Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blueprint of a Goddess...Ishtar

In the last post we discussed the Sumerian fertility goddess Inanna. In this post we will see the next incarnation that was the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Ishtar and Inanna are nearly the same goddess. Both are moon goddesses, both are related to Venus. Both call themselves the Morning and Evening Star. Ishtar is often depicted with lions, serpents or dragons. Both descend to the underworld. The parallels go on and on. Ishtar was just the latest incarnation of the goddess.

Now the in the last post we read of Inanna descended to the underworld, passing through the gates, then presenting herself naked before her sister, the queen of the underworld. Then she is killed by her sister and left hanging on a post. In the meantime her faithful friend goes to her father Enki{god of wisdom} to tell him she has not returned. So Enki creates two beings {neither male or female} to take her the water and food of life. Inanna comes back to life but the queen of the underworld tells her someone must die in her place. So Inanna goes to look for someone. When she comes upon her husband, Dumuzi{the shepherd god} she discovers that her was not mourning her death. In her anger she chooses her husband to take her place in the underworld. Therefore Tammuz is sacrificed for the sake of fertility.

Now, we have nearly the same myth with the fertility goddess Ishtar. Ishtar's husband is called Tammuz. This story will become the basis for the fertility rites that are celebrated in the temples. As it was Tammuz could return from the underworld for part of the year, or be resurrected as it were. So the sacred marriage rite was celebrated in the temple as the fertility festival for the people and the land. The priestess would act the part of Ishtar and then the king or a nobleman would act the part of Tammuz. The festival was coincided with the full moon{fertility symbol} and the priestesses menstrual cycle{curse of the devil}. The 'marriage' ceremony would take place, the the ritual sex to bring fertility to the land. The festival would last for days and had all types of sexuality attached to it.

The temples were totally centered around sexuality. Really the whole city of Babylon was. The giant blue gate {see pictures below with detail of the lion and dragon/serpent with feet} was the main entrance the city was called the Ishtar gate. It was to symbolize a passing through the female genitalia into the womb of the city. Ishtar was far more revered that any other god in Babylon. She was called 'The Great Virgin' not because she hadn't had sex but because she was unmarried and not under the jurisdiction of any man. This is where you really begin to see what the enemy had in mind as far as his 'creation' of six sexes. Remember the Sumerian creation story in the previous post? Four androgynous beings, a barren woman and a eunuch. It was said of Ishtar...

The(25) In-nin-sa-gur-ra says, ‘She (Ishtar) [changes] the right side (male) into the left side (female), she [changes] the left side into the right side, she [turns] a man into a woman, she [turns] a woman into a man, she ador[ns] a man as a woman, she ador[ns] a woman as a man.’

Cross-dressing was part of her cult, and she had the ability to alter a person’s sex, so that a man became a woman and vice versa. In Mesopotamian treaties, the curse on treaty breakers often included lines like the following, from an Assyrian vassal treaty: “… may Ishtar, the goddess of men, the lady of women, take away their `bow,’ [potency?] cause their steri[lity]…” (Reiner in Pritchard 1969: 533). Like Inanna, Ishtar also confused the lines that separated the sexes, the generations, the classes, and the species, human and animal."

As for Uruk, the seat of Anu and Ishtar, the city of prostitutes, whores, and strumpets,
To whom Ishtar steals away the man whom she had placed into their hands:
Sutean men and women throw torches (in).
They attack Inanna, the impotents and effeminates,
Whom Ishtar changed from men into effeminates in order to teach people the fear of the gods,
The dagger, blade, knife, and flint bearers,
Who act in order to lift the spirits of Ishtar.

In my reading I have found that there is much frustration from the secular world that the Bible refers to those in the service of Ishtar or other fertility goddesses as 'temple prostitutes'. Most of the consensus is that they were temple priestesses.I must agree that today when you say the word 'prostitute' a certain picture comes to mind. I would say that most woman today are not prostitutes because they want to be. The argument for the later is the Hebrew words used in the Bible to describe the temple 'personnel'. There are three words in the old testament that are translated as 'prostitute'...zanah-meaning to commit fornication with or without money involved. The other two are qedeshah and qadesh these are the words that are translated 'temple prostitute' female and male respectively. These words do come from a root word meaning to set apart or consecrate. So I think it is fair to say that they were priestesses and other personnel that were consecrated to their goddess but usually that position required acts of a sexual nature.

So who were the personnel in the temples of Inanna/Ishtar? These are the names in the original Mesopotamian language. We have entu as the female high priest, qadishtu were the sacred courtesans, kargaru were ones that had castrated themselves, assinnu were the effeminate, sinnishat zikrum was a 'female male' and a naditu was a barren priestess. So this shows that blurring of the lines of sexuality. Taking the perfect male and female that God had created and turning it into something else. Ritualizing the act of sex to extinguish any trace of intimacy. Creating 'new' ways to have sex so that there would be no offspring, no life.

Young girls would come to the temples before they were married to sacrifice their virginity to Ishtar and to consecrate their 'seed' to the goddess. This was in the same spirit of the eunuch personnel. These men willingly castrated themselves and would place their genitalia on the altar as sacrifice to the goddess. Other men would come to the temple and 'tithe' to have sex with one of the priestesses who 'stood in the place' of Ishtar herself. Remember it was usually the king that participated in the 'sacred marriage' standing in place of Tammuz{the sacrificed shepherd god} to consecrate the entire people to the goddess in hopes of bringing fertility.

Now why is all of this important? Well I hope you are beginning to see the strategy of the enemy. Remember...arsonist by night, hero firefighter by day. Fertility was the right that was destroyed by the devil through sin. God had already created the earth to be 'fruitful' in its own right. God had already created the union between a man and a woman in a sexual act to 'multiply' in its own right. That was our mandate from God in the beginning; along with being good stewards of both the earth and our sexuality. No fertility rites needed. No sacrifice needed.

Are you starting to see the Devils plan to destroy that? It was the Devil that cursed the seed of the woman and the seed of the earth. Then he created his own twisted concept of both. One that would blur the lines of God's perfect creation. One that would destroy intimacy between man and God. One that would destroy the intimacy between man and woman.

Just as Inanna had her dark aspect in Lilitu, Ishtar had her dark aspect in Lamashtu. She was a demonic hybrid with a lions head, teeth and ears of a donkey, and the talons of a bird of prey. She was often depicted standing on a donkey while nursing a pig and a dog while holding snakes. Lamashtu just like Lilitu would attack women in childbirth or while they were breast-feeding. She was the killer of both the unborn and newborn babies. The woman of Babylon would place amulets by their children's head to protect them. It is not surprising that Ishtar was the patron of pregnancy and childbirth.

Next we will just forward to the new testament. We will look at the goddesses Cybele and Artemis and how they continued the spirit of Inanna and Ishtar. After that we will discuss finding the feminine aspect of God.

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