Lamastu

Lamastu is a Babylonian and Assyrian goddess who practices evil for its own sake. Lamastu is usually translated as “Demonness.” She is hideous in appearance, having the head of a lion, the teeth of a donkey, a hairy body, naked breasts, blood-stained hands with long fingers and fingernails, and the feet of a bird. Sometimes she is shown with donkey ears. She suckles pigs and holds Serpents. She floats in a boat in the river of the underworld.

Lamastu causes disease in all humans. As does Lilith, she especially preys upon pregnant women, women in childbed, and newborn infants. Lamatsu goes into homes at night. She kills pregnant women by tapping on their bellies seven times. She steals infants from their wet nurses.

The Demon god PAZUZU has power over her and can force her back into the underworld. Women protected themselves against her by wearing Amulets made of bronze and fashioned as the head of Pazuzu. Offerings of centipedes and brooches were made to tempt her away.

FURTHER READING:

  • Black, Jeremy, and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. London: British Museum Press, 1992.

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 2009 by Visionary Living, Inc.

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