The Secret Of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox And Sacred Marriage in memory of Klaus Schmidt


Göbeklitepe hosts numerous circular and square shaped temples. These structures can be defined astemples, because Klaus Schmidt and other scientist claim that these structures could be used as toperform some rituals and cultic beliefs. Besides, Schmidt points out that neolithic shamans weredominating the rituals in these mysterious temples [8]. Six structures has been unearthed as a resultof excavations since the beginning of 1995 season. By year 2015, we can say some other structuresare still be working on. Temples were named as A, B, C, D etc. Common thread to all this are two Tshaped pillars located on center, 10 or 12 pillars around it. Heights of the pillars changes in between3 and 6 meters. Not only in Göbeklitepe, but also in other nearby neolithic settlements like NevaliÇori, Hamzan Tepe, Sefer Tepe and Karahan Tepe we can see these T shaped pillars.

Göbeklitepe is a significant place which has taken the beginning of our civilization at least twotimes past. At the same time, the discovery of that Neolithic site is the reason of rewriting thehuman history. Göbeklitepe is situated in the city of Şanlıurfa, Turkey and it stands out as one of theinteresting archaeological site nowadays. As a result of scientific researches, Göbeklitepe templeswere dated to B.C. 9600, at the earliest. In archaeological language so called Pre-pottery NeolithicA. That is to say, on the sidelines of constructing of Göbeklitepe, there was no civilization as weknow it, like Sumer or Egypt. The discovery of Göbeklitepe causes a paradigm shift of archaeology:religion became evident before agriculture and permanent settlement, not after as it is known. KlausSchmidt, head of excavations, refers Göbeklitepe would built up the subsequent civilizations just asSumer and Egypt [8]. For instance, hereunder we may search out the origin of Sumerian andEgyptian gods and goddesses here, in Göbeklitepe

Almost all pillars reside in Göbeklitepe have various animal reliefs on them. Snake, fox, crane, boaretc. reliefs show us a quite sophisticated sense of art. Besides, various animal sculptures, totem poleand signed tablets were also unearthed. We see also some ambiguous symbols on pillars. Some ofthese symbols will be vital to solve the secret of Göbeklitepe. In addition to “”H” and “I” symbols,sun and moon symbols, Schmidt refers so, were engraved on some pillars. Sun and moon signs that were engraved on D temple centered-pillars are quite remarkable. Moon was depicted as crescent,sun was portrayed with cavity in its center part.

Astronomical meaning of these symbols is not controversial. With regard to their positions in thesky, the meaning of these symbols should have cosmic or celestial denotation. Maybe, Göbeklitepetemples were built as observatories on the purpose of observing celestial objects like planets andsome constellations. Italian archaeoastronomer Giuglio Magli from Milano PolytechnicalUniversity propounds that Göbeklitepe temples could be built for observing Sirius, the brightest starin night sky. According to him, Göbeklitepe community could celebrate the birth of this new brightstar. Likewise, another astronomer B. G. Sidharth expresses that 12 pillars located around the centerof temple D could symbolize 12 months of the year. Besides, Sidharth thinks “H” sign on one of thecentered pillars symbolizes Orion constellation. According to him, sun and moon signs remark thesolar eclipse [4]. According to Schmidt, H-like sign characterizes the man and woman relationship[8]. When examine closely, it seems really a kind of relationship between man and woman: boththrust out their hands to one another. Furthermore, Joe Plegge emphasizes that the holed stone inTemple D would be designed for determining equinox and solstice days, in his book “TurkishStonehenge: Göbeklitepe” [7]

Centered pillars that own H and sun-moon signs stilize human body, as it is generally accepted.Arms and hands can be seen precisely. Human faces are not clear. Perchance, they are not humans,gods or goddesses of the Neolithic. We see arms bestride both sides of the pillar. After handscombine on omphalos. This standing position should be so special and maybe sacred. However,Sumerian goddess Inanna was characterized as a standing position just like centered pillars ofGöbeklitepe. Huge statues of Easter Islands own this kind of sacred standing position (hands onomphalos). According to some, it symbolizes “birth” or “rebirth” fact.

Sun and moon symbol is not seen only on centered pillars of temple D of Göbeklitepe. After a longtime, we see these signs on Sumerian and Akkadian cylinder seals and on other artworks. Accordingto historian Emel Esin, Proto-Turks once named this symbol as “Kün-ay (Sun-moon)” [3]. Kün-ayhas a sacred meaning in Proto-Turkish culture. Emel Esin clarifies that this Kün-ay was the sign ofthe first crescent day: the first day of the first month of spring. At the same time, naturally itsymbolizes the equinox day of spring, 21st March. This day, daytime and night are approximatelyequal duration. In this day, Proto-Turks – and still modern Turks – has celebrated the coming ofspring, in a sense awakening of nature, rebirth of earth. In this period, the fertility of earth wouldincrease, and soil would give plenty of product. Emel Esin, also emphasizes that Chu Turks were using this symbol on their state flags at B.C. 2000’s in Middle Asia. According to her, Kün-ay signis the origin of modern-day Turkish Republic state flag with crescent and star [3]. Kün-ay sign wasfound in artworks of Hun Turks. Also, we see Kün-ay and crescent-star motifs on Gokturk statecoins. On modern-day Mongolia (old Proto-Turkish land) state flag two pillars and Kün-Ay sign canbe seen. Proto-Turkish Kün-Ay and Göbeklitepe’s sun-moon signs are not similar: they are exactlysame! On both symbols, we see a cavity at the center of sun symbol. This is quite commondescription that we can’t say it is any coincidence. According to Emel Esin, the cavity at the centersignifies luminous side of nature [3]. In that case, we describe Kün-ay sign as crescent-star symbol.These have same meaning as we see. As it describes coming of spring, it describes rebirth of natureand fertility as well.

Dr. Cathy Burns refers crescent-star motif as “fertility symbol” in her study “The Hidden Secrets OfThe Eastern Star” [1]. Same crescent-star motif can be seen on Aphrodite temple image on anancient Cyprus coin. As it is well known, Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, beauty,precreation and fertility. In Greek mithology it is correspond of Sumerian goddess Inanna. Besidesthat, one of the symbols of Inanna was also crescent-star. Hitittes called this sign as rebirth. LakotaIndians used crescent-star symbol for defining the solar eclipse. Remember B. G. Sidharth’scomment about sun-moon symbol. He also thinks the sun-moon symbol on centered-pillar in templeD descibes a solar eclipse. It is clear that crescent-star sign symbolizes rebirth of nature. Proofsshow that this comment should be true. In that case, sun-moon motif on Göbeklitepe pillar alsosymbolizes beginning of spring, time of equinox and rebirth of nature and earth. We may think the“H” sign located above sun-moon motif symbolizes man-woman togetherness or god-goddessmarriage in spring. Schmidt thinks this motif symbolizes man and woman. Standing position of thepillar also symbolizes “birth” or “rebirth”, as mentioned above. Well, do we know this type ofsacred god-goddess marriage in ancient history? In which culture or civilization we attain godgoddesstogetherness? The first thing coming to mind is of course the sacred marriage of Inanna andDumuzi in Sumerian civilization.

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of fertility and love, dominant on sky and earth. She gives powerof renewal and reproduction to both human and nature. Poets wrote numerous stories about her.Most famous of them is undoubtly the sacred marriage of goddess Inanna and shepherd Dumuzi,also called Tammuz. In Sumer, plenitude of products was depend on the yield of soil. According toSumerian reverends that can be supplied by virility. Sumerians named this power as “water ofheart”. For Göbeklitepe community, reproduction of products and fertility of soil were so vital.Because in that period human communities have just begun agricultural way of life, or would began newly. Dumuzi or Tammuz intercourses with his wife by outcroping from underground to earth. Atthe end of this intercourse, all plants would squirt, animals would ovulate and reproduce, and sofertility would become evident. Therefore, this day was accepted as the beginning of the new year.Sumerians symbolized this sacred intercourse by giving in marriage to king of the country withmother superior of their holy temple every year, they organized some festivals. In ceremonies,mother superior would replace with goddess. According to Sumerologist Muazzez İlmiye Çığ, thisceremony was the origin of modern-day hıdrellez (celebration of spring) festivals that organizedequinox time in Turkey [2]. The name of Dumuzi was given to month of the year July, in TurkishTemmuz. Inanna and Dumuzi also were symbolized on Sumerian artworks: they hug eachother andlie on bed.

In Anatolia, cult of fertility is known as of Cybele. Cybele is stated as the mother of god. She isgoddess of the moon as well [6]. Fertility comes to earth under favour of Cybele. Naturally, sheneeds a husband for marriage. He is god Atis. Atis, dies in Autumn, and after reborns in Spring likeDumuzi. In archaeological researches, numerous double-headed figurines have been found outbelong to various periods in Anatolia. These figurines are called twin-goddesses. According toscholar and scientist Cevat Şakir, so called Halikarnas Balıkçısı, these symbolize goddess and herhusband [5]. The yield of product and fertility of soil depends on pleasure of goddess Cybele.Cybele gives birth to spring. By courtesy of her fertiliness soil gives product. For this reason, somesacrifices had been given to Cybele from time to time. Menfolk ensured pregnancy of soil withmaking self-sacrifice from their virility. According to Halikarnas Balıkçısı, adoration to mother ofgoddess coming from the depth of history. He refers that cult of mother goddess were quitewidespread at Anatolia and Fertile Crescent [5]. Fertile Crescent, involves also UpperMesopotamia, which Göbeklitepe located as well.

Seemingly, earth mother have been venerated since first periods of civilization. Fertiliness of soilhas vital importance for steadiness of life. For that matter, death, birth and rebirth concepts shouldhave been be the most important concepts at the first period of our human civilization. Therefore,do we consider that if Sumerian’s sacred marriage ceremonies also performed in Göbeklitepetemples, starting point for our human civilization. According to Klaus Schmidt’s opinion,Göbeklitepe culture could have been effected background of Sumer and Egypt civilizations. In thatcase, with turning the clock back, we should see cultural elements of Sumerian’s in Göbeklitepeneolithic culture.

Can we thought that sun-moon symbol – in Proto-Turkish saying: sacred meeting of sun and moon -depicted on centered-pillar of temple D represents equinox time and beginning of spring? As forfindings and proofs we can. This Kün-ay (sun-moon) sign may symbolize the rebirth of soil inspring and resusciate of nature. In order that rebirth symbolizes with sacred marriage of Inanna andDumuzi in Sumer, man and woman description just above the sun-moon symbol on pillar maysymbolize the man-woman or god-goddess togetherness. That is to say, it may represent Inanna andDumuzi. Having been circular form of temple D should reflect the life-death-rebirth cycle. At thecenter of temple D we see two pillars as mentioned above. These pillars can be seen as birthsymbolizedpillars. Because the standing position of the pillars are same as Inanna’s. Hands onomphalos can be seen both. Maybe the two of their number are the origin of the cult of Cybele. Thispair of pillars should be the first samples of gods and goddesses in human history. Maybe these twopillars symbolize twin goddesses. In addition to all these, second centered pillar that has no sunmoonsign includes a bukranion symbol, as Schmidt refers [8]. Bull or taurus symbols have seen asa symbol of fertility and productivity since the beginning of our civilization. In my opinion this signrepresents uterus of earth mother, again the meaning of fertility and productivity.

When all these parameters juxtaposed, we preclude from coincidence. It is apparent that, the originof fertility cult of Anatiolia and Mesopotamian civilizations can be first seen in Göbeklitepe culture.Considering man-woman sign represents Inanna and Dumuzi, sun-moon sign represents beginningof spring, rebirth of nature and hand positions on pillar represents birth and rebirth, it is clearlyrevealed that once cosmic equinox and sacred marriage ceremonies should have been celebratedwith rituals in Göbeklitepe. Maybe we have solved the Göbeklitepe puzzle in this way for the firsttime.

Özgür Barış Etli

References:[1] Burns, C., “The Hidden Secrets Of The Eastern Star”, 1994.

[2] Çığ, M. İ., “İnanna’nın Aşkı: Sumer’de İnanç ve Kutsal Evlenme”, 9. bs., İstanbul, 2014.

[3] Esin, E., “Türk Kozmolojisi’ne Giriş”, İstanbul, 2001.

[4] Etli, Ö. B., “Dünyanın İlk Gözlemevi: Göbeklitepe Tapınağı”, Popüler Bilim Dergisi, Sayı: 229,2014.

[5] Halikarnas Balıkçısı, “Altıncı Kıta Akdeniz”, 5. bs., Ankara, 2007.

[6] Halikarnas Balıkçısı, “Anadolu Tanrıları”, 10. bs., Ankara, 2010.

[7] Plegge, J., “Turkish Stonehenge: Göbeklitepe”, 2012.

[8] Schmidt, K., “Göbekli Tepe: En Eski Tapınağı Yapanlar”, İstanbul, 2006.

Yüzüklerin Efendisi romanında yer alan en önemli karakterlerin hangi mitolojilerden alındığını karşılaştırmalı ve detaylı olarak anlatan inceleme-araştırma çalışması yayımlandı. Bugüne kadar sayısız araştırma yapıldı. Kitaplar, makaleler yazıldı. Ancak tam anlamıyla deşifre edilemedi. Bu konuda rehber bir kitap olacak. Kısacası, Tolkien’in romanı yazarken yaptığı kokteyli nasıl hazırladığını göreceksiniz. Bunun yanında Türk kültürünün diğer kültürlerle olan derin bağlarını da. Röportaj için buraya tıklayın. Kitabı imzalı satın almak için buraya tıklayın.


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