Heaven Up Hell Down

We all have dreams that take us up and like a soaring rocket we can suddenly fly!  With skillful ease we dive, sometimes, flapping our arms or pulling ourselves through the air like a fish, few kicks and we swim up again ascending into the deep blue sky ever higher.  Why do you imagine as human beings we all share this dream more frequently than any other dream?  My guess is that it’s got something to do with being the one place that man is forbidden to ever go!  That being the heavens, or sky, anywhere above us in that deep forbidden realm where we dream we could be just like those lucky birds who tease us daily about our inability.

stars_constellations_space-t2

The heavens is where all good thing ascend and equally everything that falls from heaven is just as sacred, perhaps a bit cursed as well.  The simplicity of this thinking is apparent in any child, just ask them where god lives and they will know, above us.  In the sky above where the clouds are like floating islands, somewhere beyond the rainbow is the destination for most religious minded people.  This is where those people hope they will go, I mean.  Most people who live by their instincts will have a feeling in their gut that it’s either there up above or below us somewhere.

Below is where many non-religious people believe they will go, not to any special realm, just below six feet, that is if they choose to be buried.  However below was where we once imagined we’d go before we envisioned ourselves in ascent?  When our aspirations changed was definitely a turning point in the history of man, a time that drastically marked a change in our navigation, when our self-worth and confidence improved to a level that allowed us to ascend above the fearful wretches we once must have been.

The Apkallu

  1. Uanna – Who finished the plans for Heaven and Earth?
  2. Uannadugga – Who was endowed with comprehensive intelligence
  3. Enmedugga – He who was allotted a good fate.
  4. Enmegalamma – Who was born in a house
  5. Enmebulugga – Who grew up on a pasture land
  6. An-Enlilda – The conjurer of the city Eridu
  7. Utuabzu – Who Ascended to Heaven

The Offspring of Apkallu and Humansoannes_auf_einem_basrelief_aus_khorsabad1

  1. Nungalpirriggaldim
  2. Pirriggalnungal
  3. Pirriggalabsu
  4. Lu-nana

These have been associated with the Nephilim

 

The Apkallu were the first advisors to the gods, the Apkallu were after the flood only two –thirds Apkallu, having bred with the Sumerians, after that generation of Apkallu came the first advisors that were fully human:  The Ummanu.  Gilgamesh was the first king to have an all human advisor.

 

 

The Sumerian King’s list Have 8 rulers who ruled Eridu before the flood

 

  1. Alulim 8 Sars
  2. Alalngar 10 Sars
  3. Enmenluana 12 Sars
  4. Enmengalana 8 Sars
  5. Dumuzid The Shepherd 10 Sars
  6. Ensipadzsidana 8 Sars
  7. Enmendurana 5 Sars and 5 ners
  8. Ubarra-Tutu 5 Sars

 

The Garden of Dilmun

“The land of Dilmun is a pure place, the land of Dilmun is a clean place,
The land of Dilmun is a clean place, the land of Dilmun is a bright place;
He who is alone laid himself down in Dilmun,
The place, after Enki is clean, that place is bright”
“Her City Drinks the Water of Abundance,
Dilmun Drinks the Water of Abundance,
Her wells of bitter water, behold they are become wells of good water,
Her fields and farms produced crops and grain,
Her city, behold it has become the house of the banks and quays of the land.”

 

Biblically we are told a brief story regarding the formation of man, he was formed from the clay and life was breathed into his body.

Our memories of paradise are idyllic, hardly representative of the hardships experienced in the Paleolithic, or Stone Age as it is known.  People have a tendency to idealize the past, like a sense of a nostalgia, our recollections betray a selective memory that views our past as a simpler and somehow easier than it actually was.  Like the southern United States obsession with their ‘antebellum’ pre-civil war era.

For the humans who chronicled those pre-literate early societies, their view of that bygone epoch was of an earth that bountiful, filled with countless edible trees and flora, where animals and humans alike could co-exist and there was no need to hoard.  Eden is described as such, as a lush paradise, pristine and undisturbed.  There is more truth in the descriptions of the garden than many scholars would admit, the story suggests a memory of our ancient past as foragers.

The creation of Adam was a key feature of the Sumerian literatures account, the difference being of time and of context, Adam is envisioned as a

The story of the Garden of Eden, a fairly late rendition of a sentiment that has been echoed in the neighboring region where religions were cutting edge developments.  Before that version was recorded around 700 – 650 BCE, there was Dilmun, and the story of Adapa, which preceded the biblical version by more than fifteen hundred years.   Despite the distance between the two editions the similarities are remarkable, containing nearly all the same elements only represented by different players, even still the moral is easily extracted from both variants.

Dilmun The Sumerian Eden

Dilmun, located in the Persian Gulf on the confluence of the fresh waters of the gulf and the salt waters of the sea.  The co-mingling between the two types of water was seen as the basis for life to form, the rich clay deposits demonstrate the life making process and for being just emerged from the Stone Age, the identification of the soils of this area is an astute observation.  Far to the east at the head of four rivers God planted a garden, the earth mother Ninhursag and Enki are the masters of the garden but this does not relate them to Adam and Eve.  Ninsar is known as lady Greenery, and Enki, whose name alludes to ‘semen’ has three daughters with her and they are Fruitfulness and lady Pasture.  The third daughter is Uttu the spider weaver of life.fr04_matisse

Enki seduces Uttu, who runs off to Ninhursag and is advised to avoid his advances.  But the permeating nature of Enki, the inland waters, his issue impregnates Uttu, she again runs off to Ninhursag who immediately removes the sperm from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth.

Eight plants spring up amidst the garden and are happened upon as Enki passes by with his advisor Isimud.  Enki sees the plants and asks his advisor, what is this growing here?  Isimud identifies it as a tree plant cutting a branch and bringing it to his lord, who eats it.  Isimud is aghast and warns his lord of the dangers of consuming a forbidden tree.  Without listening, Enki consumes the other seven fruits.  The plants having been produced by his own semen, impregnates Enki in his Jaw, his teeth, his mouth , his hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his ribs.  The other gods offer the only advice they can and tell him since he lacks a womb the best thing for him to do is to sit in the dust.  Isimud runs to retrieve Ninhursag and begs her help.  Ninhursag then takes the Ab (Enki’s Semen) into her own body and gives birth to the following gods of Healing:

  1. The Jaw – Abu
  2. The Hip – Nintul
  3. The Tooth – Ninsutu
  4. The Throat
  5. The mouth – Ninkasi
  6. The Side – Dazimua
  7. The Limbs – Enshagag
  8. The Rib – Ninti

The Garden of Eden is well known because of two trees that were amidst the garden, that were described as towering above the other trees and each were given provocative names such as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life.  Trees have long been a feature in the early Paleolithic perspectives on religion and magic.  The most famous tree worshiping wise men were called Druids and it is from their reverence for certain groves and the trees that grew within them, that we have the traditions we have regarding trees.  Adam was known of as Etana or Adapa a mortal man from Kish, who by the accounts given by the Sumerians, introduced a new diet to the people of Mesopotamia.  This new foodstuff not only provided men with another staple food, but the ingredients of this food has been proven to enhance brain function and was primarily responsible for the flurry of activity that took place that historians have since dubbed ‘the great leap forward’.  The food was fish, Adam being the first fisherman, his iconography described as the Apkallu a half- man and half fish hybrid that was famous in Sumer for bring carp to the people.

Stages of Development

Religious Cognition

The 1st stage is Revelation:  A new revelation inspires the person who received the revelation to either spread the word about the idea, or writes his ideas down to be read by other or both.  Sometimes the revelation stage encompasses a tradition tied to a certain event that was shared among the people, or an event is recorded along with its own initial interpretation.

The 2nd Stage is the Establishment of a priesthood: There then needs to be a hierarchy to administer the rites, rituals and to establish official doctrines.  In later religions this is usually also part of the initial revelation, though earlier belief systems don’t necessarily have these written down for them as instructions and instead are formed later by the adherents in their need to ritually enact the revelation as a way to affirm their belief.  Prophets are laypersons who are called to speak out to people in an unofficial capacity to bring adherents back to the faith. Prophets are unofficial in the eyes of the priesthood, unless they are the prophet who is responsible for the initial revelation.

The 3rd Stage is Schism:  A point when traditional views are re-interpreted by their adherents into a fundamentally different way, leading to the established Priesthood declaring the new interpretation as a heresy and excommunicating those adherents leaving them to join together in opposition, establishing their own version of the religion.  Schisms usually revert to the ‘demonization’ of the other, though not always.  Many schisms lead to a further fracturing of the religion creating several new denominations.

The 4th Stage is Reform:  Reform can occur as the third stage and might lead itself to Schism, but reform movements occur when the majority of the adherents have re-interpreted their doctrines differently, this may be the result of new information, discovery or through the writings of adept cleric.  Reform movements usually uphold the core tenants of the religion, although these too can be the subject of reform.

Good & Evil

 

We take the understanding of good and evil for granted.  Closer inspection of ancient authors suggest that this might not be the case.  Human beings have had to learn everything, from how to stand up on two legs, how to put meaning behind the different grunts and growls we make and yes, we even needed to formulate the concept of good and evil.   Unlike the previous examples, human beings learned the difference between the two relatively late in the game, the patriarchal age was set to the tone of this discussion, around 800 BCE, so perhaps a century earlier or so.

The concept of good seems to be absent in Sumerian corpus, though the formation of the concept of evil seems fairly prevalent.  One can’t help but see a justification of lifestyle choice and the brutal realities of maintaining favor with the various powers that be, as being the core tenant to Sumerian/Akkadian Religion.  Not to say the roots of general belief started here, just that the earliest core of belief at that time relied more on the awe and fear that the gods evoked.

Egyptian belief had a clear concept of evil and an allusion to the knowledge of good, though its place in the scheme of religion was more at the bottom of the rung as far as important concepts go.  There was the weighing of the heart ceremony that was to take place after death, but the feather it was weighed against stood for truth and justice, rather than good or evil.  Though evil was implied through the opposite inference of the word justice, the Good itself wasn’t entirely labeled in its own right.

Certainly one can see the emergence of the concepts in the biblical books, if understood in the order of their writing, which is different from modern day arrangements. The books of the bible were written from the 13th century BCE, to around the 1st.  The book of Genesis has parts that are as old as the 9th century, but most of it comes from the 6th century exile.  There in the second chapter it talks about mankind and the introduction of good and evil concepts, which demarcates a line between two of Genesis’s most prolific authors (Jahwist vs. the Elohist).

The Greeks honed in on the Good, but not until the fourth century BCE, Plato labels it in his dialogues.  Though the meaning of good is interpretive, here in the dialogues we have the first real isolation of the good to be treated as a concept in its own right.  Zeus was looked upon in later generations as the image of beneficent joy.  The image of Zeus became so widespread that it was adopted later on as the image of God in monotheistic sense.

The Vedic religion of ancient India and Pakistan, possibly the pre-cursor to the Sumerian Religion, suffered a religious schism (an indicator of the religions ancient roots) early on, which divided the tribes into two separate belief systems, which then populated the regions of Persia (Iran) and the Hindu (India.  The division brought about the demonization of the other, where the same system of belief was retained, the differences being regional, the Devas were the supreme gods of India, where the Asuras of a second rank, not necessarily demons, just not as divine as the Devas.  The Persians saw it somewhat differently, they saw the Asuras as being the Supreme gods of Persia and the Devas were outright evil Demons.  Persian Religion was further reformed by a prophet known as Zoroaster (another indication of the age of Vedic religion) who further divided the entire universe into two domains, corresponding directly to the concept of Good and Evil.  The dualistic theology of Zoroastrianism was rather evolutionary and it is poignant to point out that it is still being practiced today, although only very sparsely.  There were two Gods in Zoroaster’s universe, Ahura Mazda the benevolent God and his rival Angra Mainyu the maleficent.  Hinduism would also spawn a prophet who would jumpstart a new religion, although the older Hindu belief remained, that prophet of course was the Buddha and the evolutionary contribution of that would be the non-deist philosophy of enlightenment and Nirvana.

Judaism, inspired from the biblical books, would contribute (though not the first instance) the concept of monotheism, the belief in just one god.  Though the rise of YHWH to the top of the Canaanite pantheon to later denying the existence of all other gods was a slow and tumultuous process which is what led to the relatively late acceptance of the religions chief tenant, Monotheism.  Christianity incorporate the concept into all the attributes assigned to God, who then is envisioned as being the image of Zeus but with a biblical voice and name.

Notational vs. National Differences

equNumbers are as hard wired into our brains as words are, if not more and as it turns out, they are literally linked to our stages of development, literally.  What I’m talking about is the notation systems used by cultures throughout the world, from the ancient past to the present day.  For instance, we currently are using a decimal system that has a base of (10).  But the Ancient Sumerians used a system based on (60), which we still use but only for telling time and for degrees of a circle and such.  What is less known is that there are other systems that are used and some are still used!

The Vegisimal system uses a (20) base notation and is used in some African tribes, but more famously in the Mayan Calendar, but it also prevalent in their language too.  Venus Dasa- (20) a period of twenty years in Indian Astrology relating the planet Venus and the number (20).

Binary systems (2) Base, have been in use since the earliest days in Ancient China, the I-Ching being a complex system of two nodes, either open or closed.

We use a Septenary (7) Base for counting weeks which has religious significance, and can be traced back to Sumerian times.  Rituals that are significant to the moon (Inanna) and the lunation 1/7 of the lunar cycles would indicate mid-points between the more obvious lunation, therefore these days were considered prohibitory.

Several Native American Indian tribes are recorded as using an Octal (8) base system, apparently counting the space between the fingers so that there were four on each hand.  Another interesting little tid-bit here is that it been suggested by linguists that the proto Indo-European speaking people named (9) Nine meaning ‘New’ suggesting the usage in that period of time.

The fight between old school duodecimal (12) and New School Decimal (10) has raged on since late antiquity, even up into the modern age, the uses of twelve in our past is hard to miss, twelve inches in a foot,  Twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours a day, etc.  The current decimal system still hasn’t been fully adopted by the United States, they’re stuck in between twelve and ten which would be traditionally:  Eleven!  No, but this was in fact proposed jokingly during the French revolution to settle a dispute between those proposing a shift to duodecimal (12) and those who were content with decimal (10), so this isn’t apparently where it all ends?