|Ishtar and Tammuz|
by Lisa de St. Croix
ISHTAR and TAMMUZ
I, Ishtar, Queen of Heaven
And I, Tammuz, shepherd King
Are the most ancient deities
Our sacred rites of love
Bring fertility and fecundity to the land
The wet field, sprouting seed
The rising stalk, milk and honey
Engage in the sacred act of love
Bringing new growth to your relationship
The myth of Ishtar and Tammuz is the oldest recorded love story. Ishtar and Tammuz had a powerful sexual attraction and were tireless lovers. The fertility of the earth was the result of their copulation.
Ishtar, also known as Inanna, was the Mesopotamian Goddess of love, desire, sex and war. She is the first deity that was recorded in writing by Enheduanna in 2285 BC. Enheduanna was a priestess of Ishtar and is the first known author. Ishtar/Inanna was widely worshipped for thousands of years throughout the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as far back as the 4th millennium BCE. Mesopotamia which is now Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey was home to the great Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian Empires. Ishtar was later associated with Astarte, Aphrodite and Venus. Ishtar was known as the Queen of Heaven, daughter of the sky - Anu and daughter of the moon - Nannar. Ishtar's symbol - the eight pointed star was used as a seal for thousands of years. Ishtar's sexuality is a vital aspect of her image.
Tammuz, also known as Damuzi, is an agricultural deity, a shepherd. He dies and is reborn annually, the cult of Tammuz even appears in the Bible where Ezekiel witnesses the weeping of women for the slain God. The Babylonian myth of Tammuz as the dying and resurrected God bears similarities to Osiris and Jesus. Tammuz dies with the dying vegetation and resurfaces with the new crop of grain. Tammuz is also a guardian and a healer.
The ancient Sumerian love poem between Ishtar/Inanna and Tammuz/Dumuzi refers to their joyous sacred marriage rites:
My Vulva, the horn, Boat of Heaven,
is full of eagerness like the young moon
As for me, Inanna, who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?
As for me, the young woman, who will plow my vulva?
Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva.
I, Dumuzi, the king will plow your vulva!
Then plow my vulva, man of my heart!
Plow my vulva!
At the kings lap stood the rising cedar.
Plants grew high by their side.
Grains grew high by their side
Gardens flourished luxuriantly.
He has sprouted; he has burgeoned;
He is the one my womb loves best
Afterwards, pleased by her lover Tammuz, Ishtar decrees lifelong sovereignty for him and fertility and prosperity for the land.
Sacred Union is a work in progress, it will be published in 2022.