Before the Beginning
“[Sa]bbath shalt thou then encounter, mid[month]ly.”
The quote above is a line from an ancient Sumerian creation myth entitled Enûma Eliš. Recited on the fourth day of a festival called ‘Akitu’ believed to be the Sumerian New Year. Similar to how the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses (the Bible you heathens!) named Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus etc. after the first words of each of the opening chapters, as did the Sumerians.
The first line of the Enûma Eliš:
e-nu-ma e-liš la na-bu-ú šá-ma-mu – When the sky above was not named
The first line of Genesis:
b_raShit – in_beginnings
The Sumerians/Babylonians/Akkadians honoured several Sabbaths similar to Judaism, they considered every seventh day as a holy day (‘sa-bat’ a day of rest), beginning with the appearance of the New Moon. Then on each of the ‘quarters’ thereafter they honoured various gods.
- Holy Inana and Dumuzid on the 7th day (first quarter).
- Ninlil and Nergal on the 14th day (full moon).
- Sin and Shamash on the 21st day (last quarter).
- Father Enki and Mah on the 28th (new moon).
They also celebrated a Sa-Bat on the nineteenth day of the month, this falls a few days after the full Moon. This festival had a greater meaning, similar in idea to Judaism’s ‘Jubilee’ but on a far more regular cycle (the Sumerians celebrating monthly and Judaism’s being every 49 years).
Another one of the Sabbaths the Sumerians celebrated was during the full moon. Some of the myths behind it will be in Sermon IV (b). The more we delve the more we realise many ancient scribes throughout History (through many various and quite opposing styles and means) have tried to stress the importance of ‘Remembering the Sabbaths’. It may be worth noting that even though the apparent importance of the Sabbaths never declined, the occasions on which they celebrated them certainly did.
I like patterns, they’re very useful.
Before we can Remember the Sabbaths, I realise we must Learn the Sabbaths, before we can even get round to contemplating Enjoying the Sabbaths and to what lies beyond.
I hope this month’s full Moon brings you your desires, Sermon IV (b) will hopefully help to show you how.
10 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.