Inanna (Ishtar) 'Queen of Heaven' was a deity who played a greater role in the myths, epics and hymns of Sumerian history than any other deity, male or female.
The story of 'The Descent of Inanna' was taken from clay tablets dating back to 2000 BC. These tablets and fragments containing hundreds of myths, epic tales, legends, love songs and fables are scattered throughout museums across the world and their contents are still in the process of being deciphered, translated and pieced together.
The story tells of Inanna's descent to the Underworld, the domain of her dark sister Ereshkigal, of whom she knows nothing. In order to journey to this realm she has to abandon her cities and temples, and she is forced, at each of the seven gates she must pass as she makes her descent, to give up another of her earthly powers, and finally enter 'naked and bowed low' divested of all that symbolised her roles as queen, holy priestess and woman.
In the Underworld she dies and is reborn, eventually to return - but not without paying a terryfying price; that of providing someone to take her place.