19 July 2012

A Journey back to Mesopotamia

Since the beginning of the year, my interest in one particular ancient culture has steadily increased - that of Mesopotamia. I use this word generally because it includes the peoples of Babylonia and Sumer as well as the later peoples of Assyria.

From the Greek meaning "between rivers" referring the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, this area (covering modern day Iraq and southern Turkey) was considered to be the "cradle of civilisation".  It was this region that the earliest records of writing was been found, as well as astronomy, medicine, and other forms of technology.

With overlapping myths, it is proving to be a rather difficult task in determining from which peoples the myths originated.  And, as I discovered when researching Ereshkigal, there is often much more to the popularised version of the myth we know today when a myth originating from another group of people is known.

Since I have been on this journey, it is interesting to note the information coming my way - a touring exhibition of artefacts being displayed at the Melbourne Museum, the timing of an event at the local planetarium with respect to the ancient skies (the Babylonians were renown for their planetary knowledge) that I had been trying to attend for a couple of years fits my calendar, and recently a hard to find book becoming "available" to me.

Part of my research will be the construction of a ritual for a relatively lesser known God who, despite actually playing an important part in one of the ancient myths, he does not often get mentioned.  The more I research about the culture in general, however, the more it becomes evident (at least to me anyhow) that this particular God has been "unjustly" depicted these days as something little more than a "demon".  Armed with the research that I have gathered, a completely different character is emerging, at least to me anyhow.

This just goes to show that despite the seemingly endless supply of information that appears to be so readily available today, it is still vitally important to check sources and undertake your own research - not to take things on face value.

After all, it is a wise magician who will  beleive nothing and test everything for their own self.

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