Lord of the Deep: A radiant dawn

Shamash, the solar deity also known as Utu to the Sumerians, is enthroned behind the altar bearing the sun symbol, dispensing justice. He holds the Rod and Ring, a precursor of the modern orb of sovreignty.

There is something about greeting the rising sun at the dawn of a new day that changes our perspective, especially on a spiritual workshop, when the attention is already focussed beyond the confines or everyday life.

Every April, we begin the Saturday of our workshop by greeting the dawn. Given the time at which our Companions must rise in order to attend this ritual, it is an entirely optional part of the weekend, especially as many have travelled far the previous day and then stayed up late talking after a visit to the village pub. And yet, every year, almost all of our Companions gather in the pale, cold light of dawn to join us.

We usually walk up to the hillside to greet the sun as it rises over the crest of the ancient hillfort above the Centre, but this year the rain seemed to have settled in, with as much persistence as it had when Utnapishtim was instructed to build his Ark. Rather than having everyone drenched, frozen and buffeted by high winds, we elected, instead, to work in the conservatory.

The idea was a simple one… to bring the Seven Radiances that symbolise the essential nature of the Sumerian gods into the temple. For our purposes, we had chosen to work with seven of the most prominent deities, each one associated with one of the then-known planets, referring to them as Planetary Beings, a term that recognises both the life and inherent sacredness of our own planet and those with which we share the solar system.

Ancient Sumerian seal showing Rod and Ring symbol.

The Sumerians recorded complex astronomical observations, linking them to their belief in seven heavens, seven earths and seven generations of gods. Their beliefs, passing through many cultures and ages, would eventually give rise to the symbolism with which we are more familiar, including the seven colours of the rainbow and the association of the gods with the days of the week.

We had, when planning the weekend, expected to have a Companion take the place of each of the seven Sumerian gods with which we were concerned. Because of the absences inflicted by illness, we found instead that our temple’s symbolic east was entirely bereft of Planetary Beings. We were not the only ones to recognise the significance of this, both in relation to the missing aspects of Gilgamesh himself, and to the fact that so many people in the world today, especially those in power, seem oblivious to sanctity in any form.

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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