“Systematic traditions, ‘hermetically sealed’ within themselves, rose from the Semitic grimoire-styled ceremonial magic, not surprisingly influenced by ‘Egypto-Babylonian’ forms of ritual magic (first the domain of Enki but later passed into the possession of Marduk and his scribe-son Nabu). The priest-magicians of Babylon would not actually have personally used a grimoire-like magic themselves, as this was not their way. At best, they would invoke the powers of the Anunnaki with incantations in the name of Marduk – but this manner of using the ‘secret names’ as properties of Marduk, or any other demigod, was a much more recent addition to the system…” –Joshua Free
[This blog-post appears courtesy of Mardukite Liber-51/52 available within the NEW Deluxe Edition of Sumerian Religion by Joshua Free. These materials are also available in the Year-2 Mardukite Anthology: Gates of the Necronomicon.]
During the era of the first ziggurat temples – the Anunnaki age – all of the magic constituted the ‘spiritual assistance’ that was governed by the state, ruled by priest-kings and temple attendants. The ‘mystics’ of Babylonia were all employed by the temples and scribe-houses, though there were undoubtedly those who confined themselves to their arts in the outlands, beyond the awareness of the societal realm.
The peasant class, however, did not practice much by way of ‘magic’ (as classified by anthropologists) outside of their own personal religious devotions, which in itself was mostly restricted to hymns and prayers learned from the temples. These personal devotions were also completely inclination-based, as there does not appear to be any prescribed devotional method or temple attendance required of a Babylonian citizen, nor even participation in national festivals.
Access to the ‘incantation-prayers’ of the priests were also not generally given to just anyone – and you had to be able to read them, or at the very least memorize them. General collections of these tablets were seldom kept, with the exception of priest-kings who might house their own personal libraries. An example: the Kuyunjik collection, called nis-kati (preserved in the British Museum) which was the private property of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
The Altar of Offering set before the ‘Boat of the Gods’ (imagery also appearing in the Egyptian Tradition – a ‘Boat of the Gods’ carrying seven figures – e.g. the Seven Anunnaki Gods of the Babylonian ‘Younger Generation’) was also located at the official shrines – although personal altars could surely be constructed by a devotee appealing to their god, this would come much later during an era of ‘figurative mysticism’ because originally, these offerings would be physically received by a god in person, or via their ‘priestly secretaries’.
Common religious offerings included food and drink, incense and oil, even lavish jewelry and clothing – which were carried up the ziggurat steps of the ‘ladder to heaven’ to be placed before the feet of the god, or at the very least, at his ‘boat’ to be lifted to them.
When the appearance of the gods, themselves, was not present, it was customary to have an official piece of statuary left in there place. This became more and more figurative with the passage of time, and it is easy to see how many of these originating concepts evolved into later magical and religious practices – which were one and the same at their start.
Gold and lapis lazuli commonly appear as both ‘magical ritual aids’ and prestigious offerings to the ‘gods’ via their temples. Wands, necklaces and bags of loose lapis are often mentioned in esoteric texts (cuneiform tablets) from the Mesopotamians, in addition to golden rings and ‘amulet-plates’ marked with specific seals and cuneiform glyphs. Practical “underground” investigations into this type of work later developed into a modern standard used by the Mardukites who practice a contemporary Babylonian tradition, making use of illustrated sigil-seals and cuneiform signatures of the seven of the “Younger Generation” (as well as the Supernal Trilogy) – making ten sets in total. (See also the Necronomicon Anunnaki Bible and/or Book of Marduk by Nabu.)
Implementation of a practical magical system from the Babylonian ideal is somewhat different than what the contemporary mind, even an ‘esoteric’ one, is fundamentally familiar with. As opposed to the later magicians who appear to have had to connive and fool the hierarchies of spirits into assisting them, threatening them and even in fear of some retroactive revenge – the original magical system used by the priests of Babylonia was rooted in the deep personal relationship – running as deep as blood – that the Sumerian priest-kings and Mardukite NABU priest-scribes maintained with the sources of not only their religious power, but the basis of the entire system of civilization that allowed the progression of the human species into today.
All of this, according to tradition, resided in the influence of the Anunnaki gods – and the priest-kings and scribes were installed to be sure no one forgot this…
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