Archaeological site of Göbeklitepe in Turkey

The Secret of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage - Part 1

(Read the article on one page)

Hands are carved into the pillars, coming together in the area of the navel, like many other statuettes and figures found around the world.

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.

Akkadian Seal and Sun Moon

Sun and moon symbols

According to historian Emel Esin, Proto-Turks once named this symbol as “ Kün-ay (Sun-moon)” [3]. 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 [3]. 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 [3]. It describes coming of spring, it describes rebirth of nature, and fertility as well.

Sun and moon symbols of various cultures

Dr. Cathy Burns refers to the crescent-star motif as a “fertility symbol” in her study “ The Hidden Secrets Of The Eastern Star ” [1]. 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.


[1] Burns, C., The Hidden Secrets Of The Eastern Star ”, 1994.

[2] Çığ, M. İ., İnanna'nın Aşkı: Sumer'de İnanç ve Kutsal Evlenme ”, 9th ed., Istanbul, 2014.

[3] Esin, E., Türk Kozmolojisi'ne Giriş ”, Istanbul, 2001.

[4] Etli, Ö. B., Dünyanın İlk Gözlemevi: Göbeklitepe Tapınağı ”, Popüler Bilim Journal, Vol: 229, 2014.

[5] Halikarnas Balıkçısı, Altıncı Kıta Akdeniz ”, 5th ed., Ankara, 2007.

[6] Halikarnas Balıkçısı, Anadolu Tanrıları ”, 10th ed., Ankara, 2010.

[7] Plegge, J., Turkish Stonehenge: Göbeklitepe ”, 2012.

[8] Schmidt, K., Göbekli Tepe: En Eski Tapınağı Yapanlar ”, Istanbul, 2006.

By Ozgur Baris Etli


Reading the article I had to think of John Allegro's book:
He thought that almost all myth en religion of the Near East led back to an ancient Amanita Muscara mushroom cult in Sumer. Maybe he was right. Or allmost right and not Sumer but Gobekli Tepe was an even earlier sorce of this cult.
Maybe... Just maybe the T-shaped stones could be a symbol of the stem of the mushroom and the roof of the buildings/temples could be the cap of the mushroom.
Another interesting thing is that when you consume the Amanita Muscara you feel very much that you are part of the larger universe. I remember that at the end of an Amanita Muscara 'trip' I thought of the stars as 'my brothers' or even 'part of me'. Maybe after all the Amanita Muscara is at least partly the source of all this interest in the stars and the skies...
And the Amanita Muscara cult was part of a larger cult of the 'life force'. And that has a relation on the emphasis that is put on the 'Eastern Star' or 'Spring'-cult in Gobekli Tepe.
Just maybe......
(Excuse my crappy English.)

Ozgur's picture

Klaus Schmidt also refers shamanic rituals might be once prevalent in Gobekli Tepe. But this thesis should involve more proofs.





I find it fascinating how you believe a 9,000 bc megalithic structure is "proto-turks", but can't look north to homelands of ArmenianS for answers. These structures were built by Proto-Sumerians as Sumerians came from the north. All your answers lie with Armenians. Another revisionist article.

That's what I thought as well. It's a falsification of history to suggest that Gobekli Tepe has anything to do with Turks.
"... It is generally agreed that the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia with the majority of them living in China historically. Historically they were established after the 6th century BCE.[63] The earliest separate Turkic peoples appeared on the peripheries of the late Xiongnu confederation about 200 B.C ..."

The "double-axe" culture of Egypt were also Urartian...Armenians. True enough.

But don't be too harsh on this article as "revisionist": the proto-Armenians went by many names: "Mittani"..."Akkadian"...."Hurrian"...."Assyrian"......just be relieved they are not sticking to rote repetition of twisted history foisted in "mainstream" sources.

The proto-Armenians came up through Bharata/India to settle the mountains of Ararat. Goodness knows how long ago that occurred. But certainly, it predates the 9600 BC date of Gobekli tepe. A million years? Could very well be. Who can say??

DNA proves the Armenians are the Assyrians are the "Ashkenazi" are the Palestinians are the Syrians are the Druze are the Georgians are the Kurds....dispersed from the mountains of Ararat in the deep dark past of unknowable times.

Feel better now?


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