Track By Tracks: Downcast Twilight - Wrath Of The Anunnaki (2018)

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1. SNARLING CHAOS:
[Notes: In Mesopotamian mythology Tiamat is the personification of the primordial matter, Chaos, which gave birth to the world. She is also referred to as “Thalatte”, a variant of the Greek “Thalassa”, or “sea” and is considered the goddess of the oceans as well as the “mother of dragons” who had poison instead of blood running through their veins. In Assyrian theology there was a time prior to the creation of the world where only the gods existed and a horrendous war between them took place. After the initial couple of creation, Tiamat and her husband Abzu (the god of fresh water or the Germinating Principle) had become estranged two camps were formed: Abzu on the one side with the gods (Marduk, Bel, Ea, etc.) and on the other hand Tiamat with an army of therianthropes (men-beasts and demons) which she spawned out of the primeval chaos under her control. Thus, in an attempt to usurp the “throne of the world”, Tiamat attacks the gods with her host of monstrosities and she herself is in the form of a great serpent]

2. THE GLORY OF BEL:
[Notes: Bel simply means “lord” and is a very common title for the great god of Babylon, Marduk. It should not be confused with the Canaanite god, Baal, the storm-god. However, initially Marduk was one of the lesser gods, probably a storm-god, just like Baal. In Mesopotamian religion, after Tiamat and her armies marched against the gods and instilled great fear and dismay within their ranks, Marduk rose up to accept the challenge. He rode forth with a spear and net and fought the forces of chaos on his own. He clashed with Tiamat herself (who was in the form of a gigantic serpent), trapped her in his net and killed her with his great spear thus embodying probably the earliest form of the “dragonslayer hero” mythos. Out of the lifeless carcass of the dragon of chaos (Tiamat) he carved the world as we know it by severing pieces of her body and arranging them in the void. His victory earned him a “promotion” in the pantheon, and he became the god of heaven and earth and of all orderly creation, par excellence. Human history and time itself, according to Assyrian theology, begins right after the victory and enthronement of Marduk]

3. OANNES RISING:
[Notes: Oannes, alson known as Adapa or Uan, was the first of seven wise beings which were sent to the antediluvian earth by the wise god Ea, to teach mankind all the fundamentals of civilization: writing, laws, agriculture, religious rites and every aspect which characterizes a civilized society. Oannes, even though of divine descent, was not an immortal. He emerged from the sea and is depicted as half fish (from the waist down) and half man (from the waist up). On his head he wears either a rounded or a cloven miter, reminiscent of the ceremonial wear used today by the prelate of the Roman Catholic church. According to some, Oannes is identical to the Semitic fish-god, Dagon. Upon completion of his “missionary” work Oannes was established as the first priest of Ea, in the temple of Eapsu, in Eridu. After his death, his mortal remains (fish bones) were venerated as sacred relics. It is perhaps due to this that in many Mesopotamian temples carp bones have been found in a place of honor near the shrine. According to other researchers the fish-man Oannes is simply an allusion to a mariner: a man from an advanced civilization out at sea (Atlantis?) who arrived in the continental Middle East and disseminated the technical knowledge of his people in order to help establish a colony or a bastion.].   Lyric video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZXHbhQogik

4. WRATH OF THE ANUNNAKI:
[NOTES: The Anunnaki, the ensemble of the Mesopotamian gods, are enraged with the impiety of mankind and decide to punish them by purging the earth with a deadly flood. This is probably the earliest “flood myth” in recorded history. All the gods are in accord that this cataclysmic deed must be done but the benevolent god Ea takes pity on a man loyal and pious to him, Shamashnapishtim, and warns him ahead of time. In order to do so, however, he could address the man directly because it would be a mortal offence to divulge the secrets of his immortal brethren to a mere mortal. So, instead, Ea addresses a hedge of reeds near which Shamashnapishtim is. Ea bids the pious man to build an ark and put in it his family, his servants, all that he has of gold, all that he has of silver and all the seed of life. He gives Shamash very exact and precise dimensions and instructions on how to build this ark. After that the deluge ensues and covers the entire earth in water for seven days. On the second day the ark runs aground on the top of mount Nisir but it is not only until the seventh day, when the skies hd vented their fury and the waters had receded somewhat that Shamash ventured to release a white dove to search for dry land. The pigeon returned. Then he released a swallow and the swallow also returned, having found no dry land. Finally, he released a raven and the raven did not return. Thus he knew that the waters had abated enough. Shamash went out on the mountaintop, offered sacrifice to the Anunnaki and “the gods gathered around the smoke of the sacrifice like flies”, as the cuneiform tablets write].

5. THE JOURNEY OF GILGAMESH:
[Notes: In what is classed by modern scholars as the “second part” of the “epic of Gilgamesh” our hero, Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk wanders mourning and in grief through the wild, lamenting the loss of his good friend, the primitive man Enkidu. Filled with fear of death he decided to seek out Utnapishtim ("the Faraway"). This Utnapishtim and his wife are survivors of the Great Flood and the only two mortals who have been blessed with immortality by the gods. At the beginning of his journey Gilgamesh finds himself surrounded by a pride of lions in the night. He prays to the Moon-god, Sin, and is granted the strength to kill all the lions single-handedly. He then wears their skins and proceeds to distant lands. He crosses a tunnel, which no other man has ever crossed, guarded by fierce scorpion-men. These guardians, recognizing Gilgamesh’s divine origin, allow him to pass through. Gilgamesh emerges from the tunnel and crosses mountains taking the “Road of the Sun” until he reaches the hidden garden of the gods (paradise / paridayda, in old Iranian, meaning a "walled enclosure") where the Faraway lives with his wife. There grow trees who bear precious jewels instead of fruit. The Faraway tells Gilgamesh that immortality cannot be attained by mortals but only through the grace of the gods but, in parting, gives him a plant named Ur-shanabi, the "Plant of Heartbeat", which can restore a man’s vigor and youth. Gilgamesh leaves, feeling that the goal of his journey has been accomplished, but on the way back he stops to bathe in a lake and while he’s distracted a serpent steals away the Plant of the Heartbeat, sheds its skin and escapes, leaving Gilgamesh to return to Uruk empty-handed. This narrative is highly allegorical on many level and to those familiar with Alchemical symbolism and terminology it is a striking metaphor for the tribulations, trials and steps of the “Great Work”]. 

6. LOST BOOKS OF THE STARS:
[NOTES: In a variant form of the Mesopotamian flood myth, the god Xisuthros bids Shamashnapishtim and his people to bury the sacred books of their ancestors before the deluge breaks out in the town of Sippara. These were books in which “their ancestors had set forth the sacred sciences, books of omens and oracles”. After the end of the flood, when the waters had receded and the fury of the gods was spent, Xisuthros, invisible – like a disembodied voice from the sky-  calls to the survivors of the ark to unearth the buried books. Shamashnapishtim’s servants and family members do so and it is said that this way not only did they rescue all the knowledge of the ancient world from destruction but that they also wrote many other such books in the postdiluvian world. This notion of ancient knowledge surviving a global cataclysm can also be found in the flood myths of various other cultures around the globes. What is referred to as “sacred science” is most probably astrology – a science much maligned and ridiculed in the present day due to the abuses of its so-called professors. However, all religious and spiritual connotations aside, to know the position, movement and succession of the stars means (in very plain and practical terms) that one is able to measure time, regulate such things as harvest and sowing periods, know his exact location on the earth and thus navigate accordingly – all of which are crucial to the establishment of an organized and prosperous society].

7. SLAYER OF THE SERPENT:
[Notes: Baal, the Canaanite storm-god, is probably one of the earliest incarnations of the “dragonslayer” archetype in mythology. He fights with the river and sea serpent, Tunnanu (the twisted serpent), otherwise called Litan, the fugitive serpent (the Biblical Leviathan) and also “the mighty one with the Seven Heads”. Just like the Norse storm-god, Thor, he manages to vanquish his serpentine foe and thus become a patron god of sailors and all sea-farers due to his ability to subdue the fury of the waters and, at the same time, control the mood of the skies. Baal was worshiped as the chief deity in many Mesopotamian cities and his list of surnames is vast. It is interesting to note that one of his most common ones, “The lord of the flies” (Baʿal Zebub or Beelzebub), refers to his particular faculty of warding off disease-bearing flies. In the hot and humid climates of the Middle East flies were often carriers of disease and corruption, either by their bite or their contact with meats that were destined for human consumption and, therefore, a god with the “hygienic” attribute to chase them away was held in high esteem. It is interesting to note that even in the market place of ancient Athens a shrine has been found dedicated to the “fly-banishing Athena”].

8. ELDER TERRORS OF THE DEEP:
[NOTES: Terrible sea-monsters, dragon-like or with many heads and phosphorescent bodies, are described in many instances in the creation myths of ancient Middle-Eastern cultures. They represent the forces of chaos, unformed matter and they clash with the heroes and gods of antiquity who, in turn, stand for order and man’s dominion over the wildness and devastating unruliness of nature. The biblical Leviathan (although described merely as yet another creature of God’s creation, albeit a fearsome and prodigious one) is a development of the Canaanite sea-monster, Lotan. The storm-gods, Baal and Hadad, had waged war against these humongous creatures and emerged victorious, thus establishing their power. This particular song describes the general notion of what historians call a “Chaoskampf” (struggle against Chaos) without going into any particular mythical story. It is interesting to note that in the most ancient legends surviving to this day the beginnings of life as we know it on earth started from monstrous and frightening forms of life living in the sea who were later on “subdued” or “divided” into the more tame and “human-friendly” world].  Lyric video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA7__Ub3iq8

9. MASTER OF THE FOREST:
[NOTES: After his initial adventures and achievement of demigod status, Gilgamesh reigns as king of Uruk. He is a gigantic man of prodigious strength and voracious appetites. He wages bloody war and lusts after every woman – as the ancient epic says, “Gilgamesh does not send one child back to his father, he leaves not a single virgin to her mother”. The people of Uruk, fed up and tired of the general, insatiable enthusiasm of Gilgamesh pray to Ishtar to give him a companion, a friend, so as their king could have an equal to his god-like powers and occupy his time without dragging the lives of mere mortals into his demanding and tiresome escapades. Ishtar orders the goddess Aruru to create “a man of Ninib, a man of Anu” out of clay – Eabani, who is to be the future loyal friend of Gilgamesh. Eabani is portrayed as a primitive man, a satyr or a therianthrope sometimes. He lives in the deep woods, has mastery over all the wild animals, knows all things past and future and his strength is only equal to that of Gilgamesh. The two friends-to-be start off as rivals, since Eabani is presented as a menace to the city of Uruk. However, no one of Gilgamesh’s hunters are able to capture or subdue this savage “master of the forest”. A priestess, however, ventures into the forest where Eabani dwells and by luring him with her feminine charms manages to subdue him. After “six days and seven nights” of intense passion in the woods, Eabani’s desire is sated only to find out that all his beasts have fled away and he has lost his immense powers (just like Samson when Delilah cut off his long hair). He is hopelessly in love with the priestess who leads him back as a captive to Uruk.]

10. ERESHKIGAL’S THRONE:
[NOTE: The Sumerian Underworld (a.k.a. Land of the Dead) was known simply as “Earth” or “Ground” or the ever-so-cliché “Land of no return”. Just like the underworlds of all early peoples, it was a bleak place to be for all who entered it: demons wandered around in the shadows and the dead had nothing to eat but dust, unless their living relatives offered regular food offerings on their graves. Ereshkigal was the queen of that dark, sad realm and she ruled together with her consort, Nergal. However, judgement in her kingdom was hers alone. Judgement is not to be understood as a system of “eternal reward or damnation”. Yes, Ereshkigal could decree that a dead soul could be let free back into the world of the living or condemn one to eternal incarceration in the “Earth” but her judgment was more like that of a temporal ruler than that of an omnipotent divine being. In Sumerian theology, the afterlife was devastatingly egalitarian: kings and common men shared the same miserable fate and even gods joined them, for gods could die as well. The demons dwelling there were just as miserable as anyone else and ever sought to escape and emerge out into the world to wreak havoc; so Ereshkigal also had the role of “lion-tamer” or, sometimes, that of “avenger” (by chastising irreverent mortals by letting the demons go free). In the Sumerian hymn known as “The Descent of Inanna”, Ereshkigal is referred to as the older sister of Ishtar / Inanna.  The Greek Hades as well as the Old Testament’s version of Hell, Sheol, were underworld realms almost identical to that of the Sumerians]. 

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