Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nanna, Nanna-Suen, Sin

Nanna, the Sumerian Moon god, later known as Nanna-Suen or Sin, is already mentioned in the Old Sumerian god-lists from Fara. His worship can be traced back at Ur since at least the middle of the second millennium Before Common Era. His temple there was called the E-kishnugal, praised in several ancient hymns. The office of high priestess at Ur was customarily filled by a royal princess, and her enthronement was an event of national importance and duly recorded in year names since the beginnings of the Sargon the Akkadian, the first monarch to unify Mesopotamia in an empire. Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon the Akkadian, was the first recorded High Priestess of Nanna, and she can be considered the first author in Western history, once several temply hymns and compositions of great literary valor are attributed to her. References and theophoric names composed with Nanna are particularly frequent during the period of the Third Dynasty of Ur. At this time many other sanctuaries were built or restored for him, notably the famous ziggurat at Ur by Ur-Nammu, the founder of this golden period of Mesopotamian history. Ziggurats are the Mesopotamian-style pyramids or man-made towers whose steps guided the faithful towards the highest point linking the physical plane to the Heights, the priest/ess being the link with the gods and worlds below.

Nanna the Moon God is the first born of Enlil, Lord Air, and his consort, Ninlil. His birth is told in one of the most passionate descent stories ever written, where young Ninlil, Nanna´s future mother, is raped by the most arrogant and powerful of the young gods, Enlil, who is then tried by the Great Gods and condemned to the Underworld. Ninlil, already pregnant with Nanna, hers and Enki´s child, descends after Enlil to bring him back to the Heights Above. Thus, Nanna is conceived out of youthful impulsiveness, but His coming will bring Change and Growth for His Divine Parents, and together with Enlil, His father, Nanna decides the Fates. Nanna´s consort is Ningal, the daughter of Ningikuga, the Goddess of Reeds, and Enki, the God of Sweet Waters, Magick, Crafts, Arts and Wisdom. Various poetical compositions describe Nanna´s and Ningal´s rapturous courtship. Indeed, we could well say that Nanna and Ningal is a delightful story of young god-meets-maiden goddess in Sumer, and the result of their union could not be more auspicious: Inanna/Ishtar, the Morning and Evening Star, the future Great Goddess of Love and War, Lover, Beloved and Gutsy Avenger in One, and Utu/Shamash, the Sun God and Light of the Day. So out of the love of Nanna for Ningal, the two inner and outer luminaries that brigthen up existence came into being: Love and Daylight.

Another composition that extends Nanna´s connection with light and fertility to include all aspects of fruitfulness and agriculture especially in Sumer is called Nanna´s Journey to Nippur. It begins with a description of Nippur, which is ready built, rich in animal and plant life, but devoid of people. Nanna decides to visit Enlil, his father´s city by boat. He loads it with trees, plants and animals. On the way he stops several times at is greeted by the local gods of each city. Eventually Nanna arrives in Nippur, and Enlil, delighted, celebrates his son and grants him wishes of plenty on his return to Ur. This myth is probably connected with a yearly ritual journey between Ur and Nippur, which may have entailed a ritual exchange of dairy and agricultural products.
FROM: Gateways to Babylon "Nanna"
Nanna and Ningal can be easily described as the Sumerian quickest, happiest and less complicated version of myth of young god meets young goddess and both fall for each other at first sight. But who are they, the young god and goddess?

Nanna is the Moon god, later called Sin by the Babylonians and Assyrians, the first born of Enlil, the all powerful Air God and his consort, Ninlil, lady Air. Nanna is the Torch of the Night, which by ever renewing himself and illuminating primeval darkness, brought along Time, the cosmic Measure that enables the contemplation of Eternity through the little and great facts that shape up with Meaning our lives' lows and highs. For as Nanna moved slowly over the night skies changing from waxing to waning glow, and opening the doors of heaven to let in and out days, months and years always to return, life's heartbeat synchronised in perfect harmony with the Moon's shine: tides, the coming of spring floods to renew the land, the growth of reeds, the breathing in and out of all greens, abundance of milk, cheese and cream and, most of all, the sacred blood of womanhood.

Nanna the Moon according to the Sumerians is at once young and old, bringing Rest to the land and the living, dreams and the wildest fantasies. Much loved and feared by some, Nanna's shine makes everything equally far and near, close by and yet mysteriously remote. His is a strangeness both intimate and frightening, for his coming brings either sweet dreams or weird, challenging nightmares to play during slumber. But if one chooses to, Nanna will also bestow vigilance and illumination for the diligent student of the Soul's mysteries. One of his common epithets is Prince of the Gods, and He is also said to be impetuous and gay.

Ningal, on the other hand, is the beloved daughter of Ningikuga, the Goddess of Reeds, and Enki, the God of Magic, Crafts and Wisdom. To fully understand Ningikuga as a Great Goddess, it is necessary to go back in time to the Southernmost part of Mesopotamia, where people started first gathering in settlements and to build the first huts for housing and temples for the gods also made of reeds. It was in a place called Eridu, the first identified settlement in South Mesopotamia and city dedicated to Enki, where "kingship descended from the heavens to the land". Ningikuga is therefore a very old Goddess, who tell us of the beginnings of organised life, once reeds were used to build houses, temples, furniture, sailing rafts, as well as fences to prevent flooding the neighbouring areas. Her relationship with Enki dates therefore from the very beginning of urbanised life in Sumer. Their daughter, Ningal, is said to be young and pretty, as well as to possess the gift to unveil the language of the Unknown revealed in images, age-old legends, poetry and most of all, in dreams. Thus, in her we have another timeless archetype of wholeness: She is the goddess of Dream Interpretation, of insight and divination, therefore somewhat reserved, living with her mother in the fertile marshlands of South Mesopotamia. And it is Ningal who first falls in love with Nanna, as the young lord progressed upon the night skies.

When Nanna and Ningal finally meet by the marshes, after a succession of Moon seasons (or years), it is love at first sight. Being young and full of desire, they meet by the reeds and make wild and sweet love for for a full, intense forthnight, hidden from the older and wiser gods. Then, on the eve of the night of the Dark of the Moon, Nanna says goodbie to Ningal, promissing to return in two nights´ time.

Perhaps because so much joy the ancient gods did not want the young ones to hide, and most certainly because a love so great need to be protected within the sacred ties and rites shat should bind couples for the sake of the offspring to come, the Great Gods find a way to hide Nanna´s moonshine from the skies for more than one, two, three more nights. Thus, hardly containing his impatience, Nanna descends to the Earth in disguise, and as a pilgrim, begging for shelter, face hidden not to be recognized, he knocks at Ningal´s and Ningikuga´s door, and to woo Ningal to meet him again later in the marshes. But this time Ningal tells him to wait. With the certainty of a woman who knows her own heart, mind, body and soul, she states that she would only come to Nanna when a set of requirements of hers should be fulfilled. Only then she would come to live with him in Ur. And this is exactly what Nanna does, acknowledging Ningal as his true consort and beloved.

What are the timeless lessons contained in this myth for us today? Clearly, the following: a) divine lovemaking is spontaneous and certain license is conceeded to the young in Mesopotamia, who nevertheless b) must make official their liaison and c) be faithful to the vows made to each other. I stress the point that Ningal meets Nanna for the first time (and a couple of other times too!), but it is herself that sets up a series of conditions before welcoming back the Moon Lord into the sweetness of her company. This is a remarkable example of feminine assertiveness, and the male god graciously concedes defeat and does exactly as he had been asked by the lady of his heart.

This myth also shows that love is very much about the surrender of selves that open up to each other, where both partners are victors. Its keyword is reciprocation, the Dance of Intimacy and Play that is built up in Everyday Life with Creativity, Sexyness and Imagination and leads to Eternity.

And it is not by chance that the two participants of this happy love story, Lord of the Moon and His Consort , become later the father and mother to the brightest lights that illuminate humankind: Utu the Sun, the Outer Light of the Day, and Inanna/Ishtar, the Great Goddess of Love and War, Love being the Truest Inner Light that makes everything special and the simplest things divine.
FROM: Nanna & Ningal (Gateways to Babylon)
The Mesopotamian moon god Nanna (Nannar), also called Suen (later pronounced in Akkadian as Sin) and Nanna-Suen, was the son of the gods Enlil and Ninlil. According to Sumerian mythology, the moon god was conceived in some troubled circumstances: a Sumerian poem recounts how Enlil raped the young goddess, only to be exiled by the rest of the pantheon. Ninlil, however, accompanied him into exile, pregnant with Nanna-Suen. The goddess Ningal subsequently became the wife of the moon good. Amongst their children were the sun god Utu-Shamash and the goddess Inana-Ishtar.

Nanna's most important cult centre and shrine was located in the Sumerian city of Ur at the temple of E.KIŠ.NU.GAL. Yet another moon cult centre that later rose to great importance was the temple of Sin in Harran in northern Syria-Mesopotamia where the moon god was worshipped alongside the god Nusku, recognised as his son. Particular favour was accorded this last sanctuary by the Neo-Babylonian ruler Nabonidus / Nabu-Na'id (556-539 BCE) whose mother was a priestess in the Harran temple - Nabonidus subsequently appointed his own daughter high priestess of Sin at the ancient cult centre of Ur.

Iconographically, the symbol of Nanna-Suen was the recumbent crescent moon, while his animal was either a bull or a composite lion-dragon. His name was often written simply as the cuneiform number for "30", symbolising the number of days in a month.
FROM: here
Other Links:
Understanding Nanna
Hymns to Nanna
Nanna (Sumerian deity)
Nanna-Suen's journey to Nibru: composite text | translation | bibliography
The Journey of Nanna-Suen to Nippur
The Herds of Nanna
A Song of Praise to Nanna
Ningal and Nana - how the Moon Lord found the Lady of Dreams

Also of interest:
Enheduanna (c. 2285-2250 BCE; En-hedu-Ana, EN.HÉ.DU.AN.NA "lordAn (the sky) was a Sumerian/Akkadian high priestess of the moon god Nanna (Sin) in Ur, who came to honor Inanna above all the other gods of the Sumerian pantheon. A single tablet records her as the "daughter of Sargon of Akkad" a relationship that has been taken both literally and ritually. If literally true, the relationship attests Sargon's successful policy of appointing members of his family to important posts. She was eventually dislodged from her position by the local priests, showing this "imperial" appointment to be locally unacceptable. She called herself the embodiment of the Goddess Ningal, the wife of the moon God Nanna.

No comments:

Post a Comment