Millennials aren’t worshipping Inanna. The Mesopotamian goddess of fertility (as well as sex, love, and war) once boasted of having a strong following. She first broke into the deity scene in Sumeria during the Uruk period, and then her popularity spread throughout the region after a slight rebranding. But today, faith in Inanna has plummeted. Research has proven that most millennials haven’t heard of Inanna, or even her Babylonian name Ishtar, much less worshipped her.
“It’s disappointing,” says Ninshubur, Inanna’s longtime second-in-command. “After the conquest of Sargon of Akkad, you couldn’t walk through Mesopotamia without passing one of her temples. At one point, the Assyrians praised her even more than they praised Ashar, their own beloved god. But this Snapchat generation just doesn’t seem to care.”
One possible explanation for Inanna’s decline is that millennials have little interest in divine justice. Taking selfies is seen as more important than fighting the Bull of Heaven, the way King Gilgamesh famously did as punishment for spurning the goddess’ sexual advances. Another possible reason is this generation’s obsession with quick gratification. In an era of likes and retweets, young people don’t make time to roleplay as Dumuzid while copulating with a high priestess at the Akitu spring equinox festival.
Nevertheless, some remain optimistic.
“A greater online presence might make her popular again,” says Utu, Inanna’s twin brother. “Julia Roberts is having a comeback right now, so it’s not impossible that Inanna will have one too.”
Unfortunately for Inanna, the trend doesn’t look promising. Statistically, compared with previous generations, millennials are less religious, less sexually active, and less inclined to call on gnostic goddesses while performing sacred marriage rituals during the Sumerian New Year. Even more concerning is the results of the awareness campaign being waged on Inanna’s behalf. A group of millennial women were read the following lines from ancient poet Enheduanna’s hymn to the goddess:
“The great-hearted mistress, the impetuous lady stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance.”
With clear irreverence, the millennial women simply responded, “Same.”