The ancient mystery of Ishtar, Queen of Heaven

Ascension Day is a day that completes the traditional Easter story of Jesus. But few know that an enigmatic goddess Queen called Ishtar gave her name to this period of Christian festivity. Ishtar is the Canaanite-Ugaritic name of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who in Greek mythology is known as Artemis. And as we will reveal in this article, few places in the world were left untouched by the escapades of this peripatetic Queen.

As we had glimpsed last week, her story begins in pre-Flood times, when Virgo, the Age of the Virgin, reigned in the heavens according to an astronomical-geophysical phenomenon known as the Precession of the Equinoxes, which has to do with the cyclical tilting of the Earth on its axis. Virgo, we saw last week, was dedicated to Inanna, then a young girl.

According to the Sumerian pre-Flood Kings List, her brother and twin Ubar-Tutu (Abol-Utu) was the last pre-Flood god-king to rule before disaster struck in 10983 BC, just as Virgo was giving way to Leo, the Age of the Lion (10800- 8640 BC). Leo, Loê in half-forgotten Setswana lore, was not a person but an age in which everything had to begin anew; when, geologically, the Ice Age ended in catastrophe and our present Holocene epoch began.

The twins were again honoured with another age, Gemini, the Age of the Twins (6480 to 4320 BC), in another 2160-year precessional period, of which there are twelve per “astrological” cycle. But how could people, even gods, live so long unless they were indeed mythical creatures? “Gods”, I have shown time and again in this column, were real, flesh-and-blood entities of proper history, and anachronistic remnants of their advanced technology is periodically unearthed in fossils as old as 300 million years and more. Bending time through space-ship acceleration, we also explained, was one of the tricks they used to appear as “immortals” to us and “visiting heaven” in these shems (sha-im: “fiery ones”) was reserved strictly for elite “gods”.

These gods took turns to rule Earth. In the post-Flood era, a clan of the gods known as “Enlilites” were to rule until Age of the Bull (Taurus: 4320 - 2160 BC) and then “enlilship” was to be handed over to the Enkiites, their rival clan. As such, Marduk, the Enkiite god of Babylon, was to be the new Enlil (Ene-le-Illu: “Lord of the Gods”) during the Age of the Ram (Aries: 2160 BC to 0AD). But the Enlilites had other plans. Marduk had a younger brother Dumuzi (Tammuz) who fell in love with Inanna, daughter of SU.EN (Sin), an Enlilite god. Seeing an opportunity to perpetuate their hold on leadership, the Enlilites groomed Dumuzi to be the new “Righteous Shepherd” of the impending Age of the Ram. In a lengthy story best recounted in Zecharia Sitchin’s The Wars of Gods and Men (Harper), Marduk’s retaliatory schemes led to the accidental death of Dumuzi and the start of bitter enmity with Inanna.

The seemingly inconsolable Inanna was finally consoled with full membership of the Council of Gods, the famous Pantheon of Twelve. She was given three cities to rule: Akkad/Agade in Sumer (now Iraq) and two Indian cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. As Aries neared and Marduk continued to lay claim to it, tensions increased when Inanna was determined to be the next Enlil. Through her “mortal” protégé Sargon, she began a series of bloody conquests that eventually landed her in trouble with the Pantheon. The gods finally resolved to dismantle her empire and Sargon was disgraced.

The defiant Inanna soon found a new protégé in Naram-Sin, grandson of Sargon, and they were even bolder, venturing even into DIL-MUN, the “holy” region, the forbidden area of Canaan where the shems were hidden in mountain silos, and even into Egypt – a strictly Enkiite territory. In 3113 BC, after conquering Egypt, Naram-Sin began calling himself “King of the Four Regions”, namely Sumer, Egypt, India, and Dilmun: the “four corners of the world”. This angered the gods further. When even SU.EN (Sin), Inanna’s father, disapproved of this, she changed her protégé’s name from Naram-Sin (“beloved of Sin”) to N’armer-Utu (“beloved of Utu”) after her loyal twin brother, thus the “Nimrod” of Genesis 10:8-12. 

If Nimrod/Narmer angered the gods with his ambitious title, Inanna did worse by calling herself “Allat” in Arabia, the title of SU.EN her father, the crescent-moon-god El-AT, the “Multiplying God” (AT is ata in Setswana: to “multiply, increase”). In Egypt she became AN.AT, “Queen of Heaven”. There, she elevated Narmer to Min (mo-ene, a title meaning “a god”). Incensed by all this, the gods destroyed all her beloved cities of Agade, Harrapa and Mohenjo-Daro with nuclear weapons as duly recounted in the Mahabharata of India and unwittingly corroborated by David Davenport et al who marvelled at pottery and human remains that were melted by a level of heat corresponding to a nuclear explosion.

Inanna was much admired by Africans. Soon after Dumuzi’s death, she had visited her sister Ereshikigal in Africa (at Kigali, perhaps?). Suspicious that Inanna was now aiming for Nergal, her Enkiite husband, Ereshkigal was about to execute her when a peculiar “creature” sent by Enki himself, their mutual father-in-law, rescued her just in time (see Sumerian text Inanna’s Descent to the Lower World). Evidently a robotic device, amazed Africans must have enquired what this was. “Technology”, was the response and this, I believe is where the famous tikoloshe of African lore began.

Inanna was a noted pilot, and the curious rings of Ndebele women, I have deciphered, emulated her ribbed astronaut suit, while the enigmatic “earphones” of Venda women is now-forgotten evidence of the great impression she made on us. But she also left with something African. Intrigued by Africa’s unselfconscious bare-breasted maidens, her signature even as Anat, Queen of Heaven, was her bared breasts: something still taboo to her kind, to the pale-skinned “gods” that ruled, and still covertly rule us, to this day.

L.M. Leteane

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