I first came across the Inanna story 35 years ago, whilst living in London. This was an intense time of inner exploration; heady emotional days filled with workshops and courses while working full time to create a not-for-profit parenting organisation with my late husband, Ivan.
Given that I am now 65 years old, that means that the Inanna story has been a thread for more than half my life. OK, so perhaps I am Leo the late bloomer in that it has taken me til now to truly nail my flag on the mast and come out as a lover of Inanna and Ereshkigal.
So why do I love this ancient story so much?
Reason 1. This ancient myth is a story about two female goddesses: Inanna, representing Heaven and Earth (the Upper World) and Ereshkigal, the Underworld. Such stories hold powerful symbols for us to better understand the human psyche.
Ereshigal represents the 'wildish nature that Clarissa Pinkola Estes speaks so much of, that untamed feminine energy that has been so reviled, punished and sanitised over the millennia.
Reason 2: The Inanna story provides us with a map for the human journey; that in order to find wisdom, we must go into unknown places within ourselves. Inanna shows enormous commitment and courage in making the journey to visit her sister. We can take heart from her knowing that the journey is necessary in order to find wisdom.
Reason 3: Inanna's gift to us is a practical framework to mark transitions, setting out the steps we need to take in order to become a whole integrated human.
Reason 4: Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld, Kur also has gifts for us.
Ereshigal's first gift is that we need to let go or relinquish, for example: self beliefs or a role as the first stage of transition. In other words sometimes, something needs to end or die, in order to make way for something new to emerge.
Ereshkigal's second gift is about holding space: we need to be able and willing to stay in the dark and wait, and wait, rather than rushing into the next phase, into action.
Holding space can be excruciating. This is when we need allies who will stand beside us.
Reason 5: Because it is 4,000 years old and is the first known story written down, on stone cuneiform tablets.
Folklorist, Diane Wolkstein and cuneiform scholar, Samual Noah Kramer co-wrote the seminal book 'Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer' (1983).
My copy, signed by Diane Wolkstein (in 2007) is well-thumbed and has been my go-to reference book since the mid 1980's.
Wolkstein, who died suddenly in 2013, brought Inanna to a wider audience through her performances of Inanna's stories. I was fortunate to attend a performance at the British Museum in London in 2007. A workshop was held the following days where the power of these stories as metaphors for the human journey were discussed in detail and with great passion by scholars, facilitators and lovers of myth from all over the world.
Here is a video of me telling my version of the story: the short one!
This story is truly awesome and awe-inspiring.
Come and work with me and step into YOUR inner sovereignty!
Become your own Inanna!
Become your own Ereshkigal!