Facebook is NOT to be trusted

After the school days, I commonly come home and spend about an hour of quiet time in my favorite reading chair. I sit and try to not think about my day, or my ever-growing To Do List, usually while scrolling through social media. I like to think of myself as a silent social media observer. I do not post on Facebook often, but find myself on it looking at what others have posted multiple times a day. A couple of weeks ago I came across this image: IMG_3894 I was completely intrigued. While it is easy to understand that bunnies and chicks and eggs don’t seem to have anything to do with the resurrection of Jesus, I had never heard of this goddess as a reason for these symbols. In fact, I had never heard of Ishtar at all. Sooooooo… I began my research!

Ishtar: Inana(Sumarian): Ištar (Akkadian)

Goddess of Sexual Love and Warfare

It seems to be that Ishtar was one of the most prominent Gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon. She was also referenced in Gilgamesh, Shmoop notes that “the goddess of love and war, has a small, devastating role in the epic. She basically lets all fire and brimstone loose, which leads to a clash with Enkidu and Gilgamesh, which in turn leads to Enkidu getting the death penalty from the gods, which in turn sends Gilgamesh off on his failed quest for immortality.”

Ishtar’s temples: “The main city of Inana/Ištar is Uruk. As one of the foremost Mesopotamian deities, she had temples in all important cities: Adab, Akkade, Babylon, Badtibira, Girsu, Isin, Kazallu, Kiš, Larsa, Nippur, Sippar, Šuruppak, Umma, Ur” (Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses)

This goddess inhabits both masculine and feminine qualities; the masculine side of this goddess shows itself in her warrior persona, and the feminine is displayed in poems of her love and lust. This divide causes Ishtar to be portrayed as both a coy young girl and a femme fatale.

“In human form as the goddess of sexual love, Inana/Ištar is often depicted fully nude. In Syrian iconography, she often reveals herself by holding open a cape. The nude female is an extremely common theme in ancient Near Eastern art, however, and although variously ascribed to the sphere of Inana/Ištar (as acolytes or cult statuettes), they probably do not all represent the goddess herself. A sound indication of divine status is the presence of the horned cap. In her warrior aspect, Inana/Ištar is shown dressed in a flounced robe with weapons coming out of her shoulder, often with at least one other weapon in her hand and sometimes with a beard, to emphasize her masculine side. Her attribute animal as the goddess of war is the lion, on the back of which she often has one foot or fully stands. In praise of her warlike qualities, she is compared to a roaring, fearsome lion (see Inana and Ebih, ETCSL 1.3.2). In her astral aspect, Inana/Ištar is symbolized by the eight-pointed star. The colors red and carnelian, and the cooler blue and lapis lazuli, were also used to symbolize the goddess, perhaps to highlight her female and male aspects respectively (Barret 2007: 27).”  (Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses)

But… After reading all of this… I don’t know how the discussion of Ishtar in relevance to Easter came to be. After all, if Ishtar- the patron goddess of prostitution(Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses) is being referenced on this day that is so sacred to Christians there had to have been a good connection. But as I read, I saw no discussion of eggs, no discussion of bunnies, and not talk about Constantine.

And then I found this blog and it all made sense. There was confusion between the Sumerian Ishtar, and the Eostre- a GERMANIC goddess!

While I won’t waste your time trying to break down how the Facebook image was SO WRONG, I will leave you with this:

Sometimes researchers get their mind blown by accident. Sometimes these inquiries take an odd turn, and THAT IS OKAY! I learned about not one goddess on this inquiry adventure today, but TWO! How neat!

Until next time,

Thanks for stomping out ignorance with me!

Pitta-Vata

Last week in my yoga class, I got injured. I tried to play it off, and not draw attention to the fact that my left hand was experiencing some sort of nerve or tendon pinch. With every vinyasa, I winced because I was unable to put the necessary weight on my hand. After about the fifth vinyasa of teeth clenching my teacher caught on. After she voiced her concern,  and I explained what I was feeling she said, “You’re such a vata”.  I nodded, and smiled because I had no idea what she was talking about- luckily she caught on and explained a bit further.

She explained that vata is one of three doshas (energies) that the body can be. Since I am so focused on my pose form and pushing through the pain, my instructor said that she could sense that I had a lot of vata energy. I once again smiled and nodded because I had never even heard of doshas, or Ayurveda for that matter. So- I went home and explored.

(image credit)

First, what I found is that to determine what your primary dosha is, you can take a short quiz. (I took mine here). The quiz asks questions about body type and condition. It asked questions like, “Is your hair rough, smooth, or neither”. After answering all of the questions the quiz identified me as a Pitta (primary) and a Vata (secondary). At this point, I was still completely unaware what all of this meant, so I furthered my research by asking these 4 questions (things that I DIDN’T KNOW that I DIDN’T KNOW).

  1. What is Ayurveda?  According to Nadya Andreeva, a certified wellness coach from mindbodygreen.com, Ayurveda is a “holistic science of health”. She explains that the idea of this science, or knowledge of life dates back over 5,000 years to when “Indian monks were looking for new ways to be healthy. Revering their bodies like temples, the monks believed that preserving their health would help them meditate and develop spiritually” (Andreeva). Ayurveda is similar to the Chinese tradition of chi but is based in India.   Lisa Munger, who also writes for mindbodygreen.com explains that, “Ayurveda categorizes everything–our minds, bodies, interactions, the natural world, food, energy–as comprised of a mix of five basic elements. Earth, water, fire, air, and space (sometimes called ether).” These basic elements are divided among the 3 principals-or doshas.
  2. What is a dosha? The doshas are the three energies that circulate in the body. The word comes from the Sanskrit word dosa which can translate to either “fault” or “disease”(yogapedia). The energies are separated into three different doshas: pitta, vata, and kapha. These three energies  “govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment” (eathealtaste.com).In total, there are three primary doshic states:

    Balanced: All three doshas are present in their natural proportions; also referred to as “equilibrium.”
    Increased: A particular dosha is present in a greater-than-normal proportion; also referred to as an “aggravated” or “excess state.”
    Decreased: A particular dosha is present in a less-than-normal proportion; also referred to as a “reduced” or “depleted state.”

    (eattasteheal.com)

  3. What does it mean to be a Pitta-Vata dosha? When I took the test, it classified me as a Pitta-Vata, meaning that I have an increased level of both of those energies. Being a Pitta, the primary element in my body is the element of Fire. I commonly am warm, sweaty, or oily. The Pitta in anybody both heats the body and aids the breakdown of complex foods. Pitta also “governs all processes related to conversion and transformation in both the mind and body”. So, physically I am warm, but psychologically Pitta also is firey. Emotions change quickly, and much like a spark can lead to forest fire, moods can escalate. The VATA portion of my being is fueled by the element of Wind. “Just as the wind is balanced provides movement and expression to the natural world, the balanced vata individual is active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to communicate.” (eathealtaste.com). The physical qualities of vata are dry, rough skin, subtle, etc. Since I am both of these qualities, I see them expressed in different facets of my life and body. For instance, the Pitta part of me makes me always sweaty, but the Vata part means that even though I am most commonly cold, I am still clamy or sweaty. The Vata portion of my personality governs my anxieties and the Pitta governs the way that I express them.
  4. What do I do with this information now? Since learning about my doshas I will be able to not only eat according to what aligns with the doshas, but also act and communicate better.

I have learned so much more than I have shared here. But I will leave you with this much. I am being opened up in many ways lately, and the results are amazing.

Heres to stomping out ignorance!