Sumer: Anzu/Imdugud

In the first days, in the very first days,
In the first nights, in the very first nights,
In the first years, in the very first years...

At that time, it was planted, a tree, a single tree, by the banks of the Great River,
Enki, the Father, did plant the Huluppu-tree,
The God of Wisdom, he planted it by the banks of the Euphrates,
Before he set sail, before the Father departed for the underworld...

The years passed; five years, then ten years.
The tree grew thick,
But its bark did not split.

Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the Huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree.
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk...

The serpent, who could not be charmed, loosened the roots,
The serpent, who could not be charmed, from the Huluppu-tree, went forth;
The Anzu-bird cut off the branches,
The Anzu-bird flew with his young to the mountains;
And Lilith smashed her home and bore the tree into the city,
Into the sacred city of Uruk, she carried it.
From the trunk of the tree the sons of Uruk carved a shining throne for Inanna,..

(from the myth of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree)

It is easy to draw comparisons between the stories of the Huluppu Tree and the Garden of Eden, between the serpents and winged beings in both tales, and between the rebellious nature of the tree's inhabitants in Inanna's story and the sly reference to the Nephilim in Genesis. Ultimately, what was home to these rebel beings was torn down and turned into a throne for the Queen of Heaven, much in the same way that what took place in the Garden of Eden is used by many as a platform for 1) the authoritative power of God, 2) the ever-present temptations of the Devil and his serpent and 3) the original sin of mankind for disobeying God.

It seems wherever there is myth, the same motifs return, including a serpentine tempter and a winged man-creature. Author Andrew Collins frequently returns to the concept of the "feathered serpent" when discussing the Watchers and Nephilim. But who was Anzu?

Anzu was also known by the root Zu ("An" means "sky" in Sumerian), and suggests a passing relationship to the demon Pazuzu. He had a lion's head and body, huge wings, and could walk on two legs like a man. Anzu was called Imdugud, and among other things was known for being able to create whirlwinds, thunder, and sandstorms with his wings, and for stealing the tablet of destiny from Enki/Enlil.