Enheduanna… This name is so important. This name was the first signature, ever known to human history, of an author.
The first known author was a woman.
The first text ever signed was a poem composed by a Sumerian princess and High Priestess, that she dedicated to the goddess Inanna. (later known under the name of Ishtar, both related to the planet Venus)
Every time I think of it, every time I whisper Enheduanna’s name… I enter into an altered state, into an emotion almost too strong for my body to bear.
We, authors, poets, artists, « influencers », are used to sign our productions without even thinking. But what pushed the first of us – in the context of her life there – to append her name to the invocation she had just written for the great goddess?
Was it the sense of belonging?
I mean: not as an affirmation that the poem belonged TO herself, but instead… that she belonged WITH Inanna/Ishtar/Venus through her poem…
What brings me to this thought comes not only from the fact that Enheduanna composed it while in despair for being exiled from Ur, but also due to the diverse translations of Inannna’s title in it. Her invocation – Nin me šar-ra… – happens to be translated or as the great mistress of « all the I/me/selves and others/rivals » (« all too numerous to count »), or as the great mistress of all the divine powers. As if… me, the others, the divine powers… it was one and same concept in Sumerian.
The sense of belonging with the Divine sparkles at the core of this idea. Nin me šar-ra.
Nowadays, what do we invoke through our signature? Which flow does our sense of belonging follow?
Nin me šar-ra…
Nin me šar-ra ud dalla e-a
Munus zid me-lem gur-ru ki aĝ an uraš-a…
Enheduanna, zirru-priestess, companion of the Moon god Nanna, daughter of Sargon the king of the world, in the temple of the goddess Innana…
En hedu anna