Saturday, August 24, 2013

Inanna - Sumerian Goddess

Inanna - Sumerian Goddess

"Written on cuneiform clay tablets dating back to 2,000 BCE, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth is the oldest written story of which the world has a record. Two thousand years older than the Bible — tender, erotic, shocking, and compassionate — it is also the world’s first love story.

Inanna is the template upon which most subsequent love stories build on or refer to. It is also a sacred story that has the intention of bringing its audience to a new place of spiritual exploration: a place where our energies have not yet been tamed or ordered.

The story itself can be understood as a five–part cycle:

In “The Huluppu–Tree,” Inanna appears to us as a young woman in search of her womanhood. In “Inanna and the God of Wisdom,” she achieves her queenship.

In “The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi,” she delights in the shepherd Dumuzi and chooses him to be her lover, her husband, and the King of Sumer.

In the most dramatic section, “The Descent of Inanna,” the queen dares to descend to the underworld. She is allowed to return from the Great Below only on the condition that she choose a substitute.

Finally, in the last section of the cycle, the “Seven Hymns to Inanna,” Inanna is greeted and revered by her people.

Who is the Queen of Heaven? The direct translation of Inanna from Sumerian is Nin = Queen and An = Heaven. Inanna is the Morning and Evening Star (Venus), the Goddess of Love, War, and Fertility. She is Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter all in one. When we know her story, we understand other goddesses and other traditions. When we come in contact with her story, we also come in contact with the quintessential story of a woman: her delight in her sexuality and her quest for wisdom.

IInanna sets out for the Great Below. Who would willingly choose to go to the underworld? And yet, anyone who has not gone has not really lived!


Inanna is the most important goddess of the Sumerian pantheon in ancient Mesopotamia. She is a goddess of love, fertility, and war. Inanna figures prominently in various myths, such as 'Inanna's descent to the underworld'. In this particular myth she travels to the realm of the dead and claims its ruling. However, her sister Ereshkigal, who rules the place, sentences her to death. With Inanna's death, however, nature died with her and nothing would grow anymore. Through the intervention of the god Enki she could be reborn if another person took her place. She choose her beloved consort Dumuzi, who would from then on rule the underworld every half year.

Inanna is regarded as a daughter of the sky-god An, but also of the moon-god Nanna. A variation of her name is Ninnanna, which means 'queen of the sky'. She is also called Ninsianna as the personification of the planet Venus. She is depicted as richly dressed goddess or as a naked woman. Her symbol is the eight-pointed star. Important sanctuaries of Inanna were in Uruk, Zabalam, and Babylon. The Akkadians called her Ishtar.




Incidentally, the two lions at her feet are the same two lions at the controversial Court of the Pigna of the Vatican. The peacocks represent Hera. The entire structure is of Sumerian religion and has come under fire, just as the Egyptian obelisk, by catholics and christians worldwide, who have never been given an answer as to the Vatican's determination to keep pagan structures on the grounds.

No comments: