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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. <;.

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