Samarra Bowl with Swastika

A bowl found in the Sumerian city of Samarra, dated to 4,000 BC, containing swastika symbols, which represent the movement of the sun. By Dbachmann (own photograph) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Sumerian culture is one of the oldest known to have emerged in Mesopotamia (a region containing parts of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Kuwait), which has often been called the “cradle of civilization.”1 In Sumerian myths, poems, and sacred texts, left behind as cuneiform writing on clay tablets,2 we can find many connections to the Religion of the Sun and descriptions of the emergence of the lost civilization of the sun.

For example, Sumerian legend speaks of an ancient antediluvian past where divine kings ruled for long lengths of time, similar to the “first time” of Egyptian myth.3 Sumerian writings also describe a prehistoric flood4—paralleling accounts found in Egypt5 and India6—in which a wisdom-bringer named Ziusudra is guided to survive the flood in a boat and begin civilization anew. He does this in some accounts by burying the secrets of knowledge in Sippar, an ancient “city of the sun” associated with the sun god Utu. 7 Sumerian accounts also speak of seven divine sages (known as the “Apkallu”)8 guiding humanity, just as Hindu scripture describes legends of seven sages.9

The mother goddess (a higher part of each person’s spiritual being) was represented in Sumer by the deity Inanna, who was said to descend to the underworld each year. This associates Inanna with the role of the mother represented at the autumn equinox, which is to destroy the darkness of ego states within a person and to liberate the spiritual light, a role similarly represented in other traditions by Durga in Hinduism and Sekhmet in Egypt.10

Like many other places where the Religion of the Sun was practiced, Mesopotamian monumental architecture demonstrated a reverence for the sun and advanced knowledge of geometry and astronomy, such as in Gobekli Teppe11 and Harran in Turkey and the ancient Sumerian city of Ur,12 whose Great Ziggurat aligns with the summer solstice sunrise.13

A growing collection of spiritual practices (listed below) have been discovered in the myths, stories, and epics found in Sumerian clay tablets, which despite their antiquity remain highly relevant for spiritual practitioners today.

  1. Guillermo Algaze, Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), Abstract.↩
  2. Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, A companion to the history of the book (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017), 68-71.↩
  3. The Sumerian King List (translation found here) describes eight antediluvian kings who ruled for almost 400,000 years in five sacred cities before “the flood swept over.” Chronologies of ancient Egypt also refer to a prehistorical “first time” when various divine and semi-divine kings ruled for long lengths of time. Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods (Three Rivers Press, 1995), 367-374. ↩
  4. “Ziusudra,” Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed August 17, 2017, ↩
  5. The destruction of the antediluvian Egyptian sacred land is described in the Edfu Temple descriptions and elaborated in Graham Hancock, Magicians of the gods: the forgotten wisdom of Earths lost civilization (London: Coronet, 2016), 170-171.↩
  6. Hindu texts describe a wisdom-bringer named Manu, who is saved from a great flood along with the Saptarishi (seven sages) to refound civilization. The story appears in section 185 of the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata and other scriptures.↩
  7. Gerald P. Verbrugghe and John M. Wickersham, Berossos and Manetho, introduced and translated: native traditions in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 2003), 49. Cited in Hancock, Magicians, 163.
  8. Russell E. Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic histories and the date of the Pentateuch (New York: T & T Clark Internat., 2006), 109.↩
  9. Mahabharata, Vana Parva 185.↩
  10. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices & Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, Revised and updated second edition July 2017) 73-76. ↩
  11. Hancock, Magicians, 5-7.↩
  12. Ibid, 353-357.↩
  13. Bryan E. Penprase, The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization (New York, 2011: Springer), 226.↩

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