Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Julye Bidmead


Ereshkigal, the Mesopotamian goddess of the Netherworld, represents the dark feminine that the gods have snuffed and robbed. The famous story of Inanna’s descent into the underworld had a hyper-focus and bias towards Ishtar, Ereshkigal’s sister, the goddess of love and war. The descriptions of the pitiful Goddess Ishtar being stripped of her regalia and adornments passing each gate and how God Ea had cunningly come to her rescue are to distract the truth of Ereshkigal, in her loneliness and bitterness of her fate. While her sister, adorned with lapis beads across her neck and body draped in royal robes, Ereshkigal, is naked, only covered in the ashes of her land.

Ishtar was given the power of fertility and sexuality; she is useful in a world that requires children to continue the family line and sexuality to be for the delight of men. Ereshkigal’s power comes when life has ended; when all valuables, money, and possessions are no longer, and the only period of their existence is unknown and uncontrollable. The dark feminine archetype (Ereshkigal) differs from the femme fatale

(Ishtar); is neither beguiling nor seductive but embodies rage and vindictiveness towards the judgment and confinement women have endured. The only reason for Ishtar’s resurrection was Ereshkigal’s honor towards her promise to the androgynous creatures. The actual victim of the story of Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld and the person who needed saving had been Ereshkigal all along


Presented at the Fall 2023 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.