Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Inana's Descent to the Nether World




From the great heaven she set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven the goddess set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven Inana set her mind on the great below. My mistress abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inana abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.


When Inana entered, the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand, when she entered the first gate the turban headgear for the open country was removed from her head. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the second gate the small lapis-lazuli beads were removed from her neck. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the third gate the twin egg-shaped beads were removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the fourth gate the ‘Come, man, come’ pectoral was removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the fifth gate the golden ring was removed from her hand “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the sixth gate the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the seventh gate the pala dress, the garment of ladyship, was removed from her body. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she had entered the E-kur, the house of Enlil, she lamented before Enlil: “Father Enlil, don't let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


In his rage Father Enlil answered “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”


Thus Father Enlil did not help in this matter, so she went to Urim. In the E-mud-kura at Urim, when she had entered the E-kiš-nu-ĝal, the house of Nanna, she lamented before Nanna: “Father Nanna, don't let your daughter be killed in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


In his rage Father Nanna answered “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”


Thus Father Nanna did not help her in this matter, so she went to Eridug. In Eridug, when she had entered the house of Enki, she lamented before Enki: “Father Enki, don't let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


Father Enki answered: “What has my daughter done? She has me worried. What has Inana done? She has me worried. What has the mistress of all the lands done? She has me worried. What has the mistress of heaven done? She has me worried." Thus Father Enki helped her in this matter.  He removed some dirt from the tip of his fingernail and created the kur-ĝara. He removed some dirt from the tip of his other fingernail and created the gala-tura. To the kur-ĝara he gave the life-giving plant. To the gala-tura he gave the life-giving water.


“They will offer you a riverful of water, don't accept it. They will offer you a field with its grain, don't accept it but say, “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” They will say: “That is the corpse of your queen." Say: “Whether it is that of our king, whether it is that of our queen, give it to us.” They will give you the corpse hanging on the hook. One of you sprinkle on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. Thus let Inana arise.”


They were offered a river with its water but they did not accept it. They were offered a field with its grain but they did not accept it. They said to her: “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” Holy Ereškigala answered the gala-tura and the kur-ĝara: “The corpse is that of your queen.” They said to her: “Whether it is that of our king or that of our queen, give it to us.” They were given the corpse hanging on the hook. One of them sprinkled on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. Thus it was that Inana arose in triumph.


http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr141.htm

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