Once every year, the gods all gathered together in Upshukina, the palace of fate. There they discussed the destinies of men and women and argued about who should live and who should die, which people should be rich and which people should be poor.
The final decisions were made by Marduk, king of the gods, but all the gods and goddesses took part in the discussion and put forward their arguments and opinions.
When Marduk reached his decisions, he whispered them to his son Nabu who carefully wrote the fate of each person down on his special clay tablet. When the time was right, Nabu checked the writing on his tablets to make sure of Marduk’s orders. He then summoned the appropriate god, goddess, or demon, who was sent to Earth to carry out Marduk’s instructions.
Sin, the moon god, always stood close to Marduk during the discussions and sometimes he overheard Marduk’s decisions or caught a glimpse of what Nabu was writing. Then Sin would send his messenger Zaqar to Earth to warn people of the fate in store for them. Zaqar moved through the night and whispered to people in their dreams. However, people did not always hear him correctly and sometimes misunderstood the voices in their dreams.
One year, Nabu came down from the palace of Marduk with his wife, Tashmetum. They lived on Earth for some time in the city of Borsippa. There Nabu and Tashmetum taught people how to read and write so that they could keep a record of the lives and destinies of men and women, just as Nabu wrote his own records of Marduk’s instructions.
Nabu and Tashmetum eventually returned to the heavens, but people have continued teaching each other how to read and write ever since.
From: World Myths
Lord Sun, life of day!
In your fire-boat gliding through golden rays!
Extend yourself, with hands of light,
To us who worship in your sight,
And in your ancient names rejoice,
And hear the mystery of your voice.
Lady Moon, cloud bound,
Of liquid light and pale hounds,
Course among us — Your light diffuse!
Shed your blessings on us who choose
The evening worship by silver flame,
Singing your thousand living names.
Invocation by Olwen Fferyllt
Douse the lights, douse even the candle
Speak to her gently; she’s been shunned
so long, she runs away.
Suggest, don’t expect
Let being fill up the space
So that what you’re doing
Let the message emerge
from the sea of understanding
like a mermaid singing her seduction,
Think fishes, flying through dark waters,
Think night, moonlit seas, and
no moonlight at all.
Think water. Think depths, dampness.
Think subtle. Think subtler.
Your wis-dame, your wisdom,
is an archivist. She knows what happened.
She isn’t afraid, she’s been here before.
Another kind of clarity, silvery, not stark, emerges.
Your wis-dame is your oldest ally,
Without her you are less than half yourself
with her you are whole and ready.
Like a dolphin she is beside you
when you are goalless
and seeking only to satisfy your higher yearning.
Be attracted, addicted to life
and life’s deeper demands.
Love, don’t curse, the blind alleys
the red lights and lost luggage.
Without guessing there’s no game.
Not “no pain no gain”
but “no love no gain”
your wise dame
The sage speaks in patterns and pictures,
a scatter tongue. Catch as you can
her butterfly dust
But if you treasure her treasure
For eons she has been wooed in the dark
and spurned in the sun.
If she was with you then
She’s with you now.
and then, of course,
It is a strange thing, when I feel most fervently and most deeply, my hands and my tongue seem alike tied, so that I cannot rightly describe or accurately portray the thoughts that are rising within me; and yet I am a painter; my eye tells me as much as that, and all my friends who have seen my sketches and fancies say the same.
I am a poor lad, and live in one of the narrowest of lanes; but I do not want for light, as my room is high up in the house, with an extensive prospect over the neighbouring roofs. During the first few days I went to live in the town, I felt low-spirited and solitary enough. Instead of the forest and the green hills of former days, I had here only a forest of chimney-pots to look out upon. And then I had not a single friend; not one familiar face greeted me.
So one evening I sat at the window, in a desponding mood; and presently I opened the casement and looked out. Oh, how my heart leaped up with joy! Here was a well-known face at last—a round, friendly countenance, the face of a good friend I had known at home. In, fact, it was the MOON that looked in upon me. He was quite unchanged, the dear old Moon, and had the same face exactly that he used to show when he peered down upon me through the willow trees on the moor. I kissed my hand to him over and over again, as he shone far into my little room; and he, for his part, promised me that every evening, when he came abroad, he would look in upon me for a few moments.
This promise he has faithfully kept. It is a pity that he can only stay such a short time when he comes. Whenever he appears, he tells me of one thing or another that he has seen on the previous night, or on that same evening. “Just paint the scenes I describe to you”—this is what he said to me—“and you will have a very pretty picture-book.” I have followed his injunction for many evenings. I could make up a new “Thousand and One Nights,” in my own way, out of these pictures, but the number might be too great, after all. The pictures I have here given have not been chosen at random, but follow in their proper order, just as they were described to me. Some great gifted painter, or some poet or musician, may make something more of them if he likes; what I have given here are only hasty sketches, hurriedly put upon the paper, with some of my own thoughts, interspersed; for the Moon did not come to me every evening— a cloud sometimes hid his face from me.
Last night”—I am quoting the Moon’s own words—“last night I was gliding through the cloudless Indian sky. My face was mirrored in the waters of the Ganges, and my beams strove to pierce through the thick intertwining boughs of the bananas, arching beneath me like the tortoise’s shell. Forth from the thicket tripped a Hindoo maid, light as a gazelle, beautiful as Eve. Airy and etherial as a vision, and yet sharply defined amid the surrounding shadows, stood this daughter of Hindostan: I could read on her delicate brow the thought that had brought her hither. The thorny creeping plants tore her sandals, but for all that she came rapidly forward. The deer that had come down to the river to quench her thirst, sprang by with a startled bound, for in her hand the maiden bore a lighted lamp. I could see the blood in her delicate finger tips, as she spread them for a screen before the dancing flame.