Tag Archive: gilgamesh


Goddess Nisaba

“Egyptian Girl with Snakes” by Frances Bramley Warren

“Nisaba’s themes are creativity, communication, excellence, inspiration, Universal Law, divination and dreams. Her symbols are pens, computers, books and snakes (Her sacred animal).  In Sumerian tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘She who teaches the decrees’, referring specifically to imparting divine laws to humankind. In order to communicate these matters effectively, Nisaba invented literacy, and She uses creative energy to inspire scribes. Besides this, Nisaba is an oracular Goddess, well gifted in dream interpretation.

Since 1928, this day, Author’s Day, has been observed as a time to honor authors who have contributed to American literature and encourage new writers in their talents. If you’re an aspiring author, today’s definitely the time to submit a poem, article, or manuscript, invoking Nissaba’s on it before sending it out.  Also, take a moment to ask Nisaba to empower all your pens, pencils, resource books, computer, and so on, so that all your future writing efforts will be more successful and fulfilling.

For those who don’t consider authorship a forte, you can ask Nisaba to give you a symbolic dream instead.

Put a marigold, rose, or onion peel under your pillow to help with this, and keep a dream journal or tape recorder handy. Immediately upon waking, record any dream you recall. Then go to a favored dream guide, and whisper the Goddess’s name before looking up interpretations.”

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

Patricia Monaghan writes: “‘She who teaches the decress’ of divinity to humans, this Goddess brought literacy and astrology to a Sumerian king on a tablet inscribed with the names of the beneficent stars.  An architect as well, She drew up temple plans for Her people; She was also an oracle and dream interpreter.  The most learned of deities, this snake Goddess also controlled the fertility of Her people’s fields” (p. 231).

Nisaba’s “sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, She appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of corn and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and Her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two Goddess may be one and the same. Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same Goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta.

In some other tales, She is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built Her a school of learning so that She could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, She and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where She gives commands and keeps temple records.

The Goddess of writing and teaching, She was often praised by Sumerian scribes. Many clay-tablets end with the phrase “Nisaba be praised” to honor the Goddess. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, She was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over Her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced Her.

As the Goddess of knowledge, She is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to Her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with Her sister Ninsina. She is also associate with grain, reflecting Her association with an earth Goddess mother.” [1]

Also seen as Nissaba, Nidaba, Nanibgal, and Nunbarshegunu (lady whose body is dappled barley).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Nisaba“.

Wikipedia, “Nidaba“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Nisaba {Goddess of the Week}“.

Artesia. Goddessschool.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Wise Woman and Mother Goddess“.

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, “Nisaba“.

Etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk, “A Hymn to Nisaba (Nisaba A): translation“.

Gatewaystobabylon.com, “Nabu“.

Lambert, Wilfred G. Babylonian Wisdom Literature, “Nisaba and Wheat“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1, “Nisaba of Eresh: Goddess of Grain, Goddess of Writing“.

Robson, Eleanor. Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystalvaults.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Knowledge Goddess“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Eastern Mediterranean“.

Tudeau, Johanna. Oracc.museum.upenn.edu, “Nidaba (goddess)“.

Goddess Ishara

“Selket” by =DanielPriego

“Ishara’s themes are creativity, sexuality, passion, instinct, fire and energy. Her symbols are the scorpion (or any stinging, hot items). An ancient Mesopotamian Goddess, Ishara is known for her fiery nature. The Syrians specifically worshiped Her in the form of a scorpion when they wished to improve sexual prowess or passion. In other traditions, Ishara judges human affairs fairly bur firmly, and all oaths made in Her name are sacred.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Scorpio are said to be creative, tenacious, sturdy and sensuous, often internalizing Ishara’s fire in their sign for personal energy.

To do likewise, enjoy any hot beverages (such as coffee with a touch of cinnamon for vitality) first thing in the morning. This will give you some of Ishara’s fire to help you face your day, both mentally and physically.

For those wishing to improve interest or performance in the bedroom, today is a good time to focus on foods for passion and fecundity. Look to bananas or avocados in the morning, olives, dill pickles, radishes, or liquorice sticks as a snack, beans as a dinner side dish, and shellfish as a main platter.

Remember to invoke Ishara’s blessing before you eat. And, if you can find one, put the image of a scorpion under your bed so that Ishara’s lusty nature will abide in the region and you can tap into it during lovemaking.”

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

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

Patricia Monaghan says that Ishara was a “Semitic Goddess of promiscuity, originally distinct from Ishtar, but later merged with Her” (p. 164).

“Ishara is the Hittite word for ‘treaty, binding promise’, also personified as a Goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love Goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and by the end of the 3rd millennium, She had temples in NippurSipparKishHarbidumLarsa, and Urum.

“Ishtar” by *Scebiqu

As a Goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites (see Hittite military oath). In this context, She came to be seen as a ‘Goddess of medicine’ whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- ‘to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara’.

Ishara was also worshipped within the Hurrian pantheon. She was associated with the underworld.

Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and She is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars) (Seux, 343). Ishara was well known in Syria from the third millennium B.C.E. She became a great Goddess of the Hurrian population. She was worshipped with Teshub and Shimegi at Alakh, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar. While She was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, She was invoked to heal the sick (Lebrun).

The Hurrian cult of Ishara as a love Goddess also spread to Syria. ‘Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a Goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations (Biggs). During the Ur III period She had a temple in Drehem and from the Old Babylonian time onwards, there were sanctuaries in Sippar, Larsa, and Harbidum. In Mari She seems to have been very popular and many women were called after Her, but She is well attested in personal names in Babylonia generally up to the late Kassite period. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet II, col. v.28) it says: ‘For Ishara the bed is made’ and in Atra-hasis (I 301-304) She is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.'” [1]

Also seen as Isara and Ishkhara; “the Hittites called ‘queen of the mountains'”. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Isara“.

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

 

 

Wikipedia, “Ishara“.

Suggested Links:

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia.

Jordan, Michael. Encyclopedia of Gods, “Isara“.

Mark, Joshua J. Ancient.eu.com, “The Mesopotamian Pantheon“.

McMahon, Gregory; Gary M. Beckman; & Richard Henry Beal. Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

Murat, Leyla. Turkleronline.net, “Goddess Ishara“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Mediterranean“.

Wikipedia, “Hittite laws“.

Wikipedia, “Hittite mythology“.

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