Accounting for the Seasons

Epic of Gilgamesh (Ishtar)

 Demeter (Greek)


Ishtar, Goddess of Love and War

The goddess Ishtar was the mistress of heaven, a powerful goddess of both love and war. Her first consort was her brother Timmuz. When Timmuz died, Ishtar descended to the underworld to wrest the power of life and death from her sister, the dread Ereshkigal. Leaving her servant Papsukal with orders to rescue her if she did not return, Ishtar descended into the dark land. She started full of bold defiance, shouting at the gatekeeper to open it up before she smashed it down. But at each of seven doors she was stripped of items of her clothing, and with it her power, until she came naked and defeseless before Ereshkigal, who killer her and hung her body on a nail. With her death, the whold world began to wither. But faithful Papsukal went to the gods, and asked them to create a being to venture into the land of death and revive Ishtar with the food and water of life. So Ishtar was brought back to life, but she had to pay a price. For six months of each year, Tammuz must live in the land of the dead. While he is there, Ishtar laments his loss; when he rises in the spring, all rejoice. Reference - a1Return to top



Hades, the god of the underworld had taken a fancy to Core (Persephone) on one of his trips to the upper world so he went to Zeus to ask his permission to marry her. Zeus knew that Demeter would be heartbroken if Core was taken from her to live in the gloomy and lifeless world of Tartarus but he did not really want to upset his elder brother either. He told Hades that he could neither give nor refuse him permission to marry Core. Hades took this as to mean that he could do as he pleased without worrying about what Zeus thought. When he came across Core picking floweres, he abducted her into his chariot and took her back to the Underworld. Demeter was devastated by the loss of her beloved daughter. She went about the earth forbidding any tree to bear fruit, any plant to flower or any crop to grow until the land was completely barren.

The gods of Olympus begged for Demeter to bring fruitfulness back to the earth be she was determined, she wanted her daughter back. Zeus was forced to send Hermes to Tartarus with a message for Hades begging him to release Core. Only those who had not eaten in the Underworld were permitted to return from there. Core had been so miserable that she had not eaten during her stay so Hades had to let her return. One of the servant's said that they had seen her eating pomegranate seeds and so she could not return. Demeter refused to lift the curse off the barren land until her daughter was returned to her.

In the end, Rhea, the mother of Zeus and Hades, exacted a compromise which allowed Hades to have Core in the Underworld for three months of the year where she would reign as Persephone, queen of the Underworld, and that Demeter could have her for the remaining 9 months. Reference - a8Return to top

Index Creation myth Mother of God Death
floods Resurrection Serpents Morals
Seasons Polytheism The Dark Ages Evolution
(From , a site by Maria Shaune which no longer exists)
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