Concept

Hieros gamos

Summary
Hieros gamos, hieros (ἱερός) meaning "holy" or "sacred" and gamos (γάμος) meaning "marriage," or Hierogamy (Greek ἱερὸς γάμος, ἱερογαμία "holy marriage"), is a sacred marriage that plays out between gods, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities. The notion of hieros gamos does not always presuppose literal sexual intercourse in ritual, but is also used in purely symbolic or mythological context, notably in alchemy and hence in Jungian psychology. Hieros gamos is described as the prototype of fertility rituals. Sacred sexual intercourse is thought to have been common in the Ancient Near East as a form of "Sacred Marriage" or hieros gamos between the kings of a Sumerian city-state and the High Priestesses of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and warfare. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers there were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The temple of Eanna, meaning "house of heaven" in Uruk was the greatest of these. The temple housed Nadītu, priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos celebrated during the annual Duku ceremony, just before Invisible Moon, with the autumn Equinox (Autumnal Zag-mu Festival). In Greek mythology, the classic instance is the wedding of Zeus and Hera celebrated at the Heraion of Samos, along with its architectural and cultural predecessors. Some scholars would restrict the term to reenactments, but most accept its extension to real or simulated union in the promotion of fertility: such an ancient union of Demeter with Iasion, enacted in a thrice-ploughed furrow, a primitive aspect of a sexually-active Demeter reported by Hesiod, occurred in Crete, origin of much early Greek myth. In actual cultus, Walter Burkert found the Greek evidence "scanty and unclear": "To what extent such a sacred marriage was not just a way of viewing nature, but an act expressed or hinted at in ritual is difficult to say".
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.
Related publications

Loading

Related people

Loading

Related units

Loading

Related concepts

Loading

Related courses

Loading

Related lectures

Loading

Related MOOCs

Loading