For the past two weeks I’ve been gearing up to start writing my next story! Since the Mesopotamians are going to be my focus for this one, I decided to begin with some basic research on their culture and beliefs. So I’ve been reading Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, an excellent overview (as the title would suggest) about Mesopotamian daily life and culture. My focus was, of course, on the religion section. But one subsection caught my eye: Sorcerers, Exorcists, and Diviners. This span of 20 or so pages was full of wonderful information about the Mesopotamian belief in magic.
The prime idea that came to me was that of black and white. There are only two kinds of magic, good and bad, healing and harming, white and black. With this I’ve been enticed! and am really interested in exploring not only the concept of a gray area and also I want to read more about the concepts of exorcism, because what I saw was brief but fascinating.
Here I found an excellent academic paper, which discussed how Diviners and Exorcists were treated, not only as royalty, but medical professionals. In Mesopotamia there was no line between godly worship to excise ailment versus what we would consider scientific medicine. They had both, and they were used interchangeably.
Another idea that struck me, is that Sumerians had a very specific list of omens, and each comes with a strict meaning, which is fairly set in stone. Omens meant, so much to the Sumerians and they guided, not only the people but likewise their gods. You should expect to see omens both good and bad in the story to come.
Image link: http://www.ancient-wisdom.com/iraqur.htm