The prevailing element in the incantations consists in the exorcism of devils.
El-lil, around whose sanctuary Nippur had grown up, was lord of the ghost-land, and his gifts to mankind were the spells and incantations which the spirits of good or evil were compelled to obey.
The essential feature of this cult is the bringing down of the celestial spirit by proper incantations and ritual into these fetish objects, the dove perched on a column sometimes indicating its descent.
The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made.
How strongly his mind revolted against the use of charms, amulets, incantations and such devices appears from his writings; and he has expressly recorded, as underlying all his practice, the conviction that, however diseases may be regarded from the religious point of view, they must all be scientifically treated as subject to natural laws (De acre, 29).