Ningal (Great Lady) was a Sumarian goddess; She was the first beloved daughter of god Enki, and She was the wife of the moon god, Nanna. They say She was very young and pretty and possessed the gift of being able decipher the language of the unknown...that which is unveiled in dreams and legends. She is the goddess of dream interpretation, insight, and divination. She reveals the meaning of dreams and oracular phrases. Ningal is a very ancient goddess who dates back to South Mesopotamia and the first settlements that were ever built. She was worshipped at Ur during the period of the Third Dynasty, and the kings built Her a temple and dedicated statues to Her. She was also a love diety, a goddess of water and fertility; Her symbol is a vessel of water with a fish in it...which also signifies the womb. In the tale, She evolves from the maiden bride of the Moon god to the mother of Inanna, and embraces Her role of Mother by teaching Her daughter, everything She knows about marriage, sexuality, and love in "THE BRIDAL SONGS"."
In my opinion, the story of Ningal and Nanna should be considered one of the great love stories of the distant past. As the tale is told, it was the young maiden, Ningal who first fell in love with Nanna when She saw him one evening soaring across the night skies. She sought him out, and the story goes that when the young god first laid eyes on Her, he wanted Her and asked Her to meet him by the reeds...planning to make wild, passionate love. Now, Ningal is young and a bit on the shy side, but She a finally agrees meet Nanna by the marshes where they make wild love for two weeks. Then, one night, on the eve of the Dark Moon, Nanna tells Her he has to go away for two days and says good bye, promising his return to Her loving arms. However, Nanna is unable to be away from Her and he comes to Her in disguise, begging Her for shelter, and when She opens the door, he pleads with Her to come to the marshes with him.
But, Ningal is no longer that naive young maiden and instead has become an assertive young woman. This time She sets Her boundaries with Nanna. She informs him that She will go with him...ONLY if he complies with a set of conditons which involve the frutifulness of the land,of the wild and domestic animals. Nanna concedes to Her wishes and does as He has been asked, acknowledging Ningal as his true consort and beloved. And true to Her word, Ningal becomes his bride. This myth shows that love is very much about the surrender of the self,the opening up to each other
It was really difficult to find much research on these two great deities. In the famous "LAMENTATION OVER TH"E DESTRUCTION OF UR" we learn of Ningal's sad fate as Her beloved city is destroyed.
"I MOURNED THE DAY OF THE STORM, FATED FOR ME"
"MY BURDEN PREDESTINED FOR ME AS A GODDESS"
"THE CAUSE OF MY TEARS"
"I COULD NOT FLEE THE CRUEL VIOLENCE OF THAT DAY"
"ITS FURY WAS GREATER THAN ALL THE JOYS OF MY LIFE"
"THE LAND OF UR IS FILLED WITH SORROW"
"SHOULD I SCREAM FOR THE LIFE OF MY CALF,"
"CRY OUT FOR ITS RELEASE?"
Ningal's story confronts us with the great divide between the Goddess and the patriarchal consciousness. In Genesis we read "UR WAS AN EVIL AND SINFUL CITY AS CAN BE SEEN IN THE WORSHIP PRACTICES OF THE MOON GODDESS, NINGAL. EVERY FEMALE IN THE CITY AT SOMETIME IN HER LIFE WOULD HAVE TO TAKE HER TURN IN SERVING AS A PRIESTESS PROSTITUTE OF THE TEMPLE. But, was Ningal's tale one of an evil seductress or a beautiful tale of love? I prefer to believe in love.
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