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Initiation, Babylonian Rite Of

Professor Sayce, in his Hibbert Lecture, on the origin and growth of religion as illustrated by the religion of the ancient Babylonians (page 241), tells us of a tablet which describes the initiation of an Augur, a prophet, a soothsayer or fortune-teller, one foretelling future events by interpreting omens and giving advice upon these things, and states how one of these must be "of pure lineage, unblemished in hand or foot," and speaks thus of the vision which is revealed to him before he is "initiated and instructed in the presence of Samas and Rimmon in the use of the book and stylus" by the ascribe, the instructed one, who keeps the oracle of the gods." He is made to descend into an artificial imitation of the lower world and there beholds "the altars amid the waters, the treasures of Anu, Bel, and Ea. the tablets of the Gods, the delivery of the oracle of Heaven and Earth, and the cedar-tree, the beloved of the great gods, which their command has caused to grow."

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