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Mouth-Washing Ritual for a Cult Statue

Babylonian Ritual Text Mis Pî (Alternate Title)
Mis Pî (Akkadian Title)

(A) In The House of the Craftsmen
When you wash the mouth of a god, on a favorable day in the bit mummi, you set up two holy-water-vessels. [obv. 1]
(You place) a red cloth in front of the god and a white cloth to the right of the god. You set up offering arrangements for Ea and Asalluhi. You perform Mouth-Washing [2]
on that god, and you set up an offering arrangement for that god. You raise your hand; and you recite the incantation, "Born in heaven by your own power", [3]
three times. Before that god, you recite three times the incantaition, "From today you go before your father Ea", and [4]
(B) Procession from the House of the Craftsmen to the River
you take the hand of the god and lead a ram. You recite the incantaition, "As you grew up, as you grew up from the forest", while (going) from the house of the craftsmen [5]
with a torch in front of the god to the river bank. [6]
(C) At the River Bank
And seat (him) on a reed-mat, and [6]
you set his eyes towards sunset. You set up a reed-hut. For Ea, Asalluhi, and that god you set up offering arrangements. [7]
You libate mazû-beer; you open the thigh of a ram; and you place inside an axe, a chisel, a saw, [8]
a tortoise, and turtle of silver and gold; you bind it up and throw it into the river. [9]
You pronounce before Ea three times, "King, lord of the deep", and raise your hand and recite three times the incantation, "Enki, king of the Apsû", and [10]
you libate beer, milk, wine and syrup. You perform Mouth-Washing; and you pronounce three times the incantation, "He who comes, his mouth is washed", [11]
and (then) you dismantle the offering arrangements. [12]
(D) Procession from the River into the Garden
You take the hand of that god, and [12]
(E) In the Garden in the Circle of Reed Huts and Reed Standards
you seat him in the orchard in the midst of the reed-standards on a reed-mat [12]
on a linen cloth. You set his eyes towards sunrise. You go to the river and throw mashatu-meal into the river. [13]
You libate mihhu-beer. You lift up your hand; and you recite three times each in front of the river the incantation, "Apsû-temple, where fates are determined", (and) the incantation, "Quay of the Apsû, pure quay"; [14]
and you draw water (for) seven holy-water-basins, and you place it in the chapel of Kusu. [15]
You throw into the holy-water-basin of Mouth-Washing tamarisk, maštakal, date-palm-"heart", seven palm-shoots, šalalu reed, apparu-reed, [16]
sweet reed, …, sulphur, …, salt, cedar, cypress, juniper, [17]
["horned alkali"], sikillu plant, tree resin?, lodestone, zalaqu stone, [18]
[…] muššaru stone, carnelian, lapis-lazuli, pappardilû stone, pappardildilû stone, dušu stone, [19]
[silver, gold,] tin, iron, oil, salve-oil, perfumed? oil, cedar oil, syrup (and) ghee. [20]
you lay down and arrange […] of the offering arrangements (and) their aromatics. You fill a trough of tamarisk wood with the waters of the holy-water-basins; [21]
and you throw into the trough carnelian, lapis-lazuli, silver beads, gold beads, juniper (and) halsu oil, and [22]
[you set …] the holy water-basins on the brick of Dingirmah [23]
you set up […] the holy-water-basins, and perform Mouth-Washing. You dismantle the offering arrangement. [24]
You set up nine offering arrangements for Anu, Enlil, Ea, Sin, Šamaš, Adad, Marduk, Gula (and) Ištar, the stars [25]
[…], towards the north. You recite the incantation, "Tamarisk, pure wood", and you perform Mouth-Washing. [26]
You set up towards the south nine offering arrangements for Ninmah, Kusu,Ningirim, Ninkurra, Ninagal, [27]
Kusibanda, Ninildu, Ninzadim and that god, ditto. [28]
You set up two offering arrangements for Jupiter and Venus, ditto. [29]
You set up two offering arrangements for the Moon and Saturn, ditto. [30]
You set up three offering arrangements for Mercury, Sirius (and) Mars, ditto. [31]
You set up six offering arrangements for the Scales (Libra) (which is) the star of Šamaš, the Plough (Triangulum/Andromeda), "ŠU.PA" (Boötes), [32]
the Wagon (Ursa Major), Erua (Coma Berenices), the She-Goat (Lyra), ditto. [33]
You set up four offering arrangements for the Field (Pegasus/Andromeda), the Swallow (Pisces), Anunitum (Pisces) (and) the Furrow (Virgo), ditto. [34]
You set up four offering arrangements for the Fish(?), the Giant (Aquarius), Eridu (and) (]
the Scorpion, ditto. [35]
You set up three offering arrangements for the (stars) of Anu, the (stars) of Enlil and the (stars) of Ea, ditto. [reverse 36]
In the morning you set up within the reed-hut three thrones for Ea, Šamaš and Asalluhi. [37]
You spread out a red cloth; you stretch out a linen (cloth) in front. You set up three tables; you sprinkle ripened dates (and) meal. [38]
You set in place a confection of syrup (and) ghee. You set up a libation-vessel. You set in line six kukkubu? jars; [39]
you lay down choice grasses. You provide in splendid abundance the fruit of the orchard. You stretch out(?) … [40]
You scatter sifted barley; you sprinkle juniper on a censer; you raise cedar in your hand, and [41]
you recite three times the incantation, "Born in heaven by his own power"; [you recite] the incantation, "Šamaš, great lord of heaven and earth". [42]
the incantation, "Water of life, the river rising in flood …, [and] … you give(?). [43]
You recite the incantation, "The flood, its divine task is unique, is holy", and you libate …; you sprinkle on a censer; [44]
you place mashatu flour on the forehead of a ram and sacrifice (it); you complete the offering arrangement. [45]
The ašipu priest stands on the left side of that god, before Ea, Šamaš and Asalluhi, and recites the incantation, "Šamaš, exalted judge". [46]
He recites three times the incantation, "Ea, Šamaš and Asalluhi". He recites the incantation, "On the day when the god was created", and you perform Month-Washing. [47]
Afterwards you recite the incantation, "Pure statue, suited(! ) to the great ‘me’"; you perform a Cleansing Rite; [48]
you recite a Whisper Prayer. You retire; and [you position] all of the craftsmen who approached that god [49]
and their equipment [… before(?)] Ninkurra, Ninagal, Kusibanda, [50]
Ninildu (and) [Ninzadim], and you bind their hands with a scarf; [51]
and cut (them off) with a knife of tamarisk wood … You make (them) say: "I did not make him (the statue), Ninagal (who is) Ea (god) of the smith made him". [52]
You open the eye of that god. The ašipu priest recites before that god the incantation, "As you grew up, as you grew up". [53]
He recites the incantation, "Statue born in a pure place", the incantation, "Statue born in heaven", [54]
the incantation, "Ninildu, great carpenter of Anu", the incantation, "Exalted garment, lamahuššu garment of white linen", [55]
the incantation, "Exalted crown", (and) the incantation, "Holy throne"; and before [that god] he recites the incantation, "Go, do not tarry"; [56]
the second version he recites and he enters the ritual circle; the third version he recites; performance of KI-dUTU-GIN.NA. First you dismantle the offering arrangement [57]
of that god; afterwards you dismantle (the offering arrangement) of Kusu and Ningirima; afterwards you dismantle (the offering arrangement) of the gods olf the craftsmen; [58]
afterwards you dismantle the offering arrangement of the great gods. [59]
(F) Procession from the Garden to the Temple Gate
You take the hand of the god; and you recite the incantation, "May the foot which bestrides the ground [bestride the pure place"] (and) the incantation, "As he walked through the street," all the way to that god's temple. [59]
(G) At the Temple Gate
At the door of that god's temple you make an offering. [60]
(H) Procession from the Temple Gate to the Cella
You take the god's hand and make him enter; and you recite the incantation, "My king, to your heart's content", [60]
(going) to the sanctuary. [61]
(I) In the Cella
You seat the god in his cella; and you recite in his cella the incantation, "The celestial evening meal", and the incantation, "Fit for the august throne-dais". [61]
On the right of the sanctuary you set up a reed-hut; you set up an offering arrangement for Ea and Asalluhi; you complete the offering arrangement, and [62]
you perform Mouth-Washing on that god, and for that god you set up an offering arrangement. With water (from) the trough you purify that god and [63]
you recite seven times the incantation, "Asalluhi, son of Eridu"; and bring near the trappings of divinity; [64]
at night you set them (upon him). [65]
(J) To the Quay of the Apsû
You go to the Kar-Apsî, and stay there; you perform a Cleansing Ritual all the way to the Kar-Apsî. [65]
The initiate may show it to the initiate. The uninitiated may not see it. Taboo of the great Enlil, Marduk. [66]
According to the wording of a tablet, the copy of a red-burnt tablet of Nabû-etel-ilani, [67]
the son of Dabibi, the incantation-priest(?). Iddina-Nabû, the son of Gahul-Tutu, [68]
the ašipu priest, for the life of his soul and for the prolonging of his days, has written (it) and [69]
set it in Esangila. [70]

Publication:  C.Walker & M.Dick, The Induction of the Cult Image in Ancient Mesopotamia [SAALT1] Helsinki 2001,70ff
Source:  BM 45749 (Photo in SAALT 1)
Date:  6th Cent. BC
Language:  Neo-Babylonian
Medium:  clay tablet
Find Spot:  Babylon
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