By Elyse Welles
© 2021 Elyse Welles. All rights reserved.
Inanna is the Goddess of Earth and Sky from ancient Mesopotamia. Her priestess Enheduanna is the first published female author in history. Texts of Inanna's worship are among the earliest known written works by any humans - Her power is older than any other deities as far as archaeology can prove. She embodies the
Divine Feminine and the aggression of creation as Goddess of fertility, love, procreation, war, and power. Her many aspects are Astarte in Caanan (of the Bible), Ishtar across the Middle East, Aphrodite in Greece, Venus in Rome, Neith in Egypt, Virgo in the stars, and it's been suggested that she is reflected in Freya in Norse mythology as well.
Some see her in Hecate's energy, despite her attempts at becoming a psychopomp being foiled by her sister Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Underworld - but in that story, Inanna attempted to take control of Ereshkigal's domain, and lived to tell the tale. In fact, when Inanna returned to Earth from the Underworld, it was on condition that She find someone to take Her place. She could not find a single human who hadn't mourned Her loss, and she couldn't sacrifice a loyal worshipper. But her husband Dumuzi wasn't happy to see her right
away, he enjoyed his power status while the Queen was away. Needless to say, he wasn't seen on Earth again.
Inanna is the fierce feminine aggression that tells you not to back down - and you listen. She is channeled in the conquering energy of an intimidating person who will not smile for you. She is the sex worker who loves what she does. Quitting the job you hate and not settling for less anymore - that's Inanna's energy. Traveling alone to a new country or state. Announcing to your family that you're transitioning - and not caring how anyone reacts. Starting your new business. Pressing charges against your abuser, no more excuses. Inanna's energy means owning your identity, even in the face of disrespect, and not hiding or backing down.
Inanna comes to me when I am in my weakest moments and shouts reason at me. And don't worry, you'll hear Her! My first encounter with Inanna was in my second year of practice. I had been weak in ending my relationship at the time. Young and inexperienced, I felt trapped in an unhealthy relationship with a very sick person. I had wanted to dump him for almost 6 months, but he kept convincing me and guilting me and manipulating me... needless to say Inanna was embarrassed for me. She jarred me, shook me out of it. Like a
slap in the face when the cold of shock is starting to turn to a panic attack. It's just what I needed. I had dreams of Her, saw Her in meditation, found grey feathers on my walks to class - change was in the air. And then a morning dove built its nest at the window in my dorm, right by my altar. Every tarot card I drew - the Adder, Kingfisher, Balance, The Blasted Oak (I use the Wildwood Tarot) - I knew what I had to do and yet I still procrastinated. One day I got to my room and sat at my altar to meditate on it. I wasn't eating at this point, I
was so anxious about getting out of this relationship. As I kept trying to meditate, the morning dove would peck at the window, and sing, and tweet. Pushing me. I draw a card. A snake again - one of Inanna's sacred symbols, a recurring image on the cards I had been drawing. I texted him right then and there, he came up that next Monday and I finally did it. It was the best decision I had ever made, and Inanna's guidance pushed me in
the healthy direction.
I hope that Inanna can help you reclaim your power and feel invincible like she does for me. The ways She has helped me since that first meeting are more than I can count. Her wisdom is a mindset if you want it to be.
Ways to Honor Inanna
1. Feed the birds at your local park or in your yard.
2. Donate supplies to women's shelters, and period products and bras to all shelters.
3. Stand up for yourself and trim the fat in your social life. Demand respect.
4. Hike a mountain - a famous tale of Inanna's mythology is her conquering of the great Mount Ebih.
5. Take up lifting, go bungee jumping or skydiving, go to an event or try something you've always been chicken to try - engage in activities that make you feel strong.
6. Don't kill snakes - literally, or by accident. Set your mowers to a higher level. It also saves bunnies' nests and clover, a necessity for bees.
7. Spend the day or afternoon doing something alone and for yourself, just because you want to.
8. Incorporate poetry and song - Inanna's priestesses wrote and performed dances, often quite salacious ones, in Inanna's honor. The poem below is one of pages and pages of verse by Enheduanna:
In-Nin Šagurra - Lady of Largest Heart by Enheduanna
This version of "In-Nin Šagurra", or Lady of Largest Heart, is a compiled poem from Enheduanna's three poems: Inanna and Ebih, Lady of Largest Heart, and The Exaltation of Inanna. It is not my own words, only my own interpretations of Enhedhuanna's words, and working from Betty de Jong Meador's translations in "Inanna: Lady of Largest Heart". This is a working version - I'll often change or omit a verse every time I revisit it. I've used this poem in personal ritual, and single words or phrases from the 20+ page poems accessible are
excellent material for any ritual, prayer, or mantra. As this 5,000-year-old writing is fragmented, and translated multiple times over, I don't think it's offensive or strange to adapt any existing translations we find; they all come out differently in every publication regardless, and the personal meaning behind our veneration and communication of Inanna and Her journeys is what matters. Even just Her honorific title, In-Nin Šagurra (EEn-
nEEn shAH-goo-ra) is an excellent choral round or single chant for meditation - pair it with your eyes closed, some burning incense, and gentle swaying and you will feel Her power.
Inanna, circling the sky, circling the earth
I attack the mountain at its heart
The Lady came near
The mountain did not fear
Great Lady Inanna
Clad in dread
riding on fire-red power
She goes out
In the dark vault of evening's sky
Star-steps in the street
Through the Gate of Wonder
Inanna, your torch flames the four quarters of the Universe
Spreads splendid Light in the dark
May I stand before you
May your eyes shine upon me
Take my measure
Oh my Lady, my Queen
I unfold your splendor in all lands
I extol your glory, forever
You are sublime, you are venerable.