da’ath fuck by izi ningishzidda
ningishzidda symbol (alchemical green/gold) by m1thr0s
I can’t imagine a more volatile and charismatic godform, especially one that has personally touched so many of the lives of my comrades or rivals in magick – many times in disturbing and violent ways. I first came across his name when m1thr0s brought it up at occultforums.com, back in 2003.
Occultforums was once the largest and most popular occult gathering spot on the internet. Every age group, discipline and grade of intellect was represented there – often all at once, each part celebrating the birth of open source bringing occultists together. I’m afraid we’ve never seen the size and scope of that kind forum online since then. Even though it had many bad qualities – it was the only place to go for the occult at the time. If you wern’t there, you were in danger of falling way behind in current occult research. Most of the interesting and useful stuff going down at the time was in that forum thanks to the many adepts and wizards spilling the beans on decades of personal research. We, the starved-for-knowledge 20 something gen-x’ers, lapped it up.
The bizarre taboo against sharing magickal secrets was being demolished on OF.
It is upon this stage that the story of 418 and Sumer begins. In a thread about Ningishzidda, m1thr0s explained he had found the deity name in a dream and then heard someone say it at another table in a coffee shop years later. He immediately recognized it as the name he had heard in a dream and wrote it down on a napkin to work out the Gematria. What he found was astonishing. Ningišzida in Hebrew, or spelled with 11 letters in English, as Ningishzidda, equals 418. (Note that the S spelled Sh does not change the sound and in the Semitic Hebrew language, Sh, or Shin is one letter. ) Ever since this discovery, the insights rolling in from Ancient Near East studies at The Abrahadabra Institute have been mesmerizing. This year m1thr0s and I agreed that the Ningishzidda article on the front end of the site “Ningishzidda Rising” needed some serious revamping to include the discoveries I had made while researching Ningishzidda indepth for the past 6 years. As my erstwhile friend Bill, an blossoming Assyriologist and owner of a well known ANE studies forum said “this is an example of a women who not only has “has a good clue about NGZ” , but also one who has gone to the best sources she could find ”. I don’t tell you this to brag so much as to assure you I am not one of these maniacal illuminati-ancientaliens-reptillian conspiracists magicians despise. Bill’s forum is one of the best sources: it goes directly to ANE scholar material itself rather than any New Age sites or books.
Any of the more far-fetched sounding assertations I make in this article can be verified through various research papers and books written by ANE (Ancient Near East) scholars. So please be assured I am not making stuff up, even though at times syncreticism with East and West is one of the things almost everyone does at Abrahadabra – this is generally not done in purely ANE studies. This is never any excuse to go on wild flights of fancy if one does delve into syncretic exploration. It’s irresponsible to do so and dangerous. This is as it should be – a lot of mucking up has been done to Sumerian beliefs in particular, with Ningishzidda in particular being equated with Thoth or Hermes without much evidence at all this is as it should be, except that some nut made the connection irrationally and proceeded to spew it as fact.
I’ve taken the liberty of extracting from the original Ningishzidda article “Ningishzidda Rising” by m1thr0s those parts which I found particularily informative and correct, and removed references which are wrong per m1thr0s’s wishes. The article is over 10 years old now and was in need of some serious editing and correcting. My apologies to anyone who was misinformed by it – but it could not be helped without grueling research work into true ANE studies. Despite the corrections, the content pertaining to Mutational Alchemy is some of m1thr0s’s best writing. It is how I cut my teeth on the Mutational Alchemy school of practice and how I began to grasp those crucial first elements to get me started on this path. There is no way I can tell you what it’s like arriving at the place of power Mutational Alchemy takes you, but I can point to the place where the journey starts.
Below is this extraction with the Ningishzidda TwinStar meditation. Please use caution when using it – you can seriously trigger some magick and mayhem with it, as many have found out!
“Serpentine symbolism runs strong with alchemy and with it many hidden mysteries pertaining to medical science in particular, from the tantricism of the east to the development of chemistry and physics in the west.
Of particular interest in this immediate discussion are the six loops formed by the intertwined serpents, corresponding (coincidentally or not) to the six lines of the hexagrams of ancient China as well as the six spheres along the middle pillar of Abrahadabra itself.
A few authors in recent times have put forth the notion that genetic science may not actually be a new science at all, so much as a revisited one that has been around for millennia, approached from different angles at different points in history. Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen, but it is clear that the symbolism of Ningishzida has as much relevance today as it may have had several thousand years ago, and may serve to remind us that when we set about to apprehend and master the hidden principles of the Body of Light, we are only actually seeking to complete a process set in motion from the dawn of recorded history itself.
There is a popular numerological technique that analyzes words according to their consonant values, omitting vowels, that allows Ningishzidda to add to 418: N (50) + N (50) + G (3) + Sh (300) + Z (7) + D (4) + D (4) = 418… For those daring enough to play with some serious fire, there is the TwinStar formula to Ningishzidda, following the anatomical guidelines laid down in Abrahadabra. Bear in mind that Ningishzidda is an ancient archetype that would have to be counted as significantly “dark” in relation to many others. It is much more of an earth-related form than a solar one and also corresponds to the cthonic the same as Anubis and others. This is not an especially recommended meditation for beginners but is nevertheless an extremely important archetype to be aware of in this immediate context.
Pronunciation of letter values can be handled via Hebrew well enough although some experimentation may be called for here. While it is better to learn these pronunciations in their entirety as a rule, for the sake of expediency I will list these values here: N = (Nun) – I = (Yod) – N = (Nun) – G = (Ghimmel) – I = (Yod) – Sh = (Shin) – Z = (Zayn) – I = (Yod) – D = (Daleth) – D = (Daleth) – A = (Aleph).
For additional support regarding the complete application of this formula from start to finish, readers will need to explore the articles and examples listed under Chapter III. My point in laying this out here at this time is to cite a good example of how the formula of Abrahadabra may be put to a diverse range of applications, including the invocation/evocation of archetypes. We will examine more of this kind of thing later on in this discussion.
Ningishzidda just happens to qualify as an exemplary example already tailored to meet Abrahadabra criterion numerically, geometrically and archetypically, so there is no good reason to avoid demonstrating this at this time.
It will be of some interest to note that the cumulative “NG” we get at apex also just so happens to be the conventional “nickname” of Ningishzidda as well, so once again, we have exceptional synchronicity occurring here. As a matter of form, I would not recommend attempting this particular meditation until you have become better versed in the basics. On the flip side, magick is all about taking risks, so you will have to be the judge of this yourselves. My job at this immediate moment is simply to lay down a method that works significantly better than most. Just like learning musical scales, things may seem a little awkward at first. You may get through the “notes” but fail to really achieve any significant degree of continuity. Just stay with it…coordination comes with practice. Before you know it you’ll be knocking down walls with this stuff. Don’t try to “still the mind” or any of that new-age nonsense. This is an aggressive, physical meditation practice that should be allowed to stretch out in every possible way. Let the mind focus on its subject and scan the energy being drawn without any artificial limitations placed upon it.
Your objective here is to test this tool out thoroughly while also scrutinizing the eidetic of Ningishzidda itself. Little “glimpses of the ineffable” will be processing at tremendous velocities, so you will have to assimilate most of these intuitively without pause. But here again, stay with it and you will soon learn the correct mental “asana”. We are tapping a higher autonomic circuitry here and accessing what Pythagoras refers to as “World Soul” parameters.
Anyone familiar with the language of “morphogenetic resonance” will have a clear advantage in analyzing the process. In brief, there is no reason on this earth you would want to impose anything on the mind other than an attention to detail with an eye to physical strength and balance.”
The Liber al Vel Legis Connection
The connection between the triad in The Book of the Law and this Sumerian god is very peculiar and of interest only to the occultist – there is no direct archaeological connections to Liber al Vel Legis other than those that an initiated disciple of the craft would be able to recognize.
I became interested in the Book of the Law when I had a haphazard initiation experience in which an extraordinary manifestation of Ningishzidda and a handful of supporting deities introduced me to Liber al vel Legis through direct and very forceful communication. I wouldn’t have looked twice at the book were it not for the experience which bordered on the power and intensity of an alien abduction. The conversation coming from the stars, Nut, her consort, “Had” (properly Geb, but HAD=10 and so links to the Tetractys) and Montu Ra as Ra Hoor Khut has been examined from many angles by hundreds of occultists for the past 100 years across many traditions.
The Ningishzidda conversation has also been rolling along for about 10 years at least, rapidly picking up corrections as to who or what Ningishzidda was to his people, the Elamites, Sumerian and Semitic peoples. It’s inevitable that a comparison between this so-called patron of Alchemy and other monolithic mysteries standing in our midst takes place in any serious conversation about magick, will and ancient arts. That his name equals 418 is especially important for those of us involved in higher studies like Tetragrammaton and Abrahadabra. He is also a very interesting Sumerian deity on his own merits, the subject of more confusion than seems necessary, although, one of his epithets is “He whom no one dares stop when he spreads confusion”.
Sometimes he is equated to Thoth or Hermes, or cited as having blood relations to gods like Enki and Marduk, which has no basis in the archaeological record. I will attempt to explain why some of these assumptions are not correct, if we are to pay attention to all of the best sources of Sumerian research from the archaeologists and anthropologists. I will more importantly try to form a framework through which the occultist can decide who the deity actually is.
The Star & the Snake
LAVL II:22: I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness.
I will explain for our less experienced readers, significance of the artifact, called the “Stele of Revealing” by members of the Ordo Templi Orientalis and others familiar with Thelema. Thelema in and of itself is the product of Francois Rabelais and Aleister Crowley, the latter known as the most significant occult figure of the 19th century, aside from Eliphas Levi, to whom we owe the credit of assigning the Tarot attributes to Sephiroth and paths. (Crowley claimed to be a reincarnated Eliphas Levi).
On March 16th, 1904, this monumental figure of occultism was spending a night in the Great Pyramid of Giza with Rose Edith Kelly, his wife. Much ado is made about Kelly’s disinterest in the occult, mostly because of Crowley’s incessant complaints about any female in his life, but in my opinion you have to be a little brave and freaky to spend the night in the supposedly cursed and haunted Great Pyramid with Aleister Crowley and then allow him to try any sort of ritual at all.
Rose is responsible for the reception of Liber al vel Legis, as catalyst and priestess through which Aiwass was able to get Crowley’s attention.
Rose Edith Kelly Rose Edith Kelly, in a wonderful gown with a caduceus like decoration
The story according to Crowley goes like this – Rose plays along while Crowley attempts to “shew the sylphs” , in other words, he was trying to summon some Air elementals. (usually depicted as little ladies with flowing gowns in artistic depictions, who are associated with inspiration and the muses.) During the action, Rose goes into a light trance and claims “They are waiting for you”. A couple of days later, on March 18th, in Cairo, probably at the behest of Crowley, Rose invokes Thoth, the ibis headed god of scribes and language who is attributed with knowledge, language and scholars. Crowley asks who she was referring to when she stated “they” were waiting for him. Rose replies that it is Horus, and Crowley tests the claim as is usual during a professional evocation. She passes the tests of knowledge of his form, nature and many details, described in Crowley’s account below:
”Force and Fire (I asked her to describe his moral qualities.)
Deep blue light. (I asked her to describe the conditions caused by him. This light is quite unmistakable and unique; but of course her words, though a fair description of it, might equally apply to some other.)
Horus. (I asked her to pick out his name from a list of ten dashed off at haphazard.)
Recognized his figure when shown. (This refers to the striking scene in the Boulak Museum, which will be dealt with in detail.)
Knew my past relations with the God. (This means, I think, that she knew I had taken his place in temple (See Equinox Vol. I, No. II, the Neophyte Ritual of the G.D.) etc., and that I had never once invoked him.)
Knew his enemy. (I asked, “Who is his enemy?” Reply, “Forces of the waters—of the Nile.” She knew no Egyptology—or anything else.)
Knew his lineal figure and its colour. (A 1/84 chance.)
Knew his place in temple. (A 1/4 chance, at the least.)
Knew his weapon (from a list of 6.)
Knew his planetary nature (from a list of 7 planets.)
Knew his number (from a list of 10 units.)
Picked him out of (a)Five, (b)Three indifferent, i,e, arbitrary symbols. (This means that I settled in my own mind that say D of A,B,C,D, and E should represent him and that she then said D.)
We cannot too strongly insist on the extraordinary character of this identification. Calculate the odds! We cannot find a mathematical expression for tests 1,2,4,5, or 6, but the other 7 tests give us: 1/10 x 1/84 x 1/4 x 1/6 x 1/7 x 1/I0 x 1/15 = 1/21,168,000Twenty-one million to one against her getting through half the ordeal!”
- Aleister Crowley, Equinox of the Gods
Later, Crowley took Rose to the palace museum at Cairo (French founded, it was formerly called the Boulaq Museum, Crowley persisted with this name even though some argue it was already being referred to as the Cairo Museum in 1904 when he visited it) and he asked her to identify Horus.
There were many images of Horus in the museum, him being one of the most popular religious icons of the Ancients, but she ignored them and went upstairs to point out, under the catalogue number 666 the now famous stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (Figure I), which depicts the priest Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu approaching his personal god Montu. Montu is an aspect of Ra who is the personification of the scorching rays of the sun. (if any of you were wondering, yes, 666 was a big bloody deal well before this event – as the grand scale of 6 it represents the number of Man and Sol, The Sun and The Son)
The body of Nut, the starry night sky, goddess consort of Geb the serpent-headed deity of creation and fertility, crouches over the scene in the stellae like some great spider.
There are two major themes surrounding Horus or Heru-ra. The first and oldest is that of Ra as the ruler of the sky, who is named as the son of a mysterious god – Ptah, the grandfather and master architect of the universe. Ra is seen as the father of the Egyptians, a good shepherd who watches over them like they are cattle. Horus in this context is the son of Ra and Hathor, a cow goddess who is seen as the benevolent mother and who helps birth new infants into the world. She’s a good mother. This form of Ra is important because it is very different from the other story, and that is the one where Isis plots to overthrow Ra, succeeds in poisoning him with a serpent made from his spittle and steals his divine name. She then proceeds to place her son by her brother Osiris, on the throne of Egypt. These two Horuses are irreconcilably different.
Isis and her imagery appealed to many Greeks and Romans and later even Christians and Catholics. The images of the virgin Mary nursing Jesus Christ the child is said to be completely derived from this romanticized imagery of Isis the mother nursing her child who is intended for the throne of God the Father. As nice as this sounds, Ra is actually the archenemy of Isis in all stories we have from his cult and its important not to pretend otherwise, because in Rose choosing this stellae of Montu, strictly an aspect of Ra in his most terrifying form, the embodiment of the scorching and deadly desert sun, we have a statement about who and what is really behind the transmission and who it is that is giving us all of these occult secrets in the book. It’s not Isis, and it has absolutely no sense of humor about having his throne hijacked by bird jesus, apparently.
LAVL3:III.: Now let it be first understood that I am a god of War and of Vengeance. I shall deal hardly with them.
Montu, the Egyptian god of War
As a god who is the personification of war, Montu is associated with bulls and their ferocity, and this is in keeping with the older sun cults who viewed Ra or Horus as a son of Hathor, the cow, and not Isis. Even though Isis manages to depose Ra , Set kills her husband and brother, Osiris, who is revived briefly by Isis. She copulates with his risen body and gives birth to an entity called Horus who is obviously not of Ra as all other aspects of Heru are, including Khensu and Montu. Osiris dies and an epic rivalry and war between Set and “Isis Horus” ensues. I spoke with a friend in the Temple of Set and he explained that one of the higher teachings in The Temple of Set thought of Set as the dark aspect of Ra and that the war between Set and “Horus” was one of vengeance against Isis.
The use of the term “Thelemites” may be an objectionable term for many persons interested in Liber al vel Legis. the Abbey of Thelema was a Rabelais philosophy, and is saturated with Catholicism, an organization whoses hands are stained with the blood of occultists of all stripes from great scientific minds like Giordino Bruno and Galileo to folk healers. As a human race we have suffered incalculably from the damages this evil religion of Christianity has wrought upon the world. It’s also a severely dated philosophy in the developed world – entire communities outside of the overt influence of Thelema live well and free in many parts of the world. No one in the first world needs Thelema to Do What Thou Wilt.
If one can set aside the context in which the Book of the Law was originally written, that is, the Christian dominated philosophy of the English Victorian era, we may be able to start gaining insights into some of the book’s deeper secrets. Occultists who follow Crowley or the Kemetic face of the divine have been debating the meaning of the book’s secrets, hidden and obvious, for a century now. Crowley kept it in a rubbish heap for the first few years of its existence – he did not have a clue what to do about it nor did he even know where it had come from, even though the clues are obvious. The so-called entity “Had”, who is the second speaker in the book, points this out in the following line ” O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger.”
Ningishzidda= 418 Had = 10
Had is the second speaker in the Book of the Law. He describes himself as a serpent, establishing his clan, and announces his elemental source, fire. It’s no secret that m1thr0s and I think Had is Ningishzidda, or at least kin to that lineage. The fact that Had=10 in Gematria is telling of the hidden secret underscoring the name. (namely, the tetractys)
m1thr0s wrote an excellent post in the Ningishzidda: The First Satan? megathread on Abrahadabra Forums (now closed to the public) on June 21st, 2009 that outline some interesting points about Liber al vel Legis and its connection to the serpent god via Had.
“I have another little Ningishzida factoid I’m aching to unload that will probably have the most significance to Thelemites, or at least to those who regard the Book of the Law as an inspired book… It turns out that while Ningishzida’s *physicianship* is not so easily validated on its face, there is little doubt that he would have been regarded both as *magician* and *exorcist* by all…He is referred to by these exact titles numerous times throughout undisputed Sumerian (and post-sumerian) texts… So we have the character of *Hadit* speaking in the Book of the Law, whose name I have never trusted and whose emblem at the very least translates to (Horus of) Behutet, not Hadit, in Egyptian…
In any case…In Chapter II, Verse 7 he says: “”I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.””
Now anyone who has studied the inner workings of prophecy will understand that the names and even the images seers may ascribe to *praeterhuman* intelligences is distinctly influenced by their own personalities and knowledge, so it is not unreasonable for us to question these particulars when there may seem to be glaring contradictions of any kind…it doesn’t render the transmissions utterly invalid, it only suggests that prophecy itself is an imprecise science and the mind is almost always in conflict throughout the whole ordeal. In Crowley’s case we know this to have been the case since he has told us so!
So a question that can be raised in this instance is: Could this actually be Ningishzida speaking? Even if it were not Ningishzida in the conscious part of Crowley’s own mind, the degree of archetypal compatibility exhibited is hard to miss. This so-called *Hadit* defines himself many times as Sepentine in form so this is not just an isolated example with no other precedents.
My objection to the name Hadit is that it too closely parallels the historical *Hadith* which I find an impossibly offensive pill to swallow and we also know that Crowley was fairly enamored with Arabic notions of masculinity so that it is not unreasonable to think he may have misidentified this intelligence on the basis of these subconscious imprints… Clearly it was coming from outside the expected Egyptian Pantheon or he would have had no trouble identifying it to Behutet right away, but he did not do this (this connection was only made retrospectively).
It is possible that this is because this archetype was originating from an entirely different place and he was simply unfamiliar with its point of origin at that time.
That’s all…just had to get that off my chest…I have no conclusions here but I can’t help finding it intriguing. It is very likely that Crowley knew nothing (or virtually nothing) about Ningishzida in his own time. He never makes any reference to Ningishzida that I can recall and most of this archeological information has surfaced since his death. I understand this may not be resolvable at this pass, but it is important to be aware of all relevant possibilities as they unfold… And anyway, it’s sort of my job (somehow) to keep you folks glued to the edges of your seats as much as possible I think. Something like this is potentially a big deal.
In my opinion, having performed thousands of invocations and evocations of varying types, Crowley was a poor medium and the entire book seems to fight with his distortions.
Even though the book is riddled with this tension, he declares in Equinox of the Gods,
“(I) dared nowise to lay claim to have touched The Book of the Law, not with my littlest finger-tip.”
Crowley is incorrect in his assumption – there is no such thing as a pure transmission where human fallibility is a factor. The best way to view the book of the law is to read it while visualizing a the sound of a gun being cocked at the beginning.
liber al vel legis 2.1 by izi
There’s no use in pretending that Crowley was anything more than a piece in the game. A key player, but a puppet of forces who did not care about him or the message of LAVL and who ultimately betrayed him. The ancients knew of the danger of recording and believing contaminated transmissions, which is why three important parts of the oracle machine were employed: scribes, priest and oracle (priestess), in order to acquire a more accurate transmission, and the priestess was usually sequestered to the sacred place and treated to a cloistered education from a young age.
The symbol of the crescent moon which is used in Islam extensively was a symbol of the moon god Sin, mentioned as a proper noun in Liber al vel Legis. The line I am referring to is Nut’s 1:41:
“The word of Sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell.”
Sin is also called Nanna in Babylonian and was the god of Ur, the same city that El Shaddai took Abraham the Patriarch out of, to famously forge the Covenant of Perfection – where Abraham is ordered to “Walk before me and be thou perfect”. It is every Magus’s duty and right to declare one’s word, or to express one’s will. This is a very important reality creation principle that is followed by nearly every occultist and so-called deity across any story or biography one can examine. If the patron god of El Shaddai’s enemy city, Ur, is Sin and Sin’s will and word is Restriction, then defeating Restriction, it seems, would be the next great step in human evolution towards completion or perfection, at least if you recognize El Shaddai as an ally. Many occultists do not – the tired rant against so-called “Abrahamic religions” gets us nowhere when you consider the evils perpetuated by Christians, Jews, Muslims and Catholics have more to do with mistaking Restriction for Abraxas than some ancient Sumerian shaman.
I’m going to take you through door to the Ancient Near East and over the footsteps I took to come to some very different viewpoints on Liber al Vel Legis, and explain why the axiom “Do What thou Wilt” may not be the primary thrust of Liber al Vel Legis.
Land of the Civilized Kings: Sumer
Sumer, Land of the Civilized Kings, as the Assyrians called it, was the oldest civilization in Mesopotamia, older than that young upstart, Babylon, and the motherland of Abram of Ur (Abraham the Patriarch) and the Akkadian princess, High Priestess Enheduanna of Nanna (Sin), the first poet in recorded history.
It is here that the stage for the Transtigridian snake gods is set.
The term Transtigridian, introduced to ANE terminology by the important scholar of Assyriology Professer Franz Wiggermann, refers to an importation of the religious and mythical beliefs of the people from across the Tigris River, outside of Mesopotamia, namely the Elamites and their ancestors who built the great Elamite Empire.
Today this area is known as Iran and still plays host to some very secretive living serpent religions that have survived Islam, having their home deep in the mountain ranges. These imported serpent deities were greatly revered by the Sumerians, who built temples and created thousands of artifacts dedicated to the family of snake gods.
The foremost of these is Ninazu the “Grand Physician”, the son of Underworld Queen Ereskigal and her first husband, Gugalanna, the Great Bull of Heaven. (Remember Montu’s assocation with bulls?) Ninazu’s wife, Ninhursag, bears their only child, Ningishzidda. These divine serpents and their family are known to us in one form or another from different periods in Earth’s timeline. I’ll start by exploring some of the earliest memories we have of our human experience.
An ancient stone python head, located in an area of Botswana called Ngamiland was discovered by Professor Sheila Coulson, in 2006. (Full Article) The local natives are called the San people, also known as Bushmen, and the location features images of the animals most sacred in their mythology: the giraffe, the python and the elephant.
The San are known as the most ancient living culture in the world, a testament to the staying power of their beliefs and practices. There are only 14 population clusters from which all humans descended, and the San are one of them.
The Norwegian archaeologist who is was working on site states that the python is about 70,000 years old. This is the oldest instance of serpent worship that we know of.
“It’s no coincidence that the entire world of medicine carries the banner of the caduceus to this day, around the world.”
It’s an interesting coincidence that during the time in which rituals were practiced in front of this stone python head in Ngamiland, humankind was recovering from a genetic bottleneck. Humans almost went extinct due to rapidly changing climate. Around 70,000 years ago, our population had sunk to the perilous level of less than 40 breeding pairs. The serpent over time and in Mesopotamia, evolves and begins to take the form of the caduceus, the double helix form of DNA itself.
It’s no coincidence it would seem that the entire world of medicine carries the banner of the caduceus to this day, around the world – the very essence of worship to Ninazu, “The Grand Physician”, Ningishzidda’s father. So, we have these incredibly powerful symbols of Satan and occultism gracing our healing temples throughout the globe. The serpent is the savior of mankind since time immemorial.
In the aftermath of the perilous encounter with extinction, humans began settling in the the Nile Delta and the Fertile Crescent, eventually moving into Europe and Asia, including what is now modern day Iran. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic: Ancient Susa and the Origins of Abraxas The people who inhabited the area of the city of Choga Mish on the Susiana plain in Western Iran created beautiful artwork, including this very primitive stone etching of two cats surmounting a stylized caduceus.
The artifact is probably well over 7,000 years old. The region of Khuzistan where Choga Mish was erected was first occupied in 6800 B.C. The people there revered many of the wildlife indigenous to the area, which included big cats, serpents and eagles among others. The revelation of this artifact is a very important discovery that gives us a concrete link between Sumer and its snake gods, and the Stone Age.
This is the oldest known representation of the caduceus in history. The ancestors of the people who created this sort of caduceus artwork are today known as the progenitors of the Elamite Empire, a powerful force in the ancient world sandwiched between Mesopotamia and Persia.
The serpent is a strong feature of the Book of the Law and the Elamites were one of the oldest cultures in the world that took part in snake rites.
40. Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Thelemites or The Elamites? I discovered the connection by following the lines simple instructions of looking closely into the word. Elam is also often referred to as Susiana, after its capital city, Susa, near where this artifact was found. It is the symbol of a serpent god or gods that the ancient Iranians worshipped, but it is not known what they called this in their tongue. It could be Nirah or Istaran, whom I will elucidate on further below. These snake gods became known to their Sumerian neighbors as Ninazu and his son Ningishzidda, and it is to Ningishzidda that the two fierce creatures surmounting the caduceus is attributed. We know of at least one deity who was adopted directly from the Elamites, with his symbol and his Elamite name: Istaran and his son Nirah, who both shared an alcove at one of the many Sumerian temples of Ningishzidda, this one a rural temple near Lagash.
Istaran, a god of justice, a so-called “dying god”, (that is one who dies and is reborn as in springtime) a judge and a cthonic god, and his son, Nirah are quite obscure, even for ANE (Ancient Near East) studies. The former takes the form of a winged man with a serpent’s bodies and heads for his legs and feet, and the latter a man with serpent body, like an Indian Naga. It is sometimes theorized one is the top part and the other is the serpent part.
Nirah is not just Istaran’s son, but his messenger. Little else is known of the two, as they are even less well documented than Ninazu and his son Ningishzidda.
If you began to pay attention at the part where Istaran is shown to the form of Abraxas from classical Western Magick (whom he predates by several thousand years) then congratulations, you passed the test of a well informed occultist. Importantly, Istaran is also associated with Ishtar and An, as his regular name is a mashup of the two. Ishtar is the so-called Semitic Venus, An is King of Heaven. Another epithet is An-gal/Anû rabû ”Great An”.
This is probably the only vague connection between the feminine gender and Ningishzidda. “Male, female, quintessential one” is an important axiom in the great occult movements of the world, from Tantra to Thelema. Siva and Sakti are said to be as close as two cotyledons in a seed. They are seperate but virtually indistinguishable.This is often the reason behind the understatement of the importance of a god’s wife or wives – when joined with a male god in an exclusive capacity they are seen as extensions of that god. Major goddesses like Inanna or Anahid (Anahita) are virginal, sometimes incorporating a cycle of rebirth and union as is the case with Anahid and Mithras. Inanna is important because of her potent sexuality. Her temple worship included the sexual act as part of her worship/ often she is cited as the goddess of prostitutes, but this is inaccurate, as the gross act of exchanging money for sex is only a pale imitation of the religious act of going to a Temple of Inanna to fulfill union with godhead.
As said before, Istaran is a mashup of the names Ishtar and An, so it is assumed by some ANE scholars that this was a heavenly deity merged with the cthonic snake cults. It’s an unusual combination and suggests Eastern influences. His sister even calls him by the name Istaran in the story of Ningishzidda’s death and descent into the palace of Ereskigal (Irkalla, the Underworld).
15-19: …. “Ištaran of the bright visage, let me sail away with you”
- Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature <http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.3&display=Crit&charenc=gcirc&lineid=t173.p2#t173.p2>
The story is a dramatic scene of mourning and tragedy, and the villainous demon who has captured Ningishzidda is obnoxious. However, once he comes to the underworld he is honored with the position of gatekeeper and welcomed by Ereskigal, his grandmother. Ningishzidda’s role of gatekeeper to the underworld is a station that might have been enjoyed by Istaran’s son Nirah as well, alluded to by the following text describing the Temple of Ninazu:
“The shining ropes attached to the doors are holy Nirah parting the abzu.”
It’s difficult to imagine that the Elamites may have influenced some of the boldest assertions in occultism from the serpent in the Tree of Life, (if we examine the many proto-trees in ANE art), to Monotheism (Abraxas and Abraham) It is clear, however, that a migration West of the serpent cults occurred at some point in history. This is attested to by the fact that a fragment of a Sumerian religious text describes the city of Der in northeast Mesopotamia (bordering Iran) as a hotspot for snake cult activity, in particular Istaran and Nirah:
416-423. O Der… , taking extreme care of decisions, ……, on your awesome and radiant gate a decoration displays a horned viper [Ušum/bašmu] and a muš?uš [Muš huššu] embracing. Your prince, a leader of the gods, fit for giving counsel and grand speech, the son of Uraš who knows thoroughly the true divine powers of princeship, Ištaran, the …… sovereign of heaven, has erected a house in your precinct, O E-dim-gal-kalama (House which is the great pole of the Land), and taken his seat upon your dais. 424. 8 lines: the house of Ištaran in Der.”
The city of Der was clearly the cultural crossroads through which the worship of the snake gods came into Sumer from the Elamites of Susa.
The Hermes and Thoth Connection
Egypt gets way too much credit for being the only masters of the occult.
I have been telling people for years that the Ancient Near East was far more advanced and probably gave many more useful things to us. They were less insular than the Egyptians and exchanged ideas more freely than their Nile dwelling cousins across the Sinai. The Egyptians taught some things to Pythagoras, it’s true…but Kabbalah, that great pillar of Magick, came to us from the Semitic lands of Babylon, Akkadia and Assyria. With claims on the origins of Abraxas and the caduceus, famously the symbol of Hermes the mage, there can be no disputing the authority of Mesopotamian and Persian influence on modern occultism .
Mercury (Hermes) carrying Ningishzidda’s symbol at the top of Grand Central Station, New York City, during 1912 construction.
Much ado is in fact made in New Age circles about the connection between Ningishzidda and Hermes, but why?
There is the caduceus, of course, but the caduceus was already a powerful symbol before Hermes was conjured up.
As ever, the devil is in the details, and here is no exception.
While Hermes is the patron of travel and communication, he is also known to convey the dead to and from Hades, the underworld. In his ability to move between heaven, earth and hell, Hermes shares a unique characteristic with Ningishzidda, who is both a heavenly prince and the grandson of Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal, from the earliest recorded times of her cult worship, is equated as one with Irkalla, the underworld – which is why she may never leave it. She is the embodiment of the womb of the Great Mother to whom all life returns. This makes Ningishzidda a prince of Heaven and Hell.
“Your prince is the prince who stretches out his pure hand, the holy one of heaven, with luxuriant and abundant hair hanging at his back, Lord Ningišzida.”
The Temple Hymns, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, <http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.4.80.1#> University of Oxford
Ningishzidda is exalted in heaven and hell, but his descent into the underworld (death) is treated as a tragedy. Immediately upon arriving in Irkalla, he is welcomed and exalted as a throne bearer. It is for this reason that at Abrahadabra we call Ningishzidda a protosatanic deity, and the original Satan, as he has serpent connections, is a “fallen” being from An (heaven) and he is a rural deity, from foreign lands and with temples on the outskirts of cities, like Set from the Egyptian pantheon.
My apologies dear reader, here I will begin a complex yet essential outline of a convoluted connection between Hermes and Ng:
Ningishzidda ruled the moon (month) following the Summer Solstice, when the sun’s light began its decline. This month was known as Abu, and was akin to Hungry Ghost Month celebrated by East Asians or in Europe, Halloween and Samhain.
In Sumer, this month also coincided with the constellation Gemini, and it is to Gemini that we find the planet Mercury attributed to. Mercury is Hermes, of course, in the Greek system, possibly explaining this mysterious connection between Ningishzidda and Hermes that the people seem to be insistent upon. (Ningishzidda is also connected with chaos, one of his epithets is “He whom no one dares stop when he spreads confusion”. As much as I find astrology annoying, logically unfit for consumption and convoluted, after one hell of a month trying to communicate with great difficulty, I can tell you I have no doubt about the annoying and confusing effect Mercury in retrograde has on our speech centers.)
Why so much connection between Ningishzidda and the dead?
It is not just because his grandmother, Ereskigal is the powerful Queen of the Dead, who can raise the dead from the living if she pleases. The natures, taxonomy and behavior of the native flora and fauna surrounding the Transtigridian Snake Cults also influence these rituals and stories.
Personally, I don’t have a problem equating Hermes with Ningishzidda – a young handsome fleetfooted god who is active and a messenger of the gods is not too different from Ningishzidda – a young warrior, magician and exorcist prince of heaven who acts as throne bearer to the gods. The dark aspects of Ningishzidda are cthonic, but it is not here where the similarities end – Hermes was also a god of the underworld, as indicated in the Greek orphic hymns where they address him as a ruler of the underworld.
Hermes shares the nature of shepherd with Ningishzidda as well. Shepherds were an important aspect of daily life in both Greece and Sumer – humans were often thought of as “cattle of the gods” in both regions, just as in Egypt with Ra. In the same way a farmer depends upon his cattle, so the gods supposedly depended on their worshippers. It is this interdependent relationship or symbiosis that is lost in examining these ancient religions.
The determination of the sex of the deity has been a source of consternation both at Abrahadabra.com and all over the web. Despite the strong evidence that he was male, the misconception seems to persist. He did not share characteristics of gender bending deities like Loki, Vishnu, Set, or Enki. There has never been any example of Ningishzidda being portrayed as a female. I did my best to dispel this notion and ask for evidence from people claiming it was fact, but they were unable to provide any proof. After 3 years of careful research, I myself concluded there is no evidence to suggest Ningishzidda was ever portrayed as a female.
In Sumerian literature, that is, not New Age fabrications, Ningishzidda is the son of Ninazu. Ningirida, Ninazu’s wife, is mentioned as Ningishzidda’s mother. Furthermore, Ningishzidda has two wives that we know of from scant literary evidence – Azimua (Dazimua) “Lady Productive Leaf” and Ngeshtinanna “Heavenly Grape Vine”. This is in keeping with Ningishzidda’s role as a god of vegetation, an ancient “Green Man” if you will. The connection to Ngeshtinanna hints at wine, although we may never know – the Sumerians were a prolific culture who documented their religion with many artifacts and the first written records, yet much has been lost. It may be that Ningishzidda “Lord of the True Tree” could have been connected to an actual species of plant, but we may never know for sure.
He has two documented sisters that we know from the story of his descent into the underworld, a younger sister and an older one.
Gregory Shushan in his book, Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, cites that one sister’s name is Amishilama. “After Amashilama makes a failed attempt to bribe the demon with her jewellery, Ningishzida commands the boatmen to wait for her, and rejoices when she boards the boat. There is a lacuna here, though it seems that another deity intervenes and the siblings are saved. Ningishzidda is made divine throne-bearer of the netherworld, complete with sceptre, crown and ‘holy robe of office”. The demon is warned not to raise his hand against Ningishzida, who is now happy and joyful, eating food, drinking wine, bathing and being welcomed by his throne and bed. (Jacobsen and Alster 2000:334).”
In both of the Balbales to Ningishzidda, (ETCSL) Ningishzidda is refered to as a male deity: A Balbale to Ningishzidda (part A) at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature A Balbale to Ningishzidda (part B) at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature:
“Hero, lord of field and meadow, lion of the distant mountains! Ningišzida, who brings together giant snakes and dragons! Great wild bull who, in the murderous battle, is a flood that ……! Beloved by his mother, he to whom Ningirida gave birth from her luxurious body, who drank the good milk at her holy breast, who sucked in lion’s spittle, who grew up in the abzu! August išibpriest who holds the holy ešda vessels, checker of tablets, who secures justice ……! King, wild bull with tall limbs (?), who directs speech aright, and who hates wickedness! Mighty power, whom no one dare stop when he spreads confusion! Mighty Ningišzida, whom no one dare stop when he spreads confusion!”
If this doesn’t convince you Ningishzidda is a male deity, nothing will. There is always the “Everything is Everything” crowd who says it doesn’t matter. For those of us who study Tetragrammaton however, accuracy must be insisted upon for clarity and integrity, particularily when utilizing such a powerful tool such as Mutational Alchemy to call upon the greater gods. It may also be helpful to look at the characteristics of Kolowisi, one of the head gods of the living Ashiwi religion, which gives insight into the role of the male serpent gods of vegetation as innately masculine fertility benefactors.
Kolowisi and Ųȟcéǧila (Water Dragons)
According to a number of different tribes of North America, these powerful ophidian creatures called by various names live in water. Like Ningishzidda who according to the Sumerians, grew up in the Abzu, or subterranean waters, they live in underground water supplies. They are snakes with antlers, and they are considered hazardous. The Kolowisi bears striking resemblance to the horned serpent of Ninazu, the basmu, who I will describe later in this essay.
They are accompanied by rain, water, lightning and thunder. This is a creature known throughout North America, as Ųȟcéǧila to the the Lakota, who regard them as dangerous water monsters. Most of the tribes who speak of them attribute colors and traits to it and nothing more. No rituals are associated with it among the Lakota, who avoid them. Amonst the Zuni (Ashiwi) people, who live in the beautiful carved desert landscape of NorthWestern New Mexico, the water dragon is elevated to the status of a god. Ceremonies are generally connected with fertility and spring, as one would expect from an ophidian deity. Snakes hibernate in winter and become very active in Spring.
Kolowisi is also closely associated with grazing animals like deer and antelope – fetishes carved in honor of the serpent god are often made out of a whole shed antler. Antelope shed their antlers and it would be easy to associate the sinuous shape of the antler with a serpent body. The shape of the Kolowisi in art by the Zuni sometimes follows the curvature of a antelope’s horn. In
I have also noticed that when an artist uses kolowisi on pottery decorations – the Zuni are masters of ceramic – he almost exclusively is used on the decorations for seed pots. (A seed pot has a tiny opening to allow one or two seeds at a time to fall through) The elaborate and symbologically complex spring ritual involves the pouring of seeds and water through the mouth of the life size serpent head. The head is surmounted by a tablet decorated with clouds and lightning – symbolic of the serpent’s connection to thunderstorms, rain and fertility.
A Zuni Kolowisi tablet, used in the spring rites. Some of the tablets are more complex, with several serpents coming out of a sky scene surrounded by mesas, clouds and lightning.
I visited the Zuni people a few years ago. They are a large but isolated tribe in the deserts of Northwest New Mexico, near Gallup, the American Indian capital of the world. They are one of the nicest and friendliest people in North America. There are also a number of Iranians who own shops in Gallup, and one in Zuni who I bought quite a few snake fetishes from. The landscape is very similar to Mesopotamia and Elam (Iran and Iraq) the home of the transtigridian snake gods like Ninazu and his son Ningishzidda. As soon as I crossed the border into Zuni land, large spirit clouds resembling Katsina spirits gathered over the Zuni village I was approaching. I could sense the presence of Kolowisi in my mind. He identified himself with the same energy signature as Ninazu, Ningishzidda’s father.
Northwest New Mexico, near Gallup
When I arrived, I went to the gas station. A koshari approached me. A koshari is a holy person who is a comedian and a sage. While the rest of my family was in the store, I told him about how Ningishzidda from Sumer came to visit me and asked me to come visit the Zuni and tell them what happened. He revealed he was a priest in the bear clan. Kolowisi, he told me, lives in the lake in the Zuni village, sometimes he comes out and takes wives to his underground village. Also, he is a culture hero, the Zuni have myths saying how he saved them from starvation and the flood. There are a few stories about this shapeshifter and the interaction he has with the people. Someday I’ll tell you about my epic adventures with Ningishzidda, and how I got to be at The Abrahadabra Institute, but not now.
Marduk’s association with Ningishzidda is puzzling because it is so persistent. He began as an obscure Akkadian god, and rose to prominence in the first millenium, well after the snake cult’s heyday.
It is still not known what function he originally served, although Sommerfield suggests he may have been a god of incantations. Most of his attributes are absorbed from one of Enki’s sons, Asalluhi, who was the patron of the city of Kauri, during the Old Babylonian period. He is sometimes said to be Ningishzidda’s brother in badly researched documents or he is given some other relationship to Ningishzidda that makes no sense. Not all of it is due to Zetcharin Sitchin’s bad fiction.
The most important thing to understand about Marduk is that he is a Babylonian god, not a Sumerian one and not even an Assyrian god, to whom the Sumerians were affable and interacting with heavily during their centuries of existence. He is originally a Babylonian god, and in his earliest protoforms, an Akkadian.
The Sumerians reached their peak well before Babylon became the monolithic city it was with influence spanning across continents. Marduk did not enter into Sumerian religious rites at all and so has little to do with the snake cults.
The Sumerians were a powerful influence – no doubt about that. Ninazu survived as Tispak into the Babylonian periods, and his son, Ningishzidda, recieved shipments of barley and other food stuffs to at least one local temple in the countryside around Babylon. So there was no clean cut between Sumer’s rule and their gods of vegetation, herding and rivers, and Babylons metropolitan deities.
The basmu and usumgallu, creatures I will talk about below, are described in Babylonian texts as being enemies defeated by Marduk – Marduk was well known by his association with things he was slaying, starting with the great mother, Tiamat. It was this defeat that granted Marduk the symbol of the chaos monster, the Muš huššu, and while it was not his creation, it symbolized his ability to oppress the divine mother.
We can draw parallels between Marduk’s assimilation of an older and more powerful cult to bolster religious status for its priests and the Roman Catholic Church in their assimilation of older pagan rites like Saturnalia and Samhain, which became Christmas and Halloween.
Muš huššu, Mušmahu, Bašmu, Ušumgallu, – the Taxonomy of the Divine
Ningishzidda has quite a number of forms that he is called by, but together with his father Ninazu, there are four very specific kinds of sacred animal that must be examined to truly understand the serpent cults: The Ušum or Ušumgal, the Bašmu, the Muš huššu, and the Mušmahu.
All of them are associated with chaos and could easily be classified as demon or divine. Sometimes they are used as a title. Calling a King a “Usumgal” would certainly be a compliment, much as we call someone a “Shark” or “Fox” today although in Sumerian, it’s a bit more formal.
Ninurta, describes one of his weapons as a seven-mouthed muš-mah serpent in the Angim (“Ninurta’s Return to Nippur”). Throughout the millenia, the various snake clan creatures were viewed as weapons – sometimes dangerous, sometimes protective.
Tiamat herself gave birth to the Muš huššu in the Semitic mythos, filling their bodies with venom rather than blood, and while their taxonomy changed over the course of thousands of years (they lose their wings on the gates of Babylon) their immortality, chaotic nature, and fierce disposition are always a constant.
Bašmu/Ušum “Venomous Snake”
Tiamat is the mother of the Basmu, Mushushu, and Musmahhu, and while she is often depicted as a dragon, she is not confined to these three classifications.
The Sumerians associated Tiamat and her husband Abzu with the original creation myth, and with salt and fresh water. As troublesome as water can be, one cannot live without it, as the Babylonian creation myth that incorporates their city god, Marduk, seems to realize. There is plenty of evidence to suggest a deluge event did take place and this could easily be interpreted as Tiamat’s anger. In the story however, she is angry because her children try to kill her husband, Abzu.
The Assyrians, who traded religious ideas with the Sumerians, adopted the story into their religious rites by telling of how one of their favorite gods, Nergal, tamed the 60 ft long Basmu, a child of Tiamat, with his abilities as a snake charmer. It may be seen below howeverthat this qualifies as an Usumgal and not a “mere” Basmu.
A horned serpent is indigenous to the area where the Sumerians lived: Cerastes gasperettii, the Arabian horned viper. The horns can be small or quite pronounced. Today the species is valued by snake charmers because of its unusual appearance and possibly traditional practice. This very successful predator is adept at burrowing into the sand at fast speeds, and while it would have been valued as it is today for its ability to manage pests, it would have also been seen as having magickal powers, that of venom and the ability to travel underground, vanishing into substrate almost instantly. It must have seemed the magical creature would sometimes do this for months at a time, impossibly living below the ground where only the dead reside.
Irkalla, the Sumerian Underworld was one and the same with the underground regions of the Earth. Lightning bolts appear snake like throughout the world, and they have always been identified with Heaven as well. This could explain why the snake gods were identified with all three realms.
Arabian vipers are a docile species and while they are poisonous, their venom rarely results in death. A hibernation period occurs in late Winter, which may have given rise to Ningishzidda’s story of being taken into Irkalla (dying) and his resurrection in the new spring growth. Plants and serpents would be rising at the same time. Every detail of an animal of such a sacred status as this would have been analyzed by the ancients and recorded as meticulously as possible for theological application in order to effectively understand the communications from the deity. The association between plants and serpents is made even easier given that the roots of trees often resemble snakes frozen in time. The power of the rising sap was thus also attributed to Ningishzidda, whose name means Lord of the True Tree.
Basmu were considered dangerous, because they were! It was Ninazu who provided much needed power over the creature’s venomous capability:
“Ninazu – whose name (Lord Physician) suggests an involvement with healing – is a chthonic god associated with the underworld. Thus one tradition refers to him the “šita of the underworld, given birth by Ereškigal; (‘šita-ki-gal-ladereš-ki-gal-la-ke4tu-dal’)7. Snakes are also associated with the underworld: for example, one royal inscription requests the underworld goddess Ninki to punish a transgressor by sending ‘a snake from the underworld’ (muš ki-ta)8. The Chthonic god has associations with the chthonic animal: for example, on $ulgi hymn relates Ninazu, in a broken content, to ‘the fearsome snake’ (muš-?uš)9and another describes him as ‘born on the kurmušša (possibly snake mountain)’ (‘kur-muš-ša tu-da-a’)10. The deity is therefore appropriately invoked in Text 58 which is directed against the mythical ušumgal snake. This incantation confirms Ninazu’s association with snakes given that its speaker addresses the ušumgal: ‘Snake your king has sent me to you, your king Ninazu has sent me to you you’ (‘muš lugal-zu mu-ši-gi4lugal-zudnin-a-zu mu-ši-gi4‘).11″ – G. Cunningham,
Deliver me from evil: Mesopotamian Incantations 2500-1500 B.C, pg. 78
The Basmu are not the snakes rising from Ningishzidda’s shoulders. Basmu are merely venomous snakes, endowed with extraordinary powers of deadliness. The ones directly associated with Ningishzidda are the Mushussu.
“the eagle contributes its wings and talons, the snake its head, the panther its body, and the scorpion its poison-charged tail. This composite beast has the divine prerogatives: witness its horned crown. There can be no room for doubt: this is the animal attribute of the god Ningizzida”
You really have to keep Varanids, or monitor lizards, to truly understand the mušhuššu and how the creature was percieved by the Ancient Sumerians. Monitor lizards are another very successful species of reptile, although now many of the species are listed on Cites I due to overhunting for the pet and food trades, including the species living in Iran and Iraq today, in the same regions the Mesopotamians and Elamites did.
Monitors in their healthiest state are bursting with energy, move lightning fast, are terrifying when excited about anything, especially food. They use their whip-like tails to sting would be predators, and their claws are almost as sharp as their razorlike teeth. A bite from a monitor will almost always result in a nasty infection.
They make smart, playful and beautiful pets when reasonably domesticated – generally not biting the hand that feeds them, so to speak, and they will come when called.
Below is a video of a presumably wild monitor lizard being fed by some humans, with a good example of the (admittedly half hearted) tail whipping action they are capable of inflicting.
The tail whipping action can break the skin and cause severe welts, as I discovered while taming my Savannah Monitor. This is possibly why the Muš huššu is depicted with a scorpion’s stinger at the end of its tail. Capturing one of these fast and furious animals would have been difficult, as demonstrated by the two Australians below.
The Mushussu had a long elegant neck, forked tongue and a scaled body. In older versions it was often adorned with wings. Wings often mean “spirit” in talismanic terms. The Mushusshu depicted on the Ningishzidda grail at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France depict the Mushussu standing on his hind legs. Monitors all exhibit a behavior nicknamed “tripoding” which they use to see farther, scale heights and intimidate predators.
The steatite grail of the serpent gods depict the serpentine mushushu standing, and though the body appears serpentine, it is not hard to imagine why, when seeing a monitor defend itself against predators….the animal will literally try to wrap itself and all of its weapons around a would be predator like a python.
The name Mushussu was used in both the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. This was a well known legendary creature whose symbological importance must have been supported by the presence of the native monitor lizards, large, chaotic and aggressive.
Despite the living native monitors being an amazing spectacle in and of themselves, it would be helpful to know if their were any species of extinct giant monitors in the area. Middle Eastern scientific and anthropologic discovery is made difficult and complicated by the instability and religious hostility in the region, so we may never know. The species Megalania was present in Australia up to the time of the Aborigines presence there. Could the same be true of Mesopotamia and the Sumerians?
Leonine characteristics of the Muš huššu
“”In Pre-Sargonid times, the worshipper had been content to lay a statuette (with which he identified with himself) at the foot of the god’s throne. Now he expected to be presented in person to his god and to make his prayer directly. True, he was escorted by intercessors, but the piety had certainly grown bolder.
The representation of the gods in human form, though now the rule, did not altogether exclude the use of symbolic figures. This this conservative spirit we owe several fine pieces of work, such as the human-headed bulls mentioned above, sculptured in the round and some equally fine lion-muzzles, executed in more or less high relief, which once adorned a basin. […] Yet what we find here, still alive, are the old traditions of relief carving on stone vessels, and this is confirmed by the libation vase illustrated here, bearing Gudea’s name. Its decoration is wholly symbolic, two snakes, twined round a pole, rise up to the lip of the vase, as if to drink the liquid poured from it, while two winged dragons stand guard behind them, holding in their front paws a staff with a loop at the top. These monsters must have inspired the most salutary awe, for they combine several dangerous animals in one; the eagle contributes its wings and talons, the snake its head, the panther its body, and the scorpion its poison-charged tail. This composite beast has the divine prerogatives: witness its horned crown. There can be no room for doubt: this is the animal attribute of the god Ningizzida, and as such protects Gudea, while ensuring the fertility of his dominions through the twining snake accompanying it. Here we have the origin of the caduceus, which through the ages has retained its virtue as a beneficent emblem.”
Andre Parrot, Sumer: The Dawn of Art
The caduceus is centered at the lip of the beaker so that liquid seems to pour from the top of the caduceus.
With their scorpion tails, twining ophidian bodies, eagle taloned hind feet, the dangerous and divinely crowned creature supports and upholds the double twined serpents who represent Ningishzidda. In the Enûma Eliš, the Babylonian creation epic, Tiamat is said to have “clothed the raging lion-dragons with fearsomeness”.
The winged lion dragon is considered to be so powerful as to be unrivalled in battle, hence its name also became a noun used to describe ultimate rulers. Similar in shape to the Mushussu, the Usumgallu would probably safely be considered a variant of the Mushussu, but it does have wings. The scorpion’s stinger is borrowed from another denizen of the Mesopotamian plains to form a malicious tail, while its hind feet and wings are taken from a raptor.
The style of the dragons became corrupted over time so that the gates of Babalon have a composite between the Mushussu and Usumgallu as the serpentine guardians, while lions, more realistically interpreted, are also present.
It is important to note that the Babylonian times came thousands of years after the Sumerians peak and they must be taken in light of this passage of time and the great differences between the Sumerian and Semitic tribes, and even between Assyria and Babylon. Babylon did not worship Ningishzidda or his son Ninazu, known to them as Tispak, in the same way the Sumerians, Assyrians and Elamites did.
Instead they regarded them as dangerous forces that could not be tamed or controlled except by their city god, Marduk. They were viewed as serving in a guardianship role. At one point the Assyrians sacked Babylon and the new ruler erected lion statues around the city, facing into the walls of Babylon as a dire warning.
Some have speculated a close connection with cats in the Mushussu, given that they have lion like paws on the walls of Babylon, and have cat like tails. Ningishzidda himself is called a lion and leopard in his religious hymns. There are some more feline depictions of raging chaos beasts that could easily be a variant on the Mushussu. Lions were associated with the Assyrian god Nergal, lord of the scorching noon sun which meant death to unfortunate travellers in the desert. He was also god of pestilence and became consort to the Sumerian Ereshkigal in a marriage of the two cultures. His bull like appearance in some amazing statues are absorbed from Ereshkigal’s first husband, Gugallana, the bull of heaven.
Nergal is quite easily syncretized by the occultist with Montu, Ra’s war and noonday sun aspect.
Lions were and still are an extremely dangerous apex predator. Man learned how to kill them and even domesticate their smaller cousins, but they remained a terrifying risk of living in the Fertile Crescent. It was the characteristics of the serpent, the cat, the eagle and the monitor that became the icons for the family of Transtigridian snake gods: ferocious apex predators that remained a deciding factor in the genepool of man for millions of years.
The Musmahhu, or seven-mouthed serpent, was a variant of the Muš huššu that was associated with the snake gods and had the unusual form of a hydra with seven heads, the first recorded in the history of mythology. I will explain in detail below, but first I will address the difference between the greater and lesser serpents.
Ušumgallu “Great Snake”
It is sometimes assumed that Usumgallu, Basmu/Usum and Mushussu are the same creature, with the one Mushussu being of Semitic origin, the other, Usumgallu, Sumerian. This isn’t the case. Just as Sumerian and Semite traded goods, so too did they share language connections. This is seen in the following transliteration and accompanying translation of a Sumerian text – where Usumgallu and Musshussu are both used to describe Ningishzidda. This proves they are not only different kinds of sacred animals, but that the Sumerians used the same word attributed to Akkadian language.
ban3-da saĝ ĝiš ra-ra muš-huš šeg11! gi4-gi4 ušumgal ambar-ra guruš3 bur2-ra u18-lu lu2-ra
nun saĝ maḫ kur-šag4-ga lug-ga edin DIB saĝ dub2-dub2
“murderous, howling mušḫuš, ušumgal snarling in the lagoon, raging storm reaching all people! Lofty-headed prince, resting in the midst of the mountains, …… smashing heads!”
The word ušumgal is a combination of ušum (= snake or noble snake) and gal (great). Where a basmu or usum is merely a snake, an ušumgal is a creature that terrifies even the gods, making it a suitable epithet to compliment royalty with. It is often translated merely as “dragon” which leads to some anxiety in students of ANE. Even worse, anthropologists will frequently contradict each other so that one must weigh things carefully, rather than merely pointing at one text or another as proof of this or that conclusion.
A text on Enki alludes to a great black snake at the center of the Abzu, in G. Cunningham’s research. While it doesn’t explicitly state that it is large, its presence in center of the abzu – a deep and occult place of power, infers size and greatness:
“”Text 26 refers to ‘the snake of Enki’ (muš d.en-ki) while text 27 refers to ‘the place of the black snake in the middle of the abzu’ (ki muš-gi6 SU.AB sha) as well as mentioning the black dog, a horned snake, a serpent (the ušum) and Enki himself.”
The idea of a great serpent supporting the whole universe deep below the lowest reaches of existence, outside of the physical universe itself, in Patala, was a religious idea adopted by the Vedic scholars later on in India. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, this great serpent is called Sesa Ananta, who is also the “original” Krsna, (Vishnu, one of the Supreme Triumvirate) Balarama.
ananta by izi ningishzidda
Balarama takes one of two forms – that of a serpent and that of a man with white skin. In either capacity he is accompanying Krsna or Vishnu. The black coloration has symbolized supreme ultimate reality for thousands of years amongst the Tantrics, who probably experienced the same collective unconscious visions the Sumerians did…they undoubtedly took hallucinogens.
Balarama disciplining the Yamuna river, from Vedic mythology
The imagery of a great serpent inhabiting the abyss is later adopted by the Egyptians too, who called the serpent Apep. He swims the abyssmal waters where Ra, the sun, goes each evening. Apep is as dangerous as Tiamat and seemingly indestructible as well.
The Mušmahu “seven-mouthed serpent”
The stark similarities between the seven-mouthed serpent and the Great Beast of Thelemic cosmology are astonishing, particularily given that Lady Frieda Harris depicted the same in Aleister Crowley’s THOTH Tarot, presumably based on the Book of Revelations. This was well before any of the rare and obscure depictions of the beast or Sumer surfaced, in connection with the transtigridian snake gods like Ningishzidda.
Crowley would never have heard of Ninazu or his ilk.
“This is the Mystery of Babylon, the Mother of Abominations, and this is the mystery of her adulteries, for she hath yielded up herself to everything that liveth, and hath become a partaker in its mystery. And because she hath made her self the servant of each, therefore is she become the mistress of all. Not as yet canst thou comprehend her glory. Beautiful art thou, O Babylon, and desirable, for thou hast given thyself to everything that liveth, and thy weakness hath subdued their strength. For in that union thou didst understand. Therefore art thou called Understanding, O Babylon, Lady of the Night!”
- The Cry of the 12th Aethyr Liber XXX Aerum vel Saeculi sub figurâ CCCCXVIII by Aleister Crowley
For more information on the animal attributes of Ningishzidda, refer to this article by the owner of Enenuru.net:
The commonality of causing death to the sick and weak among us in Ningishzidda and Ninazu’s animal forms (and by proxy, their father-in-law/grandfather-in-law Nergal, Lord of Plagues and Pestilence) may be the only reason we might consider Ningishzidda a “Geneticist” as many New Age authors seem insistent on, alongside proclamations that the Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian gods were all “Ancient Aliens”.
It was the very bad, very distorted translations by sensationalist author Zetcharin Sitchin that started all of this sort of bad thinking. Sitchin was a disreputable scholar who misled many readers into believing he was presenting genuine Sumerian text that discussed aliens in spaceships and a grand conspiracy of enslaved and genetically engineered humans. In light of what we know about how accessible and easy it will be to use genetic designer technology in the very near future, the Annunaki had to have been the most goofy messed up alien rejects in the universe to design such a crap product for the crudest of uses – mining gold or space goo or whatever.
Any space bound species in my opinion is going to have the ability to do molecular engineering as well, and would be able to turn lead into gold easier than we can today.
Ningishzidda in my opinion is not an alien, unless we can consider transdimensional transgalactic beings as aliens, then perhaps we can call him that in theory. I have no evidence to show anyone and am not so sure that would be a smart move for anyone involved in interdimensional warfare to be so careless as to leave evidence of their existence. It’s useless and tiresome to have anyone try convince anyone of anything outside of the process of establishing concrete fact.
Ningishzidda is as active a force in our world today as he was then, according to the many written accounts I have had from fellow initiates who have encoutnered the intelligence. It’s not known how or why these events are taking place, we probably all suffer from the same mass genetic memory.
Given the association serpents have with death and danger, it could be an instinctual memory being triggered by the many forces of darkness infecting our world – with the capability of putting out our lights forever. The last time this happened, tens of thousands of years ago in Africa, humans turned to serpents as well. The serpent tends to be an emblem of transmutation, when most needed. As Ra Hoor Khut takes to the throne of the Aeon we may be called to make drastic changes in our lives and the way we continue to inhabit the planet.
A list of epithets from Sumerian literature used to describe Ningishzidda:
Lord with Holy Dignity
Falcon Preying on the Gods
Murderous, howling mušhuš
Serpent with a Great Tongue
Lion of the Distant Mountains
Wild bull with Tall Limbs
Honeyed Mouth of the Gods Who Grew up in the Abzu (apsu – the ocean)
August Išib Priest Who Holds the Holy Ešda Vessels
Checker of Tablets, Who Secures Justice
Leader of the Assembly