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Pazuzu

demons near East demonology lore

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#1 Circe

Circe

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 04:21 AM

I've been working with this spirit for over two years now. I remember him in dreams from when I was very young and saw his statue in a complete catalogue of Louvre artwork, then realized it was him. Most people either don't know who he is, or from what they know, think he's the devil or are simply terrified/disgusted of and by him. I thought I'd post a little lore about Pazuzu because I know quite a bit of information about this demon and I believe he's greatly misunderstood.

 

​Most of you have probably seen the Exorcist. I'm sure some of you know that Pazuzu was the demon that possessed Reagan (had no idea about this until later), which perpetuated him as being the Devil.

 

However, Pazuzu actually originated far before Christianity would be established. He was revered and idolized around the beginning of the first millennium BCE onward until the fall of the Neo-Babylonian empire (approx. 4th century BCE). During these 600 years, Pazuzu was both feared and greatly respected. He was the demonic god of plague and pestilence, the ruler of the Southwest wind (which brought locusts and heat), and King of the Wind Demons. Sounds evil right? However, Pazuzu possessed a paradoxical soft side. He was also the tutelary demonic god of maternity, parturition, pregnant women, children, and neonatal protection.

 

​His iconography is very unique and recognizable. Pazuzu is a combination of humanesque/thermiomorphic parts. He usually has the body of a thin man, the feet of a bird-of-prey, the face of a snarling/grinning canine possessing large eyes and thick brow, horns on his head, a scorpion tail, and a long penis ending in a snake head. Not the handsomest devil by many means. 

 

​This wind spirit was greatly revered across Mesopotamia, especially in Babylon and Assyria, though he also spread to Anatolia, Egypt, Iran, and parts of Greece. Pregnant women would wear amulets of his apotropaic head to ward off malevolent demons who could hurt the mother or child during pregnancy. The most notable of these aggressive spirits was Lamashtu, a malignant demonic goddess who was known to harm women and children, spread disease, kill animals, and destroy anything that hit her path. Statues of Pazuzu were put throughout abodes and worn as jewelry to ward off the goddess. Because Pazuzu was her husband, he was the only one who could coerce her away from the victim and back to her abode in the Underworld. 

 

​I would also like to say the demons in Mesopotamia could be both benign and malignant. There's an old Assyrian chant that goes "Go away bad rabisu, good rabisu come in!" Rabisu is a word used for demons in this area and time. There were also Lamassu, who were demons known for their fierce protective nature of homes and families.

 

Pazuzu himself is a bit enigmatic, as he possesses both fierceness and gentleness. While he protected pregnant women, babies, and children, it would be wise to simply say he protects the weak and the innocent. Plaques and statues of Pazuzu were hung over the beds of those who were sick and dying. His nature, though terrifying to some, was one that is equivocally solicitous. While I cannot say he is a saint, he is a demon that encompasses those who are vulnerable under his wings of protection. 


Edited by Circe, 08 May 2018 - 04:22 AM.

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