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Chapter 5.

ENHEDUANNA: PRINCESS, PRIESTESS AND POET.

 

Neumann correctly saw that “…the unconscious , i.e., the psychic stratum from which consciousness arises in the course of human history — and in the course of individual development — is experienced in relation to this consciousness as maternal and feminine. This does not mean that the unconscious contents appear symbolically as feminine. The unconscious contains masculine as well as feminine forces, tendancies, complexes, instincts, and archetypes, just as mythology has males and female gods, demons, spirits, animals, and so on.” Certainly, further development of consciousness involves an heroic struggle against the Great Mother; but he then fell into the common error of describing consciousness as masculine, which, as any woman’s experience would indicate, is incorrect. He asserted, “For in so far as the woman participates in this development of consciousness, she too has a symbolically male consciousness …” [Neumann, 1991 #199] Enheduanna’s poetry expresses very much the opposite, because, unlike Neumann, she was aware of a very definitely feminine entity in the psyche, regardless of gender, which drives towards individuation by tackling the negative maternal regressive power.

Anticipating Neumann by four thousand years, this lady, the world's first known poet, recognised and illustrated the fact that the final phase of redemption (which we call individuation,) lay in invoking then recognising the power of the divine dynamic feminine. For all his genius, Goethe only got it partly right. He called this redemptive power "Mater Gloriosa" whereas Enheduanna saw it for what it was: Divine, Dynamic, and anything but maternal; but with a gift of grace.

Sargon, the world's first emperor, reigned for fifty-five years, from 2334-2279 BC. Even in old age he was able to put down a rebellion and defeat large-scale incursions by armed nomads from Upper Jazirah.

Roux makes the point that Sargon was meticulous in honouring those civil and religious institutions which suited his purpose, which was hegemony over the largest area possible. To this end he appointed his daughter to be en-priestess of Ekišnugal, the temple of the moon-god Nanna at Ur. She took the name En-hedu-anna, (Lit: Chief Priestess-of the ornament-of heaven) signing a cycle of poetical hymns to Inanna with it. She is the first known writer in world literature and she knew it. At the end of her ‘Temples’ cycle she wrote, “The compiler of the tablets was En-hedu-ana. My king, something has been created that no one has created before.” Her poetry was written in Sumerian (the 'scholarly' language) whereas her father's royal inscriptions were in Akkadian.

So far, we have only six literary works definitely attributable to Enheduanna. These are:

  1. ninmešarra (Lady of all the me: often referred to as The Exalatation of Inanna) [See Chapter 3 for how Inanna acquired them.]
  2. inninmehuša (Inanna and Ebih: the definitive account of Inanna's battle with the Dragon of Kur, the dangerous aspect of the collective unconscious.)
  3. inninšagurra ( Usually interpreted as Stout-Hearted Lady, but in modern day parlance might best be understood as Little Miss Tough-Guy: on second thoughts, perhaps not little!)
  4. A hymn of praise, whose title is as yet unknown.
  5. Enheduanna's hymn of praise on assuming the title of Chief Preistess of the Moon-god temple at Ur.
  6. A collection of forty two hymns to Sumerian temples. Saggs (p 72) suggests that she may have simply edited earlier versions of these hymns, although he does not justify his assertion. However there seems no question of the originality of her other works. (And when all is said and done, Shakespeare was not the first to write an account of the Hamlet or King Lear stories.)

Nin-me-šarra: Lady of all the Divine Powers

 

            Enheduanna opens this poem with praise for Inanna, but then complains that a male figure named Lugal-an has desecrated the great temple Eana at Uruk and driven Enheduanna from her temple into the wilderness. Her prayers to the old sky-god An and the moon-god Nanna Suen (Ashimbabbar) have produced no results. When she recognises that Inanna is greater than either of them she is apparently restored, not only to her office, but to her charm and beauty.

 

            Most commentators have interpreted this poem as an account of an actual historical event, asserting that Lugal-an was involved in a revolt against Naram-Sin at Uruk, and literally ejected Enheduanna from the temple. There are several reasons to dismiss such arguments as naďve.

 

            For one thing Enheduanna was chief priestess of the temple at Ur. Uruk is sixty kilometres away. If somebody damaged the temple Eanna at Uruk, it would be a source of considerable regret for Enheduanna, but hardly affect her own standing in her own temple in her own city. You can’t chuck her out of a temple she doesn’t work in.

 

            Then we have to check the chronology carefully. Sargon was not a boy king. He was an adult when he came to power. He ruled from 2334-2279, following which the throne went to two of his sons. Rimush ruled from 2278-2270 and Manishtusu from 2269-2255. Only then did Naram-Sin take over (2254-2218.) [Georges Roux: Ancient Iraq, Table III] Even if Sargon was in his fifties when Enheduanna was born, and even if she was appointed chief priestess in her early twenties, by the time Naram-Sin got to the throne, Enheduanna is not going to be worried about rebels sixty kilometres down the road. She going to be worried about menopause!

 

            Very well, let’s assume that this Lugal-an does his dirty deeds during Sargon’s reign, or those of his sons, even though we have no historical evidence to that effect. Even if this was the case, we still run into the problem that Enheduanna could not be evicted from a temple she never ruled.

 

Daniel Snell makes the unsupported assertions that Enheduanna’s hymns argue for the identity of Inanna and Ishtar, and “The hymns were part of Enheduanna’s father’s and brothers’ project to unify southern Mesopotamia cuturally. One of them alludes to a rebellion in which Enheduanna was a target of persecution, but the rebellion was apparently put down.” [Snell, 1997 #198]

His first assertion is not borne out by any reading of Enheduanna’s work. Inanna and Ishtar were simply the Sumerian and Akkadian names for the same Goddess, the same entity or archetype. His second is contentious, and his third attributes a rather superficial motive to the writing of the deeply personal and passionate Nin-me-šara.

Should anyone be tempted to interpret these hymns as political, that argument can be countered by pointing out that when Sumerian or Akkadian writers wanted to describe political events, they did so explicitly, as in “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. [Jacobsen, 1987 #9] In the case of In-nin-me-huš-a, descriptions of the “inimical land” include no mention of people, so, far from being a political account the land symbolises the archetypal realm where no humans exist, only deities.

Her hymn to Inanna, The Exaltation of Inanna, has been interpreted as an account of an actual historical event wherein a rebellious and blasphemous governor, Enheduanna's (currently assumed physical) brother-in-law, Lugalanne is supposed to have defiled the temple and ejected her. She speaks interchangeably of being banished to both the steppe and the leper-ward. Perhaps lepers were driven into the steppe. Some objections may be raised to this literalist view.

  1. Collateral evidence of a revolt by, or even the existence of a person of that name are missing.
  2. Had an attempt been made by anyone to mess with an appointment made by Sargon himself, the perpetrator would have suffered considerably when Sargon and/or his two equally militaristic sons found out.
  3. No accounts of Sargon's reign being interrupted exist, and had he been deposed, he is unlikely to have survived.
  4. Had a palace coup been effected with Sargon restored later, it is likely that Lugalanne would have come to a remarkably sticky end. Enheduanna does not mention this, which given her resentment towards him, is surprising.
  5. More surprising, given that the central theme is one of alienation from her personal goddess resulting in that goddess 'punishing' her, is the absence of retribution at divine level of Lugalanne for his apparently outrageous behaviour. In particular, if we take nin-me-sar-ra in context, it foreshadows a hymn recounting Inanna's vengeance upon Ebih, a province which failed to give her due respect, and in-nin-sa-gur-ra of which the "principal theme is Inanna's omnipresent and omnipotent role in human affairs." Apart from any offence he allegedly caused to Enheduanna, this Lugalanne has

"...stripped An of (his temple) Eanna.
He has not stood in awe of An-lugal
That sanctuary whose attractions are irresistible, whose beauty is endless,
That sanctuary he has verily brought to destruction."

The massive temple Eanna was not only for An (who, according to Enheduanna, did nothing to "release" her from Lugalanne.) It was the principal temple of Inanna herself! Anyone stupid enough to destroy such a place would be provoking the most extraordinary wrath of a remarkably terrifying and vindictive goddess, to say nothing of the lynch-mobs in the streets of Uruk. In "Harps" page 24-26 Jacobsen gave an account of Inanna's summary vengeance upon a slave-girl who slept with Dumuzi.

"By the forelock she seized her, threw the girl, the source of the sin, down from the plinth of the city wall: "Let the shepherd kill her with his shepherd's crook, let the elegist kill her with his timbrel, let the potter kill her with his beer-mug, let the [guards]man kill her with his dagger and mace.""

Let's get real. Enheduanna was a very intelligent daughter of a military genius, who maintained his realm in sufficiently good shape that he could hand it intact to his son Rimush after over fifty years. We must bear in mind that Enheduanna was the High Priestess of the temple of Nanna, the male moon god in Ur. Who, if anybody, is going to be responsible for training the young priestesses? She obviously came from a brilliant and sophisticated family with a high degree of understanding of the dynamic feminine archetype, albeit in projected form. Inanna was her father's tutelary deity, to whose love and help he attributed all his success. If anyone desecrated the temple Eanna, she would not have to run around making complaints to the supernatural. All she had to do was tell daddy, and good-bye Lugalanne.

            To be more realistic, Enheduanna was a highly sophisticated priestess from an extraordinarily gifted family. She was a spiritual leader at a time when the cult of the old sky-god An was already fading as the Enlil cult advanced. Inanna’s power and prestige were moving towards that Goddess being recognised as The Great Goddess. These spontaneous movements in religious sentiment were of immediate personal and professional importance to her, whereas political considerations outside the temple were secondary. She was a prophet, not a politician.

Thus The Exaltation of Inanna can be read as an attractive and stylised, but quite pragmatic account of the effects of alienation of a woman from the dynamic component of her feminine self, the cause of that alienation, and a ritualistic, indeed theurgic method for regaining relationship to it.

As High Priestess, Enheduanna would be aware, apparently from her own experience, of the dangers to young women of what we now call animus possession. In particular, she shows awareness of the inherent danger of such a state to a woman's awareness of and contact with, her feminine self. That posession has that effect regardless of whether the posession is internal, or projected onto a man in the outer world.

Describing anima and animus, Jung wrote:

"Both of them are unconscious powers, "gods" in fact, as the ancient world quite rightly conceived them to be. To call them by this name is to give them that central position in the scale of psychological values which has always been theirs whether consciously acknowledged or not; for their power grows in proportion to the degree that they remain unconscious."

It just happens that Lugal-an literally means "Great man of Heaven." Moreover,

"The effect of anima and animus on the ego is in principle the same. This effect is extremely difficult to eliminate because in the first place, it is uncommonly strong [and] In the second place, the cause of the effect is projected and appears to lie in objects and objective situations. ...Consciousness is fascinated by it, held captive, as if hypnotised. Very often the ego experiences a vague feeling of moral defeat..."

Remember Enheduanna's plea to moon god Nanna-Sin,

"What is he to me, oh Suen, this Lugalanne! (Suen was Nanna's Akkadian name.)
Say thus to An: May An release me."

Needless to say, neither male deity could or would help. Of particular importance is that Enheduanna did not even mention asking Ningal, the Moon-Goddess, for help. She did not run to a Great Mother. Reconnection with her divine self, her Goddess, and affirmation of her supremacy was the only solution to Enheduanna's problem.

"(That,) oh my lady has made you great, you alone are exalted!
Oh my lady beloved of An, I have verily recounted your fury!"

Given that the Sumerians were as prone as ourselves to project psychological events into the outside world, deliberately or otherwise, perhaps we should grant Enheduanna the courtesy of trying to understand what she really meant. Her father attributed his success quite rightly to Inanna's influence, (i.e. to optimal co-operation between ego and the dynamic feminine component of the Self, anima.) If it is clear to us, four thousand years later, it would have been abundantly clear to his daughter. She was appointed to run the temple dedicated to Inanna's father, but what writing we have from her, relativises Nanna, and even An, in comparison to Inanna. It seems reasonable to believe that the person responsible for training young priestesses and priests would be the en-Priestess herself. If she was an enthusiast for Inanna, she would be able to enhance that deity's influence at Ur, without appearing to subvert the patron god, Nanna, nor even Ningal.

But Enheduanna was doing more than this. Her acolytes were not like modern priests or nuns. They were perfectly at liberty to relate to the world of sexual relations, with all the joys and curses inherent therein. She was not just teaching them some vague esoteric spiritual philosophy, but giving practical earthy advice of immediate everyday importance.

“A woman possessed by the animus is always in danger of losing her femininity, her adapted feminine persona, just as a man in like circumstances runs the risk of effeminacy. These psychic changes of sex are due entirely to the fact that a function which belongs inside has been turned outside. The reason for this perversion is clearly the failure to give adequate recognition to an inner world which stands autonomously opposed to the outer world, and makes just as serious demands on our capacity for adaptation.” CW 7 p 209 ¶ 337

Alienation:

            In Animus Aeternus, Deldon Anne McNeely delineates six phases in Neumann's model for human development.

1. Psychic unity of ego and unconscious, participation mystique.

2. Self-conserving stage. Ego recognises separate existence from unconscious, but safe in its quasi-maternal care.

3. Invasion by Paternal Uroboros, pulling the child away from an exclusively feminine world, but still submissive to a masculine power.

4. Patriarchal Partner. A masculine principle (outer or inner) breaks her from father's grasp, but "with a girl's feminine esteem still subordinated." This need not be so! Should the man she loves be self-sufficient, inspiring and mature, with a true reverence for the dynamic feminine, a woman will be freed, not subordinated. Partnership and patriarchy (or matriarchy) are opposites, as Riane Eisler pointedly remarks in Campbell and Musčs; In All Her Names, p 13.

5. True Confrontation. All people seen as whole individuals, with convention sacrificed for self-development.

6. Experience of the Female Self. Bringing integration, inner renewal, fruitfulness of mind and soul which McNeely claims is uniquely feminine. Probably Shakespeare, Beethoven and Mozart might demur. Let us rather say that this final stage of linking with the dynamic feminine (Self for women, Anima for men) has these effects.

Neumann stated in “The Child” (published 14 years after Origins and History of Consciousness) "In each stage of development, the Self incarnates itself in an archetype, yet does not become identical with it. Thus the manifestation changes from phase to phase; it appears first in the mother archetype, then in the father archetype, next as a group-self, then as an individual Self. This leads the ego into a fundamental conflict.

            When the Self incarnates itself in an archetype, this archetype represents a supreme value for the ego. Consequently the transformation of the Self compels the ego, which is likewise in process of transformation, to kill what has hitherto been the supreme value..." (p 182.)

Seen as a psychological animus image, Lugal-an’s actions make sense. If a spiritual leader becomes animus-possessed, she will lose her appreciation of the physical and spiritual beauty of An’s temple. In all conviction can any animus-possessed woman say that in contrast to her earlier feelings of joy,

“… funeral offerings were brought, as if I had never lived there. I approached the light, but the light was scorching hot to me. I approached the shade, but I was covered with a storm. My honeyed mouth became venomous. My ability to soothe moods vanished.”

 

            That is precisely what animus possession does to a woman: it destroys her power to soothe, and makes her speech venomous. It strips her of her rightful crown of femininity, instead giving her the classic animus implements, a knife and dagger, saying “These are appropriate ornaments for you.” Enheduanna even identifies this animus figure. The great man of heaven is no ordinary mortal, but her own Nanna, the moon-god himself!

My Nanna has paid no heed to me. He has destroyed me utterly in renegade territory. … He stood there in triumph and drove me out of the temple. He made me fly like a swallow from the window; I have exhausted my life-strength. He made me walk through the thorn bushes of the mountains.”

 

            And should anyone doubt that Lugal-an represented an internal conflict:

“… a hostile verdict encloses me as if it were my own verdict.” And “That Nanna … has said “He is yours!” (twice!)

 

            It is then that Enheduanna recognises, as Jung did four and a half thousand years later, that animus cannot be defeated by anything masculine. Jung said:

“No matter how friendly and obliging a woman’s Eros may be, no logic on earth can shake her if she is ridden by the animus. … this highly dramatic situation would instantly come to a banal and unexciting end, if he [the male protagonist] were to quit the field and let a second woman carry on the battle …” [CW 9 (II) p 15]

 

            Enheduanna went one step better. It was not just another woman, and certainly not a mother who could help. Ningal’s pronouncements were never spoken. Her lost charm, tact, beauty and power would be restored by turning to the divine dynamic feminine. In the dead of night she realised that it was too much for her. “Since it was full, too full for me, great exalted lady, I have recited this song for you,” so she invoked a higher power, and the poem ends with Inanna’s triumph.

            Again, Lugal-An literally translates as "Great man of heaven," but would also be the title for the High Priest of the Temple Eanna at Uruk. Given the power and genius of Enheduanna's father, a very strong non-paternal masculine figure would have been necessary to separate her from the father world, particularly given that Sargon was sophisticated enough to recognise the role of the dynamic feminine in his own success. This influence, represented by Lugalanne, (whether projected onto a human person or not,) no doubt helped Enheduanna to reach phase four, or she is unlikely ever to have paid it any attention. But it was only an agent for moving beyond the father world and Enheduanna realised she had to grow beyond it.           

"For a woman to recognise when she is possessed by the animus - that is, when her ego functioning has been displaced by the masculine archetype and she is under his spell - requires considerable introspection." (McNeely P 44)

She was sophisticated enough to show that masculine deities (An and Nanna-Suen) and the feminine maternal Ningal and Ninhursag, were not able to help her in this; that she had to invoke the Goddess who personifies the final phase of the individuation process, Inanna.

            Neumann (Origins p 220) designates three sorts of hero. The extraverted type, the founder, leader and liberator whose deeds change the face of the world. This was Sargon. The second type was introverted, "...the culture-bringer, ... who discovers the inner values, exalting them as knowledge and wisdom, as a law and a faith." This was Enheduanna who had conformed to the expectations of the en-Priestess.

            "I carried the ritual basket, I intoned the acclaim..."

            "The creative act of raising the buried treasure is common to both types of hero, and the prerequisite of this is union with the liberated captive..." which led Enheduanna to become the third type of hero, characterised by self-transformation where "...centroversion expresses a natural and fundamental trend of the human psyche, which is operative from the very beginning and which forms the basis not only of self-preservation, but of self-formation as well."

In Hillman's "Myth of Analysis" p 86 he cautions against "...seeing the world psychologically,...based on reflection, which means depotentiating the erotic affects of love, taking only a part of it and turning it into the mental instrument of analysis. This is a false marriage, and the psyche of analysis remains a virgin bride, looking out the window at life in the street, interpreting, understanding, compassionately empathising. The soul is analytically reflected upon, not lived, not loved. The specific technique by which the creative can be depotentiated in favour of the reflective is called, in analytical psychology, "withdrawing projections." This process is essential if ego-consciousness is to work through its transferences, but it...becomes a vice when the image is preferred to the person or the meaning is favoured over the experience. Then reflection becomes entangled in the paranoid misapprehensions of the ego, which seeks to control the natural involvement in the world by an ambitious ideal of becoming "objectively conscious" about it."

Tennyson put it more dramatically in "The Lady of Shalott," a poem about a young woman, who, like a good "father's girl" sat weaving, in true Athene tradition, but never went into the world. She never even looked at it directly, only in mirrored reflections.

"She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot

She knows not what that curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear."

But she was living a half life.

"I am half-sick of shadows," said the Lady of Shalott"

And all went well until the Fire-Goddess produced an image of fire: Lancelot!

"The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together."
And when he "Flashed into the crystal mirror,"
"She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
 
The curse is come upon me,' cried
The Lady of Shalott."

And the Lady's ego, identified with the paternal archetype, died. But that this was no ordinary death was hinted at when, in response to confronting the dynamic non-paternal masculine, "She saw the water-lily bloom." (Lilith's flower finally came back from the wilderness: home, to where it belonged: as a dominant in a woman's heart and psyche.) And as "A gleaming shape she floated by," her animus image saw her for the first time: and spelled her name.

"But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, 'She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.'"

Tennyson, hidebound by the limits of Nineteenth Century Christianity, could not know at a conscious level, who the archetype was who produced this terrifying and necessary transformation. Only with a poet's intuition could he get it right, with the love, war and fire Goddess producing a flaming warrior image to break the spell on the daddy's girl. "The feminine Self, even without respected images in the collective unconscious, shone through the obscurity of prejudice and continues to prod us toward wholeness." (McNeely p 48)

Tennyson could not really know that, but Enheduanna did.

"Oh Queen who established lamentations,
Your 'boat of lamentations' has landed in an inimical land,
There I will die, while singing the holy song.
As for me, my Nanna watched not over me...

I, accustomed to triumph, have been driven forth from my house,
Was forced to flee the cote like a swallow, my life is devoured."

"The Goddess, returning from repression, now shows herself in dreams and poetry, sometimes with violent force. Often her first appearance in consciousness is as a dark woman." (McNeely p 49)

Whatever translation is used, Lugalanne is either of Inanna, or is an agent whereby She breaks what must have been a massive spellbinding attachment to the static masculine father world in which Enheduanna had lived. To put it bluntly, Enheduanna probably fell in love with Lugalanne, whether he was the Moon-god or a Priest at Eanna in Uruk. Only later did she realise that this was a phase in her development, sent by her Goddess to bring her back to Inanna, to liberate her from a father complex: a belief in the hegemony of Nanna-Suen-Ashimbabbar.

"Accustomed as we are to see falling in love as Eros-given, a passive wounding by cupid's arrow, we may ignore the presence of Aphrodite behind the scene - Aphrodite, goddess of transformation, also known as Ishtar or Isis. The transforming goddesses correspond to the masculine gods, such as Hermes and Osiris, who bring the fullness of spirit to accompany the soul-deepening effects of the conjoining." [This writer would equate Ishtar with Bast/Sekhmet, not Isis.] "Love, as transformation, is not just sweetness. It wrenches and twists in its transformative role." (McNeely p 54)

But Enheduanna knew, better than anyone four millennia later, that renewal of her life necessitated attending to the Goddess who represented her Self. And

"The foremost Queen, the prop of the assembly,
Accepted her prayer.
The heart of Inanna was restored,
The day was favourable for Her,
She was clothed with beauty, was filled with joyous allure,
How she carried her beauty - like the rising moonlight!"

Some writers have found this ambiguity between Enheduanna and her Goddess confusing. It need not be. The beauty of a High Priestess now finally united with her Self, her Goddess, is just that: a unity.

"My Queen garbed in allure,
O Inanna, praise!"

In-nin-me-huš-a: Lady of the Fearsome Divine Powers.

 

            Having relativised “the animus” by looking to her dynamic feminine Self, Enheduanna succeeded in her first encounter with what we would call the collective unconscious. Understandably she feels relieved and elated, but her tendancy to perhaps identify with Inanna in the final lines of Nin-me-šara suggests a degree of inflation which is corrected in In-nin-me-huš-a, the next step in the individuation process.

 

We start with anima and animus material being assimilated into the conscious mind, first as personal, but then from the impersonal, following preordained rules, like an initiation, in logically constructed, purposive sequences. Conscious participation makes for a new image at a higher level, in this case a victorious Goddess. For Enheduanna, Nin-me-šara illustrates the personal assimilation; In-nin-me-huš-a, the collective phase of integration.

 

            This poem, also known as “Inanna and Ebih,” gives an account of Inanna’s overwhelming defeat of a force or entity represented by the mountainous area northeast of Sumer, called Ebih, (modern Jebel Hamrin) [Jacobsen: Treasures p 137] [Kramer, 1972 #21] but also called “Kur,” the underworld.[Kramer, 1972 #231]  It is thus identified with the power that raped Ereshkigal and drove off Enki with stones when he attacked it,  so represents a very real danger even to a deity. Significantly, it invoked the wrath of the two deities that represent dynamic masculine and feminine.

 

“… the Sumerian word kur. That one of its primary meanings is “mountain” is attested by the fact that the sign used for it is actually a pictograph representing a mountain. [and] … the monstrous creature that lived at the bottom of the “great below” immediately over the primeval waters is also called Kur; if so, this monster Kur would correspond to a certain extent to the Babylonian Tiamat.” [Kramer, 1972 #240 @76 ]

 

            In our discussion of “Answer to Job” we saw how a man who believed he had overcome anima, had next to face another archetype, the mana-personality, which Jung called the Magician. As he pointed out, this inflation, this adulteration by identification with a powerful archetype of the same sex, occurs in both genders.

 

 “… in women: a sublime, matriarchal figure, the Great Mother, the All-Merciful, who understands everything, forgives everything, who acts for the best, living only for others, and never seeking her own interests, the discoverer of the great love, just as the magician is the mouthpiece of the ultimate truth. And just as the great love is never appreciated, so the great wisdom is never understood.” [Jung, 1977 #241 @228 ]

 

            This occurs because the ego has not mastered the unconscious; instead a new balance of power was established. If ego attempts to wield power over the unconscious, the latter retaliates by producing a mana-personality spellbinding the ego. That Enheduanna intuited this fact is indicated by her use of the expression “… on your giving birth to the bright mountain, the mountain, the holy place …” (Line 16-17) We have no account of Inanna having any daughters, certainly no mountainous ones, and decidedly not Ebih, so the mountain-Great Mother metaphor seems an apt image of this response from the unconscious.

 

“Against this [mana-personality] the only defence is full confession of one’s weakness in the face of the powers of the unconscious. By opposing no force to the unconscious we do not provoke it to attack.” [Jung, 1977 #242 @234 ] If ego gets realistic, possession ceases, and the mana goes to the mid-point, which unites it with the unconscious, leading to birth of personality, the next stage.

 

            Apparently by now Enheduanna understood this well enough to differentiate herself from her Goddess, for (in Lines 1-24) she prefaces her poem with a suitably respectful paean of praise to Inanna, first in her terrifying, then her light-bringing (i.e., consciousness-raising) aspects, prior to stepping back and letting this archetypal drama be played out by its two protagonists.

 

Lines 25-48 describe Inanna’s assessment of the problem; that Ebih was disrespectful to her, and her determination therefore to destroy it. But if it is destroyed, an enigma arises. She says in lines 49-52,

 

…may it never again lift its neck up. May the mountain tremble when I approach. May Ebih give me honour and praise me.

 

            Mountains don’t have necks, and they don’t tremble or praise archetypes, and if Inanna has destroyed the mountain, it can’t do any of those things, even if previously it could. We are again led to accept that Ebih symbolises something abstract, subordinate to Inanna as feminine Self.

 

She then dresses appropriately and with due respect to visit An, the old sky-god, politely crediting him with all the powers she now wielded. What is important in In-nin-me-huš-a is that An, the deity addressed had, by Enheduanna’s time, already been substantially displaced as a sky god by Enlil.  One might reasonably deduce then that An’s insistence that Inanna cannot tackle Ebih reflects an outdated notion of the power of this newly revealed Goddess. As a remote figure, his “world-view” would not include an ability to tackle an entity which only appears when a fairly advanced degree of relationship exists between ego and unconscious. We must note Inanna’s apparently ingratiating manner, crediting An with all the powers she possesses. Quite correctly did she say to him:

 

You have made me terrifying among the deities in heaven. Owing to you my word has no rival in heaven or earth.

 

Certainly her powers came from An, but not by An’s generosity.

 

“…a persistent tradition linked her with the god of heaven, An, as his spouse, even to the point of identifying her with Antum; for, as we have seen earlier, An (Akkadian Antum) was the sky seen as female [italics mine] and referred to the overcast sky, the clouds of which were “breasts of the sky” from which flowed the rain. Antum and Inanna represent the same phenomenon of nature, the power in the rain clouds.” And “The same view of her also informs the late myth called the “Elevation of Inanna.” Here the gods propose to An that he marry Inanna “with whom you have fallen in love,” and this he readily does. He also confers on her his name and all his powers, then Enlil gives her his powers, and lastly Enki gives his to her. As queen of the universe she thus comes to unite in her person all its highest powers.” [Jacobsen, 1976 #235 @137 ]

 

            In one paragraph, Jacobsen has succinctly described the precise mythological parallel to the four phases of psychological development involved in the individuation process. Inanna has assumed, in sequence, the undifferentiated powers of static feminine (An,) then the more differentiated static masculine (Enlil,) and finally the sophisticated dynamic masculine (Enki.)

 

            Consistent with this evolution in consciousness, Inanna first invites An to “establish control over this mountain,” this representation of something defying her ultimate authority; but without waiting for An’s reply, she immediately reiterates her own ritualised intention to destroy it herself. Lines 89-111  repeat almost exactly, in good Sumerian tradition, lines 25-52 but with a notable exception:

 

When I, the goddess, was walking around in heaven, walking around on earth, [repeated five times, ending with] when I turned towards the centre of the mountains …” (Lines 25-30)

 

            This account of heaven and earth, of Inanna’s circumambulation of both realms, unconscious and consciousness, was deleted from her address to An. He, the remote sky-god, represents what Jung spoke of, saying,

 

“One may then concretise the mana-personality as an extramundane “Father in Heaven,” complete with the attribute of absolutenes.” and “Such a God would be of no consequence at all.”  [Jung, 1977 #243 @235]

 

An’s abstract non-involved nature was consistent with the earlier belief that the deities/archetypes were remote from humanity, in contrast to Inanna’s constant insistence upon interaction between the two realms, clearly exhibited in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of the Huluppu-tree. Psychologically, She represents a world-view in which humanity (ego) may and must take a stand and be active in its relationship with “the unconscious” however that term was understood.

 

            It is fair to compare Inanna’s politeness towards An in contrast to Her witheringly savage attack on Ebih. Why would a personification of dynamic feminine be so solicitous towards An as one aspect of static feminine, yet so destructive towards Ebih as another?  The answer would appear to be in An’s increasing irrelevance. His representation of that outmoded form of relationship between ego and unconscious denoted humanity as having no genuine communication with the gods as archetypes of the unconscious. Enlil displaced An because a new relationship involving interaction was evolving. Passive acceptance of the will of the gods was dying out, and, in the world-view personified by Inanna, An’s eventual disappearance was so inevitable that no violence or rudeness was necessary. In stark contrast, then as now, the romantic delusion that we can automatically and passively return to Atlantis, Eden, the Golden Age, or whatever other Utopian New-Age tiptoe-through-the-tulips mother-world we desire, can and must be dealt with forthwith. This is a Goddess of love and war. This is reality. This is true archetypal harlotry. Love is available, but at a price. If you don’t pay, …you’ll pay! Unconditional maternal-style love from an all-bountiful mother nature was beginning to be seen for what it was – a delusion. Love was available, but you earned it: it was not a birthright. The people of Sumer had an over-riding strong competitive work ethic,  and were coming to understand that they served a stern Goddess of justice, not a sweet little old all-giving and forgiving mum. Woe betides anyone who thought otherwise. In a hymn to Inanna called “Lady of the Morning”

 

When they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,

You study their words.

You render a cruel judgement against the evildoer;

You destroy the wicked.

You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;

You give that one your blessing” [Wolkstein, 1983 #2 @103 ]

 

            Inanna acts in both worlds, representing a link between them, a link An never effected, so became subordinated to her in human consciousness. Then An, in a form characteristic of the old attitudes whose influence Enheduanna’s writing was about to surpass, told Inanna she could not overcome this “mountain” because it was too terrifying, too beautiful, and again, too terrifying. (Lines 112-130.)

 

            An’s response to Inanna describes Ebih in terms precisely symbolic of the Great Mother. That it is a mountain with luxuriant fruit, vegetation and abundant animal life are all consistent with Neumann’s description of symbols of the Great Mother. [Neumann, 1991 #236 @45,51,60-61,260-262,272 ] At first sight, it seems beautiful and luxuriant, but as An said:

 

It has poured fearsome terror on the abodes of the gods. It has spread fear among the holy dwellings of the Anuna deities. It has poured its terror and ferocity over this land. It has poured the mountain range’s radiance and fear over all the lands. Its arrogance extends grandly to the centre of heaven.” [Lines 116-120.]

 

            These lines depict precisely the danger of identification with the mana-persoanlity. Contact with the gods is blocked and broken by this stultifying aspect of Mother, whose presence arrogantly prevents any other unconscious forces from being appropriately expressed, whose dominance results in a personality whose, “…Eros is passive like a child’s; he hopes to be caught, sucked in, enveloped, and devoured. He seeks, as it were, the protecting, nourishing, charmed circle of the mother, the condition of the infant released from every care, in which the outside world bends over him and even forces happiness upon him. No wonder the real world vanishes from sight!” [Jung, 1979 #72 @11 ]

 

            An Egyptian myth parallels this story of an old deity losing his potency. The old god Ra was bitten by a snake set in his path by Isis, and was forced to utter his true name, following which he was partially cured, but lost his power, and “finally had to retire on the back of the heavenly cow.” i.e., returned to a symbol of the Great Mother; left to fade back into the undifferentiated depths of the psyche.

 

            Analysing this myth, Jung showed it to be a conflict between forward striving libido countered by fear of separation from the mother. The fear sets up a vicious circle, with fear of life causing more shrinking back.

 

“The fear seems to come from the mother, but actually it is the deadly fear of the instinctive, unconscious, inner man who is cut off from life by the continual shrinking back from reality. If the mother is felt as the obstacle, she then becomes the vengeful pursuer. Naturally it is not the real mother … It is rather the mother-imago that has turned into a lamia. The mother-imago, however, represents the unconscious, and it is as much a vital necessity for the unconscious to be joined to the conscious as it is for the latter not to lose contact with the unconscious.” [Jung, 1990 #76 @298]

 

            The Sumerians certainly did have concepts of paradise, though not the false paradise of the unpeopled mountain.

“…the most significant feature of man’s golden age, according to Sumerian thinkers, was freedom from fear, or as the poet puts it:

Once upon a time, there was no snake, there was no scorpion,

There was no hyena, there was no lion,

There was no wild dog, no wolf,

There was no fear, no terror,

Man had no rival.” [Kramer, 1971 #234 @262]

 

            But Ebih gives us quite the opposite to this vision of paradise. There was one gross omission from this luxuriant and quite unrealistic picture of perfection: no humanity, no people! How often do we see this in women stuck in the Great Mother possession: all the love in the world, but an abstract intellectual love, with no genuine warmth, no orientation. It is a bestial and vegetative world: lovely to look at, but a fools’ paradise. Fear was dominant, a fear to which Inanna would put a violent decisive end. Treating An’s warning with such contempt that she did not even grant it the dignity of a reply, she turned on the mountain with devastating archetypal fury, redolent of a major psychotic attack. Floods, hurricanes, thunder, earthquake, fire drought and damnation; every aspect of the ego, all four functions; air, earth, fire and water were turned to devastation, even defying the serpentine primordial symbol of the destructive mother.

From its sides and crevices great serpents spat venom.” (Line145)

Holy Inanna did as she wished.” (Line 151)

 

This is not to suggest that Inanna was in any way hostile to the mother archetype itself. It would make no psychological sense for one part of the Self to be at war with another. Inanna’s relationship with her own mother, Ningal and grandmother Ningikuga was described as obedient and joyful. [Jacobsen, 1987 #245 @4,11 ] She was never depicted as antagonistic to the differentiated mother goddess, Ninhursag. But as Self she is implacably antipathetic to any retrogressive tendency to the mana-personality. Given that Enheduanna was witness to revelations of her new Goddess, a new state of consciousness, it would be vital to discriminate between this emerging dynamic and the old static (maternal) feminine, but particularly if then (as now) a pathological blockage in human development had to be corrected. Specifically in Ebih we are describing a dangerous state of possession inimical to individuation, a state which the Self will never tolerate.

 

            Then with a dispassionate coolness of which only a Goddess could be capable, she told this mangled corpse of a mana-personality why she had done it, and with equal clinical objectivity, again ignoring An, she now made Enlil her agent, as would be expected from Jacobsen’s quotation. (v.s.)

 

            Next she speaks of four ritual matters she has ordained, the first three possibly, but the last one certainly suggesting that her actions had consequences for men as much as for women.

 

            And finally, again using a metaphor for psychosis, but very precisely, using the symbol for the triumph of feeling over intellect, at lines 180-181,

 

I went forward like a surging flood, and like rising water I overflowed the dam. … I imposed my victory on Ebih.”

 

            Only then does a chastened Enheduanna return to thank this cosmic Self-image for overcoming the mana-personality.

Dissolution of mana-personality through conscious assimilation leads us back to ourselves as an actual living something, poised between inner and outer worlds, “…something is strange to us and yet so near, wholly ourselves and yet unknowable, a virtual centre of so mysterious a constitution that it can claim anything – kinship with beasts and gods, with crystals and with stars –  without moving us to wonder, without even exciting our disapprobation. “The individuated ego senses itself as the object of an unknown and supraordinate subject.” This is the Self. Its workings can described in intellectual terms, but “By using the concept of a divine being we give apt expression to the peculiar way in which we experience the workings of these autonomous contents  … admitting their relatively superior force … a force as real as hunger and the fear of death.” [Jung, 1977 #244 @237-240 ]

 

For destroying Ebih, great child of Suen, maiden Inanna, be praised.

Nisaba be praised.

In-nin-ša-gurra: Great-hearted Lady.

 

            Having traversed the difficult problem of transforming the animus, then allowing the archetypal battle to be fought between the regressive Mana-personality and the emerging dynamic feminine, Enheduanna now approaches that state wherein the true self constellates – what the alchemists called the  albedo.

 

In-nin-ša-gurra is a recognition that the great gods, An and Enlil, have been supplanted by a force which, while it is of them, is greater than both of them. We learn of it as an historical fact.

 

“The relationship (called love) between Ishtar and Sargon and the rest of the dynasty, is remembered throughout the Mesopotamian historical literature: this dynasty was so closely Ishtar-related that Assyrian chronicles called the much earlier Akkadian period ina palę Ištar, “the reign of Ishtar.”” [Frymer-Kensky, 1993 @64 #12] Roux gives that period as extending from 2334 to 2004 BCE. [Roux, 1992 @504 #30]

 

For Enheduanna, writing at the beginning of that three hundred year phase, it was a very real, immediate and personal crisis. This is not politics: it is a passionate account of anihalation of her assumptions, followed by a dawning realisation of a new spirituality, a new world-view, i.e., a new Goddess. The very foundations of her psyche were shaken, but a new construct came to consciousness, to civilisation, as it constellated. This is not some academic concept. Anyone who treats people at this level must have at least a rough idea of how difficult it is for such patients to allow these old static ways of viewing the world to be supplanted by something higher and yet more immediate. For women, it is a need to connect to the feminine self: for men, it is a need to relate to anima at a more realistic level: in both cases, to see the dynamic feminine without projection.

 

At 274 lines, this is the longest of the three poems. Unfortunately it has several blocks missing, including 20 lines after Enheduanna mentions herself, so her full reaction is uncertain. However, the lines immediately following this lacuna reiterate some of the themes of personal suffering mentioned in Nin-me-šarra, reiterating alienation from, and reuniting with Inanna as the dynamic feminine Self. However, this time Enheduanna seems to know that something new has happened and has differentiated herself from Inanna. The underlying theme throughout seems to be to assert Inanna’s pre-eminence above all other deities, and particularly An and Enlil, so it accentuates the phases of archetypal and psychological development noted in In-nin-me-huš-a, and commented upon by Jacobsen. [Jacobsen, 1976 #235 @137] (already cited.)

 

There are three sections.

1.                  Invocation of Inanna as a supreme but terrifyingly destructive Goddess. (Lines 1-114)

2.                  Recitation of Inanna’s manifold paradoxical characteristics. (Lines 115-173)

3.                  Recognition of Inanna’s dazzling power and glory, and Enheduanna’s abject submission. (Lines 174-274)

To show how this poem reveals the phases of eruption of the divine dynamic feminine Self into consciousness, and to elucidate the alchemical and other themes inherent in that process, we will examine each section individually.

 

 Lines 1-114 describe Inanna’s supremacy over all heavenly powers, especially An, of whom Jacobsen said, “To him belong the insignia in which the essence of royalty was embodied – the scepter, the crown, the headband, and the shepherd’s staff …” [Frankfort, 1977 @139 #249] Enheduanna accentuates of Inanna that “she holds a shepherd’s crook.” (Line 8) That this poem is a deliberate and specific recitation of Inanna’s acquisition of An’s powers, is indicated by comparing its statements line by line with those in a hymn to An, quoted by Jacobsen.

Wielder of the scepter, the ring, and the palu who callest to kingship,

 Sovereign of the gods, whose word prevails in the ordained assembly of the great gods,

Lord of the glorious crown, astounding through thine enchantment,*

Rider of great storms, who occupies the dais of sovereignty, wondrously regal –

To the pronouncements of thy holy mouth are the Igigi attentive;

In fear before thee move the Anunnaki,

Like storm-swept reeds bow to thy orders all the gods.  [Frankfort, 1977 @140 #5]

 

To give the crown, the throne and the royal sceptre is yours, Inanna. (Line 154)

Exalted in the assembly, she occupies the seat of honour. (Line 59)

Foremost among the Great Princes (the Igigi) … wherever she casts her venom.* (Lines27-28)

Clothed in a furious storm, a whirlwind (Line 22) august dais (Line 99)

When you raise your eyes they pay heed to you, they wait for your word (Lines 186-188)

The Anuna gods crawl before her august word (Line 5)

Her roaring makes the Anuna gods tremble like a solitary reed. (Line 12)

 

* (The word for venom and that for enchantment are identical in Sumerian. 11)

 

            The destructive danger of Inanna’s wrath is as terrible for the gods as for humanity. “…cities become ruin mounds and haunted places, and shrines become waste land.” (Line 15) “Inanna rips to pieces the spacious cattle-pens.” (Line 34)

 “Like gate, enclosure, and cattle pen, the collective of village and city is a symbol of the Feminine.” [Neumann, 1991 @283  #253]

This is a strong hint that this newly emerging Goddess is not only opposed to the old masculine deities, but angrily demands differentiation from the old matriarchal feminine as well. Igigi (the Great Princes) were the gods of heaven, whereas Anunaki was a term for those of earth and the underworld. [Black, 1998 @34 #263] If not permitted to come to consciousness, this force can destroy people’s whole universe or psyche, including their pre-existing ways of working with it (the gods.)

 

“… something new must not be peacefully inserted into the old habits. There are certain new things that one must have the honesty to call new and to stand up for, because otherwise the new energy is lost. … The past is like an enormous sucking wind that sucks one back all the time. If you don’t go forward you regress. …So the overcoming of the old … means to be absolutely inexorable, ruthless about what is different and new.” [von Franz, 1999 @119 #228]

 

Enheduanna then details Inanna’s destructiveness in the form of all four earthly elements, (air, lines 18-24; water, lines 29-36; fire, lines 36-38, and earth, lines 60-72.) The repeated references to flooding, and mountains humbled, stones turned to sheep’s fat, pulverising. (Lines 60-72) suggest somethning more “philosophical” than ordinary water.

“This account makes one thing very evident: the philosophical water is the stone or the prima materia itself; but at the same time, it is also its solvent, as is proved by the prescription immediately following:

Grind the stone to a very fine powder and put it into the sharpest celestial [coelestino] vinegar, and it will at once be dissolved into the philosophical water.” [Jung, 1993 @235 #256] Dissolve and coagulate, soften the hard, transcend all forms: Inanna.

 

 Lines 39-54 appear to accentuate her manifestation as a very blood-thirsty Goddess of war, so bloody that it was a bit over the top, even for Inanna. It is one thing to say “… She washes their weapons with blood and (sic) gore …” (Line 45) but why “…On their first offerings she pours blood, filling them with blood.” (Line 48) Surely these sacrifices are sanguinary enough already. Then there is no mention of bows and arrows, Inanna’s favourite weapon; because this is not war: this is chaos, a point made explicit in line 18. There are three reasons for this. First, Chaos is characteristic of Inanna. As Queen of Heaven, she ruled that area outside the seven planetary archons, later known to the Hebrews as Achamoth. This is the collective unconscious perceived in cosmic projection, and explains in part why she is described as riding seven great beasts (Line 104) or having seven lions harnessed. (Line 25) “Seven in Akkadian means wholeness.” [Wolkstein, 1983 @158 #261] The  seven lions as planetary archons were discussed in Chapter 3, but the Hebrew name for the lion-like god was Ialdabaoth, meaning “child of chaos.” [Jung, 1989 @402 #265]

 

            We have already seen that Inanna’s theriomorphic beast was Imdugud, the Anzu bird, with the body of an eagle and head of a lion, consistent with her role as Queen of Heaven and Earth. In direct apposition to her mention of lions, Enheduanna portrays Inanna as a leopard, twice, a link noted by Jung in CW 14 431n.  “As far as the Sumerians were concerned, the lion was grouped together with dogs and wolves as a ‘canine’, rather than as a feline.” [Black, 1998 @ 119 #17] Pythagoras called the planets dogs. (CW 14 p 32 ¶24) See also p 146. Apart from the leopard’s characteristics of  “A pard-like Spirit, beautiful and swift—” (Shelley; Adonais XXXII), which correspond to the me of speeding and allure; in a culture which considered dogs to be canine, something specifically feline intruded as an essential aspect of the Goddess. Like the leopard, she inhabited wild places, and was ever watchful. That the leopard much later became Aphrodite’s and Dionysos’ animal, indicates that its pure feline instinctual power persisted in human imagination irrespective of culture. Moreover, Enheduanna also described Inanna as an eagle, (urin means eagle in Sumerian) but then as a falcon. Little seems to have been written about the falcon in Sumeria, but contemporaneously in Egypt, the falcon was seen as “… fecundating the thought of the pharoah, who is the earthly agent of this divinity [Horus] The divine nature is thus infused into him and animates his intelligence.”

“In spite of the falcon’s violent habits, the relation which the Egyptians found between it and the heart of God and of humanity connected it with the symbolism of love.” [Charbonneau-Lassay, 1992 @196 #184] (Italics mine.)

 

            Given that Inanna’s relationship to the lion is always depicted as one of dominance, it seems Enheduanna’s experience of her new goddess involved new symbolism related to the ancient ones but with the speed, beauty, ferocity and animation of the psyche so characteristic of this goddess of love, this personification of our two major instincts.

 

Secondly, any major archetype will generate chaos before it is integrated into consciousness. Enheduanna was aware of Inanna’s existence and nature from the outset. Given her father’s affection for the Goddess she had probably been brought up with it; but this final phase of her recognition of Inanna far surpassed any intellectual exercise. This was a real, intimate and immediate experience of the full might, terror and wonder of the final of the four components of the self; and the most important. The alchemical nature of this poem is further developed by the references to Inanna as “a devastating flood which no one can withstand. A great watercourse,…” (Line 29) What more succinct description could there be for the chaotic uprising of unconscious material involved in the constellation of the self?

 

“Unperturbed by the identity of the arcane substance with Venus, which he himself asserts, Khunrath calls the mother of the lapis a virgin and a “generatio casta” (chaste generation). Or again, he speaks of the “virgin womb of Chaos” inspired less by Christian tradition than by the insistence of the archetype, which had already prompted the same statements about Ishtar.” [Jung, 1989 @302 n182 #250] 

 

            Third, Inanna’s binding role in organising chaos into cosmos is contrasted in lines 17 and 18. “… like an ulu demon ensnaring a man.” (The ulu-demon was a binder.) This theme is reintroduced at lines 60, and 66-69 then again more personally at lines 84-85, referring to her net.

“Those who do not respect her suspended net do not escape …… when she suspends the meshes of her net.”

Citing the Tao Te Ching, Cirlot notes that: “The net of heaven, that is, the network of stars and constellations, is wide-meshed but lets nothing through. The symbolism here strikingly illustrates the idea that it is not possible for the individual , by his own efforts (nor, of course, by suicide), to escape from the universe.” [Cirlot, 1990 @228 #190]

 

“Binding and loosing is also the transmuting of chaos into cosmos, of conflict into law and order. … Nets, knots, etc., like the powers of the divinities of binding and loosing, are ambivalent, being symbolic of either preventing illness or causing it, bringing death or saving from it; … they bind man to his fate, his existential situation, yet provide a line of communication with the creator and the divine, binding him to his past but giving him a link with the weaver of destiny, restricting but also uniting.” [Cooper, 1987 @22 #258] Network is symbolic of a complex relationship beyond a mere time-space sequence, unlimited relationship; a structure formed of the visible and invisible; it is also unity. … Ishtar is a goddess of the net.” [Cooper, 1987 @111 #259]

 

“He gave me the loosening of the hair.

 He gave me the binding of the hair.” [Wolkstein, 1983 @16 #260]

 

A related account of the net as a metaphor for organisation of chaos into cosmos appears in the much later Babylonian Epic of Creation, wherein Marduk destroyed Tiamat with net, wind and arrow.

The Lord spread his net and made it encircle her,

To her face he dispatched the imhullu-wind …He shot an arrow which pierced her belly,

Split her down the middle and slit her heart …

The Lord trampled the lower part of Tiamat,

With his unsparing mace smashed her skull,

Severed the arteries of her blood …    [Dalley, 1998 @253 #11]     

 

            Lines 73-90 have a number of important words missing, which might tempt the unwary into filling the spaces with material that suits their own ends, and thus projecting their own preconceptions onto either Enheduanna or Inanna. Subject to that, it appears Lines 74-82 refer to Inanna causing an individual woman’s suffering then redemption. This interpretation would be consistent with Enheduanna’s own experience portrayed in Nin-me-šarra. However, in this case the woman’s redeemed body does not return to feminine beauty, but becomes a pilipili, apparently a type of priest or priestess, possibly symbolising an hermaphrodite. She then “…broke the spear and as if she were a man ……gave her a weapon.” But a few lines later, “Having approached the woman, she breaks the weapon and gives her a spear.” Such paired opposites are characteristic of the self as containing all opposites, including feminine and masculine. That an interchange of weapon (or mace) with spear may reflect the fact that one of the categories of lamentation priests next mentioned was a kurjara (alternatively kurgarŭ) of whom Jacobsen says,”Originally an armed guardsman, he seems to have become a general performer… His flute playing is mentioned as soothing grief …” [Jacobsen, 1987 @218 #262]

 

            Parallels between lamentation and abbaisement de niveau mentale (subordination of the ego) as a pre-condition for invoking the self would seem evident; particularly when the classic comparison is made humanity’s pathetic misery and Inanna’s pre-eminence and majesty in heaven and earth. (Lines 90-98.) This disparity between ego and unconscious repeats the motif in line 47; “Axes smash heads, spears penetrate and maces are covered in blood.” The theme was frequently used in alchemical writing, because the type of awareness necessary is inconsistent with pure reason.

 

“The veiled woman uncovers her face. It shines like the sun. The solificatio is consummated on the person of the anima. The process would seem to correspond to the illuminatio, or enlightenment. [which] contrasts strongly with the rational attitude of the conscious mind, which recognizes only intellectual enlightenment as the highest form of understanding and insight. Naturally this attitude never reckons with the fact that scientific knowledge only satisfies the little tip of personality that is contemporaneous with ourselves, not the collective psyche that reaches back into the grey mists of antiquity and always requires a special rite if it is to be united with present-day consciousness. … The solificatio is infinitely far removed from the conscious mind and seems to it almost chimerical.” [Jung, 1993 @57 #83]

 

Suddenly Enheduanna refers to elevation of Ashnan, the grain goddess, sister of cattle-goddess, Lahar. [Kramer, 1971 @220 #255] and names Ishkur the storm god, sometimes given as Inanna’s brother.

            Kramer showed that Ashnan and Lahar were created in Dulkug (or Duku,) the creation chamber of the gods, to provide the Anunnaki with bread and clothing. Prior to this, the Anunnaki did not behave in a civilised manner.

They knew not the eating of bread,

Knew not the dressing of garments,

Ate plants with their mouths like sheep,

Drank water from the ditch.

But the Anunnaki still did not know how to use grain and animal products, so mankind was created. However Ashnan received the plough and yoke. Despite being described as, “A maid kindly and bountiful …” she and Lahar had a drunken argument, each abusing the other and extolling themselves, until Enlil and Enki had to intervene. [Kramer, 1972 “53 #254] To understand Enheduanna’s mention of Ashnan in the context of becoming conscious of Self as Inanna, three points require mention:

1.                  The Sumerian criteria of civilisation (i.e., consciousness) were the making of bread, the wearing of clothes, and the preparation of alcoholic beverages.

2.                  Having told (in Line 83) how Inanna revealed wisdom, she found in Ashnan an accurate metaphor to describe new consciousness, new growth.

3.                  The elevation of Ashnan couples with precipitation from Ishkur’s storm-clouds suggests a cyclical relationship between consciousness (earth) and unconsciousness (heaven.)

 

Again, parallel alchemical imagery for emergence of the Self is shown in Ripley’s Cantilena, from which Jung cites “God gave thee the glorious, glittering armoury of the four elements, and the Crowned Maid [Virgo redimita] was in their midst. A wonderful balsam flowed from her and she shone with a radiant face, adorned with the precious stone. But in her lap lay the green lion, with blood flowing from his side. She was crowned with a diadem and was set as a star in the highest heaven. The king [i.e., the individuating person] became a supreme victor triumphant, a great healer of the sick and a redeemer [reformator] of all sins.” [Jung, 1993 @409 #248] Ripley’s original text is in Fabricius p 187. But why a green lion?

“And the “green-lion” of alchemy is the youthful form of the corn god, as also of the sun, the light.” [Neumann, 1991 @323 #251] Jung equates the blood of the green lion with the aqua permanens, and, citing Ripley, with spirit. [Jung, 1989 @293 #257]

 

            Quite apparently, Enheduanna intuited the increase or elevation of civilisation (consciousness) to be represented as an upsurge in fertility (spirit), presumably in response to Ishkur’s life-giving rain from the unconscious. The archetypal integrity is preserved, even with the insertion of the extra sybolic step involving the green lion.

 

            There is an irony about red and green lions. The Processional Way, leading from the north to the Ishtar Gate [in Babylon] was bordered with high defensive walls, ornamented with some 120 lions in glazed-brick relief [one of which is on the front page of this thesis.] The lions appear on a blue ground in white with yellow manes or yellow with red manes, now weathered to green. [Oates, 1996 @152 #44]

 

            Section one ends with a reminder of the fate of Ebih for its arrogance, but not before a reminder from In-nin-me-huš-a, that Inanna now had much of An’s power. The dynamic is supplanting the static feminine.

 

In the second section (Lines 115-173) Enheduanna recites a long list of Inanna’s paradoxical attributes. Many of these are in the list of me which Inanna brought back from Enki. That Enheduanna recited them at all indicates first, that she understood the self figure of her Goddess for what it was, with all its opposites. Secondly it appears to be an attempt to ‘civilise’ the Goddess herself, or at least Enheduanna’s perception of her, by recognising  that her awesome destructive power coexists with a multitude of constructive, useful and gentle characteristics. In psychological terms, as Inanna, the Self becomes more clearly defined in Enheduanna’s consciousness, the savagery evident in the first section gives way to exquisite radiant beauty. Whether this process was theophany or theurgy depends on how actively one imagines Enheduanna’s enumeration of the me would have been. A comparison of her recitation appears below, tabulating correlations with the list of me in Wolkstein and Kramer, including page and verse references.

 

Enheduanna’s                                             Quote.

Line Number

Wolkstein and Kramer                                                 Reference to me.

Page Number

Verse Number

…to rush

116

…the art of speeding

17

1

…to open up roads and paths, a place of peace for the journey

120

…travel, the secure dwelling place

17

5

…a companion for the weak

121

…the art of kindness

17

5

…to destroy

123

…the plundering of cities

17

4

…to build up

123

…the craft of the builder

18

1

Desirability and arousal

125

…allure, …the art of women

26

1

Assigning virility, dignity

131

…the art of the hero,… of power

17

4

…mercy and pity

132

…heart-soothing

18

4

…to cause the heart to tremble

…agitation, terror, fear

133      162

…fear, consternation, dismay

18

2

To have a wife

134

…the assembled family, procreation

18

3

…to love

134

…the art of lovemaking

17

1

To rejoice

135

…rejoicing of the heart

17

4

Neglect and care

140

…the perceptive ear, the power of attention

18

2

…to possess implements

144

…eight crafts enumerated

18

1

To give the crown, the throne and the royal sceptre

154

…crown, throne, sceptre

16

1&2

To bestow the divine and royal rites

156

…categories of priestesses and priests

…the holy purification rites

16         18

3              2

…to carry out appropriate instructions, cult centres

156       132

…the holy shrine, the holy priestess of heaven

17

3

…slander

157

…the art of slanderous speech

17

2

…untruthful words

157

…deceit

17

5

…to speak inimically

157

…forthright speech

17

2

…to overstate

157

…the art of adorning speech

17

2

The False or true response

158

…treachery

17

4

…to speak with hostility

159

…the kindling of strife

18

4

…to cause smiling

162

…heart-soothing

18

4

…misfortune, hardship, grief

163

…setting up of lamentations

17

4

…to know everything

165

…art of the elder

…counselling

17         18

3              4

…to strengthen for the distant future a nest built

167

…the secure dwelling place

17

5

…to subdue the hostile enemy

168

…the rebellious land

17

5

…to gather the dispersed people and restore them to their homes

170

…the assembled family

18

3

…the unbribable judge

179

…the giving of judgments

18

4

…decisions

180

…the making of decisions

18

4

 

            Inanna’s ability to “turn midday into darkness” (Lines 50 and 176) and “what is bright darkens” (Line 176) probably represent consciousness and unconsciousness rather than a literalistic reference to eclipses. There is no reference anywhere to antipathy between Inanna and Utu (Shamash) her brother, the sun-god. Furthermore, Enheduanna makes several references to “turning darkness into light” (Line 211 and 253) Certainly Inanna transcends both, celestially and terrestrially.

 

            The last section (Lines 174-274) offers unstinting praise for Inanna’s power, magnificence and shining divinity, with, as mentioned, some reference to Enheduanna’s personal suffering. This motif from Nin-me-šarra is made more explicit here. “My body has experienced your great punishment” indicates some illness, and “Lament, bitterness, sleeplessness, distress, separation…” provides as good a description of depression as one can ask for. But she now seems to understand that suffering to have been a consequence of her alienation from Inanna presumably by an earlier obstinacy or failure to see her as more powerful than An and Enlil, or indeed Nanna Suen.

“The mistress, a breaking plough opening hard ground.” (Line 58) and

“… to cause flooding, to open hard ground and to turn darkness into light.” (Line 253) The several similar references to Inanna breaking up hard ground and flooding or moistening suggest the dismantling of old hard dired-out attitudes by a new influx of wisdom from the unconscious. “The water signifies …Sapientia [and] the love-goddess Ishtar …” [Jung, 1989 @272n #264]

 

            In short, the descriptions are of an enormously powerful, chaotic destructive force in section one, becoming beautifully divine in the third section after the civilising powers represented by the me were related to her in the middle section, which also revealed in her paradoxes, the state of consciousness we know as the transcendent function.

 

“This anima figure, as we can still see in the psychology of modern man, is in large part formed by the woman as young priestess, as Sophia, or as young witch. The more unconscious a man is, the more the anima figure remains fused or connected with the mana figure or of the old woman. …On this world of the animus, which has its focus in the figure of the moon as “Lord of Women,” depends the magical-spiritual reality of the female group.” [Neumann, 1991 @295 #252]

 

            But Inanna is more than “the anima.” She represents the divine dynamic feminine, whose recognition and acceptance into consciousness is at least as important for women as for men, so Neumann’s quote applies to everyone. Enheduanna’s meticulous and brutally honest reporting of her experiences gives us a clear and intimate portrait of a very heroic woman coming to terms with the limitations of quasi-parental powers in the psyche, and being jolted into the realisation that femininity depends, not on Nanna Suen as Lord of Women, but on a newer and greater deity, a new consciousness.

 

“She opens(?) the door of the house of wisdom, she makes known its interior.” (Line 83)

 

“Your great deeds are unparallelled, your magnificence is praised!

Young woman, Inanna, your praise is sweet!”

 


 

            Because In-nin-ša-gurra illustrates the apotheosis of Enheduanna’s conception of her Goddess and herself, we should perhaps review her individuation from this final stage of what Jung and the alchemists called solificatio. In CW 14 p 97, Jung cites three alchemical authorities discussing the sun and its shadow, i.e., consciousness and unconsciousness.

“The sun and its shadow bring the work to perfection” Michael Maier.

“But he who hath tinged the poison of the sages with the sun and its shadow, hath attained to the greatest secret.” The Turba.

“In the shadow of the sun is the heat of the moon.” Mylius.

These three sources all illustrate the difficulty of equating the moon directly with feminine and the sun with masculine. Jung attracted sharp criticism for describing feminine consciousness as vague and lunar, but Neumann’s quote v.s. resolves the issue. Nanna-Suen’s animus-oriented thinking is vague, and it occurs in men as often as in women. Moreover, as the father of Utu-Shamash, he is truly the moon as shadow of the sun. But as Goddess of morning and evening star, Inanna transcends both their worlds. “Your divinity shines in the pure heavens like Nanna or Utu. Your torch lights up the corners of heaven, turning darkness into light ……with fire.Your …… refining ……walks like Utu in front of you.” (Lines 210-212) Intuition (fire) partakes of solar and lunar worlds; the brain is one unified organ. Only in our deluded pride do we dissociate it into a controlling ego and a hostile unconscious, to our own detriment.

 

            As to solificatio, Jung looked at the phases from a man’s viewpoint, and a Christian one at that. But two thousand years before Adam, Eve, Adan Kadmon and the Shulamite, Enheduanna had it all sussed out, and in much clearer terms. Adapting Jung’s outline [Jung, 1989 @452ff  #266] we have these stages:

The shadow changes to a dark contrasexual entity, Lugal-an.

The person is reborn from this process, by transformation of the archetypal contrasexual. Inanna supplants Suen, An and Enlil

Conscious differentiation of the ipsisexual, shown in In-nin-me-huš-a.

The great illumination, an archetypal totality, transcending the sexes; the finale of In-nin-ša-gurra.

 

            Enheduanna does not repeat her mistake of identifying with the Inanna archetype. This time her Goddess is definitely “Thou!” And with a touching illustration of her new-found wisdom, Princess Enheduanna says:

“Being fitted for ladyship, you determine the destiny of noble ladies.” (Line 268)

Now she’s got it!

 

 

Enheduanna's Cosmology and Jung's Psychology:

Despite his frequent assertion that he was an empiricist, Jung repeatedly equated consciousness with masculinity and unconsciousness with femininity. His tendancy to confuse 'objective femininity' with his own anima material has been criticised by a number of feminine writers already cited; and his tendancy to equate feminine with feeling and masculine with thinking has already been noted by the present author.

Enheduanna proposed a phased system. In her view, 'Lunar' consciousness was androgynous, consisting of the paired deities Nanna (male) and Ningal (female) who lived in a reciprocal relationship. Although Nanna was often symbolised by the crescent moon, there was no clear indication as to which (if either) deity represented darkness or light of the moon.

These two components of lunar consciousness gave rise to masculine solar consciousness, typefied by Utu/Shamash, and to feminine stellar consciousness, personified as Inanna/Ishtar, who mediated between the new solar, and the more ancient lunar forms of consciousness. But, and this is vital, She partook of both. She represents the transcendent function.

"Preeminent in the (rose-)tinted sky
the alluring one, befitting broad heaven,
has risen like moonlight at night,
has risen like sunlight at high noon.
Having imposed sweet sleep
on the nation's homes,
- while all lands, the dark-headed ones,
the nation in its entirety,
sleep ... step up to her,
bring her their cases.
(Jacobsen, Harps, p 119)

In psychological terms, Enheduanna has something to offer analytical psychology. Consciousness as we understand it now is more solar than lunar. Moreover, if we withdraw projections about our ancestral consciousness, we can accept that our ancestors probably came in androgynous pairs. That seems to be a biological fact: unless we are amoebas. Enheduanna differs with Jung on one vital point. He proposes that one, masculine form of consciousness arose out of one, earlier, feminine form of relative consciousness. She proposed that two forms of consciousness arose from one, androgynous form of relative consciousness. One form, which is solar and (she called it) masculine, and another equal form, which she saw as stellar and feminine, allows movement from solar to lunar consciousness. This is consistent with masculine psychology having to call on anima to bridge the gap to the more archaic, but still vitally important form of consciousness. Feminine psychology effects the same bridging by invoking the feminine self. Both would now call Inanna “The Transcendent Function.”

In practice, this is the basis for completing a Military Appreciation (see Chapter 3), a fact hardly likely to have been lost on Enheduanna, given her father's unprecedented military genius. Solar (left-brained) consciousness is used to delineate an aim, to collate relevant factors, and evaluate (as far as possible) various courses of action. The crucial point at which a planner breaks off, and lets (possibly right-brained, or even unconscious bilateral frontal lobe) activity take over, is when Inanna, Brighida, Athene, or whoever personifies integrated cerebral function, links solar with lunar consciousness: that is, when small details are coordinated into a broad general strategy for whatever purpose.

This accords with Whitmont's schema proposing three levels of consciouness, magical, mythological and mental; but while perceiving humanity to be at the third stage of development, he urges recognition and integration of the other two underlying phases as essential for further evolution rather than regression. (Return p 44) Perhaps we should modify Whitmont's assertion to say that humanity has evolved to a stage where we are capable of working at his 'mental' stage, although not all of us work at this level all the time. Depending on our constitution and our circumstances, we place ourselves (or drift) into varying places along a continuum from the most superstitious magical to the most refined mental form of conciousness. So consciousness is not an all-or-nothing state. It comes in varying degrees, but also varying qualities. Otto (cited by Hillman in Myth of Analysis p 264) states that Gods are ways the world reveals itself. We can derive from that, the idea that different Gods represent different ways of perceiving our universe. People under the influence of the Great Mother (static feminine) archetype will perceive and act in a child-to-mother manner with their surroundings, while a person acting out the influence of the Enki (Hermetic, dynamic masculine) archetype will be more prone to notice evolution and change.

The Enlil (Yahwistic, static masculine) form-giving world-view had its origins in Marduk's defeat of Tiamat, and reached its apotheosis in the early twentieth century with Jung's (now dated) assertion about the Self:

"Unity and totality stand at the highest point on the scale of objective values because their symbols can no longer be distinguished from the imago Dei. Hence all statements about the God-image apply also to the empirical symbols of totality." (CW 9 (ii) p 31)

Perhaps today we have a clearer view of the relativity of form as one among several ways of consciousness. Which must lead to a re-appraisal of the Dragon Fight, because if we have several phases and qualities of consciousness, who, or what are its components?

The Dragon Fight:

Neumann (1954) claimed that Jung's analysis of the Dragon Fight was written in 1911 when he "was still so much under the influence of Freud's father theory that his interpretations have to be corrected and recast in the light of his later discoveries." (Origins p 154) However, Jung revised "Symbols of Transformation" in 1950 without changing his basic tenets, so we shall follow Neumann's interpretation.

In broad outline, "As a representative of the ancient law, the uroboric unconscious struggles hard to prevent the emancipation of her son, consciousness, and so once again we find ourselves back in the orbit of the Terrible Mother who wants to destroy the son. So long as the conscious ego bows down before this accusation [the heinous deed of separating the World Parents] and accepts the death sentence, it is behaving like the son-lover and, like him, will end in self-destruction. It is very different when the son turns the tables upon the Terrible Mother and adopts her destructive attitude, directing it not against himself but against her. This process is represented mythologically in the fight with the dragon. …the process corresponds psychologically to the formation of the conscious "higher ego" of the hero, and to the raising of the buried treasure, Knowledge." (Origins p 123)

In complete contrast, Enheduanna in "Inanna and Ebih" describes a Goddess (not a human being) who despite being told by a male God, An, that it is impossible for Her to do so, methodically and dramatically, utterly devastates the mountain range which Kramer identified with the Dragon of Kur. Her sole stated motive was that "… it showed me no respect." It must be remarked that Kur (the dragon) was extremely dangerous even for a Goddess. It had dragged Ereshkigal off to a permanent existence in the underworld. Nevertheless,

"... The mistress, in her rage and anger, opened the arsenel and pushed on the lapis lazuli gate. She brought out magnificent battle and called up a great storm. Holy Inanna reached for the quiver. She raised a towering flood with evil silt. She stirred up an evil raging wind with potsherds. My lady confronted the mountain range. She advanced step by step. She sharpened both edges of her dagger. She grabbed Ebih's neck as if ripping up esparto grass. She pressed the dagger's teeth into its interior. She roared like thunder. The rocks forming the body of Ebih clattered down its flanks. From its sides and crevices great serpents spat venom. She damned its forests and cursed its trees. She killed its oak trees with drought. She poured fire on its flanks and made its smoke dense. The Goddess established authority over the mountain. Holy Inanna did as she wished." (Lines 130-151 of ETCSL version.)

This is not just any Goddess. Enheduanna wrote with full knowledge of the myth of Inanna's Descent, so we have one Goddess who:

  1. Entered the underworld of Her own volition, and returned after undergoing death and putrefaction.
  2. Absolutely exterminated a symbol of the uroboric dragon.

It must be accentuated that we have no stories, or even evidence of the possible existence of any describing Inanna's brother, the Sun-God Utu (Shamash) being involved in any form of Dragon Fight. A female deity, not a male human fights the dragon. Why?

This would at first seems strange, given the Neumann asserts," "The dragon fight forms a central chapter in the evolution of mankind as of the individual, and, in the personal development of the child, it is connected with events and processes which psycho-analysis knows as the Oedipus complex, and which we call the problem of the First Parents."(p 153)

Jung's (and Neumann's) format seems to be that a masculine human more or less fortuitously becomes confronted with a (maternal) feminine dragon which threatens to devour him, i.e., return him to a state of unconsciousness. Neumann first discounts the Freudian reductive interpretation, (that incest with mother is desirable but curtailed because of fear of father,) by pointing out that the Terrible Great Mother is sufficiently terrible herself without needing "the bogey of a father." He then asserts that at a deeper level "Fear of the dragon does not correspond to fear of the father, but to something far more elemental, namely the male's fear of the female in general..." implying an equation of female with the abyss, the void, emptiness. If we deny the existence of something, presumably we have to see a void where it is. This may well have been true for Jung and Neumann, but is it universal?

Douglas wrote, regarding the Visions Seminars,"The dynamic feminine, unmet and unmirrored, again sank out of sight, and the Kundalini energy, unchanneled, remained a dark serpent pursuing Jung."(p 92) She also notes that women are as confused as men about this entity, and therefore just as prone to experience it as an emptiness, but inside themselves, not projected outside. "...Jung in the seminars restricts the feminine to its passive, feeling and related dimensions [but] the image of another archetype of the feminine emerges: intuitive, active, intellectually related, and passionately embodied, but serving something truer to the feminine than a man. ...Many women who embody part of this archetype are unconscious of its meaning. Its power not being under their ego control, they misuse it as much as men do, unconsciously fusing and identifying with it instead of consciously channelling it. ...If this could have been held by Morgan and Jung, it would have meant a tremendous return to life, colour, and energy to Morgan herself and to Jung's and his century's gray world and gray theories about their wounded, pallid, and mourning feminine." (p 87)

Neumann makes two further assumptions which may be questioned. The first is the equation of spirit with masculine, whose aid is a precondition for the dragon fight. "Not until the hero identifies himself with what we have called the masculine "heaven" can he enter upon his fight with the dragon. ...the feeling of being rooted up aloft in the father divinity, who is not just head of the family but a creative spirit, alone makes possible the fight with the dragon of the Great Mother. Representing and upholding this spiritual world in the face of the dragon, the hero becomes the liberator and saviour, the innovator and bringer of wisdom and culture."(p 148) Enheduanna makes it very clear that this is not what happened to Inanna. The father world neither helped nor encouraged her. "Because it showed me no respect, because it did not put its nose to the ground, because it did not rub its lips in the dust, may I fill my hand with the soaring mountain range and hand it over to my terror."ETCSL lines 93-95) And the heavenly father world was itself afraid of Kur. "An, the king of the deities, answered her:"My little one demands the destruction of this mountain -- what is she taking on? It has poured fearsome terror on the abodes of the gods. It has spread fear among the holy dwellings of the Anuna deities. It has poured its terror and ferocity over this land. ...You cannot pass through its terror and fear. The mountain range's radiance is fearsome. Maiden Inanna, you cannot oppose it." Thus he spoke."(Lines 112-130 abstracted.)

A second objection may be raised to Neumann's equating entry into, and re-emergence from the unconscious with incest and rebirth. "...by submitting to heroic incest and entering into the devouring maw of the unconscious, the ego is changed in its essential nature and is reborn "another." The transformation of the hero through the dragon fight is a transfiguration, a glorification, indeed an apotheosis, the central feature of which is the birth of a higher mode of personality."(p 149) and "The ego's identification with masculine consciousness produces the psychic cleavage which drives it into opposing the dragon of the unconscious. This struggle is variously represented as the entry into the cave, the descent to the underworld, or as being swallowed - i.e., incest with the mother." (p 154) Incest inhibition is a biological given, because natural selection automatically deletes any species predisposed to it. Incest is a contrived metaphor which infers that the ego's drive to re-establish a new relationship with the unconscious can be equated with sexual attraction to mother. We are not tempted to commit incest, so we don't have to inhibit it.

"Our social behaviour is based on gene-culture transmission: an immense array of possibilities can be learned, innovation occurs frequently, but biological properties in the sense organs and brain make it more likely that certain choices will be preferred or at least more easily learned than others. In some categories, such as incest avoidance, the choices are narrowly constrained." (E.O. Wilson p120)

It neither occurs to nor attracts anyone unless they are grossly disturbed, and it is anatomically impossible for women. Even Oedipus' incest was entirely unintentional. As soon as he found Jocasta was his mother, he blinded himself. Moreover, there is nothing obstetrical about returning. Inanna's Descent explicitly equates both entry into, and exiting from the underworld with walking, not sex. "Inanna walked toward the nether world,"(Kramer SM p 90) Even the later Semitic version, where as Ishtar, she threatens Neti, the gatekeeper, rather than inveigling her way in, still has no overt sexual connotation, despite her status as a goddess of sexuality.

"If you do not open gate for me to come in,
I shall smash the door and shatter the bolt,
I shall smash the doorpost and overturn the doors,
I shall raise up the dead and they shall eat the living!
"(Dalley p 155)

Enheduanna provides a much clearer view of the dragon fight. In her view, the "void" or dragon is too powerful, even for most deities. But the goddess of civilisation, transformed instinct, can show how to overcome it. Two millennia later, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides may have involved a human (Perseus) as a goddess' instrument to attack this retrogressive influence, but when Enheduanna wrote, she recognised the reality of the situation. The ego is incapable of overcoming the unconscious. To come to terms with it, then as now, we must invoke the power represented by Inanna, because only that power is of sufficient order of magnitude. To believe otherwise is inaccurate at least, if not paranoid.

In both "Ebih" and "Inanna's Descent" she provides the archetypal paradigm for what must be done, by both sexes. (Non-maternal feminine is necessary for girl's development to avoid identifying with maternal feminine, regressing to a mother's girl, and thus neglecting the rest of her personality. For boys, the fight shows what to do to avoid a puer aeternus fate; fixation at the son-lover stage.) Enheduanna knew this from her own father's life. Unlike the "gray theorists" Sargon never claimed to be god-like. He attributed his success to Inanna's 'love.' Only later did kings arrogate the title of god; and now they look like trumped up buffoons. Enheduanna wrote of a relationship between Inanna and humanity, Inanna and the other gods, because it was a system that worked for her father, and herself.

Just how well it works is shown by Jacobsen's quotation and commentary upon Esarhaddon's retrieval of supremacy a thousand years after Enheduanna wrote.

"… like a flying eagle I spread my wings bent on the overthrow of my enemies, arduously I pressed on along the road to Nineveh - when, in front of me, in the region of Hanigalbat, all of their tall warriors, blocking my path, were whetting their weapons.

Fear of the great gods, my lords, overwhelmed them, they saw my powerful storm troops and became crazed (with fright). Ishtar, queen of attack and hand-to-hand fighting, who loves my priesthood, stepped to my side, broke their bows, and dissolved their battle formation so that they all said:"This is our king!" At her exalted command they came over, one after the other, to my side and took up positions behind me, gamboled like lambs, and invoked me as lord.

The application of quietistic piety to war - often to ruthless and cruel war - is of course an extreme. In the peaceful aspects of life it showed to greater advantage, enhancing such truly religious attitudes as sincere humility before the divine and trust, not only in miraculous assistance and intervention, but in greater divine wisdom." (Treasures p 238)

 

 

 

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