The Oracle of Gilgamesh

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The Invocation
The Response of the Gods
Instructions on how to cast the Gilgamesh Oracle

Consult the Oracle

The Epic of Gilgamesh:

Dramatis Personnae

Time Chart 3000BC-100AD
Image [97Kb]

Some notes for the curious

The Thought of Gilgamesh at his
Journey's End

The Making of Man [from Atram-hasis]

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Some images:
The Oracle "board"
The Oracle "board", showing the tablets numbered, which correspond to the sections of the epic poem. Other sections are also annotated.
Detail map of Mesopotamia [51Kb]
Large scale Karte Mesopotamien [957Kb]
Map of Ancient Near East [46Kb]

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List of Mesopotamian deities (Wikipedia)
(List of deities (Wikipedia) - This is an index to polytheistic deities of the different religions, cultures and mythologies of the world, listed by type and by region.)

The Annunaki & Igigi

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Gilgamesh wordsearch - a bit of fun


The Invocation:

I call upon the Wisdom of the Seven Sages
To accompany me on this my Quest.

From the Land between the Two Rivers,
To the Garden of Jewels,
From the Twin Peaks of Mount Mashu
To that Great City of Darkness,
May the Gods of Sky, Earth and Water walk beside me.

May Sin-liqe-innini and Atram-hasis
Protectors of the Word in Clay
Be my Travelling Companions.

May the Courage of He who saw the Deep,
He who Surpassed All Other Kings
Be always with me.
May the Friendship and Wildness of his Companion
Be always with me.

May the Shadow of the Bull of Heaven be at Peace,
May the Shade of Humbaba be at Peace.
May the Land that was of Cedars be at Peace.
May all the Shades be at Peace.
May Namta shield his Eyes from me.

May Ninusi take me by the Hand
As a Mother leads her Child,
May the Dove, the Swallow and the Raven
Return, bearing the Gifts we seek,
Signs from the Waters of Life and Death.

May the Lion of the Earth yield
That which he stole.

May Shiduri offer us the Gifts of Wisdom and
The Serving of strong Ale!

May we hear the Drumming of a Heartbeat,
From the Flesh of a God let a Spirit be produced.



The Response of the Gods:

We, the Igigi and Annunaki,
We the Pantheon of Heaven and of the Netherworld,
We, our Shades, and the Memories of Our Actions across Time and Place,
We attend; make Sacrifice and state your Need.



How to Consult the Gilgamesh Oracle

Casting an Oracle is simple.... there are three differently-coloured 'stones' which represent three aspects of the Oracle. Throwing these three stones onto the Oracle board indicates:-

  • which Tablet will be used in reading the Oracle,
  • which area of of that tablet to focus on the text, and
  • which Ally/helper, God, Goddess or Guardian can assist you in translating the oracle into your own understanding.

The stones are coloured brown for the T(ablet)-stone, yellow-gold for the P(osition or Place)-stone, and blue for the A(lly)-stone.

First, familiarise yourself with the layout of the The Oracle "board".

There are two images provided:-

  • The Oracle board
  • The Oracle board, showing the tablets numbered, which correspond to the sections of the epic poem, Tablets I - XII and hence which text will be consulted. Other sections are also annotated.

The three stones are thrown together upon the board.

If you haven't already done so, read the invocation at least once; then read The Response of the Gods. Now you're ready to consult the Oracle.

Note where the stones fall. The brown T-stone indicates the Tablet to be read. The vertical alignment of the yellow/gold P-stone on the page indicates where in the text to focus, and the blue A-stone indicates which Ally or guardian will help you.

If a T-stone falls:-

  • on the border of two or three tablets, choose the stone which is the smaller of two, or the middle-sized of three.
  • completely within the relief image of Enkidu and Gilgamesh killing the Bull of Heaven, this indicates conflict; gather all three stones together, rephrase the question, and recast the entire Oracle - ie back-page and re-consult by clicking on 'Continue' again.
  • partially within the relief area, look at the Tablet within the sky/area, read the Prologue page by clicking on the the twin peaks area of Mount Mashu, then include the influence of the Sun-god, Shamash as your ally; if the A-stone also falls in this area, then the Sun-god's influence is greatly enhanced.
  • within the Netherworld area at the bottom of the page, treat this the same as reading Tablet XII, which is an addendum to the Epic of Gilgamesh, and deals mainly with Enkidu's visit to the Netherworld.
  • even partially, just above the Netherworld area, on the thin horizontal strip of blue under Tablets X and XI (but to the left of Tablet XII), then read the Tablet-text nearest the T-stone. The influence of the A-stone is also greatly enhanced. (Background information for the "Waters Beneath" can be seen by clicking on the strip of "water."
  • entirely within a "neutral" area, then recast just the T-stone, by noting the position of the other two stones, and reconsulting the Oracle by back-paging and clicking again on 'Continue'. You can then use the new position of the T-stone with the old positions of the other two stones; this isn't particularly advised as the 'divination' may be more circumscribed. Alternatively, just recast the complete Oracle 'throw'.

There should be no confusion with the P-stone that indicates the position in the text of a specific Tablet, as the whole board is used. If for example the P-stone falls half way up the board, then the focus would be on the middle of the text; if at the very top, then the start of the text would be the focus. The text that is to be read as the Oracle is the nearest yellow-gold text to that position.

When looking at the text, drag the scroll-bar at the very right hand of the browser to the corresponding position in the text. So, if the P-stone was half-way up the page, drag the scroll-bar to the middle position. (A percentage value of the distance from the top of the page is given at the bottom of the Oracle page, next to the yellow/gold P-stone image).

If some text (other than that indicated by the P-stone's position) catches your eye before you have reached some yellow-gold text, you can either focus on that section for the reading, or find the nearest yellow-gold text to that.

If an A-stone falls:-

  • on Tablets I-XI, then the corresponding person or God/dess from the Dramatis Personnae list is chosen as an Ally. So, Tablet I is Gilgamesh, Tablet II is Enkidu, Tablet III is Ninsun, Tablet IV the temple-priestess/prostitute etc. [see list]
  • on the relief image of Enkidu and Gilgamesh killing the Bull of Heaven, both Gilgamesh and Enkidu are your Allies.
  • on Tablet XII, then you have no Ally... you're on your own, but you must use your skills as a "hunter" to achieve what you want... guile, skill, patience and cunning.
  • on the water that is the dwelling of Ea - or even just touching it - then Ea, a male God, is your Ally; Ea is exceptionally helpful and skilful.
  • within the sky area, then Enlil (not An/Anu, the God of the Sky) is your Ally; this isn't necessarily helpful as He's so remote from the affairs of mankind... but you hold the moral high ground. In view of Enlil's remoteness, The option is yours as to whether to reconsult the Oracle. You may like to click on the sky area to be given a clue as to how the Gods behave among themselves... the associated text are excerpted from the Enuma Elish.
  • on the Mount Mashu area, then the Sun-god, Shamash is your Ally. The associated text is from the Prologue and can be read as the Oracle.
  • on a neutral zone, then choose the nearest Tablet, or use the random quote.

Other circumstances:
Once the above "rules" are followed, if there still remains any doubt as to interpretation, recast all three stones.

  • If any two stones touch each other, the influence of the A-stone is greatly enhanced.
  • If all three stones are touching the "Waters Beneath," then you can put your mind in repose mode! There was no reason for you to consult the Oracle as you've already achieved your aim and reached the "Garden of Jewels" - even if you haven't yet realised that.
  • If you wish to recast just one stone, then note the position of the other two stones and reconsult the Oracle by back-paging and clicking again on 'Continue'; this isn't advised as the 'divination' will be more circumscribed.

    Now... Consult the Oracle


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    Dramatis Personnae

    • Gilgámesh, king of the city-state of Uruk
    • Enkídu,his friend and companion
    • Nínsun, a goddess, his mother
    • Shámhat, a prostitute of Uruk
    • Shámash, the Sun God
    • Humbába, the guardian of the Forest of Cedar
    • Íshtar, the principal goddess of Uruk
    • Shidúri, a minor goddess of wisdom
    • Ur-shanábi, the ferryman of Uta-napishti
    • Úta-napíshti, survivor of the Flood
    • Enlil - "Lord Wind." the divine ruler of Earth and its human inhabitants. Aided by Anu (the father of the gods and god of the sky), Ea, and the Mother Goddess (Belet-ili, or Aruru), he governs the cosmos.
    • The Hunter, who first "discovers" the wild man, Enkidu.


    The Thought of Gilgamesh at his Journey's End

    I overcame the curse of the Gods
    I vanquished the Bull of Heaven,
    His Thigh I threw at the Godesss,
    She of War and of Love.
    I crossed the Waters of Death -
    What Man before me has crossed the Waters of Death?
    I discoursed with the Gods
    And found them wanting.
    Why, even the Rage of Enlil led to His own Doom!
    Led to the Misery, Starvation and Craving of His Peers!

    In the Face of such Foolishness,
    Be not afraid to laugh at the Gods.

    Even Gods die.



    Let one god be slaughtered
    and the gods be thereby cleansed.
    With his flesh and his blood
    Let the lady of the gods mix some clay,
    so that god and man
    are mixed together in the clay.
    In future time let us hear the drumming of a heartbeat,
    from the flesh of a god let a spirit be produced.