SHAMHAT SARASWATI

Real Name: Shamhat Saraswati

Identity/Class: Elderspawn magic-user;
   
Pre-Cataclysmic, Hyborian, post-Hyborian/BC era

Occupation: Sorcerer;
    former
Sorcerer Supreme

Group Membership: Sorcerers SupremeBird-Men of Akah Ma'at, Seraphim

Affiliations: Alhambra, Gaeathe Vishanti (Hoggoth, Oshtur, Agamotto), unidentified King of the Bird-Men of Akah Ma’at (Alhambra’s father);
    possibly the Daevas (Hindu gods; see comments);
    as she was affiliated with Alhambra , it is quite possible, but unconfirmed, that she may have also known Conan--Snood

Enemies: The Asura, Chthon, Dragon of the Moon, Dweller-in-Darkness, Man-Bats of Ur-Xanarrh, N'Garai, Serpent MenSet, Shuma-Gorath, Sligguth, Slorioth, Trinity of Ashes, Varuna, Wolf-Men (see comments)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: See comments

Base of OperationsPlanes of Sephiroth (see comments);
    formerly the floating cloud city
 Akah Ma'at

First Appearance: Marvel Tarot#1 (June, 2007)

Powers/Abilities: Shamhat Saraswati was one of the most powerful magic users of her era. She could access the astral plane and other dimensions, transport others across dimensional barriers, project magical bolts, and magically extend her lifespan by over 20, 000 years. She could call on power from entities such as Oshtur and Agamotto (see comments). 

    She possessed and could utilize the Book of the Vishanti and the three Eyes of Agamotto.

    The full range of her abilities remains unrevealed.

Height: 6’0 (see comments)
Weight: 111 lbs
(see comments)
Eyes: Golden (see comments)
Hair: Black (see comments)

History: (Marvel Tarot/Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities (fb) - BTS) - In prehistoric times (see comments), Oshtur created the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at (aka the Winged Lords) to fight the creations of Chthon and Set, most notably Chthon's Wolf Men and Set's Serpent Men.

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS) <18,000 BC - see comments> - Agamotto prepared Zhered-Na to be his successor, but she was slain as the Great Cataclysm occurred. Agamotto was so upset that he abandoned humanity for 500 years. 

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Returning to Earth, Agamotto spent more time with Oshtur's new "offspring" - the Bird Men of Akah Ma'at. 

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - <Circa 15,000 BC> - Agamotto chose Shamhat Saraswati of Akah Ma'at to succeed him as the next mystic protector of Earth. He gave her the Book of the Vishanti and the three Eyes of Agamotto, and she was the first to officially hold the title of "Sorcerer Supreme" circa 15,000 BC. 
<
more detail on the Sorcerer Supremes here>

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Agamotto was the paradigm toward which all future Sorcerer Supremes would aspire.

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS) - Saraswati became a great priestess of Oshtur.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Shamhat served as 15,000 to 10,000 BC (see comments) Guided by Saraswati and her sponsors Oshtur and Agamotto, the Bird-Men evolved into powerful sorcerers and became near god-like beings.

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS) - Influenced by Chthon, Varuna became suspicious of the "lower races," including humanity. In time, Varuna put himself above the "lower races" as judge and executioner. The stars became his thousand-eyed spies, watching every movement of Man. He swayed many of his brethren to his cause, and thesect of the Winged Lords to become the Asura.

    The Winged Lords who did not follow Varuna were led by Saraswati, a great priestess of Oshtur; filled with shame over the Asura, they vowed to shield those the Asura would harm, and they came to be known as the Seraphim.

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS/Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) <circa 10,000 BC> - Further manipulated by Chthon, the  ideological dispute within Akah Ma'at that (with some help from Chthon) grew into a civil war. The two factions, Saraswati's Seraphim and Varuna's Asura, grew so destructive that Oshtur banished the entire race from the Earthly plane to the Plane of Sephiroth (see comments), and an again frustrated Agamotto withdrew into his Orb.

    Saraswati’s fate after the banishment is unrevealed (see comments).

Hindu bird goddessComments: Created by David Sexton.

    We also don't know exactly when Oshtur created of the Bird Men of Akah Ma'at...after the creation of the N'Garai, Serpent Men, and Wolf Men apparently. It would seem that they may have been created sometime between 17,500 and 15,000 BC, as they were listed as Oshtur's "new creations" with whom Agamotto spent time after his returning to Earth following his self-exile of 500 years following the Great Cataclysm of 18,000 BC.
--Snood

    The Marvel Tarot listed Shamhat Saraswati as having been Sorcerer Supreme from 15,000 to 11,000. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7 (2009): Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) lists the succession of Sorcerer Supremes in much greater detail, and notes that she was active until 10,000 BC, at which point the Bird Men of Akah Ma'at were banished from Earth. It makes sense that the Tarot was McNee's preliminary investigations, while his journal detailed the final information, which also matched the info in the Book of the Vishanti.
    Since Shamhat was appparently banished from Earth with all of the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at by Oshtur, and the Bird Men were around circa 10,000 BC when Conan encountered them, they would have to have been banished after that, so the 10,000 BC date makes the most sense.

--Snood

    The Serpent Men and Wolf-Men, as well as their parents/ancestors, Set and Chthon, were natural enemies of the Bird-Men/Winged Lords, and the Man-Bats specifically fought the Bird-Men in comics. Shamhat directly led the opposition against Varuna and the Asura.
    David also includes amongst the enemies Shamhat Saraswati would have faced (or assisted in opposing) as Sorcerer Supreme the Dragon of the Moon, Dweller-in-Darkness, the N'Garai (also the spawn of Chthon), Shuma-Gorath, Sligguth, Slorioth, and the Trinity of ashes.
--Snood

    There are no comic images of Shamhat Sephorith. The physical description information was provided by the character's creator, David Sexton. Similarly, we don't know what her exact abilities were, but those listed in the powers section are consistent with those expected for Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. The time frame specified for the extension of her lifespan presumably indicates she was intended to survive into the modern day.
--Snood

    The image to the right is the Hindu Bird Godess Sarasvatī (referred to by some as the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning), who was the original inspiration for the name of Shamhat Saraswati. Thought not discussed in the profile, David speculates that Shamhat Saraswati is connected to Sarasvatī, and that early humanity's encounters with the Akah Ma'at Saraswati may have inspired the legends of the Hindu goddess.
    According to the myth information on the Appendix, Sarasvati was the second wife of Brahma and the mother of Vach and Adarma via Brahma. Other sources list Sarasvati as the daughter or granddaughter of Brahma. I would speculate that there is indeed a Sarasvati associated with the Hindu gods, and that perhaps Saraswati was her namesake or inspiration...or perhaps Sarasvati is an incarnation or descendent of Shamhat Saraswati.
--Snood

    The image was found on the internet...if anyone can provide reference for the original source of this image, please let us know so we can add it to this profile.

    I believe the initial Tarot references to the Great Cataclysm provided a 16,000 BC date. That might come from old, erroneous references on the Appendix way back when I first got started around 2001, before I appreciated the error(s) and corrected them as I found them many moons ago. Corrections were discussed during the review process, but the book was running late and they never happened. The references were corrected in future publications, such as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7 (2009): Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee)
--SnoodSephiroth

    Also of interest is the realm Sephiroth, home to the Seraphim; Ian McNee's investigation detailed this realm's position in relation to similar realms.
    The text discovered by Ian McNee, as well as the Book of the Vishanti section on the Sorcerer Supremes spelled the realm this way, while the image to the right obviously spells it Sephorith.
--Snood

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Shamhat Saraswati
should be distinguished from:


images: (without ads)
Sarasvati image - unknown to us (see comments)

Sephiroth and associated realms - Marvel Tarot - image design by David Sexton


Appearances:
Marvel Tarot (2007) - David Sexton (writer/designer), Doug Sexton (technical consultant), Jeff Christiansen (continuity consultant), Michael Short & Cory Levine (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley & Jennifer Grunwald (associate editors), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7 (2009): Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) - David Sexton (writer), Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Madison Carter, Mike Fichera & Stuart Vandal (coordination assistants), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)


Last updated: 10/26/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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