Inanna/Ishtar

To Fertile Crescent Gods
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Rectangular, baked clay relief panel; modelled in relief on the front depicting a nude female figure with tapering feathered wings and talons, standing with her legs together; shown full frontal, wearing a headdress consisting of four pairs of horns topped by a disc; wearing an elaborate necklace and bracelets on each wrist; holding her hands to the level of her shoulders with a rod and ring in each; figure supported by a pair of addorsed lions above a scale-pattern representing mountains or hilly ground, and flanked by a pair of standing owls. Known as the "Burney Relief" or the "Queen of the Night". Rectangular, baked clay relief panel; modelled in relief on the front depicting a nude female figure with tapering feathered wings and talons, standing with her legs together; shown full frontal, wearing a headdress consisting of four pairs of horns topped by a disc; wearing an elaborate necklace and bracelets on each wrist; holding her hands to the level of her shoulders with a rod and ring in each; figure supported by a pair of addorsed lions above a scale-pattern representing mountains or hilly ground, and flanked by a pair of standing owls. Known as the "Burney Relief" or the "Queen of the Night".

Inanna is the goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the goddess Astarte.

Character

The goddess of love and war, drags young men out of the taverns to have sex with her. Despite her association with mating and fertility of humans and animals, Inanna was not a mother goddess Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Erech was called the "town of the sacred courtesans"; and she herself was the "courtesan of the gods". Inanna was also associated with rain and storms and with the divine personification of the planet Venus.

Ishtar had many lovers;

Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. 'Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength', says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, 'and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.'

Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and — if we are to believe Gilgamesh — this love caused the death of Tammuz.

Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshiped at Nineveh and Arbela (Erbil).

Origins

Inanna is associated with the city of Uruk. Ur, Larsa, Zabalam, Urum, Arina and Kesh all support her cult.

Worship

Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The temple of Eanna, meaning "house of heaven" or "house of An" in Uruk was the greatest of these. The god 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. Kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the occasion of the New Year festival.

Iconography

Inanna's symbol is an eight-pointed star or rosette. She was associated with lions — even then a symbol of power — and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses.

Myths

Inanna and the mes

Inanna tricked the mes' from the culture god Father Enki who was worshipped in the city of Eridu. The 'Mes' (pronounced "mays") represented everything from 'truth', to weaving, to prostitution. Inanna traveled to Enki's city Eridu, and by getting him drunk he 'gave' her hundreds (the exact number is unknown because the text breaks off) of Mes that she took to her city of Uruk. Enki, sobering up, sent mighty Abgallu (sea monsters from Ab = sea or abyss, Gal = Great, Lu = Man) to stop her boat as it sailed the Euphrates to retrieve his gifts, but she gave him the slip. This story may represent the historic transfer of power from Eridu to Uruk.

Inanna's descent to the underworld

Most curious is perhaps the story of Inanna's descent to the underworld. In Sumer the Underworld was a dreary, dark place; a home to deceased heroes and ordinary people alike. Based on their behavior they could be afforded better treatment or positions in the underworld.

Inanna's reason for visiting the underworld is unclear. The reason she gives to the gatekeeper of the underworld is that she wants to attend her brother-in-law Gud-gal-ana's funeral rites. However, this may be a ruse; Inanna may have been intending to conquer the underworld. Ereshkigal, queen of the underworld and Inanna's sister, may have suspected this, which could explain her treatment of Inanna.

Before she left, Inanna instructed her minister Ninshubur plead with the gods Enlil, Nanna, and Enki to save her if anything went wrong.

Inanna dresses elaborately for the visit, with a turban, a wig, a lapis lazuli necklace, beads upon her breast, the 'pala dress' (the ladyship garment), mascara, pectoral, a golden ring on her hand, and she held a lapis lazuli measuring rod. Perhaps Inanna's garments, unsuitable for a funeral, along with Inanna's haughty behaviour make Ereshkigal suspicious.

Following Ereshkigal's instructions, the gatekeeper tells Inanna she may enter the first gate of the underworld, but she must hand over her lapis lazuli measuring rod. She asks why and is told 'It is just the ways of the Underworld'. She obliges and passes through.

Inanna passes through a total of seven gates, each removing a piece of clothing or jewelry she had been wearing at the start of her journey. In Sumerian mythology some forms of burials included burying the deceased with gifts for the gatekeepers and judges of the Underworld to win their favor. Items could also be used as an amulet or protective device so stripping Inanna of each item would leave her more vulnerable to any type of attack.

When she arrives in front of her sister she is naked. "After she had crouched down and had her clothes removed, they were carried away. Then she made her sister Erec-ki-gala rise from her throne, and instead she sat on her throne. The Anna, the seven judges, rendered their decision against her. They looked at her -- it was the look of death. They spoke to her -- it was the speech of anger. They shouted at her -- it was the shout of heavy guilt. The afflicted woman was turned into a corpse. And the corpse was hung on a hook."

Ereškigal's hate for Inanna could be referenced in a few other myths. Ereškigal is seen as an accidental 'black sheep' of sorts. She can not leave her kingdom of the Underworld to join the other 'living' Gods and they can not visit her in the Underworld or else they can never return. Inanna symbolized love (in the sense of eros) and fertility and was the polar opposite of Ereškigal.

Three days and three nights passed and Nincurba following instructions went to Enlil, Nanna, and Enki's temples and demanded they save the Goddess of Love. The first two gods refused saying it was her own mess but Enki was deeply troubled and agreed to help. He created two sexless figures (neither male nor female) named gala-tura and the kur-jara. He instructed they were to appease Ereškigal and when asked what they wanted they were to ask for Inanna's corpse and sprinkle it with the food and water of life.

Things went as Enki said and the gala-tura and the kur-jara were able to revive Inanna. Demons of Ereškigal's followed Inanna out of the underworld and demanded she wasn’t free to go until someone took her place. They first came upon Nincurba and asked to take her. Inanna refused saying she had helped her as she had asked. They next came upon Cara, Inanna's beautician, still in mourning. The demons said they would take them but Inanna refused for he had been there for her. They next came upon Lulal also in mourning. The demons offered to take him but Inanna refused.

They next came upon Dumuzi, Inanna's husband. He was sitting in nice clothing and enjoying himself despite his wife supposedly still being missing in the underworld. Inanna wasn't happy and said they could take him.

Dumuzi tried to escape his fate but a fly told Inanna and the demons where he was. It was then decreed that Dumuzi spent half the year in the underworld and his sister take the other half.

Related deities

Inanna is the daughter of the moon god Nanna, and sister to the sun god Utu and the rain god Ishkur. Her sister is Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld.

As the goddess of the planet Venus, Inanna was identified by the Akkadians with their own Venus deity, who may have been male. Although the Akkadian name for the goddess was Ishtar, the Akkadians used Sumerian as a religious language; so their hymns, written in Sumerian, use the name Inanna.

Detail of ancient Mesopotamian so-called "Ishtar Vase" (terracotta with cut, moulded, and painted decoration), from Larsa, early 2nd millennium BC. Shows a representation of the goddess Ishtar (Inana/Inanna), winged and wearing a version of the horned cap of divinity. The pubic triangle and belly-button are heavily emphasized, while the breasts were crudely scratched in as an afterthought. For discussion of similar artistic depictions, and whether they are always truly of Ishtar, see Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green (1992, ISBN 0-292-70794-0), p. 144.

Detail of ancient Mesopotamian so-called "Ishtar Vase" (terracotta with cut, moulded, and painted decoration), from Larsa, early 2nd millennium BC. Shows a representation of the goddess Ishtar (Inana/Inanna), winged and wearing a version of the horned cap of divinity. The pubic triangle and belly-button are heavily emphasized, while the breasts were crudely scratched in as an afterthought. For discussion of similar artistic depictions, and whether they are always truly of Ishtar, see Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green (1992, ISBN 0-292-70794-0), p. 144.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Erech was called the "town of the sacred courtesans"; and she herself was the "courtesan of the gods". Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,

woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. 'Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength', says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, 'and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.'

Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and — if we are to believe Gilgamesh — this love caused the death of Tammuz.

Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshiped at Nineveh and Arbela (Erbil).

Detail of the reconstructed Ishtar Gate.

Detail of the reconstructed Ishtar Gate.

Descent into the underworld

One of the most famous myths about Ishtar describes her descent to the underworld. In this myth, Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them:

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.

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but "according to the ancient decree".

The gatekeeper lets Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar has to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. In rage, Ishtar throws herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her.

After Ishtar descends to the underworld, all sexual activity ceases on earth. The god Papsukal reports the situation to Ea, the king of the gods. Ea creates a eunuch called Asu-shu-namir and sends him to Ereshkigal, telling him to invoke "the name of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal is enraged when she hears Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she has to give him the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkles Ishtar with this water, reviving her. Then Ishtar passes back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the last gate.

Here there is a break in the text of the myth. The text resumes with the following lines:

If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release,
To Tammuz, the lover of her youth,
Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil;
With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis lazuli,
That the votaries may cheer his liver. [his spirit]
Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure,
With precious stones filled her bosom.
When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure,
She scattered the precious stones before her,
"Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish!
On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring.
Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women!
That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense.

Formerly, scholars believed that the myth of Ishtar's descent took place after the death of Ishtar's lover, Tammuz: they thought Ishtar had gone to the underworld to rescue Tammuz. However, the discovery of a corresponding myth about Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar, has thrown some light on the myth of Ishtar's descent, including its somewhat enigmatic ending lines. According to the Inanna myth, Inanna can only return from the underworld if she sends someone back in her place. Demons go with her to make sure she sends someone back. However, each time Inanna runs into someone, she finds him to be a friend and lets him go free. When she finally reaches her home, she finds her husband Dumuzi (Babylonian Tammuz) seated on his throne, not mourning her at all. In anger, Inanna has the demons take Dumuzi back to the underworld as her replacement. Dumuzi's sister Geshtinanna is grief-stricken and volunteers to spend half the year in the underworld, during which time Dumuzi can go free. The Ishtar myth presumably has a comparable ending, Belili being the Bablyonian equivalent of Geshtinanna.

Ishtar in the Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh contains an episode involving Ishtar. She asks the hero Gilgamesh to marry her, but he refuses, citing the fate that has befallen all her many lovers:

Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured roller, but still you struck and broke his wing [...] You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong [...] You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks."

Angered by Gilgamesh's refusal, Ishtar goes up to heaven and complains to the high god Anu. She demands that Anu give her the Bull of Heaven. If he refuses, she warns, she will do exactly what she told the gatekeeper of the underworld she would do if he didn't let her in:

If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven [then] I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion [i.e., mixing] of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living."

Anu gives Ishtar the Bull of Heaven, and Ishtar sends it to attack Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the Bull and offer its heart to the sun-god Shamash.

While Gilgamesh and Enkidu are resting, Ishtar stands upon the walls of the city (which is Uruk) and curses Gilgamesh. Enkidu tears off the Bull's right thigh and throws it in Ishtar's face, saying, "If I could lay my hands on you, it is this I should do to you, and lash your entrails to your side." Then Ishtar called together "her people, the dancing and singing girls, the prostitutes of the temple, the courtesans," and had them mourn for the Bull of Heaven.

Comparisons with other deities

Like Ishtar, the Greek Aphrodite and Northwestern Semitic Astarte were love goddesses who were "as cruel as they were wayward".Donald A. Mackenzie, an early popularizer of mythology, draws a parallel between the love goddess Aphrodite and her "dying god" lover Adonis on one hand, and the love goddess Ishtar and her "dying god" lover Tammuz on the other. Some scholars have suggested that

the myth of Adonis was derived in post-Homeric times by the Greeks indirectly from Babylonia through the Western Semites, the Semitic title 'Adon', meaning 'lord', having been mistaken for a proper name. This theory, however, cannot be accepted without qualifications."

Joseph Campbell, a more recent popularizer of mythology, equates Ishtar, Inanna, and Aphrodite, and he draws a parallel between the violent yet loving Hindu goddess Kali, the Egyptian goddess Isis who nurses Horus, and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar who nurses the god Tammuz.

Roleplaying Elements from

Liber Mysterium
The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team
Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

Teodor Axentowicz - Wiosna, 1900. Pastel na papierze. 74,5 x 59 cm. Muzeum Mazowieckie.(1900) Teodor Axentowicz (1859 - 1938)

Teodor Axentowicz - Wiosna, 1900. Pastel na papierze. 74,5 x 59 cm. Muzeum Mazowieckie.(1900) Teodor Axentowicz (1859 - 1938)

Ishtar of the Babylonians, and alternately Inanna of the Sumerians, represent the duality approach to the female deity, both are to be considered Nature deities; that is, human nature. Both are the chief goddesses of their pathos, both are the goddesses of love, and therefore sexuality. Also both are the goddesses of War, and therefore violence. Their witches tend to have mercurial, almost chaotic personalities. Covens tend to be very ancient and set in their ways. Rituals will usually be consisted of old, lengthy litanies and sacrifices. Ishtar's witches are also as likely to pick up a weapon, as they are to use magic.

Alignment: CN

Areas of Influence: Love, Nature, War

Roleplaying

Originally Posted by

Tebryn14 of the Wizards Community forums.

On this Thread

Ishtar

The Maiden, Lightbringer

Greater Deity

Symbol: eight-pointed star or red rosette

Home Plane:

Alignment:Neutral

Portfolio: Love, war, fertility

Worshipers: Nobles, rulers, judges

Cleric Alignments: N, NG, LN, CN, NE

Domain: Charm, Family, Protection, Renewal, War

Favored Weapon: Crystal rod (heavy mace)

Ishtar
Cleric 24/Mystic Wanderer 10/fighter 10
Medium-Size outsider (Extraplanar)
Divine Rank 18
Hit Dice 20d8+140 (outsider) plus 24d8+168 (Cleric) plus 10d10+60 (fighter) plus 10d8+60 (980 hp)
Initiative +13 (+9 Dexterity, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed 60 ft.
AC 100 (+9 Dexterity, +18 divine, +31 natural, +16 deflection, +16 sacred) touch 53, flat-footed 91
Base Attack/Grapple +42/+69
Attack +5 holy impact icy burst crystal rod +79 melee; or spell +69 melee touch or +69 ranged touch
Full Attack +5 holy impact icy burst crystal rod +79/+74/+69/+64 melee; or spell +69 melee touch or +69 ranged touch

Damage*

+5 holy impact icy burst crystal rod 1d8+38 plus 1d10 cold/19-20/x2 +1d10 cold; or by spell *Always does maximum damage (rod 46+6 cold)
Face/Reach 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.

Special Attacks

Turn undead 19/day, Domain powers, salient divine abilities, spell-like abilities, sleep, suggestion, charm monster, mass charm.

Special Qualities

Divine immunities, DR 30/epic, fire resistance 23, spontaneous casting of divine spells, understand, speak, and read all languages and speak directly to all beings within 18 miles, remote communication 18 mile, godly realm, greater teleport at will, plane shift at will, SR 50, divine aura (18 miles, DC 44), greater potion I, greater potion II, greater potion III, lore of nature, familiar
Saves Fort +59, Ref +61, Will +68
Abilities Strength 28, Dexterity 28, Constitution 24, Intelligence 30, Wisdom 38, Charisma 42
Skills* Balance +32, Bluff +62, Climb +47, Concentration +79, Craft (alchemy) +68, Decipher Script +38, Diplomacy +83, Disguise +49, Gather Information +49, Handle Animal +64, Heal +50, Hide +37, Intimidate +54, Jump +47, Knowledge (arcana)+78, Knowledge (history) +58, Knowledge (nature)+70, Knowledge (religion) +80, Knowledge (the planes) +66, Listen +59, Move Silently +37, Perform (Dance) +64, Perform (Drums) +49, Perform (Epic) +64, Profession (herbalist) +70, Ride (horse) +49, Sense Motive +55, Spot +52, Spellcraft +69, Swim+47. *Always receives a 20 on checks.
Feats Alertness , Awesome Blow, Blind-Fight, Cleave , Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows , Dodge, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Great Cleave, Greater Spell Focus Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Heighten Spell, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm , Improved Initiative , Improved Unarmed Strike , Iron Will , Mobility, Multispell x2, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Silent Spell, Snatch Arrows , Spring Attack , Still Spell, Weapon Focus (rod) Weapon Specialization (rod). Whirlwind Attack .

Divine Immunities

Ability damage, ability drain, acid, cold, death effects, disease, disintegration, electricity, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, Paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, transmutation, imprisonment, banishment.

Salient Divine Abilities

Alter Form, Alter Reality, Alter Size, Area Divine Shield, Automatic Metamagic (Quicken Cleric Spells), Avatar, Battlesense, Divine Blast (19/day, 19 miles, 34d12 points of damage), Divine Blessing (Charisma), Divine Inspiration (Love and Desire, DC 44), Divine Shield (10/day, stops 180 points of damage), Divine Spellcasting, Divine Spell Focus (enchantment), Divine Splendor, Divine Weapon Focus (Rod), Divine Weapon Specialization (Rod), Extra Domain (Protection), Extra Domain (Renewal), Extra Domain (War), Instant Counterspell, Mass Divine Blast, Possess Mortal (20 mortals at once, DC 44 to resist), Shapechange.

Domain Powers

+4 to Charisma for 1 minute 18/day; grant up to 16 people a +4 AC bonus for 24 minutes 18/day; grant +20 resistance bonus to saving throw for 1 hour 18/day; regain 1d8+16 hp 18/day when below 0 hp;

Spell-like Abilities

Ishtar uses these abilities as a 28th-level caster. The save DCs are 44+spell level. Charm Person, Calm Emotions, Suggestion, Emotion, Charm Monster, Geas/Quest, Insanity, Demand, Dominate Monster, Bless, Shield Other, Helping Hand, Imbue with Spell Ability, Telepathic Bond, Heroes’ Feast, Refuge, Protection from Spells, Prismatic Sphere, Sanctuary, protection from energy, Spell Immunity,Spell Resistance, Antimagic Field, Repulsion, Mind Blank, Lesser Restoration, Remove Disease, Reincarnate, Atonement, Greater Restoration, Polymorph any Object, Freedom, Magic Weapon, Spiritual Weapon Magic Vestment, Divine Power, Flame Strike, Blade Barrier, Power Word Stun, Power Word Blind, Power Word kill.

Cleric Spells/Day

6/9/9/8/8/8/7/6/6/6/3/2/2/2/2; base DC = 26 + spell level; DC 42 + spell level with enchantment spells. Caster level 34th.

Possessions: Ishtar carries a +5 holy impact icy burst crystal rod in battle.

Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) Title Red Roses in a Japanese Vase on a Gold Velvet Cloth

Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) Title Red Roses in a Japanese Vase on a Gold Velvet Cloth

Other Divine Powers

As a greater deity, Ishtar automatically receives the best possible result on any die roll he makes (including attack rolls, damage, checks and saves). She is immortal.

Senses: Ishtar can see, hear, touch, and smell at a distance of eighteen miles. As a standard action, she can perceive anything within eighteen miles of her worshipers, holy sites, objects, or any location where one of her titles or name was spoken in the last hour. She can extend her senses to up to twenty locations at once. She can block the sensing power of deities of her rank or lower at up to two remote locations at once for 18 hours.

Portfolio sense: Ishtar senses any feeling of love eighteen weeks before it happens and retains the sensation for eighteen weeks after the event occurs. She is likewise aware of any act of conception as well as any battle involving 100 or more combatants.

Automatic actions: Ishtar can use Intimidate, Bluff, and Perform as a free action if the DC for the task is 30 or lower. She can perform up to twenty such free actions each round.

Create Magic Items: Ishtar can create magic weapons, armor, and items dealing with beauty or love.

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