Tag Archive: ereshkigal


This point really hit home with me as I’ve struggled to find truth this week about the Ostara and Easter season. There seems to be so much mis- and disinformation out there concerning the Neo-Pagan holiday of Ostara with no scholarly or historical “evidence” or lore to back them up. Also, I see a lot of crazy fundamentalist Xtain claims centered around the worship of Ishtar and the present day Easter traditions of Lent, eating ham at Easter, hot-crossed buns, association with hares and even coloring eggs with the blood of sacrificed babies…crazy, right? Here’s what I take from Jean Raffa’s entry on the Easter season (and applies to those of us who observe and celebrate Ostara): “To the ego it sometimes feels crucial that we get the facts right, possess the ‘correct’ interpretation — especially the religious one — and reject the ‘wrong’ one. But to the soul, these details are beside the point. To your soul and mine, this story is a celebration of the sacred miracle of life, and all three interpretations are equally true.” Beautifully put!

Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

One of the oldest recorded myths comes from Sumeria and tells the story of Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth. After a period of growing, assuming her authority, working to bless the world with the gifts of civilization, courting, marrying, birthing and mothering, Inanna descends to the underworld to visit her sister Ereshkigal, its Queen. On the way down she is stripped one by one of all her earthly possessions: symbols of her beauty, success, femininity and the power she has worked so hard to attain. At the bottom she is met by Ereshkigal who has her hung naked on a meat hook. And there she hangs. But on the third day, with the help of her loyal priestess, Ninshubur, and Enki, the God of Culture, she’s rescued and returns to life in the world above.

This is an allegory of a universal truth. Like all great myths, which are…

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Goddess Inanna

“Inanna – Goddess of Goddesses” by book-of-light

“Inanna’s themes are the sky, Universal Awareness and Law, movement, peace, unity, love and leadership. Her symbols are roses, lions, wands encrusted with stones and dates.  The Sumerian Lady of the Heavens looks down upon the world, seeing it in wholeness and unity. Her gentle tears wash from heaven, putting out the emotional fires that keep people apart in this world, or anywhere in the Universe. Inanna oversees matters of love, divination, wine making and leadership just to name a few. In works of art, She is depicted wearing a horned headdress and sprouting wings.

On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched into space, bearing a message of peace and welcome to any alien lifeforms that might find it. As it travels, are reminded of what a truly big place the Universe is and of the importance of making our part of it better under Inanna’s guidance and care.

To make yourself an Inanna wand for directing magical energy designed to manifest peace, oneness, love or leadership, take a large rose twig (or any fallen branch) and let it dry. Encrust this with an amethyst. During spells and rituals, point the crystal in the direction you want the energy to travel.

Finally, leave Inanna an offering of wine at dawn (She is the morning star) to attract Her power to your day.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“St. Ishtar” by ~TerezBellydance

Thalia Took tells us “Inanna, which means ‘Queen of Heaven’, is the Sumerian Great Goddess and forerunner of the Babylonian Ishtar, with whom She shares similar legends. Sumer was a culture located in what is now the southern half of Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, known as the ‘Cradle of Civilization’. It was one of the earliest civilizations on this Earth.

Inanna is the First Daughter of the Moon, and the Star of Morning and Evening. Like Anat and Aphrodite (who is believed to have a Phoenician origin) She is linked to the planet Venus and is a love-Goddess.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “the Sumerians knew how civilization had come to the ancient Near East, and here is how they told the tale.

Across the immeasurable distances of the sweetwater abyss lived Enki, god of wisdom, and with him were the Tablets of Destiny and other magic civilizing implements. These were his treasures, and he kept them from humankind. But Enki’s daughter–Inanna, the crafty queen of heaven–took pity on the miserable primitives of earth and fitted Her boat to travel to Her father’s hall. There She was grandly welcomed with a banquet of food and wine. Wise he may have been, but Enki loved his daughter beyond wisdom, so much that he took cup after cup from Her at table and then, drunk, promised Her anything She desired. Instantly Inanna asked for the Tablets of Destiny and 100 other objects of culture. What could a fond father do but grant the request?

“Semiramis” by ~kk-graphics

Inanna immediately loaded the objects onto the boat of heaven and set sail for Her city, Erech. Awakening the next day from his stupor, Enki remembered what he had done–and regretted it. But he was incapacitated by a hangover as massive as the previous evening’s pleasure, and he could not pursue his daughter until he recovered. By then, of course, Inanna had gained the safety of Her kingdom, and even the seven tricks Enki played on Her did not regain him his treasures.

And the Sumerians knew how the various seasons came to the desert in which they lived. It started long ago, when the lovely queen of heaven had two suitors, the farmer Enkidu and the shepherd Dumuzi. Both brought Her gifts; both wooed Her with flattery. Her brother urged the farmer’s suit, but the soft woolens that Dumuzi brought tipped the scales of Inanna’s heart. And so Dumuzi became the Goddess’ favorite, in a tale like Cain and Abel‘s that must have recorded a common dispute in the days when the new agricultural science was gaining ground from the nomadic culture of the cattle and sheep herders.

It was not long before Dumuzi grew arrogant in his favored position. But that leaps ahead in the story, for first Inanna–compelled, some say, by curiosity, while others accuse the Goddess of ambition–made plans to descend from Her sky throne and visit the underworld. She arranged with her prime minister, Ninshuba, that if She did not return within three days and three nights, he would stage mourning ceremonies and would appeal to the highest deities to rescue Her. And then Inanna began Her descent.

“The Decent of Inanna” by ~Blazesnbreezes

At the first of the seven gates of the underworld, the Goddess was stopped by the gatekeeper, Neti, who demanded part of Her attire. So it was at each gate. Piece by piece, Inanna gave up Her jewelry and clothing until She stood splendid and naked before Eriskegal, the naked black haired Goddess of death, who turned Her eyes of stone on the Goddess from the upper world.

At that Inanna lost all life and hung for three days and three nights a corpse in the realm of death. When Inanna failed to return to Her sky kingdom, Ninshuba did as instructed. Enki, the Goddess’s father, came to Her aid. Fashioning two strange creatures, Kurgurra and Kalaturra, from the dirt beneath his fingernails, he sent them into the wilderness of the afterlife with food and water to revive the lifeless Inanna.

But no one can leave the underworld unless a substitute be found to hang forever naked in the land of doom. And so demons followed the Goddess as She ascended to Her kingdom. One after another, the demons grabbed the gods they met. Each in turn Inanna freed, remembering good deeds they had performed for Her. But when Inanna reached Her holy city, Erech, She found that Her paramour Dumuzi had set himself up as ruler in Her stead. Angered at his presumption, the Goddess commanded that he be taken as Her substitute to Eriskegal’s kingdom. Luckily for Dumuzi, his loving sister Gestinanna followed him to the underworld and won from Eriskegal her brother’s life for half each year-the half of the year when the desert plants flower, for Dumuzi was the god of vegetation.

“Innana, Queen of Heaven” by buechnerstod

In some versions of the tale it was Inanna Herself, not Gestinanna, who freed Dumuzi. But Gestinanna’s name incorporates that of the other Goddess, and Inanna Herself was sometimes said to be Dumuzi’s mother, while Ninsun claimed that role in other versions. All these apparent contradictions cease to be problematical, however, if one extends the ‘three persons in one god’ concept to this trinity of Sumerian divinities. Then we see that the mother, the lover, and the sister were all aspects of a single grand figure: the queen of heaven, who may have been the lifegiving sun itself, as able to parch the earth into a desert as to reclaim vegetation seasonally from beneath the earth’s surface” (Monaghan, p. 160 -161).

“Inanna’s descent to the Underworld is similar to the journey of the later Goddess Ishtar, with some important differences–Inanna goes to the Underworld to learn of the wisdom of death and rebirth. To be released from Death She must choose a substitute, and offers up Dumuzi, who in Her absence has not mourned. With Dumuzi gone, His sister Geshtinanna, Goddess of Wine, went frantically searching and eventually a bargain was struck: Dumuzi would remain half the year in the Underworld, and Geshtinanna would take His place in the Land of the Dead for the rest of the year.” [2]

“Inanna” by Hrana Janto

 

ASSOCIATIONS: (From my the results of my Goddess Archetype Quiz taken at Goddessgift.com)

General: Ringposts, gates, planet Venus (morning and evening stars), eight-pointed star/rosette, breastplate, bundle or reeds, bow and arrow, Friday and the number 15.

Animals: Sheep, lions, owls, serpents, and scorpions.

Plants: Pomegranate, Tree of Life, grains, reeds and rushes, hemp, cedar, cypress, lotus blossom, monkshood and all herbs.

Perfumes/Scents: Frankincense, myrrh, lotus, amber oil, cedar wood, cypress, cinnamon, and bitter orange.

Gems and Metals: Silver, carnelian, obsidian, lapis lazuli, moonstone and copper.

Colors: Silver, gold, blood red, and green.

Element: Air

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Inanna”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Inanna“.

Turnbull, Sharon. Goddess Quiz – Inanna.

 

 

Suggested Links:

BellaDonna. Order of the White Moon, “Erishkegal, Lady of Shadows“.

Bianca. Order of the White Moon, “Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth“.

Goddess-guide.com, Ereshkigal“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Inanna“.

Goddessgift.com, “Inanna, Ancient Goddess of Sumer“.

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Inanna“.

Laurel. Goddessschool.com, “Inanna“.

Moon, Mary Scarlett & Callista Deep River. Inanna.virtualave.net, “INANNA: Journey to the Dark Center“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Inanna: Embracing the Shadow“.

PaganNews.com, “Inanna/Ishtar“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Inanna: self-discovery queen“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Inanna, Goddess of ‘Infinite Variety’“.

Wikipedia, “Inanna“.

Goddess Al-Lat

“Virgo” by Josephine Wall

“Al-Lat’s themes are religious devotion, meditation, purity, home, justice and children. Her symbols are the moon, silver, and white stones.  A Persian and Arabian moon Goddess, Al-Lat is the feminine form of Allah. Post-Islamic writings banished Her name from holy books, but Her presence remained behind as a domestic guardian, the giver of children and protectess of all good and just deeds.

Around this time of year, Muslims observe Ramadan and begin a time of abstinence to purify themselves and honor their sacred book, the Qu’ran. During this fast, people are instructed to look within and rededicate their hearts to the tenets of their faith. To do this and also honor Al-Lat, fast for this day if physically feasible. Or, just abstain from one well-loved food or beverage for the day and study your own sacred text(s). Pray to Al-Lat for insight into the deeper meanings of the words. Write down any osbervations in a journal so Al-Lat’s presence will inspire good deeds and positive action for many years to come.

To attract Al-Lat’s protective energies into your home, grasp four white items (coral and moonstone are excellent choices), saying,

‘Within these _________of white,
Al-Lat, place your protective light.
Where’er these _________s are placed around,
your safety and presence shall abound.’

Put these as close as possible to the four directional points of the area that needs guardian power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Evening Wind” by Aaron Paquette

Patricia Monaghan explains that “in Arabic, Allah means ‘god.’ Similarly, Al-Lat means simply ‘Goddess,’ the supreme reality in female form.  Al-Lat is a mythic figure of great antiquity, one of the trinity of desert Goddesses named in the Koran, Al-Uzza and Menat being the others.  Like the Greek Demeter, Al-Lat represented the earth and its fruits; it follows that She also ruled human generation.

Al-Lat was worshiped at Ta’if near Mecca in the form of a great uncut block of white granite, which Her worshipers addressed as ‘My Lady’ or Rusa (‘good fortune’).  Women were required to appear before Her naked and circle the sacred rock; if these conditions were met, the Goddess would grant all requests.  Solid as the earth She represented, Al-Lat was considered unshakable and immovable.  Thus Her people swore their most solemn oaths by Her, with the following words: ‘By the salt, by the fire, and by Al-Lat who is the greatest of all” (p. 41).

“Al’Uzza, Allat and Menat, the Triple Goddesses of Arabia” by Thalia Took

Thalia Took tells us that “Al-Lat, whose name is a contraction of al-Illahat, ‘the Goddess’, is mentioned by Herodotus as Alilat, whom he identifies with Aphrodite. She is sometimes also equated with Athene, and is called ‘the Mother of the Gods’, or ‘Greatest of All’. She is a Goddess of Springtime and Fertility, the Earth-Goddess who brings prosperity. She and Al-Uzza were sometimes confused, and it seems that as one gained in popularity in one area the other’s popularity diminished. The sun in Arabia was called Shams and considered feminine, and may represent an aspect of Al-Lat. She had a sanctuary in the town of Ta’if, east of Mecca, and was known from Arabia to Iran. Her symbol is the crescent moon (sometimes shown with the sun disk resting in its crescent), and the gold necklace She wears is from a pendant identified to Her. As a Fertility-Goddess She bears a sheaf of wheat; and in Her hand She holds a small lump of frankincense, as Her emblem is found carved on many incense-holders.” [1]

According to Wikipedia, “in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian Goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

The Goddess occurs in early Safaitic graffiti (Safaitic han-‘Ilāt ‘the Goddess’) and the Nabataeans of Petra and the people of Hatra also worshipped Her, equating Her with the Greek Athena and Tyche and the Roman Minerva. She is frequently called ‘the Great Goddess’ in Greek in multi-lingual inscriptions.  According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal (and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt).

Allat-Minerva from As-Suwayda, Syria (National Museum of Damascus)

 

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, considered Her the equivalent of Aphrodite:

‘The Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians Alilat, and the Persians Mitra. In addition that deity is associated with the Indian deity Mitra (Vedic). The Persian and Indian deity were developed from the proto-indo-iranian deity known as mitra.’

According to Herodotus, the ancient Arabians believed in only two gods:

‘They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples. They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat.’

 

 

 

 

 

In the Qur’an, She is mentioned along with al-‘Uzzá and Manāt in Sura 53: 19–23. The tribe of ʿād of Iram of the Pillars is also mentioned in Sura 895–8, and archaeological evidence from Iram shows copious inscriptions devoted to Her for the protection of a tribe by that name.

Al-lāt is also explicitly attested from early Islamic records discussing the pre-Islamic period. According to the Book of Idols (Kitāb al-ʾAṣnām) by Hishām ibn al-Kalbi, the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Al-lāt resided in the Kaʿbah and also had an idol inside the sanctuary:{{quote|Her custody was in the hands of the Banū Attāb ibn Mālik of the Thaqīf, who had built an edifice over Her. The Quraysh, as well as all the Arabs, venerated al-Lāt. They also used to name their children after her, calling them Zayd al-Lāt and Taym al-Lāt. […] Al-Lāt continued to be venerated until the Thaqīf embraced Islam, when the Apostle of God dispatched al-Mughīrah ibn-Shu‘bah, who destroyed her and burnt Her temple to the ground.

The shrine and temple dedicated to al-Lat in Taif, was demolished by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, on the orders of Muhammad, during the Expedition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, this occurred in the same year as the Battle of Tabuk (which occurred in October 630 AD). Muhammad sent Abu Sufyan with a group armed men to destroy the Idol al-Lat (also referred to as al-Tagiyyah) that was worshipped by the citizens of Taif.  The destruction of the idol was a demand by Muhammad before any reconciliation could take place with the citizens of Taif who were under constant attack and suffering from a blockade by the Banu Hawazin, led by Malik, a convert to Islam who promised to continue the war against the citizens of the city which was started by Muhammad in the Siege of Taif.” [2]

Bas-relief: Nemesis, Allāt and the dedicator (Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Now, what’s interesting is that Muhammad himself commanded his followers to offer prayers to these “Allah’s daughters” (Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Menat).  He later retracted it and blamed it on the Devil after supposedly receiving a revelation from God that the verses should be removed and was “comforted by God” after doing so.  It is important to note that such “after the fact corrective revelations” are very common with cults, using the old time excuse, “The devil made me do it”. [3]

To me, this is nothing more than another example of the patriarchy showing it’s true colors: demanding the rejection and destruction of the Great Mother and forcing Her underground in an attempt to elevate their mighty sky god in order to dominate and control the populace; using tactics such as war – causing suffering and death – to convert and force their religion on the people in order to achieve their own selfish and manipulative means.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brother Andrew. http://www.bible.ca, “Islamic roots of polytheism: Allah’s Daughters: Lat, Uzza, and Manat “.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Al-Lat”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Arab Triple Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Al-lāt“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arabianwomen.nielsonpi.com, “Women in the Ancient Arabia and the Middle East“.

Benel. Al-muqaddasarabianblog.blogspot.com, “Deity: Allat”.

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “al-Lāt“.

Isidorus. The Pomegranate Seeds Discussions, Q’re, the Maiden“.

Nabataea.net, “Nabataean Pantheon“.

 

Goddess Ishtar

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ishtar’s themes are love, fertility, passion, sexuality, and the moon.  Her symbols are a star, the moon, lions and doves.  In Babylon, Ishtar encompasses the fullness of womanhood, including being a maternal nurtures, an independent companion, an inspired bed partner, and an insightful advisor in matters of the heart. Having descended from Venus (the planet that governs romance), She is the moon, the morning star and the evening star, which inspire lovers everywhere to stop for a moment, look up and dare to dream. Saturday is Ishtar’s traditional temple day, and Her sacred animals include a lion and a dove.

Babylonians give Ishtar offerings of food and drink on this day. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor on the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness. If you’d like to connect with this fertile energy but have no bed partner, a magical alternative is using symbolism. Place a knife (or athame, a ritual dagger often representing the masculine divine or the two-edged sword of magic) in a cup filled with water. This represents the union of yin and yang. Leave this is a spot where it will remain undisturbed all day to dray Ishtar’s loving warmth to your home and heart.

If you have any clothes, jewellery or towels that have a star or moon on them, take them out and use them today. Ishtar abides in that symbolism. As you don the item, likewise accept Ishtar’s mantle of passion for whatever tasks you have to undertake all day.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Semiramis” by kk-graphics

“Ishtar is the Babylonian Goddess of Love and War, embodied in the two aspects of the planet Venus–as Evening Star, She brings lovers to celebration and bed; and as the Morning Star, She brings the fiery sword of War. She represents one of the many faces of the ancient Near Eastern Great Goddess, among them the Phoenicians Asherat or Ashtoreth (in Greek Astarte) and Anat, Sumerian Inanna, Phrygian Cybele, and Greek Aphrodite, most of whom share legends of dying and resurrected lovers.

As Goddess of love and sex, Ishtar is the force that draws mates together and brings fertility, both for humans and animals. She is Goddess of courtesans, and sacred prostitution was part of Her cult. She is Herself a harlot who took many lovers.

A Neo-Assyrian seal (circa 750-650 BC) of Ishtar (at left) standing with her bow on her mythical lion.

As Goddess of war, Ishtar takes part in battle and is shown standing on the back of a lion bearing bow and arrows. She was known for a fiery and fickle temper which usually spelled doom for Her lovers.

“Innana, Queen of Heaven” by buechnerstod

One of Ishtar’s lovers was the grain-god Tammuz (who still has a Jewish month named after Him). He died young (as the grain is cut just as it reaches the perfection of ripeness), and some legends imply that Ishtar had a hand in His death. But Ishtar was inconsolable and determined to fetch him back from the Underworld. At each of the seven gates of the Land of the Dead Ishtar, like Inanna, was required to give over an article of clothing or jewelry until finally She came naked and humbled before Her sister Queen Ereshkigal, who then imprisoned Ishtar.

The world mourned for the lost Goddess of love, and Her father Sin the Moon God sent an envoy armed with powerful magic who successfully rescued Her. Tammuz was eventually also brought back to live in the land of the gods. The Descent of Ishtar was celebrated annually in Babylonian lands.

Epithets: The Star of Lamentation, Lady of Battles, Courtesan of the Gods” [1]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Sumerian

Element: Air

Sphere of Influence: Love and fertility

Preferred Colors: Gold and blue

Associated Symbol: 8 pointed star, reed bundle

Best Day to Work With: Friday

Suitable Offerings: Lapus Lazuli

Associated Planet: Venus    [2]

Gemstones: Carnelian, coral, agate, brown jasper (orange stones), quartz crystal, moonstone, garnet  [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Inanna/Ishtar“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Ishtar“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Ishtar“.

Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who Is Goddess Ishtar?

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Queen of Heaven and Earth: Inanna-Ishtar of Mesopotamia” (p. 19 – 38).

Ra-Hoor-Khuit Network, “Ishtar“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess, “Ishtar“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Tale of Ishtar“.

Wikipedia, “Ishtar“.

Goddess Tashmit

"Mary" by Pamela Matthews

“Tashmit’s themes are prayer, blessing, unity and hope.  Her symbols are folded hands.  The Goddess is timeless and eternal, and She has many faces with which She conveys the concepts of truth and beauty to the world’s people. Tashmit, the Chaldean Goddess of wisdom and teaching, in particular, stands ready today. Her name means ‘bearing’; it is She who listens intently to our prayers.

On the first Friday in March, people in over 170 countries join in prayer, and the Goddess asks that we do similarly. Prayer is something that seems to have gone by the wayside in our ‘instant’ world. Yet, it takes only a moment to honor the sacred. This prayer is but one example; change or adapt it liberally to suit your needs and vision:

Lady of Wisdom, Tashmit, I come to you for guidance
Shine on my path today that I might see others in an equal light
That I might walk the Path of Beauty with a loving heart and peaceful spirit
Hear the voices of your people raised together today in oneness
Hear our  prayers
Let us find unity in diversity
Heal the world
Let us know peace and guard it as sacred
With a thankful heart, so be it.'”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Deep Thoughts" by Hojatollah Shakiba

“Tashmit was the Assyrian spouse of Nebo.  Her name signifies ‘Obedience’…or ‘Hearing’ and carried the prayers of worshippers to Her spouse.  As Isis interceded with Osiris, She interceded with Nebo, on behalf of mankind.  But this did not signify that She was the least influential of the divine pair.  A Goddess played many parts: She was at once mother, daughter and wife of god; servant of one god or the ‘mighty queen of all the gods’.  The Great Mother was…regarded as the eternal and undecaying one; the gods passed away, son succeeding father; She alone remained.  To Her was ascribed all the mighty works of other days in the lands where the indigenous peoples first worshipped the Great Mother as Damkina, Nina, Bau, Ishtar, or Tashmit, because the Goddess was anciently believed to be the First Cause, the creatrix, the mighty one who invested the ruling god with the powers he possessed–the god who held sway because he was Her husband, as did Nergal as the husband of Eresh-ki-gal, queen of Hades.”

Tashmit was a Goddess of supplication and love who had a lunar significance.  A prayer addressed to Her in association with Nannar (Sin) and Ishtar, proceeds:

‘In the evil of the eclipse of the moon which … has taken place, In the evil of the powers, of the portents, evil and not good, which are in my palace and my land, (I) have turned towards thee!… Before Nabu (Nebo) thy spouse, thy lord, the prince, the first-born of E-sagila, intercede for me! May he hearken to my cry at the word of thy mouth; may he remove my sighing, may he learn my supplication!’
The Goddess Damkina is similarly addressed in another prayer:

O Damkina, mighty queen of all the gods, O wife of Ea, valiant art thou, O Ir-nina, mighty queen of all the gods … Thou that dwellest in the Abyss, O lady of heaven and earth!… In the evil of the eclipse of the moon, etc.

The Goddess Bau is also prayed in a similar connection as ‘mighty lady that dwellest in the bright heavens’, i.e. ‘Queen of heaven’.” [1]

Tashmit is also mentioned in a Penitential Psalm “that was said by a petitioner after singing a hymn of praise to the god Marduk: …’O brave Marduk, destroy my sin, do away my sin. O great goddess Erua, destroy my sin.  O Nabu, of fair name, destroy my sin.  O goddess Tashmit, destroy my sin.  O brave Nergal, destroy my sin.  O ye gods who dwell in the heaven of An‘, destroy my sin…'” [2]

Other names and/or Goddesses that Tishmit has been associated with are: Urmit, Varamit, Ninkarrak and Nisaba. [3]

 

 

Sources:

Budge, E. A. Wallis. Babylonian Life and History at p. 134.

Mackenzie, Donald A. Myths of Babylonia and Assyria at pp. 350 – 351.

Sophia, “Holy Wisdom”.


“Archetypes are inner images that embody universal characteristics and experiences. They are responsible for the persistent themes we see surfacing in our own lives. Myths and fairy tales, many artistic images, and many of the characters we encounter in our dreams are expressions of these archetypes. As inner guides that exist in your personality, the goddess archetypes influence how you behave, how you think and feel, and how you relate to others. Since the goddess stories that are passed on in the mythology of human cultures embody the expression of female character, they provide us with a rich and fascinating way to gain access to the personal archetypes that are active in our lives.” (Sharon Turnbull, Ph.D.)

“Ancient Inanna” by Wendy Andrew

This was the first paragraph of the results of a Goddess Quiz that I took back in mid December 2011 out of curiosity and a search for who I was; to somehow understand who I was “right now”, in that very moment – to give me some sort of direction in which to proceed out of my feeling of depression, self loathing, loneliness, and emptiness. After reading the 23 page results describing the Inanna archetype that I had, I felt a mixed bag of emotions – happiness, pain, acceptance, isolation and relief. This document describing my Goddess archetype has led me onto a journey, a journey with Inanna as my guide. I felt Her, in every fiber of my being, I knew I was Her and She was me. I felt as we were one in the same. Shortly thereafter, I started seeing Her 8 pointed star all over the place – in patterns, on plates, on TV. The number 7 has also recently showing up in various places. I started coming across Her name in articles I was reading, pictures and depictions of Her popping up when I was online, even receiving emails from women who had Inanna quotes in their signature blocks. Could it be these symbols were all around me all the time and that I just never paid attention to them? Probably. But, She had definitely had my attention now.

 So, I did what every good Pagan does when they are tapped on the shoulder or hear the whisperings of the Goddess calling them forth. I hopped on the Internet finding all I could on Her and Her stories and myths. I came upon probably one of Her most famous stories, Her descent into the underworld to meet Her sister Ereshkigal. There are many myths and fairy tales that describe the descent to the underworld by different Goddesses, many of which that have common themes and such. Stories about being lost in the forest, or falling asleep often for 7 years, Persephone being dragged into the underworld, but this, The Descent of Inanna is the oldest. This Sumerian myth was written on clay tablets in the third millennium B.C.E. and there are a number of different versions of the story. I went to Amazon, Half.com and Paperbackswap.com to find books on Her stories and myths. The first book that really called to me was “Descent to the Goddess” by Sylvia Brinton Perera. It’s only just about 100 pages long, so I thought I’d finish it in a few days. No, it took me about a week. I had to take my time with it because 1.) the language (I had to look words up every now and again to grasp the full meaning of what Perera was trying to portray) and 2.) There was some really intense information to really soak in and think about.

With each passing chapter, I felt myself waking up, having so many of those great “Aha!” moments. But what surprised me was not only was I getting to know Inanna, but also Her sister Ereshkigal. This was a total unexpected surprise. It was just before New Years in finishing this book that the Dark Goddess was revealed to me in all her primordial greatness and femininity. It was truly the first time in my life that I came to know and really internalize what She was all about and the type of wisdom she possessed to impart to those who were brave enough to enter Her realm and withstand ALL she has to provide.

As I read through the pages, I could see and feel Her raging, hair everywhere, wild with Her grief and pain. She slaps Her thigh and bites Her lip. Her perimeter had been breached, Her defenses defeated. She eyes the intruder, Inanna, with the eye of death. She is all that is primal of the body: giving birth, howling with grief or rage. But most importantly for me She is in and of Her body not separate from it, which is how all too often many of us live our lives. She’s a cold hard raging bitch not to be taken lightly or disrespected and she offers no apologies. She represents pure Yin energy – that dark, cold, isolated, primal, earthy, static, grounded energy – everything that is uniquely feminine. She is the embodiment of Deep Feminine Wisdom; that deep wisdom that understands destruction and renewal, decay and gestation, the balance and interconnectedness of life and death.

“Ereshkigal” by ~Fenrizulf

She seems uncaring, irrational, greedy and all devouring. Indeed, She is all that…and more. You see, Ereshkigal does not want to be worshipped in the usual way, on hands and knees groveling before Her. No, She demands something entirely different. She demands sacrifice, destruction and death. She welcomes it – and She reminds us that all that lives dies and that suffering and sacrifice is part of the primal feminine way; less we forget how intimately childbirth and death are interconnected. She represents everything that the patriarchy fears. She demands that we show strength before Her in order to learn and accept these things or it will be a long and agonizing stay in Her realm.

 

 

Most of us do not choose to voluntarily enter the underworld territory as Inanna had. Most of us resist as hard as we can. For some of us it is a depression that takes us there, a relationship ending, illness, a death of someone close. I came to realize that I have made many visits to the underworld myself; early in childhood, adolescence, spending my 21st Birthday at Ground Zero during 9/11 with my National Guard unit and the PTSD that followed, a miscarriage, going through 2 deployments back here while my husband was in Iraq, and the latest and longest descent involving a long move from my “chosen family” in Texas to the great unknown in Alaska with 2 back to back pregnancies. The later being the most life altering and hardest to ascend from for me.

When we descend into Ereshkigal’s realm of the Underworld, we meet all the grief of our lives that we have buried or ignored. Here we face into our suffering, the pain of betrayal, loss, death of someone or parts of ourselves, our childish naiveté, our insecurities. Here we are like Inanna, nailed to the wall. There is no escape from this pain. In this territory we have the chance to face and reconnect with shadow parts of ourselves that we were told by the patriarchy were unacceptable. Like our rage and our capacity to hate, our deep grief about all our woundedness. But also with those strengths we have that have also been relegated to the shadow, pushed back into the unconscious because to be strong or assertive, or clever or creative in our families was for some reason unacceptable. It is here, stuck in the Underworld that the healing begins to take place, of being able to name and acknowledge what we are truly feeling, to ourselves. So instead of sitting on feelings of being hurt, for example, or angry or whatever, and telling ourselves we shouldn’t be feeling this, just to name it as anger or hurt or jealousy or whatever it is that we are truly feeling, can be enormously freeing and lets us ascend back up to the world above; but only if we truly learn and internalize these lessons that Ereshkigal demands we learn.

“Ereshkigal” by ~kometani

Like Inanna, we have to shed our layers at each of the 7 gates in order to reach Ereshkigal. We have to shed our will, our ego, our mind, or sex role, our “illumination”, our “magic” and our “godhood”. Then, and only then, when we are stripped bare naked of all barriers, defenses and are at our most vulnerable can we enter into Erishkigal’s realm to face the rage, to sacrifice what must be sacrificed, become that rotting piece of flesh impaled on the wall to be healed, reborn stronger than what we were before and made whole.

Once we’ve come to terms with and taken ownership of all of those “bad” feelings and empathize with Ereshkigal, and realize it’s OK to feel these feelings can begin our journey of ascent.

I’ve tried in the past to come to know The Dark Goddess. I’ve tried to connect with Her energies (well, to be honest, just once…the ritual seemed empty to me though, not like my Full Moon rituals). Now that I think back, I can say with certainty that I had some fear and reservations about the wisdom She had to share and connecting to the feminine – the good, the bad and the ugly. Sadly, I like many women, had at some level accepted the patriarchy’s verdict on all things feminine and our bodies, that it is unacceptable, worthless, something to be ashamed of, that feeling is not as valuable as thinking, being logical etc. For women so much of the stuff of our lives is determined by our bodies: our menstruating, our hormonal ups and downs, our gestating and giving birth and our dealing with the chaotic rhythms of the body, our own and our children’s and often our parents’ as we deal with their aging and dying. In coming to really know the Dark Goddess, we reconnect with our bodies and our instinctual ways of knowing and our full power as women. In coming to know and understand Ereshkigal, I came to realize that Inanna and Ereshkigal represent the bi-polar nature of women. Perera broke down Inanna’s and Ereshkigal’s myth in such a way that I could see that I (and every woman for that matter) could reclaim my power and understanding of the Deep Feminine that resides deep in the womb of the Underworld. The first step was understanding my “dark” emotions – acknowledging them, respecting them and transforming them, not hating or demonizing them as the patriarchy has taught us to do.

“The Wait” by Luis Royo

When a woman emerges from this kind of experience those around her may not welcome her return. She is not as nice as she used to be, not as amenable as we see in Inanna’s ascent and her showdown with Dumuzi. But she is more textured and complex and interesting. She says ‘No’ when she means no, and ‘Yes’ when she means yes. She may appear cold or uncaring as she struggles to integrate what she has learned about what she needs to do to look after her true self. And almost always when we are practicing new ways of being we can be clumsy. We need to be patient and compassionate with ourselves. No more apologizing or making excuses, just simply “No, can’t do that.” No more apologizing for being alive. We learn it’s OK to speak our truth, to trust our feelings and to really see what’s there. We no longer see putting ourselves first as being ‘selfish’; we learn to value ourselves – become our real selves, and realize that that’s more important than being “likeable”. In becoming conscious of our feminine, we become whole, we realize, “This is who I am. I am not asking for your approval, I do not have to justify my existence. I want to know and be known for who I am.”

Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz aged 25, said the following, “Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

I believe one of the ways to a peaceful heart is to make the journey to try to uncover who we truly are and to try and live from that place. To make peace with all our own warring parts: the inner critic that keeps telling us we’re not good enough and the wise kind part that can say, yes you are good enough. A journey I believe that takes a lifetime. And if we can come to some kind of peaceful acceptance of ourselves, however intermittently that might be, then hopefully we are not then projecting our ‘stuff’ onto others. Then there is more space for empathy and compassion for those around us and for our poor beleaguered planet. We’ve known suffering and we can feel for the suffering of others. These are the lessons of the Dark Goddess. So look out world, the bitch is coming back!

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