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Originally posted by forestlady
Sorry, the owl does not represent Athena/Minerva, the Greek goddess of wisdom. It represents Moloch, an ancient (I think Caananite) deity. He was represented by a giant owl with a large mouth which children were put into and burned as a sacrifice.
Originally posted by Beelzebubba
I am afraid that the Athena/Minerva association is true. It is harder to place the owl as Moloch/Molech. This Canaanite deity was usually depicted as a bull-like creature. Does the deity have an actual identity or is the fact that children are sacrificed to it enough to say it is Moloch/Molech? Is the term a verb rather than a noun?
This thread may help:
Encyclopedia Britannica -
Moloch - a deity to whom child sacrifices were made throughout the ancient Middle East. The name derives from combining the consonants of the Hebrew melech (“king”) with the vowels of boshet (“shame”), the latter often being used in the Old Testament as a variant name for the popular god Baal (“Lord”).
Columbia Encyclopedia -
(m´lk) (KEY) or Moloch (m´lk) (KEY) , Canaanite god of fire to whom children were offered in sacrifice; he is also known as an Assyrian god. He is attested as early as the 3d millennium B.C., although most known references to him come from the later period represented by the Hebrew Bible, according to which Solomon and later Ahaz introduced the worship of him into Judah. He had a sanctuary at Tophet, in the valley of Hinnom S of Jerusalem. Milcom may be identifiable with Molech.
Oxford Reference Online -
a Canaanite idol to whom children were sacrificed. • [as n.] ( a Moloch ) a tyrannical object of sacrifices.
(From The New Oxford American Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses)
"The Cremation of Care Ceremony was produced as a play in 1920, wherein a High Priest standing before a huge pre-historic alter, is confronted by Dull Care wrapped in the chains but not dead because Bacchus, the only warrior Care fears, is truly dead... Care responds: 'Call Bacchus from the grave... long as he is dead. I sneer at Great Bohemia! Aha! Aha!'... Good Fellowship then takes the torch from the priest at the alter and burns Care in his prison, thereby purging the 'demon Care from the sacred Grove.' This ceremony has been rewritten on several occasions but the theme is still the same." [The date given, 1920, seems to be a typo as the ceremony was first created in 1893. He also lists two separate dates for the addition of the owl shrine: 1920 & 1929] - PEHI