Who are Inanna and Dumuzi?

October 22, 2013

In the garden this morning an unfurling apple blossom held a bit more significance than normal.

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It’s wispy pink blushed beauty has all the hallmarks of the feminine. How sad, therefore, that this sensual heralding in of spring and its fruit is tragically associated with the biblical story of Eve, the Apple of Temptation and the downfall of “Man”. A story that has many ramifications for the misogynist societies so prevalent in today’s world. A story that consistently places men above women. A story that, in my view, leads to the production and legal sale of a video game where one gets points for killing a woman. And the more vicious the murder, the more points one earns.

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Has there ever been a time when there was not a hierarchy of the masculine over the feminine? Yes.

This was when the Bronze Age Sumerian religious stories — which were later changed under Judeo/Christian/Islamist belief systems — held sway.

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This was when the male god Dumuzi and the female goddess Inanna sat down equally upon their respective thrones for a sacred marriage. This was when the snake was associated with transformation and healing; not evil and deception. This was when the tree of life was simply that: a tree of earthly and heavenly knowledge and accessible to both men and women.

From a poem recited in temple courts, Dumuzi says:
“My sister, I would go with you to my garden.
Inanna, I would go with you to my garden
I would go with you to my apple tree.
There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed”

And Inanna says:
“He brought me into his garden.
My brother, Dumuzi, brought me into his garden.
I strolled with him among the standing trees,
I stood with him among the fallen trees,
By an apple tree I knelt as is proper.
Before my brother coming in song,
Who came to me in the midday heat,
Before my lord Dumuzi
I poured out plants from my womb.
I placed plants before him,
I poured out plants before him,
I placed grain before him,
I poured out grain before him.
I poured out grain from my womb.”

It behoves all religious scholars to consider the long unfolding of the many different creation stories of this world and not just present a particular biased view that favors the masculine over the female.

Why isn’t there a better understanding of Inanna and Dumuzi. Why do we remain ignorant of this fundamental story that preceded our major western religious practices? Who is protecting whom from what?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nadia October 31, 2013 at 3:14 am

what beautiful words peter. someone, somewhere got lost in fear and thought that making men greater would help ease their fear. your words and images help to heal that wound and create a wholer world.

Scilla Sayer October 22, 2013 at 6:40 am

Dear Peter – you have woven the themes of the apple blossom and the conversation we shared about Inana and the loss of the reverence and respect for the sacred feminine beautifully. Sending blessings and gratitude to you and Windgrove.. Scilla

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