Advent

As August comes to an end, I’m reminded of something that once seemed insignificant.

September 24, 2021, will mark the fourth anniversary of É-Sangamon (Temple Sangamon), the small temple dedicated to the gods of Mesopotamia that was founded in the American Midwest.

The temple shares its name with the region and river which ensures the fertility and stability of the region.

A name that is Potawatomi in origin, “Sain-guee-mon”, meaning “where there is plenty to eat” the name Sangamon also lends itself well to the Sumerian saĝ-ĝá-mu-ún (𒊕𒂷𒈬𒂦) which means “foremost home with a high name”, or “foremost temple, home with a high name” when preceded by the Sumerian term É (𒂍) meaning temple.

Five years ago, before the temple was founded, those liturgical and ritual texts that I had written would never have been considered worthwhile publishing for others. While such texts were shared amongst friends and fellow members of my spiritual community, I never expected that this work would be printed and bound for individuals all over the world to purchase. That however, never stopped me from writing hymns, rituals, and even clumsily formulated theophoric names.

The latter of which included Dumu-amarutu (son of the solar calf — an allusion to Marduk), Dumu-tur (little son), and even Ur-Ninegal (servant of the lady of the exalted house — an allusion to Inanna). All names that I fancied to be appropriate for myself — none of which stuck with me. Instead I chose to keep my birth name. After all, being named after a prophet and a king is sufficient. I digress however, as I could talk about names ad nauseum.

Just last week, I received the tangible form of years of work, fully realized and illustrated.

It still feels surreal and I’m certain that I’m not alone in feeling this way, as many new authors must feel this way. The response has been overwhelming and I am thankful that my contribution to the esoteric community has received a warm welcome.

As history informs us, 2021 BCE saw the gradual decline of the Third Dynasty of Ur (Ur III) and the waning power of the Neo-Sumerian people. Despite this decline however, the Ur III period witnessed a boom in arts, culture, architecture, and literature on a grand scale. In fact, such mass-produced literary texts included the Epic of Gilgamesh.

My many conversations with my colleagues and friends leads me to believe that the esoteric community — specifically our corner of the esoteric community as Mesopotamian polytheists, pagans, and occultists, is experiencing something akin to a renaissance as 2021 CE slowly becomes 2022 CE. Despite the challenges that last year and even this year have posed for all of us, artists I have the privilege to know are flexing their creative muscles to brings the gods of Sumer, Akkad, Nippur, Babylon, and Aššur to life; academic pagans and polytheists are expanding our views and assumptions by sharing new insights informed by new research; community leaders are organizing conferences online to provide a platform for the Mesopotamian community; temples are being established both on and offline.

Perhaps several millennia of silence have come to an end.

Samuel David

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