Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden (Episode 1) 

Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden 1

By on 29 April 2022

Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden 1

Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden 

After the world has been created with everything that is needed, and life has also been conceived in the form of a little tree by the river, the Sumerian tradition of Inanna, the goddess of love, now begins. She fetches the little tree, which has fallen into the river and is drifting without support, and plants it in her garden. Thus, the history of humankind begins with Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden.

Transcription, translation and interpretation of the 5000 year old texts around Inanna.

 Samuel Kramer

Inanna's history is probably 5000 years old or even older. However, they were written down only around 1800 B.C. by the Babylonian "grandchild culture" (by ruler Hammurabi I; see also From Sumer to Babylon - historical background).
Burned into clay tablets, the texts slumbered in the earth for 4000 years. Then, in the second half of the 20th century, the fragments of the clay tablets could be put together and translated by the Sumerologist Samuel Kramer. His work and the thoughts of Diane Wolkenstein inspired the reflections on the Sumerian mythology carried out here:


WOLKSTEIN, DIANE / KRAMER SAMUEL NOAH. Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. New York 1983

The original text * from Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden:

The tree from the river of life: awareness

who walked in fear of the word of the gods ,
took the tree from the river and said:
"I will bring this tree to Uruk.
I will plant this tree in my sacred garden."

Planting Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden

INANNA took care of the tree with her own hands.
With her foot she pressed the earth around it firmly.

She asked herself:
"How long will it be,
before I have a shiny throne,
to sit on?
How long will it be,
until I have a shining bed,
in which I can lie?"

Interpretations of the underlined words in "Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden":
Inanna's tree
  • A woman-she has no name yet: it could be any woman: The Anima (see below).
  • Fear of the word of the gods - respect for authority, including the authority of parents, a "good" daughter.
  • Tree-symbol of life between heaven and earth, spirit and matter.
  • Bark does not crack - it is not yet time ... Life is still young and green.
The river
  • River-streamof the collective unconscious, "mainstream".
  • The little tree is taken out of the river - awareness: away from a haphazard, arbitrary drifting (Shoots) and towards self-efficacy.
The Tree in the Garden of Eden
  • Uruk-a city in Sumer, between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Inanna was their city deity.
  • Garden-the woman's womb, her abdomen as a protected area (see below).
  • Plantinga tree -taking responsibility in one's own life.
The goddess and her goal
  • "Inanna" - a name for one's own identity with active action! Because she takes the initiative herself, the "woman" gets a name (see below).
  • Foot-Symbol for the external sexual organs.
  • Earth, symbol of the woman's body - It is about the awakening of sexuality.
  • Throne-kingship in one's own life: probably also a "wedding throne" on which the bridegroom was received (see below).
  • A shiny bed: self-determined sexuality

1. the tree in the river: Awareness

The woman on the banks of the Euphrates

First, "a woman" appears on the screen, walking along the Euphrates and seeing a small tree floating in the river.

A woman,
who walked in fear of the word of the gods,
fetched the tree from the river.

"One woman" - every woman: the anima as "goddess".

She is simply "a woman" and thus could be any woman. As a primordial type for the feminine, the goddess represents an anima figure.

An archetype of the feminine, the anima

As a goddess she represents a female Archetype and a Anima-figure. This symbolises the drive in soul and spirit from love, one of the strongest motivating forces, whose manifold form can move, entice, shimmer or seduce.

[S. The Anima - Inspiration and Motivation; The Anima as the inner woman of the man
and the fisherman of Goethe as an illustrative example].

Puberty and Awareness

This woman is still young and in the middle of puberty. (The text does not say this explicitly, but the circumstances and the embedding in the whole mythology leave no doubt about it.)
The theme is awareness, the perception of the environment. So she sees the tree that floats in the river without support.

What does this mean?

The little tree in the river: the uprooted life 

Lost the anchorage

The little tree was already a topic in the introduction of the Sumerian tradition (see In the first days ).Arisen from the stormy passionate meeting of father and mother, it had planted itself at the sweet water of the Euphrates in the middle of the earth. But then the whirling south wind had arisen and had tugged at its branches and roots, so that it had fallen into the river (see prologue II: The father dared the way into the underworld).

The tree as a symbol of life between spirit and matter
Body, soul and spirit

The tree has been a symbol of life with its three realms since ancient times. Thus, the roots symbolized the anchorage in the body and in matter ("MOTHER") and the crown stands for the realm of the spirit ("FATHER"). The two, heaven and underworld, are connected by the trunk, which stands on the earth. It symbolizes life in soul and body (MOTHER and SON; s. The tree of life).

Unconsciousness due to power and abuse

The uprooted little tree, which floats in the river without support, is an image for the young life, which has already fallen into unconsciousness. It is no more an ideal world, rather already the Sumerian tradition describes a spiritual reality which corresponds to the today's one. Already power and abuse have shaken the anchoring of life in matter and in love.

Context I: The great feminine, life itself in unconsciousness (in the underworld)
The torrent: lack of love and the brokenness of existence

The very first lines of the Sumerian traditions tell us that the great mother deity, life itself, has fallen into the underworld, that is, into unconsciousness. With the story of Inanna, she now describes in more detail how this came about, what it means and what the way out can be.

[Back to: In the early days (Episode I.]

The four elements: all of creation affected

The tragedy is: the life in body and soul (symbolized by the tree) and the whole creation (symbolized by The four elements) are affected by this misfortune (s. Sumer: Creation and fall).

  • The little tree has lost its anchorage in the EARTH, symbol of the female body.
  • It fell into the WATER, symbol of the female soul and the unconscious (see water, female).
The swirling south wind contains both "male elements":
  • Fire for the South: burning physical passion.
  • Air for the male soul and dominion in the realm of the spirit (s. The God of Air).
Context II: Uprooting life through power and abuse
The whirling south wind as the god of the air

The hot south, from which the wind comes, is associated with the element of FIRE, which is associated with the male body. The wind is moving air, which represents the element of the male soul. Seen in this way, swirling south wind is an image for the God of the air.

Power-oriented masculinity

He symbolises youthful masculinity in the grip of the negative anima (power through seduction), which, driven by fiery physical desire, becomes encroaching and wants to consume. Thus young life (feminine) is plunged into abuse and unconsciousness (libidinousness).

[S. The loving father and the god of air as antagonists; The Bible's account of the Fall and the mystery of the serpent].

Causer: The South Wind for the God of Air - consuming masculinity
The god of air and his abused daughter Lilith

The cause of the whole disaster is the God of the airwho represents power-oriented masculinity. His name is EnLil (God-Air). His daughter Lilith (from Lil-air and Itu-dark) represents as abused daughter the shadow side of the goddess of love (s. The negative anima). She will already appear in the next section (s. Inanna, Lilith and the Serpent, Episode 2).

With the negative female spirit, power through seduction also appears on the scene.

What this passage expresses is:
Love and life are connected. This is because the destiny of the young tree, which represents life, is connected to that of the goddess, which represents love.

2 The Planting of the Inanna Tree in the Garden of Eden

Respect and mindfulness for life

But nothing is lost yet, because this young woman shows very positive qualities. Thus the text says: "She walked in fear of the word of the gods". From the context it becomes clear that she is therefore by no means a passive, subordinate "female", but rather that she consciously stands in life and has the highest orders in mind. This also includes the preservation of life.

The plan, the conscious strategy

The Meaning and Purpose of Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden

The young woman sees the little tree floating in the river and knows what needs to be done. She gets it out and even has a plan with it:

The young woman said:
"I will bring this tree to Uruk.
I will plant this tree in my sacred garden."

Historical context: Inanna, city deity of Uruk

Around 2100 BC, Inanna, the goddess of love, was chosen as the city deity of Uruk. She was supposed to bring new splendour to the city.

The "sacred garden" of the goddess in Eden

Holiness - wholeness in the union of male and female

She brings the little tree into her sacred garden. This is her protected and demarcated area where life thrives.

The garden as a symbol of the female womb 

Just as a GARDEN on the edge of the great steppe (Eden) is a place of rest for the weary wanderer, so the womb of the woman is a paradisiacal place in which the weary hero finds refreshment. This place as a "garden" is "sacred", for in it comes Wholeness comes about. Thus, from the union of the opposites male and female comes the miracle of new life and new reality.

[S. The Garden of Eden, Paradise: in Sumer!]

Sumerian Gu-An-Edin for the Garden of Eden
GuAnEdin can be translated as "heavenly land on the edge of the steppe".
Sumerian GU means land (like the Germanic Gau); AN is the word for heaven and EDIN means steppe). From this, Hebrew is "Gan Eden" and German."Garden of Eden" has become (s. The Garden of Eden, Paradise: in Sumer!).
Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden: one of the twelve trees in Paradise

The Tree of the Goddess: one of the twelve trees in the garden

The TREE of the Goddess of Love as one of twelve trees in the Garden of Eden corresponds to the Anima and stands for motivation (in the soul-spiritual realm). Her "FRUIT" is physical love, sexuality, which can be enjoyed and is satiating. The Anima symbolises the "tree of knowledge" and stands opposite the Animus as the tree of life.

[S. 12 Trees in Paradise: the inner family and The two trees in the middle. ]

3. The name for divine, seffective action

The conscious individual: INANNA!

Acting responsibly

With this, the young woman, who at first does not have a name, begins to act responsibly. She decides to take responsibility for her own life, symbolised by the little tree. In this way she becomes a unique identity, an individual, and therefore receives her name: Inanna.

Inanna took care of the tree with her own hands.
With her foot she pressed the earth around it firmly.

The name for the divinely conscious identity

The self

As already explained in the prologue of the Sumerian tradition(In the First Days ) ("when man was named"), the name is connected with the consciousness (see also in detail in Sumer: Creation and fall).
The goal is to live and express one's own true self. C.G. Jung called this the process of individualization. Thus man becomes "equal to God".

[S. The self and The Human Consciousness.]

The Jewish tradition also says (Exodus 33:17):

You have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name.

The Meaning of the Name Inanna and the Way of the Woman

From heaven

The name comes from NIN (goddess) AN- (from heaven) -NA (down). The woman begins as a virgin and goddess of heaven in pure love. With the first sexual intercourse she becomes queen of the EARTH (symbol for the female body; s. The four elements) and finally the mistress of the underworld.

[S. Female Wholeness - the Goddess, White / Red / Black and The Feminine Way / The Way of the Woman].

No matter what happened before ...

Inanna has decided to take her life into her own hands and thus enters into her existence independently and creatively.

This makes her a goddess!

Self-efficacy and detachment from parents

It is the self-effective and conscious action that makes man equal to God. This path also includes detachment from parents.

Self-determined sexuality

The Earth and the Foot: Women's Body and Sexuality

A pretty picture: the young goddess pressing the earth around the tree with her foot. The element of earth symbolizes the female body (see The Four Elements). The feet on the other side stand in the traditions again and again veiling for the outer sexual organs:

The foot - symbol for the external sexual organs
Hands and feet for emotional (female) and physical (male) sexuality

In contrast to the hands, which symbolize the female side of sexuality and thus tenderness and emotions, feet represent the male, physical side of sexuality. Example of this in the fairy tales and myths:

  • King Oedipus (= "swell foot").
  • In the fairy tale Cinderella) the size of women's feet is the theme. The heroine has very small feet that fit glass slippers, an image that her ego and drive are small, but her devotion and willingness to serve are large and obvious.
  • The Achilles heel for the male member as the hero's vulnerable point
  • The girl without hands
  • In the fairy tale "Der Eisenhans (2. The Gold Well) the young hero dips his finger into the gold water (reminiscent of James Bond: "Goldfinger").

And thus the next statement is also foreshadowed:

4. the goal: (divine) dominion in one's own life

As a woman, the young goddess has already set her sights on her goal:

She asked herself:
"How long will it be,
before I have a shiny throne,
to sit on?
How long will it be,
until I have a shining bed,
in which I can lie?"

The Throne and the Bed: Partnership

So, as soon as the tree is big enough, Inanna wants to make her throne and bed from its wood. In other words, she is thinking about her female destiny, about love and partnership. These are represented by the shining throne and the bed. Because the throne is a wedding throne, on which she will receive her beloved according to the tradition, and the shared bed means a firm relationship.

This will make her his goddess and him her hero king, to whom she will give her kingdom (see The Woman as Goddess and the Man as Her Hero King).

The goal for the human being: Wholeness

Holy Wedding: the Integration of the unconscious into consciousness

The future wedding, in a broader sense, is also an image of the goal of man: Wholeness. It comes about through the integration of the opposite-sex personality parts and is repeatedly symbolized in the traditions by the marriage of prince and princess / king and queen. In a deeper sense, it stands for the integration of the unconscious into consciousness and leads to kingship (self-efficacy) in life and to full power over matter.

[S. The Conscious and the Unconscious, King and Queen and The Holy Wedding].

But ... patience! (How long ...?!)

But already a small dark cloud is flitting across the sky of the gods. One senses a certain impatience, the Sturm und Drang of youth ... Will it work out?

Inanna's Tree in the Garden of Eden as a Modern Narrative

I am Anna:

The Woman by the River

I'm a teenager now and I'm starting to perceive the world with different eyes, yes, I guess you could say with my own eyes. And so I've come to the conclusion that life is like a river ... you can either let yourself drift along, or you can take it into your own hands.

The uprooted tree in the river

I am beginning to understand that and I have realised it: Adults also have their weaknesses. They do many things only because they want to look good or to compensate for their own frustration. In doing so, they always seek power and superiority.

Mother sometimes annoys me and I don't think it's ok when she takes her frustration out on me. Maybe she is jealous of me? - And then, on the other hand, I also notice that I am suddenly noticed by men ... It's a mind-blowingly strong feeling! And I enjoy being affirmed as a woman in this way!

But on the other hand, it all overwhelms me too. Sometimes I think I'd rather not grow up at all! It's all happening so fast! And the feelings are so strong ... It's like the ground is being washed away from under my feet ... And adult life is so complicated ...

A place for Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden

But I am determined to take my life into my own hands! Nor do I always want to be told how to behave, what to do and how to feel.

Finally I tell myself: I don't have to become like them...
Instead, I try to tell myself to be patient! It will be fine ... You still have a lifetime - YOUR life!

And time will bring what is to come when it is ripe.

The Throne and the Bed

In any case, I will take my life as a woman for myself and live it. I am looking forward to meeting the right man. To him I want to give myself away.

Love is something wonderful. It is the highest good on earth. If I hold on to it, I am convinced that it will turn out well.

Summary and transition:

Inanna, Goddess, Anima and the Temptation of Power

Role model for every woman

This first section describes Inanna as "a WOMAN". With this he presents a spiritual model for femininity, in other words an archetype that "resides" in every woman as the goddess of love. She stands as an ideal, idol or role model for femininity, which prepares to live in self-efficacy and personal responsibility.

The anima: positive or negative figure

The goddess of love represents in its positive form the ANIMA and as VIRGIN, which stands for pure love. In her negative form, the Anima as WHORE or SNAKE, on the other hand, symbolizes power through seduction or delusion. This will already appear in the next section:

In the next chapter: Lilith and the serpent in the Garden of Eden

Power occupies the tree

In the very next chapter, something happens to Inanna's tree in the Garden of Eden: it is occupied by strange beings, by the SNAKE and by LILITH, the dark maiden ...

The years passed; five years, ten years.
The tree grew and became thick,
but its bark did not crack.

* Evidence to the original text:

[1] Translation from Sumerian into English by S.N. Kramer in WOLKSTEIN, DIANE / KRAMER SAMUEL NOAH. Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. New York 1983 (translation from English into German by the author).

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