And so it was that Ereshkigal
Queen of the Underworld,
daughter of Nammu, the Sea Goddess.
Born of the bittersweet loss that Anu,
the Sky Father
felt for his beloved Ki,
the Earth Mother.
You were forgotten!
And so you waited to be remembered.
And you wondered while you waited.
You pondered the patterns that bind
words and deeds into painful scars of loss and longing.
“It is these patterns I want to know,” you said,
“And so, I will wait.
Did you sleep through your long dark days and nights?
Did you dream?
Did you wake in the shadowy morning
and lay out your anger like a silver tea set on a filigreed tray?
Did you polish each piece
so that their betrayal shone in the grey and loveless light?
“I am here in the Underworld”, you said,
“I float in the depths within.
I am here where appearances don’t matter,
Perhaps I’ll go further by going deeper into sleep.
There was no sunlight where you slept.
No prince to come
and hack away the thorny rose bushes
and bring light into your deep darkness.
There really was no shine and sparkle in that anger.
There was only the festering
And then one day
your younger sister arrived,
Poor sweet Inanna
She had given up her lovely jewels,
and her beautiful silk and brocade robes,
until there she was,
standing at your throne,
cold and naked and powerless,
in all her glorious innocence.
Truly your rage could have known no bounds.
You had been forgotten for so long.
lost and unforgiven.
Did you demand an apology before the Annuna
passed judgement against your sister?
Or did you simply turn and walk away?
Image: Asfa Alshra
Ereskigal is the Mesopotamian Queen of the Dead who rules “All that is Below”. Most of us know her through the story of her sister Inanna, the Queen of ‘All that is Above’. At the simplest level, the story about Ereshkigal is about understanding and confronting our darker side, but there are many depths to her that deserve exploring by those of us who are not afraid to fall off the edges.
For more about Ereshkigal’s story, check out Judith Shaw’s post here.