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

ndvolcano

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

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Kulla, the Divine Builder of Sumer

closeup photo of brown brick wall

Photo by ShonEjai on Pexels.com

Before any building can begin, the God of Bricks and Construction needs to be invoked. Kulla protects the building process from the laying of the foundations to the tiling of the roof. He ensures that the building is sound and the workers are safe. When everything is done, Kulla is thanked and sent away.

According to Sumerian texts, the best time to lay the foundation is at sunrise. Once the first trench is dug, offerings of beer, wine, oil, and syrup are poured over it. Then various items such as seeds, cloth and precious stones are scattered between the gaps of the first layer of bricks. The offerings are to appease the spirit of the land, who is disturbed by the digging.

When the construction is completed, Kulla was asked to leave. If He stays, then more building is needed, and the job will never be finished. Moreover, Kulla is needed elsewhere at other sites.

The ritual for sending Kulla away is the same one for exorcism. The builders load the God (a brick) and his provisions on a boat with sails. Then the boat is sent down the river. After that, seven tablets each are broken on the left and right sides of the river, and thrown in. The builder and his workers were then banned from the finished building for three days.

However, there are incantations to thank Kulla and Musdama, the Divine Architect. They ask these Gods to return joyfully to their father, Enki. In my opinion, this allows for better relations between humans and Kulla.

Laying the Foundation of a House:
“Kulla (the Brick God), Lord of Foundation and Wall – oh you! NN, son of NN, who is building this house, by [your] command, by your word may he prosper! Because You are merciful, I have turned [to you], because You are merciful, I seek [you]! The house he has built may last for a long time. This evil of the house […], You [avert] death, loss and evil deed from this house. At your sublime command, which cannot be altered, and by your firm consent, which cannot be changed, may NN, son of NN, live, prosper and sing your praises.” (R. Borger, Symbolae Biblicae et Mesopotamicae F.M.Th. de Liagre Böhl dedicatae, 1973, p. 53-55)

Exorcising Kulla
“Kulla, You are torn out, driven away and expelled. Kulla, You are conjured by heaven and You are conjured by the netherworld, You are conjured by Ea and Marduk, You are conjured by Duri and Dari, You are conjured by Lahma and Lahama, You are conjured by Alala and Belili, You are conjured by the Gods residing in heaven, Uou are conjured by the Gods residing in the netherworld! You are conjured by the Apsû, You are conjured by the Gods residing on the Sacred Mount! You shall be torn out, You shall go away, You shall depart, You shall withdraw, You shall move out! I conjure you by Ekur and Gar – You shall never return!” (E.v.Weiher, Spätbabyl. Texte aus Uruk (SBTU) II, No. 16; C. Ambos, Baurituale, no. 2)

Note: The exorcism is referring various Gods of Mesopotamia.

Lilith: The Goddess of Demons

Lady-Lilith

“Lady Lilith” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1867)

Lilith is a difficult Goddess to understand. What is known about Her comes from dubious Jewish lore. She emerged fully formed as the Mother of Demons in Medieval Times, and then She received a makeover in modern times. The Goddess Religions want to see Lilith in a positive light as the first proto-feminist. Now this Goddess has bizarrely contradictory attributes, which confuses me.

“The Alpha-Beta of Ben Sira” (Pseudo-Ben Sira, 9th Century) is the problematic source for Lilith. According to it, Lilith was Adam’s first wife. In the first creation (Note 1), Yahweh created male and female, at the same time, from the earth. As the equal of Adam, Lilith refused to be dominated by him. Fleeing her husband, she “pronounced the Ineffable Name (of Yahweh) and flew away into the air.” Lilith went to the Red Sea, the dwelling place of demons.

Adam complained to Yahweh about Lilith abandoning him. The God sent three angels to convince her to come back. Since Lilith knew the hidden name of Yahweh, He could not compel her to return. When the three angels threatened to kill her demon children, Lilith countered with preying on newborns. After that, Yahweh, the angels and Lilith came to an odd pact. She could continue to kill babies unless they wore an amulet with the names of the three angels. However, Lilith had to endure with death of a hundred of her own children each day. (This was to explain why newborns die unexpectedly.)

“The Zohar,” compiled by Moses de Leon (1250-1305) (Note 2), called Lilith “a temptress of innocent men, breeder of evil spirits and carrier of disease.” As the Queen of the Demons, She was the succubus who attacked men in their sleep. Because Lilith drove men’s lust, the Shekhinah (the Female Part of Yahweh) went into exile.

In “A Treatise on the Left Emanation” by Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Kohen (the 13th century), Lilith is paired with Samael (Satan). Writing about evil, Rabbi Isaac said that Samael and Lilith were twins, created by Yahweh. Samael, regarded as The Angel of Death, became the “Great Demon,” and Lilith his partner in evil.

The Goddess Religions have reclaimed Lilith as the first pro-feminist. The Dark Goddess Lilith is their Patroness of Witches. She teaches women to embrace their sexuality and live according to their own rules. Some see Lilith representing “the power, politics and psychology of sex.” To stand up to the patriarchy, She sacrifices her children daily.

Polytheist theologians discuss whether the Gods can be differentiated or do their aspects refer to one being? For example, Anubis of Egypt, in the early dynasties, can be regarded to be a different God than Anubis of Cleopatra’s time. However, Anubis could also be the same God with more attributes.

According to Raven Kaldera, a shaman of Northern-Tradition Paganism, Gods have “horizontal” and “vertical” aspects. (Note 3) “Vertical” aspects range from a personal experience to a diffuse unknowable presence. “Horizontal” aspects entail the attributes of the Gods such as Jupiter being both the God of Thunder and the God of Government.

I have unanswered questions about Lilith. Are there more than one Goddess? Is Lilith of the Middle Ages the same Goddess of the Goddess Religions? Could She be considered a “pop culture” God because the Goddess Religions rewrote the lore?

From what I can discern, Lilith is the Dark Aspect of the Divine Feminine in Jewish Monotheism. She is a counterpart to the Shekhinah. My theory is that once Monotheism defined that the Divine be only a single male Deity, the feminine aspects went underground. They have come out sideways as Lilith and the Shekhinah. (Note 4). The Goddess Religions which worship only the Divine Feminine has elevated Lilith to be an aspect of the Goddess.

Notes:
1. Genesis details two creations. It is believed that the lore tries to reconcile the two, with Eve being Adam’s second wife. Made from his rib, she is subordinate to him.
2. “The Zohar” is a fundamental work of Kabbalism (Jewish mysticism).
3. Kaldera, Raven, “Dealing with Deities.” Hubbardston (MA): Asphodel Press. 2012.
4. The Dark Aspect of the Divine Masculine came out as Samael (Satan).

The Enuma Elish: History as Mythology

nbmarduknabu

During the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia, empires rose and fell. In the Enuma Elish, the creation story of the Babylonians, this is told in mythic terms. One part of the Enuma Elish tells of the rise of the Sumerians. Their generation of Gods were Anu (An), Enlil (Ellil), and Enki (Ea), who focused on developing agriculture and decreeing divine law. While Anu ruled the Gods, Enlil granted kingship, and Enki created people. These Gods had overthrown Tiamat of the Saltwater and Apsu of Sweet Water, the original Gods of the Ubaid people of the late Stone Age.

The Sumerians drained the swamps, dug out the canals, and began irrigation. They tamed the “sweetwater” thereby killing Apsu as a God. Moreover, they transformed the salt marshes into farmland. Then in 2330 BCE, Sargon of the Akkadians established the first empire. He began the first dynasty by deciding that his son should rule next. This was the beginning of having males be the heads of families as father figures (paterfamilias).

Then came the dark times, starting in 2218-2047 BCE, when the Gutians invaded from Iran. The wars between the Sumerians, Akkadians, Elamites and Assyrians became endless. The Enuma Elish describes this time as Tiamat raising an army, and defeating Enlil and the other Gods. Through continuous irrigation, salt made the land of the Mesopotamians infertile. Faced with dwindling resources including water, the various cities fought each other to gain these precious resources for their peoples. During this awful time, the suffering people wrote lamentations describing their misery — bodies melting in the sun and cities shrouded in smoke.

Into this war-torn landscape came the Amorites, who adopted the Sumerian culture and established their main city of Babylon. Under their king, Hammurabi, the Babylonians cemented their empire and imposed law and order in Mesopotamia. The Babylonians described their victory in the Enuma Elish. The Sumerian Gods, Enki and Enlil cede their power to Marduk, their principal God. Then He defeats Tiamat, and remakes the Cosmos with her body.

Like Marduk, Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE), who expanded the Babylonian Empire, established order. He wrote down and organized existing laws of various cities into the Code of Hammurabi. These statutes consisted of 282 laws, which ranged from setting wages to punishments for stealing to arranging for divorce. His reign was one of peace and prosperity.

Works Used:
Baigent, Michael, “Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia.” Bear & Company: Rochester (VT). 2015.
Black, Jeremy and Green, Anthony, “Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary.” University of Texas Press, Austin, 1992.
Jacobsen, Thorkild, “The Treasures of Darkness.” Yale University Press, New Haven, 1976.
Mark, Joshua, “Sumer.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. 28, April 2011. Web. https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/. <accessed 12 October 2018.>
Siren, Christopher, “Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ.” 2000. Web.
https://stason.org/TULARC/education-books/assyro-babylonian-mythology/index.html. <accessed 12 October 2018.>
–, “Sumerian Mythology FAQ.” 2000. Web. http://humanpast.net/files/sumerianmyths.htm. <accessed 12 October 2018.>

Assur and the Destruction of Nimurd

assur-with-arrow

Copyright: Basil Blake

News of the destruction of the temple at Nimrud by those religious gangsters has been devastating. Nimurd was an Assyrian city, with Assur as the God of  Sovereignty. Read more about that at this site: Nimrud by Independent.co.uk.

Assur is the Assyrian God of kingship and sovereignty. Here is my prayer that I wrote for the Prayer Card project. (You can purchase the card here: Assur Prayer Card) I have devotions to this God, and plan to light incense at His Altar.

Great God Assur

Fierce God of a Fierce Land

Like the Great Cedar, You stand firm.

Great Sovereign

You hold your warrior’s bow

You let loose the arrows of war

You call us to battle

Great Sovereign

Wield us into one of spirit and action

Give us the residue of your strength

Great God Assur

May we embrace your fierceness

May we stand as firm as You.


Assur with Arrow by Basil Blake. You can commission her art at her site.