Research Notes

Images of Sumer

Costume and Scene Concepts

Music and Literature of Sumer


Biographies of the Inanna Troupe




Coming Soon




Robert Graves (The White Goddess) speaks of myth as a poetic discourse about highly valued human experience. The myth of the Divine Mother is about the experience of human consciousness & its counter-part, the Unconscious. (“Unconscious” used here means Pure Awareness)

The void, before time begins, lies in a state of inertia. Here is the unvarnished nature of the Unconscious – a state of deep calm and stillness. All the elements of creation are dissolved into a homogeneous whole. “Silence lay upon the face of the deep.”

The state of potential is called “the empty fullness” in Indian philosophy. In meditation – when thought ceases to be in the foreground, one can experience the listening that happens as an empty fullness.* (see the close of the story for an exercise.)

The myth starts in the darkness of deep sleep where there is an absence of self-consciousness. In this state of void, all energetic polarities are submerged. But the submerged energetic polarities presuppose activity, which indeed comes.

The Divine Mother represents the Unconscious, the matrix of all psychological functions. She is the primal state of all being, is impersonal – as all gods & goddesses are because they are metaphors, therefore, timeless, poetic, non-historical.

Siva, like Enki, creates, appoints duties, organises
the world. Siva is also a trickster.

Vishnu, like An, is the sustainer god. It is in the dream of An (Sky) & Ki (Earth) , the black haired people came to be.

All are in deep sleep floating on the oceanic waters of the Unconscious, which is the container, like a mother’s womb. To put it another way, this is the prenatal state of creation.

Brahma, like Enlil, creates in meditation. He is the Hiranyagarbha (the causal body). He waits to break open. All things wondrous come from him. Enlil is born of the dream of An & Ki and soars into the nowhere. He breaks free to create life.

The Divine Mother like Nammu & Inanna,
the feminine principle, creates inertia & opposes inertia. She sits in a state of tension previous to creation - this tension is in an undifferentiated state. The polarities do not conflict with each other. Ego consciousness is not yet born to take sides with one or the other pole. She waits.

The demons are the first to differentiate from the
whole. In human experience, there is respite from
anxiety and strife. However, tumult will eventually break forth in the psyche.

There is movement. An unseen power speaks. – Who/What is the power that holds the Lord (Lady) of the Universe under control. Who is more powerful than the sustainer, Vishnu (An)? Inanna asks this question. And goes to the Underworld to find out.

The anima is a dynamic force, an energy, and it will follow its natural course in movement as: fascination, fear, desire.

Her duality becomes clear:

We find out with Inanna, the power is she. She is the power behind all the gods – the mother of all. She holds the energetic activity in balance.

She is part of the Trinity (Vishnu, Brahma, Siva) and is the container of the Trinity. She is the primordial waters of the womb which contains the undifferentiated ego (that which is yet to come). She is the deep sleep (the Yoga Nidra) and she is the opposer of inertia so creation can happen. She is the creatrix of life outside herself by ending the deep sleep so the Universe may come into existence. She plays varying unseen roles according to the predilections of individuals with the sole aim they may realize their true tension and conflict. Thus, she is known as Nature (Prakrti), the name of all energic tension; full of dynamism of instinct and emotion – i.e.

“She makes us believe in incredible things, that life may be lived. She is full of snares and traps in order that man should fall, should reach the Earth, entangle himself there and stay caught so that life should be lived.” (CG Jung. CW9-Pgs. 26-7)

She teaches the heroes of the world (Dumuzi).
The myth shows through the destruction of the twins that creation and destruction as dynamic forces in the psyche are also twins, -separate poles on a continuum. Sleep ends so consciousness can begin, the unfinished task of fulfilling one’s destiny can be completed.

The Divine Mother separates herself from the whole, from the body of the sustainer gods, and stands behind, watching, smiling out of compassion. Human psyche has an observing consciousness i.e. Inanna who lends her ear to the Great Below and Ninshubur, who waits in the Above World. (Consciousness)

When the twins die, their energy is released. Their dynamic is freed so the work of creation can begin. We human beings sleep and awaken to tumult countless times in a lifetime to fulfill our destinies. In today’s world, the process appears a little scary as we collectively awaken to the tumult.

The feminine ARCHETYPE is:


She contains within herself and creates outside herself the three principles (gunas) necessary for existence: Royal Power, Extroversion (Rajas), Heaviness, Introversion (Tamas), and Joyful Exuberance (Sattva). These are psychological functions. They may be expressed as rightful anger or declaration, introspection or depression and delight. They are also necessary ingredients in the expression of Nature, itself: life force, a time of dormancy and a time of unselfconscious joyous presentation. Each state is a necessary counterpart to the other.

“It is quite impossible to conceive how ‘experience’ in the widest sense, or, for that matter, anything psychic could originate exclusively in the outside world… The structure is something given, the precondition that is found to be present in every case. And this is the Mother, the matrix… the form into which all experience is poured.”




Pantheon of Gods Appearing in the Play

Brief History & Geographical Description of Sumer

Related Myth: Creativity and the Dual Nature of the Divine Mother

Lists of Objects


There is an interesting similarity between the Sumerian Creation Myth and the Indian. For millennia both these myths were told by word of mouth and were finally written down around 3500BC.

In the Sumerian myth, the goddess Nammu sits in the primordial waters that surround a bubble or a box. What is in the box? – a promise of Life. In the Indian myth, the promise of Life in the form of an unhatched thought, sits in a golden egg, the Hiranyagarbha.

Here is the story of the Divine Mother as it originated in India. I chose this tale because it best illustrates through the vision of ancient seers, the psychological ground out of which the Laws of Nature rise. I tell the story as a dear friend told it me in a village on the outskirts of the Gir Forest in NW India.


The Story

In the beginning, all the world was void. There was no sound. There was no space. There was no here or there. There was no thing. There was no movement. There was no thought. All was dark and silent.

You see, all that was not and all there was to be, rested in a state of potential – not in a space that could be pointed to. Material places and objects had yet to appear.

In your mind’s eye, see Siva, the god who creates and ends all things in the world, standing with one foot raised. He has just finished his Tandava dance of Destruction. All things colorful and marvelous to the senses have returned to the womb of timelessness. His drum is raised. He waits, listening. Soon he will begin his dance of Creation.

See in your mind’s eye, the mighty god Vishnu. He is the god that sustains Life. It is in Vishnu’s dream that we all exist. How fragile and tentative is our hold on Life. Should Vishnu awaken from his dream all potential for Life will evaporate, never to return. He is stretched out on the body of a thousand headed cobra. The thousand heads protectively arch over the sleeping Vishnu as the dreaming god and serpent float in the deep primordial ocean.

Out of the navel of Vishnu there grows a thousand petaled lotus. Within the blossom sits Brahma, the god of Wisdom. His eyes are closed but he is listening in meditation. He waits for the moment to bring all things colorful and marvelous into being.

See in your mind’s eye, the Divine Mother. She sits in silence. Her eyes are wide open and she is listening. A smile quivers slightly at the corner of her mouth.

Suddenly, from the earwax of Vishnu, twin demons burst forth. They scurry around. They dance and shout in wonder. “Who made this cosmic ocean?” They increase their yelling and ranting and teasing, convinced there is a creator somewhere. So they call out, “Who will awaken and pay heed to us?” None of the gods stir. The Divine Mother observes.

Into the consciousness of the twins comes a resonant sound, sweet and full. The tone hums through their bodies and they repeat the tone sensing its deep power. They go into samhadi, a state of
pure consciousness that occurs when
fully absorbed in meditation.

Five thousand years later a beautiful voice awakens them, “Demon brothers, I am pleased by your devotion. Ask a favor and it will be granted.”

The twins look all around but they cannot find the source of the voice.

After visiting each of the gods and receiving no response, the demons approach the Divine Mother. She fastens her eyes on them. They are encouraged and say, “We demand this boon from you. Give us eternal life or we will awaken Vishnu!”

“I cannot grant you eternal life. All things must die.” the Divine Mother replies.

“Alright.” they say. And they enter into whispered consultation with each other.

They return to her, saying, “We demand you grant we shall not die in the air, on the ground or in the sea.”

“Granted.” The Divine Mother says. The twin demons look at each other in disbelief their bargain should be so easily won. The Divine Mother smiles.

The demons rush to Vishnu and try to awaken him and Brahma grows afraid in his meditation. “You cannot kill us!” they chant. But no matter what they do they cannot awaken the god.

Brahma begins to worry. He says, “What power holds even the Lord of the Universe under its control? And he begins to pray to this power. “Oh Great Deluder. Oh Deep Sleep of Yoga. You who are more powerful than all the gods, have pity on me, Enchantress. Awaken Lord Vishnu. Release him from your power or destroy these demons yourself! I am afraid of what these demons will do. I have no power over them!”

When Brahma implores the Divine Mother so piteously she separates herself from the body of Vishnu and the cobra.
Vishnu opens one eye and says to the demons, “Do you wish this dream of Life to end?”

“What do we care.” they respond. “You cannot kill us. We cannot die. The Divine Mother granted us a boon. Not on land, in the air or in the ocean, can we be killed.”

Vishnu and the twins battle for five thousand years. Exhausted, and seeing he is getting nowhere, Vishnu looks behind him to discover the Divine Mother is aiding the twins. He appeals to her for help. Out of compassion, the Divine Mother reveals herself to the twins as a beautiful maiden. The demons, distracted by her extraordinary beauty, fall to silence.

Vishnu raises himself and rests on an elbow. He plucks one of the demons from the ocean. Holding him high, Vishnu crashes him down upon his massive thigh, splitting the demon in two. Plucking the second demon from the ocean, he repeats the act. There is silence once again and Vishnu returns to his dreaming sleep.

Siva bangs his drum. His foot descends and he slowly begins his dance of Creation. Brahma continues in meditation, eyes closed, listening. The Divine Mother sits listening, her eyes wide open, a little smile playing at the corner of her mouth and Vishnu dreams.


*A Little Exercise

An experience of the “empty fullness”, that quality of listening silence that sits within us and around us, is readily available.
If you are not used to meditating try this:

Firstly – sit in a quiet place, somewhere comfortable.
Close your eyes and breathe in a relaxed & natural way.
(You might want to take a couple of deep breaths just to get the cobwebs out of your lungs.)

Secondly – Allow your thoughts to pass by. Observe them. They may still be a little clumped together or hazy and unclear.
Just have patience. Wait. Relax your lower back muscles & the muscles around your intestines. Let your shoulders drop.
There goes one thought. And another.

Thirdly – When you observe your thoughts following each other in a steady stream – drop into the space between thoughts. Observe.
For the shortest moment you may experience “no thing” in the space where thinking occurs (consciousness). Yet, on the other had, there is something. What is happening?

You will find you are listening. When you are listening, there is silence. In that silence there is potential – something has not yet emerged into the thinking space … but is about to.

Prenatal state of creation : -)


*Another Little Exercise

If you have clock handy – one that has a pendulum – Anniversary Clocks are particularly good - observe the pendulum move in its prescribed arc.

It begins its movement.

It reaches its furthest point.

It pauses for just the tiniest moment before returning to its start point. The pendulum appears to have no movement, yet …

Jump into the pause.

Open your whole body up to experience as the pendulum pauses,,,

Empty Fullness


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