Goddess Ningal


Ningal: Goddess of Languages in Sumerian mythology.

Ningal is the goddess of insight and interpretation.

She decodes forgotten languages and misunderstood texts, as well as the meanings of dreams and oracular phrases.

Ningal, who is also a love deity, transforms from the moon god's maiden bride to Inanna's mother, and embraces the role by teaching her daughter everything she knows about marriage, sexuality, and the feminine mysteries.

Ningal, whose name means "Great Queen" in Sumerian and which is also known as Nikkal in Akkadian, was a Mesopotamian goddess who was thought to be the spouse of the moon deity Nanna/Sin. 

She was especially connected to his two primary cult sites, Ur and Harran, but they were also venerated in tandem in other Mesopotamian towns. 

The Third Dynasty of Ur and subsequent Larsa rulers had a special reverence for her.

While Ningal was a significant goddess in the Mesopotamian pantheon and worship of her is documented from all eras of Mesopotamian history, academics claim that the majority of her personality was "passive and supportive." Along with her husband, she served as Ur's tutelary deity; she was sometimes described to as Ur's "woman" or "mother."

It has been hypothesized that Ningal, like her husband, was a part-time astral god based on certain of her epithets.

U5-bi2 was a kind of bird that may have been connected to Ningal, although the evidence is unclear. 

However, it is considered that even in Ur, sculptures of a goddess accompanied by a water bird of the species Anserini, widely known from digs, were more likely to symbolize Nanshe

Other suggested identities for this animal are the greylag geese and the whooper swan. 

Ningal was also known as zirru, which might refer to a female bird. 

Some of Nanna's en priestesses, particularly Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon, were also known to as zirru.

Ningal was shown in a variety of ways, and her iconography is inconsistent. 

Ningal is seen sitting on her husband's lap on the Ur-Nammu stele. 

This kind of representation, which is also found for Bau and Ningirsu, was intended to stress the deities' capacity for cooperation and to show how closely they were connected. 

Ningal has also been shown resting on a lion's throne. 

In addition, it has been suggested that Ningal may appear in artwork as a sitting goddess holding her husband's sign, the moon crescent.

The phrase "hand of Ningal" was used to describe an unnamed skin condition. 

Similar titles have been used to describe a number of other deities, including Sin, Adad, Shamash, and Geshtinanna.

The goddess Ningikuga, also known as the "woman of the clean reed" in Sumerian, was the mother of Ningal. 

Although she is merely another goddess in Enki's circle in an Old Babylonian predecessor of the god list An = Anum, it immediately links her to Damkina. 

In a single balbale composition as well as in an emesal love song, she is specifically referred to as Ningal's mother. 

As "the clean one who purifies the world," Ningikuga might also be the name of a manifestation of Ningal.

Nanna, a moon deity, was Ningal's spouse (Akkadian Sin). 

Although less often than Adad and Shala or Shamash and Aya, they were sometimes mentioned as a pair in the inscriptions on cylinder seals. 

In Hurrian (Kusuh or Umbu), Hittite, and Ugaritic (Yarikh) accounts, derivatives of Ningal were seen as being wedded to various moon gods.

Their two most famous offspring were Utu/Shamash, who stood in for the sun, and Inanna/Ishtar, who stood in for the morning star. 

The most often reported legend about Inanna's ancestry is the idea that she was a daughter of Nanna and Ningal.

The Hurrian and Elamite goddess Pinikir is described as the daughter of Sin and Ningal in an Akkadian text that may be found in a corpus of Hurro-Hittite rites due to her identification with Inanna/Ishtar.

The goddesses Amarra-uzu and Amarra-he'ea, recognized from the god list An = Anum, Ningublaga (the city god of Ki'abrig), and Numushda are additional reasonably often documented offspring of Ningal and Nanna (the city god of Kazallu).

Manzat, an Akkadian and Elamite goddess of the rainbow, makes an appearance in a single Maqlû invocation as Shamash's sister and, therefore, as the child of Ningal and Sin.

Nuska was considered as the son of Ningal and her spouse in later accounts from Harran.

The god list An = Anum attests that Ningal was thought to have a sukkal (attendant deity), like many other deities, however the pronunciation of their name, dMEkà-kàME, is still up for debate. 

Manfred Krebernik believes that this god and the holy messenger Kakka are one and the same. 

Richard L. Litke notes that the gloss is unlikely to refer to a pronunciation of the sign ME that is otherwise unknown and suggests that the god mentioned was called Meme while Kakka was included in the same position in a different version of the list. 

He makes the assumption that Kakka in this context should be viewed as a different deity from the male messenger god who is often linked with Ninkarrak. 

Mari accounts mention a medicinal goddess by the name of Kakka who is connected to Ninkarrak and Ninshubur.

Ningal, who is described as "of Nippur," coexists in an inscription with the Nisaba-like scribe goddess Ninimma, also from that city.

The primary cult centers of her husband, Ur and Harran, as well as Babylon, Isin, Kisurra, Larsa, Sippar, Urum, and Tutub, all had shrines to Ningal. 

Her relationship with Ur was exceptionally strong; literary works have likened her and the city as a mother and her kid. 

She also shows up in laments for the city, lamenting its destruction. 

The Ur-Namma stele suggests that Ningal was probably the most revered deity in Ur's pantheon at the time of his rule.

Ningal was referred to as his mother by Shulgi of Ur. 

Additionally, he converted the Sumerian temple of Nanna in Ga'esh, Ekarzida, where she was referred to as Nin-Urimma, "lady of Ur," into a Ningal shrine.

The Gipar, the home of the high priestess of Nanna, and the temple of Ningal at Ur were united into an one structure during the Old Babylonian era. 

Her main sanctuary inside it was given the ceremonial name Egarku, which is Sumerian meaning "residence, holy boudoir," and can be seen in the inscriptions of monarchs like Nur-Adad and Warad-Sin. 

Eidlurugukalamma, restored by Silli-Adad, was another temple in the Gipar dedicated to her. 

Its Sumerian name translates to "home of the river ordeal of the land." Kurigalzu I constructed a second temple of Ningal at Ur during the Kassite era; its name is still unknown.

Kings of Larsa during the Isin-Larsa era, particularly Warad-Sin and Rim-Sin, actively worshiped Ningal and regarded Ur as a city of exceptional religious and political significance. 

Kings of the Manana dynasty of Kish were also patrons of a combined worship center of Sin and Ningal, the site of which is unknown.

According to letters from Ashurbanipal's reign, Ningal and Sin took over as Kissig's tutelary gods from Inanna and Dumuzi in later times.

Nereb (Al-Nayrab), near the present city of Aleppo, was an Aramaic center of the worship of Ningal that is documented from records from the first millennium BCE. 

It was most likely influenced by the Harran temple. According to records from Ashurbanipal's reign, there was a shrine of Ningal called Egipar in Harran itself, although it was a portion of Sin's Ehulhul rather than a distinct temple.

During the Neo-Babylonian era, Ningal was still revered in Ur. Nabonidus there constructed her temple. 

Ningal was also connected to a bt ili, "house of pressing," which is said to have been a pharmacy and a garden where the components for different medications were cultivated.

The religion of Ningal extended from Mesopotamia to various places, including as the Hittite Empire, Ugarit, and Hurrian kingdoms like Kizzuwatna. 

Cultures that included Ningal into their pantheons kept the idea that she was the moon god's wife and the sun god's mother.

There are a number of Hittite theophoric names that refer to her, with queen Nikkal-mati and her child Ashmu-Nikkal serving as significant examples. 

Ugarit provides comparable evidence.

The Ugaritic Nikkal, also known as Nikkal-wa-Ib, belonged to both the Ugaritic and Hurrian pantheons of the city and is documented as the spouse of both the Hurrian Kuu and the local moon deity Yarikh. 

She is linked to the otherwise unnamed deity rb in a Ugaritic tale, who may have been seen of as her father. 

He is believed to be of Hurrian descent, much like at least some of the composition's own components.

There are relatively few non-Hurrian non-Ugaritic Nikkal attestations from regions where West Semitic languages were spoken in the first and second millennia BCE, however this may be due to selective preservation.

Nikkal is only mentioned in one magical papyrus from Egypt, where she appears as a foreign divinity who is prayed to for help with a particular ailment.

Ningal was born to Ninhursag and Enki in the city of Ur, where the first cities in the marshes of southern Mesopotamia were constructed entirely out of reeds without the use of nails or wood. 

She goes by the name Nikkal and her name means The Great Lady.

She was the first to fall in love with Nanna, the moon god, when she first saw him flying over the night sky as a young, attractive female. 

She accepts his invitation to meet him by the marshes with joy. 

She can't resist him despite being a little bashful. 

She meets Nanna near the marshes, where they spend a number of private nights together while experiencing a passionate and honeyed-mooned love.

Ningal as the Moon God's Maiden Bride.

On the eve of the Dark Moon one night, Nanna bids Ningal farewell and makes a promise to see her again in two nights. 

He ascends to the sky to return home, but soon becomes impatient and returns to Earth in the disguise of a pilgrim to ask for protection. 

He knocks on Ningal's door and urges her to accompany him back in the marshes when she answers. 

Ningal has changed since then. She is no longer as subservient as she was when they first met since she has grown up. 

This time, she is firm and urges him to wait, stating that in order for their relationship to continue, he must first grant her a number of requests. 

Her demands, however, are not made out of self-interest but rather for the good of the marshes, the land, and the progeny of both wild and domestic animals.

~Kiran Atma