(Last updated February 21, 2003)

Praise to Ishtar

(from an Akkadian hymn to Ishtar, translated by Ferris J. Stephens)

She is clothed with pleasure and love.
She is laden with vitality, charm,
and voluptuousness.
Ishtar is clothed with pleasure and love.
She is laden with vitality, charm,
and voluptuousness.
In lips she is sweet; life is in her mouth.
At her appearance rejoicing becomes full.
She is glorious; veils are thrown over her head.
Her figure is beautiful; her eyes are brilliant.
The goddess - with her there is counsel.
The fate of everything she holds in her hand.
At her glance there is created joy,
power, magnificence, the protecting deity and guardian spirit.
She dwells in, she pays heed to compassion and
Besides, agreeableness she truly possesses.
Be it slave, unattached girl, or mother, she
preserves (her).
One calls on her; among women one names her name.
Who - to her greatness who can be equal?
Strong, exalted, splendid are her decrees.
Ishtar - to her greatness who can be equal?
Strong, exalted, splendid are her decrees.
She is sought after among the gods;
extraordinary is her station.
Respected is her word; it is supreme over them.
Ishtar among the gods, extraordinary is her station.
Respected is her word; it is supreme over them.

Man, Myth and Magic. Vol.13.


O heroic one, Ishtar; the immaculate one of the goddesses,
Torch of Heaven and earth, radiance of the continents,
The goddess ‘Lady of Heaven', first-begotten of Sin, first-born of Ningal,
Twin-sister of . . . the hero Shamash [the Sun-god];
O Ishtar, you are Anu [the supreme god], you rule the heavens;
With Enlil the Counsellor you advise mankind;
The Word, creator of liturgies and rituals of ‘Hand-washing'.
Where conversation takes place, you, like Shamash, are paying attention,
You alter the Fates, and an ill event becomes good;
I have sought you amongst the gods; supplications are offered to you;
To you amongst the goddesses I have turned, with intent to make entreaty,
Before you is a (protecting) shedu[a genie], behind you a (protecting) lamassu [another type of genie],
At your right is Justice, at your left Goodness,
Fixed on your head are Audience, Favour, Peace,
Your sides are encompassed with Life and Well-being;
How good it is to pray to you, how blessed to be heard by you!
Your glance is Audience, your utterance is the Light.
Have pity on me, O Ishtar! Order my prospering!
Glance on me in affirmation! Accept my litany!
I have borne your yoke; set tranquility (for me)!
I have sought your brightness; may my face be bright.
I have turned to your dominion; may it be life and well-being for me.
May I (too) have a favourable shedu like that before you;
May I (too) have a lamassu like that which goes behind you.
May I garner the prosperity at your right hand,
May I attain to the favour at your left hand.
Lengthen my days, bestow life!
Let me live, let me be well, let me proclaim your divinity.
Let me achieve what I desire . . . .

At the end of the prayer comes the instruction:
Wording of the ‘hand-raising to Ishtar'. Before Ishtar you shall set a censer with juniper-wood; you shall pour a gruel-libation, you shall recite the ‘hand-raising' three times, you shall do obeisance.

The Greatness That Was Babylon. HWF Saggs, p. 327.


My father gave me the heavens, gave me the earth,
I am Inanna!
Kingship he gave me,
queenship he gave me,
waging of battle he gave me, the attack he gave me,
the floodstorm he gave me, the hurricane he gave me!
The heavens he set as a crown on my head,
the earth he set as sandals on my feet,
a holy robe he wrapped around my body,
a holy sceptre he placed in my hand.
The gods are sparrows -- I am a falcon;
the Anunnaki trundle along -- I am a splendid wild cow;
I am father Enlil's splendid wild cow,
his splendid wild cow leading the way!

The Treasures of Darkness. Thorkild Jacobsen, p. 138.


Unto the queen of the gods, into whose hands are committed the behest of the great gods, unto the lady of Nineveh,the queen of the gods, the exhalted one,unto the daughter of the moon-god,the twin sister of the sun god, unto her who ruleth all kingdoms,unto the goddess of the world who deetermineth decrees, unto the Lady of heaven and earth who recieveth supplication, unto the merciful goddess who hearkeneth unto entreaty, who recieveth prayer, who loveth righteousness, I make my prayer unto Ishtar to whom all confusion is a cause of grief. The sorrows which I see I lament before thee. Incline thine ear unto my words of lamentation and let thine heart be opened unto my sorrowful speech. Turn thy face unto me, O Lady, so that by reason therEof the heart of thy servant may be made strong! I, Ashur-nasir-pal, the sorrowful one, am thy humble servant; I, who am beloved of thee, make offerings unto thee and adore thy divinity . . . . I was born in the mountains which no man knoweth; I was without understanding and I prayed not of thy majesty. Moreover the people of Assyria did not recognise and did not accept thy divinity. But thou, O Ishtar, thou mighty Queen of the gods, by the lifting up of thine eyes did teach me, for thou didst desire my rule. Thou didst take me from the mountains, and didst make me the Door of my peoples . . . and thou, O Ishtar, didst make great my name! As concerning that for which thou are wrath with me, grant me forgiveness. Let thine anger be appeased, and let thine heart be mercifully inclined towards me.

Assyria. W.H.Boulton, p. 154.


Wake up to the power of Inanna
Whose name was first read in the form of a Knot
...known as the Knot of Inanna
For it is She who is...
the Great Goddess of Sumer
the Goddess of love, fertility and war
the Mother of all life
the Queen of Heaven, the Earth
...from which was given to Her by Her Father
the Queen of the Underworld
...from which She earned from descending thru the 7 gates
and then ascending back up to rightly place in Heaven
For it is She who is 1 with many names...
Nin-me-sar-ra, the Lady of Myriad Offices
or Queen of all the Me
Ninsianna, the personification of the planet Venus
Nin.an.na, queen of the sky
Nu-ugiganna, Hierodule of Heaven
Usunzianna, Exalted Cow of Heaven
For it is She who wears the crown of the crescent moon
and 8-pointed star and who is bejeweled with beautiful
lapis lazuli flecked with gold
Whose Holy body is wrapped in the Pala robe of heaven
With eyes that call all to her
Breasts that call all to them to drink from them
the elixic milk of life
As She stands on the great lion while holding lotuses
that she so generously bestows upon her true devotees

For it is She, Inanna, whom we worship
Worship in our great temples that we erected for Her, our Goddess...
where we can worship Her thru drumming, dancing and singing
For it is in these temples that we ritually seek
to become 1 with our Great Goddess Inanna
and it is...
With flour, that is ground from Her body, that we shall make
sacred cakes for Her, that will be placed at Her altar
in this temple of Hers
As it is She that the 4 elements unfold out of -
Air, Fire, Earth, Water
it is She who contains all knowledge
Including the divine knowledge of music that She
transmitted to us humans
Thru Her priestesses who divined down this knowledge from
Her divine realms above into the human realms below

For it is from the mouth of Her buru that all water comes from
For it is Her water that comes from rain that turns into blood
which turns into milk
Milk that nourishes all life
All life that grows from the rain that She gives
For it is She who is the source of life and for all life, like the
waters of life that pour out from Her womb
Her waters of life that teared from her eyes
Teared for the great Huluppa tree
Oh how she wept
She wept because the Anzu-bird had set his young in
the Huluppa trees branches
And the dark maid, Lilith, built her home in the trunk
but all was not lost because soon...
Her throne would be carved from the trunk of the Huluppa tree
by the sons of Uruk
Her bed would be carved from the trunk of the Huluppa tree
by the daughters of Uruk
From the roots of the Huluppa tree She would fashion a pukka
for her brother
From the crown of the Huluppa tree she would fashion a mikku
for Enki, the Wise Father
Ninshubur, who was her faithful companion, would become closer
than a sister
For it was she who went down after 3 days missing Inanna,
and aided her ascent back up to Heaven

For it is Inanna
Inanna who is the instigator of creation, the Goddess who
manifested in us sexual desire and union
It is She who "caused the created to reproduce" and
whose planet is Venus
It is She who is our lovely evening star who shines brightly
in the night's sky

For it is She, Inanna, who maintains the world's order
The world's order that is birthed out of holy union
Holy union of Inanna and Dumuzi
The Holy union that on New Year's day,
is celebrated as hieros gamos
The celebration of their sexual union
The holy union of Inanna and Dumuzi
Dumuzi, who is Her consort
Dumuzi, who is the God of vegetation
Dumuzi, He who surely pleases Her
but before consummation She praises him...
He caressed my loins with His fair hands
He poured milk and cream onto Me
He stroked My pubic hair
He irrigated My womb
He lay His hands upon My holy vulva
He nourished My black boat with His cream
He ripened My narrow boat with His milk
He caressed Me on the bed
Now I'll caress Him on the bed
Then I'll make love to my faithful Dumuzi
For it is their sexual union that will make the world live again
For their union will ensure abundance and plenty for all for the year to come
The rest of the years to come that will cycle around
Cycle around the power of the Great Goddess Inanna
As she enters and exits the 7 gates of her descent and ascent
That takes her from the underworld of deprivation and then
back up to her rightly place as Queen of Heaven

BySavannah Skye

Address To Ishtar

(Found on lion from Calah, now in the British Museum)

To the Lady of the land, the great lady, first in heaven and on earth, the powerful queen of all the gods, whose word is honored (weighty)....., whose form is surpassing among the goddesses, the bright being, who like Shamash, her full brother, surveys the ends of heaven (and earth) alike, the powerful one (among) the Anunnaki, the first-born daughter of Anu, the exceedingly great one of the gods, who rules her enemies, going ahead, stirring up the seas and troubling the hills; the strong one of the Igigi, the lady of battle and combat, without whom the scepter (?) in E-sharra is unfavorable, who allows victory to be attained, who causes the heart to attain its desire, lover of righteousness, who hearkens unto my prayer, who accepts supplication, who recieves petitions; --- unto Ishtar, the bright, the perfect, the mighty one, who surveys heaven and earth, whose name is named in all regions of the world, the bestower of life, the merciful goddess, whose compassion (?) is gracious, who dwells in the city of Calah, my lady (I) Assurnasir-pal, (do pray): the king of hosts, the king without a rival, the king of all four regions of the world, the Sun of all peoples, the favorite of Enlil (Bel) and Urta, the beloved of Anu and Dagan, the mighty one of the great gods, the humble one, who is dear to thy heart, the prince who is thy favorite, whose priesthood is pleasing to thy divinity and whose (kingdom) thou hast firmly established

Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia. Luckenbill