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(acrylic on Masonite, 48.5” x 24.5”)


When I visited the British Museum years ago, I strolled through their exquisite Sumerian display. Being as close to Inanna and Sumer as any of us will ever get was breathtaking. To this day, I relish every minute and every fine detail in the artifacts and massive clay reliefs. I remember seeing this gold leaf crown (or a similar one) and these bold gold earrings and decided to dress Inanna as a queen in this painting. Painting the details in the crown and jewelry was painstaking work; I made “gold” paint by mixing four or five colors.


The Owl represented Death to Sumerians. There is a psychic death during every epic ordeal in mythology and in our lives. I painted Owl on Inanna’s hand to show that Death is not waiting for the spiritual warrior in some far-away place sometime later at the end of life. Death is always as near as the next exhalation. Buddhists practice walking with Death at their side or on a shoulder. Knowing Death is near helps us live more fully, generously, and joyously. Befriending Death and confronting the looming fear of being no more or forgotten is a necessary part of preparing for Crossing Over the Great Threshold.

    Inanna’s disrobing during her descent through the Seven Gates prepared her to embrace and endure her psychic Death and near-physical Death. It is the ultimate spiritual goal to die to one’s old self before physically dying. Her


Inanna's Owl Feather Cape and Wings signify her transfiguration into a higher spiritual state.


The red Reed Post: When Sumerians still used pictographs, double reed posts meant “Inanna.” Summer (now Iraq) was a wetland between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where bamboo-like reeds still grow 25 feet tall and are essential in building structures to this day.


Standing On the Back of a Lioness:  To me, the lioness represents fear, ferocity, and courage moving together. Sumerian artists often depicted Inanna standing on a lion, perhaps to symbolize that she had subdued her fear.


Cuneiform etched into the frame:  In the 4th millennium, Sumerians began making pictographs in damp clay to record temple activity and market sales, but over time, using a wedge-shaped reed, they progressed to creating an alphabet and forming words that conveyed spoken language. They even wrote letters and poems enclosed in clay envelopes and made  “postage stamps” from clay. It is because cuneiform developed in Sumer (3200 BCE), Sumerian history, hymns, wars, recipes, and the epic myths of Inanna and Gilgamesh were preserved; if left to oral history and storytelling, we would never know Inanna. This incredible myth has profoundly influenced my life for over forty years, and have also deeply touched many others. 

     I framed this painting in messages written in cuneiform. Over Inanna's crown, it reads “freedom.” Beneath the lioness, it reads “heart of a lion.” Ascending from the lower right corner, it reads “queen of the earth, i.e., Ereshkigal.” The cuneiform beneath Inanna’s right hand (holding the lapis rod and ring) reads “Queen Inanna.” Look on the left side, parallel to the rope wrapped around the last reed post, to see the sun and moon symbols. That pictograph reads something like “Inanna Queen of Heaven.” In the frame are other words, “leader/strong,” “hand,” “grain,” “harvest,” walk/stand,” “earth,” “water,” and letters of their alphabet.


This painting is framed and for sale. 

Small prints available  actual image 5" x 9.5", dimension including white border 8.5 x 11".  $30 plus S&H


One large print left: 16" x 35" (1/4" white border) $110. plus S&H


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