Enki and Ereshkigal as twins share close ties, and when she disappears from the Middleworld, it is said that he goes after her to bring her back. This is a myth about loyalty, the ties that bind brother and sister and the need to accept change to pursue one´s own individuality.
For Mark and Albanie and friendship everlasting
In the first days after Ereshkigal, the daughter of Nammu the Sea and the Skyfather An had disappeared from the Middlearth, Enki, her twin brother, could hardly bear the pain of being apart from his twin and friend.
Let Ereshkigal be, Enki, repeated Enlil, Lord Air, for the hundredth time that day. Ereshkigals loss was heavy on him, but she had gone beyond any known boundaries to him. Maybe one day she will return to us. Who knows?
Enki looked up at Enlil this time, his face darkened by sorrow:
Cant you do anything to bring Ereshkigal back?
Do what, brother?
' Whatever you have to do! You could separate Mother Ki form the Skyfather An. Your Word, Enlil, has the power to bring things forth. Please, brother, lets create anything we need to rescue Ereshkigal!
Enlil considered the question for a long moment, and then lifted troubled eyes to the distant line beyond horizon where Ereshkigal had vanished.
I cant. She is beyond reach. I am the Guardian of the Earth, I watch over Mother Ki, so I cannot leave the Middleworld unattended. This is my duty, the responsibility I took upon my shoulders after I caused the separation of Mother Ki from the Skylord An. But you can rescue Ereshkigal, Enki. If anyone can bring her back to us, this is you. The bond between you and her as Perfect Twins is too strong. Only you can seek her out, wherever she is.
But how can I bring her back?
You´ll know,´ answered Enlil. The world was so young. At least he hoped Enki would find a way to do so.
Then I must learn whatever is needed to bring my sister back. I just wish I had a clue where to start though!
Enlil suppressed a sigh of heartfelt relief. He had been so afraid of loosing Enki to the bottomless Depths of Despair and Hopelessness. But his fears might be unfounded. Enkis curiosity had been aroused, he was getting in contact with Life again!
While you learn what you must, I could very well do with some help from you, little brother, continued Enlil wistfully. It is true that by my Word I called the Anunnaki, the Great Gods, out of the Mould of Creation, but this is not enough. There is more to life and being than only mere Existence. Who knows, perhaps Life should be organized into Meaningful Patterns. I sure need help. Would you be by my side to get the Middleworld organized so that it can be safe for all?
What do you mean, Enlil? asked Enki, his old eagerness to Learn and Grow resurfacing. Enlil smiled inwardly.
It is for you to find out, Enki... as well!
Enki raised to his feet, considering Enlils request, the trust the young Lord Air was bestowing upon him. A wave of conflicting emotions, awe and wonder, swept Enki. If Enlil considered him capable, Enki would do his best to help.
Out of Mother Nammu the Sea, the Watery Deep, we all came from, Enki said thoughtfully. Water, my Nature, can also be molded in countless forms depending on the vessel that receives it, and yet it never loses its Essence. So perhaps Life should be a sort of Molding and Shaping, always Evolving and Changing to allow for Countless Possibilities. Not as a pre-conceived plan, but as a Process and a Goal as Existence unfolds.
'As I myself must learn, evolve and grow if I want to be able to rescue Ereshkigal one day', completed Enki.
Life and Being as a Process and a Goal! Yes, Enki, you may be very, very right!, exclaimed Enlil in true delight. As usual, he never ceased to get amazed at Enkis skill to Understand all Realities and Visualize all Possibilities.
Thus, what Enlil named with the power of his Word, Enkis craft conferred shape and meaning. Enki, son of Nammu the Primeval Mother Sea and the Skyfather An, became Nudimmud, the Image Fashioner, Lord of Archetypal Forms, the Patron of all Crafts and Skills. And to him were assigned all sweet fertilizing waters and the underground Springs, called the Apsu.
When many of the arts of civilization had come into being, when the Anunnaki had developed the craft of making boats, Enki withdrew to the south-western edge of the Land Between Rivers, where he had found a lagoon of the deepest jade and calm blue fringed by palm trees. Nearby a settlement was being built. But Enki did not spend much time overseeing the laborious setup of reed huts, fences and the first temple, and he called the place Eridu.
At that time Enki searched the precious, silent companionship of the lagoon and the marshlands. He took long walkabouts over the land and profound dives into the deep blue waters, considering how he could fulfil the promise he had made to himself to rescue Ereshkigal from wherever she had been taken to. As far as the ends of the Earth he would go for her, wherever this was. During his long walkabouts he would only stop by the Great Reeds to see the tireless diligent work of their Mistress, a young Anunnaki goddess called Ningikuga. It was she who brought to humankind the art of binding and weaving reeds, it was by her craft that the huts to live and worship were first built.. And it was by looking at the way Ningikuga weave the long reeds in a patterned way that he felt he had found what he needed to go after Ereshkigal.
Sister Ningikuga, Lady of the Reeds, Mistress of this Place, I ask your permission to cut some of the stoutest reeds under your protection to build a structure that will carry me through the toughest waters and seas so that I can attempt to rescue Ereshkigal, said Enki, a greeting and a request as one.
Ningikuga looked at the expanse of the Great Reeds, contemplated with pride her work and then turned to Enki. As a Craftsperson, she understood Enki and his Request with her Mind, Body, Heart and Soul. She smiled at the Water God:
So you have not given up to take our older sister back? Everything I own, from the smallest to the greatest reeds of the land are yours for this mighty task. Do cut the stoutest in my canebrakes to make the structure that will float on the surface of all that flows. Use also sacred cedar wood to build it safe and strong, and you will have my blessings everywhere you go.
Sister, I can see already the shape this new structure will take! Enkis voice sounded full of wonder. Yes, I can see it in full. Ill call it boat, and endow it with the gift of floating on all that flows. Moved by long spears called paddles it will travel the toughest seas and return where it belongs. Indeed, I can see it all ready to sail everywhere and anywhere!. Let my boat, the magur boat be long, let its prow rear up and curve like the head of a swam, let the stem sweep over and coil like the neck of a crane. Sister, Ive found what I need to undertake my Quest after my sister and friend, the very best!
Ningikuga laughed at the contagious enthusiasm of the Water God:
'And when you are ready, when you have built the boat you need, I will call upon our brothers and sisters, the Anunnaki and the Igigi, to bring you their gifts and send you off to journey the Lands Beyond, with our blessings.
Using all his craft, Enki fashioned a boat, a magur boat out of reeds and cedar wood. With its sides elegantly curved and planked, as well as imposing mast, it was the strongest ship ever built. While he worked, diligently and determined, many of the Anunnaki brothers and sisters came to help. Enki reserved though to himself the work to get the ship done. In a way, it was not only the magur boat that was being done up: Enki was also getting himself ready, gathering Strength to face Kur and the Underworld for the love of his Twin Sister and Best Friend.
Then, one day finally the boat was ready to set sail. And so was Enki. Faithful to her promise, Ningikuga had come with the Igigi and the Anunnaki, who brought Enki gifts for the journey. Thus he was cloaked with chain mail to protect his body, helmet to guide his Reason and Decisions, a Sacred Horn so that he would never run out of food and drink and Spear to focus his Will and to pierce the heart of the fiercest enemy.
With a graceful leap, Enki got into the boat. There he stood for a while, contemplating the seashore, losing himself in Ningikuga´s eyes. This last salute was for her... for the time being. Then he took his post and started rowing.
On, past the sterile shores of desert still waiting for the kiss of the sun. On, past the palm trees of the beaches of the south seas. Out into the deep blue of the open ocean, the magur boat plunged down the back of still-climbing waves. On, beyond the frozen seas. On and on Enki rowed. The cold tumble of salt waters, nevertheless, sounded strangely encouraging to Enki. These were the waters of Mother Nammu, he felt safe, although there was no sun to mark the days, no moon to light the night, no stars to steer by.
It doesnt matter where I go, thought Enki. In all directions the world must end somewhere and wherever it is, Ill find the way to the Underworld.'
As if he had summoned the Powers of the Unknown with his Resolve to find the Entrance to the Great Below, suddenly the wind started blowing hard, followed by stones falling from the heavens. Frantically, Enki held on to the prow of the magur boat, protecting his head from the violence of the storm. He could feel the stones hitting the keel of the magur boat, but it withstood the attack. Waves rose to devour the head of the boat, like a hungry wolf , waves hit the rear of the ship striking like a furious lion. All this was not enough to turn the ship upside down.
All the time Enki commanded his mind and racing heart to stillness. He had to take control over the physical discomfort and the fear that threatened to paralyze his mind, body and questing soul. Above all, he had to take control of his emotions and forget the numbness that threatened to paralyze his body. Then, when he was almost giving up to the force of the elements without, silence and darkness fell upon him, upon the waters. As the magur boat slowed down, Enki rose his head, fought for balance and stood up, blinking once, then twice. The waters were so dark and still. The ship had stopped moving, and his breath caught as he found himself watching the pure blackness become a columnar figure of blazing fire towering over him.
A mighty challenge had been issued. Fire was the Power opposite to his own Watery Essence, the Power that could prevent him from going further anywhere and everywhere. In actual fact, Water could likewise extinguish Fire, but he didnt want to put out this Strange Fire or get himself killed along the process.
"What do water and fire have in common? How can Opposition become Co-operation so that I can proceed?, thought Enki frantically.
He dived then into the Essence of his own Being to find where Water could meet Fire and not be consumed by it. He pressed then the magur boat forward, intoning a Verse that came from the Bottom of His Questing Mind, Body and Soul like a mantra:I am the Well of Truth that Brings Enlightenment I am the Disperser of the Spirits Darkness I am Form that Transforms Brightness is my Gift to Beings of all Sorts!
It worked! Out of its own volition, the magur boat started moving, and Enki saw himself going through the blazing column without being hurt. He couldnt rejoice much though as a voice boomed in the darkness.
Welcome to my realm, Nammus son!
The resonant roaring voice could only belong to Kur. Enki filled himself with all courage he could summoned and asked:
Where is my sister? Where did you take Ereshkigal? I came to rescue her back to the Worlds Above.
The answer seemed to come from before him.
Ereshkigal reigns sovereign here, and those who worship her may never leave. Would you go back now, little Lord?
' I wont go back without Ereshkigal. Ill fight up to my last breath, but alone I wont return to the Middleworld. Not as a loser, not without her.
Deep inside though Enkis heart was heavy with terror. For the first time he contemplated the immensity of Ereshkigals loss to him and the Realms Above. What if Kur was right and she had found a kingdom in the Worlds Below? Then Ereshkigal would be lost to him and to the worlds above forever. Never before the Lord of Sweet Waters, the Master of Magic and all Crafts felt so powerless to Change what perhaps Couldnt be Changed. With profound sadness he confronted the Naked Truth: his was the power to Create and Give Shape to Things, not to Unmake What Already Was.
"No, I cant go back, he admitted after some time to himself with full acceptance of the Choice he had made to continue the Descent. " Not now that Ive gone this far. Ill have to find out where Ereshkigal is. It is of my free will that I descended into the Netherworld, it is my Desire to Know why Ereshkigal has chosen to stay in the Land of Below. Even if it is likely I may not rejoice at the Truth Ill find out."
Enki straightened then his back with a brave attempt at dignity. Kur should know where Ereshkigal was. Kur, who was also his half-brother, fathered as he had been by An the Sky.
Take me to Ereshkigal!, he said to Kur, a command and a request as one.
A mocking laughter greeted him.
'Where else? All who enter here must come to her.
Enki felt the boat steer towards the dark shore, stopping with a loud bump when it reached the Land of the Netherworld. Enki drew his mailed clothing tight about him, grasped his spear. All the time he was being watched by Kur and some wraith-like creatures his eyes started discerning as he got used to the enfolding darkness.
Not like that! Leave any weapon or shield behind!
Enki looked down at himself and raised despairing eyes to Kur.
You must enter the Netherworld as you were born into the Great Above: naked, carrying no weapons and with a purpose to fulfil.
Enki tried to proceed, but paralysis took hold of his body, despite the effort he made to move on.
Is there any other way?
No. Decide or return. Now!
In the Worlds Above, his first Breath and Awareness he had shared with Ereshkigal, his Beloved Twin. For Ereshkigal he had built his magur boat, for Ereshkigal he had come this far. For Ereshkigal now Enki laid down his shield, mail and spear in the hope to fulfil his promise to rescue Ereshkigal to the Worlds Above.
For you, sister, I came. If it is the Rule of this Great Place that all come naked, carrying no weapons at all, I bow to its designs. So be it the Highest Will in me as well.
So naked as a new-born Enki set foot upon the shore of the Netherworld. As soon as his feet touched the coarse, dark sand, Enki was overcome by a powerful feeling of disorientation, as if every aspect and fragment of his being was being reversed, reviewed and scrutinized. He felt very vulnerable, with everything he had assumed to be valuable inverted, challenged, turned upside down and inside out. The feeling was totally overwhelming: thresholds for a much deeper awareness were being open to him. Enki braced himself, just hoping he would be able to withstand the mounting pressure from the inner.
' Dont fight the feeling, Enki heard a deep voice sounding strangely soothing in the darkness. You will adapt to the Underworld vision in time. Remember, though, that if your soul is pure, then your contacts here will be harmonious and will make you whole. But if you come with fear, anger and all that is negative or unbalanced, you will have then to confront the shadows left within your heart, mind and soul before you find regeneration and healing .
A few more minutes or an eternity later perhaps, Enki could raise his head without feeling it spin. He let his eyes absorb the new environs. Below his feet, the dark coarse sand glittered here and there. Above, the sky had the mystery of twilight. Enki could not see the source of such subdued brightness. There were no stars, sun or moon in the Worlds Below. Instead, the light seemed to come from within the land itself. Ahead, he could see the outline of a huge lapis lazuli building, a palace or temple under construction. As for beings, strange ghost-like forms could be seen everywhere in all sizes and shapes, fleshless, but mobile and, if he could use the term, seemingly alive. Enki finally turned in the direction of the Voice. A silent figure cloaked and hooded in a shimmering black robe stood in front of him. The figures visage was hidden. Tall, slim and very imposing, the Form rendered Enki speechless. Never before had he seen such aura of authority and seriousness. The Lord of Sweet Waters swallowed hard before speaking:
Perhaps I should first introduce myself to... to the Presence who is greeting me in this Great Place, said Enki. Presence was an ambiguous and more fitting term to address to that fleshless, frame-like Figure standing in front of him.
I already know who you are. And why you came too. You made it very loud and clear that you want to bring your sister Ereshkigal back to the Worlds Above, continued the Voice. But how can you be so sure that she wants to return with you? Time has gone by, she might have found the Depths are her home now, not the Heights Above.
The cool objectivity of the Presence both shook and impressed Enki.
I knew Ereshkigal as I did my own soul, replied Enki, and stopped short before he spoke his True Mind.
And knowing your soul, you wouldnt want to live in the Underworld, would you, Lord Enki? completed the Presence, saying the words Enki had thought, but stopped himself short from saying. But all who live come to this realm at the end of their life cycles in the Worlds Above. All, with no exception.´
With a wide gesture, the Presence pointed at the strange ghostly, frame-like creatures of all sorts Enki saw roaming about the Underworld.
All who live come to this realm at the end of their life cycles..., repeated Enki thoughtfully. So all these... presences, are they all dead?
He knew this was a rhetoric question as soon as the words came out of his mouth. The Presence remained silent, but somehow Enki did not find It threatening.
I didnt think about death until now. I knew that it was something that happened to the living, to humankind, plants and beasts alike. Not to the Anunnaki though.`
What did you experience upon arrival in the Underworld, my lord?, asked the Presence quietly.
Disorientation, challenge, intense scrutiny of everything that I was, believed or did. But wait! Are you saying that I also died when I set foot upon this land?`
Enki sensed the Presences quiet smile.
You were also reborn here. The Underworld is the Inner Reality that Gives Sustenance to Everything There Was, Is and Will Be. It is the Realm of Essence, where Life and Death meet and merge out of one another. Here Life and Death are both rhythm and transformation between Energy and Form so that Healing and Regeneration can take place. You, my lord, who by your Craft confer to all there is the Knowledge of what they can Become, must know that this Knowledge is seldom realized in the Middlearth. Thus, all the living at the end of their life cycles come to the Underworld for Justice and Balance. Remember, my lord, that out of life comes death, out of death life, out of the young the old and out of the old the young, out of waking sleep and out of sleep waking. This way we in the Depths Below are linked to the Worlds Above as part of the stream of creation and dissolution that never ends.
And how does this occur?
' What was Form becomes the Energy of What It Was while the Essence rebuilds itself in Strength of \What It Can and Will for Sure Be, the Presences tone became at once gentle and positive. Existence is both a Process and a Goal that finds its justification in its Own Evolution and Self-Transcendence. As such, it is not a pre-established plan, but a Seed of Becoming, containing Within All Possibilities to be Realized Without.
Silence followed, and Enki was taken by deep emotion. A hot, lonely tear streamed down his face, at the same time that he consciously shifted his awareness, transforming the Energy of What and Who he saw into the Forms of What They Were and Would Be. The Land of No Return became then the Image of Paradise Restored, the Primal Land that also contains the stars. He turned to the Presence with deep respect and acknowledged who She actually was.
Sister, Ereshkigal, Beloved Twin, I lend you graces. And I beg you to forgive me for not having recognized you!
Indeed, who was smiling at him was not the bone-like, skeletal figure and projection of ones deepest fears, but a tall, slim, young and serious woman, with long dark hair, all dressed in black and silver, who Enki knew as well as his own soul.
Do you understand now, Enki? Why my place is here, why I cannot return with you? asked softly Ereshkigal. Ive become one of the Great Guardians now., and my choice to be so. Father An for the Sky, Ki-Ninhursag of Many Names for the Earth, Enlil for Air, you for the Sweet, Shape-Forming Waters and myself for the Underworld. There was a great need for a Presence here. So many come to this Realm in Pain and Sorrow, missing so much what they never experienced or accomplished in the Worlds Above. They need to learn about Balance and Healing. I am here to ensure that all who look for the Essence beyond Appearances will seek and find it, if only they are willing to bare and reshape their souls to accomplish this. Because so many will never see the Underworld as the Land of Balance. Like yourself upon arrival, who saw this land and Her beings as ghosts, and life here as labor and tears.
O, sister, isnt it too much for you to balance all pain for the Worlds Above before Healing and Regeneration can take place? asked Enki, taken aback by the sheer amount of responsibility Ereshkigal had willingly put on her delicate yet strong shoulders.
You have faced the Underworld initiation upon arrival, brother. At the deepest level youve changed and grown with the experience, I can say. Gone is your arrogant attitude, your desire to take me back for your sake without asking whether this was my desire too. And because you know me as you know yourself, I believe youve come to realize that although I may miss the Worlds Above, that I have not known the playing of other girls or the company of my brothers and sisters of the Heights Above, there are hidden treasures in the Land of No Return and Ive become their foremost Guardian. Many cant see what and where these treasures are. I can. I am needed here. As your magic, brother, is needed in the Worlds Above.
Enki let the tears flow freely. He was painfully coming to terms with the fact that Ereshkigal was lost to the Worlds Above. To himself too.
Can I ask you about Kur? Ive always wanted to know why you left us, asked Enki. He finally had asked the question that ate his soul since Ereshkigal had disappeared from the Heights Above.
Kur is a Guardian of this realm now. He was a friend who helped me to understand things I needed to know and learn about. But this is not what you really want to know, Enki. Say it, brother. To me, loud and clear. Once and for all leave the past behind, all you found yourself guilty for and never were.
Enki took a deep breath before baring finally his soul:
Did you leave me and the Worlds Above for Kur? Did we... did I fail you in any way?
Ereshkigals voice became so gentle, yet there was a tenderness made of steel in it:
I did not leave the Worlds Above for Kur. I came to the Underworld because this was the Highest Will in me, the fulfillment and realization of my very self to be shared in all worlds. Kur was a friend, a Companion along my path, and now he is bound to me in freedom because he chose to stay as one of the Guardians of the Underworld. Never again, I beg you, Brother of my Soul, Best Companion of my Early Days, think you failed me. Perhaps I failed you and Enlil instead? But I somehow I dont think there was any failure on all sides. We all made our choices, we all became Guardians in our own right. This way I am bonded to you, Enlil and all the Anunnaki.
A silence charged with emotion followed Ereshkigals words. Enki felt a heavy load had been lifted off his shoulders, mind, heart and soul.
Dont regret your choice of having descended for me, Enki, continued Ereshkigal.
Indeed, I knew you would come, and expected you all along. Our bond was and will always be strong, so whenever you seek me out, you will find me, if only you know how and where to look. But before you understood my Lifes Quest I could not say a word. Somehow you belong to the Heights Above and I to the Depths Below. By coming to my Realm, I sincerely hope you have learnt to see Everything that Is as Form and Essence. If the Above is the Realm of Form, where the Essence is within, the Underworld is the domain of Essence, which encompasses Form only for those whose Insights are True to go beyond Appearances. This way we are also forever linked to the Worlds Above, for the Underworld is the Inner Structure that Gives Sustenance to the Realms Above it. All that is Without is the same to All there Is Within to reveal the Secrets of the One and the Many.
Enki drank her words, her deep quiet wisdom with his mind, body, heart and soul. In as swift, graceful movement, Ereshkigal knelt on the ground, her hands diving into the Solid Foundation of the Worlds Below.
' Before you leave, brother, take this. Her hand took out of the ground a small, pale oval form and laid it in his palm. A seed!
Enki raised puzzled eyes to her.
Plant it. And watch what comes out of it. If this seed grows into fullness, it will be the gateway to this and many other worlds. And by Nammu, the Mother who gave birth to me, and the Skyfather An, I now declare a most auspicious fate: the one who finds my fully grown seed and cares for it will be the one who will keep the Door to the Worlds Below and Above wide open. And as I will, so be it!
Enki knew the seed she was giving him was a parting gift.
Will I ever see you again, Ereshkigal? Or are you forever lost to the Worlds Above? he asked.
Ereshkigals lovely laughter filled the air:
I dont think you and the Worlds Above are lost to me, Enki. Am I forever lost to you, brother?
Enkis heart wanted to shout "Never!", but the words that his soul formed could not be uttered by his mouth.
Seek me out and you will find me. Always! Now, Brother, Companion and Best Friend, I bid you farewell.
Next Enki saw himself totally alone by the magur boat. Hot tears streamed down his face. He bowed graciously with deep respect to the Great Lady of the Underworld, and for a brief moment he envied Kur for being free to stay with Her. But he could not stay. He felt, nevertheless, stronger than ever, very moved, with an expanded consciousness that could embrace the universe. Something was growing within his very Self, and although he could not yet give a Name to it, he new it was important. At the same time Ereshkigals seed seemed to grow warmer in his hand. As the magur boat left the Land of No Return, Enki held it high in his hand in a silent and loving farewell to Ereshkigal.
May the Light of the Underworld of Regeneration and Growth that one day shone upon me Crowns all who come to you with their Hearts, Minds, Bodies and Souls open to All Mysteries, Sister and Best Friend!! And may you be remembered by the beauties and trials you set upon all who guided by Truth come to the Underworld!'
Enki turned then his back to the Underworld, with a firm resolve to enter again the Worlds Above, to return to Eridu. He was truly coming back home! To Ningikuga perhaps? Enki smiled to himself, his old confidence surfacing again:
'For sure, and to be more than just a friend this time!' With this thought, Enki started rowing with renewed energy. Eridu was certainly harbor, haven and home.
Months later, Enki took the magur boat and off he went to the place by the riverbank where he had planted Ereshkigals seed. Would the Seed of the Great Below have taken root and be reborn in the Middleworld? Enki had his doubts, but having experienced the power of Ereshkigal, he knew that out of the Land of No Return life and healing, growth and regeneration could also be found by all.
Anxious, Enki craned his neck to peer ahead. It took a couple of minutes, but when at last he saw what he had come to look for, a delighted laughter burst out from the depths of his being. Not far from the waters edge, a shoot of leaves had broken through the ground. Enki rowed to the shore, stepped out the magur boat and reverently knelt to admire the growing little plant by the marshlands edge:
Life comes indeed from the Inner, he said. Seed of Growth, I welcome you into the Middleworld, you who carry within the Bounties of the Worlds Below. May your roots stay firm in the ground in all Kingdoms, may your trunk grow strong and true, may your branches, leaves and fruits empower with Knowledge to Share, showing us the Ways of Becoming in all Worlds and Spheres. May all those who find you climb to the Highest Heights and Descend to the Lowest Depths for Healing and Fruition. I name you the Most Sacred, the Most Precious of All Trees, the Huluppu Tree.'
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