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Sumerian Gods and Goddess: Geshtinanna

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Also, written Ngeshtin-ana, which is short for Ningeshtinanna, is at first reading a little confusing, she is reportedly a daughter of Enki and Ninhursag, an old goddess of agriculture, vegetation and thus fertility, and apparently an oracle of dreams, she was Dumuzid’s sister and consort of Ningishzida (Ningisida?) but like so many of these myths, the truth lies buried in the sands of time and the dunes of unconsciousness.

The myth

According to the myth upon the death of her brothers consort Inanna, he has a dream in which the demons drag him to hades to take the place of Inanna who Enki her father has forced them to release. She helps him hide and when the demons arrive she refuses even under torture to reveal his whereabouts, but all is to no avail as an unnamed friend tells them exactly where he is, he has momentarily some respite as the sun god turns him into a gazelle, but eventually the demons catch him and he is fore-with dragged below. But Inanna soon begins to regret her decision, and along with his mother and sister, they all cry for his return, but no word of his whereabouts is forth coming, until one day a fly, passing by, reveals his location, Inanna soon finds him, but there is no easy way to gain his release, for the doors of hades open onto a one-way street, from which few escape. Inanna remembers that only by trading places with him was she allowed to return, so she decides that Geshtinanna his sister will take his place, and the deal done he returns, but the people lament, the rains stop, the vegetation dies, the land is barren and the ever hungry desert threatens to engulf it, thus Inanna realises a compromise is needed, and she decides that Dumuzid will spend half the year in his sister’s place, and stay with her sister Ereshkigal in hades, and then they will swap places and his sister will stay with Ereshkigal, while Dumuzid spends time with her.

Notes of interest

Is it not odd that Dumuzid is the consort of Inanna, but his sister is called Gesht- Inanna? -guest-(subsitute) Inanna, did he marry his sister, who can Guess the Inanna, answer?

The turning of Dumuzid into a gazelle, is not the same as Herakles pursuit of the Ceryneian hind, I know of other myths where a gazelle or hind was chased, and only caught when it was finally caught in a snow drift, when it comes to myth and astrology times change names but they always tell the same story, in Egyptian myth Hathor captures a gazelle, and milks it to restore the eyes of Horus.

What is the foundation of the story

Geshtinanna represents the time of year when thing grow, when shoots burst forth and vegetation green thing appear and grow, her brother Dumuzid is the shepherd who looks after the herds during the period when, the fresh grass and likes have ceased, guides them to the places where food is stored, even under the snow, Geshtinanna lives when things are growing, thus animals and men are fed, but Dumuzid looks after them when things do not grow, thus he is a shepherd who leads his flock, and keeps them from deaths door.


The myth is about the changing of the seasons, the six or seven months when things grow, and the five or six when they do not, and there is no great hidden secret in it.