Mesopotamian Demon Pazuzu: Spells & Offerings

Instructor: Joshua Sipper

Dr. Sipper holds a PhD in Education, a Master's of Education, and a Bachelor's in English. Most of his experience is in adult and post secondary education.

Pazuzu was considered one of the most powerful demon deities in the ancient Middle East, capable of great destruction or, at times, special help. Pazuzu was approached with offerings and could be accessed by spells performed in prescribed ways.

Pazu Who?

The ancient Middle East, especially the areas within the Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, was filled with numerous superstitions and religions. Many different gods and demons were worshiped with temples, altars, and other structures being erected for devotees to gather for offerings and ceremonies. Among the plethora of demons who were consulted and worshiped for their perceived power was Pazuzu.

The first thing to understand about the demon Pazuzu was that demons in general were not all evil as we perceive them today. Some were good and some were evil. Demons weren't so much spiritual beings as they were forces that could be consulted for different reasons. Pazuzu was considered an evil demon for the most part; however, his power could and often was called upon for protection against other powerful gods and demons.

Pazuzu was the demon who possessed the girl in The Exorcist.
The Exorcist Pazuzu

Pazuzu was the son of an ancient god named Hanbi. His power, according to ancient mythology, was attached to the mountain realms and the wind, both mighty forces in the Assyrian and Babylonian cultural understanding. In modern times, Pazuzu was actually the demon portrayed in the Hollywood film, The Exorcist.

Who You Gonna Call? Pazuzu!

Pazuzu was represented as a large, hairy figure on ancient amulets and reliefs. He was said to have had a face that was so terrifying, other demons only had to look upon him and they would be frightened away. This horrific attribute of Pazuzu was probably why he was called on by people so often for protection. He was especially popular to new mothers who called on him regularly to frighten away Lamashtu, daughter of the sky god Anu, a lesser demon who was known for eating newborns.

The bronze head of Pazuzu. Notice the hairy, bestial appearance used to frighten the lesser ghosts and demons.
Bronze Head of Pazuzu

Pazuzu, as other demons, was usually invoked by using amulets and talismans that would be imbued with powers of protections. This was done by engraving the image of Pazuzu onto the amulet or talisman. An amulet marked with Pazuzu would have been worn by the person who needed his protection and was considered a form of constant protection. However, a talisman was usually used only once and for a specific purpose. For instance, a talisman might be used with a spell that asked Pazuzu's protection for a journey or event. An amulet would be more of a good luck charm.

The special spells used in conjunction with the objects were many and varied. Usually, the person asking the blessing would approach a sorcerer or sorceress who would not only engrave the amulet or talisman, but also concoct herbal remedies used in the spell. The combination of the object, potion, and the faith of the individual involved were considered key to the success of the spell. In fact, without the belief of the individual requesting protection, the spell was considered worthless.

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