The cuneiform tablets of Sumer display eight-pointed impressions made thousands of years ago by a stylus pushed into wet clay, and we know today that these eight-pointed impressions signify Inanna, Goddess of Morning and Evening. It seems fitting that the impressions of this ancient written language bring to mind images of both flower-like rosettes and pointed stars, for images that capture both the intensity of a star and the subtle delicacies of a flower reflect well the Goddess' paradoxical nature.
In this alone, Inanna is like Kali, the Hindu goddess often called "Mother of the Universe" or "The Divine Mother", as Kali's magical diagram, or yantra, contains the eight-petalled lotus. Further, Inanna's powers as a goddess with her command of both the life-giving and life-taking aspects of the universe, in addition to the physical proximity of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the Indus Valley, tells us that Inanna and Kali are related not by coincidence, but by a direct tie of the Sumerian to the early Indian cultures.
First, in looking at this ancient symbol of Inanna and in thinking of the Kali yantra, I began to wonder as to the significance of the number
eight. I began researching a variety of sources and found consistent references to strength and beauty, dominion, confidence, good judgment
and power all associated with the number. These, I thought, would all be appropriate attributes for a goddess, and I began to wonder if Sumer
and Inanna were the original source for the formation of these correspondences.
Barbara G. Walker notes in The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects that, "an eight-pointed star, usually black, indicated the fixed stars in ancient astrology."  It may be that rays of light coming off the stars and planets of the night sky were first counted to be eight by these ancient astrologers, or perhaps for some other reason of which we are not yet aware. But it would seem fitting that the special place of Inanna in Sumer dictated that she be represented by a symbol of the magnitude and wonder of the night stars, (she is particularly associated with the planet-"star" Venus) thereby giving special significance later on in recorded history not only to the number eight, but to the attributes or characteristics of Inanna in relation to that number as well.
However, given the virtually goddess-less patriarchal culture we have known for millennia, although we have come to associate the number eight with Inanna's qualities, we have forgotten Her almost entirely, thereby missing with this omission the link to primordial creativity and passion that is found in Her sparkling light. With the return of the Goddess to the consciousness of many today, perhaps links such as this one will become increasingly apparent and we will begin to draw again on the ancient wisdom of the Divine Feminine, in all of her forms.
Next Page | The number eight has found its way too into positions of prominence in other religions...
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 Walker, Barbara G. The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. (Harper & Row, San Francisco) 1988, p. 68