I’ve decided to take a brief respite from “super serious” academically-oriented writing. I’m going to use this opportunity to publish some long-overdue pieces that are far more literary (in a religious sense) than academic. My educational background colors everything I do, and I suppose that can’t be avoided. That said, the pieces I am currently working on and will publish to my blog over the summer season are holy stories of liturgical value (myths). They will not be exposés on the historical background and evolutions of the Polytheist religions I practice, nor will they be pieces of secular, cultural entertainment (fiction/folklore).
The “Pazuzu Cycle,” as things currently stand, will be divided into three digestible parts and published in succession. Recognizable elements present within the bilingual epic poem “Lugal-e ud me-lám-bi nir-ğál” (“Ninurta’s Exploits”) and Akkadian ritual texts will manifest themselves in different, more understandable forms within this cycle.
The names used throughout this cycle will be presented in Akkadian where and when known, since Pazuzu is an Akkadian, largely post-Bronze Age deity rather than a Sumerian, Bronze Age deity. While Sumerian language survived as a liturgical and classical language until about the First century CE, it stopped being spoken as a living vernacular language many centuries earlier . . . somewhere between 2000 BCE — 1700 BCE, if I am remotely correct in my recollection. And while many Akkadian myths and ritual texts are presented in bilingual format, using Sumerian names for Akkadian deities feels inappropriate to me, personally. There are points where and when I have no choice but to use Sumerian nomenclature, however: either because there is no Akkadian equivalent, or because I simply don’t know the Akkadian equivalent. Any inconsistencies in language present in my writing of these myths can be chalked up to this, and hopefully forgiven.
The “Pazuzu Cycle” will not be written with a strict mind for Ancient Mesopotamian poetic format. Sumerian and Akkadian lines are very repetitive, which is part of the reason why reconstructing surviving fragments wasn’t as hard as it would have otherwise been for the Historians, Archaeologists, and Linguists working in that area of study. The same lines occur over and over again throughout Ancient poetic texts to the point of boring most readers. There will be some repeated lines of text, but they will occur at reasonable intervals, so as to compromise neither continuity nor interest. The language of the myths will be presented in a semi-archaic literary tone and format. My aim is to structure the English more formally, but not so formally as to be inaccessible to the average Modern English-speaker or untranslatable to any of my non-English readers who are better with their own native tongues than with English.
Why and to what end am I doing this? Not as a work of “fan fiction,” nor because “Pazuzu told me to” in any explicit sense. I am doing this because Mesopotamian Gods are underrepresented (and I mean Mesopotamian, as in the Gods and religions of the Tigris-Euphrates river system, aka “the Fertile Crescent,” not the amorphous Modern map-blob of the ENTIRE “Middle East” that people tend to erroneously define Mesopotamia as these days). Their stories are overlooked by many, and dead to many more still. New life needs to be breathed into tales about these Gods if They are to survive beyond my generation, in an active religious sense. I don’t expect my little “Pazuzu Cycle” to be the best thing since John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” or anything like that, but hopefully it will in some way help the “new myths” trend gain some momentum among the wordsmiths of various Polytheist communities. A few of my fellow Kemetics are doing the same for Egyptian Gods, and a number of Hellenic acquaintances have done so for both Graeco-Egyptian and Greek Gods. They have inspired me to do the same for Mesopotamian Gods, to the best of my ability. The Gods need living, relevant words for our own time, not just the words of dead centuries. The Gods are alive and present, not dead and confined to the past.
Pazuzu is a major influence in my life whether and when He “speaks” to me or not, and I just plain love talking about how awesome He is. A lot of the motivation behind this mythic cycle is devotional in nature. Presenting Pazuzu through the medium of myth — updated myth — will allow Modern people to access Him in ways no academic work, much less a work of fiction, can ever allow. He deserves a few good myths, especially considering that His more recent appearances in Modern media had to do with that eye-gougingly awful The Exorcist film franchise and a smattering of Japanese cartoons and Science Fiction series — none of which were interested in Pazuzu as a legitimate God nor the culture and religion He comes from.