In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Lamenting Nimrud, Hatra, & Other Holy Places

I’ve been trying my hardest not to actually come out and say this, but after seeing this news story while I was having dinner last night with my brother Patrick and our close friend Mark, I just can’t stand it any longer. Fuck the Islamic State; just fuck ’em. And just in case they weren’t listening the first time, here it is again, in big bold-faced letters:

FUCK ISIL!

Apparently, it’s not enough for them to commit mass murder, to sell countless women and girls into sexual slavery, or to force innocent families out of their homes and threaten to murder their children. It’s not enough that they want to force everyone on Earth to follow their own flea-ridden bastardization of a perfectly good faith. They also want to erase history. They want to make it like other cultures and other faiths never even existed. And while there are many valid Deities and walks of life, there’s only one place such madness can ever come from. There’s only one idiotic, mindless, and completely corroded source that can ever cause such terrible evil to leak into our world. They might have stolen the name of a most beautiful and loving Goddess, but ladies and gentlemen, these maniacs are apostles of Apep. They’re eyes and mouths on the Backward Face. They claim to serve Allah and they think they’ll each enjoy 72 virgin girls in some lofty heaven for their wicked deeds. But they’re really just puppets, and they will be swallowed by darkness forever.

I know these zombies, these mere costumes of flesh and bone, have destroyed many other countless treasures and antiquities of the distant past. They’ve used statues of the Buddha for target practice, and they’ve torn Yezidi holy sites to the ground. I’m not saying these deeds are any less tragic, but I’m especially heartbroken that these monsters and the dragon they serve have now swallowed Nimrud and Hatra. As a layperson of Ishtar, I’m already sensitive to the fact that Mesopotamian antiquities are more endangered than many others. These priceless “idols” directly challenge the so-called “inerrancy” of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran in ways that no other artifacts can, so of course they’ve always been in greater danger from fanatical Abrahamic iconoclasts. I can’t help but lament the fact that we’ll never have as clear a picture of ancient Mesopotamia as we do of Egypt, Greece or Rome; but now this picture will remain even more unclear than it could have been – and all thanks to a bunch of backward assholes who are too insecure and psychopathic to follow the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in ways that would actually do him justice.

For those of you who don’t know about Nimrud, it’s the Arabic name for an ancient Assyrian city that was originally called Levekh and which is (or was) located in modern Iraq. It was built by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I, who was one of the first kings in his country to start deporting his defeated enemies rather than killing them. The Assyrians worshiped such Sumero-Akkadian Divinities as Ashur, Dagon and even Ishtar. They were a fierce and warlike people who are considered to have been innovative in their use of military technology, and they were also highly advanced astronomers for their time. (It’s even possible that they invented one of the earliest telescopes in history.) Many of the statues that were mindlessly destroyed by ISIL during this past week were Assyrian lamassu or winged bulls with bearded human heads that date from the Neo-Assyrian period. These sacred objects served an apotropaic purpose, warding off evil spirits. Irina Bokova, head of the UN cultural agency Unesco, has decried the loss of these and countless other Assyrian artifacts from Levekh or Nimrud as a “war crime,” and I’m inclined to agree with her. (Just add it to the list!)

For those of you who don’t know about Hatra, it’s another ancient city that was built in the 3rd or 2nd century BCE and which was originally part of the Persian province of Khvarvaran. It was a great cultural melting pot in which Mesopotamian, Greek and Canaanite Deities (including Atargatis, Hermes and Shamash) were all worshiped right beside each other. For those who enjoy horror films, Hatra was also the filming location for the opening sequence of The Exorcist (1973), when Father Lancaster Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) first encounters the Assyro-Babylonian demon Pazuzu. ISIL just started tearing Hatra down this morning, but as noted in the CNN report above, they aren’t just destroying everything in sight; they’re also selling whatever they can on the black market to procure more funding for themselves. This just goes to show that the leaders of ISIL really don’t give a shit about sticking to their own apocalyptic cult propaganda, and that they’re really just using militant pseudo-Islam to control their lower-ranking members.

I’m not saying these acts of terrorism are more or even equally as tragic as the countless, senseless murders ISIL has notoriously committed. Let’s be sensible here; beheadings, sexual slavery, setting people on fire and gunning down entire crowds of people are far worse. Our Gods and ancestors will live regardless of whether anyone believes in Them or smashes Their sacred images, so there’s literally nothing ISIL can do that will ever “hurt” Them. But the same isn’t true for mortal men, women and children here on Earth, and it’s important for us to remember this fact. However, this doesn’t mean the attacks on Nimrud and Hatra aren’t tragedies; nor does it mean these acts aren’t causing any serious harm. I just can’t stand how fucking hypocritical these idiots are. Charlie Hebdo publishes a cartoon of Muhammad and ISIL goes apeshit and beheads everybody; but it’s perfectly all right for them to bulldoze entire ancient cities and eradicate entire cultures from the face of this Earth. I pride myself on being a pacifist of the libertarian Left, but even I find myself hoping that each of these rotten bastards will wake up one morning to find their kidneys removed.

I’ve been trying to think of things that polytheists who follow Middle Eastern and North African Gods can do to counteract such modern isfet. I had the notion of creating new statues and other works that are specifically based on the Mesopotamian antiquities that have been destroyed (e.g., lamassu statues), with the idea being that these should be made by actual polytheists who actually follow the same Gods the original artists followed. I also thought that these objects could then be sold and that the revenue could be donated en masse to relief efforts in the Middle East. This is something that I feel would be very pleasing to the Gods and the ancestors, but there’s simply no practical way I can think of to implement such a grand master plan. For one thing, I’m not a sculptor, and I don’t personally know any other sculptors who also happen to be polytheists (and whose Deities are tied to the Fertile Crescent). And as a working class Joe, I just don’t have the time, money or resources to really commit myself to such a project. I highly doubt that any polytheist who’s also a sculptor would be able to donate much of their revenue to such a project, either. Then there’s the question of whether or not such products would actually sell, whether enough of them could be produced and sold to make any significant difference to a relief effort in the Middle East, and whether such revenue would even reach such a relief effort at all.

The apparent helplessness of modern polytheists against such systematic erasure tormented me as I drifted off to sleep last night. I asked Seth and Ishtar to help me think of something I could do to combat ISIL in my own way. Then, while I slept, I dreamed that my family and I were being held hostage by someone. In the dream, this person was someone I already knew, and I had apparently been friends with them in the past. (In the waking world, I’ve never seen this person before in my life.) He was a bald white man with glasses and a pair of gray coveralls. Whomever he might have been, he was holding all of us hostage in our home, and nobody in the outside world knew. I remember telling him, “Maybe if you weren’t doing this to my family, we would still be friends.” Then I awoke feeling very stressed out; but I was comforted by the fact that our cat Ripley was sleeping right beside me. Normally, the cat sleeps downstairs on our futon; she doesn’t seem to like sharing bed space with humans. But even after following me downstairs so I could use the bathroom, she followed me right back up to my bed and resumed sleeping beside me (like she was a bodyguard protecting me from demons around the house). I don’t know what my dream was meant to tell me (if it was meant to tell me anything at all), but I can’t help but feel that it came from Ishtar, and that She convinced little Ripley to protect me while I was having it.

(If anyone has any ideas as to what this dream could mean, please let me know.)

Anyway, I thought I would share my thoughts on this, just on the chance that someone else out there is having the same thoughts, feelings or dreams. Here’s praying that ISIL is destroyed somehow before it starts World War III. Here’s praying that all who have suffered at their hands and who are still alive will be provided with relief, that they might live in good health for the rest of their days. And here’s praying that someone somewhere can come up with some idea as to how polytheists might counteract the great evil that has been loosed upon Nimrud and Hatra. By Ishtar’s grace, may these great cities and their precious works never be forgotten.

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14 responses to “Lamenting Nimrud, Hatra, & Other Holy Places

  1. Cat lover March 7, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Hear, hear! (Or is it here, here?)

    They are a death cult. All they want is destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catriona McDonald March 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    The horror and disgust that these zealots inspire is gut-wrenching. Thank you for writing this. You are not alone in your outrage and frustration. The archaeological community has been trying in vain to get SOMEONE to pay attention to the destruction, but to no avail–European news has only been marginally better at covering possibly the greatest loss of human history in the past four millennia. This is not just the loss of Iraqi heritage, this is the annihilation of OUR species’ song.

    May ISIL’s ancestors eat them alive from the inside-out, may their twisted hate-trees wither before they bear fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian March 8, 2015 at 3:44 am

      Thank you for commenting on this post. I see what you’re saying about the lack of extensive media coverage; I guess it’s probably because most people don’t think this is anywhere near as important as the rest of what ISIL’s been doing. Again, I certainly agree that killing people is worse that breaking statues; but it’s still a vicious attack – perhaps not on actual living people, but on knowledge of the history of our species (as you said). Perhaps I’ve been looking in the wrong places (and if so, please feel free to share any links you might know about), but even the Pagan community in general seems pretty quiet on this matter so far. I’ve been searching all day and I’ve only come up with one other post about this by another Pagan (and he makes the same good suggestion that roseladenmagdalene makes below). As you said, most of the people I’ve seen discuss this have been archaeologists.

      In any case, I hope that your prayer comes true and that all members of ISIL will be eaten alive by the blessed Mesopotamian dead. May Ashur and Dagon and Ishtar and Nergal grant them no quarter!

      Like

  3. roseladenmagdalene March 7, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I second that “Fuck Isil!”

    The reason extremist Abrahamhists do things like this is to cleanse the world of paganism and our gods. When the Manannan Mac Lir statue went missing, some people suggested making/buying small replacement images. The ideas is, if they take down one image we’ll replace it with many. I am not much of a sculptor either, but I was thinking about making a simple lammasu plaque (similar to my Ba’al) in protest of this destruction. I don’t know when I’ll get around to it (I’m a mother of a small child, I try not to make promises unless I’m 100% sure I can keep them). But maybe I can document the creation, make a blog post out of it, and encourage people to make their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian March 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

      That would definitely be a great post! But I agree, your child must always come first, and I believe the Gods would say the same thing. I followed the Manannan story, and I’m really glad the Irish military managed to find the statue; no doubt all the prayers of the polytheist community were a great help. I think your suggestion here is probably much more practical than what I was thinking of; I’m really not that great of a visual artist, but I’ll see what I can come up with. I especially feel sorry for the lamassu spirits and would like to do something for them.

      Like

  4. trellia March 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

    They remind me of the Nazis so much. They just destroy everything that is beautiful and good in the world. I don’t know what the solution is, but I hope we can find it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rev. Dragon's Eye March 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I.S.I.L. is only doing what they were designed to do. Just wish our treacherous politicians would STOP funding, arming, and training them!

    The whole purpose is global in nature and intention: The destroy anything about our past civilizations and cultures. This is exactly the kind of thing that was accomplished with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, and various archeologically-significant sites around the world then.

    In other words, WE are going to have to BE the memories of those far gone cultures and their remnants. BTW: There is also a quiet, international effort to “sterilize” traces of human activity throughout much of the world’s “pristine places”. – THIS latest example shows the program in play.

    It does no good to solely blame ISIL. One must look to their “handlers”, and the intentions of those handlers. It could just as easily be another infamous organization, but the result would still be the same – We, the Peoples of the world would still lose out.

    Like

  6. Neon Vincent March 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Hail from a fellow resident of Michigan!

    When I first heard and read about the group I call The Sith Jihad, I was wondering if they’d start doing the same things that the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Al Qaeda affiliate in Mali did. Sure enough, the answer was yes, as What the Sith Jihad wants includes science (and culture) crime scenes. My response to this war band getting control of Hatra, my response was May Pazuzu curse the Sith Jihad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian March 9, 2015 at 6:16 am

      Yes, if Pazuzu really wants to kill something, he should definitely go after ISIL. By destroying Hatra, they’ve destroyed one of his greatest claims to fame in the contemporary environment. I don’t know about him, but that would certainly make me angry.

      Thank you for visiting my site. Yours is quite interesting as well!

      Like

  7. ubenmaat March 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    If Iraq and Syria can’t get this under control quick, someone else is going to step in, and it’s not going to be pretty (not that I’ll be sad at all). They’re getting way too close to Europe for their existence to be allowed much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i8there4irun March 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Agreed! Sorry bastards. Anyone that can not only set out to destroy people but set out to arbitrarily erase history are class-A, A-holes. I have no words strong enough for the filth they are. Yes, I know this has been done in the past by others, and I still stand by my statement. Whether it was Nazis or Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, etc. It just makes it that much more sickening to know that we are in the information age and they try it anyway. Assholes.

    Also- thanks for the visit! I don’t know if I would have stumbled on your site otherwise. (Still new at this as you could see) I am impressed by your unique site and viewpoints.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian March 27, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you for your visit, and for your kind words! I enjoy your website too; you seem to be living a very positive lifestyle and I appreciate your healthy way of looking at things. Yes, the terrorists who are trying to erase ancient history are total monsters, and while it’s much more terrible that they kill living people, this too is terrible in its own right. Thank you again for your positive input here, and I look forward to reading more of your fascinating posts in the immediate future.

      Liked by 1 person

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