Jack of Many Trades

Review: Queen of the Great Below

Originally posted: 2012-02-12

Queen of the Great Below is one of the few devotional anthologies for Sumerian deities and the only one I know of entirely devoted to Ereshkigal. It is comprised of poetry for the goddess, essays about working with her, and ritual.

In large part, I enjoyed the collection. There is a heavy emphasis on Ereshkigal as Ordeal Mistress. On one hand, I enjoyed seeing such a lengthy exploration of this role, since it is not one I see discussed much elsewhere. Ereshkigal is too often brushed aside as a minor character in a story about her sister, when I don't think that is the case at all. She is definitely a Lady who has earned her attention.

On the other hand, I felt as if the devotional was a bit one-sided. While the descent of Inanna is the best known story of Ereshkigal, to focus so much on that single archetype seems to do Ereshkigal a disservice as well. In an entire book, I expect to find a slightly wider range of ideas and topics.

The book is nonetheless excellent reading and definitely worth checking out if you're interested in dark goddesses or Sumerian mythology.