I'm reading "The 12th Planet" by Zecharia Sitchin. And, yeah, it's pretty interesting, but the author seems to stretch the evidence sometimes to fit his theory, and I wouldn't put it beyond him to include lower-quality reproductions of images in his book, if that helped support his theories. Nonetheless, most of it fits together, and I find it intriguing. In the book, I came across a Sumerian "Devil" image. This picture has *amazing* similarities to the Rider Waite Devil (and Lovers) card!
First of all, the author says: "A pictorial tale engraved on a cylinder seal found in Mari may well be an ancient illustration of the Mesopotamian version of the tale in Genesis. The engraving shows a great god seated on high ground rising from watery waves--an obvious depiction of Enki. Water-spouting serpents protrude from each side of this 'throne.'
"Flanking this central figure are two treelike gods. The one on the right, whose branches have penis-shaped ends, holds up a bowl that presumably contains the Fruit of Life. The one on the left, whose branches have vagina-shaped ends, offers fruit-bearing branches, representing the Tree of 'Knowing'--the god-given gift of procreation.
Standing to the side is another Great God; we suggest that he was Enlil. His anger at Enki is obvious."
Now, my description: There are four figures--God, Woman, Devil, and Man--but Enlil is kind of off to the side. Rightly so, as this is between us and the Devil. But that's another post. All the figures have two big curvy Taurus-like horns. Enki is seated on, what appears to *me* to be a pile of pointy rocks. Imagine a pyramid of upside-down U's. I don't see his left hand, but in his right hand he holds a sort of scepter. It v's at the top, and there is a something round, like a stone, in the v. He has something conical on top of his head, between the horns.
From the bottom part on each side of his "throne," two animal head are sticking out. They could be serpents, or they could also conceivably be turtles or birds. Out of their mouths are flowing two rivers. The rivers flow or blend into the roots of a tree on either side, as well as the garments of the woman and man. It's hard to tell, really, if they are *in* the water, or if they are the "trees, planted by the rivers of water (which bringeth forth fruit in due season)."
Farther up, the branches of the trees look like they are behind the woman and the man. The branches do look rather, um, genitalial (?). The humans look like servants -- the man is bringing a large, deep bowl and the woman is bringing one of those things! I always wondered about those things! I know it *has* a name, but I don't know what it is. It's that thing the Hierophant has -- the staff with the cross-bars, which I also see frequently in Egyptian images. I had a postcard from the British Museum with a picture of one, and the name, but now I can't find it.
So, anyway, I'm not trying to claim that the Rider Waite Devil and/or Lovers are inspired by this image, or whatever. But the similarity is so striking! It's really amazing what we've retained from Sumerian civilization, as a whole, but this really blows my mind. Unfortunately, the author doesn't credit his images. I'd like to see the original.