Ishtar symbolizes the ability to interconnect cosmos, nature and humanity. And women can embody it to build a free and inclusive society.
“Praised be Ishtar, filled with vitality, charm and voluptuousness; with sweet lips, there is life in her mouth.” These are words written more than three thousand years ago on some tablets in the library of Ashurbanipal, in Mesopotamia, the land between rivers, the fertile flood, where the waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates gave rise to numerous cities in which arrived nomadic peoples settled. from the mountains or the desert, and that were matching the rhythm of their lives and their traditions to the cycles of agriculture.
WHO WAS ISHTAR?
In the ancient tradition of the Akkadians – Semites from the Arabian Peninsula – Ishtar is the guardian of the cosmic laws; She is Venus, daughter of the Moon, the first star whose light rises each day before the sun to guide all the stars, and then hides in a descent to the lower world, where the seeds from which life arises rest.
It is the representation, in all ancient traditions, of cosmic integration, of an innate wisdom that fights for life, deep enjoyment, balance and return to unity an archetype buried in the collective unconscious that inspired traditions. in ancient times and that can provide the humanity of the 21st century with the energy necessary to build a better society for all. The fundamental myth related to Ishtar is the one that narrates his descent to the underworld, where his twin sister, Ereshkigal, reigns. During the journey he has to go through seven doors, and before each one of them he must take off a garment and a jewel. In this way, Ishtar enters the underworld naked and unadorned, and there she remains trapped until the world above begins to dry up as she lacks the fertility drive and is finally allowed to return.
RITUAL ACTS AND FEMININITY
This story symbolizes the path of initiation that implies getting rid of all that is expendable, of the illusory possessions that prevent the rebirth of knowledge.
In fact, all feminine initiatory rituals – much less known than the masculine ones in one way or another are related to the underworld, with caves and caves as symbols, which allude to the matrix role of women, to the entrails of the earth, the vital fire and the heat of germination.
Among these initiations are rites of passage such as puberty, which unlike male collective rites, are individual, since they are linked to the first menstruation and access to knowledge of the tradition by the hand of old women, who they teach the initiates to spin and weave – symbolic crafts related to the Moon and time, which, respectively, spin and weave the destiny of humanity – as well as the secrets of sexuality.
A ritual of legitimation of the royal power in Mesopotamia consisted precisely in the symbolic or effective union with Ishtar, represented on the earth plane by a servant of the temple. These sacred nuptials were celebrated on New Year’s Day and consisted of a meticulously prepared ceremony, with a private part in which the union with the ritual consort was consummated, and a public part, during which Ishtar declared the king worthy to occupy the throne.
That is to say, it was the power of Ishtar that guaranteed the cosmic order that resulted in the fecundity of fields, livestock and people in short, in the prosperity of the kingdom.
WOMEN AND THE CREATIVE IMPULSE
Ishtar induces the desire to know and be known, and more importantly, to know yourself. The physical union joins the mind, the heart and the spirit in a process of personal growth that leads to consciousness and allows creativity and communication thanks to the flow of energy.
It took a few thousand years for a dissident psychoanalyst named Wilhelm Reich to rediscover the role that vital energy plays in the sexual economy through the formula of orgasm: tension charge discharge relaxation, a formula that the priestesses of Ishtar knew and applied. at the dawn of civilization.
The classical world broke with this conception of femininity linked to the creative forces of nature. According to the poet Hesiod, Pandora, the first woman, was created by Zeus as a punishment for men, and all kinds of calamities spring from her box. In ancient Greece, women were considered a “defective man” and were excluded from public life, with the possible exception of Sparta.
On the contrary, the first societies settled in Mesopotamia were reminiscent of the social organization of the late Paleolithic and early Neolithic periods, prior to the establishment of patriarchy, whose basis was what the Swiss anthropologist Johann Jakob Bachofen called muttertum , a term that many Anthropologists consider it wrongly translated as “matriarchy.”
MATRIARCHY, OR CHANGE OF STRUCTURE?
Muttertum is the mother’s habitat and refers to the basic ecosystem in which the creatures develop, to the intimate relationship from which those human groups extracted their nourishing energy, not at all to a hierarchical structure in which women dominate men. and whose power relations the patriarchy would have reversed.
The muttertum represented the force of the spontaneous and the living against a hierarchical order imposed by the patriarchal and slave society, and for that reason it could not be tolerated. How can we apply that ancestral knowledge to our current society?
The history of the oppression of women is intimately intertwined with the history of the oppression of humanity as a whole.
However, this analysis has not always been done since feminist movements, which have undergone a complex evolution in their three centuries of history.
Thus, from a stage marked by the struggle for equal access to work, education and politics –which was not fundamentally opposed to the system, Marxism provided an economic and political dimension centered on the awareness of class, although completely forgetting the oppression in private life.
During the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century, the so-called radical feminism went to the other extreme, considering heterosexuality as a social construction used as a weapon of domination.
At the end of the seventies there was a turn in many feminist authors, who began to argue that patriarchy not only oppresses women, but also men. Thus, the American anthropologist Gayle Rubin coined the concept of “sex / gender system” to distinguish sexual -biological- differentiation from gender differences constructed by cultural mechanisms.
THE FLOW OF LIFE FORCE
Natural processes – menstruation, pregnancy, menopause – make women aware of their connection with nature, the cycles of the Moon, the tides; in short, they facilitate the awareness of interdependence.
The American doctor and psychiatrist Jean Shinoda Bolen writes: “Female wisdom is a wisdom of interconnection”, alluding to the crucial role that women can play in the fight for a more humane future, a future in which parenting is totally disconnected from its role in the patriarchal scheme and is integrated into an ecological vision that recovers the authentic sexuality of women including motherhood, childbirth, breastfeeding.
Integrating a healthy and uninhibited sexuality with an upbringing that recovers the intimate relationship of the mother with the children will allow the free flow of the vital force and the possibility of connecting the social fabric in a harmonious way and breaking hierarchical organizations.
The return of the emotions is thus a revolution, it is the return of the sacred source of energy and lost knowledge, of the light of Ishtar.