About a week ago, I had a dream that I was asked by a goddess who presented herself to me as a curvy, heavy set African American woman to make offerings and start working with her. She had a large carving made of wood that was supposed to be her icon, an offering of water in a black dish and a candle burning on a table, these were the offerings she requested.
She lived with an elderly grandmother and had four rottweiler dogs and a large Maine coon cat. I did not agree to her request during the dream but hung out with her for a while in what I would describe as a hut, only a bit more modern inside with simple furnishings and a couple modern appliances.
She, her Grandmother and her animals were all very accommodating and friendly. At one point, the woman asked me to go outside and check the temperature and report said information back to her. I agreed and went out to the back deck and found the thermometer mounted on a post.
At this point, I woke up.
After doing some digging, I am quite sure it was an ancient Sumerian goddess named Ninisinna who became synchronized with several other deity’s along the way.
A dog statuette dedicated to Ninisinna for the life of Sumu-El, king of Larsa (1894-1866 BCE). Louvre Museum, AO 4349, image © The Louvre Museum.
“Ninisinna’s primary role was as a healing goddess. She is called “great physician of the black-headed ones”, and her medical activities include incantations and more invasive methods – in one hymn she is depicted sharpening her scalpel (ETCSL 4.22.1, line 11). During the Old Babylonian period she acquired some warlike functions, perhaps due to her association with Inana. Here her scalpel becomes a weapon to tear flesh, and she is described as a storm “whose mouth drips blood…from whose mouth spittle spews constantly, pouring venom on the enemy” (ETCSL 184.108.40.206, lines 13-14).”
“Apart from her connection with dogs, Ninisinna’s iconography is unclear.”
Gula/Ninkarrak is a healing deity also known as Ninisinna, “Lady of Isin”.
“Typically encountered in medical incantations as bēlet balāti, “Lady of Health”, Gula/Ninkarrak was also known as the azugallatu the “great healer”, an epithet she shared with her son Damu. Other epithets, such as the “great healer of the land” and “great healer of the black-headed ones”, point to her wide-reaching ‘national’ significance. Gula/Ninkarrak was also credited as an “herb grower”, “the lady who makes the broken up whole again”, and “creates life in the land”, indicative of an aspect as a vegetation/fertility goddess with regenerative powers. At least in the Neo-Babylonian period, she also seems to have had an oneiric quality, being sought in incubation dreams (Reiner 1960a: 24) and appearing in nocturnal visions (Al-Rawi 1990).”
While it was the information above that initially peaked my suspicions the mystery goddess who visited me was in fact Ninisinna, it was the following testimony from a fellow student of Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery course that clinched it for me:
“OK, this all is going to sound more satirical than I actually mean it to. No disrespect meant to anybody’s practice or pantheon. C. early-90s I OD’d researching goddesses of Egypt and Africa and Middle East and Old Europe in libraries for a course I was teaching. Le Idea Hot Hot Hot, I decided, was to just sit down at my tiny Mac and somehow instantly write a short “goddessy” novel over Spring Break.
I’d read so much my head was exploding. But it would re-explode with Something Entirely Else. Or maybe it was all projection. You decide. Next, I resolved to demand that if real, *they* show up, these goddesses, and show me who they really were. I had no problem working with Nature Spirits and Ancestors, but I felt it had been a long time since I felt any hit from a big en, on the Deity scale.
Just before this incident I call *the involuntary workshop*, I’d gotten furious that some newer scholarship –that actually has a lot of merit in a concrete sense, claimed Isis [and Osiris] were a relatively late imposition [a death cult to unite the Two Kingdoms in a single belief stream that meant a single economic stream] and legitimize re-directing all religious/institutional focus to the North and in the long-view, funding longer, harder, all-consuming afterlife worldview.
The money required to support this is unfathomable in our culture. McMansions for the Afterlife? Ok, you get the idea. One night I lit the candle and incense and fell asleep on the Mac, and into a two-week long *involuntary workshop*. Sleeping way too much, no drugs or substances, not wanting food or water for 2 or 3 days at a stretch but lots of strange time close with this beyond-curvy gloriously gleaming Goddess who only showed herself, pixel by pixel in starlight, with the massive surfaces of her amazing body illuminated just a flicker at a time.
I hardly saw how immense she was because so little of her person could be seen in the darkness. A black stone bowl of water, like yours, a bowl of millet, and her pronouncing what I thought was *Anna-Nana* and the part of her conversation best remember was how she kept insisting * I was the first*, *I was before Isis*. To which I’d respond with *prove it* and *I don’t want illusions*. Sometimes she had a crude, wide half moon of white polished stone in her hand.
Counting, and counting time *by the stars* was something she claimed responsibility for. Temple spaces, chanting, a simple mastic incense, I had seen lots of Goddess imagery, doing the research, much less than what’s available on the interwebz, but she was not like anything I’d seen. She, capital *S*, caught me out there, and I started thinking a little bit along the lines of *maybe They, or This Goddess are simply trying to civilize us* .
My Native American teacher was convinced, for instance, the White Buffalo Calf Woman, a culture-bringer, was from The Stars, and did not desire worship but to change the human mind to look beyond the self. This Sky Black goddess who had the black stone bowl like yours and the millet bowl in a red clay bowl, she impressed me because she insisted it was not really about worship. But that was my own desire at my core, so who knows how much was simple projection?
What tipped the scale for me was, again, she was not like other Middle Eastern or Egyptian deities and from my limited knowledge of the principal [several] African traditional female deities, I didn’t recognize her. I wasn’t ill, I sort of resented the whole experience at a certain level because I feel many of these Deities are energy receptacles, energy sucks, while some seem to be much more, but to what purpose?
Before it was over, my take on her was she had been a local healer superimposed on some En from Elsewhere fulfilling a necessary archetype for women and men to become more fully human, and was a kind of Prometheus in her own right with her knowledge of counting. Whoever, Whatever. There was so much energy devoted by the then-still-novel Goddess Movement that maybe,she was re-energized or relaunched in the Aethyrs from our time, modding the remnant eidolon, goddess-form from most ancient times.
This may sound all rude and unholy, I wanted answers, while loving the Goddess Movement, hating the implications of worship and submission. All that.
No disrespect to anyone’s belief system meant by this vintage Field Report on my time with the Mystery Goddess.
Maybe we get the deities we ask for? This night-black lady looked the opposite of nubile Night Goddess Nuit, and the space she held seemed more on the Hathor scale, with the Cyclopean feel of the Venus Willendoerf but more organized and concentrated, and with more differences from images I’ve seen out of tribal Africa. *or so it seemed*.
So, 2 black rottweilers! Interesting, yeah? A friend initiated into Yoruba talked to me about meeting this Goddess during a rape: she converted from Gardnerian Craft to Yoruba, and felt this en was the origin of not only Isis but Hekate, the oldest oldest, and was accompanied by a big black dog, like a giant pitbull that seemed to split into two. A pit bull came out of no where and attacked the rapist. Then this or a strikingly similar Goddess/en took over her altar, and she changed religion.
For me, there was nothing modern about her, nothing Semitic-Mediterranean about her, as African, and she kept shifting the dark room to a wide plain that was not desert, to layers of buildings. That had *not yet been discovered*. Throughout this encounter I’d track myself and go *that’s just me projecting my archaeology jones, are you kidding me? And then she’d reply *It’s really me they’re calling to* was the claim when I asked her about Isis.
As a kid I had a lot of comfort from some en/goddess who certainly worked for me as Isis, and thousands of years of Egyptians projecting the eidolon certainly had to result in a most ancient Mother Deity.
Then there’s the MATRIX reference to an earthy, hefty take-charge-abuela, possibly Puerto Rican? Perhaps Dominican? not sure… in a row house who bakes cookies while deciding who the next avatar for the aeon is, that’s an image I love. Your most interesting report called up that scene and that Mother of the Multiverse Goddess for me.
This other student’s words presented some pretty hefty instances of synchronicity for me during the reading of her report, in light of my own experiences.
As such, I have decide to start working with her by making the simple offerings requested and seeing where things go from there.
There will certainly be more information to come as this process unfolds.