Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythology

Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythology

Postby Kendall » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:55 am

Was searching through some different myths and religions for non-binary and intersexed deities. Found a few of them, and tried to find pics of visual representations.

Others can add on to this list, which is far from comprehensive.

*If admin or anyone feel the pics are showing nudity I can remove them, they are however from temples and museums. They tend to show intersexed deities in the nude in paintings and statues.

Egypt
Egyptian Aten
The deity of the monotheistic religion of Amenhotep IV, who took the name Akhenaten. Aten is also considered to be both masculine and feminine simultaneously. The god is the rays of the sun.
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Egyptian Tatenen was a seldom depicted and very old god from the Memphis area usually portrayed as a young man.
He represented the Earth and was born in the moment it rose from the watery chaos. He personified Egypt and was an aspect of Geb. With his staff he repelled the evil serpent Apep from the Primeval Mound and had a magical mace dedicated to the falcon. That mace was in some places venerated as "The Great White of the Earth Creator". He brought the Djed-pillars of stability to the country and was sometimes combined with the god Ptah as Ptah-Tenen. He wore a similar Atef-crown, as Ptah-Sokar and can be confused with him. He protected vegetation and thus he sometimes could be portrayed as a man with green complexion. He could also (symbolically) be a she and called: "the mother who gave birth to all the gods". His father was the creator god Khnum, who made him on his potter's wheel of Nile mud at the moment of creation of Earth.
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As a creator god (Ptah Tatenen) he held the title, "father of the gods" and was thus both the source and ruler of all gods. Ptah as Tatenen is the one who begat the gods and from whom all things proceeded. Thus, we find in the "Hymn to Ptah":


"Hail to thee, thou who art great and old, Ta-tenen, father of the gods, the great god from the first primordial time who fashioned mankind and made the gods, who began evolution in primordial times, first one after whom everything that appeared developed, he who made the sky as something that his heart has created, who raised it by the fact that Shu supported it, who founded the earth through that which he himself had made, who surrounded it with Nun [and] the sea, who made the nether world [and] gratified the dead, who causes Re to travel [thither] in order to resuscitate them as lord of eternity (nhh) and lord of boundlessness (td), lord of life, he who lets the throat breathe and gives air to every nose, who with his food keeps all Mankind alive, to whom lifetime, [to be more precise] limitation of time and evolution are subordinate, through whose utterance one lives, he who creates the offerings for all the gods in his guise the great Nun (Nile, in this case), lord of eternity, to whom boundlessness is subordinate, breath of life for everyone who conducts the king to his great seat in his name, 'king of the Two Lands'."


Of course, it must be noted that this hymn is specifically directed to Ptah as Tatenen. But in this guise he seems to have created everyone. Even Imhotep, after his deification, was also associated with Tatenen through Ptah. In a small temple dedicated to this great thinker of ancient Egypt, we find Imhotep described as "threat one, son of Ptah, the creative god, made by Tatenen, begotten by him and beloved by him..."



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Egyptian Hapi
Hapi is the ancient Egyptian god of the Nile. He is ancient not only to us of the modern world, but to the Egyptians as well. In fact, "hep", the root of Hapi's name is probably an ancient name for the Nile.

Hapi was portrayed as a man with women's breasts and protruding belly. The full breasts and stomach indicate fertility and his ability to nourish the land through the Nile's annual floods. Just as Egypt was divided into two parts (the north and the south) so was Hapi's domain, the Nile.
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Egyptian Shai

was the deification of the concept of fate in Egyptian mythology[1]. As a concept, with no particular reason for associating with one gender over another, Shai was sometimes considered female, rather than the more usual understanding of being male, in which circumstance Shai was referred to as Shait (simply the feminine form of the name). His name reflects his function, as it means (that which is) ordained.
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Neith Goddess of weaving and war
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Wadj Wer Masculine hermaphrodite god of fertility and pregnancy

India
Hindus Ardhanari
Ardhanari or Ardhanarishvara, is an androgynous deity composed of Shiva and his consort Shakti, representing the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies. The Ardhanari form also illustrates how the female principle of God, Shakti is inseparable from the male principle of God, Shiva. Ardhanari in iconography is depicted as half-male and half-female, split down the middle. The best sculptural depictions of Shiva as Ardhanari are to be seen in the sensuous Chola dynasty bronzes and the sculptures at Ellora and Elephanta.
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Greece/Roman
Greek Mythology Hermaphroditus
It was in the woods of Caria, near Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum, Turkey) that he encountered Salmacis the Naiad in her pool. She was overcome by lust for the boy, and tried to seduce him, but was rejected. When he thought her to be gone, Hermaphroditus undressed and entered the waters of the empty pool. Salmacis sprang out from behind a tree and jumped into the pool. She wrapped herself around the boy, forcibly kissing him and touching his breast. While he struggled, she called out to the gods that they should never part. Her wish was granted, and their bodies blended into one hermaphrodite form. Hermaphroditus, in his shame and grief, made his own vow, cursing the pool so that any other who bathes within it shall be transformed as well.
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Greek Phanes
was the Protogenos (primeval god) of procreation in the Orphic cosmogony. He was the primal generator of life, the driving force behind reproduction in the early cosmos. Phanes was hatched from the world egg (the primordial mixture of elements) when it was split into its constituent parts by the ancient gods Khronos (Time) and Ananke (Inevitability). Phanes was the first king of the universe, who passed the royal sceptre on to his daughter Nyx (Night),who in turn handed it down to her son Ouranos (Heaven). From him it was first seized by Kronos (Time), and then by Zeus, the ultimate ruler of the cosmos. Some say Zeus devoured Phanes in order to assume his primal cosmic power and redistribute it amongst a new generation of gods--the Olympians which he sired.

The Orphics equated Phanes with the Elder Eros (Sexual Desire) of Hesiod's Theogony, who emerged at the beginning of time alongside Khaos (Air) and Gaia (Earth). Phanes also incorporated aspects of other primordial beings described by various ancient writers including Thesis, Phusis, Ophion, Khronos and Ananke. Phanes also appears in myth in the guise of Metis (i.e. Thetis, Thesis, creation), the goddess devoured by Zeus, and Tethys, the nurse of all. However these two divinities in the majority of Greek literature remain far-removed from the concept of creator-gods.

Phanes was portrayed as a beautiful golden-winged hermaphroditic deity wrapped in a serpent's coils. The poets describe him as an incorporeal being invisible even through the eyes of the gods. His name means "bring to light" or "make appear" from the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô.

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Greek Eros (cupid)

Out of that first blood Eros appeared, being androgynous. His masculinity is Himireris, being fire from the light. His femininity that is with him - a soul of blood - is from the stuff of Pronoia.

He is very lovely in his beauty, having a charm beyond all the creatures of chaos.
Then all the gods and their angels, when they beheld Eros, became enamored of him.

And appearing in all of them, he set them afire: just as from a single lamp many lamps are lit, and one and the same light is there, but the lamp is not diminished. And in this way, Eros became dispersed in all the created beings of chaos, and was not diminished. Just as from the midpoint of light and darkness Eros appeared and at the midpoint of the angels and mankind the sexual union of Eros was consummated, so out of the earth the primal pleasure blossomed. The woman followed earth. And marriage followed woman. Birth followed marriage. Dissolution followed birth.

After that Eros, the grapevine sprouted up out of that blood, which had been shed over the earth. Because of this, those
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Jewish Mysticism
Kabbalah Adam Kadmon
Kabbalists teach that God is masculine and feminine, and that when speaking of 'man' they are always referring to two faces. Adam Kadmon is androgynous, according to the Kabbalah interpretation of verses in Genesis -- "male and female created he them" -- as cited in Blavatsky's Theosophical Glossary and in The Secret Doctrine:

"Adam, as the supposed great 'Progenitor of the human race' is, as Adam-Kadmon, made in the image of God - a priapic image, therefore. The Hebrew words Zãkhãr and Nëqebãh are, literally translated, linga (phallus) and yoni, notwithstanding their transliteration in the Bible as 'male and female.' As said there: 'God creates 'Man in his own image'...in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them,' *the androgyne Adam-Kadmon. Now this Kabbalistic name is not that of a living man, nor even of a human or divine Being, but of the two sexes or organs of procreation, called in Hebrew Zãkhãr and nëqebãh; these two being, therefore, the image under which the 'Lord God' appeared usually to his chosen people. That this is so, is now undeniably proven by almost all the symbologists and Hebrew scholars as well as by the Kabala. Therefore Adam is in one sense Jehovah." (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 467) 25.

In his book, The Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan, Peter Michas states that Adam as he was first created contained a balance of male and female.
"Adam was created as a whole being, complete in form, containing a balance of male-female and a balance of logic-emotion." 26.
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Asia
Buddhist Guan Yin
Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion. Japanese, Guanyin is pronounced Kannon (観音) or more formally Kanzeon (観世音); the spelling Kwannon. In Korean, the Bodhisattva is called Gwan-eum or Gwanse-eum, In Thai, the name is called Kuan Eim (กวนอิม) or Prah Mae Kuan Eim (พระแม่กวนอิม),and in Vietnamese, the name is Quan Âm or Quan Thế Âm Bồ Tát. It is generally accepted that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर), which is her male form.

Avalokiteśvara was originally depicted as Buddha when he was still a prince, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a moustache. However, in China, Guanyin is usually depicted as a woman. Additionally, some people believe that Guanyin is neither man nor woman.
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Polynesia
Polynesian Ta'aroa
Ta'aroa, the androgynous creator god of the Polynesian universe, of whom Hina, in one of her manifestations, was the spouse. Ta'aroa is the supreme creator god in the mythology of French Polynesia.

He was bored, alone in his shell, and so he cracked it with a shake of his body and slid out of its confines, finding everything somber and silent outside, finding himself alone in the nothingness.

So he broke the shell into pieces and from them formed the rocks and the sand, and the foundation of all the world, Tumu-Nui. With his backbone he created the mountains; with his tears he filled the oceans, the lakes, the rivers; with his fingernails and toenails he made the scales that cover the fish and the turtles; with his feathers he created the trees and the bushes; with his blood he colored the rainbow.

Ta'aroa then called forth artists who came with their baskets filled with To'i, so that they might sculpt Tane, the first god. Then came Ru, Hina, Maui, and hundreds of others. Tane decorated the sky with stars and hung the sun in the sky to illuminate the day and the moon to illuminate the night. Ta'aroa decided then to complete his work by creating man.

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Norway
Norse Mythology Loki
Loki or Loke
In Norse mythology, a trickster who was able to change his shape and sex. His father was the giant Fárbauti, but he was included among the Aesir, a tribe of the gods. A companion of the great gods Odin and Thor, Loki helped them with his clever plans but sometimes embarrassed them. He also appeared as the enemy of the gods, entering their banquets uninvited and demanding drink. After causing the death of the god Balder, he was punished by being bound to a rock. Loki created a female, Angerboda, with whom he produced three evil progeny: Hel, the goddess of death; Jörmungand, the evil serpent surrounding the world; and Fenrir, the wolf.

Loki transformed himself into a mare and in that form became the mother of Sleipnir. In Lokasenna, he and Odin taunt each other with having taken on women's forms, bearing babies and nursing them, but the further details of myths behind those taunts have not survived. See the poem Lokesenna for more details concerning the surviving portions. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe10.htm
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The Mask of Loki, which inspired the mask for the Jim Carrey's.The MaskImageImage
Movie MaskImage

American Indian
Aztec Ometeotl
Ometeotl is the name of the dual god Ometecutli/Omecihuatl in Aztec mythology.
The origin of this god is from Toltec origin, and possibly could be traced to Teotihuacan.

In the Nahua/Aztec tradition, Ometeolt/Omecihualt is a dual god, male and female, who was the creator of Cemanahuatl. Ometeotl's male aspect is Ometecutli, his/her female aspect is Omecihuatl.

S/he dwelled in and ruled over Omeyocan ("Two Place"), home of the gods.There were no temples dedicated to this god, but Ometeotl is referred to in most of the Aztec poetry.

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Zuni (New Mexico tribe) Ko'lhamana
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The supernatural two-spirit, Ko'lhamana (ko-, supernatural + lhamana, "berdache"). The famous Zuni "man-woman," We'wha (d. 1896), recited numerous myths and tales to the anthropologist Matilda Coxe Stevenson .

"A key episode in the Zuni creation story...[in which] a kachina spirit called ko'lhamana was captured by the enemy spirits and transformed in the process. This transformed spirit became a mediator between the two sides, using his peacemaking skills to merge the differing lifestyles of hunters and farmers. In the ceremony, a dramatic reenactment of the myth, the part of the transformed ko'lhamana spirit, is performed by a berdache... The continual reenactment of this story provides a justification for the Zuni berdache in each generation."

Sumeria
Sumerian Mythology
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From the text of Inanna's [also called Ishtar] Descent into the Underworld http://www.halexandria.org/dward386.htm http://www.jelder.com/pagan/descent.htm
Enki immediately expresses concern and dispatches his Galla demons, Galaturra or Kurgarra, sexless beings created from the dirt from beneath the god's finger-nails, to recover the young goddess. These beings may be the origin of the Greco-Roman Galli, androgynous beings of the third sex, similar to the American Indian berdache, who played an important part in early religious ritual.

Africa
African Deities
The Ndebele and Shona ethnic groups of former Rhodesia have a trinity - a fundamental family group - made up of God the Father, God the Mother, and God the Son, as a conception of God. Among the Fon of West Africa and Benin, God, who is called "Vondu", is androgynous, with both male and female traits.
(Mbiti, J.S., Introduction to African Religion, Oxford, 1975, p. 53.)

Christianity
Other people have mentioned these connections
Last edited by Kendall on Mon May 17, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Postby Kaimialana » Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:11 pm

Nice Kendal.
Plural System Kaimialana (Male-bodied)
Kaimi (Female): she/her
Alana (Female): she/her
Kai (Fluidgender): they/them
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby y2gender » Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:48 pm

Thanks Kendall! This is a wonderful resource page!

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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Rebis » Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:21 pm

Where's that pool in the woods of Caria, near Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum, Turkey)?

Do you have the coordinates?
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kaimialana » Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:33 pm

lol, Rebis wants to pull a Ranma 1/2!
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Postby Draggin » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:01 pm

Nicely compiled! Good work Kendall
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Postby Pica Pica » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:05 pm

I've been to Hallicanarssus, saw the mausoleum, or what was left of it.
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kendall » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:55 pm

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Mausoleum of Halicanarssus, one of the wonders of the world.
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Rebis » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:02 pm

Yep, that's what it looked like when Pica Pica was through with it. [/snicker]
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kendall » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:49 am

Added Guan Yin whom apparently changed genders or forms at will from its Indian origin towards its East Asian current versions. And Polynesian creator god Ta'aroa.
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Postby Pica Pica » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:55 pm

I sneezed and it disappeared.

Same thing happened in Ephesus
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Postby Cobalt » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:42 pm

Awesome list Kendell :) Thank you
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Postby Kaimialana » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:06 pm

Pica Pica @ Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:55 pm wrote:I sneezed and it disappeared.

Same thing happened in Ephesus


And Alexandria, apparently.

I'd blame the incident at Rhodes on you as well, but my sources say to look elsewhere.
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Rebis » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:22 pm

I think the quality of the pictures Kendall chose are outstanding. They almost jump off of my screen. Pretty cool.
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kendall » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:03 am

Added the Norse shape changer god Loki, who milked cows as a maiden for many years, and had babies and nursed them.
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kendall » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:48 pm

Added Aztec God of Duality Ometeotl , and god of the highest (13th) sky layer of which was called Omeyocan "place of duality".
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Gwydion » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:10 am

Are Ptah and Aten the same? I remember Ptah being hermaproditic.

Did you what non-deity characters from mythology too?
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Kendall » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:50 pm

Couldn't find any reference to Pteh being hermaphrodite. And Aten and ptah are different, Aten being the short term "One" god that the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who took the name Akhenaten worshipped. The people only worshipped this god during that Pharoah's reign, then quickly forgot hir.

If you find any reference referring Pteh as hermaphrodite or genderless or something, I will add him as well.

However looking more I did find another egyptian god, the god of the Nile, Hopi.

As for concerning mythological figures, this post was focusing on gods and major deities. I basically wanted to see the variety of non-polar gods, that people have worshipped in history or even today.

Another topic post might be good to start however listing non-deities.

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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Gwydion » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:55 am

I guess I took the stories about Ptah self impregnating as evidence of Ptah being intersexed when I read them as a child.

There is also this, "Ptah then became to be known as 'The Ancient One', uniting in his person both the masculine primeval deity Nun and the female counterpart Naunet. Ptah was thus sometimes called Ptah-Nun or Ptah-Naunet, combining his creative power and making it manifest in all aspects of the universe." *

I wrote the research paper that lead me to the intersex conclusion in the late '80's, and I apologize for the sloppiness of not going to find book resources and I apologize for this. I am strongly suspecting I read a creation myth where self impregnation occurred that was less explicit about where the seed went and combined that with the uniting of a masculine and feminine deity into one person, or a trinity similar to that in Christianity of which one part is feminine and drew conclusions stronger than the data supports.




*http://www.philae.nu/akhet/NetjeruP.html
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Re: Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythol

Postby Catechin » Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:34 am

This is a nice impressive list! The divine androgyne was (and is) a spiritual ideal representing balance, fusion and perfection of many major cultures around the world. As a mythology buff, I highly approve.

Kendall wrote:Couldn't find any reference to Pteh bein[url][/url]g hermaphrodite... If you find any reference referring Pteh as hermaphrodite or genderless or something, I will add him as well.


Tatenen, the primal earth god of Egypt is often seen as hermaphroditic. He (most ancient androgynous gods were referred to in the masculine) was sometimes fused with Ptah into Ptah-Tatenen, and in some legends, Ptah fashioned the world on his own, and therefore would be androgynous in nature.

The big named hermaphroditic gods of Egypt would be

Atum Creator sun and earth god. At one point the most important god.
Hapi God of the Nile
Tatenen God of Earth and Vegetation
Neith Goddess of weaving and war
Ra/Aten Sun god / solar disc
Wadj Wer Masculine hermaphrodite god of fertility and pregnancy

A Greek one to add:
Phanes: Phanes is probably my favorite Greek god. He was the first king of the universe, and very important place in Greek cosmology. He was a beautiful golden winged hermaphrodite deity, often equated with the ancient Eros.
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