By Sylvia Brinton Perera
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Downheartedness, calamity, heartacheand joy and good cheeris your domain, Inanna. Tremble, afright, terrorand dazzling and gloryis your domain, Inanna. . 31 The many poems about her portray her as loving, jealous, grieving, joyful, timid, exhibitionistic, thieving, passionate, ambitious, generous, and so on; the whole range of affects is of the goddess. " And indeed, by the time the later hymns to her were written, she, like Athena, is often seen as "conditioned by bondedness to the father,"32 although poems suggest a close, joyful, personal relationship to her own mother.
42 Thus she symbolizes the Great Round of nature, grain above and growing, and seed below and dying to sprout again. To matriarchal consciousness she represents the continuum in which different states are simply experienced as transformations of one energy. To the patriarchy death becomes a rape of life, a violence to be feared and controlled as much as possible with distance and moral order. In a myth describing the events which led to the birth of the moon god, these two perspectives are set side by side.
24 To her consort she gives throne, scepter, staff, crook, and crown, as well as the promise of good harvest and the joys of her bed. But she is also goddess of war. Battle is "the dance of Inanna," and giving victory, she is "the quiver ready at hand, . . the heart of the battle, . . "25 More passionate than Athena (with the energies of wild instinct which were later in Greece assigned to Artemis), she is described in one hymn as "all-devouring in . . power . . attacking like the attacking storm," having an "awesome face" and "angry heart,''26 and she sings with abandoned delight of her own glory and prowess: "Heaven is mine, earth is mine,I, a warrior am I.