The Goddess Inanna
"The Queen of
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You are about to enter the shrine of the ancient sumerian goddess Inanna.
(Entrance at the bottom of this page)
First you shall have and read some information on this goddess of old,
so that you approach her in the appropriate way.
|Other Names and Titles||Her Role|
|Relations in the Sumerian Pantheon||Her Signs and Symbols|
|Her Image Representation||Cult Centers|
|Click here to have only a short info about her.||Her Hymns (lots of texts)|
|Another Article about Inanna||And now enter her shrine|
Other Names and Titles
Like many goddesses she who's name means
"Queen of Heaven"
had many names which represented aspects of her power and glory.
Other spelling of Inanna: Innin, Innini,
Nin-me-sar-ra, the Lady of Myriad Offices / or Queen of all the Me
Ninsianna as the personification of the planet Venus
Nin.an.na, which means 'queen of the sky'.
Nu-ugiganna, the Hierodule of Heaven
Usunzianna, Exalted Cow of Heaven
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Relations in the Sumerian Pantheon
|Inanna is regarded as a daughter of the sky-god An.
But she was also seen as the daughter of the moon-goddess
Ningal and her consort Nanna. She is the sister of the
underworld goddess Ereschkial and of the sungod Utu.
The Sumerian great "Lady Queen of Heaven" (Ninanna) who appears in two sources: the Gilgamesh Epic, where she aids the hero and tries to seduce him, and in the Cycle of Inanna, a collection of poems concerning her relation - in life and death - to her brother and lover, the vegetation-god Dumuzi (akk. Tammuz).
Inanna figures prominently in various myths, such as 'Inanna's descent to the underworld'. (click to view the source text)
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. This myth has some relations to the Demetermyth as well as to celtic believes. The vegetation dies and gets reborn.
During the time of growth, which was in the Near-East the autumn when the first rain after the long summer fell, the people celebrated the "Holy Marriage" of Inanna and Dumuzi - yearly at the autumn equinox as the New-Year-Festival- which brought the land fertility and growth again, because Dumuzi had returned from the underworld and made love with Inanna again.
The poems story in short:
The lesson of this ritual drama for Sumerian culture was the deep realization that death is not inimical to life but an essential aspect of its totality and, indeed, the passageway to a new cycle of life. So her journey into the Netherworld was both a literal and symbolic enactment of a natural world occurrence and its mirror in the human psyche as represented by her earthly representatives: the priestesses of Sumeria.
Her Image Representation
|Inanna is portrayed as a fickle person who first attracts men and then rejects them. (See Gilgamesh-Epos) She is depicted as richly dressed goddess or as a naked woman.|
(Source: Article by Mary Lynn Schroeder)
"Lady of Myriad Offices," she acted as a
mediator of differences. Her duty is to light fires as well as put
theme out, to cause tears as well as joy, also:
"Lady of the Palace," she ruled as queen. As
"Mother of All," she was the goddess of
fertility, birth, and nature. The importance of which
shows up in the following Sumerian proverb that may be a
blessing or "toast" given to a young man by his
father or close friend:
goddess of war and strife, she held the title Nin-
kur-ra-igi-ga, "the queen who eyes the
highland" meaning that other lands feared her. Battle was called the "dance of
Inanna, and she was at the very heart of it. She was
"the star of the battle-cry, who can make brothers
who have lived together in harmony fight each
other". She is known for causing the fall of the
city of Agade:
Her Signs and Symbols
|Her symbol is the eight-pointed star.|
|Inanna was a goddess associated - in terms of symbology - with the moon, the planet Venus and the serpent. Being explicitly a goddess of sexuality and fertility, her worship included sacred prostitution.With wings and serpents adorning her shoulders we can see a trace of the ancient Neolithic Bird and Snake Goddess. The symbols of caduceus and the double-headed axe both represented her power to bestow and withdraw life.|
Relations: Inanna is regarded as a daughter of
the sky-god An, but also of the moon-god Nanna.
During and after the decline of the Sumerian
kingdom Inanna was replaced by the Semitic
goddess Ishtar, who became an incarnation of
Inanna to be invoked at Inanna's original temples
at the cities of Erech, Kish and Ur.