Saturday 16 February 2013

A dream of Melqart

Dreams are messages from the divine.  Recall the dream interpretation powers of Joseph which made him famous in the court of the Egyptian king.  Remember also at a later date how Daniel managed to impress the Babylonians at the court of Nebukadrezzar.  In both cases though, the king in the story was unsure of what his dream was about (in the first it was a prophecy of a seven-year famine that would soon fall upon all of Egypt and Canaan, while in the second it was a prophecy of the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Medes and Persians, and after them to several other empires- including the Seleukids and Ptolemies "who did not mix").  On the other hand, the story of Keret tells us of a king who knew what was occurring in his dream and knew it to be a message from God.  Throughout the history of the Near East, kings would leave accounts of their dreams in tablets.  They needed dream interpreters to work out what was happening.  And in temples, there is still even to this day a custom of sleeping in the outer sanctuary for the night in order to induce a dream. 

I'm going to tell a story now of my own dream.  This occurred to me when I was about 14 years old, during the early summer period.  I had returned from school to an empty house, and with my brothers away, I was preparing to spend some time in peaceful meditation in order to come close to the divine.  I had a cool and relaxing bath, allowing its cleansing waters to fall over my skin.  Then I emerged and put on some light clothes, before leaving the bathroom and going upstairs.  The sun blazed in heaven, and a cool and pleasant breeze emerged as I opened the window of my bedroom.  I sat cross-legged on the floor, lighting some incense and allowing its luxurious scent to drift lazily around the room.  Upon a shelf I placed some gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and gems.  Then I allowed myself to come slowly into a meditative state.  It became a custom for me at that time to grow closer to God by focusing in meditation upon a different god or goddess each day.  I had a small invocation for some of the elohim, and I also liked to focus on some images of them I had created.  My days then were relaxed and spiritual.  For a few minutes I would temporarily leave this world in the spirit and be in a house of the gods, facing a brick wall and inhaling the smell of the incense and perfume.  I would see below me the waters of the abyss, and above me the azure vault of heaven.  Around me would be green trees, hills, and valleys; with a clear blue river flowing through them.

I would also devote some time to studying, and writing down my finds on divination and mysticism and correspondences into some books.  At night I would store them by my bed in a cabinet as I slept.

One night in particular strikes me as memorable.  In this night I dreamed.  Dream interpretation was the first form of divination that interested me that I can remember.  I had been interested in it since first hearing the story of Joseph in Genesis.  This night I was dreaming.  In the spirit I was not lying in bed, but was sitting in the divine council on Mount Lel.  Around me sat the assembly of the deities, feasting and drinking.  We were in a large hall, and I saw the numerous gods and goddesses that I had seen previously in the form of small temple idols and cult statues that adorn the sanctuaries.  Now they were sitting here beside me. 

Sitting directly to my right was a powerful figure, holding a club and wearing dark blue robes.  This was the divinity Melqart.  We spoke together, though I regret that I now do not remember what was said.  But to speak to the gods was a blessing. 

The dream changed, and we were on the shore of the sea.  At first I thought that the waves were powerful, but Melqart stood beside me and struck them with his club.  The sea parted, and we began to cross it.  I also seem to recall riding upon Melqart's hippocampus.  However, I woke up before I remembered anything else.

This dream is significant to me as being one of the most memorable, and a sign that the gods were close and were communicating with me.


Wednesday 13 February 2013

Evil is not worshiped

As I expected, my postings on Lilith have gathered some controversy and debate on the Internet.  One argument I keep hearing in the other direction is that Lilith is "a necessary evil", and that since good cannot exist without evil, it is therefore acceptable and even a positive thing that you might choose to worship her.  This is simply illogical in the Canaanite religion.  In this post I hope to explain why.

The basic premise of this argument is that good cannot exist without evil, and therefore evil is a good thing- or a thing to be worshiped.  The point of this is that Lilith worship is positive and beneficial because without Lilith, Pazuzu wouldn't have anything to strive against.  Therefore, if you pray to Pazuzu you should also pray to Lilith.  One analogy I've heard is that "you can't see the light of the moon without first seeing the darkness of night".

No.  I want to clarify that to everyone reading this.  This is not a good argument to make from a Canaanite perspective.  And indeed not from an Egyptian, Persian, or Roman perspective either.  In Canaanite religion, we say that divinities or powers are made stronger through the giving of offerings.  To make a sacrifice or pour a libation or burn incense for a deity will make them stronger.  It will give them power.    Therefore, regardless of whether or not you agree with the 'you can't have good without evil' argument (and that's a whole philosophical debate for another time), to worship evil beings like Mot or Lilith is at the least pointless and at the most downright dangerous and foolish.  To give offerings to these beings or indeed to worship them is to openly invite death and suffering toward you, your household, your community, and your family and friends.  

Now, I'm fully aware that we can't have life without death.  Of course, the things under the domain of Mot and Lilith and Lamashtu exist (and we can't deny that).  But why do you want to worship them and adore them?  Why do you want to strengthen them, give them power?  They won't fully go away, but it's best to ignore them and not worship them in any way.

This is found all across religions.  Evil beings like Mot, Lilith, Lamashtu, the shaytans, Apepi, Typhon, Ahriman- and indeed Satan himself in the Christian and Muslim religions (be he known as Lucifer or Iblis or something else)- are simply not worshiped.  They aren't.  They aren't like the great gods. 

Worship the gods of life and joy and happiness.  Worship the gods who promote goodness and prosperity.  Worship them, and they will be the ones who become stronger and will bless and preserve our community.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Lilith is not a 'benevolent mother goddess of childbirth'

This is going to be incredibly controversial, but here goes:

Lilith is *not* a benevolent mother goddess of any sort. This needs clarifying. She never was, still isn't, and most likely never will be.

I often run into descriptions like this one on several polytheist or pagan websites: "Archetypally, Lilith is the first feminist. A Sumerian, Hebrew, and Muslin Goddess, she is referred to anciently as the hand of Inanna who gathered males into the temple for sacred sexual rites. She was the original wife of Adam, with whom she claimed equality because they were created together in the image of Elohim. A Goddess of childbirth, she holds the rod and ring of Sumerian royal authority, wears a stepped crown and is guarded by the bird of wisdom and the king of beasts."

It needs to be pointed out:

- Lilith is not "the first feminist". She is a malevolent demon who slays children. She is known for being hostile toward men, as a seductress and wicked demon who is responsible for sexual attacks (in the manner of a succubus).

- She is not a Sumerian or a Hebrew goddess, and never has been. She is also not "a Muslin goddess" (I take 'Muslin' to mean 'Muslim'). Lilith has never been worshiped by Muslims.

- According to Jewish legend, her crime wasn't claiming equality. Both Adam and Lilith were made separately (rather than being made from the same components in the manner that Eve was created from Adam's rib), and so they often argued. Lilith was the one out of the two who fled Eden and went to the Red Sea, where she consorted with the Persian demon Aeshma Daeva and gave birth to many demons, vampires, and evil spirits.

- Lilith is not a goddess of childbirth. She is well known for killing children, and will be scared away by amulets or by images of her rival, the demon king Pazuzu.

- She doesn't wear the rod and ring of Sumerian royal authority. That is a mistake made by the fact that people identify images like the one below with Lilith. The image below does *not* represent Lilith, but rather Inanna or Ereshkigal.

So remember, this image is not Lilith- but instead is Ishtar or Ereshkigal: