Your torch flames,
heavens four quarters,
spreads splendid light in the dark,
those warrior women
like a single thread
come forth from beyond the river
do common work
in devotion to you.
Whose hands sear them with purifying fire.

From the Exaltation of Innana,

- Enheduanna-
     Sumerian Priestess, and first known poet in the world.

I dont really look like my mothers daughter.

To see her, bow tight to her shoulder, strong slender limbs baked into bronze by the desert sun. Her hair wrapped in a single braid. Looking into the distance with the intensity of a hawk, is to see perfection, of a sort. We are two nights out of Ulmas on our way to Uruk, it will take 7 more nights, she will not speak to me at night, only while we rest during the day.

We travel by moonlight, the archers know the way through the wasteland taking us from hidden well to hidden well. The archers could travel by day, but we dancers could not. ...

I think I was five, the dancers where gathered at Auntie Rachel's home, in the courtyard. Drummers thumping out those hypnotic rhythms, beautiful full bodied women, swaying like grass in the breeze, in time with the drums. Heads falling almost down to their shoulders. Hair swaying down their backs, hips rolling with the drums. They looked so lovely, and I slipped out of my shoes, stepped out on the hot stones, and joined them.

The dancers where deep in the spell of the drums, and no one giggled. My tiny frame moving to and fro pushed and pulled by the drums. My feet followed their own intention, my breath, My head rocking to and fro on my shoulders. I did not miss a step, nor skip a beat, swinging to and fro in perfect coordination with the other dancers.

Afterwards I overheard Rachel saying to mother, "She dance's like she's danced 1000 times before. She's no Archer Myrum, she is a nu-gig reborn." Momma just looks at Rachel, with knives in her eyes. When I was seven though, I am told I am to live with Rachel from now on.

Of course I still see Momma, Ulmas is very small and everyone has their place. Every morning I go to the cisterns, and collect water, for the Palms and some of the flowers. Then we all gather before breakfast and sing Praises to Innana, before the morning star fades. We greet Lord Utu as the sun rises, and then go to the dining hall.

We spend our days in the gardens. Those of us who are nimble, take brushes and dust the desert sands off the reliefs, and statues Evenings are mostly spent dancing. When we are not practicing for ritual, we are dancing for at the feast of the full moon. When the Ladies are not on their moon time, we dance.

One week a month, one of the younger archers takes us to the halls of Nammu, there we sit, listen to our breath, and are taught of dancing with-in ourselves. Oh it seems so boring at first, but the archers are firm if you fidget. In time you learn you can go inward. Later you learn to go out again, suddenly you can be anywhere in the world. From Ulmas, to Uruk, to the Mountains of the Gods. After that you dont want to fidget anymore.

The Archers, like the Dancers, are organized in rings of 7, the number of the sacred ME. Mother and 6 Sisters guide us through the wasteland and watch over us. Each Archer in a ring is equal. Anyone can take the ring, if she sees a threat, of something that needs to be done. They never really seem to speak, A raised arm, A hand gesture, even standing still in a given posture is enough to tell her sisters all they need to know. 7 rings of 7 Archers, guiding the Dancers to Uruk.

They say there was a war, long before I was born. In the time of my grandfathers, grandfather. Strange men, from the outlands, who worshiped Samael, a strange and angry God came. They smashed temples and burned crops. They seized Uruk. They whipped any women who painted her face, or would not wear their veil. But they could never find the temple of Ulmas hidden in the wastelands. Momma-Ki punished them for burning the crops and for 7 years nothing but weeds, would grow. The date house fell empty, And Uruk was tormented by flies.

They say Diana then walked the earth. She leapt like a gazelle, and had the vision of a hawk, and her arrows found many of their priests. After 7 years the Strange men, took the laws of the Angry God with them and retreated into the desert.

When the Moon next waxed full, the dancers returned from Ulmas. They Danced through the streets of Uruk. They sang praises to Momma Ki, and Mighty Innana, they healed the land and filled the date house again. They say Momma Ki wept for joy to see dancers in her temple again, and the Tigris burst her banks. The farmers sang praises for the rich black earth left by the flood.

So now we return, as we have every fall since. I dance through the streets of Uruk, filled with the Joyous energy of the crowd. The flutes go ahead and the drums follow just behind, and 7 Dancers spin, and twirl, and sprinkle the people with water from Sacred Ulmas. We dance till we are all but exhausted, right up to the temple of Momma-Ki. We empty ourselves, we leave every drop of sweet sweat in the streets of Uruk.

As the stars come out, I lay back on cool stones, happy to rest, as much as I loved the dance, I am happy to rest. A lovely man picks me up. He is "Mountain born," with rich black hair, and olive skin. He carries me into the temple to the sacred Marriage bed. I have no strength for him, but I know the chant, I hear it ringing from my throat unbidden. I feel Momma Ki's spirit rise up from the stones, she is with me, her firm strength in my arms, her breath swelling my bosom, we are together, we are one.

The young man is touching my face. AN is with him. I can feel the fire in his touch. Man and woman, Goddess and God we come together. Ki's breathless passion for her AN is a fire in my limbs, a thunder in my voice, and when the rites are done. ...

I come out of the sacred bridal suite, to the outer temple. The drums, pause, the flutes fall mute, and everyone watches me with baited breath. I close my eyes and softly say. "I am with child"

The drums roll, the flutes sing, and the people dance with Joy. I have conceived, Momma Ki will be reborn in the spring, and the harvest horn will be full.

I am Rebecca, Priestess of the Temple of Ulmas, Ama tu ANKI!

************************

I was doing an extra long meditation and drinking some skullcap tea,
and I nearly nodding off, a few times, and come back. Even though I
am in my seat. Tiring few days. Anyhow my music runs out and Im just
winding down. Going through my mantra a few extra times in silence.

When I see quite clearly, two lovely people. Back to back, Arms wide,
Long rich black hair in a single braid. They are clearly dancing.

They look almost like the Famous women of the Minoan temple.
Skin bone pale, Hair like pitch. I cant really tell their sex. Only
they are very young, and beautifal No lines on the faces, and My
perspective is close, I only see the heads shoulders, near parts of
the arms.

They are like the famous painting, but unlike. I feels more like a
glimpse of real people the a painting might have been of, in the
moment I see them they are still. Like dancers paused for a momement.

Its just a glimpse but a breathtaking glimpse.

Ama tu ANKI. BB.