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Volume III
TITLE ~ Queen of Heaven: The Life and Times of Mary Magdelene

Chapter 31

     The Fourteenth Day of Nisan was the fast of Taanit Bechorim, the fast of the firstborn. But as the day wore on, the excitement leading to Erev Pesach grew unbearable. Everything was ready. The fasting of Taanit Bechorot was fading with the light as Shennesh folded his cloak over his eyes, and the sun began to set. As the sun touched the horizon, Miri sat, dressed in a gorgeous red brocade, and her silks were matching reds. The brocade and silks were the best Damsacan cloth. Yusef sat beside her dressed in his own finery, and they glittered grandly. Sister Miriam, Martha, Yohanna, Susanna and Benjamin all sat impatiently awaiting the sunset.

     The entire household seemed to be holding its breath. Yohanna and Chuza held hands, and she linked arms with Yusef who held Miri’s right hand. Susanna had squeezed under Miri’s left arm, and she held Benjamin’s hand. Sister Miriam sat opposite, flowers in her hair with Martha. Eleazar fretted and paced.

     “Eli,” said Miri, “Sit!”

     “I can’t!” he said, and continued his pacing. Susanna slipped from under Miri’s arm and walked out to the gate. She opened it and peered down the street. Unable to bear the tension, everyone else followed her out into the street. The way was dark, but lamps lit in the windows along the way flickered from neighbourhood windows, and cast dancing shadows across the cobbled lane.

     “Let’s go look!” said Susanna, and she pulled Miri after her, to stand at the brow of the hill overlooking Yerushalayim. All about the people parted before them, for the way was jammed by pilgrims and every available open space was filled with tents and mats. Banners flew everywhere announcing the tribes from the far flung corners of the world. The air buzzed and vibrated with languages from every land. Such was the community gathered about, that it seemed that the entire Universe had opened out at her feet. Finally, they found a knoll upon which to stare out at the Temple Mount.

     At that very moment, the sun set, they heard the shofar sound from the Temple Mount, and a great shout went out and spread outward from the Temple and passed like a wave over them. Erev Pesach had begun. As if by magic, lights flickered all across the landscape as people lit the candles and lamps to begin the Feast of the Paschal Lamb. Torches arose from the parapets of the temple and Antonia. A song arose from a thousand throats.

     “Praise ye Our Lord, Most High” sang the voices, and a procession of torches danced across the Kidron, emerging from the Lion Gate, and Miri knew in her heart, Yeshua and his disciples were coming for her. In that moment, she knew she was marrying more than a man. Now more than ever, she knew that he was the Messiah. She could feel her birthmark tingle, and the feeling grew as the procession advanced towards her and the song rang in her ears. It seemed as thought he whole world was singing of his coming:

     “And Praise, ye Our Lord, Most High!

     O ye servants of the Our Lord,

     Praise the name of Our Lord, Most High.

     Blessed be the name of Our Lord,

     From this time forth and for evermore!

     Praise ye the name of Our Lord,

     From the setting of the sun,

     Until it rises again!

     Praise ye the name of Our Lord,

     Praise ye the name of Our Lord,

     High above all nations,

     And place his glory above the Heavens.

     Who is like unto the Our Lord,

     Our God, who dwells on high,

     Who humbles himself to behold the things that are in Heaven,

     As they are on Earth!

     He raises the poor from the dust;

     And lifts the needy from the dunghill;

     And sets them with princes,

     Even beside the right hand of the princes of his people.

     He takes the childless woman to his house,

     Thet she be a joyful mother of children!

     Praise ye Our god, Most High!”

     Great cheers arose, and the sound galvanized the bride’s party to lift their robes and flee to the sanctuary of their house to await the Bridegroom. They laughed from the excitement, and the people around, though a few tongues clucked at the inadvisability of wedding on Erev Pesach, most were buoyed by the added layer of celebration.

     Though it seemed to take an eternity, they could hear the made blowing of the shofar from the bridegroom’s party growing ever louder, and then, the voices of Yeshua and his friends reached their ears as they sang wedding songs, and finally, the long anticipated knock came to the door. Miri felt as though propelled through a dream, for this was the same place where her sister Yohanna had begun her marriage, and now, it was her turn, and her stomach filled with butterflies.

     “I’m going to be sick!” she said weakly.

     “Absolutely not!” commanded Eleazar, “We are not waiting for you to relieve yourself!” He held her elbow to give her support. “Deep breath! he whispered and they drew in their breath together, as Yusef went to answer the door.

     “Who is there?” called out Yusef.

     “It is I, Yakov of Bait Lehem!”

     The reply drew a snicker from someone in the courtyard, for the image of Yakov hailing from the House of Bread was a picture that was fraught with intense comic possibilities. Miri glanced over at Susanna, and the young girl, flowers in her hand, smiled back. The men without began to chant “Open the Door! Open The Door!” and Yusef over the din called out, For what reason shall I open the door?”

     And Yeshua’s voice, rang out “I, Yeshua the Nazorean, have come to speak my vows to Miriam, Queen of Heaven!”

     A flurry of voices rose in wonder, for the words were not what they expected.

     “It is her Bridegroom, who awaits without!”

     “Dumuzi!” whispered Miri, though only Sister Miri heard her.

     She took a deep breath as Yusef opened the door.

     “You have the marriage contract?” asked Yusef..

     “I have the contract!” replied Yakov..

     “You have the ring?” called Yusef.

     “I have the ring!”

     “Then enter, Yeshua bar Yusef,” called out Yusef and pulled back the bolt, “You may claim your bride!”

     With that, he flung open the door.

     The men poured into the courtyard with a great cheer, and Yeshua stepped forward to present the contract to Yusef. He recognized Sister Miriam’s hand and smiled. She was gifted, and he made a note to ask her to prepare a copy of the Torah for him. He read the contract while the fishermen of Galilee gathered about him and sang a rousing song about the Sons of Israel and danced arm in arm about him. Finallym he glanced up at Yeshuam and smiled broadly.

     Yeshua handed Yusef an exquisite alabaster vase. “I have no coins!” he said softly. Yusef accepted the vase. It was filled with a strong aromatic oil. Once the gift was accepted, the men of Galilee erupted in cheers,a nd Miri stepped forward.

     Yusef handed her the vase, and radiant, she walked to her bridegroom and the entire court fell silent, as she was more beautiful at that moment than they had ever seen her. Some later said she shone as with a light.

     “I have fragrant oils,” she whispered to Yeshua, “All I ask from you is your Heart!”

     “To you I give my Heart,” he said.

     “And to You Mine!” replied Miri, For my Heart is but a window to my Mind!”

     “And My Mind is the Pathway to My Soul!” replied Yeshua.

     “My Soul is Yours!”

     The wedding party brought the Chairs upon which the Bride and Groom would be carried to the Chupah awaiting them in the Holy City.

     “That is all I require!” finished Miri, and pushed Yeshua into his throne.

     She knelt before him, and turned the stopper of the carved jar to break the wax seal, and poured a handful into her palm and bending over, wiped it upon Yeshua’s feet. She emptied most of the vial onto his feet, and the last tenth she poured out onto the ground.

     This caused a great deal of consternation, for the disciples had spent most of their money on the gift for Yeshua as a bride price, and now Miri was pouring out a fortune into the dust.

     Yeshua smiled, and their eyes locked and their tears flowed. Miri had no towel with which to wipe Yeshua’s feet, and so she removed her veil and let out her hair, and wiped the oil from his feet. He reached down and brought her to her feet, and she pressed her oil-covered fingers to his brow and anointed his crown., and he kissed his fingers, and placed them upon her brow. The moment had seemed an eternity and neither Miri nor Yeshua wanted it to end. But the others guided Miri into her chair, and Martha fussed over her hair, until the chair raised Miri out of her reach and she finally joined the other women in singing the traditional wedding songs and the procession was on the way.

     It was as far to the bridal chanbers as it had been to Bezetha for Yohanna’s wedding, and the way was far more narrow. The men took shifts carrying the bride and groom as the procession wound its way down the Mount of Olives, through the Garden of Gesthemane, in through the Shiloam Gate and to the Chupa. Passers by, on their way to the Korban Meal, waved palm fronds and cried out blessings on the couple.

     But as they neared the rooms, the night grew darker and the streets ebcame more and more deserted, and almost seemed to suck the enthusiasm from the wedding party, and their songs echoed through the narrow and empty streets. But as they were deposited in the courtyard before the Chupa Yeshua had built, the moon was already peering in above the walls. Her father, Sin, had come out to see his daughter Ishtar marry the shepherd Dumuzi.

     Yeshua’s mother, resplendent in virgin white ans sky blue, awaited the procession and the sedan chairs were laid before her. As the servants pulled back the gates, Yeshua and Miri stepped forward to be welcomed by Mother Mary. Bride and groom stood side by side, and turned to face each other.

     The crowd fell silent as Yeshua lifted Miri’s veil, and they cheered as her face was shown to all. Yeshua lowered Miri’s veil and Yakov took Miri’s hand and placed it in Yeshua’s outstretched palm. Another cheer went up and everyone followed the brother, mother, bride and groom into the courtyard.

     In a shallow open brazier before the canopy, a charcoal fire glowed burned bright red. The smell of rich incense wafted up from the coals. Miri had provided much of the spice that smoldered in the fire, and Mother Mary, pleased at the expense, threw a great handful of frankincense into the pit and the coals sparkled below as the stars twinkled above, and the bride and groom approached the fire. To the fire, Yakov added sandalwood and cinammon.

     Miri stepped over the pit and grasped Yeshua by his left hand and they walked counterdexter about the fire. A grate was thrown down over the pit and Yeshua stepped lightly onto the metal. He stood contentedly over the coals as Miri swiftly circled seven times about him as his feet warmed over the fire. He stood down and she settled to his right hand. Bride and groom sat upon the thrones. Yohanna and Susanna each placed a crown of flowers upon the heads of Yeshua and Miri. As Susanna adjusted Miri’s crown of flowers, she kissed Miri’s cheek lightly.

     “Immaculate!” she said with a twinkle in her eye, and Miri smiled.

     “I love you, sweetie,” said Miri and hugged her.

      Miri and Yeshua sat together as Yusef approached, marriage contract in hand. Duly signed by his hand, he handed the contract to Yeshua who passed it to Shimeon and Adam to be witnessed, though neither could read, but they dutifully went through the motions, and that done, the contract was handed to Eleazar who did his best to read out the conditions of the contract to the congregation. That done, the scroll was handed to Miri who rolled it tight and tucked it within her sleeve.

     Yeshua took her hand and slipped a gold band about her right hand index finger.

     “My beloved, thou art thus joined with me under the laws of Musah, and the consent of Israel. With this ring, I pledge my allegiance to thee.”

     The crowd broke into cheers and clapping as both Miri and Yeshua were presented with a large glass goblet of wine. It was time to recite the Sheva Becharot, and Yakov and Yusef stepped forward amonsgt good natured catcalls to recite them. They took turns, and after each blessing, the wedding guests called out “Amen” and “Hosanna” and “Baruchata!”

     “ Blessed are you, God, who brings forth fruit from the vine,” said Yusef.

     The next verse was called out by Yakov.

     “Blessed are you, God who molds the universe. All things created reflect your glory!”

     And Yakov: “Blessed are you, Holy One, who fashions each person, male and female!”

     “We bless you, God,” called out Yusef, “for each person formed in your image. Within each of us, you have planted your inage, and and allowed us to thrive over time. Blessed are you, Creator of humanity.”

     “Blessed are you, God, call forth the Shekinah of Israel to rejoice with her children!”

     “Let these two loving friends taste the ecstasy of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the days of old. Blessed are you, the Presence who dwells within both bride and groom and makes the All One in delight!”

     The final blessing they read out together.

     “Blessed are You, the Power Above, that lights the world with happiness and contentment, showers us with love and companionship, blesses us with peace and friendship, and joins together bridegroom and bride. Call to the mountains of Israel to dance! Open the gates of Jerusalem to the sounds of joyful song, happiness and delight! :et the walls reflect the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, and the happy shouts of their friends and family! We bless you, God, who brings bride and groom together to rejoice in each other. We are one with thee!”

     As the shouts of praise rang out, Yeshua and Miri linked arms to drink to the chanted encouragement of the guests. It was expected that they finish the goblets in one draught, and though Miri managed quite easily, Yeshua still under a vow to abstain from wine, did not. He had not anticipated the wine, and Miri instantly noticed his discomfort and placed his goblet her lips and hungrily swallowed the dark ruby wine. Finished, she kissed Yeshua so that some of the wine would wet his lips, and she was overcome by the aroma of the spiced wine and the oil, and her Passion was aroused.

     The wedding party clapped, and Yeshua and Miri threw the glasses at the fire. The glass shattered on the brazier and, immediately, everyone broke into song, and began to chant for the nuptials to begin.

     Miri and Yeshua were now married. The chanting and rhythmic clapping increased and Adam and Shimeon opened the wooden doors to the room beyond. Within the large double doors, panelled with bronze, they pulled back the curtain and in the centre of the room beyond stood the white-sheeted bridal bed, scattered with white petals. To great encouragement, Adam and yakov closed the doors and Miri and Yeshua, ahnd in hand, retired to the bridal bed to consummate their marriage. Catcalls and good-natured teasing broke from the throats of the crowd as the curtains drew tight and were muffled as the doors closed. One by one the guests threw down myrtle branches and offerings to be burnt in the fire as the couple within were encouraged in their lovemaking.

     Under canopy of the intricately carved bed, Yeshua removed Miri’s veil, and gently stroked her hair. Miri was amazed by the intricate decorations that festooned Yeshua’s Chupa. He had carved garlands of flowers and myrtle. At each corner, were bedposts upon which women were now placing lamps. Floral bouquets, both cut and living, festooned the bridal canopy of pure white linen tent.

     “Kiss me!” she growled and their lips collided with inflamed lust. Miri thanked the Great Mother, they had chosen simple clothes, for they pulled up and apart with very little resistance. She could not wait for a long prolonged lovemaking, and she threw him onto his back and straddled him, and slid down onto him as swiftly and smoothly as a scabbard slides over a sword. His hands slid under the cloth of her weding gown, and swarmed her hips and her breasts, and he pulled her down to cover her face and neck and breasts with hard and passionate kisses.

     He turned her over, and Miri, bathed and anointed with scented oil. She pulled back her red brocade and opened her royal white robe. She readied her dowry, the seven mei of kingship, and arrayed in her precious lapis beads, the necklace of fertility, his hands passed around her neck.

     Her husband, Dumuzi lay beneath her vulva..

     Inanna opened the door of the temple for him. Inside the house she shone before him like the light of the moon. Dumuzi’s eyes filled with joy. He pressed his neck against hers and kissed her.

     Inanna spoke softly to her husband Dumuzi.

     ‘What I tell you, a thousand minstrels shall weave into song! What I tell you shall flow from ear to mouth to ear forevermore! It shall pass from old to young in each and every generation to come! My vagina, the Horn of Plenty, the Boat of Heaven, grows as eager as the waxing moon. My untilled land lies fallow. Dumuzi, plow my vulva! Plow my high field! Plow my wet ground! I, Inanna, the young woman, ask you, my sweet honey lover: Who will plow my vulva? Who will bring the ox there? Who will plow my vulva?’

     ‘Great Lady,’ replied Dumuzi, ‘I will plow your vulva! Inanna, I will plow your vulva!’

     ‘Then plow my vulva, King of my Heart!’ cried the maid in her passion, ‘Plow my vulva!’

     From Dumuzi’s lap stood the rising cedar. Inanna was pleased and sang to the night sky:

     ‘You have sprouted! Swelled to great size! You are the one my womb desires most! The one my vagina craves! This well-stocked garden of my sweet valley is ready for you! My barley grows high and plump in its furrow, my apple tree bears ripe juicy fruit to its crown! You are the sweet succulent cucumber planted by the water! My honey-man, my honey-man sweetens me! Yes! Yes, my lord! The honey-man of the gods! Yes! Yes! You are the one my womb loves best! Your hand is honey! Yes! Your foot is honey! O Yes! Yes! You sweeten me always! Plow me now! Come to the valley! Plow me now! My vulva is wet from the Spring! Plow me now, eager impetuous caresser of my belly! My caresser of soft thighs! Plow me now! You are the one my womb loves the best!’

     ‘O Lady,’ sang Dumuzi, ‘your breast is a ripened alpine meadow! O Inanna, your breast is my pasture! Your broad field pours out plants! Your broad field pours out grain! Your milk flows from on high for your servant! Bread flows from on high for your servant! Pour it out for me Inanna! I will drink all you offer! Open your mouth to me, Inanna! Open your arms to clutch me in your sweet honey embrace! I come to you! Dearest sister, spread your thighs and open wide your vulva! I will go deep into your sweet garden! I shall plow your field! Inanna, I will descend deep into the holy valley! I shall turn the soil of your womb! There I shall plant the sweet, honey-covered seed! I push deep into your orchard! I shall pluck your bright red fruit! I will go with you to the apple tree! There I shall plant the sweet, honey-covered seed!’

     ‘Then plow my vulva, man of my heart!’ cried Inanna, ‘Plow my vulva!’

     ‘Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom,’ sang Inanna, ‘My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk. Wild Bull Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick! I will drink your fresh milk! Let the milk of the goat flow in my sheepfold! Fill my holy churn with honey cheese! Lord Dumuzi, I will drink your fresh milk! My husband, I will guard my sheepfold for you. I will watch over your house of life, the storehouse, the shining quivering place which delights Israel.’

     ‘Yours is the house which decides the fate of the land, the house which gives the breath of life to the people. I, the Queen of Heaven, will watch over your house. Serve me and I shall grant you the seven holy mei of kingship!’

     Dumuzi spoke: ‘My sister, take me with you to your garden. Inanna, take me with you to Eden. take me with you to your orchard. I would go with you to your apple tree. There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed.’

     She brought him into her garden. The Queen of Heaven brought Dumuzi into her sweet pastures. She strolled with him among the standing trees. By an apple tree, he knelt before her as is proper. Her husband sang; he who rose to Inanna out of the poplar leaves, he came to her in the midday heat. Before the lord Dumuzi, she poured out plants from her womb. She placed plants before him. She poured out plants before him. She placed grain before him, she poured out grain before him. She poured out grain from her womb.

     That night, Inanna, the Lady of the Evening, shone brightly. The Queen of Heaven shone brightly; as she was shining brightly, she danced, singing praises at the coming of the night.

     Lord Dumuzi, the King of Israel, met his Queen. He took her hand in his. He pressed his neck close against hers. The high priest filled the holy loins. Lord Dumuzi filled her holy loins. The plants and herbs in his field were ripe.

     ‘O Dumuzi!’ cried Inanna, ‘Your fullness is my delight!’

     She called for the bed! She called for the bed that rejoices the heart. She called for the bed that sweetens the loins. She called for the bed of kingship. She called for the bed of her husband.

     Inanna called for the bed.

     ‘Let the bed that rejoices the heart be prepared! Let the bed that sweetens the loins be prepared! Let the bed of the Anointed One be prepared! Let the bed of the husband be prepared! Let the royal bed be prepared!’

     Inanna spread the bridal sheet across the bed.

     She called to the Messiah. ‘The bed is ready!’

     She called to her bridegroom. ‘The bed is waiting!’

     He slipped his hand in hers. He placed his hand on her heart. He put his hand on her breast. Sweet is the sleep of hand-in-hand. Sweet is the sleep of the nestled sheepfolds, the closeness of the loins! Sweeter still the sleep of heart-to-heart!

     ‘I bathed for the wild bull,’ sang Inanna, ‘I bathed for the shepherd Dumuzi. I perfumed my sides with ointment. I coated my mouth with sweet smelling amber. I painted my eyes with kohl.’

     He caressed her loins with his fair hands. The shepherd Dumuzi filled her lap with cream and milk. He stroked her pubic hair, he brought water to her womb. He laid his hands on her holy vulva, he smoothed the black boat with his fingers. He quickened her narrow boat with milk. He caressed her on the bed of kingship!

     ‘Now I will caress my high priest on our bed,’ moaned Inanna, ‘I will caress the faithful shepherd Dumuzi. I will grasp his penis and fondle his testicles. I shall grant him the husbandry of the land! I shall make him my King! I will ask a sweet fate for him!’

     The Queen of Heaven, the heroic woman, greater than her mother, who took the mei craved by Enki, Inanna, the First Daughter of the Moon, decreed the fate of Dumuzi.

     ‘King Dumuzi,’ sang Inanna, ‘In battle, I shall be your general; in combat, your armor-bearer. In the assembly hall, I am your advocate. In speech, I am your inspiration! You, the chosen shepherd of the holy shrine, you, the king, the faithful provider of Uruk, the light of An’s great shrine, in all ways I shall deem you fit.

     I am the Matrix Inanna, Your Deiva! To you I grant the seven mei of the Anointed. You may now hold your head high on the lofty dais and sit on the lapis throne. You may cover your head with the holy crown, to place the robes of office upon your body, to bind yourself with the trappings of Messiahship. You shall carry the mace and sword, guide straight the long bow and arrow, fasten the throw-stick and sling at your side and run swiftly on the road with the holy sceptre in your hand and the holy sandals on your feet. Only you may prance on my holy breast like a lapis lazuli calf!

     You, the runner, the chosen shepherd, in all ways you are worthy. May your heart enjoy long days. That which the Power Above has determined for you: may it never be altered. That which the Power Above has granted: may it never be changed. You are the favourite of All.

     Inanna holds you dear.’

     Ninshubur, the faithful servant of the holy shrine of Uruk, priestess of the Temple Mount, the Holy Kur of Inanna, led Dumuzi to the sweet thighs of Inanna for the third time.

     ‘My queen,’ called Ninshibur, ‘Here is the choice of your heart, the Messiah, your beloved bridegroom. May he spend long days in the wet sweetness of your holy loins. Grant him a prosperous and glorious reign. Grant him the Messiah’s throne, planted firm in its foundations. Grant him the shepherd’s staff of Judgement. Grant him the enduring crown with the radiant and noble aura. From where the sun rises to where the sun sets, from south to north, from the upper sea to the Lower, from the land of the sacred willow to the land of the cedar, let his shepherd’s staff protect the World.

     As the farmer, make the fields fertile; as the shepherd, make the sheepfolds multiply. Under his reign let there be bounty. Under his reign let there be growth. Under his reign, let there be rich grain. In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter. In the low canebreak may young and old reeds grow high. In the forests may the deer and wild goats multiply. In the orchards may there be honey and wine. In the gardens may the cucumber grow long and wide. In the palace may there be happiness. May there be rich floodwater in the Tigris and Euphrates, neither a torrent or a trickle. May the plants grow high on their banks and fill the meadows. May the Lady of Vegetation pile the grain in heaps and mounds to numerous to count.’

     Thus the Messiah went with lifted head to the holy loins. He went with lifted head to the loins of Inanna. He went to the Queen with lifted head. He opened wide his arms to the holy priestess of heaven.

     Inanna greeted him. ‘My blossom-bearer, your smell is sweet. My blossom-bearer of the apple orchard, Dumuzi-abzu, your taste is sweet. My fearless one, my holy statue, my statue outfitted with sword and lapi lazuli diadem, how sweet you are!’

     Through the night, their necks and knees bent together and the royal couple sowed the seeds of love in the bed of Inanna.

     Finally, Dumuzi said, ‘Set me free, my sister, set me free. I will be a son to your mother. You shall be a daughter to my mother. Come, my beloved sister, I would go to my home. Set me free.’

     The Messiah having performed his duty to Inanna returned to his humble home.

     In the morning, Inanna rose before the dawn. She bathed in the holy waters of the Jordan. She washed herself in the Great River. She anointed herself with scented oils. She covered her body with her royal white robe. She arranged her body with the royal white robe. She arranged her precious lapis beads, the necklace of Fertility, around her neck.

     Then she took her seal, the seal of Inanna, in her hand and arose. As the birds began to sing at the coming of the dawn, the Sun God Shemmesh left his royal bedchamber, and greeted his sister, Inanna:

     ‘Sister Inanna, this morning you are radiant as I have never seen you before!’

     Inanna replied: ‘My beloved brother, Dumuzi, the delight of my eyes, came to my holy sheepfold. We rejoiced together. O how he took his pleasure of me! He laid me down on the fragrant honey-bed. My sweet love, lay with me: his heart by my heart, his hand in my hand, his neck bent to my neck! He caressed my breasts! He caressed my belly! My thighs! O, his his tongue-playing! His tall cedar stood straight and firm! Long and wide, the cucumber planted by the river, sweet and succulent! My pleasure warmed my loins and he plowed my fields, one by one! My fair Dumuzi descended to my flooded valley fifty times. Now, my sweet love is sated.’

     ‘O my Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen of all the Universe, may he enjoy long days in the sweetness of your holy loins!’ replied Utu.

     ‘Come, brother,’ said Inanna, ‘Come walk with me through the Sacred Garden. I would need of your company.’

     And so, the radiant siblings, the sun Shemmesh and the Morning Star Inanna passed into the Garden, the very first garden. They walked through the pastures of Eden. They walked through the fields of barley. They walked through the fields of wheat. They walked through the sacred orchards. There they came to the world tree. The sacred fig tree. But the huluppu tree was no more!

     ‘Where is my tree?’ cried out Inanna, ‘Where is my beloved world tree? Where is the sacred fig tree?’

     From between the roots, crept the snake who cannot be charmed. From the broken shards of the sacred willow came the wise serpent. Reborn within the earth, thence slithered the serpent.

     ‘Mistress,’ said the snake, ‘Forgive me mistress, but the tree is gone! Adam, the hero of Eden entered the woods in search of wood to carve out the holy shrine. Here he discovered our sacred willow, a tree so beautiful, so strong, he knew only that one tree would be suitable for a throne for you. Only the shining wood from the great world tree could be bed for the Holy Maid. Adam chopped at the roots and struck the serpent who cannot be charmed. The shepherd cut through the trunk and smashed the home of Lilith. The owl fled to the wild, uninhabited places, and mournfully cries now for her home. Adam then loosened the roots to the sacred tree, and cut off the branches. From the trunk of the tree he carved a throne for his holy sister. From the trunk of the tree the Messiah carved a bed for his Beloved. From the roots of the tree he fashioned a dais for her feet.’

     And the snake shrank way from his mistress. Miri lay soaked in sweat with her beloved Yeshua. They were hot and wet, and wrapped tightly as one, and as she lay there, Yeshua drifting off to sleep in her arms, she could see a familiar form.


     “Go away!” said Miri drowsily.

     “I can wait!” said Erishkigal, “I have all the time in the World! You do not!”

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