Identities of Inanna, Astarte, Ishtar, ‘Athtartu, ‘Anatu, and Athiratu
By Tess Dawson
If I had a pinch of gold dust for every time a site on the internet or a Pagan book said Inanna, Astarte, Ishtar, ‘Anat, and Asherah are all the same goddess, or “aspects” of the same goddess, I’d be pawning my way to the crown jewels by now. There is a great deal of misinformation regarding who these ancient goddesses are and they are often confused. So let’s unravel this tangle. We’ll explore who is whom, how these goddesses interconnect or don’t, and the reasons they became grouped together to the point of losing individuality.
Inanna, also Inana
Sumerian goddess of sexuality, warfare, and the morning and evening star. She is depicted as having wings, and sometimes she is shown with lions. She often wears a hat with horns; the horns symbolize her power. Ishtar is Inanna’s name in Akkadian, another Mesopotamian language different from Sumerian. Inanna is the daughter of the god of the heavens, An, in one tradition and the daughter of the moon god Nanna in another, or even the daughter of the gods Enlil or Enki. In most traditions, she is the underworld goddess Ereshkigal’s sister. She has many lovers, one of who is Dumuzi. Inanna and Ishtar bear a “Queen of Heaven” title. Neither she nor Ishtar are in any way “mother goddesses” nor do they care one whit for marriage. Inanna typically has wings, weapons, and is pictured with stars.