Inanna, Sumerian Queen of Heaven

Inanna painted watermark
Inanna, Queen of Heaven

Inanna is the Sumerian Goddess of love and fertility.

She was known as the Queen of Heaven and Earth and she was also associated with the Underworld. Inanna was often depicted with the crown of Heaven upon her head and she was flanked by lions and owls. Her symbol is the 7 pointed star or the rosette which is the symbol of the planet Venus.

In this painting I wanted to give her a crown befitting a Goddess of Heaven and love.

Her crown has a starburst around the outer portion with dangling hoops and stars. The colors of the crown and of her necklace are the traditional Sumerian colors of blue, red, yellow and green. Very similar to the traditional ancient Egyptian colors. Her striking collar is made of bright stones such as lapis lazuli, red jasper, green malachite and gold.

There are many myths surrounding Inanna and one of the most famous is that of her descent into the Underworld to visit her sister, Ereshkigal.

Some scholars believe that Ereshkigal is a darker aspect of Inanna. One day Inanna dressed in her finest travels to the Underworld to visit her sister because her sisters husband had just died. Before she enters the Underworld, she tells her advisor how to come to her aid should she fail to return when expected. Upon her arrival she knocks on the gates to the Underworld and the gatekeeper asks who it is. She replies that it is Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth and she asks to be allowed to enter.

Ereshkigal, upon hearing that her sister has come to visit, tells the gatekeeper that Inanna is only allowed to enter one gate at a time.

She must go through the seven gates of the Underworld and she must take off a piece of her garments at each gate before she is allowed to enter. By the time Inanna enters the throne room of Ereshkigal she is naked. Standing before Ereshkigal, Inanna realizes that she has been tricked. The judges of the Underworld surround her to pass judgement upon her. Then Ereshkigal turns Inanna into a corpse.

Thankfully Inanna’s advisor notices that she has been absent for too long and devises a plan to rescue her.

Her advisor goes to Inanna’s father who gives him two demons to help rescue her. They fly to the Underworld where they find Inanna dead, naked and left exposed. At the orders of her father, they hang Inanna on a hook on the wall. They then give her the food and water of life and she rises from the dead.

This myth is very symbolic for our own descent into the dark places inside ourselves.

We enter there raw and unprotected and after we have experienced our pain we rise again refreshed and renewed.

This painting is one in my devotional art series which I am currently taking custom orders for.

If you’d like your very own custom devotional painting you can read more about it here.

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