[NB] “A Most Extraordinary Myth”

I just thought I would share this story. It is a thing of beauty, packed tight:

“But in Oturupon Meji Maupoil stumbled upon a most extraordinary myth: Orunmila, beset with melancholia, consulted Ifa for himself. How to renew his zest? He was told to bring a sacrifice to his mother, upon whom all joy in his life depended. She was far away. It was Eshu who volunteered to go find her. When he got there he told the woman that her son was dead and that he would lead her back to perform the funeral if she would give him a certain he-goat, which had been entrusted to her care by Oduduwa—life itself. Reluctantly she agreed to give the animal up. Eshu-Elegba promptly slaughtered it, and the blood that flowed forth, covering Eshu’s body, was fire. Having at that time none of his own, Eshu took he-goat’s indestructible head and placed it in a jar turned upside down upon his shoulders. And worn by Eshu, that jar was discovered to contain the sun. (To the king of death Orunmila’s mother gave a ripe fruit; this became his head.)”—Judith Gleason, A Recitation of Ifa (149; emphasis Gleason’s)

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[NB] Tlazolli and Populus

The tlazolli (‘trash’) compex that Sigal describes in The Flower and the Scorpion sits in my head with the dynamics of Populus, with its dark mysteries and potencies. Here, in brief, is Sigal’s sense of the tlazolli complex:

“Tlazolli first relates to trash. Second, it forms excrement, waste. Third, it creates life through its use in fertility (fertilizing the crops). Fourth, it takes life, allowing a gateway to death. Fifth, it is specifically gendered: the Nahuas link tlazolli to women and femininity, but also to an indeterminate, in-between notion, perhaps moving femininity beyond gender. Finally, as Burkhart points out, tlazolli signifies chaos.” (24)

That the tlazolli acquires ties to the moon through some of the goddesses associated with it is also of interest on this point.

The fertility of the trash puts us back in Philip K. Dick territory, too.

The association between tlazolli, dead mothers, and infant souls also provides one more way in which the mysteries of the lunar Populus and Saturnian Carcer entangle.

[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] Conceptualizing Sumer’s Diasporas

I mentioned a while back that I tend to think about there being two major magical diasporas flowing out of Mesopotamian antiquity, a celestial and Magian one and a cthonic and Goetic one. I have been rereading Dina Katz’s excellent The Image of the Netherworld in the Sumerian Sources with some of that in mind. Appendix 4, a translation of Edina-Usagake (“In the Desert by the Early Grass”) has me thinking I may be missing a third element of that world, the feminine aspect of it.

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[NB] The Mother’s Tribe

This post follows the Absalom one closely, stepping forward in the material to look at another way of looking at the mother in the Judaic mythology, this time in the prophetic book of Isaiah. Again, let me emphasize that there are a number of good historical dimensions to this material (especially Isaiah with its even clearer historical roots), including questions of provenance and propaganda, but I want to keep those to the side while I talk about the mythological dimensions of it.

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The Cosmic Face of the Earth

I’ve come at this a little metaphorically before, but I want to address it more directly. When I talk about the materiality of the witch’s work, of the concrete alliances with the place and its ecosystem, that necessarily implies that the witch’s work is local. And it is. It needs to be emphasized, though, that it is a local operation undertaken with a cosmic force.

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