[NB] Tammuz and St. George

This mourning for Tammuz/Damuzi thing…Okay, let me run through some stuff.

There is a quote that comes from a tenth-century manuscript, Nabatean Agriculture, that contains much useful information. Somewhat controversially attributed to Ibn Wahshiyya, Nabatean Agriculture sounds like a fascinating text that mixed star lore and magic with extensive practical advice about agriculture; I wish there was a complete English translation available, but read about it here.

(As an aside, I’m also interested in the relationship between agriculture and star lore showing up independently in both Mesoamerica and the Middle East. There seems to be some good evidence for strengthening the thesis that ritual might have preceded agriculture and laid the groundwork for it, that the experience of time in ritual might have preceded the understanding of time necessary for agriculture. In the Americas, you have the mound complexes, and in the Old World, you have Gobekli Tepi.)

The quote in question describes how rites of lamentation were shared by devotees to both Tammuz (Dumuzi) and St. George at the time of the manuscript’s composition.  I quote it here as an opportunity to consider the relationship between continuity and memory.

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Dumuzi

Dreams of Dumuzi have been pushing me into the new year. The sorts of dreams that are full, buzzing with strange images and scenes that are difficult to remember, in part because they all seem to be the foreword wave ahead of something bigger. The dreams are all over the place, but behind them is a name and heavy presence: Dumuzi.

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[NB] Mythology 101: There is Never Just One Story

I am pretty sure that I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Anytime you are looking at one account of a myth, you have to assume that there are other accounts that tell the myth in a different fashion, some so different that they would likely offend the sensibilities that made one myth appealing to you. The entanglement of all those accounts defines the myth-mystery, so that a myth is inevitably polymorphous.

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[NB] Women in the Sumerian Deadlands

Just a couple quotes. These relate to two earlier posts, one on the Sumerian diasporas and their legacy in occult thought and another discussing the way in which this material has helped illumine my own spiritual experience.

These are both from Dina Katz’s The Image of the Netherworld in Sumerian Sources. I have made some changes to her transliteration of names to avoid using special characters.

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[NB] Myth and structuralism

I often lament the rapid transition between structuralism and post-structuralism, between modernity and postmodernity. While there are many figures grouped under the latter’s banner that are vital and important, in most cases it seems like the sort of rapid transition that hides more than it reveals. In the refusal to dwell with structuralism and with modernity, there seems to be a missed opportunity. Or, rather, a whole field of missed opportunities.

Take Claude Levi-Strauss’s most basic insight that myths aren’t singular, that the understanding of a myth requires establishing a sense of the family of myths that share and redistribute its elements. The myth comes to occupy a field defined by its variations. These variations are defined by sharing overlapping elements and themes, even as those elements and themes are constantly redistributed.

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