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Frankfort (Kingship and the Gods, p. 323) takes the ziggurat to mean: the "mountain," as a symbol of the earth, the Netherworld, or the place of sunrise.
So, first of all, how should the colour scheme look. Scholars have mostly relied on the account of the Greek Herodotus, who described the battlements of the Median city Ecbatana. The battlements were in this order, from the outer/lower to the inner/higher:
white - black - dark red - blue - light red - silver - gold
The assumption that Mesopotamian towers would have followed this scheme is not without reason. The ziggurat found at Khorsabad has preserved four levels, and possibly originally had seven. The four levels are coloured: white at the bottom, then black, then reddish purple, then blue fourth. Also found were fragments of enamelled bricks that were vermilion, silver-gray, and gold; so if there were an extra three levels then they could have been coloured with these bricks.
As for the ziggurat at Ur, Leonard Woolley had this to say:
The shrine, as we have seen, was bright blue, shining in the sun. The top was red: it was built of large lightly fired bright red bricks and was covered with plaster of the same colour. Below this the whole ziggurat, walls and steps alike, was black, the brickwork covered with a thin coat of bitumen applied with a brush. Below this again was the white-washed columned wall of the court.
Gold - Sun
Silver - Moon
Light Red - Mercury
Blue - Venus
Dark Red - Mars
Black - Saturn
White - Jupiter
Gold - Sun/Šamaš -------- Gold
Silver - Moon/Sin --------- Silver
Light Red - Mercury/Nabû - Copper?
Blue - Venus/Ištar -------- Lapis
Dark Red - Mars/Nergal --- Red gold?
Black - Saturn/Ninurta ----- Lead
White - Jupiter/Marduk ---- Electrum?
Ištar is described as both a palm tree and as a ziggurat, and a luminescent one at that. According to Parpola (following the Kabbalistic meditation on colours and garments of the sefirot) the seven colours of the ziggurat are the seven garments of Ištar, so that when she descends to the netherworld she undresses, and when she ascends she puts the garments back on. He compares this to the Mithraic ascent of the soul:
the initiate climbs "a ladder with seven gates," the first (of lead) associated with Saturn, the second (of tin) with Venus, the third (of bronze) with Jupiter, the fourth (of iron) with Mercury, the fifth (of electrum) with Mars, the sixth (of silver) with Moon, and the seventh (of gold) with Sun.
The mythological concept of the seven gods forming an assembly for decreeing
the destinies for the whole world and writing them down on the Tablet of Destinies formed the backbone of the later practice of horoscopy, which emerged
only in the Achaemenid period. The planets were associated with the gods already in the second millennium BCE Mesopotamian celestial omen texts. The
planetary gods were treated as persons, because the protases of celestial omens
refer to the actions or appearances of the planets and stars not appropriate to
inanimate objects, but rather as anthropomorphic beings with agency and feeling
In the Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft magic series Maqlû, the mountain of the same function appears as the city Zabban, which has two gates—one for the rising of the sun and the second for the setting of the sun. The name of the city can also be read Sapp°n, and be connected with Northwest Semitic Sap°n, biblical •°phôn, the cosmic abode of the deities El and Baal in Ugaritic texts
. In this cosmic locality on the horizon are the cosmic gates through which the sun and other heavenly bodies pass when they enter and leave the sky and return to the netherworld. It is situated on a cosmic shore where its quay and pass (n±biru) serve as entry points through which cosmic travellers and ghosts pass without hindrance from the netherworld into the heavens, and where witches may be temporarily imprisoned
Originally posted by Kantzveldt
To add to this, in order to understand the ziggurats association with the five planets, Sun and Moon, which will be presented, it should be understood that the ziggurat was based upon a magical mountain seen at the horizon, shortly before sunrise or after sunset, that this is the zodiacal light cone along the ecliptic plane, and thus the planetary objects were seen to track along and through this, in their risings and settings.
If Venus wears a black crown - Saturn stands in front of her
If Venus wears a white crown - Jupiter stands in front of her
If Venus wears a green crown - Mars stands in front of her
If Venus wears a red crown - Mercury stands in front of her
If Venus wears a rainbow crown - a rainbow lies crosswise in front of her
If Venus wears the Sun's crown - she becomes very bright, Saturn stands in front of her
If Venus wears the Moon's crown - she is very small, Mercury stands in front of her