It is all about changing – transformation
Posted by Fredsvenn on March 30, 2017
An – Tammuz / Nergal – the Sun
Enlil (North – Heaven) – Enki (South – Earth)
Tammuz (Aries) / Nergal (Libra)
Enlil (dEN.LIL; EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”)
Enki (dEN.KI(G) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”.
The Sumerian En is translated as a title equivalent to “lord” and was originally a title given to the High Priest. Ki means “earth”, but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.
The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.”
In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu. It has also been suggested that the original non-anthropomorphic divinity at Eridu was not Enki but Abzu.
The emergence of Enki as the divine lover of Ninhursag, and the divine battle between the younger Igigi divinities and Abzu, saw the Abzu, the underground waters of the Aquifer, becoming the place in which the foundations of the temple were built.
Anu (in Akkadian; Sumerian: An, from An “sky, heaven”) is the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods”, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.
He was believed to have the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and to have created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the Royal Tiara.
In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively. When Enlil rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap.
Tammuz – Inanna / Nergal – Ereshkigal
An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara and Tammuz, or Dumuzi (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), a Sumerian god of food and vegetation.
Enmesarra, or Enmešarra, in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology is an underworld god of the law. Described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore he has been equated with Nergal. On the other hand, he has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him.
Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.
Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal,
In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.
In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (D.EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”. She was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.
The renowned scholar of ancient Sumer, Samuel Noah Kramer writes that, according to the introductory passage of the ancient Sumerian epic poem, “Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld,” Ereshkigal was forcibly abducted, taken down to the Underworld by the Kur, and was forced to become queen of the Underworld against her will.
In order to avenge the abduction of Ereshkigal, Enki, the god of water, set out in a boat to slay the Kur. The Kur defends itself by pelting Enki with rocks of many sizes and by sending the waves beneath Enki’s boat to attack Enki.
The poem never actually explains who the ultimate victor of the battle is, but it is implied that Enki wins. Samuel Noah Kramer relates this myth to the ancient Greek myth of the rape of Persephone, asserting that the Greek story is probably derived from the ancient Sumerian story.
In Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the mother of the goddess, Nungal. Her son with Enlil is the god, Namtar. With Gugalana her son is Ninazu. Once, the gods held a banquet that Ereshkigal, as queen of the Netherworld, could not come up to attend. They invited her to send a messenger, and she sent her vizier Namtar in her place. He was treated well by all, but for the exception of being disrespected by Nergal.
As a result of this, Nergal was banished to the kingdom controlled by the goddess. Versions vary at this point, but all of them result in him becoming her husband. In later tradition, Nergal is said to have been the victor, taking her as wife and ruling the land himself.
In ancient Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the queen of the Underworld. She is the older sister of the goddess, Inanna. Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, but Ereshkigal is the queen of Irkalla. Ereshkigal plays a very prominent and important role in two particular myths.
In the ancient Sumerian poem, “Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld,” Ereshkigal is described as Inanna’s older sister. The story of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld is by far the most well-known myth involving Ereshkigal. In later Babylonian mythology, Inanna was known as “Ishtar.”
Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sexual desire, fertility, knowledge, wisdom, war, and combat. She was also the patron goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was one of the most widely venerated deities in the ancient Sumerian pantheon. Her Akkadian and Babylonian equivalent was the goddess Ishtar.
Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries (meaning “ram”). The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.
Inanna was one of the most widely venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon. Many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna were built along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e-anna; Cuneiform: E.AN) temple in Uruk.
According to Leick 1994 persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples (see gala). The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An.
After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.
According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival. A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk.
In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.
In cult practice, the dead Tammuz was widely mourned in the Ancient Near East. Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god.
Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.
Today several versions of the Sumerian death of Dumuzi have been recovered, “Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld”, “Dumuzi’s dream” and “Dumuzi and the galla”, as well as a tablet separately recounting Dumuzi’s death, mourned by holy Inanna, and his noble sister Geštinanna, and even his dog and the lambs and kids in his fold; Dumuzi himself is weeping at the hard fate in store for him, after he had walked among men, and the cruel galla of the Underworld seize him.
A number of pastoral poems and songs relate the love affair of Inanna and Dumuzid the shepherd. A text recovered in 1963 recounts “The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi” in terms that are tender and frankly erotic.
According to the myth of Inanna’s descent to the underworld, represented in parallel Sumerian and Akkadian tablets, Inanna (Ishtar in the Akkadian texts) set off for the netherworld, or Kur, which was ruled by her sister Ereshkigal.
Ereshkigal is in mourning at the death of her consort, Gugalanna (The Wild Bull of Heaven Sumerian Gu = Bull, Gal = Great, An = Heaven). She passed through seven gates and at each one was required to leave a garment or an ornament so that when she had passed through the seventh gate she was a simple woman, entirely naked.
Despite warnings about her presumption, she did not turn back but dared to sit herself down on Ereshkigal’s throne. Immediately the Anunnaki of the underworld judged her, gazed at her with the eyes of death, and she became a corpse, hung up on a meathook.
Based on the incomplete texts as first found, it was assumed that Ishtar/Inanna’s descent into Kur occurred after the death of Tammuz/Dumuzid rather than before and that her purpose was to rescue Tammuz/Dumuzid.
This is the familiar form of the myth as it appeared in M. Jastrow’s Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World, 1915, widely available on the Internet. New texts uncovered in 1963 filled in the story in quite another fashion, showing that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release.
Inanna’s faithful servant attempted to get help from the other gods but only wise Enki/Ea responded. The details of Enki/Ea’s plan differ slightly in the two surviving accounts, but in the end, Inanna/Ishtar was resurrected. However, a “conservation of souls” law required her to find a replacement for herself in Kur.
She went from one god to another, but each one pleaded with her and she had not the heart to go through with it until she found Dumuzid/Tammuz richly dressed and on her throne. Inanna/Ishtar immediately set her accompanying demons on Dumuzid/Tammuz. At this point the Akkadian text fails as Tammuz’ sister Belili, introduced for the first time, strips herself of her jewelry in mourning but claims that Tammuz and the dead will come back.
There is some confusion here. The name Belili occurs in one of the Sumerian texts also, but it is not the name of Dumuzid’s sister who is there named Geshtinana, but is the name of an old woman whom another text calls Bilulu.
In any case, the Sumerian texts relate how Dumuzid fled to his sister Geshtinana who attempted to hide him but who could not in the end stand up to the demons. Dumuzid has two close calls until the demons finally catch up with him under the supposed protection of this old woman called Bilulu or Belili and then they take him. However Inanna repents.
Inanna seeks vengeance on Bilulu, on Bilulu’s murderous son G̃irg̃ire and on G̃irg̃ire’s consort Shirru “of the haunted desert, no-one’s child and no-one’s friend”. Inanna changes Bilulu into a waterskin and G̃irg̃ire into a protective god of the desert while Shirru is assigned to watch always that the proper rites are performed for protection against the hazards of the desert.
Finally, Inanna relents and changes her decree thereby restoring her husband Dumuzi to life; an arrangement is made by which Geshtinana will take Dumuzid’s place in Kur for six months of the year: “You (Dumuzi), half the year. Your sister (Geštinanna), half the year!”
This newly recovered final line upset Samuel Noah Kramer’s former interpretation, as he allowed: “my conclusion that Dumuzi dies and “stays dead” forever was quite erroneous: Dumuzi according to the Sumerian mythographers rises from the dead annually and, after staying on earth for half the year, descends to the Nether World for the other half”.
Enlil – Gugalanna – Taurus
Gugalanna (Sumerian gu.gal.an.na, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: gu.an.na) was a deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
Taurus was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere’s March equinox from about 3200 BC. Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC.
The equinox was considered the Sumerian New Year, Akitu, an important event in their religion. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu.
In early Mesopotamian art, the Bull of Heaven was closely associated with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. One of the oldest depictions shows the bull standing before the goddess’ standard; since it has 3 stars depicted on its back (the cuneiform sign for “star-constellation”), there is good reason to regard this as the constellation later known as Taurus.
Gugalanna was the first husband of Ereshkigal, ruler of the Underworld, a gloomy place devoid of light. In the Old Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Inanna sends Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances and to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna.
Gugalannawas slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu, who tears off the bull’s hind part and hurls the quarters into the sky where they become the stars we know as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Inanna looked down from the city walls and Enkidu shook the haunches of the bull at her, threatening to do the same if he ever caught her. He is later killed for this impiety.
The story of the death of Gugalanna, has been considered to represent the sun’s obscuring of the constellation as it rose on the morning of the equinox. Some locate Gilgamesh as the neighboring constellation of Orion, facing Taurus as if in combat, while others identify him with the sun whose rising on the equinox vanquishes the constellation. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.
As Enlil was placed in command by An, the god of the heavens, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his sukkal, or attendant, and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship.
Enlil was assimilated to the north “Pole of the Ecliptic”. His sacred number name was 50. Ursa Minor (Latin: “Lesser Bear”, contrasting with Ursa Major), also known as the Little Bear, is a constellation in the Northern Sky.
Like the Great Bear, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the North American name, Little Dipper: seven stars with four in its bowl like its partner the Big Dipper. Ursa Minor has traditionally been important for navigation, particularly by mariners, because of Polaris being the North Star.
Aries is now recognized as an official constellation, albeit as a specific region of the sky, by the International Astronomical Union. It was originally defined in ancient texts as a specific pattern of stars, and has remained a constellation since ancient times; it now includes the ancient pattern as well as the surrounding stars.
In the description of the Babylonian zodiac given in the clay tablets known as the MUL.APIN, the constellation now known as Aries was the final station along the ecliptic. The MUL.APIN was a comprehensive table of the risings and settings of stars, which likely served as an agricultural calendar. Modern-day Aries was known as MULLÚ.ḪUN.GÁ, “The Agrarian Worker” or “The Hired Man”.
Although likely compiled in the 12th or 11th century BC, the MUL.APIN reflects a tradition which marks the Pleiades as the vernal equinox, which was the case with some precision at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. The earliest identifiable reference to Aries as a distinct constellation comes from the boundary stones that date from 1350 to 1000 BC.
On several boundary stones, a zodiacal ram figure is distinct from the other characters present. The shift in identification from the constellation as the Agrarian Worker to the Ram likely occurred in later Babylonian tradition because of its growing association with Dumuzi the Shepherd. By the time the MUL.APIN was created—by 1000 BC—modern Aries was identified with both Dumuzi’s ram and a hired laborer. The exact timing of this shift is difficult to determine due to the lack of images of Aries or other ram figures.
In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was associated with the god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram’s head and represented fertility and creativity. Because it was the location of the vernal equinox, it was called the “Indicator of the Reborn Sun”.
During the times of the year when Aries was prominent, priests would process statues of Amon-Ra to temples, a practice that was modified by Persian astronomers centuries later. Aries acquired the title of “Lord of the Head” in Egypt, referring to its symbolic and mythological importance.
Aries was not fully accepted as a constellation until classical times. In Hellenistic astrology, the constellation of Aries is associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology that rescued Phrixos and Helle on orders from Hermes, taking Phrixos to the land of Colchis.
Phrixos and Helle were the son and daughter of King Athamas and his first wife Nephele. The king’s second wife, Ino, was jealous and wished to kill his children. To accomplish this, she induced a famine in Boeotia, then falsified a message from the Oracle of Delphi that said Phrixos must be sacrificed to end the famine. Athamas was about to sacrifice his son atop Mount Laphystium when Aries, sent by Nephele, arrived.
Helle fell off of Aries’s back in flight and drowned in the Dardanelles, also called the Hellespont in her honor. After arriving, Phrixos sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave the Fleece to Aeëtes of Colchis, who rewarded him with an engagement to his daughter Chalciope. Aeëtes hung its skin in a sacred place where it became known as the Golden Fleece and was guarded by a dragon.] In a later myth, this Golden Fleece was stolen by Jason and the Argonauts.
Historically, Aries has been depicted as a crouched, wingless ram with its head turned towards Taurus. Ptolemy asserted in his Almagest that Hipparchus depicted Alpha Arietis as the ram’s muzzle, though Ptolemy did not include it in his constellation figure.
Instead, it was listed as an “unformed star”, and denoted as “the star over the head”. John Flamsteed, in his Atlas Coelestis, followed Ptolemy’s description by mapping it above the figure’s head. Flamsteed followed the general convention of maps by depicting Aries lying down.
Astrologically, Aries has been associated with the head and its humors. It was strongly associated with Mars, both the planet and the god. It was considered to govern Western Europe and Syria, and to indicate a strong temper in a person.
The First Point of Aries, the location of the vernal equinox, is named for the constellation. This is because the Sun crossed the celestial equator from south to north in Aries more than two millennia ago. Hipparchus defined it in 130 BC. as a point south of Gamma Arietis.
Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the First Point of Aries has since moved into Pisces and will move into Aquarius by around 2600 AD. The Sun now appears in Aries from late April through mid May, though the constellation is still associated with the beginning of spring.