What was the inspiration for Gierra?

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sciborg2

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« on: May 01, 2021, 08:30:00 pm »
To start here's her entry int the Glossary ->

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Gierra—The God of carnal passion. One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gierra is very popular throughout the Three Seas, particularly among aging men drawn to the “aphrodisica,” Cultic nostrums reputed to enhance virility. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gierra is rarely depicted with any consistency, and is often cast as a malign temptress, luring men to the luxury of her couch, often with fatal consequences.

Some related entries ->

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Ajokli - ...competitor. In the Mar’eddat, he is the faithless husband of Gierra...

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Sign of Gierra—The twin serpents that Sumni harlots must have tattooed on the back of their left hand, apparently in imitation of the Priestesses of Gierra.

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Ten, the—Epithet for the ten most powerful and widely worshipped of the Hundred, consisting of Yatwer, Gilgaöl, Husyelt, Gierra, Jukan, Anagke, Onkhis, Akkeägni, Bûkris, and Ajokli.

And from the text of books proper (only AE for now) ->

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...Afterwards she would decide that the insult was rather clumsy, no more subtle than the slit gowns worn by the Priestess-Whores of Gierra...

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Even the priestesses of Gierra, who sold themselves with the sanction of god and temple, were broken. To sell intimacy is to be turned inside out, to make a cloak of your heart, so that others might be warmed. A soul could only be inverted so many times before it all became confused, inside and outside.

-WLW

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A dais the size of small barge dominated the floor beneath the high dome. She numbly gazed at the arc of idols arrayed upon it: wane Onkhis, fierce Gilgaöl, lewd Gierra, bulbous Yatwer, and others, a tenth of the Hundred, the eldest and the most powerful, cast in gold, shining and lifeless.

-WLW

So we have a goddess of lust, who seems to fit the idea of a succubus, with a priestess-hood of sacred prostitutes. Will post of potential inspirations or at least parallel figures in religion next.

sciborg2

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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 08:32:16 pm »
'Sacred Prostitution': An ancient tradition based on respect for the woman

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One of the most unusual practices Herodotus details is the that of sacred prostitution, which he observes in the ancient city of Babylon. It “compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger at least once in her life . . . Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple . . . It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home.”

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“The idea of sacred prostitution,” she says, “is almost entirely incomprehensible to the modern imagination. [Sacred prostitution] involved women having sex as an act of worship. It is completely unlike what we think of as prostitution today; the relationship between men and women in this ancient tradition is based on respect for the woman. She was seen as a powerful person. I was fascinated by how alien it seemed that there could be a sexual exchange of this kind that could support, as opposed to denigrate, a woman.”

Not sure how being forced to f_ck somebody so you can leave the temple is respect but okay...Herodotus even refers to it as the most shameful of customs...It might pay to be a little suspicious of Herodotus tho ->

Did Prostitution Really Exist in the Temples of Antiquity?

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"Holy harlots" in Jerusalem, temple sex in the service of Aphrodite? Many ancient authors describe sacred prostitution in drastic terms. Are the accounts nothing but legends? Historians are searching for the kernel of truth behind the reports.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 09:02:04 pm by sciborg2 »

sciborg2

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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 10:45:15 pm »
Oddly enough Gierra / Ajokli marriage parallels the marriage between the sex goddess/spirit Pomba Gira and Exu. I wonder if Bakker saw them when researching Zeum as their histories - or rather Exu's - do seem to begin in Africa.

Pomba Gira

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Pomba Gira is the scarlet woman, the sacred harlot, and the lady of crossroads and street lights. An Afro-Brazilian spirit, Pomba Gira derives from the intersection of Iberian, Gitano, and Central African roots. Pomba Gira is the crossroad where these traditions meet. She is a goddess of power, eroticism, death, and vengeance. She has dominion over sex for pleasure and power, not procreation. (That said, she can bestow fertility when and if she desires.) Pomba Gira is an oracular spirit who can reveal the past and future, but she can be a brutally plain-spoken truth-teller. Don’t ask her for information unless you are ready to hear unvarnished truths.

Exu

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The West African trickster spirit Eshu Elegbara is Master of Roads. He determines whether someone’s path is clear or blocked with obstacles. Eshu determines how easy or challenging an individual’s life will be. Devotion to Eshu Elegbara was widespread; he is common to many West African pantheons. Because of this, Eshu Elegbara exists in virtually all African-Diaspora traditions although, as befitting a trickster, his name, appearance, and personalityis slightly different wherever he manifests.

sciborg2

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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 11:34:22 pm »
A bit more info from the PoN Wiki ->

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Gierra is the Goddess of carnal passion. One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gierra is very popular throughout the Three Seas, particularly among aging men drawn to the “aphrodisica,” Cultic nostrums reputed to enhance virility. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gierra is rarely depicted with any consistency, and is often cast as a malign temptress, luring men to the luxury of her couch, often with fatal consequences.[1] In the Mar’eddat, she is wife of the faithless Ajokli.[2] Gierra’s “voluptuous” idol, depicts “wide-thrown ankles.”[3]

“The temple prostitutes of Gierra believes, that despite the hundreds of men who uses them, they couples with only one, Hotos, the Priapic God.”[4] Priestesses of Gierra tattoo their limbs in inscriptions and cover their bodies with oil.[5] Part of their duties is to have sex with male worshippers.[6] Sumni harlots must have the Sign of Gierra, twin serpents, tattooed on the back of their left hand, apparently in imitation of the Priestesses of Gierra.[7]