Enki and Ninhursag and the Creation of Life and Sickness
The cosmogenic myth common in Sumeria was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came
together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos. In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word
for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun where
"The land of Dilmun is a pure place, the land of Dilmun is a clean place,
The land of Dilmun is a clean place, the land of Dilmun is a bright place;
He who is alone laid himself down in Dilmun,
The place, after Enki is clean, that place is bright"
Despite being a place where "the raven uttered no cries" and "the lion killed not, the wolf snatched not the lamb, unknown was the kid-killing dog,
unknown was the grain devouring boar". Nevertheless Dilmun had no water and Enki heard the cries of its Goddess, Ninsikil, and orders the sun-God Utu
to bring fresh water from the Earth for Dilmun. As a result
"Her City Drinks the Water of Abundance,
Dilmun Drinks the Water of Abundance,
Her wells of bitter water, behold they are become wells of good water,
Her fields and farms produced crops and grain,
Her city, behold it has become the house of the banks and quays of the land."
The subsequent tale, with similarities to the Biblical story of the forbidden fruit, repeats the story of how fresh water brings life to a barren
land. Enki, the Water-Lord then "caused to flow the 'water of the heart" and having fertilised his consort Ninhursag, also known as Ki or Earth, after
"Nine days being her nine months, the months of 'womanhood'... like good butter, Nintu, the mother of the land, ...like good butter, gave birth to
Ninsar, (Lady Greenery)". When Ninhursag left him, as Water-Lord he came upon Ninsar (Lady Greenery). Not knowing her to be his daughter, and because
she reminds him of his absent consort Enki then seduces and has intercourse with her. Ninsar then gave birth to Ninkurra (Lady Fruitfulness or Lady
Pasture), and leaves Enki alone again. A second time, Enki, in his loneliness finds and seduces Ninkurra, and from the union Ninkurra gave birth to
Uttu (weaver or spider, the weaver of the web of life).
A third time Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki's reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the
promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki. In
another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki's semen from Uttu's womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate. With his
two-faced servant and steward Isimud, "Enki, in the swampland, in the swampland lies stretched out, 'What is this (plant), what is this (plant). His
messenger Isimud, answers him; 'My king, this is the tree-plant', he says to him. H cuts it off for him and he (Enki) eats it". And so, despite
warnings, Eki consumes the other seven fruit. Consuming his own semen he falls pregnant (ill with swellings) in his jaw, his teeth, his mouth, his
hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his rib. The gods are at a loss to know what to do, chagrinned they "sit in the dust". As Enki lacks a womb
with which to give birth he seems to be dying with swellings. The fox then asks Enlil King of the Gods, "If i bring Ninhursag before thee, what shall
be my reward?" Ninhursag's sacred fox then fetches the goddess.
Ninhursag relents and takes Enki's Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw,
Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs. The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is
also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself. The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the
addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to
Ninti, the title of Ninhursag, also means "the mother of all living", and was a title given to the later Hurrian goddess Kheba. This is also the title
given in the Bible to Eve, the Hebrew Khavvah (חוה), the Aramaic Hawwah, who was made from the rib of Adam, in a strange reflection of the Sumerian
myth, in which Adam, not Enki walks in the Garden of Paradise.
edit on 3-9-2011 by KingJames1337 because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-9-2011 by KingJames1337 because: (no reason