Meet the Goddesses - Inanna (by Jenna)
If you had to read the epic Gilgamesh in a literature course, you may already have met Inanna. She is a Sumerian Goddess (Babylonian/Akkadian name Ishtar) who plays a small role with big consequences for the hero and his nemesis.
Her role in Sumerian culture is much larger than that. She is a perfect Goddess for the month of February. Her lovemaking with Dumuzi on the fields of Sumeria ensured that the crops would be plentiful. Her priestesses served her in the temple. I don’t like the term sacred “prostitutes”, because of the derogatory connotation of the word in our culture. They were sacred women who served in the Temple. They loved their Goddess, and dedicated their pleasure, and that of their mates to Inanna.
She was more than just a pretty face. Originating in the Heavens, she brought civilization to Earth. She is often called the Queen of Heaven. But in order just to know, she visited the underworld where her sister ruled. Her sister killed her and hung her on meat hooks. But other deities came to her rescue.
The famous poem Descent of the Goddess is her story, written in Sumeria in about 1900 to 1600 BCE. This makes her an appropriate Goddess to worship at the mystery of the Dark Moon.
I always worship her at the First Quarter Moon because she is not quite Maiden, but not Mother either. She is Divine, She is royal, She is Queen. Cedar, juniper, and cypress are good fragrances from ancient Sumeria. I have added dates and flax seed to an incense for her. But you might just want to offer her dates (Yum.) These are historically appropriate for her worship. At my First Quarter Moon ritual to her, I have been guided to use vervain for her earthiness and yarrow for her independence. Maybe you will use something different.
I think of her as a Queen and as a Lover. Not just a lover of a man (she eventually sent Dumuzi to the Underworld to take her place because he was so unconcerned about her when she was going through hell.) But as Lover of her people, to whom she brought civilization and community. And a Lover of Knowing, wanting to know the Underworld so badly that she undertook the treacherous journey there.
Celebrate her with Lapis Lazuli. Inanna was the first goddess I worked with. In my first meditation with her, I saw her in a temple. She told me to buy a Lapis Lazuli pendant which I still have nearly 20 years later. I wear it when I am serving as High Priestess for one of my communities.
She is certainly a Goddess who won’t tolerate disrespect from a man. (Look what happened to Dumuzi.) She is one who cares about her people, and any prayers or magic for a group or community would benefit from her energy. Intentions for beauty or love are also under her domain. She listens to her people. One of her gifts (from an ancient hymn to her) celebrates that she brings the gift of Audience, that is, the gift of listening to us mortals.
(Jenna plans to introduce a different goddess each month.)