God of the Month: Inanna (Ishtar)

ndIshtar-star-symbol-encircled.svgInanna, who is known by many names – Inana, Ishtar – is a complex Goddess. Thought to be a mixture of Sumerian and Semitic Gods, She is both the Goddess of Love and the Goddess of War. Her origin is thought to stem from the Semitic God Attar becoming Ashtar, then the female Ishtar. This Goddess merged with the Sumerian Inana of Uruk to become Inanna. She now possesses male and female qualities. In modern times, Inanna has become a part of the Goddess Religions as a Goddess of Self-Actualization and Avenger of Women who have been wronged. She can be considered a fluid Goddess, who changes through the ages for the people who revere Her.

Traditionally, Inanna has three aspects. As the Goddess of Love, She has no permanent consort but a series of lovers. Inanna governs Sex and Sexual Pleasure, and is the Patron Goddess of Prostitutes. In some Babylonian songs, She will refer to Herself as a prostitute. Some vases have been found that show Inanna receiving offerings from naked men.

Her second aspect is the Goddess of War. Inanna lusts for blood and power, and glories in battle. Sargon of Akkad had Her as his Patron riding beside him as he formed his empire. Later, his grandson, Naram-Sin often invoked Inanna for his royal power and military might in putting down rebellions.

Meanwhile, King Solomon of Israel sang:
“Who is this arising like dawn
Fair as the Moon,
Resplendent as the Sun
Terrible as an army with banners?” (Song of Songs 6:10)

Venus, the morning and evening star, is Inanna’s thirst aspect. “I am Inanna of the Sunrise,” She declares. After the sun and the moon, Venus was important in divination for the Babylonians. Depending on where Venus was, the harvest could be successful, war would break out, or famine would come. Also, Venus determined the fate of kings.

My sense of Inanna is that She is fluid. She is independent and beholden only to Herself. Passionate, Inanna freely acts on her emotions. She is worshipped for Who She is.

From the hymns, some of her titles are:
The Great-hearted Mistress
The Impetuous Lady
Proudest Among the Great Gods
Great Bull Trusting in Its Strength
Turner of Midday to Darkness, and Darkness to Light
The Lady of Heaven and Earth
Great Lady of Fearsome Powers

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2 thoughts on “God of the Month: Inanna (Ishtar)

  1. Pingback: Babylonian Gods of the Month: March | Neptune's Dolphins

  2. Pingback: Gods of Babylon of the Month: March/April | Neptune's Dolphins

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