Qadash Kinahnu, a Canaanite Phoenician Temple

The Outer Courtyard of Qadash Kinahnu

Welcome. You are in the Outer Courtyard of Qadash Kinahnu. Here is a pool of spring water for cleansing. And a fire altar for making offerings to the Divine Ones has been erected. It is always pleasant and sunny here no matter what the weather is outside our walls. That is because we are in a very special place, not only a sacred temple, but our own corner of the virtual reality that is the World Wide Web. The air is fresh and clean, the temperature comfortable, and there is a hint of herbs and pine on the breeze, as well as a suggestion of the tang of the sea. So please relax and be at ease.

The first step upon entering a temple is cleansing yourself. This is a common practice in many religions the world over. In many churches there is a font, a basin of holy water, where upon entering one blesses oneself with a bit of water. Before a Jewish Passover meal those at the table wash their hands using a special pitcher and bowl. In Japan before entering a temple or calling upon any deities, one washes one's hands and face and rinses out one's mouth with water. In a Moslem mosque there is a place to wash hands and face and feet - for one removes one's shoes before praying. In ancient times there was, as in Qadash Kinahnu, a pool in the couryard; now in many modern mosques there is a room with faucets coming out of the walls - ah, the wonders of plumbing. It is also standard practice before a Neo-Pagan Wiccan ritual to take a sacred purifying bath. In a Catholic or Anglican church the priest may asperse the congregants with holy water - a practice also taken up by Wiccans.

Please pause for a moment to refresh and purify yourself at the sacred pool here. With water from the spring-fed pool, bathe your hands and your face. Please don't disturb the fish, they are sacred - they have even been known to divine the future, as did the oracular fish in the pool of the temple of Astarte Atargatis at Ashkelon. While you are bathing, feel yourself being cleansed, the cares of the moment dropping away. Breath slowly and regularly. Ahhh.

Ritual Pool of Spring Water

Next is the fire altar. Here you may make an offering to the deities, or one specific deity, if you choose. In ancient times it was common to bring animals to the temple for sacrifice. Generally they came from one's own flocks, usually sheep or goats; perhaps an ox or cow for a special occasion; and very, very rarely a bird, usually a dove or pigeon. Offerings of many animals were made only on major holy days and then there would be a huge feast afterwards for all the celebrants. If you brought more than one animal, the extra will join the temple flocks. And you will get to eat a part of whatever you have brought after its essence has fed the Divine Ones.

But it is not necessary to bring an animal, nor was it in the past. You can make offerings of grain, flour, or bread (beer is acceptable, too); of fruits, juices, or wine; other foodstuffs, such as nuts (especially almonds, pine nuts, and pistachios) and seeds (sesame and poppy, particularly), cheese (feta, for example), yogurt, honey, herbs, or incense. Obviously you don't eat the incense, but you do get to enjoy its scent.

Trained specialists were responsible for the sacred offerings in the past. No one priest or priestess was responsible for everything in the temple. There would be a specialist for animal sacrifices; an incense-offering specialist to prepare the incense and say the sacred incense prayer; a cantor who chanted the sacred texts; a divination specialist - or perhaps more than one, each specializing in a different method. There would be musicians, a treasurer, a scribe-librarian, and others. Watching over them all was the Rab Kahan or Rabat Kahanat, the Chief Priest or Priestess (See the Purple Book of Magic, Chapter Two for more details). Qadash Kinahnu is much simpler. Since the old days are gone, i am responsible for just about everything here.

If you have brought something, toss a little bit into the fire for the deities. Save the rest for the sacred meal later. If you haven't brought anything... but yes, you have, you have brought yourself! Stop for a moment before the fire and hold up your hands to it. Careful, not too close, just enough to see the flames flickering beyond your fingers. The fire is merely a spark from the great flame of the divine which enspirits and enlivens the universe. And within you, too, burns a spark of that divine fire. Pausing here for a moment, the two fires are become one.

Animated Flame
Stone Fire Altar

Below is one example of a sacrifice from the myths of Ugarit, the major Canaanite city where an extensive number of tablets have been found. It is from Keret, the story of King Keret who despairs of ever having a son.

The Sacrifice of King Keret
from "KERET" (circa 14th century B.C.E.)

Enter the shade of a pavilion. [li. 65]
Take a lamb in thy hand,
A lamb of sacrifice in thy right hand;
A kid in the grasp of both of them,
All of thy food the choicest.
Take a ?turtle dove?, [li.70]
Bird of sacrifice.
In a vessel of silver pour wine,
Honey in a vessel of gold.
Go up on the tower;
And mount the shoulder of the wall; [li.75]
Lift up thy hands to heaven,
Sacrifice to The Bull, thy father El;
Honor Baal with thy sacrifice,
The Son of Dagan with thine oblations.


for a complete list of and links to all the rooms in this Temple.

The next room is:

1997 Lilinah biti-Anat
Modified 21 December 2007

The lovely stone wall background is from The Ace of Space (now long gone)

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