Of all mystery religions of Antiquity, it is perhaps in Mesopotamia that we have one of the most complete and graphical descriptions of the relationship between the Living Spirit and the worshiper in the concept of the Personal God/dess, described as the deity in the sacred pantheon who took special interest in the personīs well-being and family, acting as a Guardian and Protector in all levels and spheres. Thorkild Jacobsen (The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, University of Chicago, 1977, pg. 201 and The Treasures of Darkness, his masterwork on Mesopotamian Religion) states that the personal god/dess appears as the personification of a wo/manīs luck and success, the protector, parent figure in a personīs life. Indeed, our eminent Assyriologist is most certainly right, because the Living Spirit under His/Her 10,000 Names is always the image of Wholeness and Holiness, the face of the Inneffable we confer to a Spiritual Flesh by meditation and worship, and who then becomes later approaches us and, if recognized and acknowledged, becomes our Inner Companion and Guide in the highs and lows of our lives. I have a very strong hunch that the first meeting with the Outer Star to become the Guiding Light in oneīs life was at the moment of birth, by the stars that were in the skies at that auspicious time of day or night. Then as life proceeded, S/He might make Her/HimSelf known to us by Inner Attunement to His/Her Light. I would add that the Personal God/dess is also the Awakener/Torchbearer of our Souls who helps us to open the Inner Channels of Creativity by Empowerment and Grace. S/He may first appear in childhood as the Invisible Friend who is our Inner Companion of wonder and play, to become then the Lover and Friend, many times presenting Him/Herself as the Wondrous Stranger that is known to us as no other. The Personal God/dess is also the Living Spirit that guides us towards self-fulfilment in all worlds by empowering our deeds and dreams, granting us strength and purpose to act as His/Her garment in all levels and spheres. One of my favorite alchemical quotes that reflects this reality is "Blind Soul, arm thyself with the Torch of the Mysteries and in the night of Earth thou shalt find thy Divine Guide. Follow Her/Him, for S/He has the keys to lives past and to come", attributed to Dorn, the Swiss 17th century alchemist and mystic.
All this for our Soul Ancestors was therefore translated in the expression "to acquire a god/dess" as the factor that brought success to oneīs life. The power of the personal god/dess could be seen in the personīs success in the world, and this was supported by sayings such as
"Without a personal god man cannot make his living, the young man cannot move his arm heroically in battle" or "When thou dost plan ahead, god is thine, when thou dost not plan ahead, thy god is not thine".
Naturally, the relationship with the personal god/dess was so close that in case of a disaster, the personal deity could be approached and queried on the whys and wherefores of present predicament by the suffering worshipper. Personally, I find extraordinary the fact that a worshiper came to his/her god/dess in all moods and occasions, and think it is a sign of our spiritual impoverishment the fact that the Living Spirit is not made so approchable by main fundamentalist religions of our days.
The poem below illustrates the closeness, pains and rewards of a man in relation to his Personal God. It seems clear in the first verses that although the young man has followed all sacred ordinances and lived a righteous life, his God has lost interest in his well-being. Our faithful worshiper therefore reveals touching frankness when complaining about his feelings of having being certainly neglected by his Inner Companion. And most naturally, the Inner Companion or Personal God takes compassion and restores the soul of worshiper. Why so? We may ask ourselves, and here lies one of the riddles and my healing or experience of the mystery embedded in this text: the poem A man and his god is a touching proof of faith, truth, love and devotion, a piece of grace under pressure, showing the triumph of the human soul over lifeīs challenges. This is why the God listened to him, because Devotion and Truth are the keys to open the Door that Has no Keys, whereby all worlds meet by the Bond of Heaven and Earth we mediate without and within.

A picture of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar



1-9 A person should steadfastly proclaim the exaltedness of his god. A young man should devoutly praise the words of his god; the people living in the righteous Land should unravel them like a thread. May the balaj singer assuage the spirit of his neighbour and friend. May it soothe their (?) hearts, bring forth ......, utter ......, and measure out ....... Let his mouth shaping a lament soothe the heart of his god, for a man without a god does not obtain food.

10-17 There is a young man who does not wickedly put his efforts into evil murder, yet he spends the time in grief, asag illness and bitter suffering. The fate demon has brought need and ...... close to him. Bitter ...... has confused his judgment (?) of it, and covered his ....... Behind his back they have overpowered him like a ....... Before his god the youth, the young man weeps bitterly over the malice he has suffered. He is reverent and performs obeisance.

18-24 He speaks ...... of his suffering. In his total exhaustion ......, ...... he weeps. ......, ...... he weeps bitterly. He was able to fill the ...... for him. He ...... to him and addresses him:

25-34 "Grief ......, despair ......, and ...... has been put in place. I am a young man, I am knowledgeable, but what I know does not come out right with me. The truth which I speak has been turned (?) into a lie. A man of deceit has overwhelmed me like the south wind and prostrated me before him. My unwitting arm has shamed me before you. You have doled out to me suffering ever anew. When I go into the house I despair. When I, a young man, go out into the street, I am depressed.

35-45 "My righteous shepherd has become angry with me, a youth, and looked upon me with hostility. My herdsman has plotted malice against me although I am not his enemy. My companion does not say a true word to me. My friend falsifies my truthfully spoken words. A man of deceit has spoken insulting words to me while you, my god, do not respond to him and you carry off my understanding. An ill-wisher has spoken insulting words to me -- he angered me, was like a storm and created anguish. I am wise -- why am I tied up with ignorant youths? I am discerning -- why am I entangled among ignorant men?

46-56 "Food is all about, yet my food is hunger. When shares were allotted to all the people, my allotted share was suffering. A brother ...... insulted me, created anguish. He ...... my ......, raised up ...... and carried off ....... A hostile ...... without wisdom wrote on clay (?). He sought the ...... of the journey. He cut down the ...... of the road like a tree. He ...... the supervisor and ...... my steward.

57-63 "My god, ...... before you. I would speak to you: my tears are excess and my words are supplication. I would tell you about it, would unravel to you like a thread the evil of my path. ...... the confusion of what I have done (?). Let the wise ...... in my plans; tears will not cease. I am less qualified than my friend; I am inferior to my companion.

64-68 "Now, let my mother who bore me not cease lamenting for me before you. Let my sister, truly a sweet-voiced balaj singer, narrate tearfully to you the deeds by which I was overpowered. Let my wife voice my suffering ...... to you. Let the singer expert in chanting unravel my bitter fate to you like a thread.

69-74 "My god, the day shines bright over the Land, but for me the day is black. The bright day has become (?) a ...... day. Tears, lament, anguish and despair are lodged within me. Suffering overwhelms me like a weeping child. In the hands of the fate demon my appearance has been altered, my breath of life carried away. The asag demon, the evil one, bathes in my body.

75-81 "In the overwhelming bitterness of my path I never see a good dream -- but unfavourable (?) visions daily never stop for me. Anguish embraced me though I am not its wife and ....... Grief spread its lap for me though I am not its small child. Lamentation sweeps over me as if it were a southerly wind-storm and ....... My brother cried "Alas"."
10 lines fragmentary
5 lines missing

97-105 "I weep ...... and ....... My god, you who are my father who begot me, lift up my face to you. Righteous cow, god (?) of mercy and supplication, let me acquire (?) noble strength. For how long will you be uncaring for me and not look after me? Like a bull I would rise to you but you do not let me rise, you do not let me take the right course. The wise heroes say true and right words: "Never has a sinless child been born to its mother; making an effort (?) does not bring success (?); a sinless workman has never existed from of old."

106-112 "My god -- the ...... of forgetting which I have ...... against you, the ...... of releasing which I have prepared before you -- may you utter words of grace on a young man who knows the holy words "May he not consume me". When the day is not bright, in my vigour, in my sleep, may I walk before you. May I ...... my impurities and uncleanliness in the health of the city. May you utter words of grace on him who knows the words "When anger and the evil heart came about". Indeed he speaks joyously to him who knows the words "When fear and ...... burned".

113-119 "My god, ...... after you have made me know my sins, at the city's (?) gate I would declare them, ones forgotten and ones visible. I, a young man, will declare my sins before you. In the assembly may tears (?) rain like drizzle. In your house may my supplicating mother weep for me. May your holy heart (?) have mercy and compassion for me, a youth. May your heart, an awe-inspiring wave, be restored towards me, the young man."

120-129 The man's god heard his bitter weeping. After his lamentation and prolonged wailing had soothed the heart of his god towards the young man, his god accepted the righteous words, the holy words he had spoken. The words of supplication which the young man had mastered, the holy prayers, delighted his god like fine oil. His god stretched his hand away from the hostile words. He ...... like rain the anguish which had embraced him though he was not its wife ...... and scattered to the winds the grief which had spread its arms round him. He let the lamentation which had swept over him as if it were a southerly wind-storm (?) be dissipated. He eradicated (?) the fate demon which had been lodged in his body.

130-136 He turned the young man's suffering into joy. He set by him as guardian a benevolent protective demon that keeps guard at the mouth (?). He gave him kindly protective goddesses. The young man steadfastly proclaims the exaltedness of his god. He (?) brings forth ...... and makes known ....... He refreshes himself ....... He trusts in you and .......

137-143 "I have set my sights on you as on the rising sun. Like Ninmah ......, you have let me exert great power. My god, you looked on me from a distance with your good life-giving eyes. May I proclaim well your ...... and holy strength. May your ...... heart be restored towards me. May you absolve my sin. May your heart be soothed towards me."

144-145Jicgijal of the lament of supplication for a man's god.


A favorite view of Enki, the Shaman (Susan Seddon-Boulet)


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