The Legend of Etana and the history and decipherment of Sumerian and The Epic of Gilgamesh ( BC) was perhaps the first literary work in history. by Aaron Wyckoff. The Igigi, the gods of creation, created a city and laid its foundation, and called it Kish. But the people were without a king. Etana was according to the legend, the first king after the Flood. In the Epic, Etana is childless; meanwhile an eagle has ignored his own children’s advice and.
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It has thus been classified as an adventurous story, or early science fiction containing the first known account of space travel.
The eagle-back ascent motif has been recognized to recur in Hellenistic, Jewish and Islamic folk tales and legends and has also been connected with the Greek myth of Ganymede and the Alexander Romance. Much less attention has been paid to the tree-eagle and snake figures so prominently in the second tablet of the myth.
Without going into unnecessary detail, it can be suggested here that the tree-eagle-serpent theme in Tablet II is an allegory for the fall of man and that the ascent to heaven described in Tablet III is to be understood as mystical ascent of the soul crowning an arduous program of spiritual restoration.
Seen in this light, the myth becomes closely related to the Gilgamesh Epic in substance, and in presenting Etana as the first man to achieve the ascent, it forcefully contributes to the notion of the Mesopotamian king as the Perfect Man.
The tree of Tablet II is Etana himself, whose birth its sprouting marks. Ignoring the voice of his conscience the small fledglinghe becomes guilty of perfidy, greed and murder; for this, he is punished.
Admitting his guilt and shame, he prays for a plant of birth, that is a chance for spiritual rebirth, and is guided to the path that will take him there.
The path leads him to the mountain where he finds the eagle lying in the pit with its wings cut, a metaphor for the imprisonment of the soul in the bonds of the material world. Complying with the wish of the eagle, his better self, he starts finding it and teaching it to fly again, an allegory for spiritual training and self-discipline. It takes eight months to attempt the first ascent to heaven, which fails because Etana is himself not ready for it. The second ascent, better prepared, is successful and Etana is taken to a celestial palace, where he, having passed through several gates, finds a beautiful girl sitting on a throne guarded by lions.
All this is so reminiscent of the terminology and imagery relating to the ascent of the soul in Jewish mysticism that mere coincidence can be excluded.
The several heavens and heavenly palaces which Etana passes are commonplace in Hekhalot texts and later mystical literature. The heavenward ascent of Etana is already attested on seals from the Akkadian period ca. In saying this, I do not want to stress the antiquity of the ascent phenomenon in Mesopotamia. The point I wish to make is that against all appearances, Mesopotamian religion and philosophy is not dead but very much alive in Jewish, Christian and Oriental mysticism and philosophies.
The Tree diagram provides the key which makes it possible to bridge these different traditions and to start recovering the forgotten summa sapientia of our cultural ancestors.
Etana – Wikipedia
From the oldest historical document of Mesopotamia, the Sumerian King List, right after the great flood a dynasty of 23 kings ruled from the city of Kish. Of these the only one we know anything about was Etana, who is described as teana one who “stabilized all the lands.
The etaha breaks for several lines and the story of an eagle and a snake, a tale of eatna vowed friendship and betrayal, is introduced. In the myth, there is a fragment which says that Etana’s wife dreamt of Etana having met a crowned girl seated on a throne and guarded by lions. The text breaks up for many lines, but we know that Etana ascended, met the goddess and came back to earth, where he fathered a son according to the Sumerian King List. In what follows, my experience of Etana and the Goddess.
Mistakes are, of course, are my own! One of the many sources for Etana: Dalley, Stephanie Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and others.
Oxford, Oxford University Press. A favorite view of the Divine Feminine, Mesopotamian style. The Evening Star appeared gloriously in the skies, and soon the navy velvet of the night was going to fall. Heart pounding with anticipation, he braced himself for the eagle’s landing. In front of him, the elegant lapis lazuli walls carved with golden lions and rosettes were a sight to behold. So it was in the Everlasting Babylon of the Soul.
I feel I need to go through these gates on my own. The king rtana Kish took a deep breath to center himself and stepped through the Gate, and the familiar clouds involved him to lead him to the Inner Realms.
He allowed himself a couple eetana minutes to adjust and then proceeded forwards. Soon the clouds dissipated and he saw himself in a large well-lit room whose glassed windows let in the magic of sunset dtana, the rainbow colors of the changing skies. The room was long, a hall fit for kings, and upon a dais he saw Her. His heart knew who She was, and so he proceeded. How long had it been since She, the Great Goddess of Love and War, and Enlil, Lord Air and the most important of the younger generation of the Anunnaki gods, had come to earth, in search of a king to rule the land?
He, Etana, had been oc choice. Now, after all these years, Etana wondered whether They had made the right choice. And this realization was killing him deep inside. No matter what, he proceeded to kneel and bow to the ground respectfully in front of Her.
His eyes dared to face Her adoringly.
Youthful, tall, long dark hair that showed glints of gold in the sunset hour, She wore a fringed dress of a soft color and fabric he would not be able to name. The garment stana a bit lower than knee length, golden leather sandals and a crown of flowers was upon her forehead. As long ago, She had come lf him as the Divine Huntress, the Warrior, the spirit of love and adventure.
Lions slept under the dais of Her throne. They looked like contented cats and not ferocious beasts. He remembered Her so well, and She had not changed at all. She rose to her feet, the lions did not stir, and to eplc utter amazement, She moved towards the large window on the Western Quarter and sat graciously on the window sill, Her back to the twilit skies.
She made space for him to take a seat by Her side, but he declined and sat on the floor.
Etana swallowed hard and started in one go, choosing carefully his words to address Her in the if place: As if I were finally sort of discerning the light at the end of the tunnel, although it is just a hope. It is associated with a turning of darkness back towards the direction of etxna light, the winter solstice, the shortest day of etaa year, the day when darkness begins to decrease and the hours of daylight increase. It is the beginning of a turn-around; a time of letting go of the old and making way og the new; a time of new beginnings, and it starts with rest.
And I can give you some clues for what has happened to you so far. Would you like that? Etana sighed, eana appreciated Her way of dealing with his awkwardness: Oh, I know well about being an initiate, your initiate.
It means the never-ending breaking out of old patterns, of everything that needs to be changed so that a solid foundation can be established for living in all worlds. This is exactly what happened to me so far I just wish I had realized all this before! I was meditating hard about what has happened to me so far since we first met, when you and lord Enlil chose me to be the first monarch of the land. I came to some conclusions. The trials of being a king and shepherd, the first ruler of the land.
No, better still, the trials of deserving my crown and as such becoming the living link between the people of the land and the gods, You in special. The difficulty of understanding and applying the discipline of power and empowerment, to protect the weak and yet not to lose sight of the greedy and troublemakers to attempt to get them back into the fold. This was the meaning of the eagle and the snake, wasn’t it?
A metaphor for stana to understand the meaning of power and the exercise of justice between irreconcilable oppositions within a nation that was being built? Difficult to unite, for they are different species, although a truce can be established and maintained by the application of justice.
Ftana, the greedy eagle is the one that poses the hardest trial for the king. By betraying the snake and killing its offspring it needed more healing and more atonement. And I meditated a great deal why I had to face all trials with the eagle, the epix, instead kf lining up with the grieving snake.
Tears started flowing copiously, but Etana continued relentlessly: The snake was the animal in me, raw energy and grief. But I am also the king, responsible for peace, wealth, progress and health.
I could not leave the treacherous eagle to his devices, I had to rescue him back, heal it and make it ascend with me to finally face you in the end. Hit and crash approach this one of yours, isn’t it?
Suddenly he also understood the eagle’s indecision to be accepted by the Goddess’ Gate. The eagle might not be allowed to proceed through, because it had killed the offspring of dtana friend! Even when you fell off the back of the eagle three times, somehow you kept going. One unworthy flight after another? Her words hurt, but somehow he felt She was clearly teasing him now, and Etana relaxed a bit. He was about etanaa tell Her how sorry he was for not having been able to give Her an heir of his eepic, when She seemed to change totally the subject.
Somehow he had expected that question all along, but not at this very moment. The answer though came from the bottom of his mind, body, heart and soul. I live to deny all denials kf to affirm all affirmations in a celebration of the sacredness of matter so that my soul can fly unbound and free in all worlds I dare to fare. Surprise and understanding gripped him hard. How long had he grieved for a kingdom of the future, while he had to rule stana land in present time to the best of his ideas and ideals, how much time he had lost trying to breed his offspring when he had not been ready to understand what it was to be a real father?
Father of the land, empowerer of the spirit of this people came first, were his duties he had not been able to see. His breath caught for a second. She was asking and giving at the same time the Key to HerSelf, the key he had kept hidden for so long within his very Self.
You are the answer to all my whys, World Soul I reflect on my own’. She was smiling now and oc Her face changed to reveal the faces of every single person and being he had loved in his life, past, present od perhaps to come.
Etan last transformation was totally unexpected, because he saw his own face transfigured by joy, younger and older images of himself in the most special moments of his life past and perhaps to come.
Then She was Inanna again.