Pazuzu

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For other uses, see Pazuzu (disambiguation).

In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Pazuzu was the king of the demons of wind, and son of the god Hanbi. For the Sumerians he also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms.

Original Pazuzu mythology

Pazuzu is often depicted with the body of a man but with the head of a lion or dog, talons instead of feet, two pairs of wings, the tail of a scorpion and a serpentine penis. He is also depicted with the right hand upward, and the left hand downward; the position of the hands means life and death, or creation and destruction.

Although Pazuzu was a malevolent force, his image was used on amulets to ward off his enemy Lamashtu, a female demon that preyed on newborn babies and their mothers. The amulet was either placed on the mother or child or larger ones were placed above them on a wall.

Pazuzu in popular culture

Missing image
Paz2.jpg
Scene from The Exorcist

At the beginning of the book and film The Exorcist (1973), when Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) is at the site of an archaelogical dig in Northern Iraq, the figure that threatens him — seemingly an illusion — is Pazuzu, whom he had battled many years earlier. Later, when he is appointed to perform the exorcism on Regan (Linda Blair), he suspects it is Pazuzu that possesses her.

A prequel, The Exorcist: The Beginning 2004, deals with Father Merrin's earlier battle with Pazuzu in 1940s Africa, with Stellan Skarsgård as Merrin.

The name or figure of Pazuzu is also referenced in a number of other fictional works. Some of these are listed on the Pazuzu (disambiguation) page.

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