Ereshkigal, the forgotten one

And so it was that Ereshkigal
was forgotten.

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.

Ereshkigal!
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.

Here.

Down below.”

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,
just essence.
Perhaps I’ll go further by going deeper into sleep.
Who knows?”

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
of neglect.

And then one day
your younger sister arrived,
all naked
and self-righteous.
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.

Oh Ereshkigal.
Truly your rage could have known no bounds.
You had been forgotten for so long.
Left neglected,
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.

7 Comments

  1. WOW!!! There are many things I could say about this amazing piece, but they are not for the public. I hope that this gets to you. If it does, please let me know and I will say more…..

    I am SO happy for you that you wrote this. I feel that it has been a very long time coming. love to you… S>

    >

  2. How poignant and thought provoking! I particularly like the phrase “Lay out her anger like a silver tea set on a filigreed tray”.

  3. she is indeed the forgotten. thank you for shining a light on her. she was left behind and you are finding her. your alliterations and word play lets her story dance beyond the bounds of darkness and rests in the realm of possibilities.

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