For 15 years I worked on a book called “Battle of the Gods”. I cannot even remember when and why I began working on it, but here it is: the most peculiar book I will ever write. Now available in Dutch, but I hope the English and German translation can be announced next year. Let me share with you already a brief summary and some excerpts. These are only amateur translations, but hopefully tasty enough to serve as a foretaste…
This is a literary chronicle of the earliest times, when even the angels had no clue about their task in the cosmos. Based on numerous ancient myths and sagas, it captures the conflict between earthly and heavenly beings, between the human and the angelic race. Both claimed a freedom that was not meant to be theirs. As a result, they brought devastation in the heavens and on earth. But it is not all doom and gloom in this story: again and again, righteous people appear, feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders and refusing to believe that a creature can beat the source from which it drinks.
One time, late in the evening, through a crack in the door, Semiramis saw Kenan diligently taking notes in a book. This stirred her curiosity. But as soon as Kenan heard someone coming, he looked up, alarmed, and quickly closed the book. This made Semiramis even more curious. She pretended she saw nothing and waited until Kenan went to sleep. Then she secretly visited his study and started reading the book.
For the first time, Semiramis got acquainted with the knowledge that the Guards had left on the monuments: the powers and meanings of the sun, the moon and the stars; spells, magic plants and other matters. But Semiramis had also heard the teachings of Noah and Melchizedek and did not share what she learned. She got, however, so fascinated by what she read, that she copied a part of the book, every night between three and five o’clock. And the day came when Semiramis too was privy to the heavenly mysteries.
Then she started applying her knowledge. She got practiced in clairvoyance and divination. By casting spells she created either prosperity or adversity in the lives of others. She also drugged herself by using herbs and plants. And the shadows appeared to her all the more blatantly and started accompanying her. Eventually, she had gotten so deep into the spirit realm that even the Stoicheia escorted her on her course through life.
Early in the morning, Abraham went to the place where he had stood before God. He looked down on Sodom and Gomorrah and the entire Siddim valley and saw a smother rising from the earth, like smoke from a giant oven. He also saw the pillar of salt and sorrow befell on him.
Is this then the fate the world awaits, Abraham thought, one becoming a heap of ashes because of God’s wrath, the other a pillar of salt because of God’s presence? What God is this, that He peers down at me with endless mercy and let these succumb to His majesty?
Then he heard a song of lamentation resounding from the heavens. Harmonies of unprecedented beauty mingled with sounds of great grief. And all of a sudden, Abraham realised that the sorrow of God was here revealed. Never before he felt such heartbreak for the fate of a beloved, and it fell on his soul as an overwhelming weight. Drained from all powers, he fell, stretched out, on the ground. And as he laid there, arms spread, nothing could lift him up and even crying had become too much for him.
Humbaba, an oger, belonged to the most horrible monsters the Guards had created. To let this monster be of some use, the angels allowed him to guard the cedars of the Lebanon – a wood of such magnificent beauty that it was like a home to the angels. Its cabers were high and its treetops reached to the heavens, so that even the angels revived in the shadow of its foliage.
In time, however, Humbaba had become so cruel and boisterous that even the Guards saw no gain in its existence anymore. The giant Gilgamesh became aware of this and saw an opportunity to not only embellish Uruk, the city he governed, but also acquire eternal fame. He asked the Guards permission to eliminate Humbaba in exchange for cedar wood.
The Guards agreed and Gilgamesh traveled to the cedar woods. Already from a great distance, he heard Humbaba roar, and instantly he lost his bravery. But then a Guard appeared. He tied the monster with an abundance of winds so that Humbaba had nowhere to go and begged for his life. This elicited the pity of Gilgamesh and he did not make a move to kill the monster. As soon as the angel became aware of this, he called out to him: ‘Remember why you came here!’ Gilgamesh beheaded Humbaba and returned to Uruk with head and cedar wood.