Inanna and Tammuz
Posted by Fredsvenn on April 5, 2015
Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma.
Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, also transcribed, Kheba or Khepat.
Hebat, also transcribed, Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the deities. She is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. In modern literature the sound /h/ in cuneiform sometimes is transliterated as kh. During Aramaean times Hebat also appears to have become identified with the goddess Hawwah, or Eve.
The history of Hannahannah and Inara resembles that of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth, and her daughter Persephone, also called Kore or Cora (“the maiden”), in Greek myth.
Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic princess of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.
Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.
Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld, is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina, and her mother, Ceres.
Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. Her cult titles include Sito (“she of the Grain”) as the giver of food or grain and Thesmophoros (“thesmos”: divine order, unwritten law; “phoros”: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.
She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death.
In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. It is possible that Demeter appears in Linear A as da-ma-te.
Hebat is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), an originally Anatolian mother goddess.
Cybele has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük (in the Konya region) where the statue of a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE..
She is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.
In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter.
Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” was 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.
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. Marduk mixed Kingu’s blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Tiamat’s body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.
Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. She 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 name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (nin) and sky (an). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.
Inanna was the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk.
In Sumerian mythology, Anu (also An; from Sumerian 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. 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.
Anu came to be regarded as the father and at first, king of the gods. Anu is so prominently associated with the E-anna temple in the city of Uruk (biblical Erech) in southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to be the original seat of the Anu cult. If this is correct, then the goddess Inanna (or Ishtar) of Uruk may at one time have been his consort.
Uraš or Urash, in Sumerian mythology is a goddess of earth, and one of the consorts of the sky god An. She is the mother of the goddess Ninsun and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh.
However, Uras may only have been another name for Antum, An’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to An himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta (Nin Ur: God of War) also was apparently called Uras in later times.
In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) 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, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”.
Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha.
The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”). Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.
Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. Ereshkigal was also a queen that many gods and goddesses looked up to in the underworld. She is known chiefly through two myths, believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines which date back to the Mesopotamia period. 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.
One of these myths is Inanna’s descent to the netherworld and her reception by her sister who presides over it; Ereshkigal traps her sister in her kingdom and Inanna is only able to leave it by sacrificing her husband Dumuzi in exchange for herself.
Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e-anna) temple in Uruk was the greatest of these, where sacred prostitution was a common practice.
In addition, according to Leick 1994 persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples.
The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.
According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival.
A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk. Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi.
Tammuz (Akkadian: Duʾzu, Dūzu; Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) was the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.
In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar.
The Levantine Adonis (“lord”), who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.
The Aramaic name “Tammuz” seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid. The later standard Sumerian form, Dumu-zid, in turn became Dumuzi in Akkadian. Tamuzi also is Dumuzid or Dumuzi.
Nana was a Kushan female divinity, a variation of pan-Asiatic Nana, a conflation of Sumero-Babylonian Inanna-Ishtar with a local divinity, in her Kushan form with either the indigenous (Zoroastrian) Harahvati Aredvi Sura Anahita, or the Indic Durga-Saraswati, or both. Such syncretism was common among the Kushan deities.
Anahit was the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom and water in Armenian mythology. In early periods she was the goddess of war. By the 5th century BC she was the main deity in Armenia along with Aramazd.
The name corresponds to Avestan Anahita (Aredvi Sura Anahita), the Old Persian form of the name of an Iranian goddess. The Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of ‘the Waters’ (Aban) and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom.
At some point prior to the 4th century BCE, this yazata was conflated with (an analogue of)[α] Semitic Ištar, likewise a divinity of “maiden” fertility and from whom Aredvi Sura Anahita then inherited additional features of a divinity of war and of the planet Venus or “Zohreh” in Arabic.
It was moreover the association with the planet Venus, “it seems, which led Herodotus to record that the [Persis][γ] learnt ‘to sacrifice to “the heavenly goddess”‘ from the Assyrians and Arabians.”
Ishtar also “apparently” gave Aredvi Sura Anahita the epithet Banu, ‘the Lady’, a typically Mesopotamian construct that is not attested as an epithet for a divinity in Iran before the common era. It is completely unknown in the texts of the Avesta, but evident in Sassanid-era middle Persian inscriptions (see the cult, below) and in a middle Persian Zend translation of Yasna 68.13.
Also in Zoroastrian texts from the post-conquest epoch (651 CE onwards), the divinity is referred to as ‘Anahid the Lady’, ‘Ardwisur the Lady’ and ‘Ardwisur the Lady of the waters’.
Because the divinity is unattested in any old Western Iranian language, establishing characteristics prior to the introduction of Zoroastrianism in Western Iran (c. 5th century BCE) is very much in the realm of speculation.
According to Boyce, it is “probable” that there was once a Perso–Elamite divinity by the name of *Anahiti (as reconstructed from the Greek Anaitis). It is then likely (so Boyce) that it was this divinity that was an analogue of Ishtar, and that it is this divinity with which Aredvi Sura Anahita was conflated.
Boyce concludes that “the Achaemenids’ devotion to this goddess evidently survived their conversion to Zoroastrianism, and they appear to have used royal influence to have her adopted into the Zoroastrian pantheon.”
According to an alternate theory, Anahita was perhaps “a daeva of the early and pure Zoroastrian faith, incorporated into the Zoroastrian religion and its revised canon” during the reign of “Artaxerxes I, the Constantine of that faith.”
All the waters of the world created by Ahura Mazda originate from the source Aredvi Sura Anahita, the life-increasing, herd-increasing, fold-increasing, who makes prosperity for all countries. This source is at the top of the world mountain Hara Berezaiti, “High Hara”, around which the sky revolves and that is at the center of Airyanem Vaejah, the first of the lands created by Mazda.
In the Bundahishn, the two halves of the name “Ardwisur Anahid” are occasionally treated independently of one another, that is, with Ardwisur as the representative of waters, and Anahid identified with the planet Venus: The water of the all lakes and seas have their origin with Ardwisur, and in contrast, in a section dealing with the creation of the stars and planets, the Bundahishn speaks of ‘Anahid i Abaxtari’, that is, the planet Venus. In yet other chapters, the text equates the two, as in “Ardwisur who is Anahid, the father and mother of the Waters”.
Jnana is a term for “knowledge” in Indian religions and Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. The idea of jnana centers on a cognitive event which is recognized when experienced. It is knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality, especially a total or divine reality (Brahma). The root jñā- is cognate to English know, as well as to the Greek γνώ- (as in γνῶσις gnosis). Its antonym is ajñāna “ignorance”.
Dhyāna or Jhāna means meditation in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Buddhism, it is a series of cultivated states of mind, which lead to “state of perfect equanimity and awareness.”
Mat Zemlya, also Matka Ziemia and Mati Syra Zemlya (literally Damp Mother Earth), is the oldest deity in Slavic mythology, her identity later blended into that of Mokosh, a Slavic goddess mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, protector of women’s work and women’s destiny. She shares characteristics with Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita “Humid Mother of the Earth.”
Mokoš is the protector of women’s work and women’s destiny. She watches over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep, and protects women in child birth. Mokosh is the handmaiden of Mat Zemlya. Mokosh means moisture. According to Max Vasmer, her name is derived from the same root as Slavic words mokry ‘wet’ and moknut(i) ‘get wet’.
In the early Middle Ages, Mati Syra Zemlya was one of the most important deities in the Slavic world. Oaths were made binding by touching the Earth and sins were confessed into a hole in the Earth before death. She was worshipped in her natural form and was not given a human personage or likeness. Since the adoption of Christianity in all Slavic lands, she has been identified with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Atargatis or Ataratheh was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity. Ctesias also used the name Derceto for her, and the Romans called her Dea Syriae (“Syrian goddess”).
Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the baalat (“mistress”) of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria.
Michael Rostovtzeff called her “the great mistress of the North Syrian lands”. Her consort is usually Hadad. As Ataratheh, doves and fish were considered sacred by her: doves as an emblem of the Love-Goddess, and fish as symbolic of the fertility and life of the waters.
According to a third-century Syriac source, “In Syria and in Urhâi [Edessa] the men used to castrate themselves in honor of Taratha. But when King Abgar became a believer, he commanded that anyone who emasculated himself should have a hand cut off. And from that day to the present no one in Urhâi emasculates himself anymore.”
‘Atar‘atheh is seen as a continuation of Bronze Age goddesses. At Ugarit, cuneiform tablets attest the three great Canaanite goddesses ‘Aṭirat (Asherah) – described as a fecund “Lady Goddess of the Sea” – ‘Anat (Anat, Anath), and ‘Ațtart (Astarte), who shared many traits with each other and may have been worshiped in conjunction or separately during 1500 years of cultural history.
The name ‘Atar‘atheh is widely held to derive from a compound of the Aramaic form ‘Attar, which is a cognate of ‘Ațtart minus its feminine suffix -t, and ‘Attah or ‘Atā, a cognate of Anat (Cognates of Ugaritic ‘Ațtart include Phoenician ‘Aštart – Hellenized as Astarte – Old Testament Hebrew ‘Aštoreth, and Himyaritic ‘Athtar (compare the cognate Akkadian form Ištar).
Alternatively, the second half may be a Palmyrene divine name ‘Athe (i.e. tempus opportunum), which occurs as part of many compounds.
It has also been proposed that the element -gatis may relate to the Greek gados “fish”. (For example, the Greek name for “sea monster” or “whale” is the cognate term ketos). So Atar-Gatis may simply mean “the fish-goddess Atar”.
In Greek mythology, Nana was a daughter of the Phrygian river-god Sangarius, identified with the river Sakarya located in present-day Turkey.
She became pregnant when an almond from an almond tree fell on her lap. The almond tree had sprung from the spot where the hermaphroditic Agdistis was castrated, becoming Cybele, the Mother of the Gods.
Nana abandoned the baby boy, who was tended by a he-goat. The baby, Attis, depicted as having been born of a virgin mother on December 25th, being killed and resurrecting afterwards, grew up to become Cybele’s consort and lover.
In Norse mythology, Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna is a goddess associated with the god Baldr (also Balder, Baldur). Accounts of Nanna vary greatly by source. In the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Nanna is the wife of Baldr and the couple produced a son, the god Forseti.
After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr’s ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again.
Baldr is a god of light and purity in Norse mythology, and a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Thor and Váli.
In the 12th century, Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök.
According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, Baldr’s wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship ever built, named Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik.