In the city of Ur, where the first settlements in the marshes of southern Mesopotamia were built with reeds without any type of nails or woods, Ningal was born to Ninhursag and Enki. Her name means the Great Lady, and she’s also known as Nikkal.
As a young and pretty girl, she was the first to fall in love with Nanna, the moon god, when she sees him one evening soaring across the night skies. He happily responds by inviting her to meet him by the marshes. Although a bit shy, she cannot resist him. She joins Nanna at the marshes and the two spend many nights in secrecy enjoying a passionate and honeyed-mooned love.
Ningal as the Maiden Bride of the Moon God
One night, on the eve of the Dark Moon, Nanna says goodbye to Ningal, promising to return to her in two nights. He goes home to the skies, yet soon becomes impatient and descends to the Earth in disguise as a pilgrim, pleading for shelter. He knocks on Ningal’s door and when she opens it, he begs her to join him in the marshes once again. By now, Ningal is a different woman. She has matured and is no longer as submissive as when they first met. This time, she is assertive and tells him to wait, explaining that he first must fulfill a set of wishes for her to continue with their relationship. Her requirements are not selfish, however, but are for the benefit of the fruitfulness of the land, of the marshes, of wild and domestic animals and their offspring.