Archive for the 'Middle Eastern' Category

Sarpanit

April 26th, 2010 by sabrina

I thought I was working on another Z Goddess, but she morphed into an S!

star-of-heavenSarpanit is the Babylonian Goddess of pregnancy. As the consort of Marduk, God of the sun, she is later associated with the moon, as well as all of nature after Marduk rises to prominence. With this change, her name was also changed to reflect her new status—while Sarpanit means “the shining lady,” her new name, Zerbanit, means “she who brings forth the seed.” Sarpanit was also associated with water, which she inherited when the Goddess Erua, also a Goddess of pregnancy, was incorporated into her persona. Sarpanit’s name is also seen as Sarpanitu, Sarpanitum, Zerbanit, Zirbanit, Zerpanit, Zarpanit, Zarpanitu, and Zarpanitum, and epithets for her include “lady of the abyss,” “lady of the deep,” “voice of the deep,” and “mistress of the place where the fish dwell.”

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Ninsar

February 1st, 2010 by sabrina

star-of-heavenNinsar is the Sumerian Goddess of plants. She is the daughter of Ninhursag, Goddess of fertility, and Enki, God of the waters. She was impregnated by her father Enki and bore Ninkurra, also a Goddess of plants. Ninsar’s name means “lady greenery,” and she was also known as Ninmu (lady who brings forth) or Ninshar (lady herb).

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Ereshkigal

October 15th, 2009 by sabrina

ereshkigalEreshkigal (pronounced ay-RESH-kee-gal) is the Sumerian Goddess of death and Queen of the Underworld. She is the daughter of Nammu, Goddess of the primordial sea, and Anu, God of the sky, and twin sister of Enki, God of the waters. Shortly after her birth, she was carried off by the dragon Kur to the Underworld, where she became its ruler. She is also said to be the older sister of Inanna, Goddess of love, war, and fertility, and she is mostly known from the myth of Inanna’s descent to the Underworld. Ereshkigal’s husband Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, had been killed after Inanna sent him to punish Gilgamesh, and Inanna went to the Underworld to pay her respects to her sister. Ereshkigal feared that Inanna was actually coming to take over the Underworld, and had her servant remove an article of Inanna’s clothing at each of the seven gates that she had to pass through. When she finally arrives naked at the foot of Ereshkigal’s throne, Ereshkigal strikes her sister dead and hangs her body from a hook behind her throne.

Another myth of Ereshkigal tells of how she came to have a second husband, Nergal, God of war and plague. Nergal was first sent to the Underworld with a message from the other Gods to Ereshkigal. He was so impressed that he petitioned the Gods to let him visit a second time, and the great God Anu warned him not to eat or drink anything in the Underworld and not to get too close to Ereshkigal. However, Ereshkigal seduced Nergal and they stayed in bed for seven days. Nergal then left the Underworld and returned to the heavens. Heartbroken Ereshkigal threatened to raise the dead until they outnumbered the living if the other Gods would not send Nergal back, and he returned to the Underworld and married her.

Ereshkigal’s name, which means “lady of the great earth,” is seen as Erec-kigala, and she was also known as Irkalla, which is another name for the Sumerian Underworld.

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Ninhursag

September 24th, 2009 by sabrina

ninhursagNinhursag is the Sumerian Goddess of fertility. She also supplanted Ki as Goddess of the earth and mother of the Gods. Myths of her origin vary, but many state that she is the sister of Enlil, God of the air, which would make her the daughter of Ki and Anu, God of the sky. Whatever her origin, Ninhursag is most closely associated with Enki, God of the waters, as his consort. In a well-preserved myth entitled “Enki and Ninhursag,” Ninhursag bears Enki a daughter named Ninsar, who in turn is impregnated by Enki and bears Ninkurra. Ninkurra too has Enki’s child, a daughter named Uttu. Uttu, unwilling to bear Enki’s child, was instead advised by Ninhursag to bury his semen in the ground, where it grew into eight plants. These were the first plants on the earth, and Enki proceeded to eat them.

Ninhursag was furious with Enki for eating the plants, and she cursed him so that each plant caused a disease in a different part of his body. The other Gods pleaded with Ninhursag to take the curse off Enki, because without his waters, the earth and its people were dying. To cure him of the diseases, Ninhursag gave birth to eight deities—five Goddesses (Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe, Dazimira, and Ninti) and three Gods (Abu, Nintul, and Enshag). These eight were each able to heal one of Enki’s diseases, and leave him whole and healthy once again.

Ninhursag’s name means “lady of the mountains,” and she was also called Nintu (lady of birth), Ninmenna (lady of the tiara), and Ninmah (exalted lady), although it is likely that these were names of other Goddesses who were later assimilated with Ninhursag. Other names associated with her include Ninmug (lady of the vulva), Ninzinak (lady of the embryo), Ninsigsig (lady of silence), Ninbahar (lady of pottery), Nindim (lady fashioner), Nig-zi-gal-dim-dim-me (fashioner of all things in which there is breath of life), Nagarnam-luulu (carpenter of mankind), Nagar-sa-ga (carpenter of the insides), Tibira-kalam-ma (bronze caster of the nation), Sag-zu-kalam-ma (midwife of the nation), Sag-zu-digir-e-ne (midwife of the Gods), Mud-kes-da (blood-stancher), Ama-dug-bad (mother spreading her legs), Ama-dumu-dumu-ne (mother of all children), and Ama-digir-re-ne-ke (mother of the Gods).

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Pinikir

September 3rd, 2009 by sabrina

PinikirPinikir is the Elamite Great Goddess, mother of the Gods. She was the wife of Khumban, God of the earth, and was predominantly worshipped in Susa, in the north of Elam (now southwest Iran). As the center of Elamite power moved from north to south, Pinikir was “divorced” by Khumban and replaced with Kiririsha, the Great Goddess of the southern city of Liyan. Pinikir’s name is also seen as Pinenkir, and she was known as Mistress of Heaven and the Protector of Susa.

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Ninlil

April 9th, 2009 by sabrina

ninlil

Ninlil is the Sumerian Goddess of the air. She is the daughter to Nisaba, Goddess of writing, accounting, and grain, and Haya, God of storehouses. Ninlil’s name was originally Sud, but was changed to Ninlil when she married Enlil, God of the air. When Enlil first saw Sud, he was overcome by her beauty and begged her parents’ permission to marry her. In one version of the myths, he showered her with gifts and married her properly. In another version, Enlil raped Ninlil and was banished to the underworld. Ninlil followed him there, and gave birth to four sons: Nanna, God of the moon; Nergal, God of death; Ninazu, God of the underworld; and Enbilulu, God of rivers. Ninlil’s name, which means “lady of the air,” is also seen as Ninlilla.

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Antu

March 23rd, 2009 by sabrina

I’ve been trying for awhile now to fight my way through the confusion of the Mesopotamian Goddesses. It’s confusing because first there were the Sumerians, then the Akkadians, Assyrians, Hurrians, and finally the Babylonians, all passing along the same myths. Some of the deities had their names changed over the centuries, some were dropped altogether, and some were added along the way. Each time I try to figure out “Is that just another name for that Goddess, or is that another Goddess altogether?” I find conflicting information. I think that in a lot of cases they were actually separate Goddesses, perhaps worshipped only in one location, that were brought together as stories were collected. At least that’s the premise I’m going to work under!

antuAntu is the Babylonian Goddess of the sky. She is the consort of Anu, God of the sky, and the mother of the Gods Enlil and Ea (Enki in Sumerian). Where Anu’s consort in Sumerian mythology was Ki, a Goddess of the earth, the Babylonians instead gave him a consort who ruled the sky, as he did. Antu’s name is also seen as Antum.

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Ki

February 1st, 2009 by sabrina

star-of-heaven

Ki is the Sumerian Goddess of the earth. In Sumerian mythology, she is the daughter of Nammu, Goddess of the primordial sea. In the later Babylonian mythology, she is the daughter of Anshar and Kishar. In either case, she is the sister/wife of Anu, God of the sky, and mother by him of the Anunnaki, including Enlil, God of the air. Ki was eventually supplanted by Ninhursag as the Great Mother. Her name means “earth.”

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Kishar

January 12th, 2009 by sabrina

star-of-heavenKishar is the Babylonian Goddess of the earth. She is the daughter of Lahamu and Lahmu, and sister/wife to Anshar, God of the sky. They in turn were the parents of Anu, also a sky God, and Ki, also an earth Goddess, who gave rise to the Annunaki, the great Gods of Mesopotamia. Her name, which means “host of earth,” is also seen as Kissare or Kisar.

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Lahamu

December 18th, 2008 by sabrina

I couldn’t find a picture of her, but I did find one of her twin brother. Just imagine it without the beard!

Lahamu is the Babylonian Goddess of the primeval mud. She and her twin brother/husband, Lahmu, were the first Gods created by the union of Tiamat and Apsu, and they in turn were parents to Kishar and Anshar, whose son Anu becomes the king of the later Gods. Lahamu was depicted either as a serpent or as a woman with six curls on her head, similar to the depiction of Lahmu on the left. Lahamu’s name, which means “the muddy one,” was also seen as Lachamu, Lakhamu, Lamamu, and Lachos.

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