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Goddess of Sumer
The goddess Inanna,
called the Queen of Heaven in Ancient Sumer and the progenitor of
the goddesses Venus and Aphrodite, tricked the God of Wisdom into giving her his
special tools, including the valuable Tablets of
Destiny, which gave her great powers.
Although Inanna was now
very powerful, she also felt very lonely. But she soon had two
suitors—one was a farmer named Enki (short for Enkidu) and the other
was Dumuzi, a shepherd.
Both gave her beautiful gifts, but Dumuzi's sumptuously soft woolens
gave him a distinct edge.
Inanna was worried about her sister Eriskegal decided to visit the Underworld to see her.
Eriskegal's husband, who was the God of Death had recently deserted
her. Though the goddess Inanna felt concerned about her sister, she
dreaded the trip. After all, the two sisters had never gotten along
When Inanna arrived at each
of the seven gates of the Underworld, the gatekeeper would demand
that she leave one of her garments and required her to leave
her jewels, and even her crown.
When she finally
saw her sister, the goddess stood
before her, naked and vulnerable. And Eriskegal was angry with her,
feeling that Inanna had not been supportive of her. Why she hadn't
even visited before now. So Eriskegal flew into a rage and
killed her on the spot.
Inanna had been foresighted enough to advise
her servant that if she did not come back, he should mount a rescue
attempt. When she didn't appear, he appealed to Enki, her
sculpted two tiny creatures from the clay beneath his
fingernails and sent them into the Underworld with the servant
and carrying magical substances called the
Food and Water of Life.
Upon their arrival in the Underworld, the servant asked for Inanna's body and
the creatures fed the lifeless Inanna the Food and Water of
Life, magically returning her to life. Inanna then requested
that she be allowed to return to the world and her sister consented.
As Inanna passed through the seven gates during
her ascent to the world,
each of her possessions was returned to her. She returned home to resume her role as
the Queen of Heaven with her crown once more upon her head.|
As part of her agreement with her sister Inanna was required
each year to descend once again into the
Underworld in order to renew her own vitality and to restore the fertility of the earth.
One of the Lessons of the
Goddess Inanna: Just as Inanna had to shed a part of her identity—something that symbolized an important role
or relationship in her life, so must we. If we are to remain
connected with our 'true' selves, our inner truth, we must divest
ourselves of our attachments to the "outer world", the
face we show to others, and instead, travel inward to find the
meaning of our lives.
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