Daughter of the Sky God, Anu
Stealing babies, slaying children, hurting mothers, sometimes ruins plants.
Lioness’s head, hairy body, donkey’s teeth and ears, bird feet, sometimes kneeling on a donkey, sometimes nursing a pig and dog and holding snakes.. “Constantly howls like a demon-dog.” You konw, the usual.
There’s a lot in this invitation against Lamashtu:, about demons, about humans and their relationship with the gods. There’s also some echoes of Lilith, arguably the queen of demon-snatchers. “Great is the daughter of Heaven who tortures babies. Her hand is a net, her embrace is death, she is cruel, raging, angry, predatory…a thief is the daughter of Heaven, she touches the bellies of women in labor, she pulls out the pregnant women’s baby. The daughter of Heaven is one of the Gods, her brothers, with no child of her own…she roars like a lion, she constantly howls like a demon-dog.”
Here, she’s a goddess, or as powerful as one. The main difference between demons and gods in Mesopotamian mythology are that gods are worshipped. And it’s clear that Lamashtu WAS a god, her name is marked with the little star (a “dingir”) that conveys divinity.
As a baby-stealing demon, she’s part of the complicated family tree of Lilith. Both of them have many names, and their mythologies ultimately merged….at some point Lilith became the “Lamashtu of the Night,” and Lamashtu became the greek Lamia, but their mythologies are intertwined. It seems like Lamashtu was the stronger of the two, inarguably a goddess in her own right, but Lilith’s story was more able to make it to the medieval era.
In magic, she’s usually opposed to Pazuzu, king of the wind demons, who’s able to banish her. This raises some questions about the relative strength of this dread daughter of the Sky God and an upstart demon from 800, which could tie into the general pattern of male dominance in Mesopotamian mythology over the years.