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Inanna's Descent into the Underworld: A Sumerian Tale of Injustice

Writer; Dollie Eanna-Dawn Jensen

@ 4biddenknowledge

Inanna/Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. Her names changes throughout timelines that evolve from generation to generation, set as a reminder to us in one form or another, the existence of the most famous Queen on EA , with the many different titles she has held and who become known globally as the celestial Goddess who lived amongst the mortals of Earth, famously known to all of us as the Queen of Heaven.

As research goes on these tales myths or legends we have come to know are from the beautiful works of the favorite storyteller Diane Wolkstein and world most famous Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer (September 28, 1897 – November 26, 1990) who was in his timeline one of the world's leading Assyriologists and a world-renowned expert in Sumerian history and Sumerian language.

Kramer earned his PhD in 1929, and was famous for assembling tablets recounting single stories that had become distributed among different institutions around the world. He retired from formal academic life in 1968, but remained very active throughout his post-retirement years.

In his autobiography published in 1986, he sums up his accomplishments: "First, and most important, is the role I played in the recovery, restoration, and resurrection of Sumerian literature, or at least of a representative cross section . . . Through my efforts several thousand Sumerian literary tablets and fragments have been made available to cuneiformists, a basic reservoir of unadulterated data that will endure for many decades to come. Second, I endeavored . . . to make available reasonably reliable translations of many of these documents to the academic community, and especially to the anthropologist, historian, and humanist. Third, I have helped to spread the name of Sumer to the world at large, and to make people aware of the crucial role the Sumerians played in the ascent of civilized man"

Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer who wrote - Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer -

The following Article holds a very interesting insight into the goddess and some of the possible mistakes and misguiding representations of the Goddess we have become accustomed to to percieveher as, with the complex truth hidden in plain sight for those who see will see. The Goddess with many Names and meanings -

I would highly reccomend reading Diane Wolkstein's rendition about the timeless Goddess who speaks out to us all. The Sacred Queen of Heaven who will be forever shrouded in mystery. My own life long works so far has always been dedicated to the many connections with the Goddess that we all have in common and we all share.

Dollie Eanna-Dawn Indigostar (Jensen) - #annunakiHistory #4bktv #4biddenknowledge

The Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) chronicles the journey of Inanna, the great goddess and Queen of Heaven, from her realm in the sky, to earth, and down into the underworld to visit her recently widowed sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead. The poem begins famously with the lines:

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below (Wolkstein and Kramer, 52)

The work then goes on to describe Inanna’s descent to the underworld accompanied, part of the way, by her faithful servant and advisor Ninshubur.

On this Sumerian relief, the marriage of the goddess Inanna and the Sumerian King Dumuzi is depicted.


Inanna is dressed in her finest clothes and wears the crown of heaven on her head, beads around her neck, her breastplate, golden ring and carries her scepter, the rod of power. Just before she enters the underworld, she gives Ninsubur instructions on how to come to her aid should she fail to return when expected. Upon her arrival at the gates of the underworld Inanna knocks loudly and demands entrance. Neti, the chief gatekeeper, asks who she is and, when Inanna answers, “I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven”, Neti asks why she would wish entrance to the land “from which no traveler returns.” Inanna answers:

Because of my older sister, Ereshkigal Her husband, Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died I have come to witness the funeral rites. (Wolkstein and Kramer, 55)

Neti then tells her to stay where she is while he goes to speak with Ereshkigal.

When Neti delivers the news to Ereshkigal that Inanna is at the gates, the Queen of the Dead responds in a way which seems strange: “She slapped her thigh and bit her lip. She took the matter into her heart and dwelt on it” (Wolkstein and Kramer, 56). She does not seem pleased to hear the news that her sister is at the gate and her displeasure is further evidenced when she tells Neti to bolt the seven gates of the underworld against Inanna and then let her in, one gate at a time, requiring her to remove one of her royal garments at each gate. Neti does as he is commanded and, gate by gate, Inanna is stripped of her crown, beads, ring, sceptre, even her clothing and, when she asks the meaning of this indignity, is told by Neti:

Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect They may not be questioned (Wolkstein and Kramer 58-60)

Inanna enters the throne room of Ereshkigal “naked and bowed low” and begins walking toward the throne when:

The annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her They passed judgment against her. Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death She spoke against her the word of wrath She uttered against her the cry of guilt She struck her. Inanna was turned into a corpse A piece of rotting meat And was hung from a hook on the wall (Wolkstein and Kramer, 60)

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