Earthpages.ca

Think Free

Ishtar

Leave a comment


Statue c. 1792 - 1750 BC that represents an an...

BritishMuseum | Old Babylonian, probably 1792 - 1750 BC. The Queen of the Night represents an ancient Babylonian goddess, probably Ishtar or Ereshkigal. It might also represent Lilitu, called Lilith in the Bible - via Wikipedia

Ishtar is a Mesopotamian goddess of fertility, ‘sacred’ prostitution¹ and war, later associated with the planet Venus as a goddess of love.

In the Gilgamesh epic, Ishtar journeys to the underworld in an attempt to rescue her brother and lover Tammuz.

If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.²

As she enters each successive door in her descent, she is commanded to take off a specific piece of jewelry or clothing item. By the time she reaches the abyss she stands entirely naked.

Joseph Campbell points out how this story has obvious Jungian implications. To attain knowledge of the inner self, one must dispense with (or, at least, gain a new perspective on) all the trappings of worldly life. Unfortunately, Ishtar does not succeed. The evil underworld queen Ereshkigal imprisons Ishtar and she becomes ‘one of the dead.’

¹ Rightly seen as abhorrent today, the idea and practice of  ‘sacred’ or temple prostitution was widespread in the ancient world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitution

² Parallel myths and different scholarly interpretations of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld shed more light (or perhaps create more ambiguity) on this ancient mythic theme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar.

Related Posts » Nergal

Advertisements

Author: Earthpages.ca

Earthpages.ca is about dialogue, understanding and positive change. Write as many entries as you like. We're not afraid of new ideas!

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s