Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Venus in astrology

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 28, 2014

“Taurus – sign of springtime and fresh start –
is the creatrix of the zodiac
with languid sensuality and great depth of heart.
A lover of beauty and harmony
she gives form to what’s inside.
A scultpress, an artist, a singer extraordinaire,
she’s physical and constant,
no others can compare.”

– by Silvestra Silvermoon

When it comes to the astrological planets (as distinct from the astronomical) and the deities associated with them the goddesses of romance; Venus and Aphrodite, meaning “love” or “sexual desire”, are connected with the mentor of Asuras, Shukra, associated with fertility and enthusiasm. Shukra always helped demons in the war against gods; Shukra means “clear, pure, brightness, or clearness.”

In the time in which this myth was composed, the Akitu festival at the Spring Equinox, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes did not occur in Aries, but in Taurus.

In ancient Sumeria the constellation of Aries was orignally named after unskilled labourers, Kingu or Qingu.  The constellation was not considered important until the vernal equinox moved from Taurus to Aries. Inanna (Venus) was associated with the vernal equinox and hence Taurus. Thus Inanna or Ishtar became associated with Kingu, whose name changed to Dumuzi /Tammuz the shepherd king.

Dumuzi/Tammuz frees Inanna from the underworld and in return he and his sister both spend 6 months in the underworld in Inanna’s place.  This symbolises the Vernal equinox when the Heavenly Bull was the first husband of Ereshkigal Goddess of the underworld and Inanna’s opposite. Tammuz replaces the bull of heaven as the sacrificial sign.

Ereshkigal/Gugalanna

Inanna/Tammuz

In ancient Sumeria the constellation of Aries was orignally named after Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” a god in Babylonian mythology, and — after the murder of his father Abzu — the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his mother, who wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all gods before she was slain by Marduk.

He was the leader of the evil primal forces and the Eleven Mighty Helpers in the struggle with the gods and acted as holder of the Tablets of Destiny. He was the son and second husband of Tiamat and was killed with her in the fight with Marduk. In some accounts, his blood was mixed with sand to make mankind. Some equate him with Tammuz.

Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. However, like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually slain by Marduk.

According to one traditional story, Marduk mixed Kingu’s blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “great lady under earth”), along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

Ereshkigal was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.

Ereshkigal is the older sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

She is the mother of the goddess Nungal. Her son with Enlil was the god Namtar. With Gugalana her son was Ninazu. Gugalanna (lit. “The Great Bull of Heaven” < Sumerian gu “bull”, gal “great”, an “heaven”, -a “of”) was a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus.

The constellation Aries was not considered important until the vernal equinox moved from Taurus to Aries. Inanna (Venus) was associated with the vernal equinox and hence Taurus. Thus Inanna or Ishtar became associated with Kingu, whose name changed to Dumuzi /Tammuz the shepherd king.

This symbolises the Vernal equinox when Gugalanna (lit. “The Great Bull of Heaven” < Sumerian gu “bull”, gal “great”, an “heaven”, -a “of”), the constellation known today as Taurus, the first husband of the goddess Ereshkigal, Goddess of the underworld, and Inanna’s opposite, Tammuz, replaces the bull of heaven as the sacrificial sign.

In some accounts, Tammuz was found floating on water, in others he was the son of Ishtar who had him torn to pieces and thrown into the sea. When, as a result, the earth became barren she regretted what she had done and descended to the underworld to demand his release from her sister Ereshkigal.

Some say that he returned as Damu or as Ningishzida, others that he died every year, rising again in the spring, still others that he spent half the year with each of the sisters. In some accounts, he is equated with Hey-Tau, Kingu or Ningirsu; others say that Tammuz was killed by a boar. He was one of the doorkeepers of heaven and was associated with the constellation Orion.

Tammuz was a month in the Babylonian calendar, named for one of the main Babylonian gods, Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid, “son of life”). Many different calendar systems have since adopted Tammuz to refer to a month in the summer season.

In the Hebrew calendar, Tammuz is the tenth month of the civil year and the fourth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Tammuz is also the name for the month of July in the Gregorian calendar. It is the fourth month with the sign Cancer (= “crab”), which lives in water.

The festival for the deity Tammuz was held throughout the month of Tammuz in midsummer, and celebrated his death and resurrection. The first day of the month of Tammuz was the day of the new moon of the summer solstice. On the second day of the month, there was lamentation over the death of Tammuz, on the 9th, 16th and 17th days torchlit processions, and on the last three days, an image of Tammuz was buried.

Gugalanna was sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

Inanna, from the heights of the city walls looked down, and Enkidu took the haunches of the bull shaking them at the goddess, threatening he would do the same to her if he could catch her too. For this impiety, Enkidu later dies. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.

Dumuzi/Tammuz frees Inanna from the underworld and in return he and his sister both spend 6 months in the underworld in Inanna’s place.  This symbolises the Vernal equinox when the Heavenly Bull was the first husband of Ereshkigal Goddess of the underworld and Inanna’s opposite. Tammuz replaces the bull of heaven as the sacrificial sign.

Taurus was a constellation of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox from about 3,200 BCE. It marked the start of the agricultural year with the New Year Akitu festival (from á-ki-ti-še-gur10-ku5, = sowing of the barley), an important date in Mesopotamian religion. The death of Gugalanna, represents the obscuring disappearance of this constellation as a result of the light of the sun, with whom Gilgamesh was identified.

In the time in which this myth was composed, the Akitu festival at the Spring Equinox, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes did not occur in Aries, but in Taurus. At this time of the year, Taurus would have disappeared as it was obscured by the sun.

“Between the period of the earliest female figurines circa 4500 B.C. … a span of a thousand years elapsed, during which the archaeological signs constantly increase of a cult of the tilled earth fertilised by that noblest and most powerful beast of the recently developed holy barnyard, the bull – who not only sired the milk yielding cows, but also drew the plow, which in that early period simultaneously broke and seeded the earth.

Moreover by analogy, the horned moon, lord of the rhythm of the womb and of the rains and dews, was equated with the bull; so that the animal became a cosmological symbol, uniting the fields and the laws of sky and earth.”

As far back as the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, over 20,000 years ago, an artist chiseled what we know as the Goddess of Laussel – a female figure holding a bison horn – into a cave wall in Southern France.

Even then the curved shape of bovine horns held special meaning to our foremothers. They are reminiscent of the crescent Moon and are therefore sacred to the Goddess.

One of Her main manifestations is the Moon with her three phases. Especially in hotter climates it was the Moon who was seen as the creative source of life. She was linked to water and thus rain.

Due to the connections between the cresent Moon, the shape of bovine horns and the Moon being seen as the generating source of life, the Mother Goddess since the dawn of time has been depicted as a cow. She is the Holy Heifer, the Heavenly Cow. She gives birth to all and nourishes and sustains us with Her celestial milk, the life-giving rainwater. Later mythology connects the cow also with the creation of civilisation for it was only due to farming and agriculture that our foremothers were able to settle in one place and start to pursue more artistic activities such as sculpting, baking and pottery. Ancient records refer to Goddesses such as Hathor, Isis, Hera and Inanna as the Celestial Cow, the Bringer of Civilisation.

During the Neolithic or New Stone Age, around 8,000 years ago, bucrania, which are the head and horns of bovines (cows & bulls) were affixed at the entrances to earth tombs as well as painted onto vases and bowls. Due to their uncanny resemblance to a womb with fallopian tubes they symbolise the Goddess’s womb and Her life-creating power. They represent regeneration and rebirth.

At some point during the Neolithic, especially in Çatal Höyük in Anatolia, today’s Turkey, people started to depict the Goddess as a Mother holding an infant or small child. At that time the infant never grew up, but remained a child, usually a boy. This male child is a pictoral representation of the Goddess’s regenerative, life-creative power. He represents all of nature – the vegetation and the animals including ourselves. It is important to note that at this time the Goddess and Her son were still one entirety – the Goddess was the creative force and Her son was that what She created. The son who never grew up was forever a part of his mother, the Great Mother Goddess.

As the Goddess is the Heavenly Cow, so Her son must be the Young Bull. He is the new growth of spring, the new life, the new beginning. This is the original meaning of the bull.

When during the Bronze Age the Goddess gave birth to a son who would eventually become Her lover, She would always be the Cow while Her son would be the Bull. This is true for Inanna and Dumuzi as well as Isis and Osiris. As expected the sign of Taurus, the young bull, is ruled by Inanna-Venus, the Mother Goddess Herself, which confirms that the ancient Sumerians, who were the first to write down their astrological beliefs, still understood this original Goddess meaning of the bull as the son of the Great Cosmic Mother.

As patriarchy took over, the bull son would eventually grow into the bull as husband or father (see Zeus who was often described as a bull). The meaning of the bull, which initially was a sign of regeneration and merely a representation of the Goddess’s creative power, also changed and became to stand for strength, virility and warrior prowess.

At the time when modern western astrology was first written down the Sun was in the constellation of Taurus at the spring equinox and with that the sign of the Bull was the first and not second sign of spring. This fits perfectly with its symbolism of regeneration and new life.

Venus

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility and prosperity. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was venerated in Roman religion under numerous cult titles. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

Venus was offered official (state-sponsored) cult in certain festivals of the Roman calendar. Her sacred month was April (Latin Mensis Aprilis) which Roman etymologists understood to derive from aperire, “to open,” with reference to the springtime blossoming of trees and flowers.

Venus is the ruling planet of Libra and Taurus and is exalted in Pisces. In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, famous for the passions she could stir among the gods. Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome’s official pantheon and the state, and the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic.

The ambivalence of her function is suggested in the etymological relationship of the root *venes- with Latin venenum (poison, venom), in the sense of “a charm, magic philtre”.

Venus orbits the Sun in 225 days, spending about 18.75 days in each sign of the zodiac. Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky, the Moon being the brightest. It is usually beheld as a twin planet to Earth.

Astrologically, Venus is associated with the principles of harmony, beauty, balance, feelings and affections and the urge to sympathize and unite with others. It is involved with the desire for pleasure, comfort and ease. It governs romantic relations, marriage and business partnerships, sex (the origin of the words ‘venery’ and ‘venereal’), the arts, fashion and social life. The 1st-century poet Marcus Manilius described Venus as generous and fecund and the lesser benefic.

The planet Venus In medicine, Venus is associated with the lumbar region, the veins, parathyroids, throat and kidneys. Venus was thought to be moderately warm and moist and was associated with the phlegmatic humor. Venus is the ruler of the second and seventh houses.

Venus is the planet of Friday. In languages deriving from Latin, such as Romanian, Spanish, French, and Italian, the word for Friday often resembles the word Venus (vineri, viernes, vendredi and “venerdì” respectively). Dante Alighieri associated Venus with the liberal art of rhetoric.

In Chinese astrology, Venus is associated with the element metal, which is unyielding, strong and persistent. In Indian astrology, Venus is known as Shukra, the Sanskrit word for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. In Norse Paganism, the planet is associated to Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

Shukra

Shukra is the name of the son of Maharishi Bhrigu, one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, one of the many Prajapatis (the facilitators of Creation) created by Brahma (The God of Creation), the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological (Jyotish) classic.

He is the preceptor of the Daityas, a clan or race of Asura as are the Danavas. Daityas were the children of Diti and the sage Kashyapa. They were a race of giants who fought against the Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. The female Daityas are described as wearing jewelry the size of boulders.

He is the guru of the Asuras, a group of power-seeking deities related to the more benevolent devas (also known as suras). They are sometimes considered nature spirits. They battle constantly with the devas.

He is identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas (with honorific, Shukracharya). Graha (“seizing, laying hold of, holding”) is a ‘cosmic influencer’ on the living beings of mother Bhumidevi (Earth). The Navagraha (“nine seizers, nine influencers”, “imperial stars”) are some of these major influencers.

All the worlds of the navagraha have relative movement with respect to the background of fixed stars in the zodiac. This includes the planets: Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, as well as positions in the sky, Rahu (north or ascending lunar node) and Ketu (south or descending lunar node).

According to some, Grahas are the “markers of influence” that point out the karmic influence on the behavior of living beings. They themselves are not causative elements but can be compared to traffic signs.

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously as mounted on a camel, horse or crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. He presides over Shukravar or Friday.

Inanna

In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest works of literature, the goddess Ishtar sends Taurus, the Bull of Heaven, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. Gilgamesh is depicted as the neighboring constellation of Orion, and in the sky they face each other as if engaged in combat.

In early Mesopotamian art, the Bull of Heaven was closely associated with Inanna (Akkadian: Ištar; Neo-Assyrian MUŠ), the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Ancient records refer to Goddesses such as Hathor, Isis, Hera and Inanna as the Celestial Cow, the Bringer of Civilisation.

One of the oldest depictions shows the bull standing before the goddess’ standard; since it has 3 stars depicted on its back (the cuneiform sign for “star-constellation”), there is good reason to regard this as the constellation later known as Taurus.

Inanna  is the goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Inanna’s Akkadian counterpart is Ishtar. In different traditions Inanna is the daughter of Anu or she is the daughter of the moon god Sin. In various traditions, her siblings include the sun god Utu, the rain god Ishkur, and Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld.

Her personal assistant is Ninshubur. She is never considered to have a permanent spouse, although Dumuzi is her lover. Yet, she is responsible for sending Dumuzi to the Underworld in “Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld.” Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which at that time was regarded as two stars, the “morning star” and the “evening star.”

Inanna’s symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty).

There are hymns to Inanna as her astral manifestation. Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which at that time was regarded as two stars, the “morning star” and the “evening star.” It is believed that in many myths about Inanna, including Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld and Inanna and Shukaletuda, her movements correspond with the movements of Venus in the sky.

Because of its positioning so close to Earth, Venus is not visible across the dome of the sky as most celestial bodies are; because its proximity to the sun renders it invisible during the day. Instead, Venus is visible only when it rises in the East before sunrise, or when it sets in the West after sunset.

Because the movements of Venus appear to be discontinuous (it disappears due to its proximity to the sun, for many days at a time, and then reappears on the other horizon), some cultures did not recognize Venus as single entity, but rather regarded the planet as two separate stars on each horizon as the morning and evening star.

The Mesopotamians, however, most likely understood that the planet was one entity. A cylinder seal from the Jemdet Nasr period expresses the knowledge that both morning and evening stars were the same celestial entity.

The discontinuous movements of Venus relate to both mythology as well as Inanna’s dual nature. Inanna is related like Venus to the principle of connectedness, but this has a dual nature and could seem unpredictable.

Yet as both the goddess of love and war, with both masculine and feminine qualities, Inanna is poised to respond, and occasionally to respond with outbursts of temper. Mesopotamian literature takes this one step further, explaining Inanna’s physical movements in mythology as corresponding to the astronomical movements of Venus in the sky.

Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld

Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld explains how Inanna is able to, unlike any other deity, descend into the netherworld and return to the heavens. The planet Venus appears to make a similar descent, setting in the West and then rising again in the East.

In the myth of Inanna’s descent, Inanna, in order to console her grieving sister Ereshkigal, who is mourning the death of her husband Gugalana (gu, bull, gal, big, ana, sky/heaven), slain by Gilgamesh and Enkidu, sets out to visit her sister.

She tells her servant Ninshubur (Lady Evening), a reference to Inanna’s role as the evening star, that if she does not return in three days, to get help from her father Anu, Enlil, king of the gods, or Enki.

When Inanna does not return, Ninshubur approaches Anu only to be told that he understands that his daughter is strong and can take care of herself. Enlil tells Ninshubur he is much too busy running the cosmos.

Enki immediately expresses concern and dispatches his Galla demons, Galaturra or Kurgarra, sexless beings created from the dirt from beneath the god’s finger-nails, to recover the young goddess. These beings may be the origin of the Greco-Roman Galli, androgynous beings of the third sex.

Inanna and Shukaletuda

In the story Inanna and Shukaletuda, Shukaletuda, the gardener, set by Enki to care for the date palm he had created, finds Inanna sleeping under the palm tree and rapes the goddess in her sleep. Awaking, she discovers that she has been violated and seeks to punish the miscreant.

Shukaletuda seeks protection from Enki, whom Bottero believes to be his father. In classic Enkian fashion, the father advises Shukaletuda to hide in the city where Inanna will not be able to find him. Enki, as the protector of whoever comes to seek his help, and as the empowerer of Inanna, here challenges the young impetuous goddess to control her anger so as to be better able to function as a great judge.

Eventually, after cooling her anger, she too seeks the help of Enki, as spokesperson of the “assembly of the gods”, the Igigi and the Anunnaki. After she presents her case, Enki sees that justice needs to be done and promises help, delivering knowledge of where the miscreant is hiding.

In Inanna and Shukaletuda, in search of her attacker, Inanna makes several movements throughout the myth that correspond with the movements of Venus in the sky.

An introductory hymn explains Inanna leaving the heavens and heading for Kur, what could be presumed to be, the mountains, replicating the rising and setting of Inanna to the West. Shukaletuda also is described as scanning the heavens in search of Inanna, possibly to the eastern and western horizons.

In his connections with Inanna, Enki shows other aspects of his non-Patriarchal nature. The myth Enki and Inanna tells the story of the young goddess of the É-anna temple of Uruk, who visits the senior god of Eridu, and is entertained by him in a feast.

The seductive god plies her with beer, and the young goddess maintains her virtue, whilst Enki proceeds to get drunk. In generosity he gives her all the gifts of his Me, the gifts of civilized life. Next morning, with a hangover, he asks his servant Isimud for his Me, only to be informed that he has given them to Inanna.

Upset at his actions, he sends Galla demons to recover them. Inanna escapes her pursuers and arrives safely back at the quay at Uruk. Enki realises that he has been tricked in his hubris and accepts a peace treaty forever with Uruk.

Politically, this myth would seem to indicate events of an early period when political authority passed from Enki’s city of Eridu to Inanna’s city of Uruk.

Uruk expansion

During this period the South Caucasus experienced two powerful waves of Middle Eastern expansion: the first at the time of Late Neolithic culture of Sioni in the 4th-5th millennia B.C., and the second at the period of Tsopi culture in the Late Neolithic Age, at the end of the 5th and the first half of the 4th millennium B.C., which is known as the Uruk expansion era.

Later, in the second half of the 4th and throughout the 3 rd millennium B.C., during the Early Bronze Age the Kura-Araxes culture of the Caucasus spread throughout the greater part of the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia, northern parts of Iran, Middle East and even Europe.

The Uruk culture are tied both to the Southern Levant and then to the Trancausia area and possibly inspiring both Kura-Axes and Maykop development. There are some very early branches of M269 in the Near East as well as the non M269 R1b-V88 that may have expanded into Africa from there.

The Kura-Axes and Maykop area became the core of the Circumpontic Metallugy Province. We have M269 L23xL51 in the Caucasus and Anatolia and L51 types of R1b showing up with Beakers, metallurgists, in Western Euroope.

An

An is so prominently associated with the E-anna temple in the city of Uruk in southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to be the original seat of the An cult. If this is correct, then the goddess Inanna (or Ishtar),  the goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre, may at one time have been his consort.

An was one of the oldest gods in the Sumerian pantheon and part of a triad including Enlil (god of the air) and Enki (god of water). By virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Enlil, and Enki (also known as Ea), Anu came to be regarded as the father and at first, king of the gods.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations.

According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until An and Ki bore Enlil, god of the air, who cleaved heaven and earth in two. An and Ki were, in some texts, identified as brother and sister being the children of Anshar and Kishar.

An existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Tiamat (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu).

An, “sky, heaven”, was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. The designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted.

It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara. His attendant and minister of state was the god Ilabrat.

The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il. Hittite cuneiform as adapted from the Old Assyrian kept the an value but abandoned il.

An had several consorts, the foremost being Ki (earth), who later developed into the Akkadian goddess Antu, Nammu, and Uras. By Ki he was the father of, among others, the Anunnaki gods. By Uras he was the father of Nin’insinna (“lady wild cow”), a goddess best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh. According to the ancient Babylonian text, Nininsina wedded Pabilsag near a riverbank. By Pabilsag she bore Damu, a god of vegetation and rebirth in Sumerian mythology.

However, Uras may only have been another name for Antum, Anu’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta also was apparently called Uras in later times.

Uraš or Urash is the mother of the goddess Ninsun and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as a human queen who lives in Uruk with her son as king. Since the father of Gilgamesh was former king Lugalbanda, it stands to reason that Ninsun procreated with Lugalbanda to give birth.

Ninsun was called Gula in Sumerian mythology until the name was later changed to Ninisina. Gula in the latter became a Babylonian goddess. The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty.

Since it is probable that Ninib has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninib’s female consort.

Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with the goddess of Akkadian mythology, known as Bau or Baba, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. She was the daughter of An and Ninurta’s wife

Enki

Enki (Sumerian: EN.KI(G)) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.

The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.

The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters”), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu.

He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp. Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.”

His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury, later associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk), in the Sumerian astrological system.

Nidaba

Nidaba, the Sumerian goddess of grain and writing, was the patron deity of the city Uruk. Her glory attracted her fall: her scribal functions were usurped by the god Nabu as he rose to power in the Old Babylonian period.

Nidaba reflects fundamental developments in the creation of Mesopotamian culture, those which take us from agriculture to accounting, to a very fine literary tradition. Nidaba was originally an agricultural deity, more specifically a goddess of grain.

The intricate connection between agriculture and accounting/writing implied that it was not long before Nidaba became the goddess of writing. From then on her main role was to be the patron of scribes.

Traditions vary regarding the genealogy of Nidaba. She appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. Two myths describe the marriage of Sud/Ninlil with Enlil. This implies that Nidaba could be at once the daughter and the mother-in-law of Enlil.

Nidaba is also the sister of Ninsumun, the mother of Gilgameš. Nidaba is frequently mentioned together with the goddess Nanibgal who also appears as an epithet of Nidaba, although most god lists treat her as a distinct goddess.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal as “Mistress of the Underworld”. Nidaba is also identified with the goddess of grain Ašnan, and with Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, the throne bearer of Ninlil and wife of Ennugi, throne bearer of Enlil.

Haya

Her spouse is Haya, known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain. He is characterised, beyond being the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, as an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. He is designated as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

There is also a divine name Haia(-)amma in a bilingual Hattic-Hittite text from Anatolia which is used as an equivalent for the Hattic grain-goddess Kait in an invocation to the Hittite grain-god Halki, although it is unclear whether this appellation can be related to ha-ià.

Attempts have also been made to connect the remote origins of Ha-ià with those of the god Ea (Ebla Ḥayya), although there remain serious doubts concerning this hypothesis. How or whether both are related to a further western deity called Ḥayya is also unclear.

Ninlil

Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil, the head of the early Mesopotamian pantheon, and later of Aššur, the head of the Assyrian pantheon. Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia and Nisaba.

Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu. Theophilus G. Pinches noted that Nnlil or Belit Ilani had seven different names (such as Nintud, Ninhursag, Ninmah, etc.) for seven different localities. She was at times syncretised with various healing and mother goddesses as well as with the goddess Ištar.

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him. Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death.

In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

Enlil

Enlil (nlin), (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as “Ellil” in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature.

It was the name of a chief deity listed and written about in Sumerian religion, and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets. In later Akkadian, Enlil is the son of Anshar and Kishar.

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil discusses when Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Ekur in Nippur, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for seducing a goddess named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna/Suen). After fathering three more underworld-deities (substitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to the Ekur.

Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow.

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna/Suen (in Akkadian, Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is the father of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

In one myth, Enlil gives advice to his son, the god Ninurta, advising him on a strategy to slay the demon Asag. This advice is relayed to Ninurta by way of Sharur, his enchanted talking mace, which had been sent by Ninurta to the realm of the gods to seek counsel from Enlil directly.

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, sometimes referred to as the cult city of Enlil. His temple was named Ekur, “House of the Mountain.” Such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another to embellish and restore Enlil’s seat of worship. Eventually, the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name “mountain house” suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

Enlil was also known as the god of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil helped create the humans, but then got tired of their noise and tried to kill them by sending a flood. A mortal known as Utnapishtim survived the flood through the help of another god, Ea, and he was made immortal by Enlil after Enlil’s initial fury had subsided.

As Enlil was the only god who could reach An, the god of heaven, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his agent and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship. Enlil was assimilated to the north “Pole of the Ecliptic”. His sacred number name was 50.

At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888–1900 by John P. Peters and John Henry Haynes under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are “king of lands”, “king of heaven and earth”, and “father of the gods”.

Taurus (constellation)

Taurus (astrology)

Bull (mythology)

Gugalanna

Vernal (spring) equinox

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