Friday 27 January 2012

Deity Post: Nikkal

Today, Nikkal has touched my heart and filled me with joy.  I had prepared for me a bowl of fruit (which I normally don't eat too frequently until the summer time, when the festivals celebrate fruit harvests and blossoming orchards).  As today was Yom Shish, the Sixth Day, I finished school and arrived home already in high spirits.  When my mother prepared the bowl, I took it and said a prayer to Nikkal before I ate the fruit.  Afterwards, I was in even higher spirits.  And it occured to me that Nikkal is a deity with whom I must admit I've never had much experience apart from at festivals such as Ashuru Liyati.  So to praise Nikkal, my blog post will be on her.

The bowl of fruit from Nikkal's orchard
I eat the fruit within my house

Nikkal-wa-Ib means 'Great Lady-and-Fruitful', and can be taken as a combination of two names.  One of them, Ib, comes from the Semitic name/title of the fruit goddess, Ilat Inbi.  The other, Nikkal, actually comes from Sumerian religion, and from the goddess Ningal, who is the wife of the moon god Nanna.  Ningal was a goddess particularly worshiped by cow-herders in the marshlands, but later became a major goddess and her cult spread across the lands.  So that is basically the origins of Nikkal worship.

Nikkal is the goddess of fruits and orchards.  She is particularly honoured during the summer fruit harvests.

Nikkal is a gentle goddess, modest and faithful to her husband.  She is providing and provides her fruits in a time when the harvests of the fields are becoming rare.  She is an earthly or terrestrial deity, and her domain is over the orchards held sacred to her, and over all that grow in them, including the olive tree, apple tree, date tree, fig tree, almond tree, and walnut tree.  It is Nikkal who allows these fruits and nuts to grow.  She is gentle and quiet, peaceful and devoted.

Nikkal is the daughter of Khirkhib in stories from Ugarit, while she is the daughter of Dagon in stories from Tuttul in Serug (Syria).  She marries the moon god Yarikh after he refuses to marry any but her.  By night, Yarikh passes over the desert and comes into the orchard before his bride, and fertilizes her womb (the orchard) with his semen (nightly dew).  This causes the fruits to grow. 

Nikkal shows great love and devotion towards her husband, and he does so in return.  Nikkal's hymn may be sung at weddings.  Her worship is connected to fertlity of the orchard during the summer fruit harvest.

Nikkal is thanked when fruit is collected in.  She is worshiped to bring forth fruit in her beautiful orchards.  And she is worshiped at weddings.  The sacrifices to Nikkal are usually sacrifices of cows, and so beef offerings are the best for Nikkal.

1 comment:

  1. I have an affectionate connection with Nikkal and agree that She is a gentle and kind Lady. She became prominent in my life when I was a new bride and caretaker of a home with gardens and a fruit orchard. Along with the traditional offering of beef, I'd suggest staple offerings like incense, wine, and olive oil. I've also had luck with offering her the first fruits and veggies from our gardens, flowers, honey, fresh water, almonds, and libations of sweet almond oil.

    Gardening of any type (including flower gardens that attract pollinating insects), visiting a local farm that offers pick-your-own-fruit, or caring for a fruit tree if you have the space are all excellent ways to honor her. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing your experience with her. :)