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Incantation to Ishtar

O heroic one, Ishtar; the immaculate one of the goddesses,
Torch of Heaven and earth, radiance of the continents,
The goddess ‘Lady of Heaven', first-begotten of Sin, first-born of Ningal,
Twin-sister of . . . the hero Shamash [the Sun-god];
O Ishtar, you are Anu [the supreme god], you rule the heavens;
With Enlil the Counsellor you advise mankind;
The Word, creator of liturgies and rituals of ‘Hand-washing'.

Where conversation takes place, you, like Shamash, are paying attention,

You alter the Fates, and an ill event becomes good;
I have sought you amongst the gods; supplications are offered to you;
To you amongst the goddesses I have turned, with intent to make entreaty,
Before you is a (protecting) shedu[a genie], behind you a (protecting) lamassu [another type of genie],
At your right is Justice, at your left Goodness,
Fixed on your head are Audience, Favour, Peace,
Your sides are encompassed with Life and Well-being;
How good it is to pray to you, how blessed to be heard by you!
Your glance is Audience, your utterance is the Light.
Have pity on me, O Ishtar! Order my prospering!
Glance on me in affirmation! Accept my litany!

I have borne your yoke; set tranquility (for me)!
I have sought your brightness; may my face be bright.
I have turned to your dominion; may it be life and well-being for me.
May I (too) have a favourable shedu like that before you;
May I (too) have a lamassu like that which goes behind you.
May I garner the prosperity at your right hand,
May I attain to the favour at your left hand.

Lengthen my days, bestow life!
Let me live, let me be well, let me proclaim your divinity.
Let me achieve what I desire . . . .
At the end of the prayer comes the instruction:
Wording of the ‘hand-raising to Ishtar'. Before Ishtar you shall set a censer with juniper-wood; you shall pour a gruel-libation, you shall recite the ‘hand-raising' three times, you shall do obeisance.

The Greatness That Was Babylon. HWF Saggs, p. 327.

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