The Erra Epic – Tablet 1 - 01
Type of Spiritual Experience
Erra (sometimes called Irra) is an Akkadian plague god known from an 'epos' [an epic poem] of the eighth century BCE. Erra is the god of mayhem and pestilence who is responsible for periods of political confusion. In the epic that is given the modern title Erra, the writer Kabti-ilani-Marduk, a descendant, he says, of Dabibi, presents himself in a colophon following the text as simply the transcriber of a visionary dream in which Erra himself revealed the text.
The poem opens with an invocation. The god Erra is sleeping fitfully with his consort but is roused by his advisor Išum and the Seven (Sibitti or Sebetti), who are the sons of heaven and earth—"champions without peer" is the repeated formula—and are each assigned a destructive destiny by Anu.
A description of the experience
The Erra Epic - Source: Foster’s (B.) Distant Days: myths, tales and poetry from Ancient Mesopotamia
O king of all inhabited lands, creator of the world,
O Hendursagga, first born of Enlil [ ]
Holder of the sublime scepter,
herdsman of the black-headed folk,
shepherd of mankind,
O Ishum, zealous slaughterer, whose hands are suited to brandish fierce weapons,
And to make his sharp spear flash, Erra, warrior of the gods, was restless in his dwelling,
His heart urged him to do battle!
Says he to his weapons.
"Smear yourselves with deadly venom!
"To the Seven, warriors unrivalled,
"Let your weapons be girded!
" He even says to you:
"You are the torch, they will see your light
"You are the vanguard, the gods will [ ]
"You are the stanchion, [zealous] slaughterer!
"(So) up, Erra, from laying waste the land
"How cheerful your mood will be and joyful your heart!
"Erra’s limbs are sluggish, like those of a mortal lacking sleep,
"He says to himself, ’Shall I get up or go to sleep?’
"He says to his weapons, ’Stay in the corners!’
"To the Seven, warriors unrivalled, ’Go back to your dwellings!’
"Until you rouse him, he will sleep in his bedrooms,
"He will dally with Mami, his mate".
(With a second invocation, now of Ishum, the narrator introduces the terrible Seven, who stand ready to massacre the "black-headed folk" or Mesopotamians)
O Engidudu, who patrols at night, ever guiding the noble, Who ever guides young men and women in safety, making light as day, The Seven, warriors unrivalled, their divine nature is different, Their origins are strange, they are terrifying, Whoever sees them is numbed with fear. Their breath of life is death, People are too frightened to approach it! Yet Ishum is the door, bolted before them.