The Descent of Inanna

From The Great Above to the Great Below

Translated by Samuel Kramer








Inanna abandoned heaven and earth, her office of holy priests, and her temples in the holy cities to go down to the underworld. For protection, she gathered the seven me which symbolized her femininity in the form of earthly possessions. When she arrives at the gate, she meets the gatekeeper, Neti who tells Queen Ereshkigal that Inanna has arrived. The Queen of the underworld is not at all pleased about the presence of her visitor and orders the gatekeeper to let her in through the seven gates. Unlike Inanna, Ereshkigal is the opposite: unloving, full of rage and very judgmental. Ereshkigal wanted Inanna to enter bowed low, humiliatedEach time Inanna enters a gate, she is stripped of her royal garments:

1st gate – removal of crown

2nd gate – removal of lapis beads

3rd gate – removal of double strands on her neck

4th gate – removal of breastplate called “Come man, come.”

5th gate – gold ring

6th gate –measuring rod

7th gate – garment of ladyship

Each garment represented her power, royalty, honor, and sexual allure/prowess. She was stripped of her pride, earthly attributes and her role as queen and woman.