My Blog List

Friday, 31 May 2013

..Slipg8.holocaust.

Note:
As with many of my posts I am writing as I'm thinking.
I begin with guess work.

And leave with more questions than answers.






Both words:
  • Slipgate
  • Holocaust
Refer to:
  • Instant translocation.
Slipgate- transmission between devices...fictional.

Slipgates, so I was told by Paul Jaquays, were 'invented' by Sandy Petersen.






Instant transmission from here to the beyond
Is accomplished by instant death.

This is evidenced by a consummation in flame.

One theory of how to accomplish teleportation in real life requires two portals: the first copies and then disintegrates you, the second portal reassembles: weaves- or laser prints- you.

This idea embodies the modern view that you...are the emergent property of wet-ware brain, flesh and bone. 'You' is an interface between reality and perception.

Can't say that I like it..

What I'm after here is the point where and when instant death came to mean translocation to a better place. And such a sacrifice as beneficial to the whole community.

Along with Robertson Smith, I believe that a ritual is always older than any associated myth. But often, myth is all we have.

Did it coincide with an idea of an animating breath of life:
Ruarch?

Before Ruarch became Pneuma became Spirit.

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is Sumerian, the lil part of their names represents wind as an animating force. Perhaps it echoed the force of conception rather than the breath of life.

The lightning bolt of orgasm that causes, as Kramer puts it,  to flow 'the water of the heart'.

I seem to remember Walter Burkert making a linguistic connection between the word for lightning and Eleusis, suggesting that to be struck by lightning was an instant transportation. Not to the amnesia-ridden underworld, but directly to the Elysian Fields.


 [[Pure I come from the pure, Queen of those below the earth;
and Eukles and Eubouleus and the other gods and daimons; For I boast that I am of your blessed race.
I have paid the penalty on account of deeds not just; Either Fate mastered me or the Thunderer, striking with his lightening.
Now I come, a supplicant, to holy Phersephoneia,
that she, gracious, may send me to the seats of the blessed.]]

Again the metaphor of sudden, catastrophic destruction.
It doesn't go away...

Suicide bombings continue this core idea.

As with Moloch- the sacrifice is a rite of intensification- a terrible sacrifice erroneously justified as a legitimate means of helping one's society.



Year Zero...
Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar.

Destroy everything...
Including time.

Start again
New
Clean
Refreshed
Pure..

It cannot work...

Society creates rules to moderate and to utilize the impulse for total annihilation. The energy that ultimately fuels the furnace of 'Moloch' is dread and threat.

Continued as 'satanic panic' as desire for purification of society from the terrifying others...

The terrible sacrifice is placed in a functional context.
The purpose of the sacrifice is always altruistic.

The reality is hell on earth.

Holocaust..

 עלה‎, Olah, the burnt offering
'To cause to ascend'
Translocation in smoke..from the alter to the unseen god.

The Greek ritual of ὁλοκαυτεῖν
Holocaust..
An offering to the hero
Beyond the realm of the living

A concept intimately bound to Lugalirra/Nergal
Of human and god.
Two in one.
Divine kingship.
Apotheosis.

Yet kings were not cremated alive.

A third..
The breath of god
Enlil
El..

The breath of life causes the flame to consume..

By our time
Meanings begin to fracture...

We search Homer for clues:

 Perimedes and Eurylochus restrained the sacrificial victims while I drew my sharp sword from its sheath, and with it dug a pit two foot square, then poured a libation all around to the dead, first of milk and honey, then of sweet wine, thirdly of water, sprinkled with white barley meal. Then I prayed devoutly to the powerless ghosts of the departed, swearing that when I reached Ithaca I would sacrifice a barren heifer in my palace, the best of the herd, and would heap the altar with rich spoils, and offer a ram, apart, to Teiresias, the finest jet-black ram in the flock. When, with prayers and vows, I had invoked the hosts of the dead, I led the sheep to the pit and cut their throats, so the dark blood flowed.
Then the ghosts of the dead swarmed out of Erebus – brides, and young men yet unwed, old men worn out with toil, girls once vibrant and still new to grief, and ranks of warriors slain in battle, showing their wounds from bronze-tipped spears, their armour stained with blood. Round the pit from every side the crowd thronged, with strange cries, and I turned pale with fear. Then I called to my comrades, and told them to flay and burn the sheep killed by the pitiless bronze, with prayers to the divinities, to mighty Hades and dread Persephone. I myself, drawing my sharp sword from its sheath, sat there preventing the powerless ghosts from drawing near to the blood, till I might question Teiresias.’ link...




The blood seeps into the ground to animate the dead.
What then is carried by the flame?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ashmolean..

Mr Ashmole had a wooden box
It had a secret draw
In it he found Dr John Dee's true and faithful accounts of encounters with angels

Mr Ashmole made a cabinet of curiosities...
Crammed to the top with precious things.
Then he filled a building.

In it, his portrait faces that of Mr Dee's.

Mr Ashmole's museum
On a day when the sky is opaque with rain and the road lost in spray from lorries..

Down to Oxford we went.

Pro tips:

  • There are lockers on the ground floor by the shop, for just £1 you can leave your coat and bag there.
  • You can borrow folding chairs from the front desk and walk about with them, so you may sit anywhere. You should bring pencils and paper and draw.
  • The hot chocolate, is totally delicious!
  • The shop has lovely things inside, you will want to buy something.
And you know what?
I didn't take a single photograph...
Nor did I draw.

The thing is, I find more about museums to dislike than to to like and this gets in my way. I shouldn't let it, but it always happens. In a museum, objects are dislocated from their original setting, and the meanings are lost in the act of appropriation....

Some objects are incorrectly labelled.
All objects are presented as alien. 

A cabinet of statuettes, each one once representing their owner in constant prayer no longer stand before their god.

A carved ball taken from a long barrow is placed with other objects representing numeracy...of all things!

A host of pale, white Cycladic figurines taken from tombs

Here Agamemnon's golden mask.
There the statues of Ariadne
Next a case containing Minoan drinking cups...
Nothing makes any sense.

Everything dislocated and rendered into less than a jpg taken from the 'Net.
All become display.

A cabinet full of prayer wheels and rupas...
You know what?
Open the case, let me use them.

I'll sit on the floor and chant the invocation prayer, spin the wheel and send clouds of blessings through out the building. 

There are people in the Ashmolean from all around the world, many of them know more about the objects and how they should be used than the typed explanation..

The only thing that works is when the story is about the object directly, such as the doors T E Lawrence acquired and used in his house as the way into his swimming pool.

Or the clothes some British officer wore when he turned native in Turkey.

Other than that..
This conceit of a cabinet of curiosities is insular and somehow demeaning.
Belonging to a time when British people were Christians.
When foreigners and our distant ancestors were heathens.

A museum is no longer a prime source of information.
It is more like a Google image search.
A cloud of images

And I take it personally...



I liked the statue of Min though..
He had lost his head, his flail and his dick

But he still made me smile.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The bull.



It is hard not to have a soft spot for The bull of Heaven, Gugulanna.

He used to become angry with the Anzu bird...a lion headed, flying nuisance that no one would have missed if it had been swatted.

Anzu bird biting Gugulanna.

He lived in the Great Beyond.
He was the husband of the queen of the Great Beyond...

And the gods used him as a weapon.



Bad tempered, essence of earthquake..

He met his end at the hands of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, an annoying pair of trouble makers who had nothing better to do than devastate the beautiful ceder forests of Lebanon.

And to tear the leg from the bull to throw into Inanna's lap.

Enkidu pays the price...

Gilgamesh must wander  through the world to its very edge, seeking the answer to death.

And then Inanna uses the death of Gugulanna as an excuse to visit her sister, who remains a widow until Lord Flame gains enough courage to drag her from her throne and become Lord of the Great City...



As the Minotaur, he was the bull-headed love-child no one could love.
Done to death in the heart of the labyrinth.
In theory with the double headed axe...
But that isn't how the Greeks drew it.



Latter the theme of human sacrifice associated with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, resurfaces as 'Moloch'.




But deep in the Underworld, the boy with bulls horns is fascinated with the spinning, shinny things the Titans have brought as gifts.


You know..

The bull is always going to be torn and dismembered..

As the sun blots out his stars.
Every which way this story turns.

But there is time before the bull dies...




He rampages through Crete, tearing trees and flowers and tossing maidens into the air..

Heracles catches him, and lets him free in Marathon.

And not all the maidens are killed..






And there are images of 'bull leaping'
Older than the Cretan...

From the 'Old Babylonian' period.

Or so I'm told


Hittite image.


And images much younger than the Cretan...
People still do it!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Meslamtea: "the one that rises up from Meslam".

.
Meslamtea is translated as "the one that rises up from Meslam".  Meslam was the name of a temple in Cutha, modern day Tell Ibrahim  .

It is an unusual name for a temple.
No E before the description, unlike the Esagila - the palace of Marduk - or Ebabba - the shining temple of the sun - or the Enanna - the temple of Inanna.

The E represents 'house'.

Therfore Meslam is not a house, not a palace.
Not a temple?

Shulgi, King of Ur III, son of Ur-Nammu  built the temple of Nergal at Cuthah.

Why is it Meslam, what could that mean?
Or perhaps it was named in a different language?

What kind of place was Meslam?
Cutha is also the name of the capital of the Sumerian underworld, Irkalla says  Alfred Jeremias, The Babylonian conception of heaven and hell, D. Nutt, 1902.

There is a Cuthean creation myth link.

Meslamtea...

What were they getting at?
Why did Alfred Jeremias think that Cutha was the capital city of the Underworld?


Could Meslam be something like a tree?


From the text Erra and Ishum:
"I changed the position of the mesu... the elmesu-stone..."
"Warrior Erra, where is the mesu-wood, the flesh of the gods, the proper insignia of the King of the World, the pure timber, tall youth, who is made into a lord, whose roots reach down into the vast ocean through a hundred miles of water, to the base of Arullu..."
The mesu tree bears elmesu stone?
Both were used to make statues.

Elsewhere elmesu is described as busu [glass].

What tree produces a glass-like stone...
The hard transparent resins, such as the copals, dammars, mastic and sandarac, are principally used for varnishes and adhesives, the softer resins (frankincense, elemi, turpentine, copaiba) and gum resins containing essential oils (ammoniacum, asafoetida, gamboge, myrrh, and scammony) are more largely used for therapeutic purposes and incense.
Is elmesu amber?

The Phoenician name for it was jainitar (sea-resin). Indicating that amber was known of, and perhaps used to make a statue? Amber is glass like, and amber burns..

The burning resin of Frankincense gives off clouds of white, fragrant smoke. The burning of incense was only allowed in Holy places.

I find it fascinating to wonder if the whole Nergal / Erra thing represents body and soul as separate. This property of resins standing as a kind of metaphor...

Meslamtea, is usually described as another name for Nergal.
Whose twin, Erra was the burnt, if not the original, burning man.

Melqrt- King of the city (same meaning as Nergal -king of the great city) was burnt as an effigy...
The boat pushed out to sea, the Phoenician King Hiram watching..

Meslamtea (Melqart) king of the Great city, is the Holy, underworld aspect
Latter, Meslamtea- as Nergal, the Enlil of the Underworld- is the source of the king's authority and right to reign.

Back to Erra and Ishum:
Marduk is asking Erra where Meslamtea is..

'Lugalerra, where is your brother'?
And the brother is?
Ishum (fire...)

Marduk would rather talk to Meslamtea.

Meslamtea the pure timber, tall youth, who is made into a lord, whose roots reach down into the vast ocean through a hundred miles of water, to the base of Arullu..

Meslamtea now described as a tree

The world tree
An axis mundi...

The ash Yggdrasil bears more than men can know..

Myth is poetry and metaphor.
Sumerian/Akkadian full of puns and word games.

So, as a metaphor the world tree connects all realms, therefore Meslamtea Nergal is not confined to the Underworld.
"Nergal, you, lord, are one who has the power to carry off and to bring back"
That's that then!
The myth is done and dusted (!)

Now history.


Naramsin
Meslamtea had been a Southern deity, in other-words, Sumerian.
Probably..

In Noah Kramer's translation of the Sumerian story- Enlil and Ninlil- the second child Ninlil carries, is named as Meslamtea- not Nergal.

It could well be that Nergal was an Akkadian deity brought to the Southern (Sumerian) temples when Naramsin invaded and took control of the intellectual and cultural center of Sumer, Nippur.

Then Naramsin., sorry...Dingir.Naramsin, shar kibrat 'arbaim...

Became shar māt Shumeri u Akkadi.


Nergal's Gate in Ninevah, north Iraq.

In approximately 2230 BC, Naram-Sim of Agade is prompted by a pair of inauspicious oracles to attack the E-kur temple, supposedly protected by the god Enlil, head of the pantheon. As a result of this, eight chief gods of the Anunaki pantheon come together and withdrawn their support from Agade, pronouncing famine upon the city and its empire (probably the result of the widespread climate-induced collapse of this period). Naram-Sin places his son, Sharkalisharri in Nippur to control it directly.
The Akkadian king, Naramsin  2254–2218 BCE went to battle in Nergal's name, through Armanum and Ebla and to the lands of the "Upper Sea". Naramsin elevated the status of Nergal and  transferred his cult to the south, to Kutha (Tell Ibrahim) where he became the counterpart to Meslamtaea, and his house, the e.meslam.

The stories of marriage between Nergal and Ereshkigal, are Amorite or Kassite...or? 

But preserve an Akkadian story.
I think!

As far as I know there is no Sumerian counterpart to the story.

Back to myth.
In the story Enlil and Ninlil, Ninlil must bear three children to remain in the Underworld. Each child is the counterpart to first the crescent moon and second and third children to Enlil and Ninlil.

But Ereshkigal cannot leave the Underworld and her husband is the bull

"Sky rang out and earth replied"
Describes the lightning flashes of the Anzu bird and the bellowing of the earth-bound bull.

The oldest images place the bull in union with the Queen of the underworld.


Therefore we have traces of a mythology older than Sumerian...

OK, I know everyone else has said this..
Just today I've finally worked it out for myself!


 Ereshkigal was taken by The Kur.
And Great Mountain (Kur can mean mountain) was a name given to Enlil...

So the myth Enlil and Ninlil makes sense of, or rather updates the older myth.

But back to the King of the Great City and Meslamtea.
Where exactly does fire fit in?

Lugalirra (Erra) was the Akkadian 'import'.
Meslamtea was the Sumerian sappy green-man but different to Ningishizida.
Enlil is the breath of life.

The synthesis of these three is Nergal.

Jacobson describes Lugalirra "The God, Erra - originally seemingly an Akkadian god of "scorched earth," raid and riots - was in the first millennium identified with Nergal, god of war and sudden death and the ruler of the realm of the dead."

But there is one final conflation of very little evidence at all that I'd like to suggest.

One of the oldest fire temples is to be found- or rather the remains are to be found- at  Ghagha-Shahr. Mount Khwaja or Mount Khwajeh  is a flat-topped black basalt hill rising up as an island in the middle of Lake Hamun, in the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan.  Ghagha-Shahr is on the southern promontory of the eastern slope.

Tell me, where exactly did the Akkadians come from?

Linguistically Akkadian as a Semetic language came from the South, probably Syria. So though I'd like to think that Lugalirra was Iranian, it is more likly that Lugalirra has more in common with Resheph.

Still, the lake is Lake Hamun
Which sounds like Baal Hammon...

Sorry..
These are just notes
I have a long way to go before I can understand...



Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lady of the bright air.

From time immemorial girls have been straying from the path, despite the sage advice given to them by their mothers. Most versions of this story start with the wise older woman telling her daughter to stay on the path and avoid the risks of attracting 'unwanted' attention.

Loss of virtue...
A euphemism.

Yet this particular story- Enlil and Ninlil- may not have begun that way.
Noah Kramer's translation begins with the mother (The old woman of Nippur) telling Ninlil to go bathe herself in the 'pure' river, as if the mother wishes her daughter to experience what will surely happen there.

The heroine must chose her fate.

Like Janet...'who ties her kirtle green above her knee' and goes to Carter Hall (Carterhaugh)



Out then spake her father dear, 
And he spake meek and mild, 
"And ever alas, sweet Janet," he says, 
"I think thou goest with child."

"If that I go with child, Father, 
Myself must bear the blame, 
There's never a lord about your hall, 
Shall give the child a name."

"If my love were an earthly knight, 
Though he's an elfin grey, 
I would not give my own true-love 
For any lord that ye have."

"The steed that my true love rides on 
Is lighter than the wind, 
With silver he is shod before, 
With burning gold behind."


Here is an Akkadian translation of a Sumerian myth simplified:

Enlil and Ninlil.


The mother spoke to her daughter.
"Child, take care."
"Take care"
"The river is Holy"
"Do not swim there."

"Do not go walking along the banks of the Id-nunbir"
"Do not go there."

"The Lord's eye is bright and he will notice you."
"He will have his way with you."
"Child, he will want to kiss."
"He will pour lusty semen into your womb and then he will leave you to it!"

She advised her from the heart, she gave wisdom to her.
But Ninlil, Lady of the bright air did not hear.

Ninlil went down to the flowing Id-nunbir.
As she walked the Lord's eye was bright
The Lord walked beside her and took her hands
"I will kiss you" he said
But he could not make her.
"I will take you to bed" he said

And Ninlil felt the ground shift below her feet.

"No" she said
"I am too young"
"I am a virgin"
"I am small"
"I do not know how to kiss"

"If my parents find out I will be full of shame"
"But no one will stop me telling my girlfriend about this"

The Lord commanded his minister
And the boat was fetched.

The Lord took Ninlil over the river
To lie with her on a star-strewn bank.
Here he  poured the seed of Suen, the crescent moon, into her womb.

Latter...
The fifty great gods and the seven gods who decide destinies had the Lord arrested.

The Lord had committed a crime.

"The Lady is a child"!

The Lord was banished to the Underworld.

Ninlil, broken hearted, put on her shoes and followed.

At the first gate the Lord called to the gate-keeper, touched his eyes and sent him to sleep.
The Lord took the form of the gate-keeper and waited.

At the first gate Ninlil called out
"City gatekeeper! Keeper of the holy barrier! When did your lord Enlil go by?

The Lord answered as the city gatekeeper:

"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"The Lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright seed of the new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as the city gatekeeper, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured the seed of Nergal-Meslamtea into her womb.

Ninlil continued her journey.
Beyond the gate the river grew dim
Beyond the gate the river grew wild.
Id-kura the 'man-eating' river.

Ninlil spoke to the man of the Id-kura, the river of ordeals.

"My man of the Id-kura, the man-eating river!"
" When did your lord Enlil go by?"

And Enlil answered as the man of the Id-kura:
"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright seed of the new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as the man of the Id-kura, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Ninazu, the king who stretches measuring lines over the fields.

Enlil went.
Ninlil followed.

Where the river bends there stands Siluigi the man of the ferryboat.
And Ninlil spoke to the boat man.

"Man of the ferryboat!"
" When did your lord Enlil go by?"

And Enlil answered as the man of the ferryboat
"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as Siluigi got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Enbilulu, the inspector of canals.

*
You are lord!
You are king!
Enlil, you are lord!
You are king!

Nunamnir, you are lord!
You are king!
You are supreme lord, you are powerful lord!
Lord who makes flax grow, lord who makes barley grow, you are lord of heaven, Lord Plenty, lord of the earth!

You are lord of the earth, Lord Plenty, lord of heaven!
Enlil in heaven, Enlil is king!

 Lord whose utterance cannot be altered at all! His primordial utterances will not be changed!

For the praise spoken for Ninlil the mother, praise be to the Great Mountain, Father Enlil!

Robinson Jeffers.

Shiva... is the only hunter that will ever catch the wild swan; The prey she will take last is the wild white swan of the beauty of things. Then she will be alone, pure destruction, achieved and supreme, Empty darkness under the death-tent wings. She will build a nest of the swan's bones and hatch a new brood, Hang new heavens with new birds,
all be renewed.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Cloud wolf- Meslamtea..

Naramsin.
Nergal was a 'Northern' deity...
Originally known as Lugalirra and worshipped at Kisiga (Tell el-Lahm).

Lugalirra was known as the 'Enlil of the Otherworld', his queen (in the northern pantheon) Ninlil.

Ninlil becomes Ereshkigal.

No abduction by the Kur..
but a story a little more like the Persephone tale.
ETCSL.


Lugalirra was Imported to the south by Naramsin and conflated with Meslamtea, whose temple, the e.Meslam became the temple at Cutha (Tell Ibrahim).

Possibly.

One deity is now two similar but different twins: Meslamtea and Lugalirra.
Lugal (Lord or perhaps Baron)  Erra.

At this point Naramsin begins to validate his own divinity (I'm a God doncha know!) by using myth as a political and spiritual device.

The story of Ur-Nammu (1889-1900 BC) sheds more light on this, how a king is treated differently in the Underworld based on the myth of Gilgamesh...and over a thousand years latter King Hiram does exactly the same thing, and with the same deity, now called Melqart.

But  Sumerian Meslamtea and Tyrian  Melqart don't really fit the martial, man of action profile, the Greek counter part Heracles, presents.

There is something wet and sappy
Shiney and hot
About Meslamtea...

The boat...
This is how Ur-Nammu arrives in the Underworld.
In the festival at Tyre Melqart was the burning man, placed in a raft and sent out over the sea...

The boat recalls the sensation of entering the Netherworld.
The poet describes Ur-Nammu seeing the funeral procession and experiencing the disintegration of the boat.

 ...Well there is much to sort out about Nergal/Erra, many long words to read, many time frames to put into order. I'm fortunate, it is relativity easy to follow the development of Lugalirra and Meslamtea. much easier than Persephone..



But me personally
... reading about Meslamtea made me think of The Path.

And the cloud-Wolf.


Monday, 20 May 2013

The house of Ais...

The Greek name for the Underworld is Hades.

Αιδης Is the Greek (H)ades and means Invisible.
αιδιος Means eternal.

Its god is  Πλούτων- Pluto- 'The rich father'...

And myths work like history...
And metaphor..
and jelly
and cloud.



The Underworld is the invisible place
Easily confused with The Aeonian Realm.
The eternal

Which is how it should be.

The Underworld has many names.
But the House of Ais is what you know and do not see.

Where the border between the realms is thin

Where life slips into stasis.

There perception and understanding fail: Fragments of life slip into the Alcor-like cryo-towers or blow like plastic bags across the  ghost strewn ground.

Anything retrieved from this border-world is twitchy and insubstantial- often it is a looks-like, rather than real.

But not always.

Often it is a shell or a husk.

Sometimes the husk holds a spark...

Sometimes the journey to the border is for personal reasons, to retrieve something lost, to learn and to understand.

Sometimes it is to put right.

Mostly I do it to bring to light what should not be forgotten.




Friday, 17 May 2013



I'm almost at a cross roads.
The work I've been engaged in for the last two years must by now have accumulated enough information for me to start placing it in order.

The question was:
Were the bodies at The Sanctuary and Woodehenge 'sacrifices'?

Were they killed and buried there...

I've gone as far as I can go with The Sanctuary.
I considered saving my pennies and organizing a test to be done on the bones of the person found at The Sanctuary, but all things considered...Like how efficient are DNA tests...I'm only looking for an X or Y chromosome...

But on the other hand there is a possibility that the skeleton could be older, a composite of two or more bodies.

I'm not going to find out.
Regardless of the efficiency or otherwise of DNA testing.

You know, burials by standing stones, or bodies in the forecourt of long barrows- as the massive stone to close the entrance, is dragged into place- are usually young men- source of evidence? only what other people have told me- If the statements and beliefs of the people who examined the bones are correct, then in the Early Bronze Age tradition, it is men who get the honor of protecting the walls between the past and the present, the ghosts and the living.

Why, what was so terrible?

It was as if something happened around 3000 BC that made the societies that repopulated the land, fear the past.

Plague, famine, over-cultivation of the land, war?
Terrible weather?

No one knows.

But when the population had recovered, the old places were sealed away and new structures, such as Silbury hill were created.

It was at this point in time that the old Sanctuary was closed, and the new (new meaning) was connected to Avebury.

So I'm left with lots of information about the Sanctuary and just one thing left to do there. Take my 72, 10 inch glo-sticks and lay the pattern out in-line with the solstice positions.

It is a re-opening of the old structure.
Should I be scared...

And then there is the sun, moon and stars and how they fit around a Ptolemaic view of the universe...I am amazed at how difficult people make this subject, so I should simplify and publish...

But finally my vague depression about how knowledge is created in this realm of archaeology has finally got too big. I've reached conclusions that cannot be tested without a lot of money and connections. I could save the money and then try to achieve what I wished, but without connections I wont get anywhere.

The only way to challenge the possibility of the 13 degrees magnetic error in the Cunnington's plan of the Sanctuary is for me to borrow some device that images under the ground, and some people who know how to use it, I could ask English Heritage for permission to take up the concrete posts at the center of the Sanctuary and then get an accurate map of where the post holes once were....

It wont happen.

So I have placed my arguments upon the web and as the slogan says:

https://sites.google.com/site/ungeanth/

An old blog from another place: may 30th 2009.

Walter Burkert uses a behaviourist interpretation of myth and ritual in his book, 'Homo Necans'. It is an interpretation I find fairly depressing, for it makes a vile kind of sense.

I prefer the Myst-like landscapes of Jung to the hard cities of Skinner et al.

'Homo Necans -The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth' recites a theme not unlike the relentless inward spirals of a Cure song. We start small and close to the earth before spiraling outwards into rites of purification, abstinence and the inevitable death of the maiden.

It isn't only that Durrington Walls, pig bones and the grave of the little girl at the center of Woodhenge conspire to remind me of Persephone. It was an incident that happened whilst we were there.

Persephone and pigs.
The Thesmophoria was the pig sacrifice ritual Woodhenge brought to mind, after I stopped thinking about the Tunkey pig (a local term "fat as a tunkey pig"- turkey pig, a pig fattened for Christmas) and the way people insist on having pork as well as turkey for Christmas dinner. The Thesmophoria was a women's festival to recall the loss of Persephone, not surprisingly, pigs also figure at Eleusis (cult center of Demeter) where the pig sacrifices had the anticipatory flavor of personal sacrifice.

Meanwhile, the themes within stories from all over the world relating to sacrificial ritual do seem to resonate with each other. As Campbell points out, the symbol of the earth mother is everywhere seen smeared with blood from sacrificed animals (or her sacrificed child) -the symbol is of life growing out of death.



From Aristophanes -admittedly a kind of Brian Rix rather than Pinter- the word for 'sacrificial pig' was used as slang for female genitals. A linkage exists between the blood of the hymen, the virgin sacrificed to marriage, and the image of Persephone raped by her uncle... and fertility.

The values of choice, love and respect are entirely absent here

But the mystery of the missing girl is a bigger story than the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and nor am I saying that there is any connection between the Greek myth and the rites carried out at Durrington.

Why are pigs connected with this particular myth?

Because Persephone fell into the underworld with pigs; when the Lord of the dark took Persephone, the pigs of the shepherd Eubuleus were pulled into the depths -in memory of this the women at the Thesmophoria threw piglets into a deep pit- what fell was latter dredged up and dug into the ground where, no doubt, crops grew better because of the nutrients from the rotted pig flesh.

Life from death, the male myth of the female par excellence!

Jung named the aspect of mind containing the unconscious beliefs about women -in a male mind- the anima. So it is that the anima has many other names and guises, but Persephone is specifically the victim and rarely imaged nowadays in her other form as the terrifying queen of the underworld. Meanwhile her mother, Demeter, is full of anger at the outrageous abduction of her child and there will be famine. Recalling the mythos of all who say that foreigners are marrying 'our' women and taking 'our' jobs and for the sake of purity and law and order there must be war...

The missing girl as queen, used to represent justice as a balance to the devastating wrath of Demeter. A kind of law of karma in which the wrong doers would get their just rewards; for Persephone stands beyond this world.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Dorje Phagmo has a tiny pig nestling in her hair which forever links her to Demeter and in at least one practice she becomes the angry woman.

The idea that a pig is simply a symbol of ignorance is fine, but doesn't really go far enough.

My subject at the moment is the missing girl, how is it that her voice has gone missing?

Funnily enough whilst we were stood close by the central grave within Woodhenge, two girls came over to listen to the talk being given by our guide. One of the girls asked a question,
'Why is this place called Woodhenge?'
our guide -out of respect for the fact that we had paid him and the girls had not- ignored them.

The girl asked again adding,
'Will someone tell me?'
... so I did.

It's funny isn't it how people are almost naturally lawful and respectful of authority. None of us knew as much about Woodhenge as the guide and so no one was more qualified than he to answer. It was patently disrespectful of me to speak. On the other hand he had just told us why it was called Woodhenge and the information he gave us is Open Source.

The scenario was symbolic, for me anyway, of how a dull kind of pig-ignorance takes hold of people enabling them to ignore and to close down, or perhaps worse-to purposefully ignore someone because they did not have the right to ask a question.

An old post from another of my blogs, that should be here!




















The wings of the sun ship sang as the beads of light danced through its sails, riding on the waves of sky we flew the song of the sky path into the night.

I think I mixed it too loud, but the indistinctness isn't too wrong. Imagine yourself in the cockpit (of the sun ship), the whole ship vibrates with the drones, the machinery is loud and too close for comfort, and the sails, bombarded by beads of light - a million million golden photons- wail as they slice through the air.

I have a fascination for the solar-ship it is true; Sunshine (the film) was simply the generic (FPS) storyline from Event Horizon...except for the ship. The black-hole drive is something else, I have no desire to ever see a black-hole drive!

The metaphor of the solar ship and journey the sun takes through the hours of night is the first 'Book of the Dead' hence -and I don't wish to spoil the plot but you really should have seen the film by now- no one is going to make it back to Earth, alive in -directed by Danny Boyle and written by- Alex Garland's story.

My visualised ship (of the music) isn't heading into doom, the sun-ship has another meaning, it is perfectly possible to cross the impossible but only within the protection of the sun-ship. The solar-ship had two meanings; it is a metaphor for death, but it is also a symbol of infinity -the boat of a million years- but on the other hand, even though it is one of my favorite symbols, I'm not too sure what it means to me yet.

Walter Berkert continues to depress me, perhaps that's why I'm thinking of the sun-ship!

See I hate to have to agree with him, Berkert I mean. But on the other hand his thesis does make sense and fits in with another insight, this time from Peter Bishop (Dreams of Power:Tibetan Buddhism and the Western Imagination) about 'the missing father'. I think that one of the mythic strands that binds people to Tibetan Buddhism is the Lama as an ideal(ized) father figure. Nothing amazing there, after all priests are addressed as father. The difference between a priest of the Christian religion and a Lama is that the symbol of the Lama has not been corrupted by too much information (crusades, massacres of the Cathars, the Inquisition, pedophilia...) and Tibetan Buddhism is a practical religion with very obscure texts. Obscure texts help, the religious education we got at school and the banality of church services were eclipsed by the brilliance of common sense!

Tibetan Buddhism does of course have a book of the Dead, but it isn't half as interesting as the Egyptian one IMO! The Tibetan Book of the Dead (as far as I can remember is basically, 'Oh child of a noble family now the dawning of the something-or-other Bardo is upon you...er...don't go into the nice and dim lights, wait for the biggest and baddest!' It is based on an alchemical concept of physiology in which the elements of earth, air, fire, water and aethyr dissolve one into the other and how that is perceived by the mind as it becomes free of its fleshy prison.

Meanwhile, where is the missing father?
The missing father is busy, away but no longer hunting; his son is learning things that do not fit into his father's world, and nothing the father may say to his son will have any relevance to his son; the lineage is broken.

He may as well not be there.

Oh there may be football games, or a shared love of Top Gear, but fundamentally the possibility of induction into the world of adults for a son by his father has gone.

That's the theory anyway!

Monday, 13 May 2013

The trip to Kutha..

When I was growing up it was said that drugs would open the doors of perception enlightening the darkness of conventional wisdom with a transcendental light shining from that Other place.

When I left school it was said that the knowledge we gained would make us civilised members of society and equip us for the world of work.

But Isaac Bonewits had already convinced me that the only path worth taking is the one a magician makes for herself.

Eventually I left the path I was shuffling along with everyone else, and walked through the Valley of Death (suicide was an option) to a temple, where I gained what school and church and an ordinary life had failed to give me:

A traditional religious education.

Thinking about it now, basically the practitioners of a religion (any religion?) divide into three classes:

  • The religious specialist in charge of ritual, 
  • The ordained monks and nuns who do the ritual.
  • And the lay practitioners who seem to cross between dog's body, and specialist, depending upon what is needed.



  • A fourth class are the wealthy, who pay the bills, by paying for prayers, and keep the temple open.


It was said that the lay practitioners were the most diligent of all classes.
I am biased.

During the day we went out to work. In the evening we learnt the rituals, made the symbolic offerings and got on with our own practice.

Public rituals were dictated by the phase of the moon and what the sponsors wanted...

Outwardly we were engaged in therapy.
We taught meditation.
We listened to people's troubles and made them tea.

The rituals, though public, were not advertised, and I guess the rituals appear to be little more than a historical relic.

When people asked me, I would explain what we did in terms of Jung and New Age syncretism. I'd answer intellectual questions about the inner meaning of various terms used in text books on my religion, that had originally been translated into English by people steeped in if not an exactly Christian tradition, then a Gnostic one, and I'd maintain those terms because this seemed to be what people wanted...

The other side was keeping the traditions, performing offerings and fulfilling my obligations regards 'practice'.

Sometimes we would go to other temples to teach the practitioners there how to make ritual offerings and perform the chants and music associated with a specific deity.

And quite often I'd take a third-person point of view and analyse the rituals and beliefs that surrounded me.

But the getting of wisdom?
The trip to Kutha..

The temple was just a stop on the journey.

When I left the temple I missed to some extent the comradeship of being with others committed to a certain way of seeing the world, I miss the atmosphere of the shrine room a little bit. I miss the ritual and the busyness of dealing with the public.

But not much...
A station on the way.

Even before the Faust myth, seeking knowledge of the sort found in the Other place has been regarded as a dangerous undertaking.

The worship of Underworld deities is generally associated with death and madness.

And hubris.

Therefore I am grateful for the lessons I learnt there.
Our attitude to deities was reverent respect.
There were the peaceful and the wrathful gods ; a sense that I was protected because I had taken some pretty heavy duty vows.

Then there were the other, invisible entities, the trouble-makers and the down right dangerous, for them there were offerings and threats.

I got to wave my 'thunderbolt scepter' about.

Living in a culture minus these rituals makes me stop and stare sometimes, looking hard to see where instinctual responses to how the world feels to be, have gone in post-Reformation Britain.

How do people cope without the sense of duty to, and blessings from a deity?

How do people intellectualise the sheer weirdness of the world and the phenomenon of being an embodied mind?

It does us all a great disservice when a religion stops being as weird and wonderful as it is and pretends to be rational.

My connection is with the Underworld deities.
Understanding how to practice when there is no lineage, and when living in a land where religious behavior is often seen as simple-minded, is not clear.

But practice was never easy, and being with others who understood, didn't really help. It always comes down to doing what needs to be done, and making the path yourself...

In the light of that
And bearing in mind that I much prefer the experiential immersion in ritual, to intellectualising, and I'm not at all sure where therapy fits in...


I found these words, the other day.
A secular prayer to the Underworld.

Long:
What must I give death to today in order to generate more life..
What do I know should die, but I am hesitant to allow to do so..
What must die in me in order for me to love..
What 'not-beauty' do I fear?
What power does the not-beautiful have over me, today?
Short:
What should die today
What should live
What life am I afraid to give birth to...
And if not now; when?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Melqart- The Burning man...


Melqart, properly Phoenician Milk-Qart "King of the City", less accurately Melkart, Melkarth or Melgart , Akkadian Milqartu, was tutelary god of the Phoenician city of Tyre, as Eshmun protected Sidon.  Melqart was often titled Ba‘l Ṣūr "Lord of Tyre", the ancestral king of the royal line. In Greek, by interpretatio graeca he was identified with Heracles and referred to as the Tyrian Herakles.



Around 450 BC Herodotus went in search of the origins of the myth of Heracles. He sailed to Tyre and there he found the temple, dedicated to Melqart.

Herodotus could see enough similarities between the Greek Heracles and Melqart to seriously question the notion that Heracles was a Greek 'invention'.

Herodotus wasn't and still isn't alone in taking this view.

 Lucian of Samosata also thought that the temple to Heracles at Tyre was much older than 'Greek'.

The land along the coast, the country of Lebanon, had long been a meeting point for people from Egypt, Iran and Iraq, for people crossing from the 'Arab' desert lands and from Anatolia.

This was where- according to Flinders Pitre- a Canaanite mine worker had happened upon Egyptian hieroglyphs and invented the Phoenician script that became our alphabet.



Even now, the current theory about the origin of the alphabet isn't very different to Flanderd-Petre's story.

The alphabet spread far and wide because it is one of the best inventions of mankind, it allows communication in all languages, and it is simple. By 800 BC the Greeks had begun to use the  alphabet, and it became the alphabet of the English language via the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43.

The land itself- a crossroad between kingdoms, sea and mountain- was also the library from where religion, science and esoteric thought were brought into 'The West' during 'The Enlightenment,' a thousand years later.

Tradition has it that the Temple to Heracles at Tyre had been built in 2750 BC.

Henry Layard excavated the 7th century Assyrian palace at Nineveh and used a camera obscura to aid his drawing of what he saw.

This picture records the Assyrian invasion of Tyre. King Luli is handing one of his children to someone in a boat (something Layard did not see). But the building behind the castle may be the temple of Melkart with its two pillars of gold and smargadine / emerald, as described by Herodotus.

 "I visited the temple, and found it richly adorned with a number of offerings, among which were two pillars, one of pure gold, the other of smaragdos, shining with great brilliance at night."

According to the Bible, Hiram sent his architects, workmen and supplies of cedar wood, and gold to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. Josephus says that he also extended the Tyrean harbour at that time, enlarging the city by joining the two islands on which it was built, and constructed a royal palace and a temple for Melqart.

Tyre had once been 'offshore', an island build on rock. Nonnos-5th Century, AD recorded the 'foundation' myth of the The Ambrosial stones.

Two pillars, this time made of copper or brass, appear once more in the iconography of the tarot behind the priestess in the temple of Solomon. The pillars are called Yachin and Boaz.






The most popular and well known tarot design is the Waite/Colman-Smith cards, it's worth remembering that Waite was a Freemason (as were most members of the early Golden Dawn).

The word Herodotus uses is stelae, which are often more like elaborately carved tomb stones than pillars. Nevertheless, this stele recorded by Jean Spiro in Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum seems to show the goddess Tanit, between two pillars.


Or, the two pillars could represent the rods and rings held by Inanna/ Ereshkigal in the Burney relief. The ring and rod, according to Thorkild Jacobsen, represents the entrance to the grain store, the wealth of the land.




Between 980 to 947 BC King Hiram ruled Tyre and his town grew into perhaps the most important city along the coast. Its wealth was due to the skill of its people as ship builders and traders who travelled the seas to bring back ivory, gold, baboons and apes.

......slaves, cypress, cedar, oak, ebony, ivory, embroidered linen, purple and scarlet cloth, gold, silver, iron, tin, lead, bronze, horses, mules and other livestock, coral, rubies, corn, wax, honey, tallow, balm, wine, wool and spices. The word cinnamon is Phoenician, as are probably the words cumin, coriander, crocus, myrrh, aloe, balsam, jasper, diamond and sapphire (Bikai, 1992: 48).
And the secret process of dying cloth purple.

Picture of a dog with purple dye coming from his mouth
 after biting the shellfish that contains the dye.
It is said that it is Melqart's dog that first bites into the Murex snail revealing the dye locked inside it.

William F. Albright in Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore, 1953; pp. 81, 196) suggested that Melqart was a originally a god of the underworld, something more than a hero like Heracles.

MLK means Lord. and is more often found as Baal.
QRT is a Phoenician syllable meaning city.

As Tyrian trade and colonization expanded, Melqart became venerated in Phoenician and Punic cultures from Syria to Spain. The first occurrence of the name is in a 9th-century BCE stela inscription found in 1939 north of Aleppo in northern Syria, the "Ben-Hadad" inscription, erected by the son of the king of Arma, Link...


A similar name in Akkadian is Nergal. The name means Lord of the Great City, a euphemism for the Underworld.


The myths of Heracles and Nergal have death by fire in common. Their deaths follow love...Heracles is given a 'love potion' that is actually a poison, and Nergal burns after sleeping with the Queen of the Underworld.

For Heracles the agony of the poison can only be ended if he destroys his own body by fire. He builds his own funeral pyre and climbs into the flames...but is instantly transported to heaven.

Nergal (some what confusingly called Erra) is fine whilst he is in the Underworld, but as he climbs the stairway back to heaven his body twists and contorts and his limbs contract. As if he has been burnt?

The story began when Nergal refused to bow to the visor of the queen of the underworld. When Nergal is commanded to go to the land of the dead to apologise it is as if he must clone himself or remain forever dead. To this end, Nergal was split into twins...Nergal and Erra.

Body and something else, soul?

It seems that Erra would have managed the impossible feat of dying and living at the same time if it hadn't been for sex. And yet, like Heracles the burning gives him access to a better new life.

In older Mesopotamian myths there is no soul as such. The etemmu (the ghost) is not the immortal soul. It seems to be within the flesh of the dead, and if the body is destroyed by animals or by fire, the ghost is destroyed as well.

This makes the cremation of a living being, Molk, difficult to understand unless there was a belief that death by fire could be a kind of teleportation to a better Underworld; the Summer-isles, the Elysium, rather than to the sorrow-filled ash lands.

An idea that latter becomes linked to notions of justice or karma; people who have lived a good life good achieving a better other-life, and those who have done only bad things, finding only suffering and punishment after death.
Night speeds by, And we, Aeneas, lose it in lamenting. Here comes the place where cleaves our way in twain. Thy road, the right, toward Pluto's dwelling goes, And leads us to Elysium. But the left Speeds sinful souls to doom, and is their path To Tartarus th' accurst. -Virgil, Aeneid (6.641)
There are bones of small children found within Phoenician temples. At first it seems that the offerings are still born infants, but centuries latter bones are found of older children.

Likewise in Mesopotamia at Tepa Gawra, one of Iraq's oldest towns and Nuzi, child remains are found in sacred areas, but unlike those in Phoenician temples they show no sign of cremation.

Richard Miles writes in Carthage Must Be Destroyed (2011):
"Although such conclusions correlate with the material from the early phases of activity at the Carthaginian tophet, they work far less well with later evidence. When the contents of the urns from the fourth and third centuries BC were analysed, they were shown to contain a much higher ratio of human young. Furthermore, whereas the human remains from the seventh and sixth centuries BC tended to be of premature of newborn babies, the single interments from the later period were of older children (aged between one and three years). Some urns from this phase even contained the bones of two or three children--usually one elder child of two to four years, and one of two newborn or premature infants. The age difference between them (up to two years) suggests that they may have been siblings. One possible explanation is that neither stillborn children nor animal substitutes were now considered enough to appease Baal or Tanit, and that an elder child had to be sacrificed as a substitute when a particular infant promised to the deity was stillborn. In inscriptions incised on to the steles, Carthaginian fathers would routinely use the reflexive possessive pronoun BNT or BT to underline the fact that their sacrificial offering was not some mere substitute, but a child of their own flesh. One of many such examples from the Carthaginian tophet makes the nature of the sacrifice explicit:
'It was to the Lady Tanit Face of Baal and to Baal Hammon that Bomilcar son of Hanno, grandson of Milkiathon, vowed this son of his own flesh. Bless him you!'"
(p. 72)

The word Hammon has been linked to a root 'word' meaning hot, but it has been confused with the  Egyptian Amun-Ra in Ancient Libya and Nubia, as Zeus Ammon came to be identified with Zeus in Ancient Greece. Amun, before being linked to Ra was believed to create via breath, and so was identified with the wind rather than the sun.

The breath of life.

The connection between wind and flame is well known to cultures who practice metalwork. Bellows push air through the furnace to increase the temperature. If human sacrifice was practised at the tophets, surely the mythology of Heracles and Nergal indicate that a faster death, in the hottest flame possible, would be the best thing.

But there does not seem to be any evidence for this, the cremated remains form tophets do not show that a temperature greater than average was used.

The mythology of Melqrt is lost, but we do know that fire was part of Melqrts festival.

Josephus, quoting Menander of Ephasus says that at each spring equinox there was a carefully organised festival in honour of Melqart during which all foreigners were sent out of the city for the duration of the ceremony. As part of the festival an effigy of Melqart was placed on a giant raft and ritually burnt. Hymns accompanied its departure as it floated away, over the sea. This represented the rebirth of Melqart...


In keeping with the connection in both the Nergal and Heracles myth celibacy was required of Melqrt's priests.

A period of celibacy may have been required of the king until the body of Melqrt had been consumed by fire and sea,
.
Afterwards the king and his chief consort would take on the roles of Melqart and Astarte in a Heiros Gamos, a ritual marriage which guaranteed the well being and fertility of the king and provided his legitimate authority.

In this way the king became the living Melqart, purified by fire each New Year.

Silius Italicus in his epic poem The Punica described what he saw at the Temple of Melqart at Gedes:

  • Priests are the only ones with the honor of entering the sanctuary
  • No women allowed.
  • No pigs.
  • The priests have shaved heads
  • They are barefoot.
  • They are celibate.
  • They wear long white linen tunics.
  • They wear 'Persian' headbands.
  • When they are to perform a sacrifice the tunic they wear has a broad stripe (purple?).
  • Heliodorus describes the priests of Melqart dancing in a spinning fashion, like the Dervishes.
  • Link.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Lord of the Great City.

http://www.bezruci.cz/hra/dybbuk/
What's in a name?
dKIŠ.UNU
dKIŠ.GÌR.
UNU.GAL,
dU.GUR,
dnè-eri-gal,
né-ri-ig-lá
The Lord of the Great City is a euphemism.
The kingdom of the dead is the greatest city of them all.

*
Before there was Fate, death was a hostile force.

A mountain.
A river
A serpent.

The Kur.

The Kur took the girl
And there was no return.

*
After heaven had been moved away from earth,
After earth had been separated from heaven,
After the name of man had been fixed;
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off earth,
After Ereshkigal had been carried off into Kur as its prize;
After he had set sail, after he had set sail,
After the father for Kur had set sail,
After Enki for Kur had set sail;
Against the king the small ones it (Kur) hurled,
Against Enki, the large ones it hurled;
Its small ones, stones of the hand,
Its large ones, stones of . . . reeds,
The keel of the boat of Enki,
In battle, like the attacking storm, overwhelm;
Against the king, the water at the head of the boat,
Like a wolf devours,
Against Enki, the water at the rear of the boat,
Like a lion strikes down.
*
Now the Great City has a Queen.
Ereshkigal within Ir-Kalla.

*
The Great city-Irkalla- was ringed with seven walls.
Seven gates to guard the living from the dead.
*
The Sultantepe myth.
700 BC.

When Gugulanna, the Great power of earth, Ereshkigal's husband, was dead..

When fire refused to bow to fate-
When Gerra refused to bow to Namtar

Ea commanded him
'I will create your twin...
Cut and bring to me
A Mesu tree, Hasherru tree, a Sapalu tree'.

'Carve three things
Decorate them with gold and lapis
A scepter, a chair and a gift for the gate-keeper, Ningishizida.

When you reach the land of no return
Refuse all hospitality.
Do not eat.
Do not drink.
Refuse the throne

And refuse her...'

Gerra set his face to the House of Darkness,
To IrKalla.




At the gate, no one recognised him.

Gerra entered Irkalla.

But Namtar knew him.
His face grew black with rage.

Food they offered him, drink and hospitality...

All these he refused until he saw her..

For seven days and seven nights they lay together.
Then Gerra left..

Got up and walked away.
Ascended the great stair.

Anu, Enlil and Ea shouted "The son of Ishtar has come back!"

Gerra is washed in Holy spring water
To remove the pollution of the Great City.
The hair falls from his head
Gerra is washed in Holy spring water
To purify the pollution of the Great City.
His limbs contract and he sits cross-legged, cross-eyed and lame...

No one escapes the Underworld unscathed.

Whilst in the Great Below
Tears fall from Ereshkigal like rain..
Her powers are gone
She is impure
No longer  does she have the authority to administer the affairs of the dead.

Namtar ascends
Furious!

Whilst the Lord of Flame hides...

In fear.

Namtar issues the threat from his Queen
Unless Gerra return
The seven gates will be unlocked

The dead will outnumber the living.

Gerra, the Lord of Flame must descend once more to take the road leads one way.

*
In the Sultantepe myth, the god who refuses to bow to Namtar is called Nergal.

But Nergal is a shortened form of a name that ends in Ir-Gal, which is to all intents and purposes the same as Iri-Kala
Irkalla.

At the start of the story, I believe, he is a fire god.
He will become Lord of the Great City.
Ner-Iri-Kal

The story begins at the present; Nergal is the Lord of the underworld.
The story tells how this came about.

Nergal Meslamtea.

When Ea commands Gerra to cut down trees.
One tree is the Mesu tree
From this tree Nergal recieves another name: Meslamtea- which means
'He who comes out of the thriving mesu tree'
Perhaps this refers to the flammable nature of resins and of wood itself; the capacity to burn.

As Nin-Gishizida is the power in the sap. But no one remembers what a mesu tree is; Ebony or perhaps Ceder, no one knows...

The Tell El Amerna myth
1400-1500 BC.

...following on from where we left Gerra, bald, disfigured, lame...
*
When Namtar enters the room..
Gerra is hiding.

The threat is made and so

The gods discuss his death

Gerra wept.

Ea tells Gerra not to be afraid
He gives him the Seven and the Seven

7 Weapons
7 Demons.

Flashes of Lightning, Bailiff  Croucher, Expulsion, Wind, Fits, Staggers, Strokes, Lord-of-the-Roof, Feverhot, Scab...

Thus armed
Gerra lays siege to the Underworld, finally entering the palace to throw Ereshkigal from her throne, intending to behead her..

Ereshkigal promises him The Tablet of Wisdom and the throne of 'The Great City' if he becomes her husband.

Thus it is, a minor fire god becomes Lord of the Greatest kingdom of all...
*
Erra-iri-kal
Becomes Heracles.






Herodotus:
I moreover, desiring to know something certain of these matters so far as might be, made a voyage also to Tyre of Phenicia, hearing that in that place there was a holy temple of Heracles; and I saw that it was richly furnished with many votive offerings besides, and especially there were in it two pillars, the one of pure gold and the other of an emerald stone of such size as to shine by night: and having come to speech with the priests of the god, I asked them how long a time it was since their temple had been set up: and these also I found to be at variance with the Hellenes, for they said that at the same time when Tyre was founded, the temple of the god also had been set up, and that it was a period of two thousand three hundred years since their people began to dwell at Tyre. I saw also at Tyre another temple of Heracles, with the surname Thasian; and I came to Thasos also and there I found a temple of Heracles set up by the Phenicians, who had sailed out to seek for Europa and had colonised Thasos; and these things happened full five generations of men before Heracles the son of Amphitryon was born in Hellas. So then my inquiries show clearly that Heracles is an ancient god, and those of the Hellenes seem to me to act most rightly who have two temples of Heracles set up, and who sacrifice to the one as an immortal god and with the title Olympian, and make offerings of the dead to the other as a hero. 


Heracles as an immortal god is Nergal
Heracles as a hero given over to madness is Gerra.

Sophocles in his play "The Women of Trachis" written sometime around 450 BC, describes Heracles's  agony, after putting on a robe toxic with hydra venom that eats through his skin and begins to dissolve his bones.


...a binding net woven by furies, in which I am dying. Glued to my sides, it eats my flesh away deep down within, and dwells inside my lungs choking my breath: already it has drunk my fresh warm blood and wasted my whole body,binding me with unutterable chains.

And yet, no spearman on the battlefield,no earth-born troop of Giants, no wild beast, nor Greece, nor any foreign land which I purged in my wanderings, could do this to me!

A woman - weak, not masculine by nature -alone, without a sword, has vanquished me!


Reminiscent of the changes Nergal suffers as a result of visiting the Underworld; If he hadn't slept with Ereshkigal the terrible contractions of his limbs and baldness, would not have occurred.

Heracles is in so much pain, he forces his son to build a funeral pyre that he may commit suicide by flame.



Sophecles maintains the link between his "Women of Trachis" and Mesopotamian myth in other ways, too. The charactor of the river god Achelous is both the serpentine Kur, and Gugulanna (The Bull of Heaven, Ereshkigal's first husand)
 "Sometimes he came as a bull...a gleaming withering snake" and " a man with a bull's forehead." 
Heracles fought the river god to become Deianeira's husband.
Nergal was faced with no such competition.

At this point we are dealing with Heracles as Gilgamesh- who fought and killed Gugulanna- to avoid becoming Ishtar's husband.