Hero and Lion 
Hero and small lion
















Enkidu, the Mesopotamian prototype for the Natural Man, the Lord of the Forests and Wild Life who is fundamentally one with Nature, is perhaps one of the most enduring archetypes of the human psyche, but whose origin is generally not traced as far back as Mesopotamia. This is what we are doing now, because who can tell how many times the story of the Wondrous Stranger whose Strength is Unmatched and is captivated by the Transcendent Feminine has been retold and in what ways? Countless times, but Enkidu and Shamhat were the first, and after him them came all the others, including Tarzan and Jane, to name one of the most popular encounters of this kind.

We meet Enkidu first in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and learn that he was created to be Gilgamesh´s equal and Soul Brother, so that the young, selfish, brutish and proud king of Uruk could know the meaning of friendship, trust, courage and loyalty to become a wholer being. Enkidu´s coming into Gilgamesh´s life is announced by the dreams of Ninsun, Gilgamesh´s mother, who states that Enkidu will be "a strong companion, the one who helps a friend in need".

Thus, Aruru, another epithet for Ninhursag-Ki, the Mesopotamian Great Mother Goddess, having heard the laments of the people for the taming of their selfish young king Gilgamesh, creates Enkidu out of an image formed in Her mind, which conceived all that was, is and will be. The Great Goddess made him out of the very essence of Anu, the Skylord and Ninhursag-Ki´s beloved, adding up to the mix the sacred clay and waters of the Abzu, the fertile depths of the Earth, to give birth to Enkidu, a star fallen from heaven, a grown man who was a sight to behold. Tall, slim but strong of body, long hair, face of incredible beauty and eyes of wonder and joy, clad in a garb of natural leathers trimmed with furs. Very much like Gilgamesh he was, yet totally unclouded by arrogance and pride. Born with the strength of Ninurta, the God of War, tough of body and hair waved like corn filaments, totally Innocent of Humankind and Wise in the Ways of Wild, beasts and spaces unconquered.

It is out in the woods, oblivious of humankind, where he was one with the wilderness, that Enkidu found his home, conversing with the Green and the Wild, happy and free. There, none could surpass him, and he was one with All Nature, bird, fish or beast, roaming pastures and woods with glee, and saving the entrapped beasts when needed be. Instinctively, Enkidu could not accept that animals should be taken as food or enemies.

Thus, as the Lord of the Forests, Open Spaces and Wild Beasts, he brings us the gifts of strength, vitality and energy which is expressed naturally, without constraints or filters. This is clearly seen in his image as he appears in the first tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh. He also teaches us to reconnect with the deepest sources of inspiration and delight that are found in the Physical World, the rush of exultation for being alive and free to experience life as a manifestation of Senses.

However, the experience of the Lord of the Forests, Wild Beasts and Open Spaces goes much deeper in Mesopotamia, because Enkidu´s destiny is to become part of a major picture. Nothing is ever so simple when we deal with Mesopotamian myth and religion, and by the Bond of Heaven and Earth, the Natural Man should also reach out for the Heights Above, and this is exactly what will take place. When Gilgamesh hears of the wild one from a hunter, desperate to get some help that could prevent the wild one from freeing game, the young king feels intrigued, and comes up with a most peculiar solution to the problem:

' 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 Eanna, 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 finally be. I'll send a message to the High Priestess to send the wild one such a gifted maiden to satisfy my request. And that she must by all means bring him to my presence at the end of her Quest. '

There is a profound mystery in this passage. We know from the start that Enkidu was created to be one with Gilgamesh the king, but in order to become a wholer being, who is called by Gilgamesh to show the demigod Enkidu the gifts of love and civilisation, the touch of the Spirit he is totally unaware of? A woman, a priestess of Inanna/Ishtar, the Great Goddess of Love and War. Incidentally, Gilgamesh seems to know intuitively what Enkidu needs most to grow in all worlds and spheres, yet it is Gilgamesh himself that treats women badly,who refuses later to join with the Goddes in the Sacred Marriage Rite, or, in other words, persistently refuses the touch of the Transcendent Feminine into his life!

So the pattern of wholeness traced in the first two tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh is the following: Enkidu is the one capable to tame the brutally selfish but civilised young king, but only if he could transcend his wilderness without and within. To help Enkidu reach out for the Transcendent, a young priestess named Shamhat of the temple of Inanna/Ishtar is called. Her Task is to initiate the wild Enkidu into his Higher Self, to tame the beast within to find the man without, a man who is both divine and very human, the healed version of Gilgamesh the king.

They meet, Shamhat and Enkidu, in the forest and for six days and seven nights, as the planets and the stars travelled the skies, they shared all flesh's and spirit delights. A world of touch, tastes, senses and experiences exploded around them as they shared the pleasures of body, mind , heart and spirit. So much they learnt with each other, they taught each other. On the seventh day, Enkdiu realises that although the forest, the wild beasts were dear to him beyond measure, somehow he needed more than to eat, bask in the sun or sleep. Then Shamhat tells him of Uruk and Gilgamesh, someone who could be his equal in all respects, perfect in strength. Enkidu decides to go to Uruk. Before they reach Uruk, Enkidu learns to eat and drink from the table the fruits of men´s labours on earth, and is taken to the place of the sheepfold, a probable allusion to the rites of the Sacred King as Shepherd of the Land, capable of defending the herds and land against all predators and beasts. Thus, having become ritually equal in strength to Gilgamesh in all levels, Lord of Nature and young king meet, fight and accept each other in friendship everlasting, a theme which is explored in more depth in this website in the section of iPassionate and Enduring Partnerships, or Gilgamesh and Enkidu as the Soul Siblings.

What do we learn from the taming of the wild one, or the Natural Man and the Priestess? Firstly, that until Enkidu meets Shamhat his realm is the Physical World that encompasses the forests, open fields and beasts, but his realm is incomplete because the Physical World also embrace people, the sophistication of urban spaces created by humankind, and, by the Bond of Heaven and Earth, should also include the wisdom of the stars and the spirit. This is why Gilgamesh chose a priestess of the temple to tame Enkidu.

Secondly, and perhaps one of the deepest mysteries of Mesopotamian myth and religion, is that civilisation, the touch of the Spirit over matter is a gift of the Goddess, Inanna/Ishtar in this case. Gilgamesh mentions "the art of woman" to bring civilisation to Enkidu, but there are countless examples in Mesopotamian myth and religion where woman chooses the beloved, who gladly comply to all wishes and desires of his bride-to-be. For instance, Inanna chooses the shepherd Dumuzi, the representative of the nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples who were absorbed by the more advanced farming culture of South Mesopotamia, but first he has to prove himself equal to her in status. Ningal challenges Nanna to court her and give her presents before she accepts to become his wife, the same way that Ninlil brings Enlil to trial and then rushes to conquer him back from the Underworld in the most passionate descent story ever written. The transcendent that binds woman and man, human and divine, is always initiated by women or goddesses in Mesopotamia, for woman, flesh and blood or divine, represents the Enduring Spirited Spirit that establishes connection and brings joy and passion in all levels and spheres. And this is so because in Mesopotamia, more specifically in Sumer we have the Union of Opposites or Complementarity:


This is also why the Inner Teacher in the Mysteries, the Torchbearer of One´s Soul appears in general firstly as the countersexual image, the muse and goddess for men, the daimon or god self /inspirer for women.

In the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, perhaps the most beautiful alchemical allegory, the Knights receive on the last day a medal whereupon it is inscribed "Art(Alchemy) is priestess (at service) of Nature".

Enkidu and Shamhat knew this from the start and lived this truth to the fullest.


See also Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the Soul Sibblings.


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