(Special post) The Goddess Inanna: Her Allies and Opponents by Hearth Moon Rising

Inanna with her priestess. Circa 2300 B.C.E. Photo Courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Inanna with her priestess. Circa 2300 B.C.E. Photo Courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld is one of the most fascinating myths ever told. Not just because it is profound and enlightening, although it is certainly that. It’s an exciting journey that ignites the imagination, and female characters are at the hub of the action.

This is a tale of power: power that is demanded, power that is won, power that is appropriated, and power that cannot be escaped. The story follows the fertility goddess Inanna, who brought civilization to Mesopotamia, as she seeks to expand her realm by venturing into the world below. Inanna’s experiences in the great below, her escape, and the wild events that unfold as a result of her caper are the focus of the tale.

Here is the cast of major characters:

Inanna, Queen of Heaven
All the riches of Mesopotamia flow through her, but she also wants to be Queen of Hell. Inanna is plucky, determined, and audacious – yet her immense ambition remains tempered by compassion.

There is debate over whether this relief depicts Inanna or Erishkegal. Circa 1800 B.C.E

There is debate over whether this relief depicts Inanna or Ereshkigal. Circa 1800 B.C.E

Ereshkigal, Queen of Hell
The dead have nothing to lose, but she’s scary enough to keep them in line. This is her territory Inanna’s encroaching on.

Dumuzi, The Divine Consort
Inanna calls him her “honey man,” and “the one my womb loves best,” but he commits a transgression against her just at the time she needs a sacrificial lamb.

Enlil, The Righteous God
A stickler for regulations. Things aren’t being played by the book, and he’s not about to step in and rescue.

Enki, The Destiny Maker
He’s a crafty one, but Inanna’s survival just might come down to getting him on her side.

The Gallas
The henchmen of Ereshkigal, who do her bidding on earth. They desire no possessions, take no bribes, have no relatives, feel no hunger, experience no sexual urges. Completely incorruptible.

Ninshubur, Priestess of Inanna
Inanna trusts this woman with her life. A lot is riding on Ninshubur, but can she deliver?

Geshtinanna, Sister of Dumuzi
Somebody find this lady a Codependents Anonymous meeting.

Really, I’m surprised this story hasn’t been ruined with a Hollywood movie: it has all the elements. In the class we will stay true to the text, yet we will certainly have a good time.

Emerging Interpretations of Inanna’s Descent
A class with Hearth Moon Rising
April 26 – July 26, 2015
http://magoacademy.org

Hearth Moon Rising was ordained Priestess of Ishtar through the Fellowship of Isis in 1990. She is the author of the book Invoking Animal Magic: A guide for the Pagan priestess. http://invokinganimalmagic.com She blogs at http://hearthmoonblog.com

Read Meet Mago Contributor Hearth Moon Rising.

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