“…Syrians and Iraqis are both trapped between dictators on the one hand and extremists on the other. An unhappy choice.” from today’s Economist on-line.
Yes, that sounds like the situation for a lot of people — more or less — caught in the crossfire of the Uranus-Pluto square, which is currently ignited by Mars, the planet of war in Libra.
On June 10, a smallish rebel army took Iraq’s second city Mosul, located in the north of the country in the province of Nineveh. As I write, they are just 50 miles from Baghdad and marching south. For English readers, this is the equivalent of Oliver’s army taking Oxford — and we all know who won that particular war — and also, that after a decade or so of no theatre and no fun, it turned out all right in the end.
It’s fascinating that the Islamic fundamentalist group attempting to take over Iraq has as its acronym ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria), which happens to be the name of the great goddess herself. How ironic for a group that seeks to banish women from public life.
And here’s another connection with the great goddess: some historians suggest that the word Nineveh (which was one of the greatest cities in the ancient world, the remains of which lie near Mosul) translates from Babylonian as “the seat of Ishtar”. (Nina was one of the goddess’ names.)
Ishtar was never Mrs Nice. From the fragments left to us, she seems to have been a feisty, fickle, ferocious number. In the most famous myth about her, she descends into the underworld and passes through seven gates on her way down. At each gate she sheds a garment until by the end she is completely naked. Then she attacks the queen of the underworld, Erishkigal.
According to some sources she was the goddess of love, fertility and sexuality, so while she was in the underworld all sexual intercourse on earth stopped. But according to others, she was also the goddess of war. This is interesting because she was the personification of the planet Venus, which in Western and Vedic astrology rules love and fertility, but in Central Asian and American cosmology, is a planet related to war.
Isis was the Egyptian goddess of magic and healing, whose cult eventually spread throughout the Roman empire. The remains of an Isis temple have been found in London.
The word Isis means throne, and her headdress is a pharaoh’s seat. Like Ishtar, she dealt with the dead, bringing her husband Osiris back to life after piecing together his body, and helping dead pharaohs in their journey to the underworld. Isis is also a precursor of the Virgin Mary. She was often depicted dandling baby Horus on her knee.
How any of this relates to the current civil wars in the Middle East, I’m not sure. But I do note that if you look only at the planets which are visible with the naked eye right now, as our Babylonian ancestors would have, the most striking aspect currently is actually the opposition between Venus — associated with the goddesses — and Saturn. On the day that Mosul was taken, the Moon conjuncted Saturn.
Using modern astrology, one might look at Lilith. Lilith is Adam’s first wife, but we can see she is a fearsome evolution of Ishtar. Currently, she is in the sign of the Lion (one of Ishtar’s beasts) and in a peculiar but tight angle to the Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square.
The other Biblical character associated with Ishtar is Salomé, whose dance of the seven veils is equated to Ishtar’s journey through the seven gates of the underworld. Salomé too ends up naked, but her prize is the head of John the Baptist on a plate.
The group ISIS also favours decapitation as a form of execution, of course, but I doubt they are making sacrifices to the goddesses.