Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of Love and War, embodied in the two aspects of the planet Venus--as Evening Star, She brings lovers to celebration and bed; and as the Morning Star, She brings the fiery sword of War. She represents one of the many faces of the ancient Near Eastern Great Goddess.
As goddess of love and sex, Ishtar is the force that draws mates together and brings fertility, both for humans and animals. She is goddess of courtesans, and sacred prostitution was part of Her cult.
As goddess of war, Ishtar takes part in battle and is shown standing on the back of a lion bearing bow and arrows. She was known for a fiery and fickle temper which usually spelled doom for Her lovers.
In the legend, Ishtar determined to visit Her sister Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. At each of the seven gates of the Land of the Dead Ishtar, like Inanna, was required to give over an article of clothing or jewelry until finally She came naked and humbled before Ereshkigal, who then imprisoned Ishtar.
The world mourned for the lost goddess of love, and Her father Sin the Moon God sent an envoy armed with powerful magic who successfully rescued Her. The descent of Ishtar was celebrated annually in Babylonian lands.
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