The Secret of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage - Part 1
Hands are carved into the pillars, coming together in the area of the navel, like many other statuettes and figures found around the world.
Sun and moon symbols are not seen only on the center pillars of Temple D of Göbeklitepe. Later in history we see these signs on Sumerian and Akkadian cylinder seals and on other ancient artworks.
According to historian Emel Esin, Proto-Turks once named this symbol as “ Kün-ay (Sun-moon)” . Kün-ay has a sacred meaning in Proto-Turkish culture. Emel Esin clarifies that this Kün-ay was the sign of the first crescent day: the first day of the first month of spring. At the same time, naturally it symbolizes the equinox day of spring, 21 of March. On that day, daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration. On the equinox Proto-Turks - and still modern Turks –celebrated the coming of spring, in a sense an awakening of nature, and the rebirth of earth. In this period, the fertility and of earth would increase, and soil would give plenty of produce.
Emel Esin also emphasizes that Chu Turks were using this symbol on their state flag circa 2000 B.C. in Middle Asia. According to Esin, Kün-ay sign is the origin of modern-day Turkish Republic state flag with crescent and star . Kün-ay sign has been found in artworks of Hun Turks. Additionally, we see Kün-ay and crescent-star motifs on Gokturk state coins. In modern-day Mongolia (an old Proto-Turkish region) the state flag features two pillars and Kün-Ay sign.
Proto-Turkish Kün-Ay and Göbeklitepe's sun-moon signs are not just similar: they are exactly same! On both symbols, we see a cavity at the center of sun symbol. This is such a commonly repeated description that we can't say it is a coincidence. According to Emel Esin, the cavity at the center signifies the luminous side of nature . It describes coming of spring, it describes rebirth of nature, and fertility as well.
Dr. Cathy Burns refers to the crescent-star motif as a “fertility symbol” in her study “ The Hidden Secrets Of The Eastern Star ” . Similar crescent-star motifs can be seen on Aphrodite temple images, and on ancient Cyprus coins. As it is well known, Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, beauty, procreation and fertility. In Greek mythology, she is corresponded with the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Additionally, one of the symbols of Inanna was also the crescent-star. Hitittes saw this as a sign of rebirth. Lakota Indians used the crescent-star symbol for defining the solar eclipse.
B. G. Sidharth's comment about sun-moon images relates, in that he believes the sun-moon symbols found on the center pillar in Temple D describes a solar eclipse.
It is likely that the crescent-star sign then symbolizes rebirth of nature. If so, the sun-moon motif on the Göbeklitepe pillar might also symbolize the beginning of spring, time of the equinox, and rebirth of nature and earth.
Göbeklitepe, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of our time, continues to defy explanation, but further research into what might be the first temple in the world made by man, may reveal more about Neolithic understanding, and may deliver a message to us from the ancient past.
Read Part II of The Secret of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage.
Featured Image: Archaeological site of Göbeklitepe in Turkey. Wikimedia Commons
Images provided by Özgür Etli.
 Burns, C., “ The Hidden Secrets Of The Eastern Star ”, 1994.
 Çığ, M. İ., “ İnanna'nın Aşkı: Sumer'de İnanç ve Kutsal Evlenme ”, 9th ed., Istanbul, 2014.
 Esin, E., “ Türk Kozmolojisi'ne Giriş ”, Istanbul, 2001.
 Etli, Ö. B., “ Dünyanın İlk Gözlemevi: Göbeklitepe Tapınağı ”, Popüler Bilim Journal, Vol: 229, 2014.
 Halikarnas Balıkçısı, “ Altıncı Kıta Akdeniz ”, 5th ed., Ankara, 2007.
 Halikarnas Balıkçısı, “ Anadolu Tanrıları ”, 10th ed., Ankara, 2010.
 Plegge, J., “Turkish Stonehenge: Göbeklitepe ”, 2012.
 Schmidt, K., “ Göbekli Tepe: En Eski Tapınağı Yapanlar ”, Istanbul, 2006.