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Happy 4,360th Birthday, Enheduanna!

Posted by sirensays on April 17, 2010

Ancient temple of Ur, where Enheduanna was priestess

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. How wonderful to get back to writing this spring! How perfect that I had an inspired evening this gorgeous night with a newly waxing moon, the scent of jasmine outside and the cool, kind April air. I headed out to an event that I knew would be filled with fascinating, loving people and the opportunity I haven’t had before: to wish happy birthday to a long dead woman I admire, who lived approximately 4,360 years ago.

The world’s oldest known author whose works were written in cuneiform in Ur – ancient Sumer, Enheduanna was princess, poet and priestess of the beloved goddess Inanna. Her works most often exalted Inanna, expressing her love and devotion to this great deity.

Entering the party, I saw that the room was replete with a gorgeous altar, candlelight and a good-sized crowd. There was live music by Jennifer Berezan and Polly Wood and readings of original works by various women in a newly published book called “Talking to Goddess”, edited by D’vorah Grenn. It’s  a lovely compilation of writings by women from different spiritual traditions. The writers include the editor, D’vorah Grenn, well known leaders of women’s spirituality such as Luisah Teish and Vicki Noble, to lesser known but no less excellent writers such as Elka Eastly Vera, whose poem to Kali was incredibly powerful, and Xochipala Maes Valdes, a Yoruba priestess whose longer poem to the orisha Oshun was also powerful and thought-provoking. The insightful, lusty work by super smart sex worker Cosi Fabian was marvelous to listen to, as was the translated work by D’vora K’lilah. I enjoyed all the readings, finding them all moving, intelligent and well written. It was a marvelous way to honor Enheduanna, whose legacy of writing and priestessing seemed to have inspired all of us in attendance.

We eventually got around to singing Happy Birthday to Enheduanna, blew out her candles and enjoyed the delicious, richly decorated chocolate-on-chocolate cake. I was hugged by near strangers, who I joyfully hugged back. I was able to spend time with the beautiful, clever Elka, writer, painter, and creative force of nature. I learned a bit more about Enheduanna, whose work I have read and treasured. One of her scholars, Betty De Shong Meador, couldn’t there tonight, but her story was told and her books were introduced.

When it was time to head home, we walked outside to the spring breeze and the new crescent moon in the sky. It was a wonderful evening, a balm to the digital soul of Silicon Valley.



2 Responses to “Happy 4,360th Birthday, Enheduanna!”

  1. Leila Jo said

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful celebration with us. I am dedicated to Inanna so Enheduanna’s writings have always been a place for inspiration for me. When I read her poetry out loud, I feel the faint desert breeze lift the veil and am transported back to Inanna’s temple with flowers and song and large cats roaming the edges. May she be honoured.

  2. I have a book of her poems to Inanna! Absolutely lovely!

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