Tag Archive: Ur


Who is humanity’s earliest known author? You might guess Homer or Moses, but actually it’s Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Ur (now in Iraq) around 4,500 years ago. A priestess of the goddess Inanna — like Mara in my novella Seventh Sanctuary — Enheduanna wrote dozens of hymns that have survived in cuneiform on clay tablets down through the millennia. (Just luck, or is someone up there on her side? 😉 )

Her vivid and evocative words inspired worshipers for centuries after she lived. See if this excerpt citing some of Inanna’s powers gives you a sense of the goddess’s fearsomeness as well as her grace: “To keep paths and ways in good order, to shatter earth and to make it firm are yours, Inanna. To destroy, to build up, to tear out and to settle are yours, Inanna. To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inanna. Desirability and arousal, bringing goods into existence and establishing properties and equipment are yours, Inanna. Profit, gain, great wealth and greater wealth are yours …” (More here.)

We know a few biographical details about Enheduanna. She was the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad. (Legend has it that he rose from being the king’s gardener to king himself.) At some point in her life, she fell from political favor and was exiled, but later gained back her position.

For speculation on what life for a priestess of Inanna might have been like, please check out my sexy Sumerian novella, Seventh Sanctuary.

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You may be familiar with speculation that Mary Magdalene was a temple prostitute before she shook off her seven demons. In our culture, the idea of sacred prostitution seems so strange that it piqued my curiosity. After reading and ruminating about what the lives of such women might have been like, the seeds for my new novella sprouted. For a couple years, I wasn’t sure where the story was going — if anywhere. Then a second idea, inspired by myth, germinated into sort of a subplot for the first. Suddenly, the book erupted into being.

Seventh Sanctuary, new on Kindle and Nook (print edition soon), is about 20,000 words or a 150-page book. Here’s the blurb:

SUMERIA, 2200 BCE

A widow in ancient Ur is haunted by feverish dreams of her late husband — much to the detriment of her health and her new marriage. When her current spouse visits the temple to pray for her recovery, he is enthralled by a temple priestess/prostitute. The priestess, in turn, is tempted to forsake her sacred vows to be with this man who already has a wife and family.

All three of them look to the goddess Inanna for guidance: Will the great and terrible deity bestow her grace on them — or is it her will to destroy them?

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To read sample chapters, click through to the Seventh Sanctuary page and scroll down to the Webreader.

In other news, tomorrow the ebook edition of The Five-Day Dig emerges from exclusivity on Kindle and will be available again on Nook. Happy reading!

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