One of the very ancient Sumerian goddesses, whose name is well attested in texts since the Fara period, especially in personal names. Kings mention Her in their royal inscriptions (ex. Uruinimgina, Entemena). As a manifestation of the Great Mother Goddesses, She was responsible for the fertility of human beings and animals, the very Lady of Abundance. As the wife of Ningirsu, She formed part of the Lagash pantheon; Her temple there was the E-urukuga. At the New Year´s Festival, the city celebrated Her Sacred Marriage with Ningirsu. There was also a temple to Baba in Uruk. She is the recipient of numerous votive offerings, especially during the Neo-Sumerian period (Gudea). At this time Baba became known as the daughter of Anu, the Skyfather and the planet Venus. During the Old Babylonian period She became identified with the goddess of healing, Bau/Gula, Ninisinna and Inanna. Towards the end of the second millennium BCE, she also appeared in connection with magick, equated with Ningirim, the goddess of incantations. Baba was said to be related to Enki as "the daughter-in-law of Eridu".
Sumerian goddess, whose name is written with a composite sign for "house" and "fish." Like Nammu, she is associated with water, though specifically with rivers and canals (quite a few of which were named after her). She was known as the 'fishery inspector' of the sea in the myth Enki and the World Order; fishes, good things, sweet things she presents to her fatehr Enlil in Nippur. Nanshe was an important goddess in the Old and Neo-Sumerian period and appeared frequently in personal names. She had several sanctuaries in Lagash. Gudea, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, called her the daughter of Enki and the sister of Ningirsu (Sumerian god of a district of a city of Lagash) and Nisaba (goddess of writing). She is said to have helped Ningirsu to overcome Gudea´s enemies in battle. At this period, she became to be known as the Diviner of the Gods, and Gudea consulted Her in oracles many times. From another hymn dedicated to Her, we also learn that in Her temple She was seen as a great administrator and arbiter of social justice.
Sumerian goddess, whose name means Lady of Incantations. She appears already in the Fara texts. In the Sumerian Temple Hymns, She is associated with a sanctuary in Murum. The temple is said to recite conjurations of heaven and earth. In later periods too She is mainly mentioned in incantation texts.
Sumerian goddess. As Her name implies, Lady of Isin, She was the tutelary goddess of this city. Her temple was the E-galmah, the Great Temple, described in a Temple Hymn (number 30); She is described as the Mother Hierodule, whose word fills heaven. When Isin became the capital of Sumer and Akkad during the reign of Ishib-Erra and Lipt-Ishtar, She was promoted to the rank of Great Goddess and assumed some of the functions of Inanna, including Her martial aspects. Ninisina was the daughter of Anu, the Skyfather and the Earth Mother Urash, and consort of Pabilsag, although Damu and Gunura, who are known otherwise as her offspring, are mentioned as consorts in some Ur III texts.
As a healing goddess, Her most common epithet is The Great Healer/Doctor of the Land, and as such is addressed in various hymns and letters. The manner of her treatment was the uttering of the right incantation. She was also a midwife. Towards the end of the Old Babylonian period She became identified with the Semitic goddess Gula. In a well-known poem, She is in great distress and wandering in the Arali, her temple in ruins. She cries out to Enlil, who shows her the Tablets of Destiny which have an entry for her misfortune. Another appeal by her mother is also in vain, since she exclaims that her child is dead. This poem shows that the midwife goddess understood fully the dual nature of labor, the closeness that exists between life and death.
Sumerian goddess, whose name is written with the cuneiform sign NAGA which was used as a determinative for different kinds of grain; Her iconographic Her name was an ear of corn. The pronunciation Ni-is-sa-bi is attested from the earliest written documents, meaning Ninsaba, The Lady of Saba. She is first mentioned in the Fara lists as the Lady of Eresh (Uruk) as quoted in the Temple Hymns. She was also worshipped at Umma; Lugalzagesi calls Her his mother. Under his reign and that of the following Akkadian dynasty, Nisaba´s cult proliferated in other Sumerian towns. According to Gudea, She was the sister of Ningirsu and Nanshe, and was as such part of the Lagash pantheon. Gudea is also the first reference to Nisaba´s aspect as the patroness of scribes: "She holds the pure stylus, the laws of the land are known as the laws of Nisaba". She was very popular during the first half of the second millennium BCE maybe as long as the Babylonian scribal schools, the edubbas, flourished. Numerous hyms were composed in her honor which describe the totality of her functions: " O Lady coloured like the stars of heaven, holding the lapis lazuli tablet born in the great sheepfold by the divine Earth... born in wisdom by the Great Mountain (Enlil), honest woman, chief scribe of heaven, record-keeper of Enlil, all knowing sage of the gods", She makes vegetation grow, establishes ritual ablutions and appoints the high priest. Another hymn by the Isin king Ishbi-Erra dwells on Her maternal qualities. With the growing popularity of Nabu during the Kassite and Neo-Babylonian period, Nisaba lost her importance and had to be content with being his wife.
According to Professor Tikva Fryman-Kensky in her outstanding work "In the Wake of the Goddesses" (Fawcet Columbine, New York, 1992), wisdom and writing were the province of the Goddess Nisaba, as well as the measuring lines to measure the heavens. Thus, Nisaba is the paradigmatic wise woman, "the great knowledgeable perceptive one" who knows everything. She is also the great teacher who gives advice to all lands and endows kings with wisdom. Nisaba epitomizes both godly wisdom and the gift of learning to humans.
It is important to keep in mind that writing and surveying were essential to the existence of urban life, and Nisaba is therefore honored as the one who makes cities possible. Although other goddesses took learned occupations, scribes generally finished their compositions with the short sentence "Nisaba be praised!" stating clearly Her prominence in this field.
Lilith is listed here because there seems to be some confusion regarding this personage, who is wrongly thought to be a Sumerian goddess. Fundamentally, Lillith is not a Sumerian goddess, but a Jewish figure, there occupying a central place as a demoness. Neo-paganism has deified Lilith, but the fact remains that according to Sumerian sources lilith is not a deity. In fact, Lilith is not an individual at all, but rather a class of ancient near-eastern demons. To quote "Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia,":
The male lilu and two
females lilitu and ardat-lili are a sort of family group of demons.
They are not gods.
The only appearance of a Lilith in Mesopotamian mythology was in "Inanna and The Huluppu Tree," wherein it was portrayed as an evil demon which had infested Inanna's Huluppu tree, the sacred tree Inanna found by the banks of the Euphrates and transplanted to Her city, Uruk. Lillith, a treacherous snake and bird make a home for themselves in the Tree, until forcibly driven out by Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh at this stage seems to have been a close friend of the young goddess, and it is to him that Inanna turns for help regarding the unwelcome guests lodging in the Tree. In this sense, the presence of Lillith in the first part of the Cycle of Inanna may well mean the full range of feminine energy Inanna has yet to develop and integrate within herself.
Lishtar´s Note: Personally, I find the Spirit can call upon us under many Names and guises, all equally holy. I just wanted to establish the historicity of Lillith, which definetly is not Sumerian.
Back To 'Ladies of Passion...'
Back To The 'Gods'-Section