HEALING OF GILGAMESH
on Robert Temple's "He who knew everything"
Talking Stick, introduction by Paul Collins (British Museum - not included)
- THE CREATION OF ENKIDU (Tablet I)
who saw everything in the broad-boned earth, and knew what was to be known, Who
had experienced what there was, and had become familiar with all things,He, to
whom wisdom clung like a cloak, and who dwelt together with Existence in Harmony.He
knew the secret of things and laid them bare, and told of those times before the
Flood. In his city, Uruk, he made the walls, and the temple called Eanna,which
was the house of An, the Sky God, and also of Inanna, Goddes of Love and Battle.
Now, hear how Gilgamesh fared many hardships: Long was his journey.He is the hero,
He is of Uruk, He leads the Way, He, the Foremost. Gilgamesh, of the offspring
of Lugulbanda, the son of the revered Cow Ninsun, Pledged to the Sun God, Utu,
he was two thirds god, one third man. Gilgamesh, the heroic Ancestor of Uruk,
I sing you praises!
Slide 3 - Gilgamesh's
Out I went, into the world. But there was none better, none whom I, Gilgamesh,
could not best. So I heard in their houses the men of Uruk mutter: 'Gilgamesh,
noisy Gilgamesh! Arrogant Gilgamesh! 'For I defeated all young men in combat.
All young girls I made women by my lust, leaving no virgin to her lover, nor the
wife of a nobleman!I was the King, Shepherd of the city, handsome and firm as
In heaven, the gods heard the lament of the people, and turned to Holy Aruru,
the Goddess of Creation. The Gods cried out to the Mistress of All:
Aruru: I hear
you all! Yes, I did create Gilgamesh. Now I'll create his equal! I'll give a second
self to him! So that rushing winds meet rushing winds! I'll give them each other
to fight and grow in understanding and friendship. I will form an image in my
mind, which has conceived all there is. I'll make him of the stuff that makes
up the Firmament (reaches out to the Skies) And of the substance of the Deep,
Sacred Waters (plunges hands into a bowl of water) From a pinch of clay, I create
(Gareth will be laying
by Aruru's feet by now)
Star of heaven fallen
into the wilderness, Enkidu, I name you! Born you are with the stregth of Ninurta,
the God of War,tough of body and hair waved like corn filaments, I give birth
to you, Innocent of Humankind and Wise in the Ways of Wilderness!
Slide 4 - Enkidu
conversing with beasts
his arms and experiencing life for the first time) Star fallen from Heaven, I
range this land, Conversing with the Green and the Wild, happy and free! None
can surpass me, none that I see I am one with All Nature, bird, fish or beast
/ I roam pastures and woods with glee sSaving the entrapped Wild Ones when need
be. I rejoice at being vibrant, alive and in Union with all there is!
Slide 5 - Enkidu
One day, at the sight of Enkidu a trapper stopped, frozen stiff with fear, as
he saw the Man-Beat freeing the Wild Ones from traps and pits, all the hunt slipped
away. Only torn game traps were there to stay. The trapper goes to Uruk, to find
Gilgamesh / And ask the King to subdue the Wild One, stop him from freeing game
and helping beasts.
A wild one, a star fallen from heaven, strong and free?But unversed in the ways
of women, I bet he is! I'll ask for a Maiden of the Holy Temple of Inanna, a Child
of Pleasure who will embrace him and teach the art of woman so that a man he will
Slide 6 - Hierodule
leaving Uruk at nightime
(makes any gracious movement of reverence before standing up and going moving
towards the front of the stage: lights on her) I serve Inanna, the proud Queen
of Earth Gods, supreme among the Heaven Gods / I serve the Loud Thundering Storm
who pour rain, grains and blessings over the land for the people I serve the one
who makes the heavens tremble and the earth quake I serve the Mighty One of Life's
Pleasures, the Mistress of Innermost Desires. You, First Daughter of the Moon,
I worship. Your Footsteps are mine to follow in great joy and reverence. So by
my Sacred Vows, by my Oath, I'll go to the woods and do the Goddess' bidding to
transform the Wild One in a fuller human being!
(The Hiedule moves
to the other side of the stage, watched by Enkidu in the background)
Slide 7 - Hierodule
seating under the tree, Enkidu watching her
let the moonlight cover my body as I bathed for the Wild One And I showed my Self
to Him, vibrant and free!As the Morning and Evening Star announced the New Day,
bringing Fulfillment and Promises to stay / I rose my arms in Trust, Delight and
Dare to invite the Wild One into the Sweetness of my Lair!
(Enkidu makes a full
circle around the Priestess)
And he met me - he
met me! He put his hand on my hand He pressed his neck close against mine. I incited
him to love, I welcomed his eagerness!(they may embrace/kiss, etc.)
Slide 8 - Enkidu
and Hierodule kissing
is in you that makes me forget time and yet feels so much alive? The hills, the
wild beasts have no appeal to me anymore. Yet I feel a different kind of srength,
Thoughts in my heart, a man's heart. What is it in you that has strengthened me
and makes me rejoice by just sitting at your feet?
We've been together for six days and seven nights, Enkidu, so now you have Wisdom!
Now you are as a god! I bid you to come to Uruk of the strong walls To Inanna's
Temple of Love, and to the Eanna, where the Sky God An can be found. Gilgamesh
is there, strong and raging like a wild bull, for he is so alone. But I, the Keeper
of the secrets of the heart, mind, body and soul, Know that Gilgamesh longs to
find a friend / Equal in all respects and perfect in strength.
take me to Uruk, where lives Gilgamesh of perfect strength I'll summon him forth
And challenge him. We'll see who is the mightiest. We'll see whether we can be
the best of friends!
Slide 9 - Hierodule
and Enkidu say farewell to the forest
Yes! I'll take you to Gilgamesh! You are so like him, Enkidu! When I look at you,
Enkidu, You seem to be like a god. Like Gilgamesh, whom you'll love like yourself.
But before we go, I'll divide my garments in two One piece for me, one for you.
Give me your hand, so that we can go to the Sacred Place of the Sheepfold. We
will then eat at the Table The Earth's gifts laboured by man And drink from the
seven cups the beer of the Wise. Come, Enkidu, let's go together to Uruk!
Slide 10 - THE FATEFUL
MEETING (TABLETS II and III)
Slide 11 - Priestess
at the Window
Great Ninsun, Beloved Mother,You, who are the chosen of Utu, the Sun God and Light
of the Day, Bride of the Light Bearer, who are skilled in divining the ways dreams
unfold, I bid you to hear what I have to say.
Son, Gilgamesh, what troubles you? What can I do to ease your mind, body and Soul,
Son of my very Heart?
I had two dreams, Mother. In the first, I walked about in the midst of the nobles.
When the star-essence of An, the Sky Father, descended towards me. I tried to
lift it up, but it would not be moved! The land of Uruk was around it and all
kissed its fett.
see a Great Truth in this dream, Gilgamesh! That there is one like you, born on
the steppe, reared in the hills. When you see him, you will rejoice as over a
woman. The nobles will kiss his feet./ You will embrace and love him.You will
lead him to me.
Mother, in the second dream, I saw an axe on the street of Uruk. All gathered
around it. The axe - its shape was strange. As soon as I saw it, I rejoiced and
loved it. I was drawn to it as to a woman. I took hold of it. And placed it at
my son! The second dream confirms the first: The axe was a man. You were drawn
to it as to a woman, for I call him your equal! Friend and Companion. First to
be your Rival and then... Rejoice, Gilgamesh! Soon you'll meet a friend!
Slide12 - Enkidu
and Hierodule at the top of mountain overlooking Uruk from the right-hand side
of the stage, Enkidu and the hierodule appear, hand in hand)
Look at the Newcomer! He is like Gilgamesh in form: Smaller in size, stronger
in bone. He is a match for Gilgamesh / To match divine Gilgamesh!
(Gilgamesh and Enkidu
meet. They circle around each other, assessing each other, Gilgamesh tries to
proceed, by Enkidu blocks his way twice, three times)
Slide 13 - Enkidu
and Gilgamesh exchanging dagger-like words
Who is blocking my way to the temple? Who is preventing me from approaching the
Sacred Marriage Bed? Who dares to face the king's wrath?
dare! I, Enkidu, dare to oppose you! For here I stand as your equial! Prove me
wrong if you can!
Slide 14 - Enkidu
and Gilgamesh fighting
he speaks, Enkidu and Gilgamesh enact a fight):Enkidu and Gilgamesh grappled their
belts and wrestled like champions, rushing wind meets rushing wind, Heart to heart.
Holding fast like bulls they struggled. They fought in the street, they battled
in the market. But in the end, Gilgamesh brought Enkidu to the earth.
I won! But gone is my anger, for never had I such a worthy opponent, never was
a victory so sweet yet so hard to conquer! I claim you as a friend instead!
(he stretches his
hand to Enkidu to help him stand)
Slide 15 - Enkidu
and Gilgamesh embrace in friendship
am I to you, my King?
The friend I've cried for in my loneliness, the Companion I've always known that
I'd find! (They embrace in friendship)
16- THE WAY TO THE CEDAR FOREST (Tablet III)
Slide 17 - Angry
Now that we are friends, Enkidu, we shall do great deeds together! No one opposed
my strenght until now, but I have found a worthy companion in you. Together we
must go to the Cedar Forest / There dwells the fierce Humbaba / We will slay him
and banish his evil from the land.
let's leave Humbaba alone! His roaring is the Great Flood, His mouth is fire,
his breadth is death! Why do you wish to do such a thing? We are no match to fight
No, I'll won't hear any of this! I'll go and fight Humbaba, whether you come along
and show me the way to the Cedar Forest or not!
fill my eyes, I am sick to the heart. But I cannot let my friend go alone to fight
Humbaba. Heaviness clouds my Soul, but I will follow Gilgamesh wherever he goes.
I fear doom, but trust the blessings of the Great Gods be upon us!
(steps forwards and kneels in prayer to Utu): Great Utu, Sun God, Light of the
Day, to you I lend graces!Fiery One, hear my prayer! I must go to defeat Humbaba.I
bid you to bless the future well-being of my Soul I beg your protection as Enkidu
and I go along:Make us depart with a joyful heart, May the blessings of the Great
Gods be upon us! Come, Enkidu! We must depart, but not without saying farewell
to my mother!
Slide 18 - Background
(both bow in front
Great Lady, Beloved
Mother, before we depart to fight Humbaba until we can return to Uruk, Until we
banish all there is evil from the land Do pray to Utu, the Sun God, on our behalf!
will, Son of my Womb and my Son's Equal!
(Enkidu and Gilgamesh
depart, lights on Ninsun. She will reach out for her sacred regalia: something
for her breast, a tiara for her head, incense burner, etc.. With all cerimony
and reverence, She will make her prayer to Utu, the Sun God:)
Lord Utu, Light of my Light, why have you given my son such a restless heart?
Why have you made him wish to go on a Great Journey to the place of Humbaba?Until
the day he can return, until he reaches the Cedar Forest and fights the beast
in the early hours the day, I'll put out incense, chanting a spell to protect
and guide him well.Great Utu, I bid you not to forget the words of Ninsun, your
faithful Bride, Protect my son and his friend! Lend Enkidu strenght, the Wild
One turned into a Man whom I adopted as Son from my very Heart.May the friend
and the king travel in safety! Wherever they go, make them come back! May your
light guide their steps, may their faith in you forever last!
Slide 19 - THE BATTLE
OF THE CEDAR FOREST (Tablets IV and V)
Slides 20 and 21
- Gilgamesh and Enkidu leaving Uruk for the Forest (day and nightime)
Long and far they travelled, until they stood quite still at the sight of the
forest, at the majestic, high cedars, where Humbaba was wont to thread. They saw
also the Cedar Mountain, where lived the Gods, and Irnini, Holy Inanna, had her
Slide 22 - Heroes
contemplating the forest
Friend, dreams I've had, and they trouble me so! Victory may come our way, but
there will be a price to pay!
have taken the way of the Sun, we go along with the blessings of the Light Bearer.
Let's have no fear and Appraoch Humbaba's house.
Slide 23 - Facing
Who is it who has come and interferred with my trees? My trees which have grown
on my holy mountain? And who has also felled the cedars? Who is the intruder and
destroyer of my realms?
are men in search of great deeds under the protection of Utu, the Sun God! I am
Enkidu and this is my friend, Gilgamesh , the King!
Slide 24 - Heroes
towards Enkidu and Gilgamesh)
Utu! O Great Lord! Send us your Winds from the North and South / Send us the Hot
Winds, the Storm Wind, the Chill Wind and the Tempestuous Wind. Make them rise
Humbaba cannot move forwards! Lo! He cannot move backwards! Humbaba is relenting!
do let me go, Gilgamesh! I will be your servant! I will make you a house out of
my cedar trees, I will give you treasures, just set me free!
not listen to him! Pay no attemtion to the words of Humbaba! He must not live!
Strike him, maim him! Kill him! And quickly, before the gods hear his cries.
( takes the axe and draws a knife/sword from his belt and strikes Humbaba, once,
twice, three times: Enkidu also hits Humbaba) Behold! The Great Humbaba is no
more! Together, Enkidu, we conquered this great deed! Together we will return
in glory to Uruk!
hail to the Heroes who safely and in glory to Uruk will come back!
Slide 25 - Heroes
coming back to Uruk
- THE REVENGE OF INANNA (Tablet VI)
Gilgamesh washed from his hair. All the soiled garments, he cast them off. Clean,
new clothes he put on. His sparkling sash was fastened unto him, his tiara on
his head.(While this is being read out, Gilgamesh grooms and prepares himself).When
Inanna had seen this, when She, the Goddess of Love and War, had seen this / She
raised an eye indeed to the beauty of Gilgamesh:
Slide 27 - The Winged
Inanna/Ishtar standing on the Lioness
Gilgamesh, will you not be my lover? Give me that fruit man yields to woman./
I will give you myself as wife: you shall be my husband. For you I will give a
chariot made of lapis-lazuli and gold! There will be a great fragrance of cedar
when you enter the house.And all the kings and the lords and the princes - all
of them - These shall be humbled before you. All the yield of the plains will
be brought to you as tribute.All your goats shall bear twins / All your sheep
shall bear twins. Your chariot horses will be famed!
But what advantage would it be to me to take you in marriage?In the cold season
you would surely fail me! What lover did you love for ever? Who has satisfied
you for long? Come, I will tell you the tales of your lovers:For Tammuz, your
young husband, for him we wail year after year! He who dies each autumn and comes
back each spring! The shepherd-bird you loved, you struck him, broke his wing.
Then you loved the lion, perfect in its strength, but you dug for him seven pits
and again seven. Then you loved the stallion, great in battle, but you made for
him to make muddy and then to drink.You also loved the shepherd with his herd,but
you turned him into a wolf. Then you loved the palm-gardener of your father. He
brightened your table every day. You raised your eyes and looked at him, and as
he was not willing to be yours, You struck him and turned him into a mole. If
you loved me, would you treat me the same as them?
you have insulted me! You have enumerated all my evil deeds. You dare to say I
am evil! So you will face my rage, you will face my power! (She advances one/two
steps and looks up unto the heavens) Father, I beg you, give me the Bull of Heaven
So that he can smite King Gilgamesh even in his own home. And if you don't give
me the Bull of Heaven, I will go down to the Underworld and smash its doors! I
will place those above below! The doors will be left wide open and the dead will
get out, eat all the food and outnumber the living!My people, though, I will protect.
/ I have stored enough grain for the people, I have provided enough fodder for
the animals /If there should be seven years of no crops. Yes, I did gather grain
for the people / Surely I have grown fodder for the beasts! Inanna picks up horns
under the screen and takes it to the centre of the stage
Slide 28 - Bull at
the top of wall faced by Enkidu
And the Bull descended from heaven so that Inanna might lead it to Uruk. With
the first snort of the Bull of Heaven, pits were opened / And a hundred men fell
into them. With his second snort, pits were opened / And two hundred young men
of Uruk fell into them. With the third snort, pits were opened / And Enkidu fell
in one of them
(While the following
speech is read out, Enkidu enacts fight with the Bull of Heaven)
Slide 29 - Enkidu
seizing Bull by the horns
Enkidu leapt out of it and seized the bull by the horns. The Bull of Heaven retreated
before him, and brushed him with the tip of its tail. It spewed foam from its
will chase you, Beast of Heavens, Rage of the Great Goddess, I will defeat you!
Friend of all friends, Together we will fight the Bull of Heaven to its very end!
(Gilgamesh and Enkidu
thrust their swords/knives on horns or whatever stands for the Bull of Heaven)
Now I will thrust my sword between the nape of your neck and the horns of your
head! (Gilgamesh raises his hands, one bearing a sword, the other the horns and
kneels down) I offer the Bull of Heavens and this victory to you, Light of the
Day,Great Utu, Sun God, My Protector, Companion and Friend of all Friends!
beside Gilgamesh): Hail, Lord of the Day! Accept this victory and our heartfelt
Slide 30 - Inanna
looking terrified at the battlefield
on to the battlefield): Woe be unto you, Gilgamesh, who has insulted me By slaying
the Bull of Heaven!
I could reach you, I would do the same to you as to him!
a lamentation for the Bull): Gone is my Bull of Heaven) My Wild, Untame One! Strength
of my Strenght, Fierce, Furious, Fiery One! I grieve for you, I wail for you!
Hear me, O King! Hear me O Friend of the King, Bull Slayer:No one insults me in
vain! What you most treasure, you two will lose! And as I will, so be it!
(Drums: Inanna retires
in grand scale to the background)
(advances two/three steps and faces the audience in triumph) City of Uruk, Maids
of Uruk, I ask thee: Who is the most splendid among the heroes?Who is the most
glorious among men? Tell me, who is the Favourite of Lord of the Light? Who has
strength and courage no one can match?
Gilgamesh is the most splendid among heroes! Gilgamesh is the most glorious among
Slide 31 - Heroes
celebrating victory over the Bull of Heaven
Slide 32 - THE DEATH
OF ENKIDU (Tablets VII/VIII/IX)
seated, half laying down): My friend, hear a dream I had last night / Where the
Great Gods held council together, and declared that because we have slain the
Bull of Heaven And Humbaba, the Guardian of the Cedar Forest, One of us must die.
And this one will be me.
My brother, my dear brother! The gods wish to spare me,but you are the price I
have to pay!
is too late now, my fate is decreed. I feel weakness and illness enter my body,I
feel anger enter my soul. And I curse the day I left the forest. But most of all,
I curse the priestess that took me out from where I truly belonged . The Wilderness
and the Open Fields.I curse you, Child of Love, because you have brought death
Why do you curse the priestess, Enkidu? Who introduced you to food fit for the
gods, to drink fit for kings? She who clothed you nobly?She who brought you to
me? Without her, I, Gilgamesh, would not be a brother to you.Without her I would
not have you on the throne at my left hand so that the rulers of the earth kiss
your feet! Without the sacred child you would not be my friend and brother. Without
her you would not have known your Soul.
you are right: anger had entered my heart, grief poisoned my words. O priestess,
I pronounce your fate! The mouth that has cursed you turns and blesses you plenty!
Lords and governors shall love you and for you all the young men will loosen their
clothes. May you be laden with carnelian, lapis lazuli and gold. And he who defiled
you - may he be paid back! Blessed you be, Courtesan of Love, to you I lend graces!
Enkidu lays stricken, one day, two, ten days, his suffering increases. He lays
on his bed of agony Sided by Gilgamesh, who weeps bitterly for Enkidu.
Slide 33 - Gilgamesh
embracing Enkidu in sorrow
Enkidu, may the whole creation weep for you. May the country echo with sorrow
like a mother! May the bear, the stag, the leopard, the lion,May the ox, the deer,
the ibex. May all the wild of the steppe Weep for you!May all sweet waters and
rivers by whose banks We strolled together as friends weep for you! May the warriors
of Uruk weep for you! May all those who have praised you, weep for you! All those
who provided you with grain / All those who gave you beer to drink The priestess
who initiated you, may she too weep for you.
(he walks forward
a few steps)
Hear, O Uruk, lend
your ears to what I say! It is for Enkidu, for Enkidu, my friend, that I weep.
I have lost the axe in which my hand trusted The dagger resting in my belt. The
shield which went before me. Oh, my friend, younger than myself, Oh, Enkidu, my
only and truest friend We two have conquered all, climbed all. What is this sleep
that has now come over you? Enkidu, can you hear me?
Gilgamesh felt for Enkidu's heartbeat, but there was none. So he drew a veil across
Enkidu's face, and roared like a lioness who had her cubs taken away from her.
Slide 34 - Gilgamesh's
grief; priestess in the background, Enkidu is dead
Shall I not die like Enkidu?I fear death, the secret of life ever-lasting thus
I should seek. Where to start then or to go next? Perhaps I should meet Ziusudra,
The Ancestor survivor of the Flood, who has lived until now, healthy and sound.
I shall travel the wheel-rim to him I shall find out the secret of life-everlasting.
Enkidu's death will not be in vain! I vow this to your memory, Brother, Companion
and Friend, in your memory I'll defy death. I vow to find life-everlasting up
to the end of this new Quest!
Slide 35 - THE SACRED
BARMAID (Tablets IX and X)
Alone, Gilgamesh left for the Quest. Many were his trials, but equally strong
was his resolve to go further and test his limits one more time.
Slide 36 - Lions
: He had to fight the Mighty Lions who guard the Thresholds of the Beyond and
the Underworld (Slides of Lions). And so he fought them and won passage.
Slide 37 - the Scorpio
Man and Woman: Then Gilgamesh had to confront the Scorpio Men and Women, the fierce
guardians of the Sacred Mountain Machu, which keeps watch over the rising and
setting of the sun. Again, Gilgamesh was granted passage.
Slide 38 - a luxuriant
garden and dazzling landscape: Not even the Garden of Jewels deterred the hero
on his way to the Great Ancestor Ziusudra, the Survivor of the Great Flood. Until
he, weary and worn out, reached the domains of Siduri, the Refresher, who dwells
by the celestial Sea's edge. Siduri, the Great One who prepares the drink of the
Gods, the Keeper and of Herbs and Waters of Life.
Slide 39 - The Cup
(he knocks at a fictitious door and asks for admittance) Great Siduri, Veiled
Inanna, Bride of my Wandering Soul, Refresher and Comforter of all who Journey
into the Beyond, I lend you graces! Cup Bearer, open your door to a Stranger who
has journeyed far and requests graciously the comfort of your Holy House, the
Delight of your Sacred Drink and a Safe Haven before he goes on.
a gracious movement to indicate that She is reading her own heart and delving
into Gilgamesh's soul): Surely I will not let you in, my King! You are a murderer!
You killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven, why should I let you in?
Because I am tired and weary, please let me in, Holy Lady! Yes, I did slay the
Guardian of the Cedar Forest and the Bull that the Goddess let loose over my city.
And this brought the death of my best Friend, for whom I grieve bitterly. Please
just for the night let me in! I need the comfort your Sacred Drink may bring.
the door and looks at Gilgamesh still frowning): Your friend is dead. You have
mourned him enough. Now forget him and live on!
No! I will not accept death! Not for myself, not for now! I will go on and on
until I find how to defeat death!
Gilgamesh and reaches out for him, saying very softly): Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh!
Where are you running? You'll never find eternal life the way you are seeking
it. Can't you understand that? Forget your quest! Live well instead, be merry,
dance, work and rejoice in who you are, in what you do and give out to those around
you. Cherish what is given to you, rejoice in what you can give back out of your
own doing. This is too the way, Gilgamesh. Try and live joyously while you have
life. Stop brooding; stop your senseless seeking.
(he kneels and embraces Siduri by the waist, resting his head on her chest): I
am so tired, but I won't rest until I find life-everlasting! :
him for some time and then places her hands on his shoulders, raising Gilgamesh's
head to meet her eyes): Stubborn, thoughtless Gilgamesh! How much you still need
to learn! You live your life in mourning for what hasn't happened to you yet!
Indeed, you are not weeping for your friend: you live weeping for yourself! Ahead
of time, I must say! Silly, silly Gilgamesh! What do I do with you? (She changes
the tone of voice, which becomes direct and incisive) So you want to visit Ziusudra?
Perhaps there is a way. There is a boatman who comes to these shores and he may
take you to the island where Ziusudra lives. If I ask him to take you there, he
might well do it.
Thank you, Great Lady! (he bows and kisses her hand)
it is decided. I'll take you to the boatman, whose name is Urshanabi. I'll say
a prayer to guide you well. May your heart find peace, may your mind rest, may
your Soul sustain your Body up to the end of the Quest, whatever the Gods decide
it is for the bestt! (she blesses him)
Slide 39 - THE MEETING
Gilgamesh, Ziusudra, the Hierodule, Ninsun, Inanna, Siduri
So Gilgamesh, led by Siduri, met Urshanabi, the boatman of Ziusudra, and together
they crossed the Waters of Death, which barred the access to Ziuzudra, the Ancestor
Great Survivor of the Flood. Ziusudra saw them coming from the distance and greeted
Why has this stranger of emaciated cheeks, downcast face and distorted features
come to me? Why is his heart so sad? Why is there woe in his heart?
Ancestor Ziusudra, I, Gilgamesh, lend you graces! To you, who received the Gift
of the Gods and survived the Great Flood, I come for help. The death of my friend
Enkidu, whom I loved as myself, rests heavy upon me. How can I be silent? How
can I be quiet? My friend has turned to clay, and this is the fate that also for
me awaits! I bid you to tell me, o Great One, how you did enter into the company
of the Gods and obtain life-everlasting!
Slide 41- Gilgamesh
So you know me and my story! You know that I was the one Enki, the God of Wisdom
and the Sweet Waters, chose to be saved on behalf of the humankind when the Gods
in Assembly decided to send the Deluge to purge the world. You know that I built
myself a dwelling according to Divine Measures and loaded aboard whatever I had:
family, kinsfolk, possessions. All these I made to go aboard. Six days and six
nights the wind blew, the downpour, the tempest, the flood, which had fought like
an army, subsided in its onlaught. The sea grew quiet, the storm abated, the flood
ceased. I openeda window and light fell upon my face.I sent birds out: a dove,
a swallow and a raven and offered a sacrifice to the gods. Then, Inanna, the Great
Goddess of Love and War, said She would never forget these days, and would ensure
that Enlil, the Air God and instigator of the Deluge, would not receive any offering,
for He had consigned Her people to destruction. Enki, the Great One of Wisdom
and the Sweet Waters, then took my hand and caused me to go aboard of my ship,
followed by my Beloved Wife. He blessed us and said that from that moment on we
would be like gods, but living in the distance, at the mouth of the rivers.
Do tell me, o Great One, is there a way the Gods can be assembled so that I present
my case? In your great Wisdom, is there another way of finding life-everlasting?
considering Gilgamesh for some time): I'll set you a test: come, do not lie down,
sleep not for six days and seven nights. Come, sit here beside me for six days
and seven nights and then perhaps you may find the answers you seek (he leads
Gilgamesh to a chair and sits by his side. Gilgamesh sits down and immediately
Behold, the strong one who seeks Life-Everlasting! Sleep breathes upon him like
rain in a mist. What proof can I use to show the king how he fared in the test?
Oh yes, I'll have a cake baked for each day he sleeps. The cakes will be put by
his head, and on the wall I'll mark the number of days he slept!
So it was that seven cakes were baked, one for each day Gilgamesh slept. The first
cake dried out, the second went bad, the third was moist and soggy, the fourth
turned white, the fifth had a mouldy look, the 6th was still fresh, and as soon
as the seven cake was ready, Gilgamesh awoke.
(wakes up with a start): Hardly did sleep steal over me, when suddenly you touched
me and woke me!
Not so, Gilgamesh! Count your cakes of bread, for they will show how many days
you have slept. The first cake is dried out, the second is gone bad, the third
is mois and soggy, the fourth has turned white, the fifth has a mouldy look, the
sixth is still fresh. The seventh, the moment it was baked - at this instant you
Ah, what shall I do now, Ziusudra? Death lurks in my bedchamber, death follows
my footsteps already!
The man who is in front of me now, whose body is covered with long hair and soiled
skins, let him wash and throw off his old clothes so that the fairness of his
body may be seen! Let him cover his nakedness with fresh garments until he accomplishes
the end of his journey. Let not his garment have a mouldy look. Let the one who
has wearied himself be like reborn!
Narrator: So did
Gilgamesh what he was told: he bathed himself, he let the Waters carry away his
old skins and soiled garments. He put on fresh clothes. Then Gilgamesh was ready
(Gilgamesh goes to
one side of the stage, casts off some pieces of clothes and puts on a robe, preferably
I bid you farewell, Great Ancestor and Root of my very Roots! Long was my journey
to you: weary and exerted I reached your Far-Away Dwelling and failed to reach
You may not go back to your land, you may not go back to Uruk empty-handed though!
For you have wearied yourself, you have exerted yourself to come to me. What gift
then shall I make to you that you may return to your land? Oh yes! I will disclose
to you a hidden thing. Yes, a secret of the Gods. There is a plant, whose thorns
will prick your hands as does the rose. If that plant shall come to your hands,
you will find new life. This plant lives in the deep waters. This is all I can
say to you.
(he makes a respectful bow in thanks and farewell): Thanks and farewell, o Great
left the Great Ancestor. In the middle of the crossing of the Waters of Death,
he tied heavy stones to his feet in the manner of pearl-divers. They pulled him
down into the deep. There he saw the plant
(Gilgamesh at this
instant will reach out for a vase on the ground, which will have a plant with
the glyph of the Tree of Life).
He took the plant, though it pricked his hands. He cut the heavy stones from his
feet, and the sea cast him up upon its shore.
Gilgamesh: So this
is the plant that is different from all others! By its means a man can lay hold
of the breath of life. I shall take it to Uruk. There I myself shall eat the plant
that I may return to the state of my youth.
The journey back to Uruk resumed. Night came and another day found its way, Gilgamesh
guarding the Plant of Life, never leaving it out of sight. Then, he saw cool waters
gleaming ahead and did not hesitate to plunge its depths.
Ninsun, Inanna and Siduri (all veiled, pick up the plant and say): We retrieve
that which is Ours: Life of the Spirit, Self-Transcendence, Change and Growth,
never selfish, always Generous as many lives unfold. This is the Way of the Tree,
the Way to Immortality, Veiled Truth many cannot see. And let us be hidden, our
Mysteries to Gilgamesh all forbidden. Let him see only a snake casting old skins
off, let Gilgamesh only see a snake crawling on the ground.
(LIGHTS ON GILGAMESH ONLY) What do I see in front of my very eyes? My Plant of
Life being taken away from me by a wicked snake! And the snake is casting off
its old skins as if reborn! Oh, for whom have my hands laboured, for whom has
my heart's blood been spent? I have not obtained any advantage for myself in all
my Quest (He displays emotion, anger and defeat, then accepts the facts as they
are). I shall go back to Uruk empty-handed, just with a story to tell.I'll go
back to Uruk, to be a King, providing for the kingdom by making stronger its foundation,
in pursue of glory, victory and beauty. May I find balance between severity and
mercy, may I reign in understanding and wisdom. This way I reclaim my Crown, King
and Shepherd of the Land, until my time to go comes around!
and climax to finalise the play)
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