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GSaylor: alt.mythology Sumerian Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.4

To: alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.necronomicon,alt.magick
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: GSaylor: Re: alt.mythology Sumerian Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.4
Date: 9 Oct 1995 11:53:38 -0700

[from alt.mythology: (Gwen Saylor)]

Dear Christopher,
    I cannot let you continue to mistakenly believe certain things
about the Sumerian mythos.  Without further ado, here is a pantheon
list of the main twelve gods and goddesses:
    1. An and Antu -- Sky god and goddess, father and mother to Enlil,
       Ninlil, and Enki
    2. Enlil and Ninlil (Ninkhursag) -- Earth god and goddess, father
       and mother to Sin
    3. Ea (Enki) and Ninki -- Fresh water (Apsu) god and goddess
    4. Sin and Ningal -- Moon god and goddess, father and mother to Utu
       and Inanna (twins) and to Ereskigal
    5. Utu and Aya -- Sun god and goddess
    6. Inanna and Dumuzi -- Morning Star/Evening Star goddess and Tree
       god (dying god)
The first three gods are the major triad of the great gods, and the
next two gods and one goddess are the equally major triad of the astral
gods.  The major 7 gods were:  An, Enlil, Ea, Sin, Utu, Inanna, and
Ninkhursag.  As you can see, each god had as his mate a goddess
associated with him in order to represent the female principle of the
symbolized thought.  This religion was not based on a sky god/earth
goddess system of thought.  There was a Lord and Lady Sky, a Lord and
Lady Earth, etc.  There were no "four major Sumerian deities," as you
state, because the Sumerians separated their gods into "the seven" and
"the five."
    Everything said about this pantheon after the Babylonian conquest
of the Sumerians is no longer Sumerian mythos, but becomes Babylonian
mythos.  You must describe the difference carefully.  Enlil, for
instance, was never an air god as you state.  By that time, Marduk (the
Babylonian high god), the Usurper, had taken the place of Enlil and
much of the authority of Anu.  Everything you read about Enlil after
that point must be called Marduk and Babylonian.
    Anu means literally "sky."  "Lil" is not "atmosphere," but "god."
Enlil is literally "Lord God."  Ninkhursag is "Lady of the Great
Mountain."  Ninlil, her formula nickname, means "Lady God."  Enki is
better understood by his earlier name Ea, which means literally "House
of Water."  Enki was known as a Lord of the Earth, because the Earth
cannot support life without fresh water.  He had to conquer the Lower
World because it is a source of fresh water.
    Ereshkigal was married to Nergal; together they were the goddess
and god of the Lower World (the Great Below).  I cannot fathom where
you got the impression that Erishkigal was forced to be in the Great
Below.  Nergal was more prominent than Ereshkigal in Babylonian
literature because the Babylonians tended to require a male presence to
be in charge of something, rather than a female.  Though Nergal, son of
Ea, gained power by marrying Ereskigal, he was already a god.
    BTW -- Eden cannot be said to be "in the East," since the god
decreed that man should live EAST of Eden.  Dilmun was in the west,
also.  In the garden wherein were located the gates to the Above and
the Below were two guardians, the Tree of Truth god and the Tree of
Life god.  Dumuzi, the mate of Inanna, was the guardian god of the Tree
of Truth.  Ea (Enki) was also known as The Serpent.
    This is enough, and only covers the major problems I have with your
paper.  It is very easy to get confused when studying Sumerian
mythology, since the Babylonian stuff is mashed right into the fiber of
it.  Don't be discouraged or angry; it is difficult subject matter.
Thank you for allowing us to read your work.
Gwen Saylor

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