Hopefully you read or at least skimmed my Mesopotamian History for Dummies quick timeline, because it provides the bones of this religious analysis. It is important to keep an open mind going forward here, because a large part of my religious analysis will rest on the earth’s proposed astrology. A few caveats to keep in mind is that back in these ancient days, time was measured in a way we would find unrecognizable today. The years I’ve assigned to the ages are hypothetical and rely too heavily on the contemporary calendar to be considered truly accurate, however this is the general working model for occultists, (although consolidated sources are pretty hard to find). Additionally, despite any existing biases you might have on personal or pop astrology, I urge you to find it in your heart to agree, at the very least, that the night sky is indisputably full of constellations which, visually, serve as the backdrop to the movements of the celestial bodies in our solar system. Regardless of what effects might or might not manifest from their formations, we can all at least agree that the sky is set up in such a way. My hypothesis rests heavily on astrological considerations, and it is necessary for the reader to willingly suspend their disbelief in order to holistically consider my claims, even though they are not backed up by science. In fact, no traditional religion or subsequent analysis can be based on science, as it goes against the faith based essence of spiritual practice. Just because it’s not 100% proven does not mean there is nothing to learn or take away. One more thing to keep in mind… this is a macro historical generalization… thousands of years of Mesopotamian religious history in one simple post hardly does the subject due justice. Trust that over time, as my body of research becomes more in depth that more smaller scale details will be analyzed, but for now I am focusing on establishing a decent background for these deeper dives to eventually take place. Today’s analysis is strictly Mesopotamian in nature, so I don’t want any flack about “what about the Egyptians and the Elamites?:((” because I promise we’re going to get there at some point. Now let’s jump right in.
Let’s quickly set the some approximate background parameters to consider:
7500-5000 BCE is the age of Gemini.
In personal astrology, individuals with Gemini sun placements or otherwise heavy Gemini placements on their chart share many of the same personality traits and energetic characteristics, and this, according to my theory, is the same for the collective people of earth while it occupies the constellation of Gemini. Gemini energies are generally frenetic and mercurial. Gemini dominant individuals are simultaneously fanciful and grounded- they have lofty goals and powerful imaginations, and they are often able to achieve these goals because their work ethic is, generally, beyond reproach and well above average. They are highly curious, motivated, and social individuals who love dialogue and openly seek new knowledge and experiences through dialogue, travel, interpersonal relationships, as well as a healthy relationship with failure. At the end of the day, a Gemini wants something unsustainable; the best of both worlds (keep this in mind). While events, triumphs, and traditions of this time period are nearly impossible to know exactly, Mesopotamia scholars agree that the first semi-sedentary settlements begin popping up in and around the Levant during this general time frame. Occult sources also generally place the teachings of “fallen angels” or Nephilim near and around the age of Gemini, and establish the importance of the area in and around what is now considered the city of Jericho (which is in the Levant), as playing a key role in Nephilim lore. My stance is that occult teachings surrounding Nephilim phenomena play a large role in prehistoric religion, as well as the success of these semi-sedentary, and eventually the permanent Taurean settlements, and we will be touching on this in a bit.
5000-2500 BCE is the age of Taurus.
In personal astrology, Taurus sun or Taurus dominant individuals embody certain key energies and traits. In pop psychology, the stereotype is that Taurus individuals are lazy and gluttonous, and while some Tauruean individuals definitely are, and they all certainly covet and enjoy their downtime, this is a dumb downed stereotype that does not do the sign proper justice. Taurus energies have more to do with a stubborn adherence to personal principles and an industrious attitude. This sign recognizes the value of hard work above most anything else. They recognize this for the benefits it brings the individual and collective, as well as understanding that hard work is the key to enjoying life; working provides the opportunity and resources for pleasurable downtime. Taureans thrive on the balance between work and play, and they have an innate ability to recognize opportunities to acquire the things they desire and to effectively capitalize. Historically speaking, we see some important things happen during this time frame. During the age of Taurus, the Neolithic revolution is in full swing, so to speak, and there is much evidence to confirm that humans in the age of Taurus start perfecting the settlement model that was laid out in the previous age. During the age of Taurus we see the “semi-“ prefix fall from the sedentary label, as humans begin truly recognizing the miscellaneous benefits that accompany food surplus, concentrated population, and the establishment of permanent domestication: specialized labors, government structure, and safety in numbers. Innovations such as the plow, the wheel and canals are achieved by settled humans in this age. Despite the engineering feats made, they also become privy to the downsides of civilized life, which are arguably worse, depending on who you ask, most notably disease, famine, and increased reliance on weather patterns. They were no longer going to the food sources, they were bringing food sources to their settlements, and attempting to force nature to support their settlement. The nomadic hunter-gatherer model did not disappear overnight, and outside of the Levant, most cultures continued utilizing that model, which put vulnerable sedentary settlements at constant risk of siege. The development of personal duality is the most important distinction when considering religious analysis: The age of Taurus sees an unprecedented increase in and reliance on domestication, human dominion, skills and intellect; all of which are not necessarily negative, but pronounce the human ego in a way that was not previously given. Previously, duality was fixed, unchanging, and only existed in nature: the sun and the moon, man and woman, land and sea, etc., but after the Neolithic period, and into the early Bronze age, we see a new kind of unstable and evolutionary pseudo-duality emerge: man vs nature, civilization vs chaos; we see humanity schism from a nature based existence and assert ourselves as truly separate from nature. Before the age of Taurus, humanity, like most species, was completely subject to the earth. Fire, shamanism, and rudimentary tools and weapons allowed pre-Taurean humans certain privileges, (literal “enlightenment” over other animals), but survival still depended on respect and fear for the cycles of the rest of nature. Constructing permanent settlements with irrigated farms and herding infrastructure put humans in a dual position. Personally, I recognize a trend: the more humans exert control over their environment, risks of chaos increase, and so does the human desire to control these risks. It’s a hamster wheel. Think about it. Wow, said a Tauruean human, what if we gathered all the food and stored it a central location, and then just used it when we need it? Then we can focus on making hot metal into different shapes, carving rocks into statues of our wives, and hauling big stones into circles. It seems like a foolproof plan… until the grainery catches fire or is sacked by nomads and the whole settlement goes hungry. No longer were we purely working with nature to sustain small nomadic family and cultural groups, running from lions and shooting antelopes. We began the tail chasing cycle of being permanently at odds with chaos, and we became desperate to exert control over it, and this trend has only increased over time.
Okay let’s break this down a bit. In the age of Gemini, we see humans in the Levant begin to experiment (whether purposely or accidentally), with the domestication of plants and animals. Dog, man’s best friend, is thought to be domesticated during this age, and this symbiosis has become a permanent symbol and institution within humanity. Most people still relied heavily on hunting and gathering, but food surpluses began taking shape resulting in semi-sedentary settlements. I contest that Gemini age religion mainly consisted of duality based elemental gods which represented the basic elements of humanity: Sun and moon gods, ocean or river gods, rain and weather gods, as well as a healthy respect and fear (that could have easily resulted on something akin to deification), for other necessary survival elements such as grains or plants, animals which were hunted as well as predatory animals that were revered, and last but definitely not least, fire. Enter the notorious Nephilim… Described in the Book of Enoch and other various occult sources as fallen angels or giants that possessed a higher level of intelligence than any human or group of humans, it goes that they were sent by higher beings to supervise us and keep us in check, but they ended up doing just the opposite. Their most notable transgression was mating with human women and teaching them “forbidden secrets of the universe” (most notably weaponry, cosmetics and astrology, and also many other things that directly contribute to anything having to do with cosmological occultism, esoterica, “magick”, and other things which acted as a catalyst for human ego development), which it can reasonably be assumed that these secret teachings were passed down to their mixed offspring. It is also believed in occult circles that Nephilim phenomena is concentrated or otherwise significantly linked to the near east, especially in the Levant or Canaan. While the timeline (and existence) of the Nephilim is unstable and changes from source to source, I believe that whatever occurrences are described in the various Nephilim sources are responsible for establishing more occult aspects of early religion, as well as putting human women at the forefront of spirituality, supporting the scholarly belief that many ancient cultures were egalitarian if not overtly matriarchal. While Nephilim knowledge could easily predate the age of Gemini, the model certainly carries and plays into the age. Nature and cosmology made up the bulk of Gemini age religion- the necessary components of survival were worshipped with fervor and regularity, while rudimentary and female centric shamanic mysticism (supposedly aided by Nephilim teachings), played a more ancillary role in the overall religious infrastructure. Most groups or settlements likely had a priestess whose job was to undertake the more esoteric responsibilities of a community’s religious structure. Seeing as how humanity was inseparable from nature, working in tandem with nature at this time rather than against it, the shaman or priestesses work was likely primarily based in the application of early glamour magick, herbal medicine and astrological/ego development. Religion in the age of Gemini was a a period of respite, where human spirituality balanced with ease between nature fear and occultism… an ultimately unsustainable “best of both worlds” set up. Gemini age priestesses and shamans did not perform rituals to win wars or control the weather as would be the jobs of later mystics; it was closer to “take this tincture for this ailment”, “paint your face this way for protection on the hunt”, and “the stars say you should wait to conceive a child.” No one needed the services of a priestess outright, however her medicines prolonged and ended lives, her skin paints could transform a likeness, and her warnings and predictions held considerable weight. In an era where nearly everything was controlled by nature, totally apathetic to human influences, a priestess figure whose influence was recognized by nature must have been something incredibly powerful… it stands to reason that people generally decided it best to keep these mystics around. Imagine how powerful early magick might seem to a nomad in the age of Gemini… even the simplest symbols likely struck a chord deep in their hearts, and I’m sure the general consensus was that it was better and easier to have a priestess among you, helping and guiding you, than it was to have her ousted and against you. Again, there is no surefire way to confirm prehistoric religious beliefs, or to give its evolution any definitive timeline but there is a general consensus on the elemental and cosmology based duality religion structure that was not only deeply ingrained into but also inseparable from human existence. This belief system was aided by the early magicks of shamans and priestesses who were likely descended from or instructed by Nephilim/human hybrids. It is my belief that this model was developed and prevalent for the ages preceding Gemini, but that Gemini is the last age that retains it without extreme ego perversion.
Taurus. Changes. Everything. I used to be in the camp of the age of Aries being the greatest turning point, but I have recently proved myself wrong… Aires is simply an exponential continuation of the ego development of human kind. See in the age of Taurus, we see one incredible shift on many levels… Neolithic age to bronze age, semi sedentary settlements to full on complex cultures with class and political structures, and most importantly the first injections of human ego into religious traditions. The first human physical likenesses are found by archaeologists, in the form of stone statues, date back to the age of Taurus. If you read my timeline, you’ll recall my insistence on the importance of these likenesses in relation to ego development. Think about it. While there is no evidence to support this claim (just like how there’s no evidence to support any religious claim), consider the monumental consequences a thing like this might have, what it would mean to a collective or an individual person. This is a time before portraits, cameras, and even mirrors, however crude, were few and far between. Most people went their entire lives never seeing their own bodies or faces (with the exception of an occasional reflection on a still body of water). Their lives, and even their likenesses, were held at the mercy of nature entirely; vanity was virtually nonexistent, and ego indulgence beyond survival was superfluous. Generally, the medicines and glamour magicks of a Gemini age shaman were not employed for vanity or longevity… it was all symbolic, and meant to deepen human connections and relations with the natural occurrences which controlled life. But these statues, and future statues, stand to change that (no pun intended). Likenesses of oneself, of loved ones were likely used to represent them in a magick ritual, but this distinction was not as obvious to the people of the age of Taurus. These likenesses were actually believed to hold the essence of whoever was depicted, and served as an effective proxy for any esoteric magicks and for general daily prayer. No longer did prayer simply consist of appeals to nature deities, now there was the option of introducing yourself into the equation; to consider personal wishes beyond those of direct survival. Also likenesses of the Gods begin appearing in similar fashions in early pottery fragments, and no surprise, they take the form of humans. Albeit at this point they are mostly human animal hybrids, which beautifully demonstrates how the human ego rearing its head in a once fully nature based religion was a process that did not just happen in the blink of an eye. Although we all take it for granted today, (seriously there is a two camera device in all of our pockets today with one camera specifically designed to take photos of the face), the introduction of the human likeness in tangible art, especially in the depictions of the Gods, is a huge turning point in human history. This is where we begin see the introduction of the aforementioned “pseudo-dualities” of man vs nature and civilization vs chaos, and these make up the bulk of Taurus and Aries age religion. I call these pseudo-dualities because they are manufactured. Natural duality is ever present on earth and inevitable, things like the sun and moon, or men and women, are unavoidable distinctions which power life. However man is inherently a product of nature, so pitting the two as opposites creates a paradox. A similar problem occurs with civilization vs chaos. Entropy is the natural state of the universe, so when a force resists or attempts to exert control over it, in any capacity, chaos will always eventually prevail, essentially making any or all efforts at dominion largely, for lack of a better word, futile, though humans in a given time and place tend to view their contributions as absolute. The age of Taurus is when the human ego supersedes and separates from the earth, and from there, it acts like a ball rolling down a snowy hill. We only see it get bigger and more dangerous over time, and we also see the trend of mysticism becoming intertwined with power positions. Gods are no longer “of earth”, they are localized to established settlements, while priestesses and shamans are put into a class all their own which is equal if not greater than that of community leaders and eventually kings. In an attempt to preserve order and prevent chaos, we see temple-palace political and economic structures begin to form towards the end of the age. In the latter half of the age, we see the complex politics and regional diplomacy of the Early Dynastic emerge. The city state cultures of Uruk, Ubaid and Halaf (among other, smaller cultures), invoked the first kings and royals who in turn invoked the cringe inducing “divine right” concept into the mix. Surprise, surprise, this is nothing more than another (successful) ego reach, as kings are nothing more than the already established role of “community alpha male”, except now the position comes with even more pronounced responsibilities. A few pious and well liked men were deemed worthy by their peers, and they were granted positions of power. The system started out simply enough- the king represented the collective group to the Gods, and the logic was that the king (alongside the priestess of the city temple, although her position was rarely if ever up for debate), were responsible for keeping chaotic natural forces at bay, and on agenda. If this happened, the kings rule was supported, and if not, new leadership was necessary. For example, if a king ruled for 10 years without major incident then it was assumed that the Gods were pleased with his rule, but if famine or disease fell upon a people, this served as proof that the king no longer had the support of the Gods and needed to be done away with and replaced. Obviously, most people can see the problems with this model, mostly that it is incredibly arbitrary, and is just a very convoluted, round-about way of life being ultimately controlled by natural forces. Once again, chaos will always prevail, and using this model, the king will always fall out of favor, mostly because he’s just a guy, no matter how many animals he bleeds dry… One day he will die or fall out of favor. These early kingships are another great demonstration of how our religious developments was a long process, fraught with growing pains and tough lessons. Despite the new and improved ways humanity was finding to exercise dominion over their environment, their understanding of nature and the nature Gods remained the same for many years, up until the movement of Hellenistic philosophy at the end of the age of Aries. It is easy to make generalizations when retrospectively analyzing something as broad as human religion, but at the time and place of these early civilizations, they still took natural events incredibly personally, which their political structures reflect. Kings were the best they could do at the time, and if nature controlled everything else in Taurean life, it stands to reason that the stability of thier governments would also be subject to it, if indirectly. There were no meteorologists predicting storms or droughts, there were no vaccines, no bandaid with Neosporin, no Grey’s Anatomy, no airport on St. Helena; kings and priestesses were the only things with tangible “influence” over nature. Despite the enhanced magick practices and retrospectively obvious ego injections that define the age of Taurus, people still heavily feared nature, while somehow also feeling superior to it. This is the paradox I referenced before. It creates an icky intuitive dissonance that most of us still experience today, only much much louder. While individuals in and around the Uruk city state period still relied on intense religious practices between themselves and the nature Gods, putting the bulk of the protective responsibilities onto one “alpha male” seems like a natural jump, as it creates a representative and a scapegoat, leaving lay men to focus on farms and metallurgy and introducing more human order into the world. However, and this most likely an unseen consequence, this system also concentrated power in a way that is not only unnatural but also, as we’ll see, dangerous. Just like the ego development of a collective creates a nasty paradox, so does power imbalance. Now, men are above the earth, and certain men and above certain men. Although Corvee Labor was a popular system in ancient Mesopotamia, and it predates slavery, it is ultimately the same thing, and the consent aspect of the equation is eventually lost. Life becomes about supporting the monarchy, the temple, and supporting “diplomacy”, which is a decent strategy if the goal is to promote human imposition over entropy, but really just meant toiling away making rugs and jewelry for people with more power than you. Regardless of how one could label these occurrences they are simply ego developments, and the earliest known attempts of humans obsessively clinging to order despite the long term consequences. I have to say: I cannot and do not blame the peoples of these ages for their actions. Not one bit. They were, just as we are now, fumbling along, making discoveries, and trying to make things work for them. Doing what they thought was best at the time. If anyone was aware of the long term consequences, I’m sure they had a familiar thought: “Well I’ll be dead by then, so who cares?” They did not have the ability to judge and analyze their actions through hindsight as I do now.
2500 BCE- 1 AD is the age of Aries. I’ll be discussing the Mesopotamian developments of this in my next post. The fact that I have to give the age of Aries it’s own analysis when this post contains two, only speaks to the volume of events that take place here.