ENKI

THE FRESH WATERS LORD, MASTER OF ALL CRAFTS, MAGICK AND WISDOM

Shaman
A favorite picture of the Divine Magician by Susan Seddon-Boulet

TABLE OF CORRESPONDENCES

MOTHER (ERIDU MODEL)

NAMMU, THE SEA

FATHER (ERIDU MODEL)

ANU (THE SKYFATHER)

SPOUSE AND CONSORTS

DAMKINA - NINHURSAG-KI - NINMAH

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

MARDUK, DUMUZI, NANSHE, ETC.

MAIN TEMPLE

E-ENGURRA (ERIDU)

STRENGTHS

VERSATILITY, WIT, STRATEGY, MAGICK, CRAFTS, WISDOM, JOY

SYMBOL

RAM-HEADED STAFF, A VESSEL WITH OVERFLOWING WATER

SACRED ANIMAL

GOAT-FISH, TORTOISE

Lishtar, November 5th 1999.

for my Goth Bard


Enki is the Sumerian god of the sweet fertilising waters of the deep, patron of all crafts, magick and wisdom, later known as Ea by the Babylonians and Assyrians. Together with Anu, the Skyfather, Enlil, Lord Air/Wind, and Ninhursag-Ki, He is one of the ruling deities of Mesopotamia, the god who is friendlier to humankind and who interacts with Goddesses (and the Feminine) with graciousness unmatched in world myth and religion. Enkiīs name can either be taken to mean Lord Earth, but KI also stands for Below in regard to the cosmic structure prevailing in Ancient Mesopotamia, where An (Sky and Skyfather) is the Above. Enki is present ever since the earliest documents from the Old Sumerian period, associated to the sweet fertilising underground waters, the apsu/abzu. One of His epithets is Nudimmud, or "He who Creates". In essence, together with older brother Enlil, Enki represents the fundamental values of Sumerian civilisation, because to Enlilīs vision manifested through the power of His Word, Enki gives form and substance. He is the one who can think, plan and organize, as well as advise and use Wide Understanding and Magick to solve what is apparently beyond possible solution, manifesting therefore His power through wit, wisdom, ingenuity and subtlety. Later, as in the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation Epic, Enki is the son of Anshar and Kishtar, the primeval father and mother of the great gods.

In terms of genealogy, Enki is the son of Anu, the Skylord, and Nammu, the Sea, the primeval sea waters that caused An and Ki to be born in Her embrace. Enki and his twin sister Ereshkigal were born from the sadness that Anu felt when he was torn apart from Ki, from the tears the Skylord shed for his beloved Mother Earth. Here we have a first important clue to understand Enkiīs depth. He is born from a longing greater than the heart itself, and thus grew to fulfil his destiny by connectedeness, fruitfulness and passion. Enkiīs consort is Damkina, who can also be identified with Ninhursag-Ki. He is the father of Marduk, the God of Babylon, Dumuzi/Tammuz, the Divine Bridegroom of Inanna/Ishtar, Damu, the Mesopotamian Divine Child, Nanshe, the goddess of all fishes and good things, as well as Ningal, the Moon Lordīs beloved, to name just a few of his offspring. In many god lists, Enki occupies the third place, right after Anu and Enlil and on a par with Ninhursag-Ki. He is also well attested in personal names and seal inscriptions since the earliest times.

Enkiīs main cult-centre was the lagoon-based Eridu, in South Mesopotamia, the oldest city in Sumer on the coast of the Persian sea. There He built His temple, the E-abzu or E-engurra. The temple, decorated with silver, lapis lazuli, carnelian and gold, was established on the bank of a river, and its foundations reached deep into the underground sweet. It was a building of wonder: the brickwork gave Enki advice, while the surrounding reed fences roared like a bull. The roof-beam was shaped like the bull of heaven, and a kion gripping a man formed the gateway. The overall effect was described as a lusty bull. Enki also filled the building with lyres, drums and musical instruments. Surrounding the temple was a delightful garden full of fruit trees, with birds singing all around and frolicking carp playing among the reeds in the streams. Archaeological records show that it is exactly in Eridu that are located the remains of the oldest temple and settlement in Mesopotamia. In the Sumerian King-List, Eridu is the place "where kingship descended from the Heavens" or the seat of the first dynasty of the land. Eridu remained an important city throughout Mesopotamian history, and temples to Enki could also be found in Ashur, Babylon, Isin, Larsa, Lagash, Mari, Nippur, Ur, Uruk etc. Many year-names refer to the renovation and dedication of temples to Enki, particularly during the Ur III and the Old Babylonian periods.

His symbols include the goat-fish, the sacred animal who can swim the deepest waters and climb the highest heights, the tortoise, a ram-headed staff, a ship and a vessel with overflowing water.

For those interested in Egyptian-Mesopotamian parallels, like Osiris and the Nile River in Egypt, Enki bestows the powers of the fertile sweet waters upon Mesopotamia. Different from Osiris, who dies and resurrects in the annual floods of the Nile, Enkiīs watery power never dies and is a living, joyous force. It is indeed said that the rivers Tigris and Euphrates were sprung from Enkiīs own loins, and that "the Lord of the watery deeps filled the fertile channels of the waterways with his seed" (see Samuel Noah Kramerīs The Sumerians, p. 179). Semen and water share the same pictographic characters in Sumerian, by the way.

Enkiīs sacred number is 40, and His atrological region is 12 degrees south in the sky (includes Pisces and Aquarius)

ENKIīS POWERS

Thorkild Jacobsen (Treasures of Darkness, Yale University Press, 1976, London, New Heaven) states that Enki represents firstly the numinous powers in the sweet waters in river and marshes or rain, and this assumption will be also reiterated in The Phoenician Letters, as quoted below in this essay. In iconography, Enki is usually pictured with two streams, the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers flowing out of his shoulders, or from a vase he holds. We could very well say that He holds a Grail that overflows with plenty, the Sumerian way! One of his epithets is the Productive Manager of the Soil, reflecting His leading role in fructifying and fertilising the land. Water, by the way, means also semen in Sumerian.

Secondly, Jacobsen states that Enki is the Image Fashioner, the one who gives shape to all, a power that makes him the patron of artists and craftspersons, such as potters, bronze casters, stone cutters, jewelers, seal cutters (very important) and others.

Thirdly, as water cleanses all, Enki is the god of ritual lustration and purification from polluting evil. A common pattern in Sumerian incantations has Enkiīs son Asarluhi discover some evil. Thus His association with Magick and hidden knowledge that has the potential to create and alter realities in attunement with the Highest Will of the Universe.

The fourth power that can be attributed to Enki that relates to the Watery Deeps is Empathy and Depth of Feeling that takes action to affect necessary healing. Enki never refuses to help whoever comes to Him, in a vision of Altruism at service to existence. His emotions, nevertheless, are tempered by understanding, wit and humor. It seems that Enki is always in control of them: He feels deeply inside but does not necessarily display or overreacts in trying circumstances. His is a state of mind, heart, body and soul that connects, binds and is strong enough even in silence. Indeed, His is the listening silence, the helping hand that is there for us, when there is a need.

The fifth power is joy and sexyness. Enki seems to be at ease with the feminine, and even when confronted by the mighty figures of Ninhursag and the bossy youthfulness of Inanna the Sweet Waters Lord shows graciousness in victory and defeat. Joy is such a great power that is so little explored by post-Mesopotamians. Sadly, post-Mesopotamians lack the gifts of the Greatest of all Magician Gods, simply because of their denial of Magick as theurgy or the work of creation, of the Feminine, of their insistence in dichotomies that are fortunately very fast being eroded by us here and now.

Letīs face it: Semitic influence in Mesopotamia brought all the dualities and dichotomies that created the abyss between Matter and Spirit, Heaven and Earth, etc. It is not possible to conciliate both views, especially regarding High Magickal Arts.

But in Enki we have the link with a reality that only lived in the hearts, minds, bodies and souls of the true followers of the Tradition. For in Him we can find first the shaman/shamanka whose musings late at night led to the contemplation of the stars. This shaman later became the Wise Priest, the Adapa, who lived to serve the gods and the community, and the Adapa joined efforts with the Justified Ruler and Inspirer (symbolised by the vision of Enlil and the ruler metaphor whose center is Nippur).

Because in the end, in the most beautiful mystery of the Magician God is that in Him the artificer, the artist, the priest and the lover are united as One. He brings joy to the work and creativity to all planes. There is nothing that He cannot achieve, He is the Master of all possibilities, whose youthfulness is timeless, a devoted brother, friend, sexy lover, the god who relates to all and the Eternal Feminine in special in full equality. This is the way of High Magick, and how could it be otherwise?

ENKI IN MESOPOTAMIAN MYTHS

In almost all Mesopotamian great myths, Enki or His deeds play a decisive role. When in need, it is to Him that all gods come to solve the most intricate problems and moral dilemmas, trusting Enkiīs wit, resourcefulness, wisdom and compassion. Below are some of His mighty deeds:

1) We need first to refer to myths that are not very much discussed in the literature but which may very well contain many seeds of historical information to explain metapoetically the success of Sumerian civilisation in Mesopotamia. The first myth we will refer to is Enki and the World Order, which is a creation myth from the standpoint of organisation, integrated development and prosperity as commanded by Enki, who was given authority to do all this by Anu, the Skyfather and Enlil, the proud Air God and Enkiīs older brother. We have therefore clearly stated in this myth that the arts of civilisation, the institutions and crafts, as well as economies, are Enkiīs gifts to humanity. What we also have and that is overlooked by many scholars is a creation myth from the time of the Sumerians explain the beginning of Sumer as a success story based on work and efforts in concert to shape up new realities. And the same foundation underlies the myth The Eridu Genesis, where we learn that "kingship descended from the heavens to Eridu" (Enkiīs city) and that who teaches humankind to leave the nomadic state was Ninhursag-Ki, here called Nintur. The black-headed people in the myth refer to the Sumerians, whose origin is still disputed, but who left a beautiful imprint of values upon Mesopotamia as a whole;

2) We also learn that Enki sails to the Underworld presumably to rescue Ereshkigal, his twin sister, when She is taken by the spell of the Land of No Return. Thus, Enkiīs Descent and return might be the first of the Underworld initiations in Mesopotamian mythology. We do not have many details on this journey, only that Enki risked his life to rescue Ereshkigal and was assailed by creatures with stones on his way. A retelling of might have been this adventure is in Gateways in Enki and Ereshkigal;

2) In one of my favorite myths of the Cycle of Inanna, Enki gives to Inanna the Me, the Sacred Measures of Heavenly and Earthly powers He received from Enlil for safekeeping. He also tests the limits of the young goddess to see whether She would be a worthy guardian of these great powers, which She was and is. The me were first assembled by Enlil in Ekur and given to Enki to guard and impart to the world, beginning with Eridu, his center of worship. From there, he guardeds the me and imparted them on the people, until Inannaīs arrival, when the Measures through Inanna are directed towards Uruk, symbolising a new sphere of power in South Mesopotamia;

3) Enki always succors other gods and perhaps the most flashing example of his resources is the creation of two genderless creatures to rescue Inanna/Ishtar from the Underworld on the occasion of Inannaīs Descent. Simply Enki is the god who knows and understands better than any other that Inanna/Ishtar, the archetypal Lover and Beloved should not go missing from the Heights Above forever, because as the twin brother of Ereshkigal he knows better than anyone else his sisterīs longing for company in the Land of No Return;

4) With Ninhursag-Ki, Enkiīs favorite Opponent and Complement, Enki creates humankind to carry on for the gods and with them the workings of existence in the physical plane. As humankind's patron, he is the instructor of all crafts, writing, building, farming, and magic.

5) In the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation Epic, Enki aligns with the younger gods to defeat Tiamat and Apsu by putting Apsu under a sleeping spell, and slaying him to prevent the killing of the younger generation of gods. He then retires to build his quarters, naming it the Apsu, the underworld ocean that supports the world. There, in his private chambers, with beloved consort Damkina, Marduk, the great god of Babylon, is conceived. Enkiīs advice to Marduk is also of paramount importance for the defeat of Tiamat in the same epic;

6) Enki helps Nergal to outwit Ereshkigal twice in the happiest and most passionate of all love stories in the Underworld;

7) He instructs Ninurta on how to kill the treacherous Anzu bird, who had stolen from Enlil the Tablets of Destiny in the Myth of Anzu;

8) He aligns with humankind outwitting Enlil in the Flood myth, and the proud Lord Air is made to revise his ways in the same myth. Enki first refuses to send the flood to exterminate humans and advises Atrahasis/Ziusudra/Utnapishtim to build a boat, the predecessor of Noahīs Ark, and thus save the living from utter destruction;

9) In the Epic of Gilgamesh (which also contains an account on how Enki saved humanity from the flood), He tells Nergal to allow Enkiduīs spirit to visit Gilgamesh in the 12th Tablet;

10) To Adapa, the archetypal priest-king of early Sumer, Enki teaches all crafts of the wise.

In short, Enki/Ea is the god that best personalises the joy, passion, courage and resourcefulness of Everlasting Babylon, and these myths provide plenty of examples to ground this affirmative.

 

DEBUNKING THE IMAGE OF ENKI THE TRICKSTER

Although Trickster gods play an important role in world myth and religion, it is very important to stress that a closer examination of Enkiīs character and deeds in myth disprove the assumption that He may be a trickster god. Letīs proceed to examine the issue in detail and we start with a defining what the literature says about trickster Gods.

According to Joseph Campbell (The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1988, Princeton University Press), trickster Gods are liars, cheat, jokers and fool. They are cruel, lecherous and without pity on their victims. As shapeshifters, they often disguise themselves in many human or animal forms. They epitomize disorder and destruction. These are the negative aspects of trickster gods, and Loki in the Teutonic pantheon can be seen as one, Hermes/Mercury, who are also patron of thieves and merchants, as well as Coyote in Native American mythology, who teaches mostly by a wry sense of humor.

Now, in the light of the above traits of character which prevail in trickster gods, we can see that none of these negative aspects can be attributed to Enki. Enki does not lie, but as we proved in our indepth analysis of the myth of Adapa, we need to look deep within and go beyond appearances to the Essence to follow Him fully. Enki is never a cheat, nor a joker, neither a fool nor a shapeshifter. I repeat: none of these traits are present in Enkiīs myths or apply to His character, thus making it utterly wrong to place Him on a par with trickster deities.

On the contrary, Enki always uses Magick altruistically when called upon to succor a god/dess or another being (Ereshkigal he went to rescue first when She was taken by the spell of Kur, Inanna and Nergal in their descents to the Underworld for example, or Ziusudra/Utnapishtim and Atrahasis in the several accounts of the Flood Story). Enki never shapeshifts, although He can help others do so (as Nergal in Nergal and Ereshkigal). Indeed, Enki is always true to His own essence, as well as is fundamentally a trouble-shooter god, never a troublemaker who brings conflict and death to the world. On the contrary, He is the mediator whose compassion and sense of humor breaks the wrath of Enlil, who immediately has to review his ways in the Flood myth for example; He is the stern Challenger who tests the limits of Inanna in Enki and Inanna and the Me and then concedes graciously defeat to the young goddess of Love and War, by strengthening the bonds between Eridu and Uruk. So The Challenger becomes the Empowerer of Inanna.

A trickster god hides his actions, and this is not Enkiīs way of dealing with the situations at hand. Indeed, the contrary takes place: Enki is always direct and upfront. He teaches Nergal on how he should build the magick chair that would represent him to Ereshkigal in the Underworld, we know how He proceeded to create the genderless creatures to save Inanna from the Underworld, and the operations for the creation of humankind are also stated step by step, even if we cannot fathom their full depth. In short, Enki does not hide, neither has a hidden agenda.

Finally, it is also said that trickster gods bring humor and joy with Them, and this is true for Enki, especially in his passionate dealings with Ninhursag-Ki, or the loving but slightly patronising way He behaves towards Inanna (i.e. Inanna and Enki and Enki and the World Order).

It is therefore clear that Enk/Ea is not a Trickster god. As far as my experience of Enki is concerned, He has taught me a great deal especially by stretching my limits to try and see hope, wholeness and healing beyond lifeīs hardest trials. And from the start He has brought to me the gifts of the Holy Fool, laughter, understated sexyness, passion and enthusiasm for the Great Work in all spheres and worlds I thread upon.

Thus, I am delighted to say that we can put aside as wrong and superficial all analysis that has placed Enki into the trickster category. This is a major balance and healing Gateways to Babylon is proud to restore in all levels and spheres in the Light and Living Force of the Mesopotamian Tradition.

ENKI IN "THE PHOENICIAN LETTERS"

Enki/Ea corresponds to Letter 6, and these are his main attributes according to The Phoenician Letters:

1) He is primarily hailed as the Lord of all forms which are ever made, changeable and yet remaining always the same in essence, as the master explains:

"Consider water in its many states, mist, cloud, rain, hailstones, snow, ice, streams, rivers, seas. The one thing that is the same in all states is suceptibility to change, it is the nature of water to change. Put it into a skin, and it fills the skin into a pot, it takes the shape of the pot, into air, mist and cloud, snow and ice, into earth, streams and rivers. Even so it is water."

2) Enki brings the understanding of the nature of things and whence they come:

"Ponder on the nature of wood. It is not sharp, it is not brittle. It may be burnt, it can make columns, tables, chairs, chariots and bows, wheels, clubs, spears, rods, canes, beds, baskets, altars, fire, all things for living. What are its characteristics? How can you describe the source of all these things? If you can, you can see the real nature of wood, the laws under which it can operate, what can be mde from it, its strengths and weaknesses, all that its form makes of it. ".

2) Enki teaches us to see the qualities in men and in nature so that we can better judge our deeds and our fates:

"You must learn to see in men their qualities. How material their nature. What joins them to others. What keeps them apart. What direction they move in. To what do they flow. What is their fate. Depend not upon the stars nor upon livers, or the smoke, or upon omens. Each manīs omens are the thing that move him. A monarch must observe the omens that others depend on. He must see the wellspring of all menīs activities.When he sees the laws of his people and their nature he knows by what they are bound, and the fate of the nation. Such understanding is most dangerous, for a king who tells what he sees is already overthrown. Few people can face the knowledge of their actions and their consequences, and if the fate of a man is know, he has no hope. Do not force the understanding upon all, but only upon those who can take their fate upon themselves.

In the forms of all things are written their fate. Learn to recognise it, not repeat not memorise it, for this you cannot hope to do. All changes, and only by recognition of the law under which things operate at the moment of understanding can the fate of anything be seen, and even this may change. It is the fate of the stone in the river to be rolled around by water. But man pick that stone to use in a sling, and the fate of it has been changed. It does not change the form of the stone, and the form of the stone includes ability to kill and the power of being rounded by rubbing, and the ability to be thrown. Each thing has its nature, its own form, its own law under which it must act in order to be what it is."

3) Enki as the Lord of Archetypes or Primeval Forms:

' From all this it can be seen that the god Enki/Ea has no need to act, for from the form, which he gives, all necessary forms of action arise. From the one form, many arise. So that from a basic form of table, all the possible forms of table will in course of time appear. Now the fate of all is a result of two things; when the creative will strikes the receptive power of Ea/Enki, it does not reproduce exactly the form of that willīs power. "

4) Enki as wider understanding to affect present time:

" ... for each event is a new event and must be understood anew. Past understanding which is not brought up into present understanding is bondage of the worst sort, and may be the cause of great injustice and can cause even more unjust action. All events must be seen, judged and understood as they take place, clearly and clearly, each moment anew."

5) Enki as the sustaining power of the fertile waters to bring forth life:

"... for in the water and the soil lie dormant all the shapes and colours and sizes and uses of the seed; for if they were not there, how could even the seed call them forth into being? ... Now, therefore, we can see why Damkina, His wife, is worshipped as the great Mother of all, even greater than resplendent Ishtar, for She is the womb of all, from which all are born in their time. In Her womb, all the seeds of all stars, suns, planets, earths, moons, are nurtured and brought forth when quickened by Enlil, for She is the seed mother, the Great Lady. Ea-Damkina".

6) Enki as the source of occult/hidden knowledge:

"So that it is easy to see that our Lord Ea/Enki, Lord of the Water and Earth, is the lord of the hidden source of form, and by seeing Him in truth we are able to create new knowledge, new science. He is the supporter of truth, for that which is true now and was also true in former times, is both new and old truth and that is His real nature. For the men of former times made good buildings, good pots, good roads, which although they need renewal and repair, still embody good principle which has not changed."

The master closes then his explanations with a blessing, where Enkiīs presence is felt all the way:

"May the one guide your actions in all worlds. May your decisions take place at the correct point. May you be enabled to see the principles of all things that underlie the faces which the world wears. May your language be properly composed to the greater glory of the one". 

ENKIīS GIFTS

Enkiīs gifts are fundamentally awareness and insight of truths that may not be so obvious at first sight, knowledge and knowing seasoned by compassion, wit, humor and empathy to share.His is a vital power that overlfows with generosity to the whole of creation, divine and human alike, embracing the fulness of all Realities.

Personally, I find Enki the most complete and modern mirror of masculine wholeness in Mesopotamia and world religion. His values and attributes are timeless, and it is not surprising to see that He is one of the most beloved gods of Mesopotamia. How can He be so whole? Because in Him the passionate and joyous Lover, the Mystic, the Strategist, the Sorcerer, the Divine Manager, the Keeper of World Order and Rescuer of Humankind and Gods alike are all One.

I have also known Him under the names of Hermes, Odin and Thoth, but Enki is the Name my Sumerian Heart, Mind, Body and Soul connection loves best: the gallant, impetuous, energetic Lord of Wisdom, the Seeker after truth,and Master Adept in sorcery, enchantment and seduction.

Hail Enki, listen to my voice
Hail, Lord, listen to your soul.
Welcome please be to this company
O light that unfolds such a wondrous world
Yours the hand fitted to my glove
Needle to my thread, Friend the very best.
Welcome please be, Lord of my Desire, Candle to my Fire,
Come and kiss your Rose.

 

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