Giving with Ishtar

by Vanessa Cain


The Assyrians and Babylonians believed that this goddess was the embodiment of Venus’ divine feminine energy. She was worshiped and invoked for everything from fertility and protection to wisdom and warfare.  She reminds us of the versatility and power of the divine feminine as well as the giving nature innately coded in the biology of women. As a woman you may find yourself in a perpetual state of giving in your multiple roles in life. It could be as a lover, mother, employee, or advocate, however at the top of this hierarchy should be YOU.

Your ability to give to yourself is directly correlated with your ability to give to others. To truly be able to give, a woman must first distinguish between “giving up” herself instead of “giving of” herself.  Giving to yourself first sometimes means saying no to others.  You may think of boundary setting as traditionally more rooted in masculine energy.  Women may resist setting boundaries because it feels counterintuitive to a graceful flow. However we must dig deep in our own psyches to discover if fear is actually our motivation for giving. Do we give because we are afraid to be abandoned? Because we want to be liked or have negative beliefs about not being truly accepted as we are? When you are giving from a place of deprivation you are spreading the low vibrational energy of scarcity, however when we give from a place of abundance we help other’s align with the “truth” of the universe.

Feminine boundary setting is rooted in self love, saying no without guilt, and recognizing the importance of receiving. So remember, in order to fully open we must first learn how to close. Practice today by setting some gentle but assertive boundaries with yourself or other’s in your life.

what is shakti?

Here, we think of shakti as the divine feminine essence. But what does that mean? We like this insight from the Asia Society.

The term shakti refers to multiple ideas. Its general definition is dynamic energy that is responsible for creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe. It is identified as female energy because shakti is responsible for creation, as mothers are responsible for birth. Without shakti, nothing in this universe would happen; she stimulates siva, which is passive energy in the form of consciousness, to create. Ardhanarishvara, a Hindu deity who is half male and half female, is an iconic representation of this idea. The deity is equally male and female, illustrating that the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe is dependent on both forces.

Shakti also refers to the manifestations of this energy, namely goddesses. Some goddesses embody the destructive aspects of shakti, such as death, degeneration, and illness, while other goddesses embody the creative and auspicious powers of shakti, such as nature, the elements, music, art, dance, and prosperity. Shakti may be personified as the gentle and benevolent Uma, consort of Shiva, or Kali, the terrifying force destroying evil, or Durga, the warrior who conquers forces that threaten the stability of the universe. Goddess worshippers often view their deity as the all-powerful Supreme Being, second not even to a male god.