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Inanna, Lady of the Largest Heart


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first available translation of poems written to the Near Eastern goddess Inanna by Enheduanna, the first individual of record whose name appears as author of written literature; first articulation of a theology

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Judy Grahn
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I. The Cultural and Historical Context
    1. 1. Introduction: "Through the Gate of Wonder": An early cuneiform sign of the goddess Inanna appears in the author's dream
    2. 2. "Great Lady Inanna":Paradoxical goddess encompasses heaven, earth, and the underworld
    3. 3. "The Robes of the Old, Old Gods": Ancient mythologems: Neolithic Mesopotamian parallels to Inanna's iconography
    4. 4. Unearthing Enheduanna: Leonard Woolley's excavations at Ur identify the high priestess Enheduanna
    5. 5. Enheduanna's Life Story: Sargon's daughter Enheduanna matures in an era of new consciousness of the individual
    6. 6. The High Priestess at Ur: Enheduanna manages the extensive temple estate and directs ritual tending of moon goddess and god from her quarters, the house of women, the gipar.
    7. 7. The Poems and Hymns of Enheduanna: The first literary texts disclose the emotion and imagery of the poet and the systematic theology of the priestess
  • Part II. The Three Inanna Poems: Introduction
    1. 8. The First Poem: Inanna and Ebih
      • Introduction
      • Inanna and Ebih: Text of the Poem
      • "Terror Folds in Her Robes": Inanna, the force of nature, combats a mountain paradise
      • "I Will Not Go There With You": The sky god An deserts Inanna
      • "Fury Overturns Her Heart": Inanna assumes her full stature and autonomy
      • "Because You Puff Yourself Up": Parallels between Ebih and the creation story in Genesis
    2. 9. The Second Poem: Lady of Largest Heart
      • Introduction
      • Lady of Largest Heart: Text of the Poem
      • "Eldest Daughter of the Moon": The paradox of dark and light
      • "The Carved-Out Ground Plan of Heaven and Earth": Inanna's world without illusion
      • "Look at Your Tormenting Emotions": Primary emotions and the goddess
      • Four Spiritual paths
      • Warrior: Creative autonomy and senseless destruction
      • Priestess: Lunar spirituality and the internal sanctuary
      • Lover: Sexuality, sacred marriage, and the swelling of desire
      • Androgyne: Gender crossing and gender ambiguity
    3. 10. The Third Poem: The Exaltation of Inanna
      • Introduction
      • The Exaltation of Inanna: Text of the Poem
      • "He Robbed Me of the True Crown"
      • Enheduanna's expulsion: portents of things to come
      • "Rekindle Your Holy Heart"
      • Woman's self-love and the goddess
      • "Proclaim!"
      • Legacy of a woman's voice
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Captions for Illustrations

About the Author

Betty De Shong Meador is a Jungian analyst in private practice, who also teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies and at New College, both in San Francisco, and at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara.


"That these poems deal immediately with the very popular 'goddess literature' and with an individual woman in a most important historical situation should give this work widespread appeal." John Maier, SUNY College at Brockport, cotranslator of the Epic of Gilgamesh "The Epic of Gilgamesh is well-known as the earliest extant work of literature, but try the Bronze Age poems if Inanna. Written around 2,300BC, they contain fabulous lines: "Lady of blazing dominion, clad in dread. Riding on red fire-power." Stand in the Middle East today and you can feel the heat of the great goddess coming at you." - Bettany Hughes, The Week, May 12th 2012

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