Moderns and Mythology: The UFO Gods

I first became acquainted with what I call the UFO religion when studying the Sumerian Gods. Starting in 1976, Zecharia Sitchin (Note 1) wrote a series of books detailing how humans are the slave species of these Gods. Sitchin said that he realized from reading the Sumerian myths that aliens had colonized the Earth. For him, the myths were not mere stories but actual history. According to Sitchin, the Annunaki (the Sumerian Gods) created people to mine gold for them.

Pondering Sitchin, I discovered a cottage industry of authors starting with Erich von Daniken (“The Chariots of the Gods”) who claim that ancient aliens are the Gods of humanity. Not only that, humans are a construct of these aliens. An example of this cottage industry is a recent title is “DNA of the Gods: The Annunaki, Creation of Eve and the Alien Battle for Humanity (2014)” by Chris Hardy. It would appear that ancient aliens (the UFO Gods) satisfy the sensibilities of post-modern people.

How did the UFO religions become so popular? To start with, modern industrial people regard the old myths as irrelevant and stale. They want new myths which are global in scope and value modern sensibilities. They also want myths to be scientifically true. This follows what Joseph Campbell wrote about myths in general. (Note 2) He said that they should be plausible and fit with the scientific awareness of the time.

Secondly, the old faiths represent the old world of restricted freedoms and ignorance. The replacement religions are rooted in corporate materialism, which gives a terrifying vision of decaying societies. Therefore, the new religions must embrace things beyond this world. UFOs and aliens are more accessible in this post-modern world than the Gods.

Today, the reverence that was allocated to the Gods is now for the Myth of Progress. In modern industrial society, the idea that literal Gods exist is scoffed at. The ancient myths have become fairy tales. If the Gods do exist, they are psychological constructs or archetypes that spring from the subconscious of humanity. In other words, humans are the creators of the Gods. However, this leaves an inner emptiness.

Believing in the UFO Gods allow people can stand in awe of the heavens. With aliens, people can experience the Divine under the blessings of science. Alien contact (and disclosure) is only a day away from official validation, thereby making that more credible. Technology as developed by aliens is an expression of the Divine. Science has melded with religion to satisfy the longings of post-modern people.

Hence to some, the ancient myths have become accurate histories of prehistory. The aliens with their technology encouraged primitive humans to believe that they were Gods. In the UFO religion, this means that one day, humans could meet the aliens on their own terms. Then humanity could be Gods thereby fulfilling the promise of the Myth of Progress.

The monoculture of the industrial world has homogenized diverse world cultures into one bland one. The monomyth of this culture encourages people to mix and match various myths into an uneasy whole. As the Gods and heroes are relics of the past, so the UFO mythology is for the future. It allows for the myths to be explained as alien interventions. Religious history then becomes the history of aliens on the Earth. Mysticism in the modern materialistic world is the belief in alien Gods.

Notes:
Note 1. Zecharia Sitchin claimed to be able to read both Sumerian and Akkadian. According to Sitchin, these aliens came from the Twelfth Planet of Nibiru, which had collided with Tiamat, and formed the asteroid belt. (Nibiru and Tiamat are names of Mesopotamian Gods.) One of the last books he wrote was “The Lost Book of Enki: Memoirs and Prophecies of an Extraterrestrial God.” Another was “There were Giants Upon the Earth: Gods, Demi-Gods, and Human Ancestry, the Evidence of Alien DNA.”

Note 2. Joseph Campbell, noted mythologist, said that (1) “myths should awaken the ‘mystic function’.” (2) The image of the universe that the myth provides should be in tune with the scientific awareness and general knowledge of the actual world. (3) “Myths should validate the norms of society that have adopted it.” (4) “Myth can act as a guiding force for each person.” (5) In their original versions, myths are for the underdeveloped mind.

Further reading:
John Michael Greer, “The UFO Chronicles.”
Dr. Allan Hunter, “Spiritual Hunger: Integrating Myth and Ritual into Daily Life.”
Diana Walsh Pasulka, “American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.”
Paul Wallis, “Escaping from Eden.” And “The Scars of Eden.”

All Roads Lead to Multiple Gods

nddead

One of my guilty pleasures is reading Christian historical fiction. In the novels, I often encounter the basic assumptions that the authors make about religion. They assume a world of only One God. The main character grapples with being moral but not believing in God. The author has their Christian characters convince the moral non-religious person to embrace Christianity. Their argument usually involves being forgiven for their sins. Now, the non-religious person feels empty since they are focusing on their bad deeds. Once the main character embrace Christ, they bubble over with joy. Their life is complete with their new belief in God.

For settings in ancient times, the authors portray the main characters as frustrated with their Gods not responding to them. Usually these Gods are presented as “inert,” unless they are dealing with Hebrew-Canaanite period (when those Gods are evil (Note 1)). In dialogues between a monotheist and the polytheist, the focus is on the “deaf” Gods. The monotheist gives reasons why the Gods are either dead, fiction, or false (or all three). Then they proclaim that the Christian God is the only living God. Moreover, He is the only God who cares for people.

What shines through Christian fiction is the desire to be true to the One God. The author tries to try to keep other Gods at bay by bringing up reasons to deny their existence. No matter how many times the characters declaim the Gods, the tension still lies just below the surface. Since the Gods keep bubbling up, they have to be shunted away or declared false.

Meanwhile, the people who believe in the Sacred Feminine (Goddess) are also practicing a form of monotheism. The roots of this tradition derive from rebelling against Christian monotheism and then rewriting it. The result is still one entity but now female instead of male.

Tanishka in “Goddess Wisdom Made Easy,” writes “Just as there are a variety of life forms in nature, the Goddess path seeks to honor the divine in every facet of existence, including us. This is why it’s considered a polytheistic religion (having many deities). It recognizes the many aspects of the God and Goddess that comprise the whole.” (Note 2) From Tanishka’s statement, it seems that monotheism has become ingrained in the mind. However, she does acknowledge the propensity to have more than one God.

But as I have noted, the Gods are bubbling below the surface of people’s consciousness. The natural impulse towards polytheism always asserts itself. This is why people bat away certain entities such as angels or the Devil as false. Fandoms of pop culture engage many people with multiple powerful entities (such as Darth Vader). Meanwhile, Pop culture Paganism has made Gods of superheroes and villains. Medieval scholar Claude Lecouteux says that people’s belief in fairies, sprites and others is the genetic link that modern people have to the Dead and the Spirits of the Land.

G.B. Marian in their blog, “Desert of Set” notes that monotheism strongly enjoined against “spiritual adultery.” They writes that after the Babylonian Captivity, did “Yahwehism” become popular. The priests who wrote the Old Testament were religious exclusivists. These biases became embedded into the religions that later became Christianity and Islam. Furthermore, the priests of Yahweh claimed that the people of Israel suffered because they still followed “false” Gods like Ashtoreth.

Why only have one God? Why live in a monochromatic world of grey? Why live in the poverty of monotheism when the richness of polytheism awaits? Embrace a divine multiplicity (Note 3). Life is better than simply denying Gods or trying to disprove them.

According to Lecouteux, personal names once connected people to the Universe. He writes, “It was believed that it (the person’s name) enabled its owner to play a part in the entire cosmos, and of course it bound the person to the spirits — both of the dead and the land — and to the gods.” (Note 4). We can still be a part of the cosmos, playing our role.

Notes:
Note 1. According to Christian traditions, the Canaanite Gods are child killers and must be destroyed. However, I cannot find traces of the child burning cult that is described in the Old Testament.

Note 2. Tanishka, “Goddess Wisdom Made Easy.” (pg. 56-57). Obviously the author has no idea what Polytheism is.

Note 3. Kyaza coined this term for her community blog – multiple divinities and multiple traditions. This blog is at https://divinemultiplicity.com/
Note 4. Claude Lecouteux, “The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarves.” p. 105.

Works Used.
Lecouteux, Claude, “The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarves.” Trans. Jon E. Graham. Inner Traditions: Rochester (VT). 2018
Tanishka, “Goddess Wisdom Made Easy.” Hay House: Carlsbad (CA). 2017.

Ninurta/Ningirsu of Babylon

bad weather clouds cloudy countryside

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

First known as the Storm God, Ningirsu was depicted as a thunderbird in Sumerian iconography. Later, He was shown as a God with wings. Both images emphasized this God’s powers in bringing the thunderstorms and floods of the springtime. By flooding the Tigris River, Ningirsu prepares the arid lands for planting.

Later, Ningirsu, the Storm God, becomes Ninurta, the Farmer God (in the “Epic of Anzu”). As the Master of the Fields, He provides the water for irrigation. Called the “life-giving semen of the red land,” Ninurta spreads abundance throughout out the land.

“The Farmer’s Almanac” (circa 1700 BCE) is considered to be Ninurta’s instructions for growing barley. First the fields are flooded in May-June, allowing the water not to rise too high. Then the fields are cleared of weeds and fenced in. Grain is planted and prayers are made to Ninkilim, the Goddess of Field Mice. Instructions for planting and hoeing continue through the planting year. Finally in April-May, the fields are cleaned of the harvest and readied for planting.

After fighting Asag, the Stone Being, Ninurta becomes the Warrior God. In the Lugal-e (“The Exploits of Ninurta”), the rocks of the mountains revolted. Asag, leading the others, aimed to crush the plains. With His Mace, Sharur (the Smasher of Thousands), Ninurta puts down the rebellion. By digging and piling up rocks that came after Him, He creates the irrigation systems of Babylon.

After the rebellion, Ninurta decides which rocks to punish or reward. Those who rebelled against the established order were not permitted strength. The flint would be easily flaked by antlers, and the limestone would crumble easily in water. Meanwhile, those who helped the God were rewarded. The lapis lazuli and hematite would be valued as much as gold. (One could interpret the Lugal-e as describing the beginning of agriculture, metallurgy and alchemy.)

In the “Epic of Anzu,” the Anzu Bird steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil, the Holder of the Tablets. (These tablets decreed the fates of the Gods and humans.) The Anzu Bird uses their power to turn back time. Meanwhile, Ninurta volunteers to retrieve the Tablets. After many trials, Ninurta finally defeats the Anzu Bird through trickery, and returns the Tablets to Enlil.

For the Assyrians, Ninurta was the Divine Hero and Prince of the Gods. The King of Assyria strove to be like the God – merciful, just, strong, and able to guarantee order. When the king went into battle, he would invoke Ninurta since this God was the King of Battle. In Assyria, Ninurta was credited with victories in battle.

Note: Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, in Genesis, is Ninurta.

Names of Ninurta
Storm of Majestic Splendor who makes the Rainbow
Master of the Fields
Lord Plough
Farmer of Enlil
Mighty Farmer Turned Warrior
Antelope of Heaven
Conqueror of Chaos
Lord Whose Powerful Arm is Fit to Bear the Mace
Divine Son and Avenger of His Father Ashur
Young Warrior
Champion of the High Gods
Hero of Heaven and Earth
Sheriff of the Gods

Girra (Gibil): God of Fire of Babylon/ Sumer

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The God of Fire, Girra (Gibil) is also the God of Light. His temple in Mesopotamia was called the “House of Awesome Radiance.” Because fire is basic to civilization, He is regarded as the “Founder of the Cities.”

As fire, Girra has many forms. He is the burning heat of summer, the destroyer of crops. Burning the fields, Girra sears the plains. He is the heat that warms the home and cooks the food. As the fire of purification, Girra burns away the baleful energies. He brings the creative fire to the smith and mason.

Note: Gibil and Girra were once regarded as separate Gods. Later, they were merged into one God.

Noble Girra
You purify the temples
You purify the bridal beds

Noble Girra
You sear the land
You set the mountains on fire

Noble Girra
You warm our hearts
You cook our food

Noble Girra
You set the brain on fire
You spark new ideas

Noble Girra
You are the Founder of Cities

Gods of the Month: May

For Romans, May (Maius) is sacred to Maia, the Goddess of the Growth of Living Things. As the Mother of Mercury, She is also honored with Him at the Mercuralia on May 15. On May 1st, Maia’s festival day and on the 15th, a priest of Vulcan (God of Fire) will sacrifice a pregnant sow to Her. Maia is his consort since Vulcan (Volcanus) is also the God who ripens the earth with his inner warmth. Modern Roman Polytheists will offer burnt pork to Maia.

May is also a gloomy month since the Dead roam freely at this time. The Lemuria is to ensure that the Dead are placated and do not trouble the living. Meanwhile, the Rosalia focused on placing roses and violets on graves.

The Days of the Dead
The major focus of this month is the Lemuria, the Roman Days of the Dead (May 9, 11, and 13). On these days, the Lemures (Larvae) seek out the living to have them give the Larvae proper burials. The Lemures also want people to make offerings in their memory to the Gods of the Dead. Meanwhile, the living do certain rites to ensure that Larvae not harm them or their families. (The Larvae could be considered the “Undead.”)

Until the 8th Century, May 13 was All Saints’ Day for Christians. During the 730s, Pope Gregory III changed the feast date to November 1. He wanted to accommodate the Celtic Christians, who had grown in numbers. Meanwhile, Roman Lemuria can be considered the Roman equivalent of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.

Lemures and Lemuria

Mercury (Mercurius)
For Romans, Mercury is the God of Commerce, Merchants, and Thieves. On May 15, merchants would bless themselves and their wares from his sacred well, which was located outside of the Sacred Boundary (Pomerium) of Rome. Modern Roman Polytheists will use water from local streams to bless their local banks and stores.

Julius Caesar noted that Mercury was the most popular God in the Celtic and Germanic regions closest to Roman territories. These peoples regarded Mercury to be the inventor of the arts. In Celtic areas, He was frequently accompanied by Rosmerta, Celtic Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity.

God of the Month: Mercury

Flora
On May 23, the Rosalia (dies rosationis (the day of the rose adornment)) is held. This was originally a military rite to honor the fallen. It later became a ritual to honor all the dead, with roses placed on graves. For the Rosalia, I would suggest going to a battlefield or military cemetery, if possible.

Flora, Goddess of Flowering Plants

The Ambarvalia
At the end of May, people would walk the perimeters of their fields bringing offerings of milk, honey and wine. Ancient Romans herded a boar, ram, and a bull around the boundaries, and then sacrificed them. Modern Roman Polytheists offer meats from the store, and ask for the blessings of Mars and Ceres on the crops.

Ambarvalia