dkulla suhuš é na-du-ú luh.ka u ì šu.tu.en.na

dlibittu išid bîti nadû mîs pî u ì šu.tu.en.na

"Kulla" (for setting the foundations of a house); "Washing Of the Mouth;" "When One Brings the Oil."

A. "Kulla"

Kulla is the God of the Brick. The same word libittu without the divine determinative DINGIR (usually written d) means simply "brick." In Sumer, where stone is a rare commodity, the basic building material was brick. Bricks are made in the ancient way to this day in Iraq as in most parts of the Near East. His role is illustrated in an incantation beginning "When Anu created the Heavens, Nudimmud created the Apsu, his dwelling; Ea in the Apsu took clay and fashioned Kulla for the restoration of Temples."(1) Restoring worn-down brick walls was a constant occupation in ancient Babylonia, and temples often had to be torn down to be refurbished. Since the temple is the God's house, this construction work naturally displaced the deity for a while. The displaced God or Goddess may have gone to the Akitu house outside of town, or travelled to stay with other Gods of the city while the work progressed. Either way, professional singers sang laments and prayers over the destroyed temple, to assure the Gods that they were not forgotten. Kulla thus symbolizes the basic power of civic renewal and "the prototype of man's creative ability."(2)

Bricks also played a symbolic role in the rituals surrounding birth. The story Atrahasis contains an etiology for the act of placing a brick in the house for seven days "in the house of the pregnant woman in confinement," and for nine days after the birth.

The "Brick of Mah" (or Bêlit ilê) is also mentioned in one of the mîs pî rituals below. Thus the first two tracts have this theme in common.

We do not know of an iškaru with this title, but Bottéro gives the location of several places where prayers with similar titles are listed. They are the following: Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum II, p. 525 and 663 (K.3354 and 3664); RA XVII (1920), p. 132 (K.4147, line 3); Keilschriftliche Bibliothek VI/2, p. 54ff (K.3469 +); Sumerische und Akkadische Hymnen und Gebiete (Falkenstein and von Soden) p. 326 and 400 no. 59.

B. "Washing Of the Mouth"

This is a well-known iškaru, one version containing at least eight tablets (tuppu). The ritual prepares a new statue to be inhabited by its God or Goddess. Such procedures are known worldwide, two notable examples of which are those for Hindu Gods, and those for Santeria. Because it is so essential a part of Babylonian magick, I shall present here everything that remains of the series, even though much of it is fragmentary. (quote Smith's intro).

1. Quoted in ANEM p. 27 (s.v. "Cosmogonies").

2. MFM p. 27 note 15.