Every Autumn for the last 18 years, I’ve spent time working with the Sumerian myth of Inanna’s Descent. It’s work that becomes deeper and deeper, more and more meaningful and profound each cycle I focus on it.
The myth of Inanna is one of the oldest myths we know of. Inanna, being the Queen of Heaven & Earth, was a goddess with power and respect and clout and status.
Inanna’s sister was Erishkegal, Queen of the Underworld. And upon Erishkegal’s husband’s death, Inanna sought out to the Underworld to pay her respects to her sister.
In order to get to the Underworld, Inanna had to pass through 7 gates. At each gate, a gatekeeper required Inanna take off and leave something. Inanna was required to put down her crown…and her scepter…and her warrior breast plate…and her royal cape…and her divining rod…and so on and so forth.
Until she was stripped naked, like a tree in Autumn. Until she had given up each and every outward symbol of her power and her status.
Only then was she allowed to enter the Underworld.
I won’t right now get into what happened in the Underworld, but suffice it to say that Inanna underwent a massive transformation there and then came back up to the Earth and reclaimed her throne…but as a new woman.
This powerful myth, a metaphor for the Descent into the Darkness of Winter and the Rebirth into Spring, is also a potent allegory about what it takes to truly, deeply and authentically know yourself and BE with yourself.
It reminds us that it’s impossible to travel to the Underworld (to our psyches…to our truest, most naked selves…to our place of deep growth) if we identify too strongly with our status, with what we’ve accomplished, with the money we’ve earned, with the academic degrees we’ve received, with the accolades we’ve received, with the things we’ve acquired, with the business we’ve built.
Yes of course those can all be wonderful things, but when we come to rely to heavily on them….when we identify too strongly with them…with they become the source of our self-value….
…..we cannot truly connect with our REAL power, with our REAL selves, with our REAL resources, with source itself.
I come back to this myth year and year again because for all of my worldly success, I need a reminder that the success is not ME. That I, that who I truly am, actually transcends all I’ve accomplished (or haven’t accomplished)…that I am a person of immense value with or without my degrees, my business, my testimonials, my worldly success.
It’s too easy for human egos to lose touch with this in our pursuit of “more” and of expansion. We – or at least I – need reminders of the deeper truth, the deeper Self, the intrinsic value no matter what the outer accomplishments.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere: As we step into our last month of the Descent…the darkest month of the year before Winter Solstice…it is a magical opportunity for transformation and psychic growth.
(And no matter where you live!:): I invite you to play with shedding your attachments to your worldly status symbols….and finding your TRUEST self that lives beneath all of it. I bet She has some important and potent messages for you.
Inanna’s Descent Journaling Questions:
- Where are the places where you have become over-attached or over-identified with your status, with success, and with accomplishment?
- Who would you be without your worldly accomplishments…or your pursuit of them? Who are you at your CORE?
- What are the resources, talents, wisdom and qualities you possess that make you YOU?
- What possibilities might open up for you if you spent some time tending to your deepest qualities and self?