Entranced by the living spell that is the movement of the Fate Dancers across their patterned marble floor, I, Gilgamesh – for the other is passive – surrender to the music of destiny and allow my eyes to be transported to a place of wildness; a place so far from the order and safety that I have built here from my children…

There is a constant whirling, and in that spinning wind I watch as six days and seven nights revolve around my throne. As the seventh takes hold, I am dragged into this killing wind which leaves me in the wilderness and watching a scene in which I may not participate, because it is controlled by Shamhat… My eyes scream at the realisation of what she is doing… triumphing over my own command, working with the Fates to unseat the sanity of her king.

The air of the watering hole is quiet, as the dance of the veils is enacted. The wild man – huge and powerful, every muscle straining to hold back his power of movement – watches, as entranced as I am by what neither of us can control.

My loins surge as I see that the woman I have loved – whose divine flesh I have worshipped like no other – has dressed herself in the thinnest of veils… Seven of them. They do not hide per pale skin; they set it on fire.

Beginning with the outer – the white veil, she moves around the beast-who-looks-like Gilgamesh, holding him paralysed by her beauty; but more by the gradual revealing of her body as she strips the thin, shining gauze from her vibrant flesh. My moaning becomes the wind, spinning around the edge of the hollow that holds the watering hole at which the Enkidu beast drinks.

My impotence is complete when the white is added as a cloak to his shoulders, followed by the red, then the grey, orange, green, black and finally yellow. Shamhat stands naked before the savage…

Then, when the screaming wind can get no louder, Shamhat lays him down on the soft earth and makes exquisite love to him… as she once did to a young king named Gilgamesh…

Far away, my throne is silent, now, Tears make my vision swim. The Fate Dancers have come to rest. They are frozen in time, looking at me. They do not act against me; they act from somewhere else, but their actions have ripped my being in two.

Time has ceased to have meaning. Days pass, here, yet the Fate Dancers remain frozen, until there comes a noise from the city walls, and a great cry goes up in the streets outside the palace. The dancers begin to move again and I know I must go out and meet this man, this anointed man, who the spinning winds say is my twin.

The vizier’s soft voice reminds me there is a bride whose marriage ceremony is complete, whose husband has been set aside to allow the king to enter their chamber… and to enter her, as the laws of Uruk – my laws – demand.

Despite the soft promise, I pull a leaden body from the throne and stride, heavy-hearted, through the palace and towards the bride’s chamber which lies across the square. The crowd is excited, but not by my presence. The Divine Council – that bunch of effete Elders – are pulling and pawing at the creature that Shamhat has supposedly civilised – this Enkidu…

They are saying, “How much like Gilgamesh he is!”

But he is not. There is none like the King. Tears form in eyes that have been, until now, all-seeing. How can they be so disloyal? Have they forgotten the glory of their ruler? Have they forgotten my hand-hewn mighty walls and how well they protect the citizens of Uruk?

The pawed one sees me and tears himself away from the Elders, glaring–then charging at me. The aggression is unmistakable. He knows my intention and intends to prevent it. The crowd retreats to a safe distance as we circle each other, four great arms extended.

In his rage, he shouts that he has been raised up by his divine union with Shamhat; and that I will not be allowed to debase the bride who is entitled to the same and should be waiting for her husband – not her king… My response is a blow to his bearded face.

We fight with such ferocity that the crowd scatters. Our battle becomes a mirror of the Fate Dancers’ whirlwind… but this is my city, this is my skill, this is my art. Mighty though he is, I use the whirling motion – learned from the Fate Dancers – to tire him. Then, at the moment when he is most distracted, I draw on my hatred of the power that made me watch the lovemaking of the wild man and my Shamhat and use it to perform my own special magic, driving him to the ground…

… But Enkidu’s hands, which the Trapper said could tame wild beasts, pull me down with him, and we fall to our knees…


And in our laughter, I think of Shamhat… and I steal from her this lover and make of him my brother.

Other parts in this series:

Part One Part Two

©Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was created by Stuart France, assisted by Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, copyright the Silent Eye.

Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching school of modern mysticism that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.

The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.

Steve’s personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com.

18 Comments on “Gilgamesh descending (3)

  1. Thanks, Willow and Steve. Never a truer word spoken. It is so apparent that he is headed straight into Hell, not a Hell of some other making, but a hell of his own making, as we all can understand for certain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, Anne. And, playing the King, you are central to that nexus of recognition going on all around you. And even though you know where it’s going, you have to go there…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is incredible to think about. It is odd because I have been reading several versions of Genesis in the Bible and then also looking into Hebrew Myths that Stuart has been writing about. And I have been thinking about the lives of different people mentioned in the Bible, including Jesus. I thought about the symbolism of the cross, and it is a path that all of us choose from in our lifetimes. We can take the shorter and easier route, but in the end, we suffer because we take the long route, or the length of the cross. The carrying of the cross up a road where our life will end, already tormented and tortured has to be one of life’s most significant lessons. Jesus, apart from anything else, was a man of integrity. He believed in something so much, that he was willing to give up all that he had to try to share it with others. So much of interest to learn in this life. Yes, although he suffered so much, he remained true to what he believed. It may have been wrong, but he believed it, just as Gilgamesh believed everything he did was right. Thank you kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the case of the Christ, he knew what he was doing. He knew he had to enact a part, very carefully, so that all the elements of it would ‘line up’ and open something in the collective human soul.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am just realizing that there are other or have been other mystery schools, but I am glad that I am with The Silent Eye. It has brought so much to my life. Thank you and Stuart and Sue for all of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, there are, Anne. Though the modern age has fewer than fifty years ago, when they were very ‘fashionable’. If they are genuine, they charge as little as is practical, for this is the act of ‘service’ of the Directors. There are some that are exploitative and many where the heads are ego-driven… We are glad you are with us, too…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you kindly, Steve. Yes, I sure noted that in my own observations. The service we do for others comes back to us in so many ways. There are so many things more important than money, though we have been conditioned over the centuries to believe otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

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