Yeshua and Mary Magdalene in partnershipGreetings Cloistermate:  Please read the short list ofexcerpts below and complete the instructions at the bottom.

The Holy Marriage (misc.excerpts)

The excerpts below were expertly compiled by the fabulous researchersat  Exploration of their website is encouraged but beware–you’ll spend hours there without noticing the passage of time!  Theexcerpts below are from this page:

“The mystical marriage with the queen goddess of the world represents thehero’s total mastery of life; for the woman is life, the hero its knowerand master. And the testings of the hero, which were preliminary to his ultimateexperience and deed, were symbolical of those crises of realization by meansof which his consciousness came to be amplified and made capable of enduringthe full possession of the mother-destroyer, his inevitable bride. With thathe knows that he and the father are one; he is in the father’s place.” -Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

“For it was the Sumerian religious credo that the ritual marriage betweenthe king of Sumer and its fertility Goddess [Inanna] full of sexual allure,was essential for the fertility of the soul and the fecundity of the womband that it brought about the prosperity of the land and the well being ofits people. The first Sumerian ruler who celebrated this rite was theshepherd-king Dumuzi (the Biblical Tammuz) who reigned in Erech…early inthe third millennium BC.” – Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer

“Annually she [Innana] mated with the shepherd god Dumuzi (or Tammuz) whoincarnated the creative powers of spring. His autumnal death symbolized theseasonal decline, and their reunion in the spring resurrection the renewalof the earth.” – Jennifer and Roger Woolger, The Goddess Within

Inanna with HER alabastar jar“Excavations of ancient Erech, where Inanna had her most reveredtemple, dug up a necklace of semiprecious stones, one of which was inscribedwith the words: ‘Kubatum, the lukur-priestess of Shu-Sin,’ – lukur beinga Sumerian word designating an Inanna devotee who may have played the roleof the Goddess in the Sacred Marriage Rite.” – Samuel Noah Kramer, HistoryBegins at Sumer

“Ninshubur, the good handmaiden of Eanna,
stays awake at her goodly duties,
She leads him bewigged in
to the loins of Inanna:

‘May the lord, the choice of your heart,
may the king, your beloved bridegroom,
pass long days in your sweet thing, the pure loins!
Grant him a pleasant reign to come!'”

– “The Blessing of the Bridegroom”

There are “hints that Ishtar was in some way responsible for the selectionand sanctioning of the kings of the Sumerian city-states, who acted as stewardsof the divine sovereigns. It was this way…which gave rise to the conceptof sacred marriage, the ‘temple prostitution’ that the later Bible writerswould find so abominable. The sacred marriage was a formal, highly stylizedcultic institution, at one and the same time religious and political, enactedbetween the high priestess representing Ishtar, and the king in the roleof high priest representing the city as the vicar of god; and though thisact of sacred sexuality, the power of the divinity flowed down from heaventhrough the king to the people and the land.”  – Magnus Magnusson, BC- The Archaeology of the Bible Lands

“…A text does exist describing the coronation of a Sumerian king duringthe Uruk period (late fourth millennium). According to this text, the king-to-beapproached the throne dais of the goddess Inanna-Ishtar. There he receivedfrom her the ‘bright scepter’ and the ‘golden crown’. He probably also receivedfrom her a new, royal name.” – An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism

“At Babylon the imposing sanctuary of Bel rose like a pyramid above the cityin a series of eight towers or stories, planted one on the top of the other.On the highest tower, reached by an ascent which wound about all the rest,there stood a spacious temple, and in the temple a great bed, magnificentlydraped and cushioned, with a golden table beside it. In the temple no imagewas to be seen, and no human being passed the night there, save a singlewoman, whom, according to the Chaldean priests, the god chose from amongall the women of Babylon. They said that the deity himself came into thetemple at night and slept in the great bed; and the woman, as a consort ofthe god, might have no intercourse with mortal man.”

“At Thebes in Egypt a woman slept in the temple of Ammon as the consort ofthe god, and, like the human wife of Bel at Babylon, she was said to haveno commerce with a man. In Egyptian texts she is often mentioned as ‘thedivine consort’, and usually she was no less a personage than the Queen ofEgypt herself. For according to the Egyptians, their monarchs were actuallybegotten by the god Ammon, who assumed for the time being the form of thereigning king, and in that disguise had intercourse with the queen ” – SirJames George Frazer, The Illustrated Golden Bough

Ishtar, Lady of Heaven excerpts (from

“It is known in literature as that of Venus and Adonis, or, to use thetraditional Phoenician names, Astarte and Eshmun, the same pair in Babyloniaappearing as Ishtar and Tammuz, and in Egypt as Isis and Osiris.”

– Donald Harden, The Phoenicians

“Each of the goddesses [Inanna, Hathor, Anat, Athena and Kali among others]is explicitly described as a celestial body, identifiable with the planetVenus; and the imagery surrounding each goddess is consistent with thatuniversally associated with comets (e.g., long, dishevelled hair; serpentineform; identification with a torch; association with eclipses of the sun;etc.).”

– Efemeral Research Foundation, “Exploring the Saturn Myth”

“The Goddess Inanna or Ishtar was the most important female deity of ancientMesopotamia at all periods. Her Sumerian name Inanna is probably derivedfrom a presumed Nin-ana, ‘Lady of Heaven’, it also occurs as Innin. The signfor Innana’s name (the ring-post) is found in the earliest written texts.Ishtar (earlier Estar), her Akkadian name, is related to that of the SouthArabian (male) deity ‘Ashtar’ and to that of the Syrian goddess Astarte (BiblicalAshtoreth), with whom she was undoubtedly connected.

“The principal tradition concerning Inanna made her the daughter of An [thesky god and father of all gods], and closely connected with the Sumeriancity of Uruk. According to another tradition she was the daughter of themood god Nanna (Sin) and sister of the sun god Uta (Samas). She was alsoregarded as daughter of Enlil [‘King of the Foreign Lands’] or even of Enki[the water god] in variant traditions….The fact that in no tradition doesInanna have a permanent male spouse is closely linked with her role as thegoddess of sexual love. Even Dumuzi, who is often described as her ‘lover’,has a very ambiguous relationship with her and she is ultimately responsiblefor his death. Nor were any children ascribe to her (with one possible exception,Sara).

“It seems likely that with the persona of the classical goddess Innana/Ishtara number of originally independent, local goddesses were syncretized. Themost important of these was certainly the Innana of Uruk, where her principalshrine E-ana (‘House of heaven) was located.”

– Black and Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia

“Sovereign goddess, lady of the nether abyss, mother of gods, queen of theearth, queen of fecundity….As the primordial humidity, whence proceededall, Belita is Tamti, or the sea, the mother of the city of Erech, therefore,an infernal goddess. In the world of stars and planets she is known as Ishtaror Astoreth.”

– M. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled

“The story of her [Inanna/Ishtar’s] descent into the underworld in searchpresumably for the sacred elixir which alone could restore Tammuz to lifeis the key to the ritual of her mysteries.”

“At the first gate the great crown is removed from her head, at the secondgate the earrings from her ears, at the third gate the necklace from herneck, at the fourth gate the ornaments from her breast, at the fifth gatethe girdle from her waist, at the sixth gate the bracelets from her handsand feet, and at the seventh gate the covering cloak of her body. Ishtarremonstrates as each successive article of apparel is taken from her, butthe guardian tells her that this is the experience of all who enter the somberdomain of death. Enraged upon beholding Ishtar, the Mistress of Hades inflictsupon her all manner of disease and imprisons her in the underworld.

“As Ishtar represents the spirit of fertility, her loss prevents the ripeningof the crops and the maturing of all life upon the earth…The gods, realizingthat the loss of Ishtar is disorganizing all Nature, send a messenger tothe underworld and demand her release. The Mistress of Hades is forced tocomply, and the water of life is poured over Ishtar.”

– Manly P. Hall, Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalistic & Rosicrucian SymbolicalPhilosophy

The myth about Innana and her descent “deals with the time of year when foodsupplies are at their most critical point, which is late winter when thestores in the storehouse dwindle and finally come to an end….Her actualdeath, the final inability of the storehouse to function as food supply,the myth dramatically symbolizes by the cut of tainted meat into which sheis turned in the netherworld”

“Thus, at its simplest, we would see the death of Inanna in the emptyingof the storehouse, her revival and the resultant death of Dumuzi in thereplenishing of theSemiramis the queen incarnate of Inanna and Ishtar as she builds the great city of Babylonstorehouse with fresh meat when the flocks return from thedesert and its withering pasturage in late spring and early summer.”

– Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness

“In art, Innana is usually represented as a warrior-goddess, often winged,armed to the hilt, or else surrounded by a nimbus of stars. Even in thisaspect she may betray – by her posture and state of dress – her role as goddessof sex and prostitutes. In Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian art, a female,shown full frontal and nude, or nude from the waist down, who has wings andwears the horned cap of divinity, probably depicts Ishtar more specificallyin her sexual aspect.

“Ishtar’s beast was a lion. Her usual symbol was the star or star disc. Shemay also have been symbolized for a time by the rosette.”

– Black and Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia

Ishtar “was a very complex deity. She was the goddess of fertility and sexualactivity, the goddess of war, and in her astral manifestation, she was theVenus star in the sky.”

Ishtar– Magnus Magnusson, BC – The Archaeology of the Bible Lands

“Ishtar is clothed with pleasure and love,
She is laden with vitality, charm and voluptuousness.
In lips she is sweet, life is in her mouth.
At her appearance rejoicing becomes full.
She is glorious; veils are thrown over her head.
Her figure is beautiful; her eyes are brilliant.
The goddess – with her there is counsel.
The fate of everything she holds in her hand.
At her glance there is created joy,
Power, magnificence, the protecting deity and guardian spirit…”
– Hymn of Ishtar

“On Middle Assyrian lead figurines depicting intercourse, the man standsand the woman always rests upon a high structure, usually interpreted asan altar. These figurines may very likely represent ritual intercourse, althoughdefinitely not the earlier Sacred Marriage, which involved a bed, and notan altar. Instead they are probably in some way associated with the cultof Ishtar as goddess of physical love and prostitution, and were, in fact,found in her temple at Assur.”

– Black and Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia

“…At the temple of Aphrodite (Ishtar) in Cyprus it was the custom for womento prostitute themselves to strangers prior to their becoming married. Frazertells us in The Golden Bough that in Babylon, regardless of their socialstatus, women were obliged to submit themselves to strangers at the templeof Mylitta (Ishtar), and money received for these services was donated tothe goddess.”

– David Wood, Genisis

“The jeweled maidens on the cushioned seats,
Now babbling hailed the King, and each entreats
For sacred service, silver or of gold,
And to him, all, their sweetest charms unfold.”
– The Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar, Tablet IV, Column III

“Herodotus, writing about Babylon in the fifth century BC, state that everywoman once in her life had to go to the temple of ‘Aphrodite’, i.e. Ishtar,and sit there waiting until a stranger cast a coin in her lap as the priceof her favors. Then she was obliged to go with him outside the temple andhave intercourse, to render her duty to the goddess. The story is probablyhighly imaginative. However, the second-century AD writer Lucian describes,apparently from personal knowledge, a very similar custom in the temple of’Aphrodite’ (probably Astarte) at Byblos in Lebanon.”

– Black and Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia

Adonia by Waterhouse

“In the sanctuary of the great Phoenician goddess Astarte at Byblos at theannual mourning for the dead Adonis, the women had to shave their heads,and such of them as refused to do so were bound to prostitute themselvesto strangers and to sacrifice to the goddess with the wages of their shame.Though Lucian, who mentions the custom, does not say so, there are some groundsfor thinking that the women in question were generally maidens, of whom thisact of devotion was required as a preliminary to marriage.”

– Sir James George Frazer, The Illustrated Golden Bough

“The servers included religious prostitution, both women and boys. Such apractice was common form in Phoenician sanctuaries, at least in the east.Herodotus records it in Cyprus, and the early fathers have much to way ofit in Phoenicia. It also existed in the west, for representations of ‘templeboys’ occur more than once on Carthage stelae.

– Donald Harden, The Phoenicians

INSTRUCTIONS:  If you’ve made it this far in the Order of MaryMagdala you are probably already a researcher in your own right.  Westudy together, all of us, here at the Mystery School and are co-researchers. Please imagine the above excerpts are fragments you found in your research,perhaps written on an index card each of them (like book authors do).  Gothru these tidbit windows of information again.  Let them lead you tosome internet searches — and RE-searches. See what ideas, connections, etc.occur to you and then jot them into an email to theAbbey Council with the subjectline, Holy Marriage in the ANE musings. Read what other members have written forthis assignment.

OPTION:  If this assignment seems too vague, or too abstractfor your personality type, then feel free to write up a set of twelve questionsbased on the information above.  Instead of free-form researcher, somepeople feel more comfortable as teachers.  So be the instructor anddesign twelve questions. For extra credit, do both!Read what others have written who tookthis option.

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