The earliest known author of written literature was a woman named Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Mesopotamia around 2300 BCE. High Priestess to the moon god Nanna, Enheduanna came to venerate the goddess Inanna above all gods in the Sumerian pantheon. The hymns she wrote to Inanna constitute the earliest written portrayal of an ancient goddess. In their celebration of Enheduanna's relationship with Inanna, they also represent the first existing account of an individual's consciousness of her inner life. This book provides the complete texts of Enheduanna's hymns to Inanna, skillfully and beautifully rendered by Betty De Shong Meador, who also discusses how the poems reflect Enheduanna's own spiritual and psychological liberation from being an obedient daughter in the shadow of her ruler father. Meador frames the poems with background information on the religious and cultural systems of ancient Mesopotamia and the known facts of Enheduanna's life. With this information, she explores the role of Inanna as the archetypal feminine, the first goddess who encompasses both the celestial and the earthly and shows forth the full scope of women's potential.
BETTY DE SHONG MEADOR is a Jungian analyst who has taught at California School of Professional Psychology San Diego, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and California Institute of Integral Studies. She is the author of Inanna: Lady of Largest Heart and Uncursing the Dark.
Foreword by Judy Grahn Acknowledgments Part I: The Cultural and Historical Context 1. Introduction: "Through the Gate of Wonder" An early cuneiform sign of the goddess Inanna appears in the author's dream 2. "Great Lady Inanna" Paradoxical goddess encompasses heaven, earth, and the underworld 3. "The Robes of the Old, Old Gods" Ancient mythologems: Neolithic Mesopotamian parallels to Inanna's iconography 4. Unearthing Enheduanna Leonard Woolley's excavations at Ur identify the high priestess Enheduanna 5. Enheduanna's Life Story Sargon's daughter Enheduanna matures in an era of new consciousness of the individual 6. The High Priestess at Ur Enheduanna manages the extensive temple estate and directs ritual tending of moon goddess and god from her quarters, the house of women, the gipar. 7. The Poems and Hymns of Enheduanna The first literary texts disclose the emotion and imagery of the poet and the systematic theology of the priestess Part II The Three Inanna Poems: Introduction 8. The First Poem: Inanna and Ebih Introduction Inanna and Ebih: Text of the Poem "Terror Folds in Her Robes" Inanna, the force of nature, combats a mountain paradise "I Will Not Go There With You" The sky god An deserts Inanna "Fury Overturns Her Heart" Inanna assumes her full stature and autonomy "Because You Puff Yourself Up" Parallels between Ebih and the creation story in Genesis 9. The Second Poem: Lady of Largest Heart Introduction Lady of Largest Heart: Text of the Poem "Eldest Daughter of the Moon" The paradox of dark and light "The Carved-Out Ground Plan of Heaven and Earth" Inanna's world without illusion "Look at Your Tormenting Emotions" Primary emotions and the goddess Four Spiritual paths Warrior Creative autonomy and senseless destruction Priestess Lunar spirituality and the internal sanctuary Lover Sexuality, sacred marriage, and the swelling of desire Androgyne Gender crossing and gender ambiguity 10. The Third Poem: The Exaltation of Inanna Introduction The Exaltation of Inanna: Text of the Poem "He Robbed Me of the True Crown" Enheduanna's expulsion: portents of things to come "Rekindle Your Holy Heart" Woman's self-love and the goddess "Proclaim!" Legacy of a woman's voice Bibliography Notes Captions for Illustrations
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