Saturday, February 1, 2020

Innana-Whore of Babylon. First published in Heretic Magazine

Inanna—Whore of Babylon

Revelations 17

-And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, “Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

-With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

-So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

-And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

-And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.”

Who was this woman who raised the ire of the author of Revelations and the Angels? Was she a city, as some have hypothesised? Is she a figure of prophecy, yet to come when the world reaches its ‘End Times’? Or has she already existed in our past?

To gain a better understanding of this woman, we must look at both her description and her crimes carefully and juxtapose them with known females of history. It will become apparent that there is one woman or group of women for whom the epitaph ‘The Great Whore’ is a perfect description—though for a different reason than one might initially assume.

The pattern is a common one,” said Jane Schaberg, author of The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene, “the powerful woman disempowered, remembered as a whore or whorish”, in what she calls ‘harlotization’. But what if the woman or women in question were ‘whores’ and proud of it? What if they delighted in what they did and enjoyed power and acclaim as a result?

To start with, let’s look at the word used in Revelations in the original Greek:

Pornes, which is transliterated as:
1. a prostitute, a harlot, one who yields herself to defilement for the sake of gain. Any woman indulging in unlawful sexual intercourse, whether for gain or for lust
2. an idolatress (metaphorically)

While Revelations used the word Pornes to describe the woman, the Greek word ‘Horos’ means "dance", “dance of”, or “dance from” in the Greek language. This has a connection to the priestesses and their rites as well.

When I began studying the works of authors such as Zecharia Sitchin, Laurence Gardner, Micheal Baigent and Arthur Waite, hoping to understand as much as I could about the Anunnaki, their own belief system and mythology, and the enigmatic Serpent Cult and Dragon Court before I began writing my own fictional series, I was quickly drawn to the accounts of the Sacred Women, or priestesses, known as ‘Hors’ according to some authors. Laurence Gardner described them thus:

The Scarlet Women were so called because of their being a direct source of the priestly Star Fire. They were known in Greek as the hierodulai (sacred women) - a word later transformed (via medieval French into English) to 'harlot'. In the early Germanic tongue, they were known as horĂªs, which was later anglicised to 'whores'. However, the word originally meant, quite simply, 'beloved ones'. As explained in good etymological dictionaries, these words were descriptions of high veneration and were never interchangeable with such definitions as prostitute or adulteress. Their now common association was, in fact, a wholly contrived strategy of the medieval Roman Church in its bid to denigrate the noble status of the sacred priestess.”

We read about these women in other parts of the bible and in historical texts. Rahab, for example, is one such woman clothed in scarlet that aided Joshua and the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan and was rewarded for it. Some have been lauded, others reviled, yet all were held in high esteem.
But who was the originator of the Scarlet Priestesses? The earliest deities were Sumerian and thus it is within their mythology we must look.

Minoan Snake PriestessThe Mythological Origins of Inanna

If we study the mythology of Sumer, we find a Goddess within the Anunnaki ranks, clothed in scarlet, courtesan, ruler and power-monger, a golden chalice filled with blood a symbol of her womb and the associated fertility rites of her temple. Her name was Inanna. She was known to the Hebrews as Anath, the Syrio-Phoenicans as Astarte, the Akkadians worshipped her as Ishtar,—but in all she was known as the Queen of Heaven, Goddess of Love and War, ruled by Venus. She is veiled in all her forms, yet rather than the veil protecting her modesty; it is drawn across her face to heighten her mystery and sensuality.

Inanna was both Queen of Heaven and the Goddess of Love and War (war was also known as the ‘Dance of Inanna’, which demonstrates her proficiency on the battlefield and in combat).
Part of a seal showing Inanna and a lion

She was mistress of her temple and rituals, its priests, eunuchs, and prostitutes; warfare and weapons; justice and courts; music and arts; masonry; woodworking and metal working; leatherwork and weaving; scribe-ship and mathematics.

She was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”.
But even for the gods Inanna’s love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Dumuzi, shepherd-king and god of the harvest, and — if one is to believe Gilgamesh — this love caused the death of Dumuzi.
La Belle Dame sans Merci-- Frank Cadogan Cowper (1946)

But she was also loved by the common people, if this ancient account is anything to go by:

They come to her with…they bring disputes before her.
She renders judgment to the evil and destroys the wicked;
She favors the just, determines a good fate for them…
The good lady, the joy of Anu, a heroine she is;
She surely comes forth from Heaven…
She is mighty, she is trustworthy, she is great;
She is exceeding in youthfulness …”

So what went wrong? How did she come to be feared and reviled? For starters, she is depicted as demanding and capricious, both when it comes to giving and rescinding her favour. The Descent of Inanna, one of the epic poems about her, relays how she, while married to the Shepherd-King Dumuzi (a tradition of the Dragon Court exemplified by both the Pharaohs’ shepherd’s crook and Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd”) sought to seduce the hero Gilgamesh, who promptly spurns her, reminding her of all the lovers she has had and then who had met with bad ends when she grew tired of them. Inanna, upon hearing this, falls into a “bitter rage” and appeals to her father-god Anu in tears over the insults Gilgamesh has heaped upon her. Anu’s answer is that she has only gotten what she deserved through her “abominable behaviour” and Inanna in return demands that Anu give her Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven (and her brother-in-law through her sister Ereshkigal), that she might avenge herself on Gilgamesh and threatens that, if she does not get her way, she will break the doors of the underworld open, “there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living, and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living”).

When she finally gets her way, she orders Gugalanna to destroy Gilgamesh. As a result, 300 young men who have nothing to do with the fracas are slain. Gilgamesh is forced to defend his people and kills Gugalanna.

Not showing the slightest remorse for her role in her brother-in-law’s death, she arrives at Ereshkigal’s city to attend his funeral

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld
When the news of her arrival was brought to Ereshkigal, “her face turned pale…her lips turned dark.” Ereshkigal had no intention of allowing Inanna in as a fellow mourner yet she had to comply with the law. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Inanna enter, “according to the ancient decree”.

The gatekeeper lets Inanna into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Inanna has to shed one article of clothing, which may have been her items of office:

1) The SHU.GAR.RA on her head.
2) “Measuring pendants,” on her ears.
3) Chains of small blue stones, around her neck.
4) Twin “stones” on her shoulders.
5) Golden cylinder, in her hands.
6) Straps, clasping her breast.
7) The PALA garment clothed around her body.

When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. In a rage, Inanna throws herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to imprison Inanna and unleash sixty diseases against her. When it became apparent that Inanna was not a problem that would go away, Ereshkigal hastily convened a court of seven Anunnaki judges and sentenced to death by being hung on a stake. Thanks to the intercession of Enki, she was saved and was able to make a full recovery, yet, according to the laws of the underworld and the payment of restitution, it was decided that someone must be found to take Inanna’s place and so the demons of the underworld accompanied her to find a substitute. The demons look at Inanna’s sons and her servants, but she does not agree to any of them going in her stead because they are dressed in mourning for her. But then she spies her husband Dumuzi (he of the sacred marriage rite) sitting on his throne in splendid garments. Her anger aroused, she decrees that he is to take her place. Try as he might escape, he is eventually caught and brought to the Underworld.

Yet through it all, she retains her belief in her right to do as she pleases, whenever she desires, even though those around her fall, including her own brother-in-law, leaving an unborn child without a father and her sister a grieving widow. That same woman, so self-assured, so demanding, capricious and ambitious would go on to decide to conquer the Earth and rule over all, supplanting the other Anunnaki, and declaring herself the Supreme Deity, a “Great Queen of Queens.” Announcing that she “has become greater than the mother who gave birth to her…even greater than Anu …”

in Erech, aiming to dismantle this symbol of Anu’s authority:

The heavenly kingship was seized by a female…
She changed altogether the rules of Holy Anu,
Feared not the great Anu.
She seized the E.Anna from Anu—
that House of irresistible charm, enduring allure–
On that House she brought destruction;
Inanna assaults its people, makes them captive …”
Statue of Inanna with blood-red eyes
Eventually the others were able to repel her and the human generals she had picked to wage war on her behalf, though many of the Anunnaki had seen their strongholds utterly destroyed and never forgave her for it, including Enlil, who according to some was Jehovah (which would explain his rage in both the books of Jeremiah and Revelations). Agade forever remained desolate…her father Nanner came forth to fetch her back to Sumer while

Her mother Ningal proffered prayers for her,

greeted her back at the temple’s doorstep …’

Enough, more than enough innovations, O great Queen! …”

and the foremost Queen, in her assembly, accepted the prayer …’

The Era of Inanna was over, though the damage had been done. Always equated with licentiousness, hedonism, ambition and ruthlessness, she was both venerated as an object of desire and repudiated for her selfishness. It is these characteristics which would come through the priestesses who served her and her temples, including one who may have brought to life the myths by choosing a lover who would fight alongside her and seek to conquer the world.

The Sacred Priestesses

What do we know of the Sacred Priestesses and their temples? What was the star fire they used in their ceremonies? According to many authors and researchers, it was the priestesses’ menstrual blood that was fed to the King, granting him longevity and wisdom. These priestesses were clothed in scarlet gowns (symbolic of blood) and had great political power and wealth, not least of which was because a King could not be crowned unless the High Priestess
agreed to his claiming the throne and a fertility rite was enacted between the two.

The High Priestesses had the same status as kings: It is Inanna (or her earthly representative, the High Priestess of Uruk/the land) again in the Courtship that decrees the fate of the king/Dumuzi and that he had to be first accepted by her to rule the land as her consort. It is worth noting that though Inanna instituted the custom of “Sacred Marriage”, sexual rites whereby the priest-king was supposed to have become her spouse—it was only for one night. A text, attributed to King Iddin-Dagan:

That which Anu determined for you – may it not be altered
That which Enlil has granted – may it not be altered
You are the favorite of Ningal
Inanna holds you dear …”
The attending minister would then proclaim:

My queen, here is the choice of your heart,
the king, your beloved bridegroom.
May he spend long days in the sweetness of your holy loins.
Give him a favourable and glorious reign.
Grant him the king’s throne, firm in its foundations.
Grant him the shepherd’s staff of judgment.
Grant him the enduring crown
with the radiant and noble diadem.
From where the sun rises to where the sun sets,
From north to south,
From the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea,
From the land of the huluppu-tree to the land of the cedar,
Let his shepherd’s staff protect all of Sumer and Akkad.

As the farmer, let him make the fields fertile,
As the shepherd, let him make the sheepfolds multiply,
Under his reign let there be vegetation,
Under his reign let there be rich grain.
In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter?
In the canebrake may the young and old reeds grow high,
In the steppe may the deer and wild goats multiply,
In the orchards may there be honey and wine,
In the grasslands may the lettuce and cress grow high,
In the palace may there be long life.

May there be floodwater in the Tigris and Euphrates,
May the plants grow high on their banks and fill the meadows,
May the Lady of Vegetation pile the grain in heaps and mounds.
O my Queen of Heaven and Earth,
Queen of all the universe,
May he enjoy long days in the sweetness of your loins.”

As beautiful as the vows were, one wonders what sort of leverage a priestess might have had over one seeking to be crowned king, and what happened to those the priestesses refused as consorts. Considering the amount of wealth the temples enjoyed, it is not hard to imagine some priestesses awarding the crown to the highest bidder and, in the case of Rahab and Joshua, changing their mind when they pleased. As they were part of a conglomerate of sorts that could crown and depose kings without being regarded as traitors to the state, one might imagine the list of their enemies to be rather long. As they only had to spend one night with the King and yet held leverage over him throughout his reign, it cannot have been easy for the Queen and other royal wives and concubines to accept the High Priestess’s status over them (unless the priestess chose to marry the King and become Queen—it does happen in the old tales and the choice is always hers), and that may be the basis for many of the tales throughout the world of these beautiful women coming from the sea, marrying the King and then eventually being driven away from him through the jealousy and gossip of the royal harem.

Certainly the priestesses made the most of it while they were in power, their temples becoming the first known banks, with Kings and rulers able to make deposits, travel with letters of credit and take out loans.

Now what if, for the sake of argument, a High Priestess saw that the cult was starting to lose its power? Perhaps the families of the men not chosen to be king or the royal wives and their extended relatives had grown too numerous that there was talk of following other Gods and finding other methods to consecrate the crown, which would remove the cult of Inanna from power. What would an astute woman in that position do?

If we discount Inanna the Goddess as a mythological figure, then what of Sargon and his conquests? Could there have been a high priestess of old who called herself Inanna after her goddess, engaged the services of an unknown warrior and together they waged war on the world and built their own empire?
Certainly that would explain Sargon’s conquests with Inanna by his side and their reputed (by some) daughter Enheduanna, the first author and poet, who also became High Priestess and who wrote personal devotions to Inanna, such as: 'The Great-Hearted Mistress’, The Exaltation of Inanna’, and 'Goddess of the Fearsome Powers’ along with many other literary texts. These hymns to Inanna did much to cement the Goddess’s position in the hierarchy of the Mesopotamian Pantheon, raising her to a Supreme Deity, which, of course, benefited Sargon and his family.

If a priestess had gained domination as she desired, what would then have been the response from the kingdoms that had been overcome? One might imagine that the Kings and royal courts would have been most displeased with this Priestess and her emissaries telling them what to do and they would have looked upon the scarlet-clad women with disfavour, shunning them for their ‘immoral behaviour’. It is not hard to imagine her response: ordering that all the women in the land serve in her temple one day a year (or one time before they are married, according to a different account), thus giving her priestesses back their power by making all the women ‘whores’.

The fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus was the first to report this custom to a European audience. As Herodotus (History1: 199) tells it:

The Babylonians have one most shameful custom. Every woman born in the country must once in her life go and sit down in the precinct of Aphrodite [=Ishtat], and there consort with a stranger. Many of the wealthier sorts who are too proud to mix with others, drive covered carriages to the precinct, followed by a goodly train of attendants, and there take their station. But the larger number seat themselves within the holy enclosure with wreaths of string about their heads, -and here there is always a great crowd, some coming and others going; lines of cord mark out paths in all directions among the women and strangers pass along them to make their choice. A woman who has once taken her seat is not allowed to return home till one of the strangers throws a silver coin into her lap, and takes her with him beyond holy ground. When he throws the coin he says these words: “The goddess Mylitta prosper thee.” (Aphrodite is called Mylitta [=an Akkadian title of Ishtar/Inanna meaning she who brings about birth] by the Assyrians.) The silver coin may be of any size; it cannot be refused, for that is forbidden by the law, since once thrown it is sacred. The woman goes with the first man who throws her money and rejects no one. When she has gone with him, and so satisfied the goddess, she returns home, and from that time forth no gift, however, great will prevail with her. Such of the women are as tall and beautiful are soon released, but others who are ugly have to stay a long time before they can fulfil the law. Some have waited three or four years in the precinct. A custom very much like this is found also in certain parts of the island of Cyprus. (Herodotus, 1942 [1862]: 107-8, trans. George Rawlinson).”

While Herodotus may have been a sensationalist and writing from a Greek perspective, it is interesting that the author of the article goes on to say, “This practice is part of what people think of when they think of sacred prostitution. If that practice did, in fact, take place it would have been rather late in the historical record. If it took place late in time, then it might not be representative of the practices of the Old Babylonians or Sumerians.” ---thus giving some credence to the theory it was a High Priestess acting as Inanna who implemented the practice, rather than the Sumerian Goddess herself.

What is never explained is what happened if pregnancy was the result—sacred prostitution did not create sacred children. Though the people of the land may have unwillingly accepted an edict for the women to serve at the temple, they would not have accepted children from such a union. It may be that those who equate Inanna with child sacrifice do so because of the prevention of pregnancy or the termination of one—both of which were abhorrent to patriarchal societies.

This all matches the description of the woman in Revelations and the lament of Jeremiah, in which Jehovah speaks of playing the harlot and the ‘blood of innocents’ being in her skirts—which many have hypothesized referred to contraception or abortion. As Anath (Astarte/Inanna) held power in Israel until the return from captivity in Babylon, it stands to reason that many of the cult’s practices in other countries were also performed in Israel.

But, as with all who seek political gain, eventually the wheel of fortune turns and those who had power lose it. Eventually, the cult lost its power and societies veered towards patriarchal based structures, with priestesses and prostitutes given clear laws to follow and only allowed to operate in consigned quarters. Wives and daughters came to be given guidelines on how they were to live and behave, with serious consequences for those who broke the rules and the dichotomy between the ‘wife’ and the ‘whore’ materialized, becoming entrenched in the mind-set of countless generations since.

Inanna Today.

A quick glance through the websites dedicated to her and the fictional books being released about her reveals an interesting trend: Inanna portrayed as the Goddess of Love but in the role of mother and wife, not lover. This may be based on confusing the Sumerian Goddess Inanna with Nin-kharsag—two very different women with very different stories.

While seeking to restore Inanna to her glory is laudable (I myself am fascinated by her), it should be remembered that she was not the motherly type or faithful wife and would not have wanted herself to have been represented that way. She gloried in her feminine powers and charms and used it to the fullest extent she could. She was bold, ruthless and seductive and as such should be remembered for that. If she is honoured, it should be for her skill in manoeuvring her way through the political ranks and doing what many others wished they could do: conquer the earth and become the Supreme Deity.

-Katrina Sisowath

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Genesis of the Grail Kings, Laurence Gardner, Bantam, 2005
J.Heath (2208) The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics, University of California Press.
Bertman, S. (2003). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. NewYork, NY: Oxford University Press
Black, J., and Green, A., (1992). Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An illustrated Dictionary. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Bottero, J (1992). Mesopotamia, writing Reasoning and the Gods. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
ETCSL Oxford University, (2003). Retrieved April 17, 2009, from,, and t.5.6.1
Faraone, C., and McClure, L., (2006) Prostitutes and courtesans in the ancient world. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Foster, B., (1995). From Distant Days, Myths Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press
George, A., (1999). The Epic of Gilgamesh. London, England: Penguin Press.
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Leick, G., (2001). Mesopotamia, the Invention of the City. London, England: Penguin Pr

Medusa--First published in Heretic Magazine

Who Was The Real Medusa?

We all know the story of Perseus and Medusa, or at least the Greek version of the story. We have decried Athena’s punishment on her after Poseidon violated her and Athena’s further betrayal in aiding Perseus in her death. Literature and movies have told the myth over and over again, while essays have been written on the symbolism that lay behind the myth, the interplay of male/female power and how it was used as a morality tale against female power and rage. Even the description of Medusa from beautiful to monstrous (in the 7th to 5th centuries B.C.) to beautiful again in Greece itself highlights the changing views and perceptions of the society, as well as the desire to glory in a heinous act, while giving such relish a reasonable explanation. Many are still unsure as to whether she, as a monster, deserved death and she is often depicted in movies as indeed something to be feared, with Perseus as the glorious hero.

But what about the older legend, the one that the Greek myth was based on, the tale that allowed Athena to rise and become one of the Triumvirate with Apollo and Zeus? For it did not originate in Greece, it came there by way of Crete, which was in turn brought to the island by refugees from the kingdom of Labu (modern day Libya) in 4,000 B.C., and they had a different side to the story.
It has been posited by researchers and authors, that the story was based on a real female, a high priestess and warrior queen that bears a marked resemblance to other serpent goddesses such as Ninhursag in Sumer, Neith in Egypt and Astarte/Ishtar in Sidon, Tyre and Assyria. And just as in those lands there were a triumvirate of goddesses (Israel and Assyria: Astate/Atargatis/Ashwerah, Egypt: Neith/Hathor/Wadjet), so too, in Labu there were Medusa/Metis/Anatha (Athena). These three goddesses represented the triple aspects of the female cycle: maiden/mother/crone and there would have been a high priestess representing each aspect where a temple stood. In Libya Medusa would have been the wise crone, Metis the mother and Anatha the maiden. This is of importance to the Greek myth, less so to the Libyan one.
In my research for the Dragon Court books, which is a mythological fantasy based on the Serpent Cult, I have found anecdotal and historical evidence that lend credence to my theory that as the Sun Cult and Serpent Cult were found in many of the ancient cultures, with their battles for supremacy told and retold in each culture, that once, way back in history, many of the beings we know as Gods and Goddesses were once the High Priests and Priestesses of these cults. The reason they are found in lands as diverse as the Norway and Cambodia is because, as the cults grew in influence and power with the burgeoning civilizations, they would erect temples in the new lands, furthering their own interests.
In my article on Inanna: Whore of Babylon, I put forth the theory that she or one of her high priestesses acting in her name was the ‘Whore’ described in the Bible. Now I will attempt, using the same line of reasoning, to deconstruct the tale of Medusa and show who she might have really been, and what took place.
If we accept that Diodorus Siculus, Aeschylus and Pauasanius had a basis to their claims that the ancient Libyans were a matriarchal society known for their civilization and military prowess called the Amazons or Gorgons in 6,000 B.C. (or thereabouts), then we can begin to understand who Medusa, as high priestess, might have been. Indeed, Pausanius goes further and says that Medusa was their queen. The three goddess aspects or high priestesses would have ruled Libyan society and conducted many rituals in the temple, including the donning of gorgon masks which were frightening to look upon. These masks were painted scarlet to symbolise blood and may have been encircled by bronze or gold serpents:
Notice the frightful expression on the face, the tongue protruding (bearing a marked resemblance to Kali) and the serpents rising from it. 
In their official capacity as rulers, judges and intercessors, they would have worn the masks at official events and in fertility rituals enacted publicly with the ‘King of the Sea’, or the ‘Fish Gods’ (the Fish Folk and Serpent Cult are, more than likely, a different term for the same people, with goddess such as Atargatis, Nya Lara Kidul and others both described as serpents and mermaids). The Priests would have symbolised water and the Priestesses earth, the commingling of which would fertilise the soil.
Now, nowhere does it suggest the priestesses wore live snakes around their heads, but if you look closely, you will see that she has her hair in braids or, as some claim, dreadlocks. It may very well be that the real Medusa would have worn snake skulls at the end of each braid or dreadlock, which would have accounted for the rattling noise she made as she moved.
All in all, she and her fellow priestesses would have made a striking image, one guaranteed to engender fear in those from other lands not initiated into the mysteries. But there are two other parts of the myth that must also be explored, if we are to come to an educated guess at the real story.
The first is the paralyses of the men who tried to attack her and the other is the connotation with jealousy and Anatha (Athena).
If we look at ancient religions, including the one based on Jehovah, we know that in the innermost part of the temple there is the ‘holy of hollies’, the part reserved for the high priest or priestess that is sacrosanct. No one was to be allowed in. And yet, what if the innermost chamber was intruded upon? What form of defense did the high priest or priestess have? In the Bible we read that intruders who tried to storm the chamber would fall down dead as evidence of Yahweh’s power. It may be that Medusa, as high priestess, had a similar defence.
The most likely explanation is a serpent whose venom paralyses, or turns its victim into stone. Considering her connection with Neith who was depicted as wearing an Egyptian Cobra on her crown and the other serpent goddesses, it stands to reason that a cult that venerated the serpent would have a keen understanding of the properties of the various venoms and how best to employ them. After all, the use of serpent venom to both heal and take life was studied and employed by the serpent cult. As a high priestess, she may have ingested ever increasing amounts since her youth; rendering her immune to its toxicity should her enemies attempt to assassinate her. The Greek myth does state that one drop of her blood from the left side of her head healed and one from the right killed, implying there was an added ingredient to her blood that none of us possess.,_Egypt,_200_BCE-400_CE_Wellcome_L0058403.jpg

How would the venom have been applied? The answer may lie in the fact Perseus was told not to look into her eyes. The Libyan account of Medusa said that she wore two snakes around her waist. Could it be they were her guardians? If so, which genus of snake were they?
Though she was described as having vipers on her head, none of them have paralytic venom, so perhaps they were depicted on her mask. I believe the serpents used were the Egyptian Cobra (venerated in Egypt and the followers of Neith) and another, perhaps the Mozambican Cobra. Why two? Well, the Egyptian Cobra’s venom paralyses, but it does not spit and the Mozambican Cobra can spit up to 3 metres with pinpoint accuracy, blinding the eyes of the onlooker, but its venom does not paralyse. So perhaps the intruder, finding himself stunned by her masked visage, would be sedentary long enough that the Mozambican Cobra would spit in his eyes, rendering him blind. The Egyptian Cobra would then administer the fatal bite.

If there was no conceivable way Medusa and the other high priestesses could have trained the serpents to strike intruders only and not the priestesses themselves, then perhaps the snakes around her waist were the skins and she employed the use of a blow pipe to administer the venom in the eyes, before administering the paralysing toxin while the victim was in agony, unable to see her or react.
Either way, she was a formidable opponent for any armed male, hence the one who eventually defeated her having to sneak up on her and use a shield as a mirror, so that she or her snake could not spray his eyes.

Now to address the second part and that is Medusa and Anatha’s story tied up with jealousy. There have been many versions told, from Poseidon raping her in the temple and Athena punishing her, to Medusa bringing it on herself by bragging she was more beautiful than Athena (Ovid). But the earliest story said there was no rape and no bragging, but a fertility ritual that symbolised female empowerment and sexuality. So where did the jealousy come in?
If the ritual between the high priests of the fish and the high priestesses of the serpents was enacted as claimed, did perhaps Anatha, as the maiden, either have to abstain or was not given first choice of partner? Could she have found herself besotted with one of the priests, but had to allow Medusa, as the senior of the three, her way? Most times jealousy arises from sexual desire, and so it makes more sense for the younger woman to be jealous over a desired man than either a rape or a moment’s thoughtless remark on beauty.
Could that have been enough for the younger priestess to turn against the other two and join with the invading Hellenistic forces, giving one warrior the key to killing the high priestess? The other member of the Triumvirate, Metis (possibly her mother), was also slain and from that moment Anatha/Athena became known as the child of Zeus, emerging from his head, with no maternal line.
Sculpture by Laurent-HonorĂ© Marqueste

It is said that Perseus, when he had rescued Andromeda and married her and prevented his own mother’s wedding, gave Medusa’s head to Athena. She promptly affixed it to her shield, symbolising her victory over her rival. What amount of hatred would it have taken to do something like that?
Once adopted into the Greek hierarchy and pantheon, Athena found herself both worshipped for her wisdom and her chastity. Indeed, she was forever bound to her chaste, virginal role, as suited a patriarchal society. Did Anatha find herself in that predicament? Did she live the rest of her days satisfied with the death of her rival or did she come to know regret for the betrayal of her faith, the destruction of her lands and her eternal imprisonment as the personification of virginal purity, unable to progress to mother and then crone?
While there are many who offer theories on the symbolism of the Medusa myth: the rivalry of Athena and the Gorgon; the triple aspect inherent in all of us and our inability to accept certain traits in us and, indeed, the passage of time; Medusa as a ‘pharmakos’, or scapegoat necessary to emphasise the dual nature of the sacred and the separation of god and monster etc., all are correct. Like all good legends, the story has certain aspects that appeal and repel all of us and we find traits in the characters in ourselves. But I have not chosen to examine that closely in this article, as there are many other references available. Instead I wanted to look more closely at who the real person, the originator of the tale might have been, and what really occurred.

-Katrina Sisowath

Aeschylus’ Eumenides states that the Amazonians were empire builders, which Isocrates also acknowledged.
Herodotus Histories (Book (IV) acknowledged that the Athenians battled the Amazonians. Plutarch’s Life of Theseus gives an account of the Athenian siege of the Amazons.
Marguerite Rigoglioso, The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece (New York, Palgrave, Macmillan, 2009) discusses Medusa as an historical figure and Amazonian Priestess.
When God was a Woman, (New York, Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1976)
Mary Condran, The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland, (San Francisco,
Harper, 1989)
Barbara S. Lesko, The Great Goddesses of Egypt, (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999)
C.G.Jung, The Science of Mythology: Essays on the Myth of the Divine Child and the Mysteries of Eleusis (Routledge Classics)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

23 December, 2014 - 22:07 Katrina Sisowath

Women robed in scarlet sheaths, conducting rituals associated with serpents away from prying eyes,
serving Innana, the Goddess of Love, Fertility and War.

The color of their clothes was symbolic of their power, but why was blood, particularly their menstrual blood, deemed powerful?

Was it merely in acknowledgement of new life that the womb brings forth? Or were there specific uses for that blood? Blood has been a part of rites and rituals in many religions, stretching back to the dawn of man.

Jesus himself claimed there was power in the blood—but why?

What is it about this nutrient rich fluid that held the ancients enthralled? What Western society has viewed as evil in the form of Woman and the Serpent was once viewed with the utmost veneration, the two bestowing wisdom and longevity on all who partook of their essences.

The Priestesses wore robes of scarlet, the color signifying the source of their power, and were titled ‘Hor’ (or in Greek Hierodulai), or ‘beloved ones’, having influence on the Kings and dignitaries in the lands they chose to settle.

They did not enter into marriage for life, but rather would have children with different Kings and powerful men, securing alliances and protection for their children.

It was perhaps this attitude towards marriage that resulted in the meaning of ‘Hor’
becoming what we know today (Whore) and the association of the color scarlet
being associated with sexual licentiousness and sin, as exemplified in the book ‘The Scarlet Letter’.

Contrary to claims that the priestesses engaged in ritual prostitution, it is more likely that they were in control of their choices of bed-mates along with the high priestess engaging in the ritual re-enactment of the sacred marriage between Dumuzi and Innana with a young man of her choice once a year
on the Spring Equinox.

The tales of Innana make it very clear she was not shy in picking lovers and promoting them
to Kingship and her priestesses would have followed her example.

The marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi, reproduction of a Sumerian sculpture. Public Domain

From Sumer to Cambodia Kings enacted a ritual visitation with a Goddess
(in many countries depicted as a serpent or half-fish) with the threat of destruction to the kingdom
should the King fail in his duty.

This Sacred Marriage also conferred legitimacy on their reign.

According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history
(end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi
in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival.

Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi.

One example of a priestess known to us as a ‘whore’ would be Rahab, who held a position of influence in Jericho and brokered an agreement with Joshua that she and her family would be spared.

A scarlet thread was tied outside her window so his men would know to spare the occupants of the room. She then became one of the ancestresses of King David.

One gets a sense reading about these women in the Bible that there is a grudging respect afforded them, an acknowledgement of who they were intermingled with the desire to classify them as ‘fallen women’.


Painting depicting Rahab of Jericho and the scarlet thread. 17th Century. Public Domain

As emissaries of the Serpent Cult, the women certainly held their own in forming alliances with powerful men and establishing lines of descent.

But what about within their own society?

Why was their blood revered by those who shared the same lineage?

Innana was a member of the Sumerian Pantheon, along with Ninkhursag, Enki, and others identified
as part of the Serpent Cult.

So the Priestesses originated within Sumerian or Annunaki society.

There are many books devoted to the subject of the Annunaki and it is possible through them
to understand the rituals of the Priestesses and their place in Annunaki society.


A version of the ancient Mesopotamian eight-pointed star symbol of the goddess Ishtar/Inanna.
Public Domain

The Annunaki were practitioners in hormonal therapy and during battle the soldiers
would drink the blood of their fallen comrades, which provided them with a much needed energy boost
and rehydration.

Ordinarily the Annunaki imbibed the Priestesses’ menstrual blood which they believed was full of nutrients and contained an essence that not only lengthened their lives but also brought them to a higher state of consciousness.

During the temple ceremonies, the Priestesses would also bring themselves to arousal,
causing the release of fluid emitted from the Skene’s Gland.

This fluid is filtered blood plasma, and so is a rich source of hormones.

To achieve this they were trained to enter a meditative state in which each of their seven flowers
(or what we know as chakras) ‘blossomed’, starting with the ‘Crown ’ at the top of the head
and moving down the spine until it reached the ‘Root’ at the base of the spine.

By activating these chakras, the glands were stimulated making the resulting fluid extremely rich and powerful.

The Annunaki were skilled scientists and so during these rituals they may not have drunk the substances fresh, but distilled them. The oft used quote about turning base metals into gold may have derived from the distillation of iron rich blood into a yellow-gold liquid, as Europeans in the last millennium discovered when they attempted to distil men’s souls.

While the idea of drinking fresh blood is repellent, it is worth noting that many of our modern medicines contain hormones such as Premarin.

The proponents of the use of organs like the placenta and the injection of fresh cells called ‘Live Cell Therapy’ in natural medicine, claim that these methods rejuvenates the recipients; re-energizing, boosting immune systems and restoring youthful beauty - not so far removed from the Annunaki’s claims.

The blood used was only from the Annunaki Priestesses themselves and their direct descendants up until the Merovingian Dynasty during the Dark Ages. As the generations passed, it became too diluted and eventually was not used at all, the Dragon Court searching for other methods of achieving the same results.

It is worth noting that the Annunaki were not immortal, they died, often by violence inflicted by each other.

What they sought was to live lengthened lives, but in full possession of their physical and mental faculties instead of withering away and living out their final years handicapped by infirmities.

What we have are the symbols of the Fountain of Youth (the Priestesses wombs), the Grail (or mixing bowl), as well as the mixing of the red and white which was the blood and semen of an Annunaki Priestess Ninkhursag and her husband Enki, used to create and nourish life, best expressed in the Templar Cross.


The Knights Templar Cross. Public Domain Featured image:
Hygeia (Detail from Medicine), Gustav Klimt, 1900.

Public Domain References
Nicholas deVere, Prince Nicholas de Vere von Drakenberg:
Laurence Gardner, Genesis of The Grail Kings: Inanna,
Wikipedia: By Katrina Sisowath