View Full Version : Ishtar

March 2nd, 2001, 03:19 AM
Hi all!
Well,I guess I'll do another one.I'm not a follower of the Sumerian or Assyro-Babylonian pantheons.But when I took a college course in my History Degree I studied the Ancient Near East.Most of the ancient documents from this area centered on religious or canonical texts.So I have the most info on them.At the time I studied this I was agnostic and used it to mess with Christians.Never realizing I'd later become a Witch and find this stuff so interesting!
Here is Ishtar.
Originally Inanna of the Sumerians.Around 2200-2000 BCE she merges with Ishtar of the Akkadians,and later she is the main Assyro-Babylonian Goddess.She's also known to the Phoenicians as Astarte or Asherah.As Asherah she gave her name to the Hebrew(Israeli)tribe of Asher.As Ashurah she was widely worshipped by the farming population of ancient Israel as the Queen of heaven.Really freaked the priests.Little statues of her were buried in the fields of Hebrew farmers and are dug up in abundance to this day.
Ishtar had bright and dark aspects.As a Goddess of Love and Abundance she was the daughter of Anu,the sky god and Anat the Fertility Goddess and associated with the Fertility God Min.As a Battle Goddess her father was the Moon God sin.Over time many of Sin's lunar aspects became attributed to Ishtar.
Her consorts were Assur,the Supreme God and a War God,Marduk the God of the spring Sun.Nebo,God of Writing and Speech.(Note-Didn't Moses speak to God at Mt Nebo?)Tammuz was her main fella,a dying and resurrecting vegetation god.In "The Epic of Gilgamesh"the hero gets in a lot of trouble for spurning her advances.
She was associated with the planet Venus.Her symbols were an 8 pointed star and a symbol,looped at the top,resembling a comet.She was also know as "The Lady of the Beautiful Voice".Her cult animals were the lion,and in her dark aspect,the scorpion.
Water was associated with Ishtar.Her Flood story is older than the biblical one.It's thought she may have inherited this story from an even older Goddess,Nuah,which may have become Noah.
She's powerful in prophecy and magic.She prophesied the Flood in "Gilgamesh".Unlike the biblical story,no reason is given for the flood,though the Akkadians said the gods were troubled because men were increasing too fast and noisy!The flood lasts 7 days and Ishtar weeps for mankind.A man,Utnapishtim is warned and builds an ark.He sends out a raven after the rains end who finds land.After the flood Ishtar lifts her necklace made of the jewels of heaven and says"O ye Gods here present,by the lapis lazuli round my neck,I shall remember these days as I remember the jewels of my throat.These last days I shall never forget."
The Babylonian word "sabbatu"originally was a reference to Ishtar's menstruation.No one worked,cooked,or traveled.The word sabbath comes from sabbatu.
The name Esther,from the bible,is a form of Ishtar.Her marriage to the king is a form of the sacred marriage(hieros gamos) and the Jewish festival of Purim comes from this.The Book of Esther never mentions the Jewish God.Kind of weird,huh?
Tammuz is her lover,her son,and her brother.He's killed by a wild boar so Ishtar goes to the underworld(see the thread in this forum called "The Descent of Inanna/Ishtar") She goes threough 7 gates,7 stages of undress.Some say this represents the last 7 days of a waning moon before it goes dark.Her sister,Ereshkigal,Queen of the Netherworld may be a dark aspect of Ishtar herself.
The enitum(priestess of Ishtar) and the king performed the sacred marriage each year representing Tammuz and Ishtar.The Akkadian King Sargon(2200 BCE),said his mother was an Enitum,a source for his authority.The king's authority and the fertility of the land depended on this sacred marriage.Ishtar also had sacred temple courtesans known as ishtaritu.Many Babylonian princesses were ishtaritu,though they were reserved for the representative of Tammuz(usually the king).There were ishtaritu of lesser rank who slept with common men,thus introducing them to the women's mysteries.Over time,every woman had to serve the temple for a bit,sacrificing her maidenhood to Ishtar.
So she's a Goddess of Love and fertility,but also a battle goddess.A Goddess of Battle and death.Of Heaven,of earth,and of the Underworld.(A triple Ishtar?).She's both Bright and Dark Mother.
Here's an ancient hymn to Ishtar

Thou art mighty,thou hast sovereign power,mighty is thy name.
Thou art the light of heaven and hell
O valiant daughter of The Moon God
Ruler of weapons,arbitress of the battle
Framer of all decrees,wearer of the crown of dominion
Thou judgest the cause of men with justice and righteousness
Thou lookest with mercy on the the violent man,and thou set right the unruly every morning.
O Goddess of men,O Goddess of women
Thou whose counsel none may learn
Where thou lookest in pity,the dead man lives again.
The sick are healed
The afflicted is saved from his affliction when he beholds thy face
O exalted Istar that gives light
Unto the four quarters of the world.

Well,that's all folks.Any comments or additional info you may have,please put it here!
Peace and Love
Rain BrightStar