❶ FOUNDATIONS OF COSMOLOGY
Zuism is the worship of Heaven–𒀭 An–, which is the north ecliptic pole coiled by the constellation Draco, the source of all the star-gods.1 Heaven is the active whirling force which proceeds throughout all the heavenly bodies, the Earth, and also all the beings on Earth, generating all of them. It is the whirling force that resides at the centre of all beings, producing their whirl of life. Humans are able to craft Heaven’s force by emulating its order, for good or bad aims.2
Zuism is an “open” religion, which accepts different ways to worship Heaven, depending on the different points of view from which Heaven is perceived. The different gods themselves, the different stars and constellations and their forces, but also the Earth herself, are all “faces” through which Heaven manifests to us. Different temples for the various deities shall thus be built, and there is the need for common architectonic principles.
❷ FUNCTIONS OF TEMPLES
Temples or templates (the Latin word templum literally means a place for “contemplating” Heaven, drawing meaning from its stars) are meant as reproductions of the order of Heaven on Earth, therefore connecting with Heaven’s force.
The specific meaning of Mesopotamian temples—𒂍 é in Sumerian—, whose characteristic feature is the central raised platform or tower (𒅆𒂍𒉪 unir in Sumerian or ziqquratu in Akkadian, literally “mountain”, “mountain peak”), is to emulate Heaven’s force which proceeds throughout all things in the manner of their rotational shaft, the axis mundi. Mesopotamian temples were specifically built to represent mountains; the mount itself is a symbol of the axis mundi, as studied by Mircea Eliade, of the cosmic mountain which comes down from Heaven (the north pole, the progenitor of the universe), and, in the opposite direction, ascends towards Heaven, and therefore provides the way for returning to Heaven.3
Another foremost feature is the quadrilaterality of temple buildings, given the importance of the square form in symbolising the north pole and therefore communing with it.4 Temples, essentially, function as centres of irradiation for establishing a cosmos, a structured experience of reality.
Temples are also meant as observatories for the study of Heaven. Zuism, as a scientific religion, encourages the study of Heaven, which, in its broadest sense, is both the nature immediately perceivable by mankind and the deep space-time (the outer space-time of astronomy, and the inner space-time of particle physics).
❸ THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN IN REYKJAVIK
As the coalescence of a new gnosis, a new ark of knowledge for the awakening and spiritual heightening of human beings, the Zuist Church needs a physical centre of presence to align with Heaven and study and emulate its order, thus providing a cosmic focus. Iceland will be at the forefront of the Zuist spiritual renewal, and the centre of the Zuist Church in Iceland will be the Temple of Heaven in Reykjavik.
The project for the Temple of Heaven in Reykjavik envisions a structure built with modern materials (sealed coloured concrete, better if Roman concrete which includes volcanic ash and is both stronger and cheaper than modern concrete) and characterised by the sharp lines of modern architecture, but inspired by the Mesopotamian, Chinese and Germanic architectural traditions.
All these cultural sources are related, as demonstrated by academic studies.5 The Temple of Heaven in Reykjavik shall function as a cosmic centre similarly to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The roofs shall feature lithe dragons just like those of Chinese, but also Germanic, temples. The dragons symbolise the constellation Draco at the north ecliptic pole but also the chthonic spirits and kinship spirits which sublimate themselves when they are inspired by, and organise themselves according to, the order of Heaven, in the struggle for ascending towards it.
Other features adopted from the Chinese tradition shall be elements for worship, including squared and round incense cauldrons and a squared table for sacrifices. The importance of the square for communing with the north pole will thus be affirmed even in worship practices, just like in Chinese religion.6
The Temple of Heaven shall be built with the sides pointing to the four cardinal directions, and with the ingang to the south,7 so that the staircase to the top shrine, the “stairway to Heaven”, would emulate the ascension towards the northern skies, towards the north pole, towards the supreme ancestor of the universe, the heart of An. By aligning with the Earth’s axis of rotation, the temple would connect to the whirling force of the north celestial pole, which in turn rotates, through the precession, around Draco and the north ecliptic pole, thus ultimately linking to the heart of An.
Ancient historians, notably Herodotus, reported–and modern archaeological study has proven–that Mesopotamian temples were painted in seven colours. Each level of the “mountain” (the unir) was associated with one of the major seven planetary gods (the Anunnaki) seen from the Earth’s perspective, and painted in the associated colour. The sequence of the colours, and therefore of the star-gods, has generally been reconstructed as follows (the list starts from the lowest level of the unir and ends with the highest level):8
WHITE – Jupiter (Marduk)
BLACK – Saturn (Ninurta)
RED – Mars (Nergal)
BLUE – Venus (Inanna)
ORANGE – Mercury (Nabu)
GREEN (SILVER) – Moon (Nanna)
YELLOW (GOLD) – Sun (Utu)
Our project for the Temple of Heaven in Reykjavik has a very dark blue as the colour of the top shrine, with the surmounting pyramidal roof in a slightly lighter blue. The grapheme “An”, in yellow, is featured on the front side of the pyramidal roof, above an outline of the constellation Draco in the same colour. The apex of the pyramidal roof is surmounted by a crescent Moon, just like it was for ancient Mesopotamian temples,9 being Nanna a symbol of the oneness of all the gods, the pleroma of An,10 and as such also called Enzu 𒂗𒍪 (“Lord of Wisdom”).11 As for the shaft, the unir, we present two versions for it, one reflecting the colouring of ancient Mesopotamian temples, and the other one with the unir in the same shade of blue as the top shrine, but decorated with yellow depictions of the circumpolar constellations Little Dipper/Chariot and Big Dipper/Chariot.
The following illustrations depict the two models. What is drawn is conceived as the central, and essential, complex of the Temple of Heaven. Further shrines, dedicated to the seven planetary gods associated with the colours and to other deities, as well as buildings for community uses and priests’ quarters, may be constructed behind or besides the central complex.
❹ TEMPLES TO LESSER DEITIES
Zuist temples dedicated to lesser deities–that is to say deities who come below the utmost An–, and minor temples in general, may be built according to less strict rules than those governing the major Temple of Heaven. It is also worthwhile to take into consideration that, given the current trends, the Lutheran Church of Iceland will likely see a swift decline in the coming years. Many church properties might be put on sale, and other religions might acquire them as it is happening throughout Europe to Christian churches of all denominations. The Zuist Church might buy former Lutheran churches and convert them into Zuist temples.
These minor temples will not necessarily have to be oriented towards the point of the horizon where the star-gods rise, also given that the locations of the rising of constellations change throughout time. It will be important, nevertheless, for prayers and sacrifices to be directed towards these locations, or, otherwise, towards the north which is the source of all.
Temples of lesser deities shall be characterised by the colour associated to the given enshrined deity. Former Christian buildings acquired by the Zuist Church should be painted in the colour associated to the deity they would be dedicated to, and the Christian cross on the top of the building should be replaced with the symbol of An, or with the 𒍪 zu symbol.
1. As already defined in the short article Elements of Zuist theology, published in February 2018 by the Zuist Church. It is also recommended to read Didier (2009), especially Vol. I, p. 88 ff and 115 ff (“Mesopotamian Views of the Pole”), where he describes Mesopotamian astral religion.
2. Umbe the energy of the north pole, it is suggested to read the article Why is the Earth strung on an axis? Hypothetical considerations, published on 16 March 2017 by the Russian site “Point of View Analyst Team”. This site promotes a Gnostic-Theosophical-New Age vision and its terminology may not be Zuist, but some of the studies in the article are relevant for our discourse.
3. Didier (2009), Vol. I, pp. 203–210.
4. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 218 ff.
5. Ibid., passim and Vol. III, p. 257 ff, where the author discusses the close relation between Mesopotamian and Chinese culture.
6. Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 78–83.
7. Sparavigna (2017), passim.
8. James & Van der Sluijs (2008), p. 69.
10. Parpola (1993), pp. 184–185, nn. 89, 93.
11. Kasak & Veede (2001), pp. 17–18.
Uligang Ansbrandt, March 2018
- Didier, John C. (2009). “In and Outside the Square: The Sky and the Power of Belief in Ancient China and the World, c. 4500 BC – AD 200”. Victor H. Mair ed. Sino-Platonic Papers, 192.
- James, Peter; Van der Sluijs, Marinus Anthony (2008). “Ziggurats, Colors, and Planets: Rawlinson Revisited”. Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 60. pp. 57–79.
- Kasak, Enn; Veede, Raul (2001). “Understanding Planets in Ancient Mesopotamia”. Folklore, 16. Folk Belief and Media Group of Estonian Literary Museum.
- Parpola, Simo (1993). “The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 52 (3). University of Chicago Press. pp. 161–208.
- Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina (2017). “Magnetic Compasses and Chinese Architectures”. Politecnico di Torino.
Credits for some elements of the images:
Praying man outline: Jon Candy, CC BY-SA 4.0
Running man outline: Charlie Llewellin, CC BY 4.0
Contemplating woman outline: Cathleen Trawhiti, CC BY 4.0
Trees: AnySnapshot, CC BY 3.0
Potted plants: Vector Graphics, CC BY 3.0
Smoke: Freepik, CC BY 3.0
The rest of the article is under CC BY-SA 3.0 license