By Tess Dawson
The word Iluma, or ʻilūma, comes from the Canaanite language of Ugaritic and means “gods” and refers to the Canaanite pantheon. Sometimes the word is lengthened to ʻilahūma, and it is from this variation that one of the Hebrew names for “god” comes from: Elohīm. The iluma, or puḫru ilīma (Assembly of Gods) meets atop the legemdary Mount Lalu, sometimes called Lel. Mount Tzapunu (Ṣapunu), Ba’lu Haddi’s holy mountain, known as Mount Casius or Jebel al-Aqra’a in Lebanon is as important to the Canaanites in the city of Ugarit as Mount Olympus is to the Greeks. In no particular order below are the Iluma, the Canaanite gods and goddesses: this is by no means an exhaustive list–I just cover the more well-known deities here.
’Ilu, Ilu, El: King of the Pantheon, Father of Years, known as the kind, compassionate, and benevolent one. He is never angry and does not punish his immortal and mortal children. Thought of as being far away, he is often reachable through his wife Athiratu. Lives on Mount Kasu.
’Aṯiratu, Athirat, Asherah: Queen Mother of the Pantheon, Co-creatress of the Universe. Known as wise and nurturing, but not to be slighted. Biblical peoples may have continued to venerate her throughout the first half of the Hebrew Bible. Some believe the Shekhina of today’s Judaism hearkens back to her.