I first met the Goddess Ishtar in November 1999. I’d been walking with the Red Lord for just over 2 years by that point, and my family and I had been living in central Texas for about 6 months of that time. Now there were moments during my walk with Seth when He appeared to me in a female form. These visions threw me for a loop because I wasn’t yet aware of the fact that He’s a “gender-bender.” They were few and far between at first, but they became much more frequent during the autumn of 1999. They also made me wonder if I wasn’t mistaken about who or what I was worshiping; was He a God or a Goddess? Then, one Sunday evening that November, my family and I went on a trip to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Waco. This was a regular weekend activity in my family; it gave us an excuse to drive through the country and see something other than the cramped little apartment complex in which we lived.
While we were en route to the bookstore, I suddenly had another vision of a female Typhon…and then He (or She) disappeared, only to be replaced by the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in dreams. She had long black hair and olive skin, and She was dressed scantily in flowing white robes. I didn’t know who She was, but I fell in love with Her immediately. In that moment, I forgot all about Seth-Typhon and became a devout worshiper of this mysterious Goddess. It happened that quickly, as if someone had flicked a switch. Then, when my family and I arrived at the Barnes & Noble, I found a copy of Merlin Stone’s When God Was a Woman, which draws upon the work of Margaret Murray and Robert Graves. In hindsight, I’ve come to realize that many of Stone’s conclusions in this book are severely flawed (especially her theory that Seth-Typhon was originally a Goddess). But it made a huge impression on me at the time, and I still believe to this very day that I was meant to find that particular book on that particular evening.
The Goddess I saw looked sort of like this.
Stone’s book provided me with some perspective on the Goddess I met in the family car that day (even if the perspective was slightly skewed), but it wasn’t until the following December that I was finally able to give Her a name. That happened when I found Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkenstein’s Inanna: Queen of Heaven. I think it would be true enough for me to say that this book became my own personal “bible” for the next year or so. I should point out that my wife, who’s a priestess of Ishtar, believes that Inanna and Ishtar are two distinct Goddesses. Despite the fact that They’re counterparts and that They share many of the same myths, there is historical precedent for this belief. I’m inclined to agree with my wife on this matter today, but I thought very differently back then. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that the entity I was experiencing at the time was Ishtar, and whether She’s the same as Inanna or not, it was Kramer and Wolkenstein’s book that cemented my faith in Her. I walked with Lady Ishtar for the next year and some change.
I experienced so many meaningful synchronicities during this period. Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999) was out in theaters at the time, and the witchy feminist subtext in that movie immediately grabbed my attention. For Christmas, my parents gave me a DVD that included two Ulli Lommel movies from the early 1980s: The Boogeyman (1980) and The Devonsville Terror (1983). These movies are both pretty bad, but I enjoyed The Devonsville Terror because it was all about these crazy Bible-thumpers who were out to kill a schoolteacher for teaching her kids about ancient Goddess religions. (The film suffers from some very poor writing and direction, but it very clearly tries to present a pro-feminist and pro-Goddess message.) It was also at this time that I first became a total KISS fanatic, and KISS’ music struck me as an excellent soundtrack for Ishtar. (I’m sure some people would disagree with that statement very vehemently, but what do you want? For a sex-obsessed heterosexual male teenager, I think I did well enough.)
But I digress. Meeting Ishtar at this time in my life was a very spiritually rewarding experience. I enjoyed an intimacy with Her that I think is sorely lacking in most religions today. If things had turned out a little differently during the remainder of my time in high school, I might have eventually taken a vow of celibacy and dedicated myself to Ishtar as a sort of “male nun.” There was a time when I seriously considered this option, feeling that perhaps Ishtar was “the only woman” for me (and that perhaps girls weren’t interested in me because She didn’t want them to be). Looking back, I know now that this was completely wrong. Ishtar isn’t monogamous by any means, so the idea of “keeping myself pure for Her” is a blatant self-contradiction. She wants people to screw their brains out, and as long as it’s kept between consenting human adults, She doesn’t care if we swing or have orgies or become polyamorous.
The Ever-Radiant Ishtar
For reasons I won’t explain here, I eventually came to feel that I couldn’t work with a Goddess anymore. At the same time, I think Ishtar was done walking with me too. She certainly didn’t object when I told Her (as politely as possible) that I needed some time and space. It even took me a while to resume my walk with Big Red; only later, after I started college, did I feel “right” in approaching Him again. Looking back, I’m convinced that the visions I had of Seth in a female form were His way of preparing me to spend some time with Ishtar for a while. I don’t think I was ever intended to stay with Her forever; I think I was always meant to be one of Seth’s priests. But for whatever reason, Typhon clearly wanted me to walk with Ishtar for a while, and She evidently agreed. It wasn’t until several years later that I found out what Their reason for all of this was.
In 2009, I met that special lady who would eventually become my wife. I’m convinced that Seth and Ishtar already had this whole thing planned out long before I even met the Goddess in 1999. I think Seth temporarily “traded” me with Ishtar all those years ago so She could determine how good a match I would be for this particular priestess of Hers. After seeing me at my best and my worst, I guess She decided I would do. Then She “traded” me back with Seth, and They both made me wait until the time was just right for my wife and I to meet. We so strongly believe They are both directly responsible for bringing us together that we absolutely had to invite Them to our wedding along with everyone else. They performed a miracle for us, so it seemed only right that They should be our guests of honor and be a major part of our wedding ceremony.
Our wedding altar, with images of Ishtar and Seth
Ishtar and I may not have the same relationship we had before, but I consider Her to be the second most important Deity in my life. I say most of my prayers to Seth, but I occasionally say a few words to Her here and there, and She has a very special place in our humble home. My life certainly wouldn’t be the same without Her, and I’m truly thankful to Her for joining forces with Big Red to bring my wife and I together. We really are a match made in heaven.