Saturday, January 07, 2017

In the garden

The Mesopotamian mouth-washing and mouth-opening ritual was a two-day event that was carried out in several different locations, each of which represented in physical form a mythological space within the divine sphere. The human craftsmen’s workshop was, ultimately, the workshop of the craft deities Ninkurra, Ninagal, Kusibanda, Ninildu, and Ninzadim, and of the patron deity of craftsmen, Ea, who was named in the mīs pî pīt pî as the father of the image under construction. The riverbank stood at the gateway to the Apsû, Ea’s subterranean watery abode, and granted the priests access to the holy water and to Ea himself. The attached garden, known [in Babylon] as “the garden of the Apsû,” was also Ea’s domain. This was where most of the animating acts took place, including the opening of the statue’s eyes. It was in the garden that the image was fed with fruit and clothed with divine regalia and insignia, which included an exalted crown radiating divine splendor in all directions. Once created, born, fully animated and adorned, the image was then installed in its temple home and fed its first full meal.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 84

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