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Author Topic: Mesopotamian Paganism  (Read 6687 times)

Nyktelios

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Mesopotamian Paganism
« on: January 07, 2012, 10:14:56 pm »
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

Lokabrenna

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 11:36:32 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;37984
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

I don't, but I took a couple courses on Mesopotamian religions as part of a Near Eastern studies program and found it quite fascinating.

This isn't solely dedicated to Mesopotamian cultures, but you might be interested in this Yahoo! Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canaanitepaganism/

It's focus is on Canaanite polytheism, but there's some stuff about Sumerian culture.

I also recommend Gateways to Babylon: http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/

For books, there's "Anointed: A Devotional Anthology for the Deities of the Near and Middle East": http://www.amazon.com/Anointed-Devotional-Anthology-Deities-Middle/dp/1463728972 I haven't read it but I've been meaning to pick it up.

Unfortunately, I think there's a lot of misinformation regarding Sumerian culture circulating around on the 'net, particularly regarding Inanna, and then there are those books that seem to think Sumerian deities are space aliens. Ugh, I don't even want to start on unpacking all the misinformation.

ETA: If you're interested in Inanna specifically, I recommend the book "Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth" by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 11:40:12 pm by Lokabrenna »

Nyktelios

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 08:58:44 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;37989
I don't, but I took a couple courses on Mesopotamian religions as part of a Near Eastern studies program and found it quite fascinating.

This isn't solely dedicated to Mesopotamian cultures, but you might be interested in this Yahoo! Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canaanitepaganism/

It's focus is on Canaanite polytheism, but there's some stuff about Sumerian culture.

I also recommend Gateways to Babylon: http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/

For books, there's "Anointed: A Devotional Anthology for the Deities of the Near and Middle East": http://www.amazon.com/Anointed-Devotional-Anthology-Deities-Middle/dp/1463728972 I haven't read it but I've been meaning to pick it up.


Thanks for the links!

Quote from: Lokabrenna;37989
Unfortunately, I think there's a lot of misinformation regarding Sumerian culture circulating around on the 'net, particularly regarding Inanna, and then there are those books that seem to think Sumerian deities are space aliens. Ugh, I don't even want to start on unpacking all the misinformation.


Haha yeah, there's a lot of that going around. People are ridiculous.

Quote from: Lokabrenna;37989
ETA: If you're interested in Inanna specifically, I recommend the book "Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth" by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer.

 
I've read it. Fantastic book.

OpenHands

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 03:15:43 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;37984
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.


You might always want to stop by The Date Palm Forum, which is run by Tess Dawson who also owns the Canaanite yahoo group.  It's been quiet lately (apart from the spam generated by my email getting hacked last week :o ), but there are some good discussions in the archives and a lot of knowledgable folks from several ANE polytheistic religions are members.  

The Temple of Sumer is another good website for Sumerian reconstructionism.

Nomad of Nowhere

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 06:30:16 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;37984
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

 
Probably one of the first types of paganism I studied. I was interested in it both because of its antiquity, and because near-eastern paganism seemed like a natural second step from Judaism. I also was fond of Ishtar- she had a lot more going on with her than most Goddesses I knew of at the time. I'd definitely recommend reading some of the dusty old stories that have been translated, like the Enuma Elish and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Nyktelios

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 07:21:18 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;38061
You might always want to stop by The Date Palm Forum, which is run by Tess Dawson who also owns the Canaanite yahoo group.  It's been quiet lately (apart from the spam generated by my email getting hacked last week :o ), but there are some good discussions in the archives and a lot of knowledgable folks from several ANE polytheistic religions are members.  

The Temple of Sumer is another good website for Sumerian reconstructionism.


Fabulous, thanks!
 
Quote from: Nomad of Nowhere;38260
Probably one of the first types of paganism I studied. I was interested in it both because of its antiquity, and because near-eastern paganism seemed like a natural second step from Judaism. I also was fond of Ishtar- she had a lot more going on with her than most Goddesses I knew of at the time. I'd definitely recommend reading some of the dusty old stories that have been translated, like the Enuma Elish and the Epic of Gilgamesh.


I actually have read the Epic of Gilgamesh, strangely not even for a Mesopotamian-themed course. I got the gist of it, but it was very difficult to understand, as fragmentary ancient texts can be. Very interesting, though.

Lokabrenna

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 11:30:15 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;38266

I actually have read the Epic of Gilgamesh, strangely not even for a Mesopotamian-themed course. I got the gist of it, but it was very difficult to understand, as fragmentary ancient texts can be. Very interesting, though.


The one we used for my class on Sumerian myths was the translation by Foster (http://www.amazon.com/Epic-Gilgamesh-Norton-Critical-Editions/dp/0393975169/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326169442&sr=8-1) which was very good and includes essays by other scholars on aspects of the piece. I also recommend his book "From Distant Days: Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia" for anyone interested in translations of primary sources. I feel I should mention here that he is a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the translations, and the Sumerians often used "person" in place of the "man" in his texts, but in those days, women were basically chattel, so I guess the androcentric language makes sense, in a way. Still, it bothers me, so I thought I'd mention it.

I also would not recommend reading the poem "Ishtar Will Not Tire" in public. She....is a goddess of prostitutes lol.

Castus

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 04:53:25 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;37984
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

 
I used to identify as a Sumerian Recon, before I found the Religio. Shamash was someone I regarded as my patron; and I still have a bit of a connection with him through Iarhibol, a Palmyrene deity that is part of my sacra privata. I also recommend the Ereshkigal/Inanna devotional Into the Great Below, which I believe is offered through Asphodel Press.

WarHorse

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 08:13:17 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;37984
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

 
Not so much as a tradition; I'm a Pantheist, so all religions are equally valid to me.  What brought the Sumerians to my attention was walking the streets of Ur in 2003 after the invasion.  I quickly went online and bought a couple of Kramer's books (Sumerian Mythology and Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth) and was delighted to find a goddess that could drink the principal god under the table and sweet-talk him out of his powers. :eek: THAT is my kind of deity!
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Nyktelios

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 12:23:03 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;38287
I also would not recommend reading the poem "Ishtar Will Not Tire" in public. She....is a goddess of prostitutes lol.


Is it available online somewhere? As I mentioned in my thread on Inanna/Ishtar, there's a text in the "Inanna:Queen of Heaven and Earth" book regarding the sacred marriage as a new year's festival, in which Inanna says things like, "Who will plow my vulva? / Who will plow my wet ground?" Texts about her are usually pretty... explicit.

I think it's strange when she is considered sterile for being a goddess of prostitutes, despite having a major part in fertility rituals like the sacred marriage. Modern interpreters of myth do the same thing to Aphrodite, considering her and Artemis sterile because they embody the prostitute and virgin, respectively, while Demeter exclusively embodies fertile motherhood. This is a little too simplistic, as Aphrodite is a goddess of all aspects of sexuality, procreation as well as prostitution. Artemis and Aphrodite were both called Genetullis, "birth-giver", and Aphrodite was one of the Gameloi Theoi, gods of marriage. She was very similar to Inanna/Ishtar, especially as Aphrodite Ourania (of the sky/heaven), and as the consort of Adonis, the Greek counterpart of Dumuzi/Tammuz.
 
Quote from: Castus;38738
I also recommend the Ereshkigal/Inanna devotional Into the Great Below, which I believe is offered through Asphodel Press.


Oh nice, maybe I'll check that out.
 
Quote from: WarHorse;38765
Not so much as a tradition; I'm a Pantheist, so all religions are equally valid to me.  What brought the Sumerians to my attention was walking the streets of Ur in 2003 after the invasion.  I quickly went online and bought a couple of Kramer's books (Sumerian Mythology and Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth) and was delighted to find a goddess that could drink the principal god under the table and sweet-talk him out of his powers. :eek: THAT is my kind of deity!

 
Haha, I agree!

Goddess_Ashtara

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2017, 03:09:55 am »
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

The goddess Ištar/ Inanna/ Aštoreth and the goddess Ereškigal are prominent deities in my spiritual-religious system.  Aštoreth is revered as a powerful archangelic war goddess.  Her fertility aspects revered before in ancient times are overshadowed by more prominent attributes centered around war and combat, wisdom, Will, passion, amorality, and epic spiritual odyssies. Ereškigal is syncretized with Lilith as a powerful archdemon goddess, with draconic features and archetypal attributes primarily centered around areas of sexual passion and lust, excitement, malevolent temptation, and wrath.

Tiamat and Marduk are also revered, but more for their archetypes and what they represent. Tiamat symbolizes (in my spiritual-religious system) the primeval cosmos, the primordial waters, the raging oceans before life, the imagination, the subconscious, and primordial chaos... and Marduk symbolizes similar archetypal attributes as YHVH... Creation, Destruction, and ultimate Order over ultimate Chaos.

Other Mesopotamian deities may at times be mentioned or celebrated, sometimes individually or as a group, but as of this moment, my spiritual-religious system has no significant connection to them compared to the above mentioned deities.
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Eastling

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2017, 01:04:12 am »
I'm very attracted to Sumerian polytheism right now, and I was wondering if anyone else is influenced by any of the Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) civilizations. I had always found Inanna-Ishtar an appealing deity, but ever since I took a course on Mesopotamian religion in university last year, I've found the subject as a whole really fascinating. I just wondered if anyone out there follows a Mesopotamian pantheon or religious tradition.

I call what I do now "Dionysian pop culture paganism" at the moment, but the Minoan-recon Ariadne I worship has quite a lot in common with Inanna, to the point where I did initially think I was worshipping the latter. I suspect a certain divine essence of Inanna as the Queen of Heaven is still fused onto the syncretic deityblort I have now.

I would recommend, in addition to the books already mentioned, Betty De Shong Meador's books about Enheduanna, an ancient priestess of Inanna.
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Naunau

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Re: Mesopotamian Paganism
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 01:40:09 pm »
This thread is really useful, thank you :))) Most of the materials I have are linguistic only.

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