Who is Lamashtu?

topic posted Sat, November 8, 2008 - 4:23 PM by  ENIAD
Who is Lamashtu?

I stumbled on her totally by accident. I was drawn to a beautiful complex pic depicting her veiled Egyptian manifestation and - I found out later - commented on the strange horned head of the Egyptian God/ess in flight. I was also magnetically drawned by the hieroglyphs but did not comment.

Due to Tribe’s antics the comment posted three times. The person who had the album - a man - immediately went into almost self-destruct and pulled out after dropping me a quick note that he needed a rest, that he liked me and would drop in on later.
There was a flimsy dream-like connection with a snake that led me straight to Pazazu, Lamastu's arch enemy, the next day.

The whole thing is a riddle that I would like to solve. I have a way of stumbling on things but this one is bizarre.
Who is Lamastu?
What are Lamastu's modern day powers?

I am the more frustrated I liked the guy, as much as you can online and wanted to work with him. He styled himself a magician into science fiction, a personal fav, all pretty bright colours and all and wanted to join his magician’s group - that I saw in my mind's eye.

Anything on this riddle? (and why me? Please smile at this too)
posted by:
  • Early Vampires: Lamastu and Lilith

    Nobody knows when people came up with the first vampiric figures, but the legends date back at least 4,000 years, to the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamians feared Lamastu (also spelled Lamashtu), a vicious demon goddess who preyed on humans. In Assyrian legend, Lamastu, the daughter of sky god Anu, would creep into a house at night and steal or kill babies, either in their cribs or in the womb. Believers attributed sudden infant death syndrome and miscarriage to this figure.

    Lamastu, which translates to "she who erases," would also prey on adults, sucking blood from young men and bringing disease, sterility and nightmares. She is often depicted with wings and birdlike talons, and sometimes with the head of a lion. To protect themselves from Lamastu, pregnant women would wear amulets depicting Pazuzu, another evil god who once defeated the demoness.

    Lamastu and Lilith are often depicted with wings and sharp talons.

    Lamastu is closely associated with Lilith, a prominent figure in some Jewish texts. Accounts of Lilith vary considerably, but in the most notable versions of the story, she was the original woman. God created both Adam and Lilith from the Earth, but there was soon trouble between them. Lilith refused to take a subservient position to Adam, since she came from the same place he did.

    In one ancient version of the legend, Lilith left Eden and began birthing her own children. God sent three angels to bring her back, and when she refused, they promised they would kill 100 of her children every day until she returned. Lilith in turn vowed to destroy human children.

    Accounts of Lilith as a child-killer seem to be taken directly from the Lamastu legend. She is often described as a winged demoness with sharp talons, who came in the night, primarily to steal away infants and fetuses. Most likely, the Jews assimilated the figure of Lamastu into their tradition, but it's also possible that both myths were inspired by a third figure.

    While she is often depicted as a terrifying creature, Lilith also had seductive qualities. The ancient Jews believed she would come to men at night as a succubus.


    love all-ways,
    • Oh, of course... I was thinking Lamashtu was somehow akin to Lilith. Or, in the Greek version, the Lamia...

      "The ancient Greeks believed that the Lamia was a vampire who stole little children to drink their blood. She was portrayed as a snake-like creature with a female head and breasts. Usually female, but sometimes referred to as a male or a hermaphrodite.

      According to legend, she was once a Libyan queen (or princess) who fell in love with Zeus. Zeus' jealous wife Hera deformed her into a monster and murdered their offspring. She also made Lamia unable to close her eyes, so that she couldn't find any rest from the obsessing image of her dead children. When Zeus saw what had be done to Lamia, he felt pity for her and gave his former lover a gift: she could remove her eyes, and then put them on again. This way, though sleepless, she could rest from her misfortune. Lamia envied the other mothers and took her vengeance by stealing their children and devouring them."

      It rang a bell, but I couldn't quite place it....
      • Any idea as what may have sent the guy scurrying? I was, after all, commenting on his own pic.

        See, I am a crazy solar Aries and that may prove the validity of astrology because I am forever doing things like that or triggering things like that. My whole life is a game of billiard…but it could be alchemical in its own way. (I prized myself as a very evolved Aries...but an Aries is still an Aries.)
        • This is my own dark humour which should fit right in here...

          Thanks for putting the puzzle of Lamashtu together. The basic picture that wikipedia brushed showed many loopholes that are now coming together in a sensical way.

          There is something unfair about Lamashtu's treatment as there was in Medea who was also turned into Medea from a beautiful young woman with lush hair. I feel a pattern.
  • Many of the descriptions of Lamashtu say that she is "daughter of sky-god Anu." Babylonian Lamashtu (Sumerian Dimme) seems to be related to Lilith. According to later Jewish legend, Lilith, who had long hair and wings, was Adam's first wife. The pair quarreled over Adam's wanting sexual superiority over her. She said, "Why should you be on top when we are equals?" Then Lilith spoke the deity's magic name and flew away to the Red Sea area.

    "In Jewish popular belief of the Middle Ages, Lilith was the devil or his grandmother and also mother of witches and witchcraft (Patai 1990: 221-254). Eventually, in the Jewish mystical or Kabalistic tradition, which began in the Middle Ages, she became "queenly consort at God's side" (Patai 1990: 221). Demonic nature notwithstanding, it is clear that Lilith was also divine."

    from the above site:

    "These female demons from different cultures have much in common, and their commonalities reflect male-dominated societies' disapproval of females of the uppity sort, as well as implicit approval for their opposite, the feminine, biddable wives and daughters. The demons are all physically hideous. All are anti-mothers in one way or another, and all are childless or give birth in abnormal ways. All are dangerous and threaten humans with both diseases and death. All live in exile or, at least, are distanced from the cultures that produced them. All, eventually even the dead Medusa, partake to some extent of deity. All are independent of men and to a large extent autonomous. Finally, all are brought under control by males.

    "All possess characteristics that undermine or challenge male-dominated societies. War-like societies such as those of Mesopotamia could find a use for Inanna/Ishtar's warrior characteristics. So she became a war goddess, while her sexual self became a goddess of love. Thus divided, she was less of a threat to a developing patriarchy. Demonizing the dangerous elements of a minor goddess performed a similar function, and it also provided a scapegoat for when things went wrong, as they always would. Perhaps at one time Rangda was a sea goddess, who became evil because of where she came from. It seems likely that Lamashtu and Lilith were once minor deities who both caused infant death and disease and protected against them.[9] And Medusa — what do we make of her? Certainly male-dominated society co-opted her "malevolence" to serve its burgeoning state. Her snaky head became a powerful warding-off or apotropaic device on shields and on temples and other buildings to be protected. Such analysis is not new, I know, but I am surprised to find that it applies just as neatly to Balinese culture as it does to cultures that fed into ours. Still, perhaps this shouldn't surprise me. "

    Reminds me of an old Witch saying: "The Gods of the old religion become the demons of the new religion."

    !!! The adoption of Lilith by young female singers/performers/songwriters ("Lilith Faire") shows that women are reclaiming our original power.

  • I would suggest that you encountered the duality of Divine aspects in the cosmic order of things.
    That can be really mind blowing...but I think all for the best if your point is evolution.

    Your riddle is very interesting and I would pay attention to what that is saying to you on a personal level, aka symbolically, and not so much the Mesopotamian characters of Lamastu and Pazazu. In this case, as far as I know, you have the dual aspects of good and evil, male and female, Pazazu representing the so-called evil male character. Perhaps as this myth was handed down over time, as most myths are only half-truths and legends, Lamastu's role changed as she was associated with Lilith... As Lilith, I just see Her as powerful and sovereign. More than any god could ever accept, and having rule over things neither god nor man could control. Many simply can't accept such things, so they either leave or demonize.

    Anyhow, if you find that image again of Lamastu please do upload it to our gallery, I would love to see it..

    • The riddle is shaping up on several levels. It is labyrinthine and not just personal. I will post as what emerges becomes clearer.
      • I look forward to it :)

        love all-ways,
        • There do seem to be conflicting views that abound. Is She a Goddess, or a goddess, like a demi-god, or somewhat comparative to a greek titan, all lower on the wring of planes, and not anywhere within the domain of an all-encompassing Goddess!? Is She Demonized or a demon, the later only sustaining the world system on the lower planes and usually acknowledged and then vanquished, not revered, and one might wonder, why would she or should she be included amongst Goddesses?

          Could the myth be the fabricated workings of misogynists, which have certainly never been uncommon in that part of the world. A good example of an alteration of myth is the addition of Hades as the abductor of Persephone in the Olympians' account, who was not present in the original telling, demoting her role to victim and begging the question, how can a Goddess be a victim unless She fully reclaims Her wholeness?

          Making no assumptions myself as I don't know how to decipher cunniform writing, so all I have to go on is postulations or more questions.
          • This is what I answered to a poster who assimilated Lamashtu to Lilith under the photo in my private album.

            It is only the tip of the iceberg.

            The personal psychic trail has gone cold for now...

            "It is related to Lilith but this myth was Persian first.

            Lamashtu started out as an erudite woman who wanted to be introduced into a group of male magician but was rebuffed because of her sex.
            One of my friends, who became a member of all the magical pyramidal groups around - I mean by that something akin to the Rosicrucian’s - claimed at the time that the higher echelons of these groups knew that women held the real natural magical power and did everything to keep it away from them in a serious way.
            It also shows how powerful female deities were pushed into becoming demons with the emergence of patriarchy.

            According to one text that I found - and that could be revealing the attitudes of the writer - it claimed that Adam's objections with Lilith were all sexual.
            He only wanted to mount her missionary style and was suspicious that she may have been using birth control (or abortion) to keep her figure light.

            She was neither obedient nor pliable. She also had her own wings.

            Because he kept insisting on pushing his will on her, she left after telling him that they were equal but came back to taunt his newer (weak) wife with the serpent.

            It is all about controlling women sexually - often men's greater fear and alleged weak point as only women can provide vaginal sex - and what could have been a major dread for the emerging patriarchy. It is also about controlling the reproduction and offspring as chattel.

            A partial aspect of the analysis so far."

            The French article that I picked the information from said that in the emergent patriarchy as Mesopotamia was at the time, it was simply easier to split female deity into two, having Ishtar as the sexual Goddess and Lilith the dark demonised belligerent aspect.

            Earlier goddesses were both warrioress and powerfully sexual in their own terms. The combination was frightening.

            Hope that it is not too rambling.
            • Fragmentation of Goddess, or intent to diminish, is a tell tale sign of something gone awry. It only works when people participate in the lie, or condone it, have fear, and believe in the fiscade. the part that particularly smells wrong is when Lamashtu is banished to the underworld, and amulets are apparently worn around the neck of pregnant women of her oppressor for protection from said evil goddess. why did women participate in wearing these amulets that were probably not for their protection?

              If one is working to put such a fragmented goddess back together, and canonical examples are not available, maybe it would be a good idea to consider that any and all diminishing and patriarchal beliefs need to be cast out, then She may begin to reemerge.

              • Exactly. A lot of the medieval Europeon amulets and prayers for "protection against witches" were really based on older magic incantations and forumulas for healing, prosperity and love.

                I think the name Lamashtu is beautiful. It seems to have connections with the Lamia, with Lilith and her kind, and with the Goddess Ashtaroth.

                The combination of trees and women may also figure into the mix................What IS the "tree of life" but the Goddess Herself?

                • I revere the Jewish tales, but in this regard, ignore them. They know nothing of
                  Lilith as she is PRE-semitic.

                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    hey all,

                    so i came across some brilliant discoveries of Lady Max Dashu over @ Suppressed Histories Archives recently and remembered this thread. this is a picture of a seal impression of a Syrian Goddess with associations with Lilith or the same tablet as "Queen of the Night." :

                    • Thanks for reviving the thread with more information. The seal is beautiful, unsoiled and ancient.

                      At this point I remember little about the dream and the snake telling me about Pazuzu. Why Lamashtu? Maybe I was in some kind of telepathic connection with the guy who got scared because it is linked to fear and a certain period of the Goodess vilification and the morbid jalousy that later day wife Hera exhibited in her powerlessnes at her husband's continuous philantering, but I also have unconscious connections too.

                      I will look up the info about the primeval goodess energy where all goodesses were one, unadulterated and then several and differentiated but not vilified yet. It had to be so important back then as not to be.

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