On September 24, 2017, our temple, É-Sangamon was founded with a large congregation of over twenty individuals. Together, we gathered on the largest man-made hill in the city to honor the gods of Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld; observe the autumnal equinox; commemorate the festival month Duku, or “Sacred Mound”, from the Nippur calendar.
É is the Sumerian word for “Temple” or “House” and is signified by the cuneiform symbol 𒂍. Sangamon is the name of the county in which the temple is founded which takes its name from the Sangamon River.
The origin of the name of the river is unknown; among several explanations is the theory that is comes from the indigenous Pottawatomie word “Sain-guee-mon”, meaning “where there is plenty to eat”.
By joining the two together, we honor the legacy of the Mesopotamian people and their gods and the indigenous people who once populated this land.
The primary purpose of the temple is to maintain a physical presence in the American Midwest and a sacred space dedicated to the gods of the Ancient Near East; facilitate public and private ritual; host workshops and present lectures. To possess the privilege that allows for these to be presented at local, national, and international conferences and gatherings truly is a blessing.
The secondary purpose is to promote modern currents of ancient philosophies and spiritual practices and ensure that they remain relevant in the modern world. This undertaking has led to the writing and development of contemporary liturgy, ceremonies, rituals, and a mystery tradition.
We prize civilization and its advancements as a divine gift from the gods and embrace the order that is instituted by their power, symbolized by the rod and ring — symbols (along with the tiered/horned conical crown) that are possessed by the gods, indicating their divinity and providence. This same sentiment concerning civilization and its advancements was shared by the people of the ancient world who inspire us today.
Recent events concerning COVID-19 have given us pause to consider the future of É-Sangamon/Temple Sangamon.
Despite the differences that we may have in terms of etiology, religious customs, or interpretations thereof, one thing is apparent: the gods bring us together in some manner or another.
To that end, the Order of the Rod & Ring was established.
It is our desire to unite with our fellow Mesopotamian pagans and polytheists to ensure that the traditions that we look to as our inspiration — those that serve as the foundation of our devotion to the gods — will not be lost to time. This desire is not merely bound to the American Midwest.
In Mesopotamian art, the rod and ring, like the horned helm or crown, are indicators of the depicted being’s divine status. The depiction of a deity presenting these items of power to a human indicates the conferring of divine providence, measures, and order.
It is this divinity and the order that the gods that we wish to honor by pairing these symbols together as one to serve as our standard: the ring being that which encompasses us and the rod being that which connects us to the divine…