Thursday, 23 June 2016

What am I doing...

Is a question I can't answer.
I can tell you what I do
I can tell you my intention
I can invite you to come along with me

As to that last one - the invite - I'm serious.

What I'm doing is
Taking the literal English translation of Sumerian from ETCSL 
Comparing it with Kramer's Descent.
Asking myself if the Kramer translation is the only way to understand what is recorded.
Writing the Descent as I understand it


I want this to be a play.

Scene opens with a ritual
Offerings and chanting.
Inana speaks to the audience, behind those who have brought offerings.

The Great above she opened Her ear to the Great Below becomes:

My beloved...
You know me as queen of heaven
You taste me in the beauty of this earth.
Beautiful people, you love me!
You honor me in passion, in glory, in sex.
You know that I am worth dying for.
When desire fills your heart, when murderous intent is your reply, I hear you rejoice. You shout "Let it come! let's go watch how the temples burn and the town hall falling. Give us more truth, tell us the stories of honest men turning into traitors.
Only Dystopia is honest' you shout. 'It's all in the open now'.
And then the enemy tears apart the corpses of the population and your city is pulverized as with a pestle. The best of you scattered like dust, blown away by hot winds. Those who remain are massacred, they finish off young and old alike.
You die, you all fade away, all passion spent.
Doesn't that seem. well, just so sad?
That you will go so far from me?
It is time that I honored your love!
It is time for me to bring the miserable city of the Underworld, Irkalla, under my control. It is time for me to restore lust, desire and glory!
To all.
To the dead...

The Descent is a story of hubris, it tells of consequences.

The Descent addresses a far more 'Babylonian' concern than accepting the unacceptable. It is a story about order, and the restoration of order. It arose through a wholly sensible distrust of rulers who bring disorder to the state through acquisitive ambitions.

I respect the Jungian tradition; but this story just plain isn't about individuation - Ereshkigal is not Inana's shadow. The closing lines are not Holy Inana, sweet is your praise.

The Descent honors and glorifies the queen of the dead.
Holy Ereshkigal, sweet is your praise

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Midsummer's son.

The death of the eternal, beautiful man-boy.

He could be called Osiris, the sap in the grain.
The green fuze that powers the shoots and buds
Then his name is Ningishizida

The green man
Dying to live again.

The life giving power of Damu came from the deep, the Absu
From the flowing, sweet water of the river.

A son of Enki
Whose palace was under the fresh water of the earth.

Damu it seems, was Enki in a more human form.

At the far edges of Mesopotamian (Akkadian) culture
Ezekiel described the women of Israel weeping for Tammuz.
And David, son of Solomon sang:
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth. bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him"
The Middle Eastern Tammuz became Adonis in Greek myth. The parallels are easy to spot; Adonis was fathered by a river, and his mother became a tree. The child Adonis, sprang from the tree and Aphrodite placed him in a box to be given to Persephone for safe keeping.

A story, the great king Sargon, made his own..
And then Moses too...

Osiris also had a tree and water connection, he was hidden in a tree which grew around the box into which his remains had been hidden.

And Attis met his death, as he castrated himself under a sacred tree.

Their blood reddened the swollen rivers which fertilized the soil.

The weeping for Tammuz began at midsummer and lasted for a month:
 "When the heat and dryness brought forth the demons of pestilence" 

Then poor Damuzi must die once more to 'The house of darkness, where dust is their drink and clay their bread'.

Yet there seems to be a lunar aspect to this so far, quite solar story (after all, the 20th of June is the longest day, the solstice). Osiris is described as appearing each month as 'the child surprisingly beautiful'. Plutarch says that the Osiris bull was 'begotten by a ray of generative light falling from the moon'...When the Apis bull was sacrificed his worshipers were drenched in its blood and fed with milk.

'As a kid I fell into the milk'

Well not quite, but I can't help feeling that there is more than a passing connection.

A new element of this story, for me at least is the story of the child called Scef (or Sceaf - which becomes Sheaf) or Scyld, son of Sceaf. He was a mysterious child who came from over the sea to bring agriculture to Europe.

In Beowulf, Scyld is the patriarch of the Scyldings, the Danes.
Ethelweard names him as the patriarch of the Western Saxons link.

The legend tells of a boat floating to the shore. Inside the boat was a child, fast asleep. His head pillowed by a sheaf of grain. He had with him armour and treasure and tools...

When he died, his body was laid inside another ship and once more he was surrounded by precious things and set adrift on the sea alone as the day he arrived.

At least Scyld or Scef avoided the 'Bloodthirsty mothers' who tear the young man into bloody chunks...unlike his older brothers.