SUMERIAN SPELLS AND RITUALS
Being the founders of religion and astronomy, the Sumerians are legendary for their magickal practices as well. This page is a collection of spells and rituals, gathered from the Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian periods.
Please keep in mind that the ethical system of the ancients differed slightly, and that the ingredients used in each spell, ritual and incantation are particular to that period in history; if you choose to apply any of these to your modern existence, please do some research for the "modern" substitutes. Also, pay close attention to the way each spell is worded - one should never perform a magickal working that harms another or interferes with another's free will. "As you sow, so shall you reap...."
Please check back with this site, as additional material will be provided frequently.
At Ur, for example, clay figures were found in boxes of burnt brick placed under the floor against the walls: these boxes, which were provided with lids, had one end open, facing into the centre of the room, which the figures thereby watched and guarded. These particular figures at Ur, which in some cases had been given a lime-wash and then painted in black and red, were of various kinds.
The ritual with which such figures were made and set up for the protection of a house has been largely recovered. It began with an enumeration of possible causes of the misfortune of the house: Whether it be an evil ghost or an evil spirit or an evil spook or an evil ghoul or an evil god or an evil Croucher or a Lamashtu a Labasu or the Seizer or Lilu, Lilith or a Handmaid of Lilu, or the Hand-of-a-god or the Hand-of-a-goddess, or Epidemic, . . . or Plague-demon or the Bad-luck-demon [literally'He who offers the bad things of life'] or Death or Heat or Fever of the Killer, . . . whatever there may be . . . which does harm, to a man, in a man's house....
Instructions were then given for the preparation of the figures of wood and clay to protect the house: You shall sprinkle holy water; set up a cult-stand; offer lambs for sacrifice and bring the hams, lard and roast meat; scatter dates and fine meal; set out a confection of honey and butter; set up a censer with juniper-wood; pour out a wine-libation; do obeisance, purify the censer, torch, holy-water vessel and tamarisk wood, and speak thus before Shamash:
Incantation: ‘O Shamash, great lord, exalted judge, the one who supervises the regions of heaven and earth, the one who directs aright the dead and the living, You are . . . the holy tamarisk, the pure wood for the form of the statues which I shall cause to stand in the house of so-and-so for the overthrow of evil beings. I have bowed before you. May the thing which I do be completely efficacious.'
The tamarisk, which had thus been assimilated to the Sun-god, now had to be cut up in the approved manner. The rubric stated: You shall say this; then nick the tamarisk with an axe of gold and a saw of silver, and cut it up with a qulmu-tool.
Various groups of figures were then to be made from the wood, appropriately dressed and set up, and after this the incantation special to them was to be recited. The next morning at sunrise the figures were put, together with the censer, torch, holy-water vessel, seven grains of silver, seven of gold, and two precious stones, into a container called a kullatu. A libation was made to the Sun-god and the incantation 'kullatu, kullatu' recited.
Further sets of statues were now made, this time of clay: since modelled clay lasts far longer in moist soil than carved wood, it is this type of figure which has been found at Ur and elsewhere. Many of these clay figures must originally have borne inscribed upon them magical formulae, as the texts suggest. Thus with reference to clay figures of this type in the form of dogs the text reads:
Name of one dog coated with gypsum: ‘Don't stop to think; open your mouth!'.
Name of the second one: ‘Don't stop to think, bite!'.
Name of one black dog: ‘Consume his life!'.
Name of the other one: ‘Loud of bark'.
Name of one red dog: ‘Driver away of the asakku-demon'.
Name of the other one: ‘Catcher of the hostile one'.
Name of one green dog: ‘The one who puts the enemy to flight'.
Name of the other one: ‘Biter of his foe'.
Name of one spotted dog: ‘Introducer of the beneficent ones'.
Name of the other one: ‘Expeller of the malevolent ones'.
In the ritual for the purification of a house, all the statues, both of wood and clay, were now to be taken to the river bank and placed facing east; there, at sunrise, another ceremony of sacrifice and libation was made to the Sun-god and the statues then taken back to the house. At the house followed yet further sacrifices and libations, this time to Marduk, to the three great gods, to the god and goddess of the house, to the protecting spirit (shedu) of the house, and to the Queen of the Underworld under one of her many titles. Crucial points of the house - corners, doorways, roofs and air vents - were then touched with various substances and purified, the purifying substances afterwards being brought out to the gate. The evil had now been temporarily removed, and it was for the statues to shoulder their task of keeping the house spiritually clean. Sacrifices were therefore now made to the statues and incantations recited, informing them that
on account of some evil things which stand and call with purpose in the house of so-and-so the son of so-and-so. Let anything malignant, anything not good, be removed from you a distance of 3600 double-hour journey.
The purification ritual outlined was a lengthy, complicated and no doubt expensive affair, but was efficacious against all types of evil influence, presumably for an indefinite period. A limited range of evil influences could be removed by simpler means, but the period of security guaranteed was limited to one year....
The Greatness That Was Babylon. HWF Saggs, p.313.
Consecration of a Magick Circle
Ban! Ban! Barrier that none can pass,
Barrier of the gods, that none may break,
Barrier of heaven and earth that none can change,
Which no god may annul,
Nor god nor man can loose,
A snare without escape, set for evil,
A net whence none can issue forth, spread for evil.
Whether it be evil Spirit, or evil Demon, or evil Ghost,
Or evil Devil, or evil God, or evil fiend,
Or Hag-demon, or Ghoul, or Robber-sprite,
Or Phantom, or Night-wraith, or Handmaid of the Phantom,
Or evil Plague, or Fever sickness, or Unclean Disease,
Which hath attacked the shining waters of Ea,
May the snare of Ea catch it;
Or which hath assailed the meal of Nisaba,
May the net of Nisaba entrap it;
Or which hath broken the barrier,
Let not the barrier of the gods,
The barrier of heaven and earth, let it go free;
Or which reverence not the great gods,
May the great gods entrap it,
May the great gods curse it;
Or which attacketh the house,
Into a closed dwelling may they cause it to enter;
Or which circleth round about,
Into a place without escape may they bring it;
Or which is shut in by the house door,
Into a house without exit may they cause it to enter;
Or that which passeth the door and bolt,
With door and bolt, a bar immovable, may they withhold it;
Or which bloweth in at the threshold and hinge,
Or which forceth a way through bar and latch,
Like water may they pour it out,
Like a goblet may they dash it in pieces,
Like a tile may they break it;
Or which passeth over the wall,
Its wing may they cut off;
Or which (lieth) in a chamber,
Its throat may they cut;
Or which looketh in at a side chamber,
Its face may they smite;
Or which muttereth in a chamber,
Its mouth may they shut;
Or which roameth loose in an upper chamber,
With a basin without opening may they cover it;
Or which at dawn is darkened,
At dawn to a place of sunrise may they take it.
A Treasury of Witchcraft. Harry E. Wedeck, 1961.
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Last updated March 6, 1998