When I asked for suggestions of stories for my next Psyches Cinema film, a Twitter friend suggested the myth of Inanna.
It’s a powerful myth. It scares me. Is there room for comedy? How would I update it?
I’m thinking about Inanna this morning. What are the main images, feelings, memories of the story in me?
Inanna is an ancient fertility Goddess. If I step into the story, I start there. What does it mean to embrace my womanhood? How am I fertile? What does it mean to be a Goddess? (I’m not talking about psychological inflation here; this is just a meditation on the story.) First, it is to be unafraid of the cycles of a woman, the natural rhythms of life and death. The raw power of womanhood, the making of life. The relation to Mother Nature. In mythic terms the Goddess is to be worshipped, feared, she contains multitudes.
What would embracing a Goddess Nature (or Consort of the Goddess) look like for a modern woman/man? Perhaps it is embracing my creative confidence, eccentricity, or regal boldness. How often have I tried to make myself smaller, to fit in. What would it look like to step into my Wholeness/Holiness?
We start with Large Nature. Then Inanna decides that she wants to go to the underworld. Brave or foolhardy, she is like the fairy tale or mythic heroes (Beowolf) willing to go below where demons live. But Inanna is not a warrior.
Our modern descents are sometimes taken willingly, in therapy usually. More often our soul takes us below through a depression or other ailment. We are brought to the land of the dead.
As she descends Inanna is stripped of her royal garments. All those images of persona must go. She is left with only her essential being. And then she is hung up to not only die, but to rot.
Inanna hanging on the meat hook – horrifying. But also, strangely healing. Why? (Other women I know also seem to find the famous image healing.) Perhaps it is the end of the fight. The surrender that brings peace. Not buried in the ground but still “hanging around,” (sorry) in the Underworld. I’m being held up and the natural course continues without me. I can grieve. I can die. I can let go.
There is so much more to this story, involving servants, sisters, betrayals, and saviors made from dirt. But these three images – Goddess nature, being stripped, and being left to rot in the Underworld – are enough for me to ponder today. I’m thinking of surrender. (Both images I’ve included here have postures that remind me of surrender. And the opening of the poem creates the rhythms of a ritual, preparing me to descend and let go.)
I’m thinking also of the mystery of Nature – within me and within the World Soul. The story says that dying leads to greater life and that even the Gods take part in this renewal.
Opening of Descent Of Inanna – Translated by Wolkstein – Kramer
From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna openend her ear to the Great Below.
My Lady abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
Inanna abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
In Uruk she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Badtibira she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Zabalam she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Adab she abandoned her temple to descend to the undcerworld.
In Nippur she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Kish she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Akkad she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.Translation of the opening of the Descent of Inanna by Wolkstein-Kramer