Rituals - E44 • Mesopotamian Magic

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All right, I’m on this podcast.

We often go back in time.

To examine some pretty old sometimes pretty obscure.

Rituals, people and Concepts, which is sort of like our way of time traveling through the world.

Mmm, it’s the closest we’ll ever get, certainly, yeah, and I’ll Embrace that for sure.



Well, today, we’re going back real far to the very birthplace of civilization to the very Genesis of Life.

As we know, it not to be dramatic or anything.


Yeah, right.

We’ve got a lot to learn about some of the earliest, recorded evidence of magic poof.


Okay, I am actually so stoked about this also.

I Gotta Throw it upon it.

Sounds like this is going to be a magical episode Goodwill and move on move on quickly.


Hi everyone, and welcome to rituals a Spotify original from par cast.

I’m Christine cheaper.

And I’m M Schultz and every week, we’ll explore the evolution of spiritualism on the occult through stories practices and the impact on Modern culture.

Well, today we’re getting into the magic of Mesopotamia.


I’m so excited, I love this topic.

I’m very, very Very stoked to hear what you have to say to be Christine.

Oh good.

Well, I guess let’s crack into it, huh?

Yes, yes, yes, yes.


All right, so I promised you that we’d time travel today and get some magical history.

Speaking of History, were you a good history student back when we had to take history class?

I got a D and so you know, when they say things are wasted on the youth, I definitely was too young to appreciate a history class at the time in today’s world would be very different but at the time, no, I did not care about history at all.


What about you?

Yeah, I think I’m in a similar boat.

I didn’t get a d cuz my mom would have Sent me off to like some reform school or something but oh I gotta talk into, that’s for sure.

It was.

I never got a D again and anything, let’s put it that way.

I feel like you’re completely right.


That it was wasted because now I think history is fascinating and you and I love to go and imagine what life was like back then much to the Chagrin of our history teachers who were probably like I tried so hard to get him to care.


I feel like if they found out that we’re talking At history now they’d be like what?


Well, seriously like, where’s the credit I deserve?



I do recognize that as sad as it is.

I know that we talked about time travel, in General on.

And that’s why we drink.

And I’m pretty sure you believe time travel to be real.

Is that correct?


Yes, yes.

A thousand percent, and by the way, technically, even if it doesn’t exist in our time, if it exists in a tiny where it exists that lie in our time but then don’t you think we would have seen if somebody came back from the Future wouldn’t, we’ve already known that someday.

We invent time travel, maybe if it’s so far from a future, they also had other gadgets and gizmos that they’re much better at being a sleuth than we know.


They got invisibility cloaks, they got something else.

I bet if time travel does exist before it was ever, used recreationally, if that there was a lot of laws, I feel like time travel would be several several years, if not Decades of practice before they.



Damn it.

And then regulate it and by the time it happens we don’t know what’s going on.

No you’re totally right.

I don’t think they could just let people go willy-nilly back in time.

They got we’re not Phil of the Future, Okay?

Unfortunately we’re not what an underrated show though?


I feel like I would want to go back in time but also I’d probably be the one to accidentally drop my invisibility cloak and then like ruin the future.

You’d like flipped the kill switch by accident.

Yeah, something goes horribly, awry, it would it What?

I don’t think I’d even be allowed.


I don’t think I’d be given a chance to go back, but to go back to Mesopotamia and see like magical rituals.

I mean, how fun.

I know how cool this especially because we’re talking about like some of the earliest magic talked about wanting to know where the core history, the beginning of it all because I feel like I personally get so overwhelmed with how many branches there are and the world of the history of magic because oh yeah, got witchcraft, you’ve got so many different cultures.


Here’s where they all have their own practices and I feel like it’s a really, really big bite to chew.

Oh yeah.

And I feel like, of course, it would be so simple just start from the beginning.

So that’s a great way to put it.

And we’re going to try our best to do that today in the least.


What’s the word least?

Um, physical way possible.

We’re not moving out of our chairs but we will be traveling the easiest field trip you’ll ever take.

So, do you know anything about the Oh, Ian’s before we jump into it.

All I know is that they like created everything?


That’s yeah, that’s pretty good.

You’re pretty on it.

Once I found that out, I was like, okay, big shoes.

I get it.

I’m already overwhelmed and threatened.

So congratulations.

Billy created time or like, like, like writing and math and the wheel and chips?


Oh yeah, I mean, why you really listen to history class at least one day, because you’re pretty on the nose there?

Well, I think I learned about it from a show on Nickelodeon actually.


Well, whoops, but you know, what do we want?

Tell our teachers that but I retained it, that’s what’s important.

So honestly I’m pretty impressed.


Well, I have one note before we really crack into it.

And that’s that this topic as you already alluded to is a doozy, it’s a huge huge topic and to take, even a bite out of it is, you know, a big ask.

So it was a lot to research and distill.


And so I just want to point out up top that this is more of an introduction.

Not a deep dive, you know, in 45 minutes we can’t really I don’t believe it or not delve into the entirety of Mesopotamian culture.

What week?

Yeah I know I know maybe a Nickelodeon episode will cover it someday but for now Woodward will give me one sentence and we’ll know what’s going on here.


So you know what?

That’s just kind of the the overarching umbrella note here for everybody that you know, we’re not going to get into everything unfortunately but it’s a good starting point.

Yeah, I mean when we covered our we covered Wicca and we Like we certainly won’t be able to cover everything, and yes, it’s indispensable and that’s just one type of magic or you can.


Yeah, exactly.

This is like the tip of the icebergs tip, exact, their tiny little Iceberg, tip of the iceberg.

So this episode is going to remind us about the Mesopotamians.

We’re going to learn a little bit about them who, by the way lived in Mesopotamia.

I know this is already hopefully, nobody’s rolling their eyes yet, but that’s, you know, at not, everybody knows that.


So we’re starting from square one peep talk.

First Square One.

This episode is for anyone else who got a D in history and like, we’re just trying to bring it back.


You’re not.

The only one.



So they lived in Mesopotamia and Mesopotamia itself was home to some of the earliest known human civilizations to exist.


So you already kind of touched on that but this is like early early days, very cool.

So for any geography, nuts out there, Mesopotamia was in the region.

Now known as the Middle East in The Valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

So the word Mesopotamia is formed from Ancient words mezzo, which means between and potamus.


Which means River and here’s a fun fact for um, hippopotamus means horse plus River.

So like a river horse.

Oh, I know, sighs.

Oh, that’s fun.

You know, I do love language.

I wish that was a class in school, just like the Linguistics of like, it probably was in college, but definitely not in high school just to learn where words even come from.


And to know that I have a potamus, is just a river Pony.

Like are you kidding me?

I like why wasn’t it hot like that?

I would have remembered that.

I know.

Well now you will so man, you’re right.

That was a great first fun, fact for the episode yet, starting off strong.

So the region is now home to modern day, Iraq Kuwait, turkey and Syria, and the Mesopotamians had so many gods with so many different names.


So many different duties.

It all depended on where you lived during, what time, who was in power?

I mean, we can see that happen in probably, A culture of yes, the world, as we go back in time, that things shift depending on who’s in power and you know what different groups believe?


Yeah, it’s a very complex web.

Yes, definitely.

So, one of the foundations of Mesopotamian belief systems was that religion equals magic, I love it, I love it.

But I also, I feel like, I’m not totally surprised because I feel like we’ve had this conversation before where we’ve been able to compare religion and Magic to each other.



Yes to have beliefs that are Are grounded really in no science until science shows up.

And now it’s it being explained to you for the first real time, you know?

Yeah, yeah.

I feel like the word magic at least nowadays.

Probably people don’t like to associate with religion but people believe in miracles and things that I can’t see and really understand to have faith in things that can’t be explained and then you’re Amazed by it and it’s like oh well sound pretty similar.


Sounds pretty magical to me and then both of them can eventually be described in some form of logic.

Eventually, if you wait around long enough to figure out the trick to it all, you know I don’t know.

The big trick the man behind the curtain humans first settled in Mesopotamia in the Paleolithic Era which is also known as the old stone age.


Just a cool.

Casual two and a half million years ago to 10,000 BCE.

So stone’s throw away from today, way to use the word stone in there, that was.

Yeah, thanks.

Comedy gold.


Thank you so much.

I ooh, wonder if time travel were real or Israel.

How would it take more?

Get that far back?

Like, would it be more dangerous?

Would it be?


Like shifts.

Like would you screw more things up the farther back?


You went?

I don’t know.

Oh, now that’s a fun theory that will wreck my day Butterfly Effect.

I definitely always thought of every single time travel as being the same distance away.

But yeah, you’re right.

Maybe if you go back, like two, Before we were even here is that at least like a cross-country flight.



Like do you get a at least an extra drink service on the way.

Wow we could really we could really go into this conversation.


Well quickly move on sorry sorry we’re writing the ship, we’re coming back.


So the Mesopotamian era spans from roughly 10,000 BCE 2651 Cee but its history is I know, I know it’s a hike but its history is further broken up into many periods and Empires.


And Whereas with one influencing the next, for example, the Sumerian civilization gave way to the akkadian Empire and just to make things easy for this episode or just going to refer to the Mesopotamian era as a whole.

So rather than like, the different chapters of it sounds fair.





To keep it a little more streamlined.

Let’s say.

So as you already kind of touched on the basis of many innovations, that shape our lives today were invented in this era, such as agriculture.

The concept of time.

I mean you even already said that like that alone is just mind-blowing like a Humane.


That alone could be like a college course.

History class event time.



Just like first people to really understand and nail down what time is, I mean, mind-blowing amazing.

And on top of that there was math the wheel which you also touched on sailboats Maps, the justice system like any sort of facet.


You can probably imagine about our daily.

Lives had some basis in Mesopotamian era, talk about like a resume.

Yeah, every other civilization, is looking really easy, right about?

I know, it’s sort of like, really, I mean, leave some for the rest of us.


I know it has.

Oh my God, I’m embarrassed.

I’m like, well, I got out of bed today.

So, so that’s a feat.


Little one.

They invented math and we’ve just got D’s.

It was like, didn’t care so far.

It is pretty embarrassing.

If you ask me, and then the sumaré people pretty much invented writing So, while we’re having classes to the list G, there’s another one.


So by 14,000 BCE Mesopotamians established small communities, with circular houses, the area where they lived, had good soil and water from the two rivers.

So it was really great for agriculture and they could Thrive there and over a period of five thousand years.


The settlements slowly turned into farming communities, which is pretty cool.

Wow, Mesopotamians came up with irrigation techniques, and of course, Who’s like yeah, I guess that was probably the biggest eye-roll of ever done in my life, my eyes hurt because they saw the back of my skull, of course, what time wasn’t enough Matthew.


Let’s just create irrigation, let’s just Farm crops for the first time.

So they came up with irrigation techniques and started domesticating animals and their communities Thrive.

They continue to grow and once we fast forward, several thousand years, we sort of see what you and I might recognize As Cities, so, I kind of blossomed into these early cities.


They really just nailed it.

I understand why I like they’re like historians whose whole job is just to try to learn about up fraction of this.

They’ve really covered so much territory.

There’s probably historians who just study one irrigation technique that stupid amiens used.


Oh my God, I can’t even imagine.

Just there’s so much to cover.

The concept is so overwhelming.

It is in the best ways, but I’m so glad other people are studying that so I don’t have Too, because I know I’d be so scared.

You’d go gray very quickly.

Okay so our friends, the Mesopotamian seemed like a very practical people.


I mean they’re inventing math for God sake so it might be surprising that they also had very sophisticated Traditions when it came to the occult and that’s what we’re going to break down next.

Of course, they also invented the occult so cool cause like, I couldn’t be cool enough.


They had to also throw magic in there.

I do.

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Most of what we know about Mesopotamian religion comes from a collection of clay.

Tablets that were discovered starting in 1850 in what is now Northern Iraq, the tablet State back to the last millennium BCE, which was the Assyrian period, the Assyrian Kings ordered that their religious practices be standardized and written down into what’s referred to as handbooks.


So these tablets they laid out complex rituals, step-by-step that words to hymns prayers and incantations and healing practices, which I just think is so mind-blowing lie, cool.

Can you imagine discovering one of these tablets?

And realizing you’ve discovered something that lists like the rituals for a magic practice from thousands of years ago it’s just so cool.


Can you imagine being the random person in today’s world who found that?

And yeah or maybe I don’t know what the timeline there is probably wasn’t a random person.

It probably was an archaeologist, I imagined but you know maybe not who worked really hard to find it but you know, he probably went home and his 13 year old kids who were getting D’s in history were like okay I literally couldn’t care less about what you How tragic?


So embarrassing.

But also today, if I heard someone say like, oh my God, this exists.


And worldly, the earliest incantations and rituals step by step, like how this is beyond, so cool.

It’s mind-blowing, and I love that the Mesopotamians at the time.


The Assyrians were like, you know what, let’s write this down, just in case I just think that’s so cool.

Like how smart they also invented journaling.

So, okay, fair enough.

Post it.

They you know, God so cool.

Oh my gosh.


So as we kind of mentioned earlier Mesopotamians at the time viewed religion and Magic as one in the same.

So it’s kind of how they understood various natural phenomena and their consequences.

Both good and bad.

Basically, religion and Magic went hand-in-hand.

If that makes sense, Mesopotamian magic can be grouped into four major categories?


So the first one is called liminal magic and in liminal magic, a person or an object is Transformed in number two, which is defensive magic.

Basically this involves removing or repelling and evil or a threat to somebody, okay?


Then there’s aggressive magic which I just love the sound of hilarious.

Aggressive magic, and aggressive magic gives a person superiority strength and attractiveness.

La la pour me a cup of that.

The fourth category is Witchcraft and this is where One was harmed by Magic performed by someone else.


So I guess in this connotation witchcraft has more of a negative view.


That’s kind of mind-blowing because I really obviously just because of the time period we live in when I hear witchcraft, my first thought is modern new agey Witchcraft and the concept of it all being like, positive.






Botany that kind of thing but it seems like it was just yeah.

It was different considered different back then.

Yeah, the message.

Damien’s had massive temples called ziggurats where people could perform rituals and commune with the gods they had expert practitioners who performed rituals and other magic.


And these practitioners belong to the urban Elite and they served the elite as well.

And they actually held offices at local temples or in the Royal Court.

I think that’s pretty cool.

It reminds me of other ancient civilizations where people who worked in kind of healing magic in that kind of thing had like a pretty high.


High rank in society just like how we were saying it’s the opposite today for witchcraft where or at least to you and me that it’s seemingly lovely or as far as I can tell but also that in today’s world practitioners like that aren’t really taken seriously to be.


Yeah I better Royal Court but back then it was like oh if you have this gift that others don’t or if you have studied this you’ve worked hard to learn this.

Yeah you deserve a place in the Royal Court and I’m like well that is so lovely and it’s her The importance of that role has kind of changed over time.


The Stereotype of a better.

What am I like?

Yeah, interesting hard to believe.

It was pretty different back then in the Mesopotamian Farrah back in 10,000 BCE things were not what it seems what happened.

So speaking of magical practitioners, there were actually three main types of magical practitioners arguably.


The most important were the experts known as a.

She Appu, which is conventionally translated as Exorcist.

See, this is another thing, but it brings things have done quite a 180.


So that is most commonly what that word is translated to.


They had the most public facing role.

They participated in Temple, rituals and perform Ceremonies for inducting people into office.

They could even perform death rites and purification rituals for houses stables and Fields, they could renew.

Is of the Gods on behalf of the king and would help in the creation of divine statues.


And the foundation of temples, I mean time, while ago, a Cornerstone to this like a diet demigod, it feels like a dummy guy.

It feels like they’re like, right, like one level under.

Oh my god.

Wow, okay.

So be an exorcist in the in the Mesopotamian era.

Who knew is crazy.


That’s what I’m gonna do.

If I go back in time, I’m gonna take my invisibility cloak off and be like, ooh, I’m an exorcist.

I would at least be a fly on On the wall and watch you miss Exorcist.

I would definitely want to see what that looked like back then.

Because in my mind, I think of like the movie, The Exorcist.


I’m like a reverend.

And very different word.

Yeah, yeah, actually, which is interesting though, because I would think an exorcist in like today, is Christian circles.

An exorcist is a priest who has to be really high ranking.

So, yeah, that’s true.

And has to study the incantation, so, to speak.


And yeah, so, I mean, it’s still, maybe has some similarities to today, but Could someone would probably openly aspire to like, yeah, yeah.

Dream responsibility.

Yeah, this is a very different role.

I guess back in back in that day.


So the shippou was pretty powerful.

He could act as an advisor to the king and they were also considered healers but they treat illnesses by dispelling, evil forces.

And that is kind of where we get into.

It sounds to me a little more like an exorcist in the modern parlance to say dispel evil forces.


You purify the Patient and that’s how they treated illness and doing this, you would protect them against future threats.

So in that way, it does kind of have some similarity to the modern-day understanding of what an exorcist is.


Now if you are sick, you could also consult someone known as the ah, Su which is usually translated as physician.


So I imagine already, we’re probably in a different different meaning of that word as well.

I think if exercise does not mean something as wild as an exercise it.

Yeah, I think physician Is something else a little different?

We’ll see.

So the officer would deal with more straightforward ailments like external injuries fractures a cold, Etc.


They could set bones perform surgery and they did use actual medication.

But on top of that, they would also take part in rituals with the, uh, Shifu.

So, you know, in some ways pretty similar to a modern-day doctor, just in a more mystical sense as well fun.


Okay, there were also the borrow or the diviners and these guys, Ask messages from the gods and then interpreted the resulting signs.

This was often done through Reading Celestial and terrestrial phenomena or reading get this sheep guts.



Something I’ve never done I don’t think no really no, but not that I know of you don’t say but you know.

So this feels like it was at the time.

It was just like a medium.



Sort of like an oracle almost like your Oracle.

Yeah, you’re reading the signs from either the stars or the Earth or The Sheep guts.


It sounds like just about anything.

Could be used with the right intention, so yeah, yeah.

I guess so.

The borrow typically worked for the Assyrian King as either a court scholar or even in a military capacity, which I think is pretty cool as cool.

As far as I know, we don’t have military mediums or military oracle’s but could be helpful.


I don’t know.

Yeah, yeah exactly I can’t imagine a medium giving advice to like a five-star.


Jedi general or something.


It seems.

So we’re also other low-ranking magic experts as well, but not as much as known about them, there are references to, for example, owl, men and snake Charmers witches, warlocks Sorcerers.


But these folks were often represented as Shady characters, who would perform black magic is just saying.

Yeah, it is interesting and sort of like they were the on the opposite side of the coin, like whereas some of these people are serving the king and like a higher purpose, some were considered kind of shady.



Yeah, I can see it then because I guess it’s whoever is most often and most closely representing the king.

I could see then why there’s tears, but in today’s world if I heard someone say like, Oh, I’m a witch, I’d be like, whoa, you are way more powerful than me, assuming, you know what you’re doing, like, you know, way more than me, you sound a lot cooler than me and like, I wouldn’t think of them as like lobe, are people?


No, no.

But at the same time, I feel like today.

If you tell somebody who, for example practices, a religion where they do, Don’t want to associate with that and you say, oh, this person doesn’t tarot readings and magic and crystals that probably has a negative connotation in a lot of circles to.

Yeah, that’s being shady or unsafe.


Or I don’t I don’t want to say evil, but maybe just a more negative dark dark.

Yeah, I like a darker kind of side to it.

So I could see why that would still happen nowadays.

I don’t know what an owl man is but a snake charmer.

I can see how that would get a bad reputation and I will man is certainly lost to time that I know I’m so sad.


I was just like, you snake Charmers.

I don’t know any personally, but I have seen a few videos and it is captivating.

So I’m gonna do is Imagine own towel.

Man is similarly captivating, its lost to time.

I wish we knew, I wish we know.

I gotta say, that’s my pitch.


If someone tells honestly probably a quick Google that we could do after this but, you know, in this moment I like the mystery of it in this moment.

It is a guest to anybody.

What a Taliban has.

I am gonna Tell the future board of the time-travel directive that I want to go back and see what an owl man, really was.


And I’ll write it down and that’ll be my pitch.

Let me go back.

The crazy part is they might already know.

Oh, maybe they’re Owlman and they that’s what I call.

I don’t know.

Okay, well, we’re working derailing.

Okay, just giving me a headache now.



So let’s talk about the gods.

The Mesopotamian God’s each Mesopotamian City had its own Patron.

Or goddess and many of the Gods also had different names depending on what area you lived in.

There is no definitive guide to all these gods and there is a lot of overlap.


So remember this era span over 10,000 years and multiple Empires and periods.

So, it makes sense that Traditions varied over time and not everything was like clear-cut, right?

But here are some of the big names you might see in Mesopotamian, magic rituals, according to Scholars.


So the first one I’ll tell you about is on key, and Anki is the god of wisdom and Magic, and was also the Creator and protector of humanity.

So, big shoes became truly.

Yeah, yeah.

Sorry, I just like, can you imagine being told if that’s your responsibility?



You got it to cover wisdom magico and I’ll see you created humanity.

And you also got to keep humidity safe.

Good luck with that.


Oh my gosh.


Important one was on you, the sky.

God finally there’s enlil the god of Earth, storms, and Agriculture and the controller of Fates.

There’s a there’s a short list to go for you.

Yeah, just five of probably hundreds, if not thousands, thousands thousands, the more that we talk about these past religions, I mean I obviously you two we grew up in a space where it is predominantly expected for you to believe that there’s only one God, but the more I like think about cultures with Multiple gods.


I’m just like, that makes so much more sense.

Think of how many things one God would be to oversee like he needs department heads.

Like I you got a delegate, you know, like I how on Earth can we expect him to do an A-Plus job in every part?

If he has to like, be the manager and has no employees, you know, like those staff.


So I feel like a totally agree, maybe everyone just teams up and they’re like, okay, I got this thing.

You got this thing, I got this, you know, I think part at least in Catholicism the way they kind of go around.

That is with Patron.

So I pray, you know, to a saint.

So you’ll pray for example to Saint Christopher or for safety, you’ll pray to Saint Michael, you know, all these different saints that are kind of representing different aspects of life, like Saint Anthony, if you lose something, you pray to st.


Anthony, I think that’s how they get around the whore.

Also, like, God is so smart and powerful, and all this, and all knowing that he wouldn’t need help from anyone else or whatever the other excuses could be.

But I like this idea.

In of like look, everyone is going to do a crack shot job and there one space and everyone’s going to have a good time.


You have your task and you have your role.

I mean, it makes a lot of sense.

It really does make sense to be, everyone’s got a, got a position.


Other deities that were regulars in Mesopotamian.

Rituals include the goddess nagamma, who is in charge of the holy water vessel.

Yeah, I mean, just in charge of the holy water vessel like that’s a big job, but it’s just one thing you would lose that on the to-do list.


If you were one card, I would always be Burner, you know, then there’s a purification God kusu, who’s typically associated with an incense vessel?

Not to be confused with the holy water, vessel course not.

There’s the Divine fire GE Bulgaria, who represents both the destructive and purifying force of fire and then they’re sirish.


Who’s the releaser of God and man, geez.

Oh my gosh tense.

So intense, I’m telling you, I’m think I’m on they were under thing.

Yeah, by the way, like, heard phrases.

I’m onto something.

I know it was like, Uh yeah.

Okay scholar Mesopotamian scholar over there.



Mesopotamians used sculptures and objects as part of their magic.

They were usually in the forms of gods animals and hybrid creatures.

For example, a statue of a mythological creature with the head of a man wings and the features of a bowl or a lion would guard important rooms in the palace, who fun, kind of cool like the symbolism there.


One Royal Palace had Stone carvings of eagle-headed creatures, wearing jewelry to protect the king’s reign.

Some fashionable Eagles, pardon the temple.

I wish I was on the board of people who were trying to research each of the symbols and they were like, what is this Eagle situation?


Is he wearing an anklet?

Is he go?


Like I’m sorry, but who is he wearing like, what’s that?

It’s accessorizing.

This Ruby and crested Eagle people from more modest backgrounds who maybe didn’t have eagles with Ruby and clicks on them would instead.


Add the everyday folks would instead put small Clay figurines under their floors, in an attempt to ward off.

Bad spirits.

I love that.


And this is pretty cool to the image of a dog.

So, like dog related images were associated with the healing goddess Gula.


So, their likeness would be used for health rituals positive connotation there while.

So, like, in today’s world, puppies are still healing.

Yeah, they are so sweet.

People would also wear amulets and pendants depicting gods and Otis has as a form of protection on the go so to speak.


I love to have an amulet with you on the go and up.

Next, we’re going to get into the good stuff.

We’re going to actually walk through a fascinating example of a Mesopotamian Magic Ritual, huh?

I thought we were already in the good stuff.


Okay no yeah, definitely ready for it.


All right, so right up top here.

If we haven’t explained it enough, I just want to say one more time, there was so much information to parse on Mesopotamian magic M.

Kind of hinted at earlier, there are probably Scholars.

Who just study?

One tiny aspect of Mesopotamian culture and Kate their careers to that.


So today we’re just highlighting some of the more unique and fascinating parts of the topic, I’m sure there are plenty of resources online.

If you want to do more of a deep dive but today we’re going to poke in and see what a ritual might have been like an example of a ritual from from way back in the Mesopotamian days.



So one thing that stood out to me were the Mesopotamian.

Nocturnal rituals whoo-hoo spooky.

Mesopotamians viewed, the moon as a god, which I think is pretty cool and they Associated specific stars with certain gods and goddesses, they even viewed the night itself as a deity.


How astrological of the I know, I know here, you’re onto something, sometimes people would leave water outside under the stars, to expose it to the power of the astral deities.

The water could then be used in purification rituals and I immediately thought about how people recharge or Lens crystals in Moonlight by putting them outside overnight.


Oh yeah.

Very similar concept which I think is pretty cool.

Yeah, it’s interesting because it sounds a lot like today’s witchcraft which is so ironic considering.

So, then witchcraft was a No-No, the - yeah.

Yeah, but magical still stems from something.

So Marathon, there’s still connections.


So many thousands of years later.

The new moon period was seen as a good time for doing anti witchcraft rituals ironic I know.

And during the Babylonian Loney and period people practiced an extensive anti witchcraft ritual called ma clue burning.


That took place over one night and included.

Almost 100 incantations.

Well busy night, is he busy night?

Not getting much sleep.

Basically what the ritual did was reverse Fates so like I said, witchcraft was more of a - you seen as being negative back, then it sort of like you’re harming someone else.


And so the idea with this ritual is that whatever witchcraft the Sorcerer had intended for the patient was then sent back to them.

So like a I’m rubber, you’re glue.

Yeah, your witchcraft incantations coming back to you it right.

You know what I mean?

This reversal was viewed as an actual legal process, why?


So I know so the sorcerer which was guilty of slander because they were speaking, this negativity towards someone else and the ritual would then end with the innocent patient being acquitted.


So it’s very much like you did this to me, so I’ll do it to you eye-for-an-eye.


Let’s call it even.


And then I’m in the clear processes over over and done.




So it’s pretty intense.

The ritual would start with an invocation of the stars and the patient would Ally himself with the gods of heaven and would ask them to purify him.



And then the entire Cosmos would be asked to pause and support this one patience.

Cause are you telling me this?

All time I could have asked the cosmos to take a pause when I needed it.

Yeah, it’s a quick scan.

You, take a breath for a second and help me out.

Like this is a lot.


I’m gonna need you to take a backseat Universe.

I know you’re like holding the moon or whatever, but I need you, I need you to help me out for a minute.

So yeah.

Basically this this, I mean a huge ritual.

They would ask all these deities to just take a minute and support this one, patience cause and help purify them.


That’s very lovely.

It’s a feels warm of like, oh Les, I have faith that you’re looking out.

For me everybody but also individually I feel seen.

Yeah, that one person is important enough to protect and I like that.

Seems like technically anyone could do this or was this?


It seems like this is quite a an extensive ritual.

So I imagine you’d probably have to have somebody who knew how to do it, but if you have like a guide with you, like at least anybody could ask for this to be done for the in theory, I like the idea of like, you know, even if people have to study really hard for this, Nobody’s gatekeeping the situation of feels like, if you want to be involved in rituals or these Traditions, like everyone’s welcome.


I hope so.

I’m not going to say yes, 100% to that because I don’t know.


But potentially okay, actually this is accessible.

I do Wonder though.

I mean I imagine if this is somebody’s job to know all this you probably either would have to pay for the service or I mean I’m not sure but it seems like it would be quite a sought-after.


Sure ritual throw sought-after person to conduct a ritual like this.


So we’re not even close to done yet.

So we’re asking the entire Cosmos to take a minute and pause, right?

Then they would burn various figurines that represented witches and warlocks.


And so these figurines were made of clay and Tallow, and Tallow is hard animal fat.

So the clay part would burst.

And then the Tallow figurine would melt right?

Yeah, it even looks magic.

The aesthetic.

It’s on brand.


So, So, the expert practitioner.

So this is the one who’s kind of guiding the whole ceremony.

The shipu would defile a figurine of the witch’s personal goddess by pouring a black liquid over her head and sealing, her fate who death and then leaving her in the darkness.


Whoa, so this is a very intensive ritual and yes, I did say personal goddess and that should give you an indication of a, how many gods and goddesses made up these Traditions my god.


Wow, wow.

Yeah, and then as the Sun would rise, they would perform incantations thanking the Sun God for saving the patient.


And at the end of the ritual, the patient would identify himself by viewing his reflection in a bowl of water.

And that there the cycle is complete and they’ve been cleansed from the slander of a witch and warlock, who had cursed them.


And also, I like talk about exhausting if someone’s putting 100 incantations and success and like the mental exhaustion, the next day, you have to take a day off.



You have to.

Oh yeah.

Just the time alone to have to wait for the sun to come up.

It’s a long process.

Wow, long process.

Anyway, that’s just one example of a Mesopotamian rituals.

Just imagine that this was like, a whole their lives that were filled with these cool rituals and Magic performances, and that kind of thing.


So, this is just one example how stinkin Cole, I know, right, well, we asked the park cast researchers, and as far as they can tell, none of this is practiced today, although Like you said, the aesthetic is pretty on point.

I feel like, I feel like we could bring it back.


My fear is that you know, someone who I don’t want anyone appropriating anything.

But definitely, I think people should learn about the history of this because it’s just so stinkin fascinating.

The fact that there was before anyone else really?

I mean, this was so long ago, but before anyone else had really kind of given them a standard of, like, what to do and what not to do.


Because in today’s world, you kind of are either fact-based or faith-based and I I feel like in this time period, they found like the perfect way of melding, both of them and you could have the best of both and it was just really beautiful.

Yeah, that’s a great point.


I love that that it’s kind of you can have both at the same time and not have to pick and choose.

I liked that they were just kind of riding the wave of like we don’t totally understand it.

But you know what?

It’s working even if it’s a for sibo, it’s worked on.

So let’s just keep we invented the wheel.


So you try to tell me it’s not working right?

As we drive away in our carts and lessons.

We’ve got Oh my gosh.

Well yeah, I think this is a very, very cool peek into what life was like back then how old some of these kind of rituals are and I think it’s pretty cool to that we can see almost like reflections of modern-day life in cultures thousands of years ago.


Very very cool.

You had kind of touched on this but just the how close this is to astrology just to have a star.

Scented by a god or goddess and you know that certain stars are certain gods and goddesses ruled certain areas of life, kind of links to astrology.


So pretty cool match up there.

Yeah, I mean, of course.

Why just throw astrology back on the list to of like, everything be invented, but it is really interesting how after all of this time but there are still things that people are fully invested in that they created.


I feel like if you told me something happened all that time ago, Maybe through the butterfly effect, it caused waves for us to end up having this belief for that belief, but for some to be so still clean cut.

And yes just like astrology or certain rituals like cleansing things with the moon.


And like, I mean, how did those things they lasted Through Time?

Survive this whole time.

That’s, that’s, and itself is pretty incredible.

I absolutely agree.

Very mind-blowing, and I imagining there are a few History Channel or National Geographic.


Or what have you about this time period.

And I think I might spend tonight watching some documentaries.

Ooh, La La.

My history teacher is quaking, somewhere.

She’s like finally, by the way to Veterans, who are you?


Thanks so much for listening.

We’ll be back next week with another great episode.

Information on today’s episode came from britannica.com, the British museum history.com University Woods Berg the Met UMass Boston and National Geographic remember to follow rituals on Spotify to get a brand new episode every week, and you can listen to this and all other episodes of rituals for free exclusively on Spotify.


And if you liked this show, follow at par cast on Facebook and Instagram and at podcast Network on Twitter, you can find Yet the M Schultz and you can find me at Eckstein Schieffer.

Thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.

Rituals is executive produced by Max Cutler and is a Spotify original from par cast.


It was created by Max color sound designed by Kristen Acevedo with associate sound design by Jamie Ryan research.

By Chelsea would fact-checking by shyam Lopez.

It’s produced by Chris and Acevedo and Jonathan Ratliff with production assistants by Ron Shapiro.

We’re your host, Christine cheaper and M Schultz.


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