Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beltaine andThe Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi

From "The Rainbow Bridge Oracle"

Well, that most auspicious day is here, Beltane, May Day, a Celebration of the Earth's fertility with ancient and universal roots, indeed, one that made the Church fathers very nervous,  so nervous that they managed to demote the holiday if not extinguish it's meaning all together, along with demoting erotic love to, well, something to feel guilty about.  Birds may do it, bees may do it, but holy men, God, and the Virgin Mary, in the tradition many of  us have inherited, definately don't do it.

Still remnants of the most ancient and sacred act of love, the union of the Goddess and the God, the "Sacred Marriage" with it's ancient hope of fertility and abundance, have survived throughout the world, even to this day.  Consider the story of the May Queen, "Lady God-diva", and her famous ride to the Maypole.  Or for that matter, the marvelous symbolism of the May Pole, where in the maidens of the village plant the phallic Pole into the ripening earth, along with much festivity.  In earlier times, the festivities usually ended with couples going into the fields to celebrate, as a pleasurable form of sympathetic magic, the sacred marriage, the idea being that their pleasure would encourage the earth and the animals to do the same.  

One of my favorite examples of the de-sacralization, and descent, of not only the power of Eros in our world but also of women is the use of the word "whore".  We all know that "whore" means a degraded woman, an insult.  And yet the origins of this word go all the way back to the Hebrew "Hora"(and to this day a circular fertility dance called the Hora is danced at Jewish weddings)  or "Hara" (healers still refer to the womb/generative center as the "hara" center).  This root word originally meant both "fertility" as well as a title for a woman who was a priestess.

That rich sense of participating in the sacred sensual lifeforce, so vibrantly felt at the ripening of Spring, the "Sacred Marriage" is something I believe people long for in our guilty and cynical times.  People talk about "having sex" with the same consumer disposibility as "having a beer".   Somehow in the long years since Inanna called to Dumuzi to help her "plow her high field" the sanctity of physical love has been lost, along with the potent magical  sense of participating in the generative, mysterious,  love act  of nature.

So to honor this day, I copy below from the wonderful translations of 5,000 year old poetry by the literary and archeologist team of Diane Wolkstein and Samual Noah Kramer, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer (1983)
Inanna and Dumuzi

Inanna bathed and anointed herself 
with scented oil.
She covered her body with the royal white robe.
She readied her dowry.
She arranged her precious lapis beads 
around her neck.
She took her seal in her hand.

Dumuzi waited expectantly.
Inanna opened the door for him.
Inside the house she shone before him.
Like the light of the moon.
Dumuzi looked at her joyously.
He pressed his neck close against hers.
He kissed her.

Inanna spoke:

   “What I tell you let the singer weave into song.
    What I tell you, let it flow from ear to mouth,
    Let it pass from old to young:
    My vulva, the horn, the Boat of Heaven,
    Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
    My untilled land lies fallow.

    As for me, Inanna,
    Who will plow my vulva?
    Who will plow my high field?
    Who will plow my wet ground?
    As for me, the young woman,
    Who will plow my vulva?
    Who will station the ox there?
    Who will plow my vulva?”

Dumuzi replied:

    “Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva?
    I, Dumuzi the King, will plow your vulva.”

At the king’s lap stood the rising cedar.
Plants grew high by their side.
Grains grew high by their side.
Gardens flourished luxuriantly.

Inanna sang:

   “He has sprouted; he has burgeoned;
    He is lettuce planted by the water.
    He is the one my womb loves best.
    My well-stocked garden of the plain,
    My barley growing high in its furrow,
    My apple tree which bears fruit up to its crown,

    My honey-man sweetens me always.
    His hand is honey, his foot is honey,
    He sweetens me always.
Dumuzi sang:

    “O Lady, your breast is your field.
    Inanna, your breast is your field.
    Your broad field pours out the plants.
    Your broad field pours out grain.
    Water flows from on high for your servant.
    Bread flows from on high for your servant.
    Pour it out for me, Inanna.
    I will drink all you offer.”

Inanna sang:

    “Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom.
    My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk.
    Wild bull Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick.
    Let the milk of the goat flow in my sheepfold.
    Fill my holy churn with honey cheese.
    Lord Dumuzi, I will drink your fresh milk.
    My husband, I will guard my sheepfold for you.
    I will watch over your house of life, the storehouse,
    The shining quivering place which delights Sumer
    The house which decides the fates of the land,
    The house which gives the breath of life to the people.
    I, the queen of the palace, will watch over your house.”

    I would go with you to my garden.
    There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed.”

1 comment:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

The 5000 year old poem is stunning!
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