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Sumerian Mythology & Goddesses


(Antum, Anatum) A Sumerian goddess of creation, the feminine counterpart and consort of the sky-god Anu. She was later replaced by the goddess Ishtar.
(Aruru, Nintu) The goddess who created the seed of mankind with Marduk. With the advent of patriarchal society, Marduk performed this wonder all by himself. Aru is the mother of Gilgamesh, and she created the hero Enkidu by forming clay into the image of the god Anu and casting it onto the earth.
The Sumerian and Chaldean goddess of grain, daughter of Enlil. She was assigned to the fertile land of Sumer by Enki. She is a powerful deity, supporting the people.

The Sumerian tutelary goddess of the city of Lagash, some 70 kilometers north of Ur, and patroness of the king. She is also a mother goddess and a goddess of healing. Baba is the daughter of the sky god An and consort of the fertility god Ningirsu. People often called her 'mother Baba', and she was identified with the goddess Gula.
An early Sumerian underworld goddess, subordinate to Ereshkigal. She was also known as the sister and wife of Tammuz, and a goddess of the Moon and of love.
The Sumerian goddess of the womb of whom the gods asked to create mankind. She created men, so they could till the soils and dig canals, and she created women so that they could continue to bear men. Seven of each she created, so that after 600 years the people were already too numerous. The land became so noisy that Ellil could not sleep. The people were also sinful, eating their own children, so Ellil decided to wash them away with a great flood. He meant to keep the plan a secret from the people but the god Ea (Enki) told his protégé Atrahasis what would happen and how he could save himself by means of a boat. The flood lasted seven days.

An equivalent to the Akkadian demoness Lamastu, she causes puerperal fever and childhood diseases. She is portrayed with bare breasts, on which a dog and a pig feed themselves.
The sheep Goddess, and Patroness of the flocks. She is the mother of both Dumuzi and Gestinanna.

(Irkalla) Queen of the Underworld, a chthonic goddess whose realm was the depths below the Inner Sea of Abzu. She was recognized as Guardian and Patroness of the Dark City. Together with her consort Nergal she rules this underworld, also called 'the big land', from which no-one returns.

One day Nergal was sent to Ereskigal from the heavens, with an offering of food. They proceeded to fall in love, and when Nergal had to leave, she threatened Anu that unless Nergal was send back to her, for ever, as a husband, she would revive the dead and send them back to earth, so that they would outnumber the living. Her minister Namtar had to go to heaven as her messenger, for Ereshkigal felt that she was already pregnant. He successfully relayed the message, for at last Nergal came storming down the stairs, broke down the seven gates and burst into the goddess' palace straight into her passionate embrace.

Ereshkigal is dark and violent, as befits her role as goddess of the underworld. As ruler over the shades, Ereshkigal receives the mortuary offerings made to the dead. Often praised in hymns, in the Sumerian cosmogony she was carried off to the underworld after the separation of heaven and earth.

An oracular goddess, she is associated with the interpretation of dreams, and with the herding of sheep. She is the loyal sister of Dumuzi, and hides him by various stratagems when he is sought by demons of the underworld. When he is eventually captured, it is arranged that she take his place for half the year, and he hers. While in the Underworld, she functions as Ereskigal's scribe.

A healer and patroness of medicine; wife of Ninurta and often identified with Nin'insina, the tutelary Goddess of the city-state of Isin. She is also associated with the Underworld. Her symbolic animal, a dog, almost always accompanies her.

The flowering of Sumeria, its temples, ordered cities, irrigated fields, birthplace of cuneiform writing and codes of law, and mastery of terra-cotta arts, all offer tribute to the first Great Goddess named by history. Bejeweled and serene, her chalice-shaped form was worshipped as early as 7000 BCE.
Sumerian "Queen of Heaven," Inanna is the Great Goddess of Epic Poems. Many fragments of Her sacred writings still survive. In one poem, Inanna descended into the underworld, died and after three days She arose and returned to the living.

Worshiped as early as 7000 BCE, Inanna was still widely revered after patriarchal incursions into the Euphrates plain. She descended from heaven to bring prosperity to Her people, then descended into the Realm of Death in a quest for wisdom. Returning, she condemned her lover and son Dumuzi to replace her there in punishment for his arrogance; their annual sexual union was viewed as the source of fecundity and plenty. Here, bejeweled and serene, she offers Her chalice-shaped body in a supreme gesture of tenderness.

Inanna of Power, Goddess of Battle. Just as she images fertility, the Great Goddess also serves as archetype of natural extremes: monsoon-like storms, great heat, earthquakes. Ancient clay inscriptions depict her raining down fire, mounted on a beast, and call her "devastatrix of the lands." Her chthonic powers become explanatory of earth-scourging catastrophes, and these aspects still live in the forms of Kali and Durga. For Sumerians, battle was known as the dance of Inanna. She stands Amazon-like, rooted and erect, garbed as Warrior Queen, gesturing confidently with her lance of power.

Inanna-Sumerian Queen of the Land. Source of the Earth's life blood. She filled the wells, rivers and springs with Her blood. 2,000 B.C.E. Juniper is Her tree.

"Lady of the Thousand Offices", She is the primary female Deity of Her people, and in some ways the focus of the entire pantheon. Her epithet refers to the fact that She is Patroness and divine Guide to a myriad different functions and powers. One tradition has Her the daughter of An, but a more persistent one makes Her the child of Nanna-Suen. All agree that She is the younger sister to Ereskigal. She has many lovers and consorts, but her strongest attachment seems to be with Dumuzi. She rules the natural world, and the vitalizing effect of the rain, but beyond that Her functions seem to revolve around pairs of contending ideas. Thus, She is both the morning and the evening star. She represents motherhood and the family, but She is also the harlot and temple prostitute. She governs lightning, but also the dousing of fire. Her spirit is one of praise and gladness, and also dismay and sorrow. Her imagery usually portrays Her as a winged female bearing weapons and some armour, wearing an open robe, nude underneath.

Inanna is regarded as a daughter of the sky-god An, but also of the moon-god Nanna. A variation of her name is Ninnanna, which means 'queen of the sky'. She is also called Ninsianna as the personification of the planet Venus. Inanna is portrayed as a fickle person who first attracts men and then rejects them. She is depicted as richly dressed goddess or as a naked woman. Her symbol is the eight-pointed star. Important sanctuaries of Inanna were in Uruk, Zabalam, and Babylon. The Akkadians called her Ishtar.
An early Sumerian name of Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of war and fertility.

In some traditions, Ki is a primordial being representing Earth. She also known as the wife of An and the mother of Enlil, symbolizing the marriage of Heaven and Earth to produce man.

A primordial being; daughter of Lahmu, and mother of An.
A Sumerian night-demon who has nested herself in the Haluppu tree of Inanna. The Akkadians know her as Lilitu.

Lilu, Lilitu, and Ardat-Lili
Not divinities as such, this trio of closely related demons inhabited the desert wastes, and functioned largely in terms of sexual and fertility aberration. Lilu and Lilitu were male and female equivalents of each other, and were regarded as dangerous to pregnancies and newborns, while Ardat-Lili ("Maiden Lilitu") may have been their offspring, and was seen as a spirit of sexual dysfunction and frustration, malevolent wives, and degeneracy in general. The general idea was imported into Hebrew mythology as Lilith, Demoness of desolation, obsession, and madness.

The Mesopotamian (especially Sumerian and Akkadian) mother goddess. She was part of the creation of the first humans from blood and clay. She was called Mami by the Babylonians, the goddess who created mortals.
The mother of the universe, a primordial being. In some traditions, she is the the mother of An and Ki (Heaven and Earth), and a personification or Aspect of Abzu. She is also known as the Sumerian goddess of the sea who created heaven and earth.
The Sumerian and Akkadian goddess of sex. She was also worshipped as a goddess of war. Her cult was widely spread, even to Syria and Iran.
The tutelary goddess of the city-state of Lagash, she was an oracular divinity with the power to interpret dreams and omens. She also held a position as protectress of the common-folk, who often invoked her as an overseer of fair and accurate weights and measures.
The Sumerian goddess of learning.
The Sumerian title for 'mistress' or 'goddess', which forms a component of many names of goddess, such as Ningal, Ninsun or Ninhursaga.
A goddess of music, serving Ishtar. She and Kulitta accompanied Ishtar's hymns when she sang passionately of her love for Tammuz.
The wife of moon-god Nanna-Suen, and the mother of the sun-god Utu. She was the 'great queen' of ancient Sumer. In Ur, she and Sin were regarded as the parents of Shamash and Ishtar. The Phoenicians referred to her as Nikkal.
(Ninhursag, Ninhursanga, Ninchursag) The Sumerian Lady of the Mountains, mistress of serpents, she who gives life to the dead. She created the first human beings out of clay. Associated with the Sacred Cow, she is regarded as the mother of many divinities by Enlil, who further extends his line by incestuous unions with their daughters, the plants and vegetation.

Ninhursaga is one of the oldest members of the Sumerian pantheon and has prestigious titles such as 'mother of the gods' and 'mother of all children'. She is also called Nintu, and Ki, the earth. She was the tutelary deity of the Sumerian rulers, who styled themselves "children of Ninhursag".

Ninhursag ensures fertile fields, but when she cursed her husband for his incestuous affairs, the earth became barren. Only when the hastily assembled gods managed to mollify her, the earth became fertile again and the cycle of the seasons was instituted.
A temple of Ninhursag was excavated near Tell Harriri (the ancient Mari) in Syria, near the Iraqi border.

A Sumerian goddess of intoxicating drink. Every day she prepares beer for the other gods.

The Babylonian and Sumerian goddess of healing who nursed sick humans.

Wife of Enlil, and mother to many of His children. An ancient Sumero-Babylonian goddess of heaven, earth, and air, and as Ninhursaga, a goddess of the underworld. She is also a goddess of grain and is called 'queen wind'. She is the consort of Enlil, the 'lord wind'. She shows compassion to the unfortunate. She and Enlil were worshipped in Nippur.

A mother-goddess of the Sumerians and Akkadians. Her name means 'greatest queen' and she is also called Dingirmach ('greatest deity'), or simply Mach. She helped Nammu with the creation of humankind and was held responsible for the birth of seven deformed humans. She may have been conflated with Ninhursag.
The Sumerian goddess of birth, and of stony ground.
A minor Sumerian goddess noted for her wisdom whose house was in Erech (Uruk). She is the wife of the deified king Lugalbanda and mother of the great hero Gilgamesh. In the Gilgamesh epic she counsels her son, and interprets dreams. Her name means "queen of the wild cow".
Known as the Lady of Life, and the Lady of the Rib. She is the Sumerian birth goddess who enabled pregnant women to create the bones of their babies from their own ribs.
The goddess of grain, writing and wisdom. She is the daughter of the sky-god An.
The Serpent Goddess of the Watery Abyss, the Creatress, the goddess mother, from whose formless body the Universe was born. She is a primordial entity, the personification of the deep.

At the beginning of creation there were but two entities, Abzu and Tiamat, respectively representing the freshwater underworld sea and the saltwater surface ocean. Between them, many of the earliest entities were created, including An and Ki (Heaven and Earth). When Abzu was slain, Tiamat released monstrous creatures in vengeance, and was in turn slain by, as later version have it, her Marduk. He cleaved her body in half, and from the upper half he created the sky and from the lower half he made the earth. From her water came forth the clouds and her tears became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The Sumerian spider goddess of weaving and of clothing. She is a daughter of Enki and Nindurra.
Zarpanit, also known as Beltia, is an ancient Sumero-Babylonian goddess, the consort of Marduk.



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