It is our pleasure to welcome Madeleine Daines, author of Lost Stones of Annunaki, as our featured author for January. In her book, Madeleine revives our understanding of Sumerian and its precious and important words whose hidden meanings have been missed and overlooked in modern times. Peeling back the layers of false assumptions and navigating the many riddles found in ancient texts, Madeleine takes the reader on a mind-altering journey of discovery.
Interact with Madeleine on our AoM Forum here.
A Powerful Name
And he traced the word Jesus back to an ancient Sumerian word that was a mushroom covered in God’s semen.
One of the recent stepping-stones on my personal path to enlightenment presented itself in the unexpected form of an interview conducted by Joe Rogan. His guest was Brian Muraresku, author of The Immortality Key and the subject was, of course, the Ancient Greek Eleusinian Mystery School and the ingredients of the hallucinogenic brew concocted there. Graham Hancock also participated. During that discussion, John Marco Allegro’s 1970 book The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross was mentioned, and Joe Rogan made the comment shown above. I already knew from my own translations that Sumerian was a major source of later languages and that its rediscovered tablets included mention of mind-altering substances, but I didn’t know that this had been quite clearly stated fifty years ago by an esteemed philologist within academia, someone who had personally studied the Dead Sea Scrolls. Allegro used the now famous Plaincourault Chapel fresco ca.1291 with its image of a ‘mushroom tree’ to substantiate his theory that the use of hallucinogens had long been part of the Christian tradition:
Brian Muraresku commented that Allegro had been hypothesizing, that his assertions weren’t backed up by any mentions in translated Sumerian texts and that, in any case, Sumerian was a ‘language isolate’. In so doing, he was reiterating the damning criticisms of The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross made by the author’s peers in the 1970s, and also the standard dogma regarding the earliest known Mesopotamian writing system. Everything that has been said to debunk John Allegro’s theory of a sacred Sumerian mushroom named Jesus has been based on the fundamental ‘truth’ that Sumerian was an isolated language, i.e. that it bore no valuable relation to the later Assyrian or other later Semitic languages – no value, that is, other than having provided the Assyrians with their cuneiform writing and derived sounds of the language. But how could anyone believe that a writing system, given the name ‘Akkadian’ to fit with the name of the city of Akkad, would take all of its visible features and even its meanings from the Sumerians and yet leave the essence of that first written language to one side – amputated and discarded? No, no and no. Sumerian and Akkadian were mother and child. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. Akkadian represents a natural evolution from the maternal language, one unique tongue stemming from those pictographic words rediscovered in the lands of the Tower of Babel. This was the language of all the inhabitants of a fertile plain known by Ancient Greece as Mesopotamia, from the mouths of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in the North, enveloping the softly sloping hills wherein lie the newly discovered sites of Gobekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe, down through Babylon to the Persian Gulf.
Mesopotamian is a more appropriate name for the language than either Sumerian or Akkadian. Apart from the fact that it encompasses both northern and southern regions, it derives from Greek meso, ‘between’ with potamus, ‘river’ and was ultimately taken from Sumerian ME-ZU with BU/PU, the ‘snake’ and ‘river’ and TAM, the ‘sun’, the two rivers/snakes of the sun.
All of this information runs counter to the foundational beliefs of both academia and those who have added fictional accounts onto poorly translated texts over the past century or so. But when I hear it said that Sanskrit is the mother tongue of all the Indo-European languages, I am forced to take issue. Sumerian is the mother of them all and the document titled The Instructions of Shuruppak, rebaptised The Story of Sukurru, is by far the oldest of them all. And so, it was a relief to learn that an expert in ancient languages, someone from inside university walls, a specialist who might be expected to sense the truth through his own work on those Gnostic texts from the 1st millennium AD, had already stated what was for me an obvious fact. And thank you, Joe Rogan, for bringing Jesus to my attention in that regard. What a powerful Name it is.
As it happens, my retranslation of The Instructions of Shuruppak self-published in 2017 had already provided the missing stepping-stone to fully vindicate some, if not all, of Allegro’s claims. If you don’t look, you don’t find. Peeling back the centuries-long layers of mistranslations, deliberate obfuscations and downright nonsense has been a daunting task and has led me down a lonely but illuminating path. Yes, Sumerian is the fundamental key to unlocking the ancient pre-Christian references to mind-altering substances and yes, there is mention of their use in at least one Sumerian text ca. 2500 BC. In fact, my translating work goes beyond that of Allegro regarding the use of hallucinogens, adding the source name of cannabis, KA-NA-AB – clearly enunciated on line 56 of The Story of Sukurru/Instructions of Shuruppak – into the mix along with a couple of unmistakable and highly evocative scenes on the theme of ecstatic rituals. Lost Stones Of The Anunnaki delves still further into that neglected Sumerian bag of tricks, looking for and finding the hitherto elusive mention of the magical bread made with that other entheogen: ergot, the wheat fungus, subject of Professor Carl Ruck’s studies and books,¹ and Brian Muraresku’s more recent contribution.
The Sacred Cross And The Mushroom stays resolutely within the tight framework of an ancient fertility cult, implying that the entire language was rooted in magic mushroom lore. The sacred mushroom is, of course, Amanita muscaria. From my own more neutral perspective, having begun at the beginning, working towards a more general understanding of the Sumerian writing through a study of its oldest forms, that is an overly narrow viewpoint. Cannabis, acacia, Amanita muscaria, ergot, fungi in general…take your pick. They were all there, all written down and waiting. At the time of Brian Muraresku’s interview with Joe Rogan in September 2020, the article titled AMA-NITA Mon Amour had already been submitted for publishing on Graham’s website. As it had not yet appeared and with the reference to Allegro’s book fresh in my mind, I added a footnote: https://grahamhancock.com/dainesm5/
A Game of Names
Lost Stones Of The Anunnaki was already taking form at the time of that podcast. It had begun with an exploration of the Anunnaki, a multi-syllabic name first used by academics in their translations and then picked up and made truly famous by Zechariah Sitchin. Today, thanks to Sitchin’s books, the ultimate reference for all things Sumerian is ‘Anunnaki’. My method considers all of the original words in and around the syllables, AN-A-NUN-NA, analysing them separately, together, and in context. Like the rest, the result of that in-depth investigation is astonishing. It takes us on another deep dive into the true nature and mindset of the Mesopotamian scholars from as far back as the 4th millennium BC. This is not a fictional account. In the preamble, I added a word of warning:
If the reader of this is enamoured of existing theoretical accounts of our past through the modern prism of the Anunnaki gods and looking forward to another layer of the same, they should perhaps stop now or at the very least prepare to be disappointed in that and in me.
This book begins by pointing out the meaningless nature of most of the names that we use today. At the very most, we link some of them to words from Greek or Latin or another ancient source seen as inferring some inherent positive quality; for example, Grace from Latin gratia, a ‘pleasing quality’ but even that can’t be taken much further back. We generally find ourselves face to face with a brick wall which goes by the uninformative and most definitely graceless name of PIE, ‘proto-Indo-European’.
The translation of Sumerian has always been carried out according to modern paradigms, one of which involves considering long meaningless names as perfectly normal and not in need of further inquiry. My suspicion is that many of those names were plucked out of the air, serving to mask an unfortunate incapacity to properly translate large portions of the language into any cohesive, logical format. That is a pretty shocking accusation and one that I don’t make lightly. I am, of course, referring to the original translators of the 19th and 20th centuries who are all long gone and who, no doubt, were convinced that it was normal procedure. They are not here to defend themselves and I don’t mean to imply dishonesty. Simply put, they underestimated the scribes while overcomplicating their own task. Unfortunately, their legacy has been carried forward, to my knowledge unchallenged within academia.
The main syllable of Anunnaki is NUN, which is also the name of the first city on the antediluvian Sumerian King List,² and the only name on that list composed of just one sign/word; monosyllabic. There are quite a few words lurking behind the names of the eight cities and their five rulers before the flood, words left untranslated in the orthodox version. The antediluvian section is comprised of the first 39 lines of a very long list and is thought to have once been entirely separate from the rest. Bearing in mind that the existing composite version, taken from several different sources, has most likely gathered errors and/or been subject to deliberate obfuscations along the way, I nevertheless decided to attempt a retranslation of this historically important document. However, when checking with the transcript of the prestigious Ashmolean prism held by the University of Oxford, it became clear that alterations to the original writing were not limited to ancient hands. Just one of the discoveries made during analysis and the subsequent re-translation of the Sumerian King List for my book is documented here:
A Temple Built On Sand – Part One: https://grahamhancock.com/dainesm6/
Part Two: https://grahamhancock.com/dainesm7/
Every Marduk Has A Mother
The information gleaned from Joe Rogan’s podcast led me to expand the reach of Lost Stones and to look for more indications of Allegro’s fertility cult as well as signs of Jesus and/or the Gnostics in their original language. That resulted in more revelations and turned into one of the main themes of the book. Along the way, I came across the great Babylonian god Marduk. (It is preferable to read the article AMA-NITA Mon Amour mentioned above before diving into this, another potentially mind-altering trip into deep Sumerian waters.)
What does anyone really know about this ‘god’? The first instinct is to type the name into a search engine and to check out the Wikipedia entry which is, as we have come to expect, brimming with affirmations about the figure and his importance throughout Mesopotamian history. Marduk is named as the great god of the Babylonians. I have no first-hand knowledge of the evolution of the character as perceived by succeeding generations of Mesopotamians. Neither am I a historian. However, Herodotus named Zeus Belos as the one god worshipped both in Babylon and in the temple of Luxor in Egypt;³ two distant places with one unifying tradition which, I suggest, is only the tip of a big fat iceberg. And I would not dismiss Herodotus’ account lightly. If he had come across Marduk, no doubt he would have mentioned such an illustrious name. Translating Sumerian through its original monosyllabic prism, my attitude to all existing ‘truths’ taken from the rediscovered Mesopotamian cuneiform writings is that a large pinch of salt should be added into the mix at every turn. To my mind, Sumerian ZE, the ‘Risen’ and the ‘Life’, who became the great Greek god Zeus, is by far the most likely name, with the additional title: EN/Belus, the Lord. What affectionate but meaningless name did his mother use? Now that’s another matter.
This image of Marduk shows him moving above water alongside a rather wonderful and benign horned snake. The modern-day inscription tells us that he is:
standing in victory on the watery body of the vanquished Tiamat on the occasion of the Babylonian New Year festival.
Looking at the picture, it strikes me that there is no element of ‘vanquishing’ in it at all. ‘Marduk’ is poised above flowing water in the company of a horned snake, and they appear to be advancing together in harmony. No apparent antagonism. The figure is filled from head to toe with elaborate wheels or cogs, reminiscent of the workings of a clock. My interpretation is that the figure is involved in astronomy in some form or another. As he also holds his measuring tools in one hand, that seems a reasonable assumption to make. Despite his distinguishing features, this Marduk is very similar to all the imposing Anunnaki gods seen on seals or carved onto palace walls throughout the ages and sporting a variety of individual names: Enki, Ea, etc. I propose to disassociate the Akkadian name from that image, apparently a relatively modern label attached to an age-old theme, and to look more closely at its original components.
Marduk stems from AN-AMAR-UD. Given just twelve times in the extremely long list of proper nouns offered up by academia,⁴ the threesome nevertheless appears 3,780 times, mainly beginning with the Old Babylonian era, ca.2000 BC, on the CDLI website. Strangely, that combination doesn’t sound much like Marduk whichever way you try to bend it, whichever phonetic forms of the original words are used. Without context, it translates to a far more informative and interesting title:
‘Golden’ is not one of the meanings given in orthodox lexicons for UD/UTU, the sun, but it can hardly be denounced as unlikely or irrelevant. The breakdown of the original Sumerian words translated by academia to Marduk gives a quite distinctive ‘Golden Calf’, a figure well known to us as the precious effigy which, in the biblical story of the exodus from Egypt, is the cause of the bitter outburst of Moses and the breaking of a pair of precious tablets.
As Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he burned with anger and threw the tablets out of his hands, shattering them at the base of the mountain. Then he took the calf they had made, burned it in the fire, ground it to powder, and scattered the powder over the face of the water. Then he forced the Israelites to drink it. “What did this people do to you,” Moses asked Aaron, “that you have led them into so great a sin?”… (Exodus 32:19-21)
The earliest versions of AMAR, given in the academic lexicons as ‘to take care of’ and ‘calf’ or ‘son’ appear as an unidentifiable animal head, presumably that of the son of the bull – which in turn leads to the bull being the sun, which in turn leads to the mother also being a bull or rather a cow. Hathor, is that you?
AMA and AMAR are two distinct words, the mother and her calf, her offspring which is in her care and which she presumably nourishes with her milk. The biblical text describes a curious scene in which the calf is ground down and transformed into something else altogether, a brew that will be forced on the unruly crowd by an angry Moses. Why would he do that? Why not just walk off in a huff and leave them to fend for themselves? Instead of that natural reaction, he gets out his cauldron and starts grinding. ‘Curioser and curioser’, as only Alice could say about such strange behaviour.
Flies And Worms
Agaric: 1530s, an herbalists’ name for a wide range of fungi, from Latinized form of Greek agarikon, name of a corky tree-fungus used as tinder, said by ancient sources to be from Agari in Sarmatia. 5
Taking AMA, the mother, and AMAR, the son, to be sources of later words, we find another curiously unlikely mix through Latin amare which is ‘to love’ and Latin amarus which is ‘bitter’.
The lexical lists⁶ confirm the Sumerian source of the Latin notion of bitterness through the breakdown of AMAR into A-MAR, then on to later Akkadian ‘marru’ given as ‘bitter’. ‘Parasite’, ‘worm’ and ‘louse’ are three of the main given meanings of MAR.
The lexical lists for AMAR also offer up a compelling origin for the secondary name of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, the ‘fly agaric’. A-MAR, the worm of bitterness, is given numerous times opposite A-GAR.
‘Agaric’ from Greek agarikon, a tree fungus, in turn, is thought to derive from a more ancient and nebulous source (see quote above). In other words, no meaningful explanation for the sound of it has ever been given.
Sumerian MAR gives the source of Portuguese ‘margosa’, a bitter-tasting plant with far-reaching anti-parasitic and curative properties. The oil from its seeds, used in medicine and as a pesticide, repels insects and kills the eggs. Its leaves are given to children to chew on their way to school (as told to me by one of those children born in India) while dried leaves protect clothes and other stored materials. That is a fitting name for the loving care that might be extended by AMA, the mother, to AMAR, her child; bitter and difficult to swallow but effective. Margosa is also commonly called neem, through Sanskrit, a name that stems from Sumerian NIM, given as ‘insect’, ‘fly’ and ‘buzz’. MAR, the parasite, and NIM, the flying insect.
NIM is the fly of the ‘fly agaric’, a name acquired by the Amanita muscaria mushroom because the brightly coloured cap both attracts and injures or kills the insects. The flies are the fools in love.
Sumerian NIM appears in the description of an ancient ritual, just one of the revelations of The Story of Sukurru. It was obvious that some form of hallucinogen was being evoked during this increasingly frenetic scene, and hence the illustration of a female hand brandishing opium poppy buds, a detail taken from a painting on an ancient Greek vase. I made the choice of using the easily recognisable name Ea and transforming NIM, thanks to the given meaning ‘buzz’, into a mosquito for comedic effect – fitting with the overall humour of the text. This is how line 223 of The Story of Sukurru was translated in context:
At the time of translating, it didn’t come to mind that the Amanita muscaria is also known as the ‘fly agaric’ and that the presence of MI next to NI, the ‘blackness’ and the ‘oil’, given as ‘dark night’ was an important reference to mind-altering substances.⁷ The fly-in-a-jar character (as I chose to name him more than once) had been identified in other parts of the text but also in at least one Sumerian proverb and I took it to be nothing more than a humorous term for the incessant noise of humanity – likened to that of a fly fighting to disentangle itself from a spider’s web or escape through a closed window. I was missing something. The fly was a metaphor for the fool who will be cured of his folly by a bitter treatment. The harsh but loving cure takes the form of a dark cloud through which he will have to travel in order to be reborn. The reference to hallucinogens and to spiritual enlightenment is unmistakable. I perceived some of it but not the full extent.
An Enlightened Lament For Sumer
John Marc Allegro wrote The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross fifty years ago. It is more than time to exhume his unorthodox ideas about the language from their ignominious burial by his peers and to re-examine everything we have been given to believe. I hope to be proven wrong, but it seems obvious that Assyriologists will continue to ignore The Story of Sukurru despite it presently being our sole entry, the only rabbit hole through which to plunge into the minds of the original scribes; in other words, an invaluable document full of precious information about our past. It cannot be demolished through any plainly spoken explanation.
Lost Stones Of The Anunnaki also investigates a few of the Sumerian riddles chosen for their importance in reconstituting the knowledge transmitted by our ancestors. The truth about the first Mesopotamians, what they knew and how they left their story behind them is not easy to perceive but neither is it impossible.
Finally, this book makes a couple of paradigm-changing claims for the Sumerian language. Even John Allegro did not go so far. The earliest Gnostic teachings, including the very word ‘gnosis’, derive from that Sumerian source. They are more than simply pre-Christian. They are as old as is Hermes Trismegistus who is Egyptian Thoth, both of them once revered and then laughed out of existence over the centuries by those who believe that they themselves hold all the keys. The most important of the rediscovered underlying themes dating back to at least the 3rd millennium BC is that of the Hermetic tradition, the quest for the ultimate Gnostic wisdom known to us, thanks to the Ancient Greeks, as Sophia, a journey that most certainly once involved the use of mind-altering substances. With that in mind, I wrote the following:
An open mind is a prerequisite for this journey back through the ages where each individual travels at their own speed, examining the evidence offered here along the way. This is not a question of believing or disbelieving. The evidence is available here and elsewhere to those who want the truth. While the words of Hermes Trismegistus are gifted to us, their meanings are hermetic and must be earned. Everything is possible to a truly great magician – even the heavy task of opening modern eyes. ⁸
The great lesson from His scribes is that their story is revealed only when we leave all existing ‘truths’ to one side, when we step firmly out of the present paradigm, setting aside our egos, accepting to be silent and to listen patiently for their distant voices, rather than bowing unquestioningly to those in self-attributed roles of authority who would speak for them. I, for one, am listening.
¹ Professor Carl A. Ruck, an authority on the ecstatic rituals of the Greek god Dionysus, has written and co-authored a number of books on the subject of entheogens, notably Persephone’s Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion written with R. Gordon Wasson, Stella Kramrisch and Jonathan Ott (1988).
² Sumerian King List: https://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcslpropnoun.cgi
The first city is presented in its present-day alphabetic form as ‘eridug’ (lines 2, 3, 8). My method consists in peeling back the layers to the word that was actually inscribed on the tablet, i.e. a non-alphabetic sign; in this case, one that carries the primary phonetic form NUN. Put simply, however we choose to pronounce it, the original sign is unwavering. Call it what you will. It doesn’t make any difference – apart from creating confusion when the same original sign is transliterated into two different phonetic forms (a common occurrence) within the same line of text to fit with some modern interpretation of the grammar.
³ Herodotus, Histories Book One, 181-183.
⁴ ETCSL list of proper nouns: https://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcslpropnoun.cgi
The CDLI site (Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative) indicates the number of times the name has been found on recovered tablets.
⁵ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854, William Smith, LLD, Ed.) (Pliny Nat. 25.9. s. 57; Dioscor. 3.1; Galen, de fac. simp. med. p. 150), (www.perseus.tufts.edu).
⁶ Sumerian lexical lists: tablets on which were inscribed the Sumero-Akkadian words, their etymologies and equivalences dating back to the earliest monosyllabic sources. Academics take them to be bilingual dictionaries matching two separate languages for their sounds.
⁷ I also noted under MI-NI the words ‘a toast’, borrowed from the meaning of ‘minni’ in Old Norse: a toast to the deceased, a subsidiary translating decision made partly from context but aided by the presence of TAR-A which has the meaning ‘to cut the flow’ and which translated quite literally to ‘tar water’, a cedar extract mentioned by Pliny in the context of embalming:
This extract from the cedar preserves the bodies of the dead uncorrupted for ages but exercises a noxious effect upon the bodies of the living – singular that there should be such a diversity in its properties, taking away life from animated beings, and imparting a sort of life, as it were, to the dead.
⁸ All forms of knowledge nourish themselves from themselves. Everything living on its own processes, all locked within a vessel. All transmutations exist sealed within vessels. Everything is more or less internally generated. Quotes from Manly P. Hall discussing the Golden Chain of Homer in which he gives an explanation of the original meaning of ‘hermetic’, taken from but also the reason behind the name Hermes Trismegistus. The questioning is external. The answers come from within.