Day 22 – Symbols: the tree (of life)

Today I went to the British Museum (see my blog and I saw a book about the tree as a symbol. I looked through the index, and it wasn’t there –

The Huluppu Tree was missing!!!

This is not the place to recall the whole story of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree – though I highly recommend it and will write about Inanna, in particular, at a later stage. Suffice to say that the tree stood at the beginning of life, was “the tree of life”, uprooted by a flood, rescued by Inanna who planted it in her garden and tended to it. This isn’t the end of the story but enough for the moment.

Inanna is an ancient Sumerian Goddess – the goddess; goddess of war and love and the most powerful image of femininity that has ever existed.

The tree is of spiritual significance in many religions and cultures, for example (source):

  • the Norse God Odin received the gift of language while suspended upside down in the World Ash;
  • Buddha received his enlightenment under a Bodhi tree;
  • and the tree of heaven in the Bible sits at the center of creation … bringing first Eve and then Adam to fall (okay, the snake, not the tree itself).

Notice something??? There’s a logic here:

  • Tree + powerful men = recalled and reported
  • Tree + woman failing and being punished by God = recalled and reported

You will have heard of Odin, of Buddha, of Adam and Eve and the God of the Bible. But Inanna??? In ancient Mesopotamia, she was probably the most powerful force. The kings of the time obtained legitimacy for their status and power only through symbolically marrying her. If they were successful in battle, she was credited with it. She cultivated the tree of life at the beginning of time. And, yet, her Huluppu Tree gets “forgotten”.

Let it be known that she is not!





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