The Eight-Pointed Rosette Star of Inanna

Categories: Articles,Goddess Related

In exploring the numerological aspects a bit further, I have also come to understand other correspondences, for example, the relationship of the number eight to Inanna and to her sacred planet-star. This number, the eight, “is linked to the Goddess, astronomically, by the seventy-two day season during which her planet Venus moves successively from maximum eastern elongation to inferior conjunction (closest approach to earth) and thence to maximum west elongation.” [17] Perhaps ancient astronomers counted the voyage of Venus across the night sky and, rather than counting the rays of the planet-star to come up with the significant number eight, derived it from Venus’ path of nine times eight days, therefore basing their sacred respect for the number on concrete physical evidence from the heavens.

Robert Graves notes in relation to the importance of these two numbers that, “nine [is] the number of lunar wisdom, and eight the number of solar increase.” [18] However, I believe a better connection of nine with the sun and eight with the moon more accurately reflects Inanna’s association with the moon (she is the daughter of the moon god and goddess) and her eight-petalled rosette star emblem. Support for this ordering of correspondences comes from the connection of the number nine in the Tarot with the Sun. [19]

Interestingly though, Graves states in a footnote that both numbers, eight and nine, were, “favourite objects of Pythagorean adoration,” [20] an obvious carry over from the more ancient times in which the Goddess reigned. This correspondence of eight and nine to the moon and the sun, no matter which is assigned to which, may also be a reflection of the interest of alchemical studies, as well as of Hinduism and other traditions, in balancing the masculine and feminine principles, for the sun in many religions is representative of the masculine energetic, and the moon of the feminine.

Looking at all of the ways in which the traditions I have explored in this essay interconnect, it seems to me evident that even if there was no one source for these ideas, there was at the very least a common collective understanding at one time of the physical realities and properties of the natural world and a sacred relationship to them. Whether in Sumer, in India, in North America or the Far East, images of the goddess, as well as symbols of her divine nature and accompanying qualities, have survived, giving her breath to inform these various cultures of her mysteries. Although buried behind layers upon layers of patriarchal context for most of us, our task today is to reconnect to the source of her wisdom through the multitudinous spiritual disciplines at our disposal, whether they be religious, mystical, mathematical, or in the simple witnessing and recognition of the beauty of the world.

It also seems appropriate that as we today search to give a meaning to our lives in these times of planetary crisis, we are beginning to reconnect to the ancient roots of many of the symbols that we have taken for granted or have not known connected to something deeper; symbols whose sacred significance has for most of our recorded history long been ignored or forgotten. Thankfully though, the Goddess as Universal Mother can help us to dive into the primordial well of remembrance in order to resurface memories and intuitions important for the creation of human as well as Gaian wholeness. May we seek always to know the truth of our past, so that we may all move peacefully towards tomorrow.

[1] Walker, Barbara G. The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. (Harper & Row, San Francisco) 1988, p. 68
[2] Allchin, F.R. Essay, “The Legacy of the Indus Civilization”, appearing in Transformations of Myth Through Time: An Anthology of Readings. HBJ; 1990, p. 163
[3] George, Demetra. Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. (HarperSan Francisco) 1992, pp. 176-177
[4] Harding, Elizabeth U. Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar. (Nicolas-Hays: Maine) 1992, pp. 80-81
[5] Javane, Faith and Bunker, Dusty. Numerology and The Divine Triangle. (Whitford Publishers: West Chester) 1979, p. 145
[6] Chernin, Kim, Reinventing Eve: Modern Woman in Search of Herself. New York, 1987, p. 155
[7] Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. (Harper & Row: New York) 1983, p. 7
[8] Walker, Barbara G. ibid.
[9] Jaffé, Aniela. “Symbolism in the Visual Arts”, in Man and His Symbols, edited by Carl G. Jung, (Dell: New York) 1964, p. 267
[10] Parfitt, Will. The Living Qabalah: A Practical and Experiential Guide to Understanding the Tree of Life (Element Books: England) 1988, p. 156
[11] Jaffé, Aniela. ibid.
[12] Walker, Barbara G. ibid, p. 139
[13] Javane, Faith and Bunker, Dusty., ibid., p. 114
[14] Grahn, Judy. Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World. Boston, 1993. For example, see p. 46
[15] Walker, Barbara G. ibid, p.78
[16] Jaffé, Aniela. Ibid., p. 266
[17] Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, Farrar, (Strauss & Giroux: New York) 1948, p. 251, referring to Mr. Clyde Stacey (without reference).
[18] Graves, Robert. ibid.
[19] Javane, Faith and Bunker, Dusty, ibid., p. 149
[20] Graves, Robert. ibid.

5 Responses to "The Eight-Pointed Rosette Star of Inanna"

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