Shhhhh. It’s Dumah.

Ishtar

Ishtar (Photo credit: neilalderney123)

Dumah, or Douma, is the angel of silence, the stillness/sleep of death, and vindication.
He has been described as having a thousand eyes and carrying either a flaming sword or fiery rod. Yep, that would make me shut up, too.

And if that didn’t make you feel like silence, Dumah also has a giant posse. Word. Ten thousand angels of destruction are at his command. Other sources say that he’s a major player when it comes to tormenting souls in Hell.

Dumah plays a role in the legend of Ishtar (No, not the movie, the story of the passage of the goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex through the underworld. She’d be a great blog post, actually.). In the Babylonian tale, Dumah guards gate #14. Which is kind of weird because I thought there were only seven gates.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar

Rabisu. Say it with me. Rabisu.

Ancient Mesopotamians be so crazy!

They feared the rabisu, a type of vampire demon who lurked in house entrances and dark shadows.

The word rabisu is variously translated as ‘the ones that lie in wait’, ‘the lurker’, and ‘the croucher’ by various sources. I guess those are kind of similar. They all sound like internet trolls to me. Oh, but another source translates as ‘the vagabond.’

And vagabond they do! Ancient scripts say that doors and locks are useless against them. They can slip through them as easily as a serpent. The rabisu also show up on the Road of Bones to the City of the Dead (Mental note: Find out more about the Akkadian underworld!).

Another great trick of the rabisu is to sit on roofs, waiting to eat newborn infants with their delicious milk-fed flesh.

And just as Internet trolls can be exorcised with patience and logic (Please, leave me to my delusions), rabisu can be dispersed with sea salt.

Otherwise, you can, with the right charms and incantations, trap them in inverted bowls, which is why you find a lot of those in the foundations of Akkadian buildings.

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mictlantecuhtli

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology, Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Snacking with Mictantecutli

Mictantecutli might look sorta cute (Okay, that’s probably just me), but this lord of the underworld is a definite badass. He’s the Aztec equivalent of Hades or the Devil, and these are the AZTECS. They took their death seriously, people. I mean, the Egyptians did their thing, but really, for death, for me, it’s the Aztecs.

In all of Aztec mythology, only two deities get to wear a crown. One is the sun god, and the other is our man Mictantecutli. He is a skeleton, usually with eyeballs, who sits on the throne of the underworld Mictlampa where he oversees the eternal torture of souls. His sigils are an owl, a clump of desert grass, a corpse (it’s nice to have a spare around), and a dish of human hearts (Snacks!).

To the Aztecs, there were three types of souls: people who died normal deaths, heroic deaths (not only in battle, but also through sacrifice or during childbirth(Childbirth! Interesting)), and non-heroic. Mictantecutli is one of the few gods who had the power to rule over all three types of folk.

He’s also a married man. His wife is Mictecacihuatl.

If that wasn’t ENOUGH to make him awesome, during the day, he freaking swallows the stars. Presumably he spits them out every night.

To the Aztecs, death and life were inseparable, so when you and I look at a guy who is a skeleton, we might think he’s pretty antisocial and scary. But for the Aztecs, he might be the equivalent of the Easter bunny, symbolizing new life just as much as death.

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mictlantecuhtli

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology, Rosemary Ellen Guiley

 

Demonspotting: Mammon

The worship of Mammon

The worship of Mammon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to get rich, Mammon is the demon for you!

Mammon is associated with one of the seven deadly sins, greed. (I briefly thought about doing a seven deadly sins month, but even after three years, I’m still not ready to take on Lucifer and Satan.)

Some people say that “Mammon” isn’t really a demon at all, but a mistranslation. See, the word “Mammon” is also the Aramaic word for “Wealth.” So in Matthew 6:24, when the gospel says “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon,” what is that supposed to mean? It might just mean that you can’t serve God and be greedy, too. (In certain translations, the Bible also mentions Mammon in Luke 16:13, Luke 16:9 and Luke 16:11.)

But if Mammon is a demon after all, then he is–duh–a demon of avarice. He’s sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell (No, I don’t know what that means either. I guess that means there are seven princes in Hell. More investigation is required. Stay tuned.)

Mammon appears in Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. By the way, I hear a rumor that they’re going to make a movie of Paradise Lost, starring Bradley Cooper. I will go see that. Probably twice. (Update: No on the Paradise Lost movie. Sad Teresa is sad.)

Little known fact: Mammon serves the hellish ambassador to England. Why England? Who knows?

The economics of the zombie apocalypse

New CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) radio show called “The Invisible Hand” focuses on economics. From the site:

Every choice we make in life can be seen as an economic choice. We have limited time, limited money and limited information. Every day, we parcel out these scarce resources in a never-ending series of choices.

Philosopher Adam Smith gets the cred for our title. He theorized that if people made choices with their own economic self-interests in mind, then a collective force would guide the marketplace to benefit the common good. This force…was like an invisible hand.

On the show we explore whether ideas like that–ones found in the pages of an Economic text book–can also be found at work in the real-life stories of the world today.

This week, host Matthew Lazin-Ryder explores the economics of the zombie apocalypse.

Thanks to DotWer Jolaine Incognito for the tip!