Mountains of Masshu (1)
Within The Testimony of The Mad Arab are the hidden keys for understanding one of the most controversial grimoires in our common era. Please keep in mind that this work was not written to prove or disprove the authenticity of the Simon Necronomicon. These questions are answered in the Necronomicon itself.
“Remember, that the Essences of the Ancient Ones are in all things, but the Essences of the Elder Gods are in all things that live, and this will prove of value when the time comes.”
It took quite some time, coupled with hard work, to fully appreciate and understand the Simon Necronomicon. There are layers upon layers of information within every page. The Testimony, as given to us by the Mad Arab, is a good example of this. His Testimony is where the journey begins and so will our discussion.
“This is the Testimony of all that I have seen, and all that I have learned in those years that I have possessed the Three Seals of MASSHU.”
The opening lines of the Mad Arab’s Testimony, gives us the keys for understanding the entire text written thereafter, the Three Seals of MASSHU. However, in order for us to understand the meaning of these three seals, we must first begin by defining MASSHU.
The term Masshu is a derivative of the Akkadian word Mashu, which scholars translate as “twin.” It was considered by the ancient Sumerians to be the Gateway to both the ‘garden of the gods’ and a passageway to the “Underworld.” It was also a symbol of the rising and setting Sun, as the sun god Shamash is often depicted between the two peaks on ancient Babylonian cylinders. The rising sun would depict the sun’s return to the palace of the gods and the setting sun would be an indication of its entrance into the Underworld to judge the dead. Through a thorough examination of the Gilgamesh Legend, we can get a clearer understanding of what MASSHU meant to the Mad Arab.
“For this is the Book of Dead, the book of the Black Earth…”
Gilgamesh was a historical king of Uruk, on the Euphrates River in Ancient Sumeria. Many stories were written about Gilgamesh on clay tablets in cuneiform. The fullest surviving version, from which the summary here is taken, is derived from twelve stone tablets, in the Akkadian language, found in the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria 669-633 B.C., at Nineveh. The library was destroyed by the Persians in 612 B.C., and all the tablets are damaged. The tablets actually name an author, which is extremely rare in the ancient world, for this particular version of the story: Shin-eqi-unninni.
It is in these episodes of Gilgamesh that we find some interesting data concerning Mt Mashu. Mashu was located in a forest in the “land of the Living”, where the names of the famous are written. In these episodes, Gilgamesh and his friend, Enkidu, travel to the Cedar (or Pine) Forest which is ruled over by a demonic monster named Humbaba
( Humba an Elamite god and ba meaning made, which translates to Humba has made me. This would evidently allude to the battles between Babylonia and Elam). While their motives for going to the Forest included gaining renown, it is also clear that they wanted the timber it contained. Humbaba, who had been appointed by the god Enlil to guard the Forest, is depicted as a one-eyed giant with the powers of a storm and breath of fire, perhaps the personification of a volcano. It is only with the help of another god, and a magically forged weapon that Gilgamesh triumphs over Humbaba. But before his battle, Gilgamesh and Enkidu gaze in awe at the mountain called “the mountain of cedars, the dwelling-place of the gods and the throne of Ishtar.” They climbed onto the mountain, sacrificed cereals to it, and, in response, the mountain sends them puzzling dreams about their futures. When they begin to fell trees, Humbaba senses their presence and, enraged, fixes his eye of death on the pair. Although Gilgamesh finally defeats the monster, Enkidu eventually weakens and dies from Humbaba’s gaze and curse. In addition to its reputation as the “Land of the Living”, this forest is also a way to the underworld or the other world. For right after killing Humbaba, Gilgamesh continues in the forest and “uncovered the sacred dwelling of the Anunnaki Furthermore, Gilgamesh seems to go into a death-like trance here and in the same general region, the goddess Ishtar, whom Gilgamesh spurned, threatened to break in the doors of hell and bring up the dead to eat with the living.
Mashu is mentioned directly in the episode “Gilgamesh and the Search for Everlasting Life.” This story unfolds after the death of Gilgamesh’s friend, Enkidu, a wrenching experience which makes Gilgamesh face his own mortality and go searching for eternal life. It is en route to Utnapishtim, the one mortal to achieve immortality that Gilgamesh comes to Mashu “the great mountain, which guards the rising and setting sun. Its twin peaks are as high as the wall of heaven and its roots reach down to the underworld. Its gates are guarded by the Scorpions, half-man and half-dragon; their glory is terrifying; their stare strikes death into men, their shining halo sweeps the mountains that guard the rising sun”. Gilgamesh is able to convince the Scorpion-people to open the gate and let him enter the long tunnel through the mountains. Eventually Gilgamesh emerges from the tunnel into a fantastic Garden of the gods, whose trees bear glittering jewels instead of fruit.
In the view of several scholars, Mashu is also the mountain mentioned in the story that Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh. Utnapishtim, sometimes called the “Sumerian Noah”, told Gilgamesh how the gods had become angered with humanity and decided on the Flood as one means to exterminate it. A sympathetic god warned Utnapishtim and told him to build a boat and board it with his family, relatives, craftsmen, and the seed of all living creatures. After six days of tempest and flood, Utnapishtim’s boat grounded on a mountain. He released a dove and a swallow, both of which returned to him. Then he released a raven which did not return; Utnapishtim and his family came down from the mountain. When the disgruntled gods are finally reconciled with the re-emergence of humanity, Utnapishtim and his wife are taken by the god Enlil to live in the blessed place where Gilgamesh found him “in the distance, at the mouth of the rivers.”
There is much more information of such depth in the accounts of Gilgamessh and I encourage the reader to also include these accounts in his/her studies. For now though, we can reflect on the history of Gilgamesh to get a deeper understanding of the term Mashu, or MASSHU. First, we learn that within the region of Mashu was a great forest filled with Cedar trees. Secondly, it was the location that Gilgamesh sacrificed wheat products or cereals and because of this he received intense dreams. Also, Gilgamesh seems to go into a death-like state in the mountain that is guarded by the Scorpion Man. The legend of Gilgamesh gives us the basis for a deeper understanding of the term MASSHU on an alchemical level, as found in the Simon Necronomicon.
Mount Mashu is defined as the ‘Twin Mountains’ that guarded the rising and setting Sun. This would mean that entrance into Mount Mashu was a parable, which equated to entering the subconscious mind. It is through the subconscious mind that the super consciousness can be reached, or as ancient legend stated ‘access to the abode of the gods. This mountain was filled with a Cedar forest, or a stimulant to promote awareness in the subconscious state. It is interesting to note that the astrological correspondence to Cedar is the Sun and the element of fire. Its herbal and magical correspondences include, purification, healing, money, protection, illumination, physical energy, and increased magical power. Its medical properties are excellent for the skin. Pine, on the other hand, would correspond to the Underworld in its purity.
Thus, it is apparent that the rituals as laid down in the Simon Necronomicon, are not actually fictional, but a guise for the great Sumerian Tantric rites, as we will discuss soon.
- The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria by Morris Jastrow
- Journal of Prehistoric Religion by Karin Nys
- Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell
- Simon Necronomicon (Avon Books)
- Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham