Hieros gamos

Hieros gamos of Hera (shown with Iris) and Zeus, 1900 drawing of a fresco at Pompeii.

Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (Greek ἱερὸς γάμος, ἱερογαμία "holy marriage") is a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities.

The notion of hieros gamos does not always presuppose literal sexual intercourse in ritual, but is also used in purely symbolic or mythological context, notably in alchemy and hence in Jungian psychology. Hieros gamos is described as the prototype of fertility rituals.[1]

Ancient Near East

Sacred sexual intercourse is thought to have been common in the Ancient Near East[2] as a form of "Sacred Marriage" or hieros gamos between the kings of a Sumerian city-states and the High Priestesses of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and warfare. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers there were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The temple of Eanna, meaning "house of heaven"[3] in Uruk[4] was the greatest of these. The temple housed Nadītu, priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos celebrated during the annual Duku ceremony, just before Invisible Moon, with the autumn Equinox[5] (Autumnal Zag-mu Festival).

Other Languages
català: Hierogàmia
Deutsch: Hierogamie
español: Hieros gamos
Esperanto: Sankta Nupto
français: Hiérogamie
Bahasa Indonesia: Hieros gamos
italiano: Ierogamia
עברית: הירוגמיה
Nederlands: Hieros gamos
polski: Hierogamia
português: Hieros gamos
русский: Иерогамия
shqip: Hierogamia
српски / srpski: Свети брак
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hijerogamija
svenska: Hieros gamos
中文: 圣婚