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Flora UnveiledThe Discovery and Denial of Sex in Plants$
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Lincoln Taiz and Lee Taiz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190490263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190490263.001.0001

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Sacred Trees and Enclosed Gardens

Sacred Trees and Enclosed Gardens

(p.85) 5 Sacred Trees and Enclosed Gardens
Flora Unveiled

Lincoln Taiz

Lee Taiz

Oxford University Press

“Sacred Trees and Enclosed gardens” discusses myths, poetry and art in ancient Babylonia, Egypt and the Levant as they relate to sex in plants. By the second millennium BCE, Babylonians had recognized dioecism in date palms and had established laws governing the practice of artificial pollination, but this recognition was never extended to plants in general. Instead, agricultural abundance came to be identified with the sexuality of powerful goddesses. Date symbolism suggesting the method of artificial pollination is evident in the jewelry of Queen Puabi of Ur. The Warka Vase, illustrating the agricultural food chain, culminates with representations of Inanna and the king whose sacred marriage ritual insures the prosperity of the kingdom. Egyptian tree goddesses were widely represented. The erotic poetry of Mesopotamian agricultural rituals persists in Egyptian love poetry, and continues in the Biblical “Song of Songs”. In the Bible, the vegetation goddess Asherah is mentioned forty times.

Keywords:   Asherah, Artificial pollination, Erotic poetry, Egyptian tree goddesses, Inanna, Queen Puabi of Ur, Sacred marriage, Sacred trees, Song of Songs, Warka Vase

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