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Agaliha
October 12th, 2011, 11:08 PM
Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian matron goddess of the intoxicating beverage, beer.

Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, she is the goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of "sparkling fresh water." She is the goddess made to "satisfy the desire" and "sate the heart." She would prepare the beverage daily.

From: Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninkasi)


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Not only was Nin-kasi herself the beer — "given birth by the flowing water…" (Black, Cunningham, Robson, and Zólyomi 2004: 297) — but she was the chief brewer of the gods. So it is not surprising to learn that, in early times in ancient Sumer (southern Mesopotamia), brewers were usually female. Women made beer at home for immediate consumption, since it did not keep. It is possible also that temple brewers were priestesses of Nin-kasi. Later, when beer production became an industry, men seem to have taken over the process, but women still made beer for home use (Homan 2004: 85). Perhaps because they brewed the beer, women were often tavern keepers. For instance, Siduri, a minor goddess whom Gilgamesh met at the end of the earth, was a divine tavern keeper (Foster 2001: 72-76).

Beer goddess Nin-kasi was a venerable and long-lasting deity, for she appears in god lists and other texts from the Early Dynastic period (2900-2350 B.C.E.). She was "the personification of beer and presided over its manufacture" (Civil 2002a: 3). Her name possibly means "Lady Who Fills the Mouth (with Beer)." In a mythic poem, Nin-khursag declared that the beer goddess would be named "She who sates the desires" (Kramer in Pritchard 1969: 41). One tradition saw Nin-kasi as daughter of En-lil and the great birth goddess Nin-khursag. In another, her parents were the birth goddess Nin-ti and the great god En-ki. In either case the rank of her mother and father marked her as an important deity. In texts she usually appeared with her spouse (or brother) Siris or Sirash, a minor deity of alcoholic beverages. She had five (or nine) children.


Well-known and worshipped by ordinary people, Nin-kasi was also venerated officially, not only at Nippur but also at the great city of Ur and other cities (George 1993: 24, 158 #1214, 168 #1391). Libations of beer, her sacred substance and herself, were poured out to the gods, and jars of beer were placed before their altars for them to drink. Beer was certainly used by prophets at the northern Mesopotamian city of Mari, now in Syria, to trigger states of ecstasy in which they would prophesy (Homan 2004: 84). Further, quite common clay plaques show a woman (goddess?) bending over to drink beer through a straw, while taking part in almost always rear-entry sexual intercourse.[2] The scene might have had a connection with the "Sacred Marriage" rite[3]. It is noteworthy that Inanna's happiness is announced at the end of the second "Hymn to Ninkasi" (Civil 2002b: 4: "The of Inanna [are] happy again" (Civil 2002 b: 4).



Nin-kasi was chief brewer and possibly wine-maker[4] of the great god En-lil and thus of all the gods. It was Nin-kasi's particular responsibility to provide alcoholic beverages, above all, beer, for the temples of the Mesopotamian sacred city Nippur. Many other temples maintained brewers to make the beer to be used in rituals (Homan 2004: 85). The "Hymn to Nin-kasi" is one of two extant "Sumerian drinking songs" dating from the eighteenth century B.C.E. (Civil 2002b (1991): 2). It is primarily concerned with the beer-making process. The second hymn extols the goddess for producing in drinkers "a blissful mood … with joy in the [innards] [and] happy liver"[5] (Civil 2002a: 3).

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For the full article see: Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer (http://www.matrifocus.com/SAM06/spotlight.htm)




The following text from 1800 BC is the [I]Hymn to Ninkasi, translated by Miguel Civil. It was written by a Sumerian poet and found on clay tablet. It actually includes one of the most ancient recipes for brewing beer.

Hymn to Ninkasi

Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,

Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished it's walls for you,

Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.
Ninkasi, your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

You are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics,
Ninkasi, you are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date] - honey,

You are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,

You are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (...)(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

From: here (http://www.piney.com/BabNinkasi.html)





Also see:
Sumerian Beer & Brewing (http://www.beer-brewing-advice.com/Sumerian_Beer_Brewing.html)
JSTOR-- 6 page PDF about her hymn (http://www.jstor.org/stable/528305), View PDF (http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/528305.pdf) to view or download

More links to come!