Ama-ar- gi (Return to the Mother)

While I am deeply alienated by the patriarchal nature of the patriarchal God that is worshiped within the western monotheistic religions, there is one element of those religions which I have always cherished. That element is the insistence that God is committed to economic and social justice for the oppressed, the poor, the victimized. Another corresponding aspect to those faiths is a belief in the day of Yahweh or the kingdom of God in which a final triumph of justice for all peoples will triumph in the world.

Of course that concern for the oppressed and the poor is not unique to the Hebrew scriptures. Both Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions among others also advocated a strong commitment to justice for the oppressed. However since those religions are essentially no longer living faiths in the modern world we no longer are aware of their very positive attitudes toward justice in this world.

I recently have found an article by a writer, Philemon, on The Eternal Feminine his religious blog. The article is about a series of laws / reforms which were established in the ancient Sumerian city of Lagash. The economical reforms which these laws instituted were collectively  called The Return of the Mother (Ama-ar-gi). Clearly the Return of the Mother means the return of the Mother’s the Goddess’ justice and freedom. Justice and Freedom are of her essence. I can not think of any better validation of the idea that a life devoted to Thea is also a life devoted to social, economic, and political justice. The link the Eternal Feminine is    . I have enclosed the full article.


Ama-ar-gi or  Return of the Mother

The Sumerian kings of Lagash, Enmetena (c. 2400 BC) and Urukagina (c. 2350 BC) instituted economic reforms in their reigns. The term used to describe the reforms in surviving tablets is Ama-gi or Ama-ar-gi. A literal translation of the term is “return to the mother”.
The historian Samuel Kramer (1) interprets Ama-ar-gi in terms of economic liberalization and tax reduction and argues that the term should be read as meaning “liberty” or “freedom”. Kramer admits not to having a theory as to why the term Ama-ar-gi, given its literal meaning, is used in this sense.
In the introduction to his book, Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East, Dr. Michael Hudson, discusses some interpretations by scholars of the meaning of Ama-ar-gi (2).

  • Dominique Charpin (1987) proposes that the term ama or mother, connotes origin, and thus ama-ar-gi is return to the origin, a restoration of the original mother situation.
  • Igor Diakonoff (1991) suggests that ama-ar-gi, understood as the relief of a debt or burden, also should be understood as returning to mother, returning to the original situation.
  • Maurice Lambert (1972) suggests that it means the return of the child pledged in debt to the mother.

In Ama-ar-gi we have the idea of a restoration of economic justice, understood as the relief from an unjust debt or legal burden and the return to the original condition. The original, authentic condition is defined by the concept ama or mother. Ama-ar-gi appears in Akkadian as andurarum, and in turn appears as the Hebrew term d’ror or jubilee in Leviticus 25. We may also note that variants on the word ama or ma for mother are almost a linguistic universal, being found, for example, in Tibetan, Korean, Vietnamese and Indo-European languages.
There is evidence of surviving matristic ritual practices in early Sumeria. For example, according to Reveillout at early Lagash the king donned feminine robes for sacrificial purposes. Also, according to Graves, the Akkadian title of the supreme god, Bel, is a masculine form of the Sumerian mother god Belili, who at one time reigned supreme (3).
Devotees of Dea understand well why Ama-ar-gi, the return to Our Mother, should bring liberty, freedom, relief from debt and from unjust authority.


(1) S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1963) p. 79. (2) (3) See Robert Graves, the Greek Myths, pp. 477-482 and p.194.

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