Ishtar is the multilayered Babylonian creator goddess, the source of all life and embodiment of the power of nature. She is the giver of plenty, a lawgiver, a judge, the goddess of time as well as the goddess of both love and war. Her name means “giver of light,” and derives from her role as Queen of Heaven. She is the planet Venus as both morning and evening star, and her girdle is the zodiacal belt. Ishtar descends to the underworld and restores the vegetation god, Tammuz, to life and thus restores fertility to the earth. As she descends she removes a veil at each of seven gates. While she is underground all life on earth is depressed and nothing comes to life. Ishtar is a multifaceted, powerful symbol of a forthright mode of being that is unafraid to venture the depths of the underworld. She represents the creative feminine, active and strong.
[Maya’s note: We can look at bright Venus in the sky, and invoke these qualities of the “Babylonian Star” into our lives. (Many of the prayers to Ishtar are found, almost word for word—except for the sex change—in the Bible. Ishtar was indeed a Great Goddess.)]