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Feminism is a word much maligned-much misused. An attempt, a desire, towards freedom, towards independence, towards breaking the fetters which exist, ever present, invisible, malign! A misnomer-a fashion statement made by graduate students, to justify their post graduate "sabbatical", the two year academic vacation taken to earn bread and employment, in lieu of empowerment. To celebrate, cherish , earn freedom-it must be first understood, not as an erudite statement made in the willowy groves of academe, neither as an instrument of politically correct pontificating in the soirees of the privileged and the sophisticated-it must be recognized.
Of the myriad Sumerian deities that have emerged from the cuneiform records of ancient Mesopotamia perhaps the most famous - but least understood - is the goddess Inanna, the' lady of heaven'. As a patron of sexuality and aggression she appears in many ancient myths and legends and continues to exert a fascination over contemporary minds.
Many literary writings describe her in a range of varying emotions. Some say she is loving, jealous, grieving, joyful, generous, and timid and others. This paper shall focus on the discussion of the powers of the goddess Inanna. More importantly, this will discuss how her transformation from a young girl into a goddess that is well loved reveals the female power.
Inanna is one of the most elevated goddess of the Sumerians. Her titles include, "Sovereign Lady of the Land", "The Creator Mother" and the "Queen of Heaven". She was also known as the "Fertility Goddess" that renews vegetation as well as the prompting of birth of animals and human beings. Her High Priestesses were living together and presides over the temples in their lands and continuously dispensing food to all the local communities. It is also expected of them in taking care of the orphans, the weak, the elderly, confined women, with much needed concern and tenderness. Inanna is also the goddess of agriculture and her temples are often doubled with storehouses and bear her emblem - a looped cloth or a straw bundle. She is also considered as the patroness of weaving and pottery. Many accounts also depict her as a healer, life giver, song composer, in which it is said that she give birth and is in fact creative in all given realms.
Inanna is considered as the powerful and assertive goddess whose control includes warfare, love and sexuality, as well as prosperity and fertility. It was believed and to no one's surprise, that Inanna is a female that behaves like a male. She is considered to have lived in the same existence as that of young men in her time (Frymer-Kensky 1992). She exults in battles and seeks sexual experiences. Texts from Mesopotamia normally refer to her as the woman even when they also call her as the warrior (Stuckey 2001). Kramer (1963) described her as an ambitious, demanding and aggressive goddess of love.
All of Inanna's various aspects and functions involve transition, crossing of boundary and transformation. She is a goddess of sexual love, a love goddess, a goddess of war and also a lot more. True enough, she is a maiden of infinite variation; however she is a deity of contradiction but of unity. She is united by change, transition and transformation. She is your way in and out, the door and the gateway. She will be forever posted as an adolescent at the threshold of full womanhood. She will be the eternal threshold in which everything will pass in the fulfilment the life cycle.
Implication in Women's Gender Roles
Inanna's power over her lands can be depicted into today's idea of feminism. Feminism has also interplayed with these social investigations of knowledge. Feminist epistemology is concerned with "whose knowledge" is being considered. Feminist epistemologists critique traditional epistemology and argue for ways of understanding knowledge that focus on context and situation. Feminist epistemologists do not suggest that empirical evidence is wrong, but rather that it is necessary to understand that most beliefs are as much a result of their social context as they are factually true. The particulars of knowledge construction are the main focus for feminist epistemologists, rather than universal circumstances for justifying knowledge. These philosophers are often working on undertakings that are political in addition to intellectual.
The Cult of Inanna in ancient Sumer , especially Ur and Kish, Isis of Egypt ( who enjoyed a brief resurrection in the reign of the mad Emperor Caligula , of Rome) , The Titans,Sons of Gaea -representative of the Greek chapter of Earth vis-à-vis Mother worship, the Mother Goddess depicted in equality to the "Pashupatinath" idols of the Indus Valley civilization, determinant of fertility-the list is but unending, of the very modes of worship undergoing transmogrification unto a definitive Patriarchy. Only in the exceedingly difficult and sometimes contrived religio-philosophies like core Hinduism ( one refers to Vedanta and such like) , could one perceive of equality, and the concept of gender simply as a form of perception-Shiva and Shakti the two aspects , made whole as Purush and Prakriti stood united. Parallels sometimes remained-the Yin/Yang of Tao, and suchlike, but they hardly are relevant to this discussion, even though distantly related. Empowerment was , for some strange reason, what the women willingly deprived themselves of, when they trustingly relinquished power to their equals ( in every aspect of the term)---to what end , and why, shall be the erudite researches of the Schools of Women's Studies of the renowned universities, and is beyond the ken of the semi-educated quaestor, such as me.
What is of necessity, is a definitive attempt , in , for, aimed at ALL women-to first increase cognizance as to what they wish to term as empowerment, and then take direct and necessary steps towards the culmination of the same(s).
The complex character of Inanna that emerges from representations and literary texts probably represents an assimilation of the functions of numerous, often provincial, female deities as well as the more obvious roles of Inanna during the third millennium BC. The tradition of Inannal as a goddess of love and war thus presented a portrait of the goddess 'as the independent, willful, and spoiled young noblewoman whose seductive and voluptuous charm hides a fickle heart and a vicious temper' (Roberts 1972). As such, Inanna formed a character of such complexity and adaptability that she was highly attractive to poets and story-tellers, ensuring her survival as an important deity throughout ancient Mesopotamian history.
Women, the mothers, the most beautiful creation of that cosmological entity who is worshipped, venerated in some form or other by all races. It was but an absolute necessity to ensure that along with the fetters that were to chain them, the very knowledge of their superiority, if it indeed may such be termed, should be taken away from them. Adam conceives Eve as an aspect of him, creating him fro his rib-it seems amusing, almost, that the very basis of all medical science is negated as we witness the portrayal-cloaked in divinity, of course---of scientific impossibility--- "fatherhood".
The very basis of such accounts can seem evident-man, in his realization of power-socio-economic, that is----on the eve of transition of Matriarchy to Patriarchy, removed ( or at least tried to, by cloaking it in the socio-religious correctitude of Lore) the very memory of truth-that man is, after all, born of women.
All of Inanna's various aspects and functions involve transition, crossing of boundary and transformation. She is a goddess of sexual love, a love goddess, a goddess of war and also a lot more. True enough, she is a maiden of infinite variation; however she is a deity of contradiction but of unity. She is united by change, transition and transformation. She is your way in and out, the door and the gateway. She will be forever posted as an adolescent at the threshold of full womanhood. She will be the eternal threshold in which everything will pass in the fulfillment the life cycle.