Uraš is a primeval dual deity whose name means "Earth."(1) The order of creation in the list An = Anum(2) relates how the pair Lord and Lady Earth (both named Uraš) engendered An, the Sky. Both the feminine and the masculine deity were worshipped, and the latter was patron of the city Dilbat. We do not know if the female Uraš had a favorite city or village, but in addition to An = Anum she appears in a few myths as a creator similar to Aruru or Mami.

The Sumerians syncretized the God/Goddess Uraš also with the Goddess whose name means "grain," Nisaba. Nisaba is never portrayed as an "earth" Goddess, but the connection between her and Uraš may be that grain is the foremost fruit of the earth. As Nisaba was also the patroness of writing,(3) a job she later had to share with Nabu, the male Uraš and Nabu became syncretized (although Nisaba never syncretized with Nabu). Finally, as divine progenitors, the God/Goddess Uraš could be synonymous with Anu and Antu (cf. note 1), showing that we should perhaps consider the "earth" in question as more of a prima materia than the created world we live in. The relationships among the diverse names above is the most complex of all the syncretisms in ancient Mesopotamia. The deity could be male or female, earth or heaven, as well as a God of Wisdom.

The Gate of Uraš in Babylon, Ikkibšu Nakari, was presumably named because it was on the road to Dilbat, to the south of Babylon. The procession of Nabu from Borsippa, southwest of Babylon, took the same gate into Babylon, where he visited the temple of Ninurta in the quarter Šuanna on the the 6th of Ayaru.

Because of the association of Uraš with Ninurta, and the absence of any stories of Uraš, in this chapter we shall read The Myth of Anzu and the Tablet of Destinies. This story introduces the important concept of the Tablet of Destinies, which is discussed in the excursus following Anzu. Since the Gate of Uraš is also the first Gate, it shall include principles and rituals which are in many ways preliminary or initiatory rituals: an instruction for constructing and placing protective figurines around a house or temple, and a ritual called the "Opening of the Mouth," which introduces a God or Goddess to its statue. Then an esoteric text concerning the Creation is presented, in an exegetical form with which Qabalists will be familiar.

1. Information on the character of either Uraš comes mostly from personal names and stories in passing. ESP p. 75 n. 98 quotes a commentary which apparently equates Uraš with An. See also the articles on both deities in GDSD.

2. The list An=Anum was edited in an unpublished dissertation by R.L. Litke, A Reconstruction of the Assyro-Babylonian God-Lists....(presented at Yale University, 1958). The information here is from Sex pp. 16-17.

3. One author suggests that the idea for writing may have come about when someone noticed the impression a stalk of grain left behind in soft clay. Thus Nisaba, grain, created writing.