Dee Finney's blog
start date July 20, 2011
today's date December 16, 2012
TOPIC: ISHTAR AND THE DESCENT INTO THE UNDERWORLD
12-16-12 - DREAM - I was sitting in the back seat of a car driven by my
friend Barbara. We were at a T intersection and the light was red, so we
There was no traffic at all. We were the only ones there and the law
said we could make a right turn on a red light, but Barb didn't want to move
until we had the green light, but the light didn't change, so we just sat there.
A man in work clothes came along, and he didn't want to walk in front of us
until Barb made up her mind to turn right or wait for the green light.
I joked with her and said, "Why don't you just hit the guy!"
Right after I said that, a man and woman couple came up behind the guy in
work clothes and convinced him it was safe to cross in front of us because we
weren't going anywhere until the light changed and the light wasn't changing.
So, the couple walked with him in front of our car, and then we noticed the
man was carrying a pipe about 5 feet long and about a foot across, and when they
went in front of us, they walked over to the maintenance hole that had a manhole
cover over it, to our left in the middle of the street. The couple stood
there with him while he opened the manhole cover and started to enter the
maintenance hole, and he sat on the edge of the hole and told them they would be
millionaires because they had helped him.
We just sat there astonished because we could have helped him do the same
thing and we didn't.
NOTE: FURTHUR DOWN THE PAGE, YOU WILL FIND SOME CLUES AS TO THE MEANING OF
THE DREAM WHICH WAS COMING TO ME GRADUALLY AS I RESEARCHED THE SYMBOLISM OF THE
DREAM - PARTICULARLY THE MAN WHO OPENED THE COVER OF THE MANHOLE. A CLUE
MIGHT BE IN THIS PAGE:
http://www.greatdreams.com/blog-2012/dee-blog97.html IT ALL BEGAN IN
NOTE: Joe Mason and I discovered early on into our relationship that
many of my dreams related closely to various mythological themes and this
is one of them. I will link others at the bottom of this page. Also,
we discovered more recently that I write about things just like Phillip K. Dick.
Links about him will also be at the bottom of this page.
ANU - ISHTAR -
Joe Mason told me this morning after he heard my dream:
In 1991 I had a dream about me being on a wooden structure
overlooking a beautiful blue swimming pool. A beautiful woman came along
carrying a cup of coffee on a tray and she spilled the coffee into the water of
the swimming pool.
http://www.greatdreams.com/awaken.htm About a year later, I was reading a book called, "Nicronomicon," which speaks of
some of the Babylonian myths.
One morning a voice spoke in my dream, saying, "Thanks Joe, you gave me a lot
more coffee." I knew it was Ishtar speaking from the Underworld.
It related to a story told in the book, where Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven,
traveled to the underworld. At each of the Seven Gates, she had to remove one
part of her attire, such as her crown. As she did this, she lost her power.
She was captured by the Evil Goddess of the Underworld.
She is naked and bleeding, draped over a tree. The Father God, Anu, worked to
rescue Ishtar by fashioning two Elementals, the Water of Life and the Clay of
Life. The two Elementals cleverly worked their way down through the Seven
Gates, and sprinkled the Water and Clay of Life upon Ishtar.
This enabled her to climb back up the Seven Rungs of the Ladder of Light,
retrieving her attire and power, to become Queen of Heaven once again.
THE DESCENT OF ISHTAR TO THE UNDERWORLD
The ratchet type crop circle formation that appeared at Ripley, near
Bournemouth, Dorset around 17 April 2005, may be related to other formations and
symbols of similar importance.
There are two ratchets of eight steps each. If the center of the circle is
counted, there are nine steps each. This seems to fit with the mythic idea of
the descent into the Underworld, followed by the ascent back out. The
Underworld may actually be a reference to our world, and the metaphor refers to
our path of incarnating.
The steps down to and out of Hades are usually given as seven. Perhaps the
oldest such story is the descent of Ishtar into the Underworld.
in 1991, I had a dream about my
"Oversoul" that I put in the Christmas Dream article --
Red triangles shot out of a central point in all directions, then blue ones did
the same. An incredibly bright, pure white light began to shine from a single
point and expand from the center of the triangles. The shadow of a human form
took shape before the light.
This is part
of my "Oversoul" dream that I put in the Christmas Dream article --
Red triangles shot out of a central point in all directions, then blue ones did
the same. An incredibly bright, pure white light began to shine from a single
point and expand from the center of the triangles. The shadow of a human form
took shape before the light.
I knew the shadow man was my Oversoul. He told me that he could not help me in
my life path, that I would have to figure it out on my own.
That is the only dream I have ever had of my Oversoul.
Old Babylonian period Queen
often considered to represent
an aspect of Ishtar.
Ishtar (pronounced /ˈɪʃtɑːr/; Transliteration: DIŠTAR; Akkadian: ; Sumerian )
is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess
of fertility, war, love,
and sex. She
is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and
to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte.
Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred
holy city Uruk was
called the "town of the sacred courtesans"; and she herself was the
"courtesan of the gods". Ishtar
had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,
"Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her
passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for
the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native
vigour: they fell into traps laid
by men or were domesticated by them. 'Thou has loved the lion, mighty in
strength', says the hero Gilgamesh to
Ishtar, 'and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved
the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the
the goad and
Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had
god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh—this love caused
the death of Tammuz.
Ishtar was the daughter of Ninurta. She
was particularly worshipped at the Assyrian cities
of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela (Erbil).
Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed
In the Babylonian pantheon,
she "was the divine personification of the planet Venus".
One of the most famous myths about
Ishtar describes her descent to the underworld. In this myth, Ishtar approaches
the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them:
If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.
The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal,
the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter,
but "according to the ancient decree".
The gatekeeper lets Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At
each gate, Ishtar has to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passes
the seventh gate, she is naked. In rage, Ishtar throws herself at Ereshkigal,
but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to
imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her.
After Ishtar descends to the underworld, all sexual activity ceases on earth.
The god Papsukal reports
the situation to Ea,
the king of the gods. Ea creates an intersex being
called Asu-shu-namir and sends it to Ereshkigal, telling it to invoke "the name
of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of
life. Ereshkigal is enraged when she hears Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she has
to give it the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkles Ishtar with this water,
reviving her. Then Ishtar passes back through the seven gates, getting one
article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the
Here there is a break in the text of the myth, which resumes with the following
If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release,
To Tammuz, the lover of her youth,
Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil;
With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis
That the votaries may cheer his liver. [his spirit]
Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure,
With precious stones filled her bosom.
When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure,
She scattered the precious stones before her,
"Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish!
On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli,
playing it for me with the porphyry
Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women!
That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense
Formerly, scholars believed
that the myth of Ishtar's descent took place after the death of Ishtar's lover,
Tammuz: they thought Ishtar had gone to the underworld to rescue Tammuz.
However, the discovery of a corresponding myth about
Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar, has thrown some light on the myth of
Ishtar's descent, including its somewhat enigmatic ending lines. According to
the Inanna myth, Inanna can only return from the underworld if she sends someone
back in her place. Demons go with her to make sure she sends someone back.
However, each time Inanna runs into someone, she finds him to be a friend and
lets him go free. When she finally reaches her home, she finds her husband
Dumuzi (Babylonian Tammuz) seated on his throne, not mourning her at all. In
anger, Inanna has the demons take Dumuzi back to the underworld as her
replacement. Dumuzi's sister Geshtinanna is
grief-stricken and volunteers to spend half the year in the underworld, during
which time Dumuzi can go free. The Ishtar myth presumably had a comparable
ending, Belili being the Babylonian equivalent of Geshtinanna. There
are of course interesting parallels in the Graeco-Roman myths of Orpheus and
The lion was her symbol (detail of the Ishtar
of Gilgamesh contains an episode involving
Ishtar which portrays her as bad-tempered, petulant and spoiled by her father.
She asks the hero Gilgamesh to
marry her, but he refuses, citing the fate that has befallen all her many
Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz,
the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year.
You loved the many-coloured Lilac-breasted
Roller, but still you struck and broke his wing [...] You have loved
the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven.
You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you
decreed the whip and spur and a thong [...] You have loved the shepherd
of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids
for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own
herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks."
Angered by Gilgamesh's refusal, Ishtar goes up to heaven and complains to her
father the high god Anu that
Gilgamesh has insulted her. She demands that Anu give her the Bull
of Heaven. Anu points out that it was her fault for provoking Gilgamesh, but
she warns that if he refuses, she will do exactly what she told the gatekeeper
of the underworld she would do if he didn't let her in:
If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven [then] I will break in
the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion [i.e.,
mixing] of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall
bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead
will outnumber the living."
Anu gives Ishtar the Bull of Heaven, and Ishtar sends it to attack Gilgamesh and
his friend Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill
the Bull and offer its heart to the sun-god Shamash.
While Gilgamesh and Enkidu are resting, Ishtar stands upon the walls of the
city (which is Uruk)
and curses Gilgamesh. Enkidu tears off the Bull's right thigh and throws it in
Ishtar's face, saying, "If I could lay my hands on you, it is this I should do
to you, and lash your entrails to your side." (Enkidu
later dies for this impiety.) Then Ishtar called together "her people, the
dancing and singing girls, the prostitutes of the temple, the courtesans," and
had them mourn for the Bull of Heaven.
Like Ishtar, the Greek Aphrodite and
Northwestern Semitic Astarte were
love goddesses who were "as cruel as they were wayward". Donald
A. Mackenzie, an early popularizer of mythology, draws a parallel between
the love goddess Aphrodite and her "dying
god" lover Adonis on
one hand, and the love goddess Ishtar and her "dying god" lover Tammuz on the
scholars have suggested that
the myth of Adonis was derived in post-Homeric times by the Greeks
indirectly from Mesopotamia (Assyria and Babylonia) through the Western
Semites, the Semitic title 'Adon', meaning 'lord', having been mistaken
for a proper name. This theory, however, cannot be accepted without
Joseph Campbell, a more
recent scholar of comparative
mythology, equates Ishtar, Inanna, and Aphrodite, and he draws a parallel
between the Egyptian goddess Isis who
and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar who nurses the god Tammuz.
Ishtar appears in the movies Blood
Feast (1963) and Blood
Diner (1987), although she is
referred to as an Egyptian god. The sequel to Blood Feast, Blood
Feast 2: All U Can Eat(2002) also features Ishtar, but it is explained that
she is Babylonian, even
though "everyone seems to think she's Egyptian."
In the book and movie Generation
P by Viktor Pelevin, Ishtar and
her legends are one of the main storylines.
Ishtar is also a love interest for Destruction of The
Endless in Neil
Gaiman's Sandman comic
In the movie The
Mole People (1956), some
explorers find an ancient Sumerian people
living underneath a mountain, and the people think that Ishtar has sent the
John (2004). "Does
the Old Testiment Refer to Sacred Prostitution and Did It Actual Exist in
Ancient Israel?". In McCarthy, Carmel; Healey, John F.. Biblical
and Near Eastern Essays: Studies in Honour of Kevin J. Cathcart.
Cromwell Press. pp. 2–21. ISBN 0-8264-6690-7. pp.
Nagendra Kr (1997). Divine
Prostitution. New Dehli: APH Publishing. pp. 4–6. ISBN 81-7024-821-3.
^ a b c d e f Guirand,
Jeremy and Green, Anthony (1992). Gods,
Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. ISBN
0-292-70794-0 pp. 156,
and Kramer, p. 52–89
^ a b Gilgamesh,
^ a b Mackenzie,
Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of
God: Occidental Mythology. New York: Penguin, 1976.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. Trans. N. K. Sandars. Harmondsworth: Penguin,
Guirand, Felix. "Assyro-Babylonian Mythology". New
Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (trans.
Aldington and Ames, London: Hamlyn, 1968), pp. 49–72.
Jastrow, Morris. "Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World" (The
Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, 1915). Sacred-Texts. 2 June
Kirk, G. S. Myth: Its Meaning
and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures. Berkeley: Cambridge UP,
Mackenzie, Donald A. Myths
of Babylonia and Assyria. London: Gresham, 1915.
Wilkinson, Philip. Illustrated
Dictionary of Mythology. NY: DK, 1998.
Wolkstein and Kramer. Inanna:
Queen of Heaven and Earth. New York: Harper & Row, 1983.
- Holy Bible: King James Version. Thomas
Nelson INC. Camden, 1972.
GILGAMESH AND ISHTAR
Tablet VI and Tablet VII
Upon his return to Uruk Gilgamesh bathes
his body and dons a clean robe and cloak, and anoints himself with oil. His
appearance is so attractive that Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, is
overcome with lust. She pleads with Gilgamesh to be her husband. She promises
him vast riches if he impregnates her. She tells him they will live together in
a house made of cedar, and that she will give him a lapis lazuli chariot with
Gilgamesh pointedly refuses her advances. He says he has nothing to offer her,
since, as a goddess, she has everything she could ever want. He tells her he
knows of the fate of her other human lovers, and is aware of how fickle her love
can be. Gilgamesh recounts the story of Tammuz, the shepherd, who was a captive
in the underworld and is mourned in festivals every year. Another shepherd she
loved became a bird with broken wings, unable to fly. A goat-herder who loved
her was turned into a wolf. When her father’s gardener, Ishullanu, rejected her
advances, she turned him into a frog. Gilgamesh asks why he should expect to be
treated any better.
Ishtar is furious. She goes to her father,Anu,
and mother, Antum, and demands that they let her use the Bull of Heaven to
punish Gilgamesh. Her father refuses, stating that what Gilgamesh said was true.
Ishtar is only further enraged. She threatens to free the dead from the
underworld so they can feast on the living. Anu warns her that the bull will
also bring a famine. Ishtar assures him that she has made provisions for the
people and the flocks of Uruk, and he gives in.
Ishtar unleashes the Bull of Heaven. The city of Uruk trembles as, bellowing and
snorting, it comes down from the sky. A crack opens up in the earth, and one
hundred men fall into it and die. Again the bull bellows and again the ground
cracks open. One hundred more men are swallowed up. The third time this happens, Enkidu attacks
the bull. The bull slobbers all over him and whips him with its tail, coated in
excrement. Enkidu grabs it by its horns and wrestles with it. He calls out to
Gilgamesh, who joins him, and they fight the bull together. At last, Enkidu
seizes its filthy tail and holds the monster still so that Gilgamesh can thrust
his sword between its shoulders and kill it. The heroes then cut out its heart
and offer it as a sacrifice to Shamash the
Ishtar appears on the walls of the city and curses the two friends. Enkidu picks
up one of the bull’s bloody haunches and hurls it at her. He threatens that if
she were closer, he would do the same to her. While Ishtar and her followers,
the temple prostitutes, mourn the bull, Gilgamesh gathers his craftsmen and
shows them how beautifully the gods had made the creature, how thickly its horns
were coated with lapis lazuli. Gilgamesh removes the horns and fills them with
oil, which he offers in sacrifice to his father, Lugulbanda. Then he hangs them
on the wall of his palace as a trophy.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu again bathe and wash the bull’s blood from their bodies in
the Euphrates. That night, Enkidu has a dream that the gods are meeting in
council. He awakens suddenly and asks Gilgamesh why the gods would do this.
Tablet VII introduces more details regarding Enkidu's dream. In it, the gods are
angry with him and Gilgamesh and they meet to decide what should be done with
them. Anu, Ishtar’s father, decrees that someone must be punished for killing
Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. Only one of the companions, however, must die. Enlil,
Humbaba’s master and the god of earth, wind, and air, feels that Enkidu should
be the one to die. Shamash, the sun god, defends the heroes, saying that he had
influenced their actions in the Cedar Forest. Enlil is angered and accuses
Shamash of taking their side and behaving like a mortal instead of a god.
Therefore, it is decided that Enkidu must die.
Soon thereafter, Enkidu becomes ill, proving the dream true. Burdened with
regret, Enkidu curses Shamhat for
civilizing him. He curses the cedar gate that he and Gilgamesh brought back from
the Cedar Forest. He states that he would have cut it to pieces with an axe if
he had known this would happen. Gilgamesh promises his friend that he will build
him an even greater monument than the cedar gate. He will erect an enormous
statue of Enkidu, made entirely of gold.
Enkidu curses the trapper who first spotted him at the watering hole and says he
hopes his hunting pits are filled in and his traps are unset. Shamash, hearing
Enkidu’s cries, finally answers. He asks why Enkidu curses the harlot, since if
it had not been for her, Enkidu would have never tasted the rich foods of the
palace, never worn beautiful clothes, and never known Gilgamesh’s friendship.
Shamash tells Enkidu that when he dies, Gilgamesh will wander the earth, undone
by grief. Enkidu is comforted by Shamash’s words and retracts his curse,
offering a blessing instead for Shamhat.
The next morning, lying on his deathbed, Enkidu tells Gilgamesh of another
terrible dream. In the dream, he was all alone on a dark plain, and a man with a
lion’s head and an eagle’s talons seized him. He fought this creature, but it
overpowered him and changed him into a birdlike creature. Then he was dragged
down to the underworld. There he saw kings, gods, and priests, all of them
dressed in feathers. All of them were living in total darkness. They ate dirt
instead of food. Queen Ereshkigal, the ruler of the underworld, sat on her
throne, and Belit-Seri, the scribe of the gods, whose tablet tells everyone’s
fate, knelt before her. Enkidu says the queen looked at them and asked who led
them there. Enkidu tells Gilgamesh that he would have been blessed if he had
died in battle, because those who die in battle die a glorious death. Enkidu’s
condition slowly worsens and he suffers for twelve days before he dies.
Tablet VI reveals a great deal about the importance of Ishtar, the goddess of
love, and her mortal lovers. In response to Ishtar’s advances, Gilgamesh
explains he knows all about her past human lovers who became animals—a shepherd
who was changed into a broken-winged bird, a goat herder who became a wolf, a
gardener who became a frog. In particular, Gilgamesh mentions Tammuz, a mortal
shepherd who becomes a god after his relationship with Ishtar. After his death,
he goes to the underworld. Reasons for his death vary from translation to
translation, but Ishtar is generally at fault in most traditions.
rejection of Ishtar is infuriating to her but also embarrassing.
He states aloud the truth about her reputation. Ishtar appears
to be more insulted by the revelation of this information than
she is by Gilgamesh’s initial rejection. When Anu, her father,
comments that everything Gilgamesh asserted is true, Ishtar’s
reaction betrays her feelings. She is, after all, the goddess of
love. To have her divine reputation questioned in this manner is
extremely insulting but also threatening.
of Ishtar’s ex-lovers suggests that Ishtar knows little of love,
and perhaps that she should not be worshipped as she currently
is. This is no small matter considering that Uruk holds a temple
for Ishtar at its very center. Gilgamesh is taking a grave risk
by speaking this way to Ishtar. He is challenging the authority
of the gods and questioning their very place in a power
structure he has heretofore helped to maintain.
The Bull of Heaven is
sometimes also called Gugalanna. Gugulanna was the first husband
of Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Netherworld. Ishtar’s
emotionally charged decision to use the Bull of Heaven to punish
Gilgamesh is met with skepticism by Anu, her father. He agrees
with Gilgamesh’s assessment of Ishtar’s reputation, further
enraging her. She counters with a serious threat: to release the
dead into the land of the living. Anu relents but is concerned
about the destruction the Bull will bring. Ishtar tells him she
has made provisions to see the people through a period of
drought. The distinction that the responsible party should be
punished, rather than innocent bystanders, for his insults is
revisited in in the
story of the flood in a later tablet. Although Anu and Ishtar
are engaged in a heated conversation, both are aware of their
responsibilities as gods and the power that they can wield.
and Enkidu defeat the Bull of Heaven, Ishtar curses them from
the walls of the city. Enkidu tears of a haunch of the Bull and
throws it at her, telling her he would do the same to her if he
could. This compounds their insult against Ishtar and more
directly implicates Enkidu’s involvement. Gilgamesh takes the
Bull’s horns to the craftsmen of Uruk. They marvel at how they
were made and at how beautiful they are. He hangs them as a
trophy for his chambers. His pride over his accomplishments can
be interpreted as a certain lack of respect towards the divine.
The Bull of Heaven is a divine instrument, but Gilgamesh slays
it and dismantles the body. Both heroes seem to have forgotten
Gilgamesh return to bathe in the Euphrates after their victory.
The people of Uruk celebrate their conquests and Gilgamesh
boasts that he and Enkidu are best. This final bit of hubris is
soon met with a foreboding dream that Enkidu has. In it the gods
are meeting together in council. Enkidu awakens and asks
Gilgamesh why they would be doing this. Enkidu seems to have
suddenly realized the possibility of severe repercussions for
their actions. It is notable that Gilgamesh, who has had many
dreams of events to come, does not dream of this event. His
ignorance on this matter foreshadows how shaken he will be by
Enkidu’s death. It is also the first dream that either hero has
that is not metaphorical in nature. As Tablet VII will show, the
gods do actually convene to discuss the actions of the two
The decision by
the gods to punish Enkidu introduces another theme in the epic:
the gods can and will act without explanation or reason. Some
translations state that Gilgamesh’s semi-divine nature is a
factor in their decision to spare him and select Enkidu for
death. This theme is visited again when Utnapishtim tells
Gilgamesh of the Flood brought upon humanity without
explanation. The irony of this behavior is that the gods punish
the heroes for their behavior while rarely justifying their own.
Ishtar becomes jealous and vengeful and releases the Bull of
Heaven. Her target is Gilgamesh but hundreds die before Enkidu
is able to subdue the Bull, yet there are no repercussions for
Ishtar’s decisions and she does not exhibit remorse for the men
that died. The gods answer only to one another, not to another
higher being, so their power is largely unchecked.
Enkidu curses his
predicament by blaming Shamhat and the trapper. Because of them,
he contends, he was removed from the wilderness where he was
content and put on a path leading to his eventual downfall. The
knowledge he has gained through his civilization has augmented
his suffering rather than helped subdue it. It is possible that
the authors were using this as an analogy about what was then
modern urban life. The life of animals may have appeared to be
far less complex and more easily enjoyed. It also again reflects
the Biblical metaphor of Eden. Had humanity been able to stay in
Eden, none of us would have to know suffering.
Enkidu’s cries and comforts him by reminding Enkidu that if not
for Shamhat and the trapper, Enkidu would not have tasted the
best that civilization has to offer. He would also never have
met his friend Gilgamesh. He tells Enkidu, essentially, that he
is beloved by Gilgamesh and that when he passes away Gilgamesh
will be full of sorrow. Although Enkidu’s demise is still
imminent, he is comforted by Shamash’s words. He realizes that
he has enjoyed some of the most important things in life, namely
love and friendship. He recants his curse and offers a blessing
instead for Shamhat. This suggests that curses and blessings
carried great weight in the ancient Mesopotamian world. Such
words were not invoked lightly, and, if uttered, were believed
to have consequences. Finally, having attained some sense of
peace, Enkidu passes away, leaving Gilgamesh alone. The lesson
now imparted to Gilgamesh is that despite his great strength and
reputation, death is inescapable.
The Epic of Gilgamesh Essays and Related Content
OTHER RELATIONSHIPS OF ISHTAR
Also known as:Inanna, Innin
Associated Abilities: Art, Athletics, Command, Empathy, Melee, Presence
Associated Epic Attributes:Appearance Charisma Manipulation Wits
Associated Purviews:Chaos Sky Stars War
Rivals: Aphrodite Erzulie The Morrigan Tlazolteotl
The Queen of Heaven, Ishtar is a living conundrum, a powerful, nurturing
and regal figure and at the same time a fractious, fiery source of conflict.
Goddess of the stars and night sky, she is also a storm-bringer like her
forbears, liable to unleash her destructive fury in hurricane winds when angered
(and, unfortunately, it is not difficult to upset her). She is also a martial
goddess, a figure prayed to by ancient warriors to sow confusion and distress
amongst their opponents on the battlefield yet she is above all things the goddess of love and pleasure, patron and
protector of lovers, prostitutes and anyone else who seeks the delights of the
flesh without remorse. Despite her quicksilver temperament, Ishtar is well-loved
by the rest of her pantheon (especially Tammuz and the great Anu himself, her
two husbands), and they are quick to take her side in her many quarrels, more
often than not.
Ishtar and Tammuz
Seeing that she was unruly and hoping that marriage would tame her, Ishtar's
brother Shamash encouraged her to marry Tammuz, the god of shepherds, who was
smitten with her beauty. Ishtar, however, spurned Tammuz in favor of a farm-god,
claiming that he was more refined and richer than the humble Tammuz. When he
heard this, Tammuz told her forthrightly that his blood was every bit as noble
and divine as hers and that she should not say such things; Ishtar was intrigued
since no man had ever spoken back to her in such a manner, and after further
encouragement from her mother agreed to marry him. Tammuz took Ishtar to his
home for their wedding night and their lovemaking was so fertile that it caused
all the lands for miles around to burst into sudden, lush life.
Ishtar and Enki
Though Ishtar could have any man she wished, she had never been able to seduce
her father-in-law Enki because of his great wisdom and power. Irritated by this
failure, she perfumed and dressed herself and went to his house to conquer him;
being wise, Enki knew what she had in mind and refused politely, instead
providing her with wine and beer to make her pleasantly drunk and forget her
errand. Enki himself drank with her and became drunk, but Ishtar cleverly
avoided becoming too tipsy, and once she saw that the god was reeling she spoke
sweetly to him. In his drunkenness, Enki gave Ishtar his 'me' ( the powers of his civilization), and as soon as he passed out she ran to her home
city and bestowed all of his powers upon the humans there. Enki was distressed
when he awoke to find that she was now equal in power to him, but since he had
given her his power of his own free will, he was forced to admit that she had
gotten the best of him in order to convince her to return it.
Ishtar and Gilgamesh
When Ishtar spied the hero Gilgamesh, she was impressed by his prowess and
handsomeness and descended to earth in all her glory to ask him to be her
husband. She was shocked when he refused, and furious when he said that he would
never be so foolish since every man she took as a lover met with grief.
Returning to heaven, she went before Anu and demanded that he give her the Bull
of Heaven, Gugalanna, so that she could punish Gilgamesh; Anu pointed out that
she had provoked the hero in the first place, but she threatened to destroy the
gates of the Underworld if he did not relent. She immediately sent Gugalanna to
destroy Gilgamesh, but he and Enkidu killed the bull-god and insulted Ishtar,
saying they would do the same to her if they were able. Shocked by her failure,
Ishtar cursed Gilgamesh to a tragic end and retreated.
Ishtar and Ereshkigal
Though she had caused the death of her sister's husband, Ishtar refused to
apologize and instead determined to journey to the Underworld and take its
throne, proving to its mistress that she was the greater of the two. She was
successful in threatening the gatekeeper to let her in, but as soon as she did
she was slowly stripped of her powers and garments by Ereshkigal's servants,
finally arriving in the throne room naked and weak. Infuriated by such
treatment, she threatened and insulted her sister, but realized too late that
she could not overcome her in her place of power and was killed. At her death,
all sex and procreation on the earth ceased, all living things no longer able to
take joy in it now that Ishtar was gone.
Seeing this and concerned for the future of mankind, the gods consulted
with Enki, who created a servant named Asushunamir to descend to the Underworld
and plead for Ishtar's release. Knowing that she would not agree, Enki also sent
the Water of Life with the servant, who surreptitiously sprinkled it on Ishtar
and restored her to life. Ereshkigal was furious at this duplicity but, under
pressure from the other gods, was forced to release Ishtar; she stipulated,
however, that Ishtar must find someone to take her place in order to remain free
of the realm of death, and sent an army of demons from the Underworld with her
to ensure that she made a decision.
Humiliated and upset by the incident, Ishtar ascended back to the heavens, but
every person she met in her journeys extolled her beauty or spoke to her
lovingly, causing her to be unwilling to choose any of them to consign to the
Underworld. Finally she reached her own house, and when she entered found Tammuz
there, sleeping peacefully with the remains of his meal nearby. Furious that he
was apparently not mourning her loss, Ishtar struck him and gave him to the
demons to take her place in the Underworld to punish him.
THE GREEK QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD WAS PERSEPHONE
In the Homeric poems Persephone
is the real ruler of the underworld,
the terrible "Queen of
the Shades", and Hades doesn't have authorities on the souls of the underworld...
THE GREEK KING OF THE UNDERWORLD WAS HADES
HAIDES (Aides, Aidoneus, or
Hades) was the King of
the god of death and the dead. He presided over funeral rites and defended
the right of ...
In Mesopotamian mythology,
Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. "great lady under earth") was the goddess of
Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld.
ERESHIGAL'S CONSORT WAS NERGAL (UR-NAMMA (U)
Although the preface directly
credits the laws to king Ur-Nammu
of Ur (2112–2095 BC),... The
prologue, typical of Mesopotamian law
codes, invokes the deities for Ur-Nammu's .... "Der
Kodex Urnamma (CU):
Versuch einer Rekonstruktion.
SEE: IT ALL BEGAN IN UR