Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Friday, July 29, 2005

THE DESCENT OF INNANA

Here is a bit of work I did a few years ago.

If you really want to understand memetics, Sumerian language, poetry and thought is an essential study in my opinion.

Here is an interesting poem/story from Sumer.


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THE DESCENT OF INNANA

(one version of the story, my own translation taken form several Sumerian and Akkadian sources. Copyright 2002 Mushtaq Ali al Ansari, all rights reserved)

To Kur-nu-gi, land of no returning,
Innana, Lady of Uruk, was determined to go;
She, The Lady of Uruk was determined to go.

To the dark house, dwelling of Erkalla's god,
To the house which those who enter cannot leave,
On the road where travelling is one-way only,
To the house where those who enter are deprived of light,
Where dust is their food, clay their bread.
They see no light, they dwell in darkness,
They are clothed like birds, with feathers.
Over the door and the bolt, dust has settled.

She has gathered together the seven Me.
She has taken them into her hands
With the Me in her possession, she has prepared herself:

Innana, when she arrived at the gate of Kur-nu-gi,
Addressed her words to the keeper of the gate,
"Here gatekeeper, open your gate for me,
Open your gate for me to come in!
If you do not open the gate for me to come in!
If you do not open the gate for me to come in,
I shall smash the door and shatter the bolt,
I shall smash the doorpost and overturn the doors,
I shall raise up the dead and they shall eat the living:
The dead shall outnumber the living!"

The gatekeeper made his voice heard and spoke,
He said to great Inanna,
"Stop, lady of Uruk, do not break it down!
Let me go and report your words to queen Ereshkigal."
The gatekeeper went in and spoke to Ereshkigal,
"Here she is, your sister Inanna
Who holds the great keppu'toy,
Who stirs up the Abzu in Ea's presence?

She has gathered together the seven Me.
She has taken them into her hands
With the Me in her possession, she has prepared herself:

On her head she wears the shugurra, the Great crown.
Across her forehead her dark locks of hair are carefully arranged.
On her ears she wears the rings of small lapis beads.
At her breast she wears the double strand of beads.
Her body is wrapped with the royal robe.
Her eyes are dabbed with the ointment called, "let him come, let him come."
Around her chest she wears the breastplate called "come, man, come."
On her wrist she wears the gold ring.
In her hand she carries the lapis measuring rod and line."

When Ereshkigal heard this,
Her face grew livid as cut tamarisk,
Her lips grew dark as the rim of a kuninu-vessel.
"What brings her to me? What has incited her against me?
Surely not because I drink water with the Anunnaki,
I eat clay for bread,I drink muddy water for beer?
I have to weep for young men forced to abandon their sweethearts.
I have to weep for girls wrenched from their lover's laps.
For the infant child I have to weep, expelled before its time.

Go,gatekeeper, open your gate to her.
Treat her asccording to the ancient rites."
The gatekeeper went.
He opened the gate to her.
"Enter, my lady: may Kutha give you joy,
May the palace of Kur-nu-gi be glad to see you"

He let her in through the first door, but stripped off and took away the great crown,
the shu-gur-ra, from her head,
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the great crown on my head?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the second door, but stripped off and took away the rings of lapis beads for her ears.
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the rings of lapis beads for my ears?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the third door, but stripped off and away the Double strands of beads around her neck.
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the double strands of beads around my neck?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the fourth door, but stripped off and took away the Breastplate called "come, man, come" at her breast. "Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the breastplate at my breast?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the fifth door, but stripped off (and) took away the rom her wrist the Gold Bracelet Ring.
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken the Gold bracelet ring from my wrist?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the sixth door, but stripped off (and) took away from her hand the lapis measuring rod and line.
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the lapis measuring rod and line from my hand?"
"Go in my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

He let her in through the seventh door, but stripped off (and) took away the Royal Robe of her body.
"Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the Royal Robe of my body?"
"Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth and they are perfect."

Naked, Inanna went down to Kur-nu-gi,
Ereshkigal looked at her and trembled before her.
Inanna did not deliberate long, but leant over her.
Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spoke,
Addressed her words to Namtar her vizier,
"Go Namtar keeper of my Me
Send out against her sixty diseases
Give to Inanna:
Disease of the eyes to her eyes
Disease of the arms to her arms
Disease of the feet to her feet
Disease of the heart to her heart
Disease of the head to her head
To every part of her and to her Breath."

Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt.

She struck her.

Inanna was turned into a corpse,
A piece of rotting meat,
And was hung from a hook on the wall.

For three days she hung on the walls of Kur-nu-gi.

After Inanna, the Mistress of Teš, had gone to Ker-nu-gi
No bull mounted a cow, no donkey impregnated a jenny
No young man on the street impregnated a girl.

The young man slept in his private room,
The girl slept in the company of her friends.

Then Pap-suk-kal, vizier of the great gods, hung his head, his face became gloomy;
He wore mourning clothes, his hair unkempt.
Dejected, he went and wept before Ea his father,
His tears flowed freely before king Ea.
"Inanna has gone down to The Earth and has not come up again.
As soon as Inanna went down to Kur-nu-gi
No bull mounted a cow, no donkey impregnated a jenny,
No young man on the street impregnated a girl

The young man slept in his private room,
The girl slept in the company of her friends."

Ea, in the wisdom of his heart, created a being.
He created a being called "Asushunamir".
"Come,"Asushunamir",set your face towards the gate of Kur-nu-gi.
The seven gates of Kur-nu-gi shall be opened before you.
Ereshkigal shall look at you and be glad to see you.
When she is relaxed, her mood will lighten.
Get her to swear the oath by the great gods.
Raise your head, pay attention to the waterskin,
Saying, 'Hey my lady,let them give me the waterskin, that I may drink water from it.'"

And so it happened. But....
When Ereshkigal heard this,
She struck her thigh and bit her finger.
"You have made a request of me that should not have been made!
Come, "Asushunamir", I shall curse you with a great curse.
I shall decree for you a fate that shall never be forgotten.
Bread gleaned from the city's ploughs shall be your food,
The city drains shall be your only drinking place,
Threshold steps your only sitting place,
The drunkard and the thirsty shall slap your cheek."

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spoke:
She adressd her words to Namtar her vizier,
"Go Namtar, knock at Egalina,
Decorate the threshold steps with coral,
Bring the Annunaki out and seat them on golden thrones,
Sprinkle Inanna with the waters of life and conduct her into my presence."
Namtar went, knocked at Egalina,
Decorated the threshold steps with coral,
Brought out the Annunaki, seated them on golden thrones,
Sprinkled Inanna with the waters of life and brought her out to her sister.

He let her out through the the first door, and gave her back to her the Royal Robe of her body.

He let her out through the second door, and gave back to her the lapis measuring rod and line. of her hand.

He let her out through the third door, and gave back to her the Gold Bracelet Ring around her wrist.

He let her out through the fourth door, and gave back to her the Breastplate called "come, man, come" at her breast.

He let her out through the fifth door, and gave back to her the Double strands of beads around her neck.

He let her out through the sixth door, and gave back to her the rings of lapis beads for her ears.

He let her out through the seventh door, and gave back the great crown,
the shu-gur-ra for her head.

Ereshkigal said,
"Swear that she has paid you for her ransom,and give her back in exchange for him,
For Dmuzi,the lover of her youth,
Wash him with pure water,anoint him with sweet oil,
Clothe him in a red robe, let the lapis lazuli pipe play
Let the Sacred Prostitutes raise a loud lament"

Then Belili the sister of Dmuzi tore off her jewellery,
Her lap was filled with eyestones.
Belili heard the lament for her brother, she struck the jewellery from her body,
The eyestones with which the front of the wild cow was filled.
"You shall not rob me forever of my only brother!
On the day when Dmuzi comes back up, and the lapis pipe and the carnelian ring come up with him,
When male and female mourners come up with him,
The dead shall come up and smell the smoke offering"

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1 comment:

nuggettygoodness said...

Found this when I was googling for a translation of the Descent of Inanna.

While it wasn't the translation I was looking for, it is a lovely version. =)

Just thought you should know someone likes it! *cheers*