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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                   Ishtar, Inanna, & Ancient Astrology 
                               By Valkyrie
 Many might be interested in some information that I came across awhile
 back that might shed some light on this for you.  Some may have seen
 part of this already.  Someone in a shamanic echo was asking about how
 scorpions and spiders were related to each other in dreams, and what
 meaning the scorpion had, especially in regards to an earth goddess.  I
 ran across a reference in one of those 'feminist revisionists'" books
 <G> and the statement was made that the Scorpion was found nearly world
 wide associated with an old Mother Goddess and the constellation
 Scorpio.  I think it might provide some of the connections you are
 looking for.
 So I found a book that wasn't cross-referenced by that author, which is
 recognized in its field (astronomical history) and was surprised to find
 that it wasn't an exageration.
 Richard Hinckley Allen, _Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning_, Dover
 Publications, Inc., New York:1963.  The book was originally published by
 G.E. Stechert in 1899, under the former title: _Star-Names and Their
 Meanings_.  I consider this a reliable source to balance a perhaps more
 "revisionist" view since it was written during a period by an expert who
 probably never questioned it theologically and reported facts as facts.
 Bear with me, the first part becomes significant as you go along.
 pg 360-365.
                SCORPIO, or SCORPIUS, the SCORPION,
 was the reputed slayer of the Giant, exalted to the skies and now rising
 from the horizon as Orion, still in fear of the Scorpion, sinks below
 it; although the latter itself was in danger, --Sackville writing in his
 Induction to the _Mirror of Magistrates_, in 1565.
         Whiles Scorpio, dreading Sagittarius' dart
         Whose bow prest bent in flight the string had slipped
         Down slid into the ocean flood apart.
 Classical authors saw in it the monster that caused the disastrous
 runaway of the steeds of Phoebus Apollow when in the inexperienced hands
 of Phaethon.
 For some centuries before the Christian era it was the largest of the
 zodiac figures, forming with the [Greek name] it's Claws, --the
 _prosectae chelae_ of Cicero, now our Libra,--a double constellation, as
 Ovid wrote:
         Porrigit in spatium signorum membra duorum;
 and this figuring has been adduced as the strongest proof of Scorpio's
 great antiquity, from the belief that only six constellations made up on
 the earliest zodiac, of which this extended sign was one.
 With the Greeks it universally was [Greek]; Aratos, singularly making
 but slight allusion to it, added [Greek]; while another very appropriate
 term with Aratos was [Greek], the Great Sign.  This reported magnitude
 perhaps was due to the mytholgical necessity of greater size for the
 slayer of great Orion, in reference to which that author characterized
 it as [Greek] 'appearing huger still.'
 The Latins occasionally wrote the word _Scorpios_, but usually
 _Scorpius_, or Scorpio; while Cicero, Ennius, Manilius, and perhaps
 Columella gave the kindred African title Nepa, or Nepas, the first of
 which the Alfonsine Tables copy, as did Manilus the Greek adjective,
 [G], Walking Backward.  Astronomical writers and commentators, down to
 comparatively modern times, occasionally mentioned its two division
 under the combined title Sorpius cum Chelis; while some representations
 even showed the Scales in the creature's Claws.
 Grotius said that the Barbarians called the Claws Graffias, and the
 Latins, according to Pliny, Forficulae.
 In early China it was an important part of the figure of the mighty but
 genial Azure Dragon of the EAst and of spring, in later days the
 residence of the heavenly Blue Emperor; but in the time of Confucius it
 was Ta Who, the Great Fire, a primeval name for its star Antares; and
 Shing Kung, a Divine Temple, was applied to the stars of the tail.  As
 member of the early zodiac it was the _Hare_, for which, in the 16th
 century, was substituted, from Jesuit teaching, _Tien He_, the Celestial
 Sir William Drummond asserted that in the zodiac which the partriarch
 Abraham knew it was an Eagle; and some commentators have located here
 the biblical Chambers of the South, Scorpio being directly opposite the
 Pleiades on the sphere, both thought to be mentioned in the same passage
 of the _Book of Job_ with two other opposed constellations, the Bear and
 Orion; but the original usually is considered a reference to the
 southern heavens in general.  Aben Ezra identified Sorpio, or Antares,
 with the K'sil of the Hebrews; although that people generally considered
 those stars as a Scorpion, their Akrabh, and, it is claimed, inscribed
 it on the banners of Dan as the emblem of the tribe whose founder was 'a
 serpent by the way."  When thus shown it was as a _crowned Snake_ or
 _Basilisk_.  A similar figure appeared for it at one period of Egyptian
 astronomy; indeed it is thus met with in moder times, for Chatterton,
 that precocious poet of the last centruy, plainly worte of the Scorpion
 in his line, " The slimy serpent swelters in his course;" and long
 before him Spenser had, in the _Faeirie Queen_, " and now in Ocean deepe
 Orion flying fast from hissing snake, His flaming head did hasten for to
 But the Denderah zodiac shows the typical form.
 Kircher called the whole constellation [Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright
 Antares having been at one time a symbol of Isis.
 The Arabians knew it as Al Akrab, the Scorpion, from which have
 degenerated Alacrab, Alatrab, Alatrap, Hacrab, --Riccioli's Askrab and
 Hacerab; and similarly it was the syrians' Akreva.  Riccioli gave us
 Acrobo _Chaldaeis_, which may be true, but in this Latin word he
 probably had reference to the astrologers.
 The Persians ahd a Scorpion in their Gherzdum or Kdum, and the Turks, in
 their Koirughi, Tailed, and Uzun Koirughi, Long tailed.
 The Akkadians called it Girtab, the Seizer, or Stinger, and the Place
 where One Bows Down, titles indicative of the creature's dangerous
 character, although some early translators of the cuneiform text
 rendered it the _Double Sword_.  With later dwellers on the Euphrates it
 was the symbol of darkness, showing the decline of the sun's power after
 the autumnal equinox, then located in it.  Always prominent in that
 astronomy.  Jensen thinks that it was formed there 5000 B.C., and
 pictured much as it now is; perhaps also in the semi-human form of two
 Scorpion-men, the early circular Altar or Lamp being shown grasped in
 the Claws, as the Scales were in illustatoins of the 15th century.  In
 Babylonia this calendar sign was identified with the eigth month, Arakh
 Savna, our October-November.
 Early India knew it as Ali, Vicrika, or Vrouchicam, --in Tamil,
 Vrishman; but later on Varah Mihira siad Kaurpya, and Al Biruni, Kaurba,
 both from the Greek Scorpios.  On the Cingalese zodiac it was Ussika.
 Dante designated it as Un Secchione, "Formed like a bucket that is all
 ablaze; and in the _Purgatorio_ as Il Friddo Animal of our motto, not a
 mistaken reference to the creature's nature, but to its rising in the
 cold hours of the dawn when he was gazing upon it.  Dante's translator
 Longfellow has something similar in his own _Poet's Calendar_ for
 October:  On the frigid Scorpion I ride.
 Chaucer wrote of it, in the _Hous of Fame_ as the Scorpioun; his
 Anglo-Norman predecessors, Escopiun; and the Anglo-Saxons, Throwend.
 Caesisu mistakenly considered it one of the Scorpions of Rehobam; but
 Novidius said that it was "the scorpion or serpent whereby Pharaoh, King
 of Egypt, was enforced to let the children of Israel depart out of his
 country;" of which Hood said "there is no such thing in history."  Other
 Christians of their day changed its figure to that of the Apostle
 Bartholmew; and Weigel, to a Cardinal's Hat.
 In some popular books of the present day it is the Kite, which it
 resembles as much as a Scorpion.
 Its symbol is now given as [Astrological symbol], but in earlier times
 the sting of the creature was added, perhaps so showing the feet, tail
 and dart; but the similarity in their symbols may indicate that there
 has been some intimate connection, now forgotten, between  Scorpio and
 the formerly adjacent Virgo.
 Ampelius assigned to it the care of Africus, the Southwest Wind, a duty
 which, he said, Aries and Sagittarius shared; and the weather-wise of
 antiquity thought that its setting exerted a malignant influence, and
 was accompanied by storms; but the alchemists held it in high regard,
 for only when the sun was in this sign could the transmutation of iron
 into gold be performed.  Astrologers, on the other hand, although they
 considered it a fruitful sign, "active and eminent," knew it as the
 accursed constellation, the baleful source of war and discord, the
 birthplace of the planet mars, and so the House of Mars, the Martis
 Sidus of Manilus.  But this was located in the sting and tail; the
 claws, as [Gk] Jugum, or the Yoke of the Balance, being devoted to
 Venus, because this goddess united persons under the yoke of matrimony.
 It was supposed to govern the region of the groin in the human body and
 to reign over Judaea, Mauritania, Catalonia, Norway, West Silesia, Upper
 Batavia, Barbary, Morocco, Valencia, and Messina; the early Manilius
 claiming it as the tutelary sign of Carthage, Libya, Egypt, Sardinia,
 and other island of the Italian coast.  Brown was its assigned color,
 and Pliny asserted that the appearance of a comet hre portended a plague
 of reptiles and insects, especially of locusts.
 Although nominally in the zodiac, the sun actually occupies but nine
 days in passing through the two portions that project upwards into
 Orhiuchus, so far south of the ecliptic is it; indeed, except for these
 projections, it could not be claimed as a member of the zodiac.
 Scorpon is famous as the region of the sky where have appeared many of
 the brilliant temporary stars, chief among them, perhaps, that of 134
 BC., the first in astronmical annals, and the occasion, Pliny siad of
 the catalogue of Hipparchos, about 125 BC.  The Chinese She Ke confirmed
 this appearance by its record of the "strange star" in June of that
 year, in the sieu Fang, marked by [.....] and others in Scorpio.
 Serviss thinks it conceivable that the strange outburst of these novae
 in and near Scorpio may have had some effect in causing this
 constellation to be regarded by the ancients as malign in its influence.
 But this character may, with at least equal probablity, have come from
 the fiery color of its _lucida_, as well as from the history of the
 constellation in connection with Orion, and the poisonous attributes of
 its earthly namesake.
 In southern latitudes Scorpio is magnificently seen in its entirety,
 nearly 45 degrees,--Gould catolguing in it 184 naked-eye stars.
 Along its northern border, perhaps in Orphiuchus, there was, in very
 early days, a constellation, the Fox, taken from the Egyptian sphere of
 Petosiris, but we know nothing as to its details.
 "Antares"  The Ariabians Kalb al Akrab, the Scorpion's Heart, which
 probably preceded the [Gk] and Cor Scorpii of Greece and Rome
 In Buffie Johnson's _Lady of the Beasts_ (Harper, San Francisco, 1981)
 pgs 332-335, there are illustrations and photos of statuatary and
 pottery which show the representation of the Scorpion Goddess, as
 Selket, a woman with the lower torso taking the shape of a scorpion wiht
 a raised tail.  On her head is the "horned" headdress with the disk
 between the horns,the horns and sun disk of Isis. (New Kingdom 1570-332
 bce). A Stamp seal showing two scorpions protecting the rosette of the
 goddess Inanna, from Sumer, ca 3300 bce, and a statue of Selket wearing
 a scorpion on her head, as well as a drawing from Ur, ca 2400 bce
 showing the goddess giving birth guarded by scorpions.
 In the _Book of the Dead_ seven scorpions accompany Isis, when her son
 Horus was bitten by one scorpion of the most deadly species, her
 scorpion friends saved her son out of love for her...and bit the son of
 a woman who had refused to help, then with her magic, Isis then saved
 the bitten boy.  (A classic shamanism motif(. Selket is shown as
 beneficial when associated with Isis, and it is possible that the
 "other" woman is Isis's dark aspect.
 Selket symbolizes resurrection into a new life beyond earthly existence.
 "Gathering the setting sun into her outstretched arms she becomes the
 link between the living and the dead and helps the dead accomodate
 themselves to their new land.  In another aspect, Selket isunited with
 Sirius, as a consequence the star if placed in her crown."  (ibid. p.
 334) Johnson also compares Chamunda, the scorpion deity of the central
 Indian tradition with the other scorpion goddess with the endowment of
 poison which indicates her connection with death and rebirth.
 "The Scorpion expresses the vital spirit in humans which, transformed,
 becomes the divine pneuma.  One of its symbols is the scorpion which
 stings itself to death (E. A. Wallis Budge, _The Gods of the Egyptians_
 vol. 2 (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969), 377-78.
 "The association between serpent and scorpion, both sudden and dangerous
 stingers, appears in the Babylonina and Greek astrological sign of
 Scorpio, which corresponds to the Ctyptian sign of the autumn equinox,
 the serpent.  In esoteric traditions, the scorpion is recognized as a
 spiritual insect rhough its gift of self-immolation and rebirth. The
 venom of the scorpion is said to contain its own antidote."
 the Scorpion as the dual Mother, the one who gave birth to and then
 "swallowed" the divine son (sun) is found in Egyptian myth as the
 Scorpion which killed Horus, sending him to his midwinter death and
 resurrection as his Mother Isis gave him rebirth.  Spirits of the four
 points of the year were called Sons of Horus and placed as small images
 on the pharoah's tombs...a man, bull, lion and scorpion or
 serpent...which seem to have become the four angels of the Apocalypse.
 Istar, Babylonian, "Star" was the Great Goddess who appears as
 Ashtoreth, Anath, Asherah.  She was refered to as the Great Whore, and
 described in Revelation 17:5 as Babylon the Great, the Mother of
 Harlots.  Another of her titles was the Goddess Har, who called herself
 the compassionate prostitute.
 Interestingly enough, in the Voluspa there is mention of the Hall of
 Har, where Gullveig was mentioned as being, who was "held up by spears"
 and who supposedly started the war between the Vanir and the Aesir by
 being attacked  in the hall of Har...which is usually translated as
 Odin.  <G>  There might be a better explanation, now that I think of
 it... I wonder how I missed that before.
 Anyway, Ishtar was also called in Bablyonian prayers: The Light of the
 World, Leader of Hosts, Opener of the Womb, Righteous Judge, Lawgiver,
 Goddess of Goddesses (Vanadis?), Bestower of Strength, Framer of all
 Decrees, Lady of Victory, Forgiver of Sins, among many other 'kennings'.
 Other sources suggest Ishtar was the same Great Goddess as Dea Syria,
 Astarte, Cybelle, Aphrodite, Kore, Mari, Mari-Ana and others.
 Preceding her though were supposedly the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, who
 rescued and/or gave birth to Dumuzi her sacred son/lover just as Ishtar
 did with Tammuz.  Correlating to both was the Egyptian goddess Isis, who
 was the "Oldest of the Old," and the "Goddess from whom all becoming
 Arose," and her title was the same as the Queen Mother of Egypt's.
 Apuleius, a Roman philosopher, poet and Isis-worshipper, addressed her
 under several goddess names:  For the Phrygians that are the first of
 all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which
 are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which
 are girt about by the sea, Pahphian Venus; the Cretans, which bear
 arrows, Dictynian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues,
 infernal Proserpine; the Eleusinians, their ancient goddess Ceres; some
 Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, others Ramnusie...the Egyptians,
 skilled in ancient lore, worship me with proper ceremonies and call me
 by my true name, Queen Isis. (Richard Knight, _the Symbolical Language
 of Ancient Art and Mythology_.  New YOrk: J.W. Bouton, 1892.)
 Isis/Nephthys was, or were, the Egyptian version of the
 creating-and-destroying Goddess, who were also typified as "weeping
 goddesses."  And with other goddesses of this type were known as
 Guardians and Keepers of the Dead, and with the power over life and
 death, and healing.  They can be found in shamanic traditions the world
 over as the Underworld deity and as the Lady of the Beasts.
 [Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright Antares having been at one time a
 symbol of Isis.
 This part becomes particularly interesting to me, since the Isidis is
 very similar to a term used for a particular group of ladies, comparable
 to the Disir of the Norse tradition, the OHG 'itis' or OE "ides" meaning
 applied to earthly women, but also used in kennings as 'goddess.'  As a
 term for 'woman' it also has the meaning of 'virgin'.
 The worship of the Disir occured during the winter nights.  And
 interesting correlation that could be made is that the Celtic and the
 Norse "winter" rites both involve some of the same archtypes and
 ceremonies, especially the duality of life and death and the door being
 open and "unguarded" at that time.  The Wild Hunt Motif would be a
 defining factor here, including both the Dark Mother and the Lord of
 Death.  The disir had two appearances, bright (swans feathers) and black
 (raven or crow feathers)...they were psychopomps, and hardly
 distinguishable from valkyrie at times.  In the Wild Hunt they were
 accompanied by various Gods, Herne, Woden and others in various
 traditions and countries.

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