On the Practices of the Western Phoenician Religion
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The following is an excerpt from 'Practices of the Western Phoenician Religion', in Mediterranean Heresies and Occult Practices, by English heresiographer Dorothy Pendle (b. 1897, d. 1987). Whilst the entire chapter is dedicated to the evolution of the Phoenician religions, it primarily focuses upon Pendle's own field research, including a closer examination of the position of Phoenician supreme deity Ba'al Hamon within the orthodoxy of the Canaanite peoples, his subsequent transformation into a heretical figure by the re-emergent Jewish state throughout the Second Temple period (516 BCE - 70 CE), and his eventual admonishment by the wider Western world.

The passage hereafter is The Tenets of Ba'al Hamon, a piece of Western Phoenician scripture recovered by Dorothy Pendle from the ruins of Tharros, an ancient Carthaginian city secluded along the western coast of Sardinian Italy. It is the only known evidence of scripture penned by the inhabitants of Carthage and remains the sole textual source on Western Phoenician religious practices. This passage is not taken from the original Carthaginian document, which was destroyed by the Pendle family according to the instructions left in their last will and testament, but is instead the translated contents as republished in Mediterranean Heresies and Occult Practices.

The edition in the possession of the Wanderers' Library is an annotated copy formerly owned by Allison Pendle, Dorothy Pendle's daughter-in-law. The copy is missing a number of pages including the flyleaf and the vacat pages, all of which appear to have been ripped free from the cloth binding at some point prior to its acquisition. The manuscript itself suffers from extensive burn damage, with passages and annotations free-handed into the margins having been rendered illegible by the aforementioned damage.

At the dawn of the lambing seasons,1 all citizens of Tharros are beholden to ready a single lamb for the Lord, a newborn taken from amongst those born in this season so that we might give thanks to the Lord for the fertility across all our lands.

The nobles, lacking in the sufficiency of lands adequate for the grazing of their own lambs for their generosity to the people of Tharros is so great, might offer a citizen thirty gilded shekels to purchase a lamb of their own owned by the laborious citizens.2

The common citizenry, owing to their tilling and farming of our fertile countryside, might be reminded that only lambs not yet weaned from the ewe’s breast are to be taken before the Lord.

The richest of the slaves, those belonging to the households of our nobles, are spared the grace of the Lord for they come from foreign lands beyond the seas, yet those that work the fields alongside the citizens are likewise required to ready a lamb for the Lord so they might make thanks for the fertility of Tharros provided by the Lord.

Upon the dusk of the lambing seasons, all the citizens of Tharros shall gather before the House of Ba’al Hamon.3 Though it does not bear the magisterial countenance of his Lordship within the Great Temple of Carthage, its halls still echo o’erlong upon the arrival of the thunderous applause granted by the presence of the Lord.

The braziers shall be lit and stuffed with burning herbs. The lambs shall be brought forth in a procession, the nobles leading before the citizens, and the slaves following the citizens in kind. Each lamb shall be raised aloft before the arms of Ba’al Hamon. If the wind is low and harmonious, the lamb is rejected by the Lord and led away from the temple. If the wind is sharp and rings with the cry of the falcon, the lamb shall be handed over to the Priesthood of Ba’al Hamon.

Those lambs given to the Priesthood shall be anointed with oils and perfumes, herbs and spices, followed by a thin trail of ochre pigment.4 It shall be mixed with water or wine or olive oils so it thins and drips liberally along the head, painted in a sweeping motion beneath the hair and across the brow.

The sounds of flutes and drums and harps are to be played in the House of Ba’al Hamon, joined in chorus by the devoted nubiles of the priesthood. Those gathered to pay homage are permitted not to wail, nor to sigh, nor gesture in protestation before the Lord’s visage. The spilling of a single tear in the presence of Ba’al Hamon is permitted to the women and children alone, a gesture of great kindness from our Lord for the sacrifices of Tharros.

The braziers beneath Ba’al Hamon shall be lit by the High Priest and o'ermore stuffed with herbs. The first lamb, always a cut male, shall be led by the hand, presented into the upturned palms of his open arms and welcomed into his loving embrace. Upon this first offering, the High Priest will lead the citizens of Tharros in devoted prayer to the Lord. As the prayer is offered, the flames shall reach up to the body, the lamb shall stiffen, the lips shall quiver and shake, and with a final spasming motion of curling fingers and toes, the shriveled and burned offering shall fall into the spiral pit beneath.

The remains shall be collected from the pit, flensed clean of any burnt flesh or hair still clinging to the bone. These fragments of burnt bone might then be collected from the pit and collected together into an urn. The mixing of bones from different lambs; male and female, diseased and healthy, stillborn and lame, is permitted as all are equal before the eyes of our Lord. Upon being filled, the urn bearing the seasonal harvest of lambs might be adorned with jewellery or amulets belonging to their families, but must not be carved with the names of the chosen lambs, and then finally be interred in the hallowed labyrinthine space beneath the House.5

The High Priest of Our Lord shall lead the gathered citizens from the House, the ornate doors sealed behind until the dawning of the next season.6 For so long as his ritual is carried out, there shall always be another lambing season, and there will always be those willing to make harsh sacrifice in the name of our Lord, Ba'al Hamon.

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