The Zuist altar and calendar

This text is part of the Zuist Doctrinal Handbook (Zúisk Kenningarbók).


This pamphlet puts forward a model for the Zuist altar, to be kept either by the individual Zuist practitioner in his household or by communities in a temple, and presents a draft of the Zuist calendar. The “altar”, etymologically a place for “heightening”, shall be a representation of Sumerian theo-cosmology, a place where to meditate upon the generation of the order of Heaven and the gods, and where to commune with such forces. The calendar is the year, the Latin annus, thus the order of An itself coming into human activities. This pamphlet is therefore, at the same time, a theo-cosmological summary.


THE ZUIST ALTAR AS A REPRESENTATION OF ZUIST THEOLOGY

The Zuist altar shall be a reflection of Zuist astral theology and cosmology, an instrument of meditation on the generation of the divine from the supreme source of An, and then the latter’s manifestation as a multiplicity of ordered gods governing different phenomena. At the same time, the altar shall be an instrument for communicating with these gods and with the supreme source, through offerings and prayers. This function fulfils the etymological meaning of “altar”, from Latin altare, a place for “heightening” to, or remembrance of, the supreme source of all things. Altus (“high”) in Latin means both “high” and “profound”, “ancient”.

By virtue of relying upon the oldest theo-cosmology of mankind, Zuism may provide a theological pattern for all the Indo-European religions which are currently undergoing a revival throughout Europe in the form of relatively wide-scope new religious movements, including Latvian Dievturity, Celtic Druidry, Germanic Heathenry, Hellenism, Lithuanian Romuva, Slavic Rodnovery, and even Wicca; movements which often lack strong theological groundwork. The same astral threefold divinity, so clearly and systematically expressed in Sumerian theology-cosmology, is in fact shared by all Eurasian religions.1

Representation of a Zuist altar organised according to the three stages of creation as narrated in the Enuma Elish, which will be described hereinbelow. The cylindrical statuettes of the three forms of An (An in itself, Enlil and Enki) and of the seven star-gods which manifest in material Earth (Ki) as differing though intermingling qualities of being (Anunnaki), are inspired in their guise to the owl idols of Ishtar found at the goddess’ temple in Tell Brak (the so-called “Eyes’ Temple”), in Syria. Their layout is not haphazard, but corresponds to that of the stars of the Chariots’ constellations (Margidda).

Before the manifestation of Heaven (An 𒀭) and, subsequently, of the seven star-gods, the cosmological poem Enuma Elish tells that there is undifferentiated unity (AbzuMummuTiamat = [±] 0), primordial watery undeterminacy, the male water Abzu 𒀊𒍪 (“watery knowledge” or “confused knowledge”), which consciously (Mummu, or Nammu 𒇉, which is primordial potential consciousness which develops into reason in the differentiated stages of creation) merges with female water, Tiamat 𒀭𒋾𒊩𒆳. The divine principle starts to organise itself out of primordial undifferentiation by dividing into the binary system of forces of Lahmu and Lahamu (“muddy” male and positive [+] and female and negative [-] principles) and then clarifying into Anshar (“Whole Heaven” [+]) and Kishar (“Whole Earth” [-]), whose ongoing dance weaves the infinite fabric of the cosmos (Anki 𒀭𒆠).2 They are, respectively, the male and heavenly principle and the female and earthy principle, represented as serpents, comparable to 阳 yang and 阴 yīn (“bright” and “dark”, “waxing” and “waning”, “emanation” and “absorption” of creation), personified as 伏羲 Fúxī and 女娲 Nǚwā, of Chinese religio-philosophical culture.

The heavenly force that continually organises creation out of primordial undeterminacy (creatio continua of ordo ab chao, not creatio ex nihilo as in Abrahamic religions), and which takes the manifested form of Heaven (An), the universe itself, is Ashur 𒀭𒀸𒋩 or Anshar 𒀭𒊹 (the “Only God”), which, according to the Assyriologist Simo Parpola, is the same principle as the Ein Sof (אֵין סוֹף) discussed by the Jewish Kabbalists, wherefrom all the divine force emanates.3 Ashur manifests itself as An in the visible reality, “mirroring” itself in the material world.4

An is the north ecliptic pole coiled by the constellation of the Dragon (Draco), and expresses itself as three sky bands. The ring of constellations closer to the north ecliptic pole is the “Way of Enlil”, traditionally characterised by the luludanitu colour (white, red and black), and representing the active force (lil 𒆤, the pneuma) of An; Enlil 𒀭𒂗𒆤 (“Lord of the Breath”) is the active face of An and is associated to the precessional (changing) north celestial pole, and to the constellations of the Chariots (Margidda; Ursa Major and Ursa Minor in modern astronomy) close to it, which also represent its weapons. The ring of constellations farther from the ecliptic centre is the “Way of Enki”, traditionally associated to the colour jasper green; Enki 𒀭𒂗𒆠 (“Lord of the Squared Earth”) is the full materialisation of An, embodied by the lugal (highest sacerdotal figure) in communion with the gods, and associated to the constellation of the Field (Iku; the Square of Pegasus in modern astronomy). The ring of constellationn in-between these two is the “Way of An” in conjunction with Inanna (“Queen of Heaven”), herself represented by the star of the Daisy (Dilipat; which is Venus).5

The three then begets the seven, emanating as the seven stars of the Chariots’ constellations and the seven major bodies of the system of the Sun. These astral orders thus correspond to the seven stages of manifestation of the supreme God in the flesh. These seven star-gods are the Anunnaki (the “offspring between Heaven and Earth”), who perfuse the force of God all throughout the material world (and are thus referred to as the “divine writing” of Heaven), intermingling to generate differing categories of being in matter:6

  • Marduk 𒀭𒀫𒌓 — “Sun Calf” is Jupiter, the white deity of air and authority, proxy of the active power of Enlil in the Sun system;
  • Ninurta 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅁 — “Barley Lord” is Saturn, the black deity of war and hunting;
  • Nergal 𒀭𒄊𒀕𒃲 — “Underworld Lord” is Mars, the red deity of woe and dearth;
  • Inanna 𒀭𒈹 — “Spouse of Heaven” is Venus, the blue deity of love and war, whose central position and female nature conjoins the seven with the supreme oneness of An;
  • Nabu 𒀭𒀝 — “Announcer” or “Glowing” is Mercury, the orange deity of wisdom and writing;
  • Nanna 𒀭𒋀𒆠 — the Moon is the green deity of fertility and fruitfulness;
  • Utu 𒀭𒌓 — the Sun is the yellow deity of justice, whose movements are the word of the creation of An.7

In front of the altar, the Zuist practitioner shall meditate through the recitation of cosmological poems which narrate the generation of the ordered world starting from the supreme principle, such as the Enuma Elish (divided into seven acts, like the seven star-gods of An), or which narrate the struggle of the individual human to understand and return to the supreme principle of divinity, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. The latter is defined by Parpola as a mystical poem which reproduces the twelve stages of the tree of life, meant as a “mystical path of spiritual growth culminating in the acquisition of superior esoteric knowledge”.8

As widely explained by the present author in other essays, Christianity is a corrupted and corrupting religion,9 its churches are nests of evil breeds, people born without reason of being, thinking just to their numerical and material growth.10 This does not delegitimises part of Judeo-Christian original literature, which has Mesopotamian roots, the meaning of which Christians themselves no longer understand. Some books contained in the Bible, such as the Qohelet and the Apocalypse (with its mysticism of the seven stars and the four forms of being) are therefore suitable for finding new value within Zuism (their Christ is our Enki as lugal).

Even Indian prana techniques (and yoga disciplines) and Chinese qi techniques, inherited from the Orient, may be appropriated by Zuism and refashioned as techniques of the lil (of the “breath”), to be practised in front of the altar while visualising the cosmology and its various phases or gods.

THE ZUIST CALENDAR, THAT IS AN ITSELF

The foremost model for human action in attunement with the divine rhythm is the calendar, and the Zuist calendar is An itself: The annus, that is the year, that is the rhythm of Heaven, that is the rhythm of the supreme God manifesting in the flesh.

In ancient Mesopotamia, each city devised its own variation of the calendar. The calendar that was considered the best one, and which remained consistent throughout history, was that of Nippur, the city of Enlil. The following prototype of Zuist calendar is based on that of Nippur;11 it has to be considered incomplete and liable to future refinements.

Sumerian-Mesopotamian calendars were lunar, which means that each month started with the new moon (note that the word “month” itself means “lunation”, since ancient Germanic culture was lunar, too). Each month was associated with one or more astrotheological figures, and festivals were celebrated during these months according to the lunar phases.

  1. Barazaggarra — falls between the Gregorian March and April and is dedicated to the celebration of the threefold manifestation of God as Heaven (An). In the astral map of the north pole, the three manifestations’ astral projections fall within Barazaggarra and mark the beginning of the three paths of the constellations around the pole and the three ways of the wheel of the year: that of Enlil (MULApin, i.e. “STARPlough”, that is Triangulum in modern astronomy, with his wain MULMargidda, “STARChariot”, that is the Great Chariot or Big Dipper in the Ursa Major),12 that of Inanna (MULDili.bat, i.e. “STARForbearing” or “STARDaisy”13) and that of Enki (MULIku, i.e. “STARField”, that is the Square of Pegasus).14 It is the month for planning and distributing, and festivals are to be celebrated at the New Moon and Full Moon. Akitu, the twelve-days great festival of the new year, takes place at the start of the month and includes the full recitation of the Enuma Elish.
  2. Ezengusizu — falls between April-May and is dedicated to the celebrations of all the seven gods Anunnaki, the fullness of the powers of the manifested An, symbolised in this case by MULMul, i.e. the “Stars of the Stars”, which are the seven Pleiades. It is also dedicated to MULAnunitu or Antu,15 the “STARSpouse of Heaven”, goddess of childbirth who corresponds to the constellation of the Northern Fish, and also to her MULShugi or “STARCharioteer”, who is Enmesharra, representing the progenitor of Enlil (i.e. An itself), and which is the constellation of Perseus.16 It is the month for starting works and festivals are celebrated at the Full Moon.

    The great goddess as a fish, in the guise of the Syrian figure of Atargatis or Derketo.

  3. Sigga — falls between May-June and is dedicated to MULSibazianna, the “STARShepherd of Heaven”, who is Dumuzi, the god of death and rebirth, and the constellation of Orion, and his two animals MULMush, the “STARSnake”, which is the constellation of Hydra and is the god Ningizzida, and MULUra, the “STARLion”, which is the constellation of the Lion (Leo).17 It is a month for clearing the way for the new phenomena to grow, and festivals are celebrated at the New Moon.

    Ningizzida, the serpent of life.

  4. Shunumun — falls between June-July and is dedicated to Marduk, the steward of Enlil in the Sun system, in his bodily form which is, in this case, MULUdaltar, which is a phase of Jupiter. The month is also dedicated to the MULMashtabba, the “STARSTwins” (Lulal and Latarak, two gods protectors of the household18), and to MULGagsisa, i.e. “STARArrow”, which is Sirius. It is a month of hard work, continuing what has been sown in the previous months and will keep growing in the next month. Festivities fall at the New Moon and the Full Moon.
  5. Nenegarra — falls between July-August and is dedicated to the ancestors, celebrated through the Ghost Festival held at the Full Moon. It is the month when lamps, fires and incense burners are kindled, as representations of the genealogical fire and as paths to be trodden by the spirits of the ancestors. The deity associated with the month is Ninlil, female counterpart of Enlil (thus representing the inhalation of the Spirit, of the Lil, rather than its exhalation which is Enlil himself), embodied by MULMargidda, i.e. STARChariot, also known as the Great Chariot (or Ursa Major) and also possibly the Little Chariot (or Ursa Minor). Then there are MULMashtabba Galgal, the “STARSGreat Twins” (Gemini, identified as Lugalgirra and Meslamtaea, aspects of Nergal19) and MULBan, i.e. “STARBow”, which is the Elamite Inanna, daughter of Enlil.20
  6. Kininanna — falls between August-September and is dedicated to the goddesses in general, and in particular to Inanna, the “Queen of Heaven”, the celestial aspect of the great goddess, represented by Venus. The autumnal rains begin to turn the weather cool and moistened, preparing the groundwork for new future growth. Astrally, the month is associated to MULSupa or Shupa (whom is Enlil who decrees the fate of the land, and is Boötes), to MULUga (which is the “STARRaven”, who is Ishkur, aspect of Enlil personifying the thunder, also known by the Akkadian name Adad, and corresponds to the constellation of Corvus), and to MULBir, “STARKidney” (which is the constellation of Canopus or Argo).21 At the middle of the month, there is the festival celebrating the great goddess.
  7. Duku — falls between September-October and is dedicated to the exaltation of the goddess as a mother figure, symbolised by MULNinmah, i.e. “STARGreat Lady”, the goddess of motherhood22 corresponding to the stars of Argo, and who is also associated to MULZibanitum or Zibbaanna, i.e. the “STARScale of Heaven”, which is the constellation of the Libra. The month is also associated to Ninurta or Ningirsu, represented by MULEntenabarguz, which is the constellation of Centaurus.23 It is also the month dedicated to the mythological episode of the descent of Inanna into the underworld to rescue her lover Dumuzi. The celebrations are held at the Invisible Moon.
  8. Apindua — falls between October-November and is a month of quiescence and waiting. It is dedicated to Adad, represented by MULHanish, and to MULGirtab, which is the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius) and the goddess Ishhara, goddess of inhabited lands. Then, it is dedicated to MULUridim, which is the constellation of the Wolf (Lupus).
  9. Gangane — falls between November-December and is a month dedicated to Nergal, in the forms of MULUdkaduha or Ukaduha, i.e. “STARPanther” and MULSalbatanu, which is Mars when it keeps changing its position across the sky. The month is also associated to Nintinugga, also called Gula, embodied by MULUz, “STARGoat”, which is the constellation of the Lyra.24
  10. Abe — falls between December-January and is dedicated to Enki as MULGula, i.e. the “STARGreat One”, which is the constellation of Aquarius. It is also associated to MULAllul, i.e. “STARCrab”, which is Cancer, and to MULAmushen, i.e. “STAREagle”, the constellation of the Eagle (Aquila).25 Ninkasi, the goddess of beer, is also celebrated during this month.
  11. Ziza — falls between January-February and the main celebration is that of the New Moon. The month is dedicated to the god Damu, god of vegetation and general earthly nature, represented by the homonymous constellation which is either Delphinus or the head of Draco, but is also dedicated to MULShimmah, the “STARSwallow”, and also to MULNumushda, the “STARCrown”.26
  12. Shegurku — the last month falls between February-March and returns to Marduk, represented this time by MULNibiru (or Marduk itself in our map), which is Jupiter as it changes position across the sky. Then, the month is dedicated to MULKaa, the “STARFox”, which is Alkor and is Erra, god of strength, and to MULKu, the “STARFish”, this month’s manifestation of Enki.27 It is a month dedicated to harvesting, recollecting and beginning to think about new projects for the next year. Festivals are celebrated at the Full Moon.

Uligang Ansbrandt, March 2019

The article is also availabe in PDF and on Academia

CC BY-SA 3.0


Footnotes:

1. Ansbrandt (2018c), passim.

2. Parpola (1993), p. 191.

3. Ibidem, p. 185.

4. Ibidem, p. 191.

5. Ansbrandt (2018a), pp. 3–5.

6. Ibidem, pp. 6–7.

7. Kasak & Veede (2001), passim. For the colour associations see James & Van der Sluijs (2008), passim.

8. Parpola (1993), p. 192.

9. Ansbrandt (2018b, 2018c), passim.

10. The best example of this are the churches of American Evangelical and Pentecostal Protestantism.

11. A good source about the calendrical tradition of Mesopotamia is: Cohen, Mark E. (1993). The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East. CDL Press: Bethesda, Maryland.

12. Rogers (1998), p. 18.

13. Kasak & Veede (2001), p. 23.

14. Rogers (1998), p. 21.

15. Also Nintu (“Lady of Birth”), she is the same as Ninhursag (“Lady of the Hills”), also called Damkianna (“Wife of Heaven”), and by other titles. They are all aspects of the Earth (Ki) herself in her role as welcomer and harbourer of the power of Heaven.

16. Rogers (1998), pp. 16–19.

17. Ibidem.

18. Ibidem, p. 19.

19. Ibidem, p. 26.

20. Ibidem, pp. 18–19.

21. Ibidem.

22. She is the same as Ninhursag, Ninmah being another one of her titles.

23. Rogers (1998), pp. 16–19.

24. Ibidem.

25. Ibidem.

26. Ibidem.

27. Ibidem.


Sources:

  • Ansbrandt, Uligang (2018a). “Zuist theology”. Zuist Church.
  • Ansbrandt, Uligang (2018b). “De civitate Caeli”. Zuist Church.
  • Ansbrandt, Uligang (2018c). “An: God-Sky-Time-Being”. Zuist Church.
  • 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.
  • Rogers, J. H. (1998). “Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions”. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 108 (1).
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