I am Asushunamir. It is my honor to relate what
I know of my precious Goddess Inanna. But who I am is not important
at this moment, and shall be revealed later. For I do not come
before the Goddess, Blessed Inanna whom I serve. This is Her story,
a story I am honored to have played a small part.
She is a Sumerian Goddess, born of the Moon Goddess
Ningal and Her consort Sin/Nanna. She is also considered daughter
of the Sky God An. She would later be known as Ishtar of the Babylonian
pantheon. Her brother is Utu, God of Sun and Justice; Her sister
is Ereshkigal, Goddess of the Underworld.
She is known as the Mother of all things, Queen
of Heaven and Earth, being both an Earth Goddess and a Moon Goddess.
She is the Goddess of love, and war, sexuality, fertility, birth,
and nature. She is most often depicted as the Earth Mother completely
naked, with both hands cupped underneath her breasts pushing slightly
upward, shown to illustrate Her offering the world sustenance,
along with a reminder that without Her there will be no life.
Her animal is the lion, and in Her dark aspect the scorpion. She
can also be seen with wings and serpents adorning her shoulders,
and seen as well with the double-headed axe representing her power
both to bestow, and take life. Her symbol is the eight-pointed
She is known for her great love and kindness, a
mother's love, but she is also greatly feared, and can easily
strike terror in her enemies. She would be in the middle of any
battle, and those battles were often named "…the dance of Inanna".
She also had all of nature at Her command, and could easily bring
about great storms with thunder and lightning and a deluge of
rain, as well as earthquakes that would destroy everything, or
gentle rain that nourishes and brings about growth. She could
bring about blazing heat, or a freezing chill, or gentle warmth,
and soothing coolness at Her will.
She is the Goddess of sex, and has had many consorts,
but whoa-betide the consort who disappointed Her. She would not
hesitate to wound, maim or even kill a consort who didn't live
up to his boasting, or Her expectations. This is illustrated in
the "Epic of Gilgamesh". Inanna desired Gilgamesh, but he spurned
Her by recounting all the things She had done to former lovers
and consorts, and describing Her as "…a cooking fire that goes
out in the cold; a back door that keeps out neither wind nor storm;
a palace that crushes the brave ones defending it; a well whose
lid collapses; pitch that dirties one who is carrying it; a waterskin
that soaks the one who lifts it; limestone that crumbles in the
stone wall; a battering ram that shatters in the land of the enemy;
a shoe that pinches the owner's foot!" For this great insult She
sent the "Bull of Heaven" to terrorize and destroy His city of
Erech. (Kramer 1963 p. 262) Later, She is wed to Dumuzi and from
their marriage bed springs forth life and the growth of plants
and grains. She declares herself as his battle leader, and he
is given the task of guiding the path of weapons and she gives
him power over the fertility of plants and animals.
One of the most famous, and often told stories is
"Inanna's Descent to the Nether World". It is in this story that
I, Asushunamir, play a part, and is the essence of my life, and
purpose. Inanna descended to the Nether World to witness the funeral
rites of Gugalanna, the "Bull of Heaven" and husband of Ereshkigal.
She took precautions before going, telling Her servant Ninshubur
to seek assistance from Enlil, Nanna, or Enki at their shrines,
should she not return, for Ereshkigal is Queen of the Nether World.
Upon arriving at the gate of Kur (The Nether World), Inanna is
met by Neti the gatekeeper. She would not allow Inanna to enter.
Neti conferred with Ereshkigal, and allowed the Goddess to enter
but on one condition, that at each of the seven gates of Kur,
Inanna was to give up an article of what she was wearing. Each
of these articles represented the power of Inanna. She was confident
that She would be safe, so She agreed. At the first gate he removes
her splendid crown. At the second gate he removes her necklace
with the eight-rayed star. At the third gate he removes her bracelets
of gold and lapis lazuli. At the fourth gate he removes her shoes.
At the fifth gate he removes her veil. At the sixth gate he removes
her outer robe. At the seventh gate he removes her garment. After
removing the final garment She stood naked in front of Ereshkigal,
who then fixed the eye of death upon blessed Inanna, killed Her,
and hung Her on the wall on a hook like a rotting piece of meat.
Since Inanna had not returned, her faithful servant
Ninshubur went to Enki as instructed. Enki, after hearing of this
and seeing that nothing would grow on Earth, and all things began
to die in Inanna's absence, created a being from under his fingernails,
a being of light, Asushunamir. I am this creation. I am both sexes,
male and female, and clothed in the stars. I could not be possessed
by the spell of Ereshkigal. I went into the Nether World and went
to Ereshkigal. My beauty, and my dancing, and my voice mesmerized
Ereshkigal. She called for a great feast and tried to get me to
eat and drink, but I did not eat of the meal prepared by the servants
of Ereshkigal. After a time Ereshkigal began to get careless,
so I asked if I could taste of the "Water of Life". She agreed.
Ereshkigal cried out, "Namtar, bring the jug with the water of
life. I shall grant the wish of this charming creature." When
She fell asleep, I took the "Water of Life" to where Inanna was.
I laid Her out on the floor, and sprinkled the life-giving water
upon Her. She arose, and immediately headed out of the Nether
World. Upon Her return to Earth, all things began to grow. People
returned to their wine making, love making and their planting.
I followed Her closely, but was caught before being able to leave.
Ereshkigal cursed me, and neither my beauty, nor my charm, nor
my dancing or songs, could extinguish the passion that had turned
to hate. I was told that "The food of the gutter shall thou eat.
The water of the sewer shall be your drink. In the shadows you
shall abide, despised and hated by even your own kind." Then I
was banished by Ereshkigal. In the meantime the Galla, demons
of the underworld, followed Inanna out of the Netherworld. It
was required that someone takes Her place. Eventually they came
upon Demuzi, who was simply going about his everyday business.
Enraged by this seeming lack of caring, Inanna chose him to take
Her place. He was taken. Later, She regretted having him taken,
and with the intervention of his sister Geshtianna, was able to
have Demuzi released for six months out of the year and Geshtianna
would then take his place for six months.
This has created the cycle of birth, growth, maturation,
decline, and death.
As for me, when Inanna found out about the curse,
she wept and spoke softly that no one might hear. "The power of
Ereshkigal is great. No one dares to defy her. Yet I may soften
her curse upon you, as spring arrives to banish winter. Those
who are like you, my assinnu and kalum and kugarru and kalaturru,
lovers of men, kin to my sacred women, shall be strangers in their
own homes. Their families will keep them in the shadows and will
leave them nothing. The drunken shall smite them, and the mighty
shall imprison them. But if you remember me, how you were born
from the light of the stars to save me, and through me the earth,
from darkness and death, then I shall harbor you and your kind.
You shall be my favored children, and I shall make you my priestesses.
I shall grant you the gift of prophecy, the wisdom of the earth
and the moon and all that they govern, and you shall banish illness
from my children, even as you have stolen me from the clutches
"And when you dress in my robes, I shall dance
in your feet and sing in your throats. No man shall be able to
resist your enchantments.''
"When the earthen jug is brought from Irkalla,
lions shall leap in the deserts, and you shall be freed from the
spell of Ereshkigal. Once more you will be called Asushunamir,
a being clothed in light. Your kind shall be called Those Whose
Faces Are Brilliant, Those Who Have Come to Renew the Light, The
Blessed of Inanna.'' (http://www.aztriad.com/kalum.html)
Blessed Be Inanna, So Mote It Be