Through the passage of her heart, the Goddess Inanna experiences and embodies joy, grief and anger. At the root of all these emotions is love. A love for Life, a love for the Self, and a love for the Other. It is a love that is a part of our shadow and our light; and it is a love that can never be tamed.

In the ancient world, the Goddess Ishtar’s association with love is frequently expressed through the life-giving and life-sustaining gift of agricultural abundance. It is Ishtar’s gift that bestows wealth upon the land, the community–and above all, Herself.

Ishtar’s story begins when she is a young woman about to be married. As the Goddess grows aware of her sexual maturity, she celebrates her physicality as a woman; displaying confidence in her ability to charm the one whom she desires. She understands the nature of her own desire; and that is what allows her to sense it in another.

Sensuality is what arouses the highest and deepest calling of our human senses. The soul begins to long for the experience of intimacy; an expression of our deep need for physical and emotional closeness. It is in the Goddess’ heart where this desire arises. The intimacy which awakens in Ishtar’s heart extends to all the close relational ties which she experiences during her lifetime: including lovers, family members and the Land.

If you think you can disappear after satisfying your carnal desires, go forth forewarned; for this is not a mere trifle or a fling.

Marriage is what brings changes to our relationships and our status in society… and it is marriage that could potentially lead to one’s ruin if one is not discerning enough. It is not a mere tryst, for much must be considered–the expectations placed upon the couple by social conventions, the needs and requirements of their separate households, and the differences between the status of the two who are soon to be wed.

In ancient Sumeria, sensuality is seen as a pleasurable activity that provokes within the soul, feelings of intimacy. The focus of the ancient texts on pleasure, as well as the bias of the narrative towards the goddess’ pleasure–and not that of her spouse–allows the Goddess Ishtar to emerge as the protagonist of the Sumerian love poetry.

In the texts, Ishtar’s happiness is of great cosmic importance. By ensuring Ishtar’s happiness, a range of benefits are bestowed upon the community–from assistance in the battlefield to the bounty of the earth.

One thought on “Ishtar’s Gift | A Celebration of Sensuality

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