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Introducing Ishtar

May 24, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone!

Don’t forget, we are still offering Saturday Only Passes at a discounted rate of $35! You will be bale to experience the entirety of the event with this ticket price but the $50 weekend pass will include some extra camping fun. In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! We still have several spaces available, so if you’ve not already done so, registration links will be below this post. This week we’re going to introduce to you to Goddess Ishtar, the Morning and Evening star, goddess of fertility, love, war and sex. Continue reading on for all the fun:

ishtarIshtar, also know as Innana (Sumerian)/Ištar (Akkadian), is among the most important deities and the most important goddess in the Mesopotamian pantheon. She is primarily known as the goddess of sexual love but is equally prominent as the goddess of warfare. In her astral aspect, Inana/Ištar is the planet Venus, the morning and the evening star.

Inana/Ištar is by far the most complex of all Mesopotamian deities, displaying contradictory, even paradoxical traits. In Sumerian poetry, she is sometimes portrayed as a coy young girl under patriarchal authority (though at other times as an ambitious goddess seeking to expand her influence, e.g., in the partly fragmentary myth Inana and Enki, and in the myth Inana’s Descent to the Netherworld). Her marriage to Dumuzi (Tammuz) is arranged without her knowledge, either by her parents or by her brother Shammash. Even when given independent agency, she is mindful of boundaries: rather than lying to her mother and sleeping with Dumuzi, she convinces him to propose to her in the proper fashion.

There is, arguably, a persistent commonality between these two natures of Inana/Ištar: her sexuality. The young Inana of Sumerian poetry, who says “Plough my vulva, man of my heart” is no less desirous than the Inana/Ištar portrayed in Gilgameš: “Let us enjoy your strength, so put your hand and touch our vulva!” Accordingly, Inana/Ištar was the recipient of prayers regarding (im)potency or unrequited love. Inana/Ištar was also the patron goddess of prostitutes.

Inana/Ištar is equally fond of making war as she is of making love: “Battle is a feast to her”. The warlike aspect of the goddess tends to be expressed in politically charged contexts in which the goddess is praised in connection with royal power and military might. This is already visible in the Old Akkadian period, when Naram-Sin frequently invokes the “warlike Ištar” (aštar annunītum) in his inscriptions and becomes more prominent in the Neo-Assyrian veneration of Inana/Ištar, whose two most important aspects in this period, namely, Ištar of Nineveh and Ištar of Arbela, were intimately linked to the person of the king.

The role of the goddess in legitimizing political power was not, however, restricted to her masculine aspect as the warlike Ištar but is attested also for the sexual Inana in her female aspect. Attributed to early Sumerian history, the so-called “sacred marriage” ceremony celebrated the marriage of Inana (represented by her high priestess) and Dumuzi (represented by the ruler) during the New Year’s festival to ensure prosperity and abundance. Practiced in the late third and early second millennium BCE, the sacred marriage rite, which may have “have been only an intellectual construct, rather than an event in real life”, nevertheless served to express the relationship between the king and the divine world Accordingly, that many third-millennium rulers described themselves as her spouse, points to Inana’s significant agency in wielding political power.

A liminal, that is, in-between, role may also be ascribed to Inana/Ištar by virtue of having travelled to and back from the underworld. In her mythological descent to the netherworld, she sits on her sister Ereškigal’s throne, rouses the anger of the Anunnaki and is turned to a corpse….

To find out how Ishtar is a key to the Shapatu of Ishtar, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the IshtarFest in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. Last day for online registration to attend this event is Sunday, June 12th! If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here. Vendor application deadline is coming up soon!

Source: “Inana/Ištar (goddess).” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses -. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/inanaitar/index.html&gt;.

 

 

Introducing Tammuz

May 17, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone!

Some important information about registration has developed! We are now offering Saturday Only Passes at a discounted rate of $35! You will be bale to experience the entirety of the event with this ticket price but the $50 weekend pass will include some extra camping fun. 

In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! We still have several spaces available, so if you’ve not already done so, registration links will be below this post. This week we’re going to introduce to you to the Tammuz, Ishtar’s husband. Continue reading on for all the fun:

tammuz

Tammuz (also known as Dumuzi) was the name of an ancient Near Eastern deity who was best known for his patronage of herdsmen and his romantic entanglement with Inanna (Astarte or Ishtar). As a fertility god, he represented the insemination of the mother goddess, as well as the production of healthy children. The best-known myth of Tammuz describes his death at the hands of his lover, a punishment earned for his failure to mourn adequately when she became lost in the Underworld. The god’s sojourn among the dead was commemorated in various forms of human expression, including poetic laments and ritual practice.

Building upon the intriguing possibility that Tammuz could have been a mortal man apotheosized through the love of Ishtar/Inanna, archaeologists have recently discovered a list of Sumerian kings that includes two monarchs named Dumuzi:

  • Dumuzid of Bad-Tibira, the shepherd (reigning 36000 years), the fifth King before the Flood
  • Dumuzid of Kua, the fisherman (reigning 100 years), the third King of the first dynasty, reigning between Lugalbanda andGilgamesh the son of Lugalbanda

Other Sumerian texts showed that kings were to be married to Inanna in a mystical marriage, such as a hymn describing the mystical marriage between the goddess and King Iddid-Dagan (ca 1900 B.C.E.).

In the various mythological accounts depicting Tammuz/Dumuzi, he plays a variety of roles—from lowly shepherd to divine ruler.One relatively common element, however, is his association with various powerful Goddesses, in particular, the regal Ishtar/Inanna. As his mythical/religious import is particularly dependent upon these relationships, it follows that an exploration of these various accounts is the best way to gain insight into the god’s character.

The multifaceted relationship between Inanna and Dumuzi, which was characterized equally by sensuous, erotic love and bitter recriminations, provides fodder for a considerable body of Sumerian and Babylonian mythology.

According to the myth of Inanna’s descent to the underworld, represented in parallel Sumerian and Akkadian tablets, Inanna (Ishtar in the Akkadian texts) set off for the netherworld—the demesnes of her sister Ereshkigal—perhaps with the intention of taking it as her own. Undeterred by her sister’s exhortations to return to the world of the living, the goddess passed through seven gates, though at each one she was required to leave a garment or an ornament behind, so that when she had passed through the seventh gate she was entirely naked (and defenseless). Despite warnings about her presumption, Inanna did not turn back but dared to sit herself down on Ereshkigal’s throne. Immediately the Anunnaki of the underworld judged her, found her wanting, and transformed her into a lifeless corpse hung up on a nail. With the goddess of fertility thus imprisoned, all sexual congress throughout the universe abruptly ceased…

To find out how Tammuz is a key to the Shapatu of Ishtar, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the IshtarFest in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here. Vendor application deadline is coming up soon!

Source: “Tammuz.” – New World Encyclopedia. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Tammuz&gt;.

Introducing Erishkigal

May 10, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone!

In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! We still have several spaces available, so if you’ve not already done so, registration links will be below this post. This week we’re going to introduce to you to the Goddess Erishkigal, Ishtar’s grandmother. Continue reading on for all the fun:

ereshkigalErishkigal (Ereškigal), whose name translates as “Lady of the Great Earth”, rules the underworld. Unlike her consort Nergal, Ereškigal has a distinctly dual association with death. This is reminiscent of the contradictive nature of her sister (or in Shapatu of Ishtar’s story, her granddaughter) Ištar, who simultaneously represents opposing aspects such as male and female; love and war. In Ereškigal’s case, she is the goddess of death but also associated with birth; regarded both as mother(-earth) and a virgin.

Ereškigal is the sister of Ištar and mother of the goddess Nungal. Namtar, Ereškigal’s minister, is also her son by Enlil; and Ninazu, her son by Gugal-ana. The latter is the first husband of Ereškigal, who in later tradition has Nergal as consort. Bēlet-ṣēri appears as the official scribe for Ereškigal in the Epic of Gilgameš.

In the Sumerian poem The Death of Ur-Namma, Ereškigal is among those receiving gifts from Ur-Namma, newly arrived in the netherworld. Her co-regency of the netherworld together with Nergal begins in the Old Babylonian period. In the first millennium, her temple in Kutha is rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar. Lions, on the other hand, are well-known iconographically as attribute animals of Ištar, Ereškigal’s sister.

To find out how Erishkigal is a key to the Shapatu of Ishtar, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the IshtarFest in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here.

Are you enjoying this series thus far? Please let me know down in the comments below!

Source: “Ereškigal (goddess).” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses –. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/erekigal/index.html&gt;.

Introducing Gestishtar

May 5, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone!

In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! We still have several spaces available, so if you’ve not already done so, registration links will be below this post. This week we’re going to introduce to you to the Gestishtar, Tammuz’ loving sister. Continue reading on for all the fun:

Gestishtar, also known as Geštinanna is an early goddess from southern Mesopotamia. She is the sister of Dumuzi (Tammuz) and appears to be associated with writing and with the netherworld.

gestishtarGeštinanna’s exact functions remain unclear. It is possible that she was identified with the goddess Ama-geštin “Mother wine/vine,” but this has to remain. She is referred to as “mother” (ama) or “old/wise woman” (um-ma), and, like other goddesses, functions as a dream interpreter, while her association with the netherworld is possibly a secondary development.

In Sumerian mythology Geštinanna is considered to be the god Dumuzi’s sister. She appears in the tale Dumuzi’s Dream, a mourning song for the dead Dumuzi. The tale recounts an ominous dream, in which Dumuzi foresees his own death. Much of the tale involves Dumuzi trying to escape death in the form of demons, while his sister tries to protect him. Ultimately she is unsuccessful and Dumuzi dies. The tale Dumuzi and Geštinanna similarly recounts Dumuzi trying to escape death and his sister trying to protect him but ultimately failing.

The tale of Inana’s Descent to the Netherworld also mentions Geštinanna, though not by name. It describes how the goddess Inana decides to conquer the realm of her sister Ereškigal, the netherworld. Ultimately, Inana succeeds in her endeavor but dies, which results in procreation on earth coming to an end. The god Enki, who often functions as the helper of humankind, decides to help Inana and rescues her from death. Yet not even a goddess can escape death without consequences…

To find out how Gestishtar is a key to the Shapatu of Ishtar, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the IshtarFest in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here.

Source: “Geštinanna/Belet-ṣeri (goddess).” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses -. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/getinanna/index.html&gt;.

Introducing Ninshubur

April 29, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone!

In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! We still have several spaces available, so if you’ve not already done so, registration links will be below this post. This week we’re going to introduce to you to the Ninshubur, Ishtar’s most loyal follower and right hand man. Continue reading on for all the fun:

Ninshubur, also known as Papsukkal is an attendant deity serving higher gods as minister.
NinshuburAttendant deities such as Papsukkal were invoked to intercede with the higher gods and goddesses on behalf of human supplicants. They guarded access to higher gods, thus functioning as gate-keepers. The name of Papsukkal’s Sumerian incarnation Ig-galla is translated as “the great doorleaf” which refers–quite literally–to the door before a shrine. This would be in keeping with the role of attendant gods as controllers of access to higher deities. A deity in his own right until the Old Babylonian period, Papsukkal is merged with Ninšubur, listed in the circle of Anu as his “grand vizier”. The replacement of the latter in the Akkadian version of Ištar’s Descent suggests that perhaps the two Ninšuburs may have been merged, or at least confused. In the Old Babylonian Period, Papsukkal is distinct from Ninšubur; the two are syncretised in the Kassite period. Papsukkal of the first millennium loses much of his importance but sees a sudden cultic revival in Uruk in the Hellenistic period. The iconography of Papsukkal/Ninšubur, as known from terracotta figurines of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods, is of a standing male sporting a beard and a horned cap and holding a long staff. Such figurines were often found in temples of other deities, placed beneath cult statues, in keeping with the attendant role of the god.

To find out how Ninshubur is a key to the Ishtarfest, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the Shapatu of Ishtar in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here.

Source: “Papsukkal (god).” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses -. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/papsukkal/&gt;.

Introducing Shammash

April 20, 2016

Merry Meet Everyone,

We have some exciting news about the newest public event. IshtarFest registration is now officially open! Both vendors and interested participants are encouraged to apply and space is limited. If you have not already done so, the links to register will be immediately following this blog post.

In order to get everyone excited for IshtarFest, each week we’re going to give you bits and pieces of information about the production in hopes that each of you will have a better understanding before attending the festival! This week we’re going to introduce to you to the Shammash, the Sun God and Ishtar’s brother of Babylonian mythology. Continue reading on for all the fun:

Shammash, also known as Utu/Šamaš, is the Mesopotamian sun god who was associated with life, justice, divination and the netherworld. He is also the brother of Ishtar.

shammashShammash (Sumerian Utu) is the god of the sun. He brings light and warmth to the land, allowing plants and crops to grow. At sunrise Shammash was known to emerge from his underground sleeping chamber and take a daily path across the skies. As the sun fills the entire sky with light, Shammash oversaw everything that occurred during the daytime. He thus became the god of truth, judgments and justice. Shammash also played a role in treaties, oaths and business transactions, as he could see through deceit and duplicity.
Shammash also played an essential role in sacrificial divination (extispicy) rituals. Extispicy was an important branch of royal court scholarship in existence for over a millennium, whereby the king could receive answers from the gods to specific questions regarding matters of state. The king’s diviners (bārû) asked the gods to write the answer in the liver of a sheep, which was then ‘read’ through examining the liver and counting up its ominous features. As god of truth and justice, Shammash was implored to help provide a correct answer. A late second-millennium prayer to Shammash by a diviner asks him to guide the inquiry and to ‘let there be truth’ in their interpretations of the omens.
Shammash also played a role in the affairs of humanity. Surviving second millennium texts indicate that his assistance was sought against evil and curses. Literary texts describe his protection of the heroic kings of the city of Uruk. In the Epic of Gilgameš he assists the hero Gilgameš in defeating the monstrous Humbaba, the guardian of the Cedar Forest.

In Sumerian tradition, Utu is the son of the moon god Nanna-Suen and the twin brother ofInana. Akkadian tradition sometimes made Shammash the son of Anu or Enlil. The sun god’s wife was Aya, goddess of the dawn. Shammash is attested from the earliest periods right through the timespan of cuneiform culture. He appears in a wide range of text genres including royal prayers and hymns, divination texts, treaties and documents recording business transactions. Shammash symbol from the Akkadian period to the Neo-Babylonian period was the solar disc. It usually took the form of a four-pointed star, with curved lines emerging between each point.

Depictions of Shammash himself survive on cylinder seals, where he is sometimes shown seated and surrounded by worshippers, with his sunrays emanating from his shoulders. The sun god is also portrayed on the famous stele of King Hammurabi from 1760 BCE, which is inscribed with over 282 ‘laws’ for the unified territories of Babylonia. In the image Shammash, as god of justice, presents Hammurabi with tools for ruling justly: he passes the king a measuring rod and rope . Justice in early Mesopotamian was closely allied with the idea that fairness could be achieved through literacy, numeracy and accurate measurement. The measuring instruments are a symbol of powerful kingship, representing the ability to rule justly and fairly.…

To find out how Shammash is a key to the Shapatu of Ishtar, join us on Friday, June 17th, 2016 – Sunday, June 19th, 2016 for the Shapatu of Ishtar in Central NJ. This information is brought to you by the Hands of Change coven, a non-profit organization for Earth based spirituality. To register for this event, please click here. If you’d be interested in vending for this event, please click here.

Source: “Utu/Šamaš (god).” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses -. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/utu/index.html&gt;.

IshtarFest Registration Is Now Open!

April 14, 2016

ishtarfestbanner

Please register for the event here for not only regular attendance but also vendor opportunities!

Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. I hope you’re just as excited as I am, I hope to see you there!

-Ganshmi

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