ANU

THE SKYFATHER AND LORD OF THE GREAT ABOVE

 

TABLE OF CORRESPONDENCES

MOTHER (ERIDU MODEL)

NAMMU, THE SEA

MOTHER (BABYLONIAN MODEL)

KISHAR

FATHER (BABYLONIAN MODEL)

ANSHAR

SPOUSE AND CONSORTS

KI (also NAMMU AND NINMAH)

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

FATHER OF THE IGIGI AND ANNUNNAKI

MAIN TEMPLE

EANNA (URUK)

STRENGTHS

SUPREME AUTHORITY, SUSTAINER OF THE UNIVERSE, FATHER OF ALL GODS

SYMBOL

HORNED CROWN UPON THE SHRINE

SACRED ANIMAL

BULL OF HEAVEN

 


 

 The name of the Mesopotamian Skyfather and Lord of Firmament, or the Great Above, is written with the sign that means heaven. It also stands for the determinative of divinity in Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite. In Babylon, He is called Anu.

According to the Southern Creation Myth, or the Eridu Model, He (the Firmament) and Ki came into being out of Nammu, the Sea, the Primeval Mother of all for the Sumerians. Ki, the Earth, was his sister-beloved since the time of conception, when they lay in each otherīs arms within Mother Nammu. Later, when Heaven and Earth were separated by Enlil, the young Air God, Kiīs and Anuīs firsborn, from the Heights Above where He found his sacred space, Anu came down to Ki (the Living Earth) to make life grow. Or, in the words of time immemorial:

" The Great Earth made herself glorious, her body flourished with greenery. Wide Earth put on silver metal and lapis lazuli ornaments, adorned herself with diorite, calcedony, carnelian, and diamonds. Sky covered the pastures with irresistible sexual attraction, presented himself in majesty, The pure young woman showed herself to the pure Sky, the vast Sky copulated with the wide Earth, the seed of the heroes Wood and Reed he ejaculated into her womb, the Earth, the good cow, received the good seed of Sky in her womb. The Earth, for the happy birth of the Plants of Life, presented herself " (Dijk J. Van "The Birth of Wood and Reed", Acta Orientaliia 28 I, p.45).

Anu is therefore Lord of Creation, whose main symbol, the horned crown, is also the symbol of the king and the high priest, or Supreme Authority over all realms. Anu is the one who has all and no powers, all and no attributes, about whom little can be said, perhaps the closest image of Kether in the Caballa, showing once again that the Sacred Tree of Knowledge is, if not of Mesopotamian origin, it is heavily Mesopotamian-inspired. From clay tablets, we also learn that He loved and was loved by other goddesses, and as such, with Nammu, he fathered Enki and Ereshkigal, whereas there are references that with beloved Ki He fathered Ninurtaīs main opponent, the warrior Azag, king of plants (opposing Ninurta as the champion of agriculture later turned metallurgist and champion of the gods).

The antiquity of An as a divine personality is subject to controversy. His cult, as well as the cult of Inanna, is thought to have developed at Uruk. It is not certain whether both were worshipped in Uruk in times as ancient as Uruk IV.

During the Old Sumerian period, Anu is a component of several royal names from Uruk and Ur. But due to the polyvalence of this sign, this does not necessarily prove that it always stands for the god Himself. However, by the middle of the second millennium BCE, He is mentioned in the Fara god-lists, in prayers by Urukian kings (Lugalzaggesi), as well as in royal inscriptions from Kish (Lugaltarsi). His Sumerian title (lugal.kur.kur.ra, king of all the lands) points to his superior authority in the pantheon. "Appointed priest of Anu" formed part of the royal titles since the Sargonic Dynasty. Durint the Ur III and Isin-Larsa period, the popularity of His cult is well documented by numerous hymns and prayers. He also appears in many personal names, especially among the Akkadian population. Professor Stefan Maul in his excellent article on Ancient Capitals (also in Gateways) states that:

"... Mesopotamian kings legitimated themselves not only through the fact that they came from ancient ruling families, but emphasized that they came "from the eternal seed," from "the precious seed dating from the time before the flood," from "families of primeval times." According to myths as well, the gods created "the king" directly following the creation of humans so that he could guide humans correctly. The duty of a king consisted [therefore] of protecting the world as it has been ordered by the gods during creation and of restoring it to that condition. "

Here we have one of the major clues to one of the mysteries of Anu and His function as the founder of dynasties and bestower of kingship: authority as a condition to serve all worlds. The king, as the appointed priest of Anu had to ensure order in the Great Below that reflected the harmony of the Great Above, symbolised by the Eternity of the Firmament, Anu.

From the Old Babylonian period onwards, Anu was usually acknowledged as one of the three most senior deities of the pantheon (together with Enlil, Ea, Ninhursag and Ishtar), especially in official royal inscriptions and pantheon lists.

Anuīs function in theological texts and myth is primarily one of authority, and His classic epithet is "The Great An" or an.gal. He is represented at the apex of the divine hierarchy. His command is the very foundation of heave and earth. His main temple is the Eanna, in Uruk, and letīs turn again to Professor Maul, who says that:

"An only recently discovered myth from the early 2nd millennium BC ... describes the primeval history of Eanna, the highest temple in Uruk. Although it had been restored hundreds of times, this (really existing, visible) temple was, according to the text, regarded as originally not the work of humans, but rather of An, the God of the heavens, who was forced by his daughter Inanna-Ishtar to give up his heavenly palace and to settle on earth so that his temple there could serve as the Goddess' earthly residence." (Ancient Capitals., ibid.)

I have not got hold of this myth as yet, but find it a wondrous metaphor that Divine Inspiration and Authority should always walk hand in hand with the Grounding of Insight (and Empowerment) in the Physical world. This can only be done by the Work of Dedication, Devotion and Love, very much the idea of Inanna/Ishtar, the Gutsy Great Goddess of Love and War of Mesopotamia, and thus we reach a better understanding for the closeness of Inanna and Anu, who were together worshipped in the Eanna, the great temple of Uruk. In other words, the Skyfatherīs gifts (or the gifts of the High Spiritual Planes) should always be realised as a Labour of Love in the Physical Plane, and Inanna is the image of Transcendent, Vibrant Humankind. Again, we have another fact to ground the Mesopotamian justification for the alchemical maxim "From the Great Above to the Great Below", much before the Egyptian Hermes of the Corpus Hermeticum fame.

Or "volatilize Matter, solidify Spirit", a favorite alchemical quotation of mine. Real spiritual life should always be lived to the fullest. As well as reality is more important than dreams, but Dreams ensoul Reality that we make be all days.

In the Phoenician Letters, by Davies and Zur, we have the following about Anu:

a) Founder of Kingship: ..." He is a master of men, a founder of dynasties, the palace that houses, He is the harvests in their fruitfulness, He is the drop of rain on the branch, the king of all things. He is their security, and the sound that pierces them. He maketh fear in all things. He is the clay of chaos which is the flesh of all existing. He is the pointing hand and the hand outstretched for mercy. He is the teacher of all. From Him all the oceans of the world gain their power. From Him is all growth and decay. He forces all about. He is the eye that perceives and the mouth that names. He is the perfect man and the tempter of men. By Him all things reproduce themselves. He is the cause of all, the beginning of all creation. He is the cycles of all and the signs therein. He is one, there is no other beside Him".

b) Anu as the All and the No Thing: "The crown has no center, but it describes a center, for it surrounds it by declaring what that center is not. Wherefore, when we praise Anu, we praise Him by saying what He is not, for how can we say anything about the cause of all? If we could, then we would know the cause of all and we should be Anu. When, therefore, we seek to know the divine, we first declare the realms of the gods and those qualities of the divine which is proper to declare, and then we proceed to strip away these qualities, and so by negation we describe, as a circle center, where the divine Anu rests [Lishtarīs emphasis]; for when the gods retreat from creation they go only so far as the parapet of heaven, which same is the crown of Anu. These, then congregate, as bees around the honey, as women at the rim of the well. At such time they may be said to be the faces of the one".

Later Babylonian texts such as the one on Lahar and Ashnan, specifically credit Anu with the divine intelligence that conceived and sustained the Universe. He was in charge of the divine ordinances, the Me, and decrees of fates. On earth, he conferred kingship. With the growing importance of Nippur, the cult centre of Enlil, Anuīs and Kiīs first born who originally manifested power rather than authority, gradually acquired a status equal to that of His father, and was said to dispense authority and fate either with or on behalf of Anu.

 Finally, it must not be forgotten that the sky is the realm of constellations and planets. Astral observation was a fundamental part of ancient civilizations and the notion of "as above so below", which in Mesopotamia is commonly expressed by the expression "From the Great Above to the Great Below" forms the basis of all divination. Think fo the sense of wonder the night skies brought to the first Mesopotamian mystics and you will start understanding how they experienced the Skyfather and the Great Above. And keep in mind that in this respect, Anu is the cosmic counterpart of the World Below, ki.gal.

Personally, I find of major significance the understanding of the Skyfather along Mesopotamian lines to attempt to heal the SkyLord as an Archetype of Male Wholeness. Anu is first met in Sumer as the beloved of the Earth Mother Ki, in whose loving embrace all the Great Gods, the Anunnaki and the Igigi were engendered, then the bestower of kingship and empowerment, and as the Heavenly Father who descends again and again, ever to return to Sacred Shrine (Ki-Earth-Temple) as a heartfelt request of His younger daughter, Inanna/Ishtar.

 

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