroth, he was worshipped throughout the Mediterranean region. More than this, however, Cohane believes his memory is preserved in Og/Oc place-names throughout the world!

In order to understand this better, let us turn to Robert Graves, whose book The White Goddess sheds light on many of the interconnections involved in the history of worship of the Goddess and her consort/rival. For this purpose it is necessary to trace the history of a group called, in Ireland, the Tuatha De Danaan, the children of Dana or Danu, the Goddess whose name is mentioned by Ross (who also writes about this period of pre-history) and Cohane.

Robert Graves calls the Tuatha De Danaan a "confederacy of tribes in which the kingship went by matrilinear succession, some of whom invaded Ireland from Britain in the Middle Bronze Age" (which the Encyclopedia Britannica cites as between 2000 and 1800 B.C.). He says these tribes may originally have come from somewhere near the Black Sea. In the Greek tradition, the ancient mother goddess Dana (whose name in Sanskrit, danu, means rain or moisture, becomes a king, Danaus, who shares the throne of Egypt with his half-brother Aegyptus, is driven out by him, ascends the throne of Argos where he is associated with another of his brothers Pelasgus, and is subsequently driven from Argos by his father Agenor, king of Phoenicia.

In the Irish tradition concerning the Tuatha De Danaan, Oc, son and half-brother of the "All-father" Eochaid Ollathair known as "the Dagda," also has a half-sister Brigid (or Bride) and a half-brother known as Ogma, who is the great champion of the tribe. Ogma, half brother of 0g in Ireland, is the one who conveys on the Tuatha "Ogham," a pre-historic inscribed language found in various places in Great Britain. Off the west coast of Ireland, on several of the Arran Islands, are a number of "Oghil" place names , as well as the name "Achill," which Cohane calls "mixed," meaning it contains elements of both "0g" and "Ach," which seems to come from an allied but separate "Oc" tradition. There is also a statement in Irish mythology that the world will not end until "Ogham and Achu mix together and the sun and the moon mix together." Other Irish place names he cites are Avoca (Ava/Oca) and Aughaval (Og/Ava). St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall was known by the Romans as Ocrinum.

Place names identified with the oak (Oakford, formerly Ocford), the egg (Egg Buckland, formerly Achintone), the ox (Oxted, formerly Ocstead) and the hog (Ogle, formerly Ogghill, earlier Hoggel) probably all get their names from Oc/Og, according to Cohane, since all three have had forms which interchange with one another. The name of Ceridwen, the triple Mother Goddess whose cauldron was called The Cauldron of Regeneration, comes from two words, "cerdd," which means both art or inspiration and pig, and "wen," which means white. She is the feared White Sow Goddess, known also as the Barley Goddess and the White Lady of Inspiration and Death, according to Graves. Clearly, her name comes into this story, perhaps through a secondary tradition connected with the pig in female form.

So, thus far, we have the names Dana or Danu, Brigid or Bride, Ceridwen, and Ana. Cohane believes Ana to be primarily the personification of an abstract quality - "blessed" from the Semitic tongue - and sees the distribution of place-names with the "Ana" element in them primarily as designations for "Blessed Awa." Robert Graves says the name means "queen."

According to Barbara Walker, editor of The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, the name appears in a great many cultures, some widely separated by time and/or space. Thus, there is Anna-Nin, Nana or Inanna, Queen of Heaven in Sumeria (An means Heaven in Sumerian, according to Graves), Anatha, (Syria), Anat (Canaan), Ana or Anah (Old Testament), Di-Ana (Semitic) or Dinah (from the Syriac version of the Old Testament, referring to the goddess of the Dinaite tribes in Sumeria), both uses of "Di" referring to divinity or godhead, Anna (Pelasgian Greek), Nanna (the incarnation of the Danish Goddess Freya as the mother-bride of Baldur), Anu (early Danaan Goddess in Ireland), Ana or Anan, which Robert Graves says are names for the Goddess Danu, who had two aspects, one nurturant, the other maleficent, as which she was sometimes known as Morg-ana to the Irish ("Death Ana," one third of the triple Goddess known as The Morrigan, ("Great Queen"); Anna Perenna (Roman), Black Annis of Leicester to medieval Christians, who lived on "Dane Hill" (Danaan?) and used to devour children - ending with St. Anne, mother of the virgin Mary, grandmother of God. This long history seems to me too ubiquitous to be reduced to an abstraction! It goes even further: Graves cites the view of a Mr. E.M. Parr that Athene was another Anna namely, Ath-enna, which occurs in inverted form in Libya as Anatha. Graves' verdict on the subject is "..if one needs a single, simple, inclusive name for the Great Goddess, Anna is the best choice."

Perhaps the issue may be thought about in more than one way, depending on the historical period being referred to. The Goddess whose name I seek is the Goddess of the Avebury Complex, as Michael Dames calls the three sites in his book of that name. The carbon-dating of all three units of this complex - the henge, the hill and the barrow - places them essentially in the middle of the third millennium B.C.- between 2600 and 2100. What Cohane is struggling for is a hypothesis concerning a Goddess who goes back to a period which totally pre-dates even the written traditions of the myths. The closest I have come to an answer that satisfies me, aside from his provocative tracking down of the place-names, appears in Merlin Stone's When God Was a Woman.

Stone says, quoting Professor Walter Emery's Archaic Egypt, that the name of the Egyptian Goddess Isis is actually a Greek translation of the Egyptian name Au Set. The word "set" means "queen," and Au Set means"exceeding queen," according to Stone. Set, of course, is also a separate god who is closely identified with the serpent of darkness Zet, and is the sinister figure (in Plutarch's account of Egyptian mythology) who kills Osiris, the consort of Isis. Much earlier, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Set, Osiris, Horus, Isis and Nephthys are all identified as children of the earth god Keb and the sky goddess Nut, and represented five days added onto the yearly calendar.

Stone suggests that Au Set, the female predecessor to the later male god Set, was originally, in pre-dynastic times, the cobra Goddess Ua Zit, whose name hers so closely resembles. She makes a further connection between Ua Zit and uzait, the Egyptian word for "eye." The dynastic-age Goddess Ma'at, or Maet, whose name stands for order, truth or righteousness, was also known, variously, as "the eye of Horus, Ra or Ptah," and was the embodiment of the uraeus cobra, according to Stone. She comments, "She (Ua Zit, especially as Ma'at) seems to have been allowed to retain her qualities and nature so long as She was assigned to one of the male deities as his possession."

Interestingly, the investigations of Peter Tompkins and Livio Stecchini, Secrets of the Great Pyramid, suggest strongly that this concept of "ma'at or maet" as embodied in Egyptian culture played a crucial role in the role of measurement in ancient Egypt in every sphere which we term scientific, and that this concept was the central religious belief around which their life revolved. Stecchini describes the graphic representation (during the dynastic period) of ma'at as follows:

On the two sides of the throne of the Pharoah there was a design which Egyptologists call "Unity of Egypt." We know it well because it appears in all statues of Pharoahs sitting on the throne; the series of such statues starts with the Fourth Dynasty, but occasional drawings indicate that the design "Unity of Egypt" is older....The design called "Unity of Egypt" is the standard decoration of the royal throne, because it symbolizes all that the Egyptians held fundamental in their political, ethical, religious and cosmological conceptions, a cluster of ideas which they summarized by the word maet. ...the cosmic order of which the dimensions of Egypt were an embodiment...

Stecchini speaks of the significance of the Great Pyramid as a repository of the highest and most inclusive dimensions of ma'at in the following terms, which reflect his own investigations in the field of relative measurements:

The basic idea of the Great Pyramid was that it should be a representation of the northern hemisphere, a hemisphere projected on flat surfaces, as is done in mapmaking. This was the principle according to which was built the ziggurat of Babylon, the biblical tower of Babel, and according to which were built the earlier pyramids. The Great Pyramid was a projection on four triangular surfaces. The apex represented the pole and the perimeter represented the equator. This is the reason why the perimeter is in relation 2f (phi) with the height. The Great Pyramid represents the northern hemisphere in a scale 1:43,200; this scale was chosen because there are 26,400 seconds in 24 hours. But then the builders became concerned with the problem of indicating the ratio of polar flattening of the earth and the length of degrees of latitude which depends on the ratio of this flattening. Next, they incorporated into the Pyramid the factor f (phi) as the key to the structure of the cosmos...
[As to the building process itself,] it appears that there was drawn a plan of the Great Pyramid which included the calculation of the stars to be observed in order to obtain the direction of the north. [Then] the ground...had to be cleared in order to proceed with the ceremony called the "stretching of the cord,"...[which] had the purpose of establishing the direction of true north and, as the Egyptians saw it, suspending the building from the sky by tying the building with an imaginary string to the axis of rotation of the vault of heaven..
The question to be asked is whether the incorporation of the rate of the precession of the equinoxes into the dimensions of the Great Pyramid and the Second Pyramid was accidental or intended. I am inclined in favor of the second alternative, since in the case of the Great Pyramid the angle corresponds exactly to three years in the precession of the equinoxes [the time it may well have taken from the drawing of the plan to the actual clearing of the ground.]
In their book Hamlet's Mill de Santillana [a distinguished professor of science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for many years] and Dechend have used mythological and iconographic evidence in order to prove that all ancient cultures of the world were deeply preoccupied wlth the phenomenon of the procession of the equinoxes. They intended to prove that the movement by which the celestial pole in about 25,920 years (Platonic year) makes a full clrcle around a point called the pole of the ecliptic was conceived as the basic movement in the life of the universe. This cycle determined all other movements, including biological developments, and determined the length of human life (taken as 72 years, or the time that it takes for the celestial pole to move a degree) as well as historical events.

Tompkins, speaking of the building of the pyramids, says that the estimations by the Egyptologists of the times of their construction were made "only on the basis of shrewd guessing" in the absence of later reports from the Egyptians themselves, characterizing the evidence as "sketchy." The most ancient Arab tradition concerning the Great Pyramid, he says, holds that: was erected to memorialize a tremendous cataclysm in the planetary system which affected the globe with fire and flooding.
Arab authors recount that the pyramids were built before the deluge by a king who had a vision that the world would be turned upside down and that the stars would fall from the sky. According to these Arab sources, the king placed in the pyramids accounts of all he had learned from the wisest men of the times, including the secrets of astronomy, complete with tables of the stars, geometry and physics, treatises on precious stones, and certain machines, including celestial spheres and terrestrial globes...
Abu Zeyd el Balkhy quotes an ancient inscription to the effect that the Great Pyramid was built at a time when the Lyre was in the Constellation of Cancer, which has been interpreted as meaning "twice six thousand solar years before the Hegira," or about 73,000 years ago... Recent Soviet authors postulate that the Egyptians may have come from Indonesia when their civilization was devastated some ten to twelve thousand years ago as a result of some cosmic catastrophe such as the falling of an asteroid...[and that they] have recently brought to light some fascinating secrets of Egyptian archaeology.
The Russians are said to have found astronomical maps of surprising correctness, with the position of the stars as they were many thousands of years ago...[and] to have dug up several objects...including crystal lenses, perfectly spherical, of great precision, possibly used as telescopes...[and] similar lenses have been found in Iraq and central Australia... [which] can only be ground today with a special abrasive made of oxide of cerium which can only be produced electrically.

Tompkins' final words concerning the Great Pyramid are as follows:

Manly P. Hall, a lifelong researcher into the mysteries of ancient initiation, says the Great Pyramid was dedicated to the god Hermes, the personification of Universal Wisdom; it was not only a temple of initiation but a repository for the secret truths which he calls the foundation of all the arts and sciences. The time will come, says Hall, when the secret wisdom shall again be the dominating religious and philosophical urge of the world: "Out of the cold ashes of lifeless creeds, shall rise phoenix-like the ancient Mysteries...The unfolding of man's spiritual nature is as much an exact science as astronomy, medicine and jurisprudence."...
Whoever built the Great Pyramid knew the dimensions of this planet as they were not to be known again till the seventeenth century of our era. They could measure the day, the year and the Great Year of the Precession [of the equinoxes]. They knew how to compute latitude and longitude very accurately by means of obelisks and the transit of stars. They knew the varying lengths of a degree of latitude and longitude at different locations on the planet and could make excellent maps, projecting them with a minimum of distortion. They worked out a sophisticated system of measures based on the earth's rotation on its axis which produced the admirably earth-commensurate foot and cubit which they incorporated in the Pyramid.
In mathematics they were advanced enough to have discovered the Fibonacci series, and the function of p (pi) and f (phi). What more they knew remains to be seen. But as more is discovered it may open the door to a whole new civilization of the past, and a much longer history of man than has heretofore been credited.

If Stone's research is correct, all of this magnificent exactitude and cosmic understanding was being carried out to manifest and perhaps propitiate Ma'at, the divine "eye" of Ua Zit - who becomes Au Set - who becomes Isis - who we know becomes Ishtar, Astarte, Ashteroth, and Aphrodite, the same Goddess who is the Queen of Heaven in Sumeria known as An or Ana. Stone says,

Upon closer scrutiny, however, it becomes clear that so many of the names used in diverse areas were simply various titles of the Great Goddess, epithets such as Queen of Heaven, Lady of the High Place, Celestial Ruler, Lady of the Universe, Sovereign of the Heavens, Lioness of the Sacred Assembly, or simply Her Holiness....We are not, however, confronting a confusing myriad of deities, but a variety of titles resulting from diverse languages and dialects, yet each referring to a most similar female divinity.

Stone quotes Robert Graves, writing in his translation of Apuleius' The Golden Ass:

I am Nature, the Universal Mother, mistress of all elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are... The primeval Phrygians call me Pessinunctica, Mother of the gods; the Athenians sprung from their own soil, call me Cecropian Artemis; for the islanders of Cyprus I am Paphian Aphrodite... for the tri-lingual Silicians, Stygian Proserpine; and for the Eleusinians their ancient Mother of Corn....and the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship me with ceremonies proper to my godhead, call me by my true name, namely, Queen Isis.

We are right back to Au Set, and behind her, to Ua Zit. My own conclusion is that the name Ua, with Zit added as the title "queen," is our Awa in only slightly changed form! So in the end, I tend to believe Cohane is on the right track with his place names, which suggests to me that his evaluation of Danu and its variants is probably correct, and that this name is more regional than universal, coming at a later period than the one we are addressing.

But the research of Tompkins and Stecchini which I have quoted from so extensively suggests to me that there is a lot more here than meets the eye! Superimposed on Stone's and Cohane's images of a Mother Goddess whose worship seems atavistic in nature, rife with tales of the devouring of consorts and offspring, of the worshipping of serpents and magical fertility symbols in dark caves, quite probably human sacrifice - certainly an indifference to human life in the individual, although not in the species - comes an entirely different picture of early society.

The authors of The Great Pyramid paint a picture of a highly organized society stretching so far back as to be lost in the dawn of history, a society in which the concept of order and justice as measured according to exacting standards in conformity with the will of the cosmos, rules the entire life both of the individual and of society. They have presented a very well-reasoned case for believing that this society had a highly sophisticated knowledge of the basic laws governing the cosmos. That this organized knowledge also seems to have been intimately bound up with the female principle, at least until the advent of a purely paternalistic godhead, feels undeniable. The association of so many of the artifacts we have from this period with female qualities and preoccupations of the kind we see graphically depicted at Avebury as well as the geographical evidence of Cohane have convinced me that this is the case. Particularly, I find convincing the association of these ancient societies with the "vault of heaven" -with the precession of the equinoxes.

Ultimately, what makes the most sense to me - indeed, the only thing that does make sense to me - is the concept of a society governed by the unitary laws of the cosmos from birth to death, but even further, from life to life to life, each person coming into each life according to the configuration of the heavens at the moment of his birth, each person having his particular task to perform successfully in each lifetime, with the planet as the great schoolroom and the Lady, the Queen of Heaven, as the great Mother-Teacher, the overall human task being to learn to live on the earth in such a way as to approximate more and more closely the laws of heaven upon the earth, a task which has been called "the squaring of the circle" - heaven represented by the circle, earth by the square.

Cohane, The Key
Graves, The White Goddess
Stone, When God Was a Woman
Tompkins, Secrets of the Great Pyramid