The daughter of ANU (or possibly his son ENLIL), she has much in common with ISHTAR, with a faint hint of PERSEPHONE thrown in. She married a shepherd-type deity called DUMUZI and built him a city to rule called Uruk.
Her (possibly twin) sister ERESHKIGAL is ruler of the Underworld. One day INANNA said to her maid Ninshubar: “Look after things for a day or two — I’m going Down Under to see how sis is getting on — we haven’t seen each other for ages.”
It was quite a lark. There are seven gates at the entrance to the Underworld, and security is very tight. You might think airport security is bad but trying to get into the realm of the dead is something else. At every gate she was searched. This was a strip search with a difference — it was more of a strip tease. By the time she got inside she was stark naked.
Unabashed (she was not the bashful type), INANNA burst into the throne room. ‘Wheee — ain’t we got fun! Wow — give us a kiss, move over and lemmee have a go on that throne!” The ministers and judges of the dead attending ERESHKIGAL were appalled> They gave INANNA the kind of looks that could kill — quite literally. She dropped dead and they hung her corpse on a butcher’s hook.
ERESHKIGAL was not very concerned. They were not a close family and twinning had never been her thing. Ninshubar was the one who became concerned when her mistress did not return. She prayed to the gods but there was much shaking of heads and shuffling from above. Only ENKI came to her aid. He created two zombie-like beings and gave them a lunch box containing immortality snacks. Having no hearts or anything to indicate they were alive, they passed through the seven gates without let or hindrance.
In the throne room they took INANNA off the hook and restored her to life. The judges dirty looks were of no use. Somewhat subdued, INANNA asked her sister if she could leave. ‘Well, I can let you off the hook for the time being’ said ERESHKIGAL,’ but you must send me a replacement, or you will have to come back.’
Doing a reverse strip on the way out, INANNA shot back to Uruk at top speed to find DUMUZI having the time of his life and sleeping with her other sister GESHTINANNA the Goddess of Wine. She packed both of them off the Underworld and they each have to do a six-month stint — Duz in summer, Gesh in winter.
You would think all this would have slowed INANNA down, but not a bit. She was always a headstrong girl. Having heard that the TABLET-OF-DESTINIES and ‘ME’ Fundamental Powers of the Universe had been left for safekeeping with ENKI, She thought ‘ ME, ME, ME! They’re going to be mine!’
She paid a visit to ENKI who now had a slight drink problem and by using flattery, her considerable sexual charm and getting him well and truly sozzled, she persuaded him to let her have a peek at one of the famous tablets. Then another one. And then could she hold one? By the end of the evening she not only held them, she loaded them onto her barge and pushed off rapidly for Uruk.
When ENKI woke up with a hangover and found he had given the tablets away, he was not a happy god. He sent his minions in pursuit. But she outwitted them all, proclaiming that ENKI had given them of his own free will. His being drunk at the time was not her problem — he should join Alcoholics Anonymous. (This of course was not really feasible because everyone knew who ENKI was.)
And that was that. To this day INANNA is a highly-respected goddess offering more empowerment than you could possibly need.
Inanna Facts and Figures
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: INANA, INNANA, INNINA
Area or people: Sumer
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present
In charge of: War
Area of expertise: War
Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Article last updated on 24 May 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.