- Attributes: Goddess of death and transformation, queen of the underworld
- Symbols: Horses, lions and death itself
- Place: Mesopotamia
Inside a palace of Lapis Lazuli lies a large black-haired nude woman who draws the dead to herself. This is the Goddess Ereshkigal, Queen of Irkalla or Attalu, the underworld in Sumerian and Babylonian Mythologies.
Sometimes she is also called by the name of the lands which she rules. She is depicted nursing lion cubs or mounted on a dark horse. She is Goddess Inanna‘s sister.
It is also said that she ruled the underworld alone for a long time, but fell in love with Nergal, who sent her food offerings during a banquet. As only the dead could remain in the underworld, he was forced to leave her. Ereshkigal was so irritated by his departure that she threatened to bring all the dead back to life. Under such threat and fearing the consequences, the great God Enki allowed Nergal to return whenever he wished. In this way, Nergal and Ereshkigal remain together and reign in the underworld.
Counterpart to the sky
Ereshkigal is seen by scholars as a different facet of Inanna, as the two also represent the changing seasons of the year. The first sister represents the winter, as well as Cailleach in Ireland, because the plantations die and the land becomes unproductive. The second sister represents the spring, when everything flourishes again and becomes fertile.
In Wicca we can associate her as the Crone face of the Triple Goddess. She is powerful, fearless and causes transformation. One of her symbols is the black horse, which also represents change: once death is nothing more than the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.