Moon Phases


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pazuzu's Child part 2

Chapter 4 : THE Attack of the Trajans. THe paused in conversation should have brought about a quiet silence interrupted only by the rustling and sound of animals in the woods. INstead a loud roar resounded in the forest. THe sound of cracking tree branches made a lid crack much like an individual fire work being lit on the 4th of July. "Here they come again" complained the Jinn smacking his hand against the ancient wood table. " Thos stupid beasts just never learn" "Trajans?" Enquired Darren. "Remember those hairy ape like creatures?" The Jinn shot back. "Oh yeah" Darren answered back dreamily. "Ready to see me in my real Jinn form?" The Jinn smiled with a look of expectation written on his face. THE furious monsters screeched and howled outside the old wood cabin. Build like tall gangly chimpanzees they moved with a stark coordination that left one rather frightened at how easily they could move and how fluid for a creature so tall and skinny. Slowly like a cart hunting its prey they would creep towards the cabin making their frightening screaches. When the two figures appeared in the door way the monsters hurled their spears at the two. Seeing the oncoming missile like object hurtling toward him Darren barely evaded being hit as he moved put of the way . THe spear penetrated into the wood with a loud "thwack". With slight noise the spear vibrated in the wall. THE launching of the second spear brought about a very different reaction. THE Jinn had caught the missile hurtling toward him effortlessly . Upon his capture of the missile it immediately burst into flame. Darren looked at the jinn with a puzzled expression. "Locke I told you my body is made of smokeless fire" Daren just nodded. THE creatures turned their heads and communicated with each other with signals of shaking heads, grunts and growls. THey appeared confused but simple animals often make rash decision when they are in a panic. THree of them rushed forward with their javelins in a vain attempt to gut the older darker man in the stomach. "Get ready" the old man said giving Darren a wink. In a matter f seconds his body began to expand and change. THE loud explosion knocked Darren to the floor. When he looked up as if in a daze he noticed a large monster like figure was standing their facing down the three hairy Trajans with their razor sharp teeth jutting from their lower jaws. THe huge mister had a body of burning fire and his eyes were a deep blood read of flame like coals. As the three hardly masters attmpted their charge the Jinn caught one and held him in his hand. He inspected the squirming ape like a child examine an insect he is about to kill or smash. THe Trajan immediately burst into flame. Blood spattered too the ground while the rest f the body turned too ash which a sudden wind which came about rather conveniently blew them away. A second Trajans stabbed the giant fiery jinn in the back. THe wooden javelin thrust in with no resistance. THe wooden staff burst into flame and the metal tip fell to the dirty ground. A meaty ball of fire in the shape of a fist exploded the hairy creature and that was the end of him. When the Jinn walked away a glowing metal spear tip remained burning a bright red on the ground. The third Trajan groaned in fear and ran toward the darkness of the forest. A jets treat of flame erupted from the Jinn's right hand.. The fleeing Trajan burst into flame. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 5: Horse and Carriage. "We. Must go and quickly" the Jinn said urgently. Darren followed along silently, reeling still from the jock oogf observing the transformation he was unable to speak. Quickly they ran through the forest and headed towards a dirt road with a lantern and bench on the side of the road. "Do they have busses on these dirt roads?", Darren ventured to ask. "THis is definitely not Los Angeles." "Like I said earlier, this is not Los Angles it is not your world, this is sort of liked an Earth 2" explained MUrad. The screeches and the yells of the remaining Trajans began to get louder and the crackling of bushes seemed to be getting closer. " I hope the carriage gets here soon because I do not like the sound of what is coming our way through the forest." A slight tone of panic invaded the Jinn's voice as he looked worriedly toward the direction where the sounds were coming from. "Shouldn't be a problem " Daren stated matter of factly " I saw what you did to those creatures back there and believe me when I say that that you could take out an army has of them" The sound of the horse and carriage came rumbling through . Murad grave a sigh of relief as the antiquated horse and buggy approached. THe driver brought the horses to a halt and the two got on. OOnce they seated themselves the conversation continued . " To do what I did back there expends a lot of energy" commented the jinn. "You've taken on five guys before how did you feel after the fight was over?" THE Jinn asked his question in a challenging manner. "I'll bet you might have been tired" he commented almost as if an after thought.. Darren kept his counsel. " I have more teach you" MUrad continued once he ascertained that no one would be listening in on the conversation . "You see Darren" He continued " My job is to guard the portal or vortex between this Earth and your Earth" " Are there any other Earths?" Questioned Darren. "No there is just these two, however let me explain something to you. But before I do that I would like to know if you have ever heard of read such classics as "Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz or the Chronicles of Narnia?" Darren nodded in the affirmative. The Jinn continued . "In those stories you see characters going through a rabbit hole and winding up in a different world or maybe a windstorm takes a young lady to Oz or some kids go to Narnia through a wardrobe .Those are like portals or vortexes to other worlds. After your experience you may find that those classics were really not that fictional but rather based on reality" "You mean these authors traveled through these portal and went to the worlds they wrote about?" Darren asked excitedly "that is is awesome." "I am not so sure about those authors or those worlds they wrote about but there are people and we call them "GateHoppers" they make it their business or should I say there fortune t travel through these gates and exploit whatever they can" the Jinn answered back. " THere are some people that actually conduct commerce between the different worlds but it is very disruptive and it messes up the natural order of things." "Are saying that people bring stuf from one world too the next and sell it?" Daren questioned the Jinn. "Basically yes" the jinn with a sour expression written upon his face. "Most of the stuff they sell is not your typical merchandise like clothes, games or books but rather like weapons and slaves." "Slaves?" Darren asked jolting bolt right into his seat. "Like I said earlier there are a few people not a lot who travel these gate ways." the Jinn responded with slight irritation in his tone. "Which is where my tribe of Jinn come in." A bit of joy crept back to voice as he continued to explain his tribes role with regards to watching the gates. It was obvious that this was a source of pride for MUrad. "Our job is to stope these gate hoppers and prevent them from going through the gateways and bring their weapons and slave." MUrad paused as if to let the information slip in. "Just imagine there is a primative world and two. Nations or tribes are fighting. If someone from your world sells them weapons or firearms why that could tip the balance . As for slaves nay rich people can afford them and they keep their slaves inside " "Yeah I guess you are right abut that" Daren said sounding rather abject. "There are world that a man can find himself , now sometimes these gateways will take you to a different time period and that could be past or present." "Let me ask you something" Daren interjected " Go ahead" replied the Jinn. "If I went to the past. That means I could change it. Right?" Darren asked. "Here is the catch my young friend" explained the wisened Jinn 'what has happened has happened the past cannot be changed. You can try too change or prevent some historic event but the timeline corrects itself and goes back to the way it was." "So you can watch but you cannot change anything what about the future? Is that right?" "Going through the gateway can take you into the future, but one thing" the Jinn paused and again he habitually rubbed the stubble on his chin "I call it a false future, because I can only temporarily exist because someone can always change their mind in the present and that in turn effect the future." "So what your saying is that I can jump into the future but if I go back to my time and somehow reach that futures I once saw it will be changed? Is that right?" Asked Darren. "My point exactly" confirmed the Jinn " If you should cross a gate and go into the future and then go back to your time line you will have already changed the future" " How is that ? " Darren asked almost demanding an answer. "Nothing is set in stone, we have free will and we can do what we want" replied the Jinn. "You see someone goes into the future or they step through a gate, guess what happens?"MUrad said quizzing Darren. He spent a few moment trying to figure it out before he came up with an answer. "You can see the future and you can see how things are going to be" Ventured Darren "Well that is one ways of looking at it but you are only partially correct" MUrad countered with a slight laugh. "Point is once you enter the gate you are no longer in the timeline , it is like you disappeared, your future self is not there , but the current you will be." "What's the point of going through this future gate then?" Mused Darren. MUrad folded his hands on his lap. "See where your friend end up, look at investment trends" answered MUrad " You know which stock will make money which ones lose, that kind of knowledge fright there could make you a millionaire " "I see" Darrent said quietly. "It's not like I can see my future self and learn from his mistakes " THe jinn shook his head back and forth with a smile. A sudden roar etched through the woods as the carriage rambled through the dark woods. MUrad adopted a very serious look. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 6 Attack of the Anzu THe carriage careened off the road into a clump of tree.. THE banging and the bouncing knocked them around like marbles on a jar Being shaken up. Darren's head banged solidly into the carriages roof Ceiling. HIs head made a hollow thud sound like a customer hitting a watermelon to determine it's quality. The roaring gt louder and louder . THe sound seemed to be descending from the air. Murad had not lost consciousness, after all a Jinn cannot get knocked out that easily. Murad moved the small curtain aside that acted as a barrier between the driver and his passenger. THe driver was not there. All that remained was large puddle of drying stick,y blood on the seat. If this is what I think it is Murad thought to himself things are not looking too good. The large cat likes roar echoed through the wood. A sound like wood being torn apart like paper could be heard as a large paw punched through the wall of the carrage. The paw felt around as is searching for something . Murad put up his Pinter finger and it lit up like a knife or blade cast into flames. The Jinn's hot finger penetrated the huge oversized cat like paw like a hot knife going through butter. THe creature immediately wrapped its paw and belched 0ut a furious roar. A series of intense bangs rocked the carriage and it seemed as though the wall would not be able to hold up. Another paw reached through and knocked the jinn down. Darren was just beginning to stir and his eyes were still a blur. Noticing that his fridge end was down and that this creature might well devour or at least kill them both. Darren realized that he would have to act quick if they were to get out of this mess alive that he would have to act quickly . A sharp spear like piece of wood broke free from the carriages wall and was lying right next to Darren. Quickly he grasped the wood , careful note to get splinters and rushed toward the probing paw that was searching the cabin as if looking for something. The harsh hitting movement of the other paws knocked against the carriage , knocking Darren to his feet at least three different times before he got close enough . A tool box slid it from under a seat and spilled out all it's. Contents some of which consisted oF sharp tools which could prove useful in trying to defend against what was beginning to seem like an oversized cat. It seemed like a cat but why did it come from the sky? The walls of the carriage were beginning to cm e apart. Acting quickly Darren pierced the creatures not hand and wedged his wooden spear into the crack. The giant creature's paw was trapped. An axe fell it of the tool box and slid to where Darren had the creature's paw trapped. Furiously he hacked at the monsters wrist. As the hand was severed from the wrist blood gushed every where. Murad grabbed Darren's wrist and pulled him through the carriage door. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Part 2 Chapter 1 Desert Oasis The smoke of Frankincense, Myrrh and permeated the inner sanctum of the temple. THe small cubicle liked room was filled with fragrant smoke that made me feel as if they were trapped with hi a small room of fog/ Grasping for air the elder priestess struggled to breathe. THe dream had been frightening ,the dream had been a portent. The last time she had such a vivid dream was when the conqueror from the north assumed the throne of Uruk. It had been dark days since. THe dream slowly came back to her, but it was no dream but rather a vision. In the dream a wounded creature flew through the air and died right at her feet. THe creature was an Anzu which was basically a leopard with wings. Known to be quite ferocious and powerful, due too their large size. Anzus could fly through the air swoop down and catch a grown man for a meal.. The vision had been vivid. The leopard like creature with it's yellowish brown skin had been flying through the air in lame circle going round and round. Upon seeing a town with people the Anzu flew down and landed. In the vision , the priestess head been on the outskirts of town collecting herbs for healing and offerings. The wounded creature was bleeding profusely with a bloody trail that followed him wherever he flew. When he landed, it was a few feet from where she was. "Frightening beast who have you decided to hunt this time? " she had asked knowing full well that these predators were dangerous and responsible for killing people. "Priestess of the Sacred God Sin please believe I have been deprived of food for days. On the brink of starvation I believed I would die when I chanced upon a human and a Jinn wandering about in the Central woods across the sea in a carriage. I attacked they fought back , the human stabbed me through the hand and pinned it to a wall in the carriage then he got it an axe and cut off my paw. So now death calls me back to Ereshkiagal's realm" the Anzu told his story his voice tinged with regret and anger. THE priestess leaned down too touch the dying beast to sea if she could heal him, he had lost too much blood . THe vision was too vivid. Dark clouds were forming on the horizon . Slowly the aged priestess ambled her way it of the room and into the main chamber. Catching her breath again she stiffened her body and picked up her pace. WIth deftness she dodged through the thronging crowd of people in the sook on her way to the temple of Nabu, the scribe God would be able to interpret this vision. Breathless from her run through the sook, she straightens herself up and walked toward the Zigguarat of Nabu. Although a priestess and one with an excellent relationship with the god she still could not storm up that mountain of building and petition the god. No she had to go through the lower levels with all the other worshippers. "Your face looks troubled moon priestess" noted the priest of Nabu. Concern was etched on his face. THE light shined off his bald head as he bowed reverently to the moon priestess. "It is a vision, priest and a troubling one at that." Sheer replied gulping down saliva "I can see" said the concerned priest. THe priestess shared the contents of her dream.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Return of the Spider God

Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. The man has a knack for mashing up humor, mythology, fantasy, other realms and even horror in such a way that it creates an enjoyable masterpiece worth reading. In this book Neil Gaiman play with African mythology and puts it quite nicely with lots of humor into the modern times. The story also seems to borrow from Greek mythology because it involves two brothers.
The story starts of in England with Fat Charlie living with his mom who is soon to die of cancer. Charlie is about to marry Rosie but the marriage seems to lack passion. Then in comes Mr. Nancy. He is a bit over weight and a musician type, seemingly armed with a joke and an inexhaustible supply of charm. Fat Charley has always wanted to stay away from him as his jokes could be embarrassing. With his mother dying and his wedding coming up, Mr. Nancy shows up and charms everyone and then he leaves. When he looks for Mr. Nancy again he too has passed. Hanging out with Ms. Higgler who takes care of him like a second mother he finds out that his father was a god, the spider god. Anansi is a trickster god who plays all sorts of jokes that get the other gods angry. Charley also finds out he has a brother. Spider is his brother’s name.
Having spider show up throws life into turmoil. Spider interferes with Charlie’s love life. Creates complication at work and eventually gets charley arrested for a crime he did not commit. Impersonating Charlie, Mr. Spider seduces Rosie, informs Graham Coates that he has been caught stealing. More intrigue does follow. THE London police go to the Caribbean to solve a crime. Charlie in the process of finding out how to banish spider learns about how they are connected and ends up fighting his father’s foe’s

It is a great read. One that any Gaiman or mythology fan will enjoy

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Pazuzu's Child

Child of Pazuzu Blood and gore lay all around him. Bodies strewn across an ancient grassy field that looked parched of water like a man dying of thirst in a desert. The rage had come upon him once again, but not without good reason after all they were nothing but low life thugs with no right to live anyway. There was no covering this up, his DNA would be all over the place. Blood ,sweat, and years and then you threw in the possibility of saliva getting around. They were all dead killed by his bare hands. Bits of his dead victims would be embedded under his finger nails. Quickly he jerked his head suddenly like a fully inflated rubber ball that had been held under water for too long. Headlights he thought to himself. He ran from the withered grass field into the trees. It would prove rather troublesome to track him down in there. Then there was that part of Spring Glen that people just outright stayed away from. The isolated part of Spring Glen nestled in the hills had managed to trap the fog, so a permanent fog remained. Fog as thick as a concrete wall, even in the small area where it was confined people managed to get lost. Not only lost as in you cannot find your way but lost as in never returned. As if getting lost was not bad enough, people would fit report strange noises coming from the fog. At times little small children would report seeing strange creatures emerging from the concrete thick wall of fog. Something all the neighbors knew but never talked about. Things like this were hush hush, none of the neighbors really wanted the press or crowds milling around the neighborhood. The people after him had no clue he even lived there. Running up to the edge of the thick mass of fog. 'could drown in this thick sea of fog ' he said to himself. Although it was his only option left, he hesitated. One entered this sea of fog with caution and trepidation. " over there " someone yelled "I see him" quickly he turned his mop of foppish red hair towards the foggy bank of trees. There was only one choice and that was to run in. Inside the fog he could barely see two feet in front of him. Yet all around shadows could be seen, dark shapes dancing around. Like dark long thin shadows they moved around. What caused the shadows be he thought to himself. He had been in the fog once before, with a friend. The voices of his pursuers were getting louder, in the fog they were almost as blind as bats. His friends words came back to him. " duck low dude" his fat over weight friend had to him. They had survived that night and he would follow that advice tonight and live. Finding a tree he knelt down close the ground, neither pursuer not shadow would find him. One by one his pursuers fell victim to the wraithlike shadows. The shrieks of of horror the grown men wept like babies or women in the throes of a desperate panic. A hairy arm emerged from the thick soup like fog and wrapped it around some pimple faced thug with dirty curly blond hair. The sounds of screams and struggle echoed sending chills up and down his spine. Another thug was jumped from behind, the lower fangs of an ape like beast piercing the man through his back protruding through his chest. Screams were muffled by the red blood gurgling out of his throat like a slow molasses movement of lava.from a volcanic eruption. What ever these beasts of monsters were they were definitely not shadows. No human would Get through this alive. Quickly he moved his head from right to left back and forth seeking a way out of this deathtrap. Determining exactly where the most began and where it ended was impossible. The suddenly it appeared. A hole in the fog. At first it appeared to resemble an eye, only it was made of mist. Slowly it opened into a tunnel. "This my only chance but not much" he whispered silently to himself. Little bit by little bit he inched his way over to the vortex. As he dashed into the tunnel he heard a monster screech behind. He looked around and found not one of them pursuing him. What happened after that, No one knows. Things began to spin around and consciousness was lost. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------------------------------_---------------- Chapter2: the Jinn Guardian of the Gate He awoke to the sensation of a light push against his shoulder. Some older gentleman was nudging him gently . " say there young man you ok down there? " the old man asked stroking his white goatee which contrasted with his dark complexion. " where am I ? " he asked rubbing his head " and how did I get here? ". The old man just laughed. " young man I do not think you are ready for an honest answer" the man chuckled again and continued rubbing his goatee. " but I know a good place to start. " Looking around at the woods and the old shack that day in the midst of these woods. This was not spring Glen. This was not the hills just outside his old neighborhood. " Definitely not Spring Glen" he said aloud. " is this the deep south? " " No young man this is not the deep south and I ain't never heard of Spring Glen" the man straightened up ,adjusted his hat and began adopting a more serious tone " and you surly aunt no gate hopper" Getting up he began to brush his dirty hands against his worn out jeans. The faded denim with fray at the edges had miraculously no blood on them. " Young man are you aware that your hands are covered with blood and you may want to clean them off with some soap and water" the old man suggested wrily. " do I have blood on my face? " he asked. " A bit " answered the man looking the young teen ager over. " Listen Son " He Continued " You Are Obviously Not from These Parts and It looks to me like you have Had quite The Adventure" The young teenager shrugged as if giving up. " listen " he said " I live in Los Angeles and some guys were chasing me and I ran into this grove that has a permanent fog bank. " The dark man laughed to himself, massaged his goatee and then interrupted the young strangers story. " so you ran into the fog in order to get away from the people who were after you, and wait don't tell me they came after and you saw the fog open up into a tunnel and then you walked into it. Did I get it right? " he asked. The to be began lightening up. The young traveler let out a sigh and shook his head. " well sort but only worse" a brief pause ,the older man winced his eyes up. " well there were these creatures or monsters that looked like talk skinny apes or chimpanzees but they were vicious. " " I think I know what these monsters are but tell me a bit more " the old said. He gestured with his hand for the young traveler to follow along. " talk with ugly fangs going up from their lower jaw. The people who were coming after me were killed by them. " "Trajans" the older man interrupted. " What ? " asked the traveler in a tone that betrayed his confusion. " Trajans " the man continued " in the employ of Oid ,a wicked dwarf king from another world" the old man opened the door and beckoned the young guest to be seated. The young teenager beat down and slumped n exhaustion. " you come from Earth, Oid is dwarf king on a planet populated by mostly elves and dwarves plus fairies. Mankind has not arrived there yet. " "Other world?? Questioned the young red headed teenager with foppish hair. The old man poured some water in a kettle. He p!aced above a woodstove. The wood burst into flames as he touched his finger to the freshly cut logs. " wait a minute, how did you light up that wood, you had no match or lighter. " " Dont need a lighter or match" the old man shot back " I am Jinn" "What is jinn?" Asked the young man his scowl displaying his disbelief. " you never heard of jinn? " asked the Nunn " you really have never travelled a vortex or gateway before . " " I do not know what any of those are. " the teenager responded humbly revealing his ignorance of what the jinn was saying. The old jinn just shook his head. "Well son" he said using a fatherly tone " you have a lot to learn . But first let us start with introducing ourselves" _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 3: The Jinn Teaches " Darren from Los Angeles,1989, " the old jinn repeated. He shrugged and then scoffed "well if I might say that you have found yourself in an alternate universe and right now you are in a different version of planet Earth" " What ? " Darren belted out his face scrunched up like he ate a sour lemon. " I can see you have a lot to learn" sighed the Nunn looking skyward as if imploring some higher being. " you do not even know what a jinn is " Darren shook his head confirming what the Jinnhad said. " Ever hear of venues or Aladdins Lamo.? " " yes ,yes, of course you rub the magic bottle and put they come to grant three wishes" Darren responded excitedly as if proud that he knew at least one thing the old jinn was talking about. "Burdick tea, care for some?" Asked the Jinn smiling as he placed a clean copper mug of steaming hot tea before his guest. Slowly he picked up the tea smelled and then cautiously took a sip. " for you humans this stuff is good for your liver, go on drunk up" urged the jinn. Darren complied with his hosts request. " Now listen son and listen well cause you have a lot to learn and I mean a lot" the jinn paused to let his words sink in. "I am going to teach quite a bit in a short time, you read me son?" Darren bobbed his head up and down indicating his comprehension ! So began the Jinn's lecture. Darren was told not to interrupt and to save all his questions for later. " let me start with explaining who we Jinn are. We have been around far longer than mankind. The world you live in used to belong to us and then, according to legend Allah or God decided to give it to mankind. The jinn were driven to another dimension. There were three major creation, us, you and angels. The jinn are made of fire, you humans are made of clay, while the angels are made of light. The Arabian legends say that Allah created Adam and everyone bowed down to him, except our leader, iblis. Our leader would only now down to Allah. For that the Jinn were compelled to another realm. Well that is what our legends say, I myself have never seen Allah and nor do I know of any Jinn who has seen or met allah. I have seen angels only rarely. Now at least you know who we are now. The genie is based on the Jinn. Do you know where the bottle came from? " Darren paused and just shrugged his shoulders indicating that he did not know. The Jinn then asked him another question. " What religion do you follow? " Darren paused and then have a one word answer. "Jewish" he said. " might make things easier, do you know much about king Solomon? " asked the jinn. Darren just shook his head left and right which meant no. He never believed in religion much and he had the feeling that the jinn felt the same way. In Arabian legend he is called Suleymam. The king needed help building a temple so he obtained a ring that gave him power to command the Jinn. After the jinn built his temple who proceeded to trap them in brass containers and then dump them out at sea. " " excuse me " Darren interupted. " is all that stuff real? " he asked the Jinn doubtfully. The Jinn paused and took a few moments to stroke the stubble of his chin. " the truth be told" the jinn laughed " I have never seen the big man upstairs and I have never met any Jinn who has met the big man upstairs. Neither have any angels met him or seen him. I guess we are like you humans in that respect. " " How Do You Pronounce your Name Again?" Darren asked changing subject. "Murad, you can pronounce Moorad" the old Jinn told him " I never told you about my origins and how I got here" "Before we get to that, I would like to say that when it comes to religion you and I think pretty much think alike" Darren paused in order to gauge the jinn reaction to what he was saying. " in other words religion is nothing but lies" " will Darren my response is i do not know " Murad responded" some of us Jinn do not believe in anything, others are Christians, Jews and pagans. I have a feeling we will never truly ever know" " What about the old monotheistic religion that honored such gods as Zeus or Odin? Any truth to that? " Darren ventured to ask.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gilgamesh the King

Gilgamesh: A New English VersionGilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story of the great warrior king from Uruk has been retold countless times by the Mesopotamian people that inhabited the region and is well known by those modern folks who are pretty well read.
Uruk was a city-state in Sumeria that was ruled by Gilgamesh, who is said to be 2/3 divine and 1/3 human. His father, a human king, was Lugalband and his mother was Ninhursa. Ninhursa was a goddess. Now Uruk is a lesson in contradiction because on the one hand the king is a physically abusive tyrant and he is out of control. He makes young men engage in grueling physical sport and he takes any woman he desires. On the wedding night he has first dibs on the bride. The people are basically oppressed. On the other hand the city is glorious to live in. Men are kept happy by the priestess of Ishtar and the market place is uber colorful. The people in their anguish call out to the gods for help.
The gods create a person from clay named Enkidu. He will be 2/3 animal and 1/3 human the perfect balance to Gilgamesh. Enkidu is seen with the animals, a frightened trapper reports him to Gilgamesh. Now Gilgamesh advises the report to have Shamhat the temple priestess seduce him. She does tis quite well and ends up civilizing him. In Uruk Enkidu and Gilgamesh are destined to have a wrestling match after which the two become best friends. Their first adventure takes them to the Forests of Lebanon where the Cedars are guarded by a Humbaba the terrible monster. They defeat the monster and get the Cedar Wood. This incites Enlil’s wrath. Upon returning to Uruk, both the brothers are filled pride and exuberance. Ishtar the goddess of love is entranced by Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh spurns her advances and in her anger she send the bull of heaven. This leads to Enkidu’s death and Gilgamesh’s search for immortality.
The story is simple and yet filled with depth and meaning. Humbaba is portrayed as a monster but I reality he was set to guard the forest by Enlil. Trespassing on a deity’s forest is taboo or forbidden. He also does it for glory. Gilgamesh’s relationship with Ishtar is complex. On the one hand he sends her priestess on an important mission. The next he blatantly goes against her wishes. Everyone is on a quest for immortality but in the end we cannot live forever. Utnapistim, the only immortal advises that he stop seeking immortality and just life to its fullest.

There are many different versions of this tale. Stephen Mitchel tries to pull them all together to write this narrative. In the end it comes to another version of the tale and not just a translation. The author also covers some of the archaeological work that net into to finding this tale.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dictionary of the Gods

Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated DictionaryGods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary by Jeremy Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Several thousands of years ago the first civilization, Sumeria , was born in Mesopotamia ( the land between two rivers. They had system of gods and theology. They developed cities with irrigation and organized political leadership. Their culture was the basis for the later Babylonians, Assyrians and Chaldeans would later rule Mesopotamia after the Sumerians. Mesopotamian culture would have a profound impact of the neighboring cultures who would borrow extensively from Sumeria. Most obvious would be the gods. They were copied by other culture with sometime little or no modification. Other nations like the Elamites, Gudeans and Isis Larsin would come in and conquer parts of Mesopotamia but in the end they would become Sumerianized.

This book gives a dictionary entry for different aspects of Mesopotamian civilization. The book talks about the gods. Using Inana as an example. Inanna was a goddess if love initially. Later n as the Akkadians took over she became Ishtar, goddess of love and war. Mind you she was a protectress of prostitutes and she had them in her temple. Before she became the Inanna we love and know there were other goddesses of love like Isharra who were absorbed into her. Plus there were other Inannas for different town and cities. These different Inanna’s had different characteristics and performed different functions, eventually they god absorbed. Still wonder why we say all Goddesses are one Goddess.
Assur and Marduk are ones that got exchanged quite a bit. Marduk was the God who slew Tiamat and Kingu when they rebelled and threatened chaos. It was Marduk that slew them an created humanity and the world from them. Marduk was so popular that some worshipped him strictly to the point of becoming a monotheistic religion. When the Assyrians came to power they chose their god Assur to take his place. He would take on different characteristic of different gods. He would become the head honcho who took down Tiamat.
Exactly who were the inhabitants of Ancient Mesopotamia. First were the Sumerians and they did not have a mighty empire but rather they were divided by city states. Each state had its own patron deity. They were honored usually in a high temple called a Ziggurat. The top of the Ziggurat was the portal the god came through on. All the way down to the lower level is where people gathered to worship the god. The Sumerians appeared to just pop up in Mesopotamia and they spoke an agglutinative language. They wrote in Cuneiform. Next would come the Akkadians who were Semitic invader descended from Amorites. Hammurabi was Amorite. From the Akkadians would spring the Assyrians and the Babyonians..
The Babylonians had 2000 gods many with no names. If you read this book you will get a good in depth history of these gods. Some gods came from other pantheons and settled into the Mesopotamian way of doing things. More often their gods were borrowed by neighboring cultures. Such borrowing would include Ishtar. She was borrowed by the Canaanites and called Astarte. Ishtar then traveled to Greece where she became Aphrodite. The storm god Adad who is represent by cattle of Bison was present among the Hurrians and Canaanites. For those of you involved in paganism and magic you will not be surprised to know that the Sumerians started the magic circle. They also started Hieros Gamos or the mating of the Gods.

The book is short but crammed with lots of information. If you enjoy Mesopotamian history then this book is for you. Definitely red in conjunction with other books on the subject.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Saga of the Thunder Priestess

The Hammer of Greatness: Life of the Oseberg priestess (783-834 AD) (BLADE HONER Book 1)The Hammer of Greatness: Life of the Oseberg priestess (783-834 AD) by Maria Kvilhaug
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A tale that starts off with a dream by a sacred healer who lives close to the river with her people. The village is a place of freedom and peace. It is a place where women are respected and thing are rather matrilineal with the men following after the ways of the women. Much different from the Viking era world were men hold sway over everything. Perun or Thor the Thundergod is central to this story even if he is not actually present. The dream eventually come true. A wounded Norseman name Thorbjorn comes to a village wounded, he arrive at the Thunder Gods shrine. There he is met by the healer who marries him eventually and thy have two kids together. The healer had a child from before and her name is Zivah. Thorbjorn or Thunderbear as he is called has lived a life of disaster and has seen his whole family wiped out by a paranoid and power hungry king of Svears. Thorbjorn after leaving his village goes from one disaster to another on board a Viking ship where he is circled by multiple enemies an wounded badly. That I how he gets to the village. The two children they have together are Thordis and Thorowolf.
After the birth of Thordis the relationship between Thorbjorn and Zivah starts to deteriorate. Zivah was once meant to follow in her mothers footsteps and be a healer uut when Thorbjorn midwifes his daughter into birth Zivah is angry because she was supposed to do that. So she hates her family breaks the hart of many young men while fantasizing about marrying a rich prince. Her flirtations with bad people get her into some danger as her younger sister looks out for her and Thorbjorn must kill rogue Viking to protect her.
Life changes when one day the Viking Rus invade their village and wipe out the inhabitants. Zivah survives and is almost violated on many occasions. Her mother dies protecting her . Thorbjorn dies in battle. Thorwolf died years earlier in a drowning accident. Zivah is relegated to the status of a concubine while Thordis gets recognition as a Thunder Priestess in the making. Life will change for both girls as they realize their destinies as blade honers. Blade honers make men strive to be better than they are at present. Zivah adapts to being a slave in the Rus Viking compound.

The strong point of this book despite it being a rather good story that is very entertaining to read but the author is very knowledgeable about Norse life back in Viking time and she has done her research. Think she has PHD in Ancient History of that period. She does not glorify the Viking like lots of authors are tending to do. They were a rough group of slaver and raiders yet they did have a code of honor. But they could be very mean and very nice in comparison. The slavers take the girls through the slave markets of Khazaria and Arnulf the Viking leader tls about life in Baghdad and there is some meaty discussion on religion. An excellent book and very informative.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast - All Four VersionsBeauty and the Beast - All Four Versions by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely one of the most popular faery tales, it has been made into a movie or tv series countless times. Disney made a carton movie out of it, later on the French made a movie out of it and now there is a new version out. The TV series makes further twists on the plot. When it comes to faery versions there are basically four major ones. The first one is just a regular faery tale, the second is a condensed version of the first, The Grimm Brother version is much different while the fourth is written by Andrew Lang.
The first version is the most complete of all. In fact it is so complete that the ending part which explains everything in great detail becomes rather long and painful. Sometimes I got lost while reading the ending part because in reality it goes into the backstory rather in depth, something which the other three don’t. Most versions of the story start out with a wealthy business man who loses everything after a fire burns his house and his fleet of boats get drowned in a storm. With very little money let the merchant takes his sons and daughters to a country villa where they have to do their own chores now. Further in the tale the father gets word that one of his ship made it. Expecting great fortune the kids all want expensive gifts, everyone except beauty who wants just a rose. Well his partners thought he was dead and split everything up. On the way home with almost nothing to show for his endeavors , the merchant gets caught in the snow it is during a snow storm that he finds relief in a castle. He is well fed and well rested and spying on a rose, he takes one that is when he is confronted by a beast. The beast threatens to kil him in retaliation for taking his rose after receiving such great hospitality. In return for letting the merchant live his daughter must take his place. She must stay there forever and she is expecting to die. The beast , however, kills her with kindness. He tries to woo her and get her to fall in love. When she wants to go home for a week or month or two months depending on the version the beast lets her and he gives her magiac so she can get back quickly. When she takes too long he starves himself almost until the point of death. At this point she realizes her love for him and agrees to marry him. The Beat turns into a prince and a handsome one at that. The second version pretty much ends there while the fourth version, written by, Andrew Lang, explains that then a wicked faery turned him into the beast for spurning her. He would have to have a virgin fall in love with him. The first version goes into even more detail. It notes that the princes mother wants him to marry royalty. Good thing that Beauty was an adopted child by her merchant father. Her real father is a king. There is also a good faery who teaches them how into counter the wicked faery’s spell. The wicked faery helped the prince’s mother capture land and maintain her kingdom. It goes a bit into faery politics.
The Grimm version is much much different. In this version the beast is a lion and instead of a rose the man takes a bird. There is a sojourn back home and the revived lion gets well and marries her. When she wants to go home with him for a celebration he warns her that if he is touched by candle light he will turn into a dove for seven years. Well he gets touched by candle light and she has to pursue the dove for seven years. She asks the winds for help as well as the sun and the moon. They each give her gifts which she will need. It ends up that the lion has resumed his form and is fighting a dragon who happens to be a queen. Magic makes them resume human form an away he goes with the queen leaving his beloved behind. She follows him to the kingdom but he has forgotten her. Twice she triks the evil queen into letting her sleep in the same room as her husband. Eventually she wins him back. Fun read an very informative to see how different versions of a story play out.

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Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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