My friend Rebecca Timm bought this book for me at the UC Bookstore, after she talked about what she was reading in a class that was part of her growth.
Being a lover of the Goddess, and knowing that Inanna was one of the oldest of the Goddesses, I asked her to get it for me.
These four thousand year old stories are beautiful, powerful, unselfconscious, playful, sexy tales about a totally self-confident Goddess, queen and girl. This translation is by Kim Echlin, with illustrations by Linda Wolfsgruber. Here’s a bit of one of my favorites, from the story The Drinking Match:
“Inanna crowned herself! She wanted to make the whole world, shepherd to sheepfold, as radiant and beautiful, as perfect and luminous as she was. She wanted everyone to look up and know that she was the evening star, she wanted the whole world lighted up with the pure light of the star that shines before night’s darkness and before the break of dawn.”
In the rest of this story, she goes alone to visit the great and powerful Enki, “God of Wisdom”, “who knows all things, even the hearts of the gods.” He instructs his servant to treat her as his equal. They drink and drink, and he toasts her, giving her his priesthood, his crown, the throne. Inanna says, “I take them.” He keeps toasting and giving away all that he possesses – the art of the hero and of power, all the powers of civilization, and even the Boat of Heaven. Then he falls over in a drunken heap. When he wakes up, he wants it all back. He sends his servants, then 50 giants, then 50 sea monsters. Was it all lies? she asks. She refuses to return the gifts. Nothing could stop her. When she arrived at the Gate of Joy in her own city, the people were in awe and rejoicing. “The holy gifts were unloaded and given to the people.”
Wow! What a smart Goddess, four thousand years ago!