Stories of the Tableau 3
Empress – Wheel – Star
This is a story about facing the dark and finding the light.
Once upon a time, in a land long forgotten, there lived a beautiful young Goddess. Her name was Inanna and she was the jewel of the land. She was the daughter of the sky, forceful in her desire for conquest. She wore the Heavens upon her head in a starry crown and the landscape was her robe. Inanna had many adventures which brought her great fame and fortune. She was loved by her people and ruled with a firm hand.
There came a time when Inanna wanted to visit her sister Ereshkigal. Ereshkigal lived in the dark underworld where she was holding her husband’s funerary rites. Inanna dressed in all her finest regalia befitting the Queen of Heaven and went to the gates of the underworld demanding to be allowed in. Ereshkigal, angry at he sister’s pomposity, told the gate keepers that Inanna needed to remove one piece of her regalia at each gate. Seven gates in all Inanna had to pass through. She removed her crown, her sceptre, her jewellery, her cloak, her robe, her shoes and eventually her undergarments. When she finally arrived at her sister’s court she stood before them naked.
You may think this is a story of shame and embarrassment but Inanna knew that her strength did not come from her regalia. Her power was not vested in her clothing. She did not require her shoes to walk upon the soil of the underworld. She went there with a full understanding of what she was going to face. She had a backup plan in place.
Like the story of Odin, Inanna knew she was going to have to make a sacrifice. Her sister attacked her, flinging disease upon her and hung her on a wall to die. Inanna hung like rotten meat for three days patiently waiting for her back up plan to take effect. The plan required Inanna to trust her best friend to advocate on her behalf. It also required her to trust that her family would lend aid to her rescue. Inanna needed to trust that those who loved and cared for her would succeed where no other had for a release from the underworld could only be accomplished with Ereshkigal’s blessing.
Many adventures ensued and many plots were successfully navigated to result in Inanna’s release, and released she was. When Inanna ascended back into the world she was stronger than ever as she had squarely faced death and conquered fear to arise with a greater understanding of the depth of her power and the strength of her allies.
Today I contemplate my dark self. Often I descend into a realm of darkness and isolation, but I know that as the sun rises and sets so too will this time pass. Through the love and patience of family and friends I ascend again, stronger in my realization that I am not alone.