History and Sociology of House of the Rose

Sociology is defined as “the science or study of the origin, development, organization, and functioning of human society; science of the fundamental laws of social relations, institutions, etc.”

When I first began to write about the House of the Rose, I made it up as I went along, but that soon became unworkable. It was necessary to know how a House of the Rose, in any city around the Mediterranean, would be organzied. Who would do what jobs. What jobs would be needed. How the people of the House would interact with their neighbors–and their children. And how they could possibly keep the major secrets that they safeguarded.

I never took a Sociology class in college, so I don’t have the official terminology to discuss these concepts. I beg the pardon of any academic types who may be offended by my ignorance. And I may be getting everything completely wrong (as much as anything wholly fictional can be wrong) but these are my thoughts anyway.

Origin of the House of the Rose

Sharibet is the source and foundress of the House of the Rose. She was the faithful servant and Chief Priestess of Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld, Goddess of the Cities of the Plain before the Flood (which event has some evidence for having actually happened about 6500 BC–see Noah’s Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman. There’s nothing like using historical and scientific data for verisimilitude.)

After the Flood’s widespread destruction of the civilization of the Cities of the Plain (an event attributed to Inanna, who was being tried for high crimes at the time), Ereshkigal Transformed Sharibet into a djinniah. (Note: djinn or djinni is an Arabic word translated ‘demon’ whose origin–as far as I can see–is Latin: genius, or ‘guardian spirit of a place, person, institution, etc.’ The plural of genius is genii and it is commonly spelled genie in English. You can google for ‘genii’ or ‘apkallu’ and see many images of winged protectors, either human or animal-headed. When people commonly think of winged spirit protectors these days they call them ‘angels.’ Angelos is a Greek word meaning ‘messenger’ and is a direct translation of the Hebrew ‘mal’akhi, ‘my messenger’–which becomes the name Malachi. Angelology is a whole different subject…)

Sharibet’s daughters were still little girls when the Flood happened. She raised them to adulthood during the very difficult years after the Flood, ensured they had surviving offspring of their own, and Transformed them into djinni as well. These djinniah went to India, eventually. (We haven’t even touched any of the possible stories that might come out of that branch of the House–but I think, sometimes, about djinn auras that make lots and lots of hands of air and what that would look like in terms of statuary and religious icons…)

Sharibet and Ereshkigal collected people and created djinni (who mostly didn’t last very long) and formed an enclave for protection against wandering bands of survivors. They eked out a precarious existance for perhaps up to fifteen hundred years. They had to farm; domesticate, feed, and breed food animals; and make all their own tools, farm implements, furniture, clothing, utensils, and so on. Life expectancy of humans was short, but they at least had medical knowledge, some magical healing, and the djinni’s ability to Raise and Name others so they could remember their past skills and abilities. So their settlement prospered (but not too visibly, since any sign of riches would have made them a target for bandits and beseigers.)

During a period of extreme drought, they moved, with great difficulty, into the area of the ‘two rivers’ which the Greeks much later called Mesopotamia. They found one (Ea), and then another of the Lost siblings of Ereshkigal, who, Transformed and Raised and Named, regained their powers and their memories. These beings were the ‘abgal’ (Sumerian for sage, wise man, or wizard, from abba, ‘elder’, + gal, ‘great’. In later times they were called “Apkallu” in the Akkadian language.<sup>*</sup>) They began a new civilization, taking on their former roles as gods and goddesses as the population grew.

Inanna was only restored to her place as one of the Apkallu after civilization was back up and running for a thousand years. The Apkallu and the House “remembered” her part in the tragedy of the Flood, but she was deemed to have been punished enough for her transgression.

The Apkallu as gods were served by the priests and priestesses of their respective temples in the cities they claimed for their own, and the family of the House of the Rose in this period was only protected by Sharibet and her descendent djinni.

After the upheaval of the meteor strike that ended the Sumerian civilization (circa 2300 BC) the House of the Rose entered into a new, closely co-operative phase with the remaining Apkallu. The priests and priestesses of the temples developed independence and no longer ‘believed’ in the physical presence of the gods. With writing, they had the ability to transmit their knowledge of history and ‘magic’ to their next generations, and had no need for immortal gods, or desire to worship those gods in the flesh. They started demonizing the Apkallu, who then needed the protection and service of the House of the Rose in order to survive.

Development of the House of the Rose

The ceremony of ‘Appointing’ was developed after the fall of Sumer in order to bind the Apkallu (and family, or ‘Crown of Service’ djinni) to serve the House without harming its members. Having blood-drinkers live in your house, in close proximity to your children, would make ‘contractual obligation’ a high priority.

The whole ritual and apparatus of the Appointing ceremony: the lighting of the torches by the presiding djinni, the introduction of the candidate for appointing by Ereshkigal, the reminder of the dinni’s promise by the oldest matron of the house hosting the ceremony, the painting of the faces of the djinni with ochre by a young mother with her baby, the specific naming and representation of old and young, male and female, the pronunciation of the punishment for failure to abide by the promises, the appearance of the male djinni’s concubine as the cup holder for the testing and blook covenant, the presence and function of the Man of the Ax as the final arbiter of the acceptance of the new djinni by the people of the House, the presentation of the crowns and the choosing of their specific crowns by the djinni, the revelation of the shattered crown of Inanna and the repeated cursing of Inanna for her crimes in destroying the world–twice!–originated piece by piece in the years following the upheaval of the land. I almost hate to speculate the problems for which each segment of this ceremony formed the solution…

During this period, as the House began to specialize in the production of rose perfume–a guaranteed upscale-market item wherever they might go–they developed and fine-tuned the specific functions of a well-regulated House.

(We imagine that the House also employed poets and singers to create the ideal of rose perfume as a very desirable commodity.)

Organization of the House of the Rose

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