These Iron Age faiths elevated the sky god to a monotheistic status, branding all other deities as false idols, unworthy of worship. Sadly, during this patriarchal revolution, the great goddesses were expelled from this male-defined ideology. Many were vilified as monsters and demons as a part of a propaganda campaign to smear the Gods of the old world.
Thankfully their original roles as oracles, soothsayers and politicians can still be ascertained from their depictions on stone tablets and pottery art (all gleaned from the archaeological research). These feminine idols include:
Nammu (Goddess of the Sea) an alpha female who gave birth to the first generation of gods. She was a self-procreating entity who created all matter in the universe. She represented the creative force of feminine energy and was responsible for producing the human race.
Aya (Goddess of Light) associated with the dawn, youth and sexual love. She was often called the 'bride of the sun'. Many of the Mesopotamian people believed that Aya's mystical union with the sun god Utu caused all vegetation to grow and flourish.
Ningal (Goddess of the Reeds) was a marsh goddess connected with imagination and divination. Through her mystical interpretations she could unlock the secret language of dreams, omens and ancient mythology.
Ereshkigal (Goddess of the Underworld) ruled over the afterlife, passing judgment on the dead. Along with her sister Ishtar, these two deities represented the changing seasons. Where as Ishtar represented birth and life, Ereshkigal represented the dying of Autumn and the scarcity of winter.
Ishtar (Goddess of love) was patron of sexual devotion and warfare. This paradox could be witnessed by her tempestuous relationships, where she could honour her lovers one day, and devour them the next. Her cult involved sacred prostitution, whereby her courtesans would tend to the desires of human sexuality.
Ninkarrak (Goddess of Healing) was associated with herbalism and regeneration. She was known to possess a volatile side, hailed by some as the "queen of tempests who rages like a storm, making the earth tremble". It was said that after the great flood deluge, she helped breath life back into mankind.
Ninhursag (Fertility Goddess) was known to many as "lady of the sacred mountain". It was she who created the wildlife of the earth. She was associated with birth making her a mother-goddess figure. Her powers allowed her to unlock the secrets of reality, create life and transform sacred materials.
Ninlil (Goddess of the Wind), was associated with fate and destiny. After being seduced by her lover Enlil, she travelled with him to the underworld as part of his punishment for corrupting the sacred goddess.
Nanshe (Goddess of Justice) was patron of social order and protection. She nurtured orphans, provided for widows, gave advice to those in debt, and took in refugees from war torn areas. People came from all over the land to seek her wisdom and aid. She often settled disputes and handled court cases amongst mortals.
Nidaba (Goddess of writing) was said to have developed the cultural identity of Mesopotamia. Inspired by her literary skills and teaching abilities, her father (Enki) built her a school so that she could better serve those in need. She kept records, chronicled important events and marked cultural borders.
Ninsun (Goddess of the Herd) was known to many as "lady wild cow". She was originally represented in bovine form, embodying the qualities of health, vigor and strength. Later she was expressed in human form, giving birth to one of the greatest heroes in Mesopotamia, the legendary Gilgamesh.
Ninkasi (Goddess of alcohol) was made to satiate desire and warm the heart. She knew the secrets brewing alcohol which in the early bronze age was typically managed by women. This was an important role in cultural festivities and ritualistic traditions.