Ishtar, Warrior and Lover


From the Moon Oracle by Caroline Smith & John Astrop

Ishtar, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, is pictured here holding a serpent in her right hand and a lion, her sacred animal, in her left. The potted plant represents the plant Gilgamesh sought at the bottom of the ocean that would have given immortality to man (and woman). But the serpent got there first and ate it, gaining immortality for itself. Obviously that didn’t translate down to all snake-kind.

At the bottom of the card we see the glyph for Pisces on the left and the Moon on the right. An eight-pointed star is also said to be her symbol, although that’s not depicted here.

Ishtar was known as both a warrior goddess and a goddess of love. When depicted as a warrior, she was shown in a chariot that was drawn by seven lions. The outfit she is shown in here is half that of a priestess and  half warrior. Her love of Tammuz, the god of the harvest, somehow caused his death. She went to the Underworld to get him back, but the Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, told the gatekeeper to open one gate at a time for her. At each of the seven gates, she had to shed one piece of clothing so that by the time she reached the Underworld she was naked. While she is imprisoned there, all sexual activity on earth ceased. The King of the Gods, Ea, hears about this, and sends an envoy, Asu-shu-namir, down to Ereshkigal the bag that held the waters of life. Ereshkigal is furious but can’t say no, so Asu-shu-namir takes the water and uses it to revive Ishtar. On her way out of the Underworld she stops at each gate and retrieves her clothing, and so arrives back on earth as she started.

The book says that if this card is selected you will need to fight for what you wish to regain, stripping away anything you don’t need, and getting down to basics. Even then it may not be enough and it may be necessary to ask for help. Also, March will be an important month in this quest. Pisces, a water sign, reminds us that water can wear down the most solid rock, given enough time, and can flow around obstacles. The key phrase given in the book for this card is “Be malleable.”


12 thoughts on “Ishtar, Warrior and Lover

  1. Lions? Well, I know someone who spent most of her life in S. Africa, and another friend of mine has gone on two African Safaris. So if you want any travel advice… 🙂

  2. Weird dream last night that saw me dressed like one of those ancient Greek warriors, as Poseidon/Neptune watched me fall from a cliff into the ocean. Once I was on my feet in the knee-deep surf, he turned around and walked off. No lions in evidence. Erm… think I should have brought diving gear. 8-|

  3. Not off the top of my head. I remember feeling disappointed watching Poseidon walk away without saying anything. I wonder if I was supposed to follow him? I didn’t get the feeling he wanted me to, though. It was more like he waited until I realized I was ok after falling off the cliff, then I was on my own.

  4. Of course you’ll be taking your “him” as your +1 😉 Interesting dream… the only connection to lions there would be _sea_ lions – ha ha! That’s not very helpful, is it? Did Poseidon walk towards the shore, or deeper into the water? At least he didn;t kick you out of the pool; you’ve got implicit permission to play in the water.

  5. Hahahaha! 🙂 He walked away deeper into the ocean, like, “My work here is done, see ya.” And he was BIG. He was standing way out in the water anyway, but he was like a giant. I got the impression I was not supposed to follow him. So I slogged back up to the beach. After that it shifted to a whole different thing, unrelated, which I won’t bother to go into. I wonder if the lions are not the focal point here? The plant on the card was in the ocean, and the sign for Pisces is on the card. The whole thing is starting to seem more water-related.

  6. Off topic but – have you subscribed to Netflix’s 1-month free trial? There are quite a few movies I think you’d be interested in their themes. I’ve watched Centurion, The Last Legion and Agora over the last few days. You’ll probably have access to many more on .com (as opposed to .ca).

  7. Sorry, that comment got caught by the spam filter and I’ve been too lazy to even check what was in there! 😦 I have not subscribed to Netflix, I don’t like the way they automatically debit your account in advance every month. I’ve got cable back, since I signed up for the high-speed internet last December. It’s a 2-yr contract, doesn’t get me much but I have HBO. How did you like Centurion and The Last Legion? I haven’t heard of Agora, I’ll hit imdb and see what that’s about.

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