The planet Venus (Inanna (Ishtar)) is closer to the Sun than the Earth and therefore from the earth will always appear in the precincts of the Sun. The result is that the planet is brightest and easiest to see, at dusk after the Sun sets when it is still visible above the horizon and known as the Evening Star, and at dawn just before the Sun rises when it is visible as the Morning Star. To the eye of ancient agriculturists it was as if the goddess, for so the planet was viewed, followed the Sun into, and preceded it back from, the underworld or nether regions. In this UNL animation set the observer planet to Earth and the observed planet to Venus and watch how Venus first follows and then precedes the Sun. Because the planet Mercury is even closer to the Sun, it is often seen in the precincts of Venus. The planet is personified in Sumerian mythology as Ninshubur, Inanna's trusted maid servant, (Queen of the East,) who is entrusted with the task of petitioning the gods, when Inanna fails to return of the dreary netherworld realm of her sister, Ereshkigal. See The Descent of Inanna where the goddess passes through the seven gates of the underworld mirroring the seven levels of the heavens.
The Sumero-Babylonian astral mythology identified the aspects of the cosmic female with the phases of the planet venus. As morning star she was the virgin, as evening star the harlot, as lady of the night-sky the consort of the moon; and when extinguished under the blaze of the sun she was the hag of hell. Joseph Campbell - Hero of a Thousand Faces