Weekly Deity: Ninkasi


Ninkasi is the Mesopotamian goddess of beer.  She sounds like tons of fun!

Attributes

No descriptions of Ninkasi have survived, so what she looked like is speculation.

Mythology

Ninkasi is the goddess of alcohol, specifically beer.  She would be at every party, banquet, and celebration, because the people and the gods would drink beer.  In Mesopotamian lore, it was mostly the gods who drank beer, but of course, humans would consume as well (of course).

Ninkasi was the brewer for the gods, but she was also actually the beer.  When people drank beer, they were drinking Ninkasi.  Women were often the brewers of beer in the household, and later tavern keepers as well.  Such women were sometimes priestesses of Ninkasi, though not always, but the act of brewing beer could be seen as an act honoring Ninkasi.

The family connections of Ninkasi are debatable.  One tradition says she is the child of Nin-ti and En-ki.  Another says Ninkasi’s parents are En-lil and Nin-khursag.  Siris or Sirash is either her brother or her spouse, and she had children of questionable number.

Light and Dark Sides

While there is some information about Ninkasi, there is very little actually known about her.  However, I get the sense that she is probably a very happy goddess.  I could see her being very enjoyable to work with, if perhaps a bit airy.  Her Dark side may come in the form of overindulgence, which can be a bad thing, especially if a person drinks to the point that it’s dangerous to life and limb.  Her Light side is probably something like allowing a freedom of spirit and loosening of limitations.

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