Courage as an Active Surrender: Inanna Descends

Fall has arrived.  This is my first true relational experience with fall and coming winter in over fifteen years. I realize, it's long overdue!  Sometimes we need to experience death and dying, letting go and dissolving. Of course in the tropics, there are its own kind of seasons, however being back on the mainland, surrounded by leaves coloring, reddening and dripping off trees, traces of the tinge of coolness across my face like winter's coming breath is actually a respite to the perpetual summering of wet and dry seasons. As the days begin to shorten, I reflect on the coming darkness and how to welcome winter. I am inspired by one of my favorite epic Goddess myths, The Descent of Inanna.  This myth is one of the most ancient and powerful tales of initiation, in which Inanna descends down into the Underworld to face the Dark Mother, hang on a hook, die and be reborn.  I have written and worked with this story countless times in my women's groups, reclaiming our own dark times as a powerful time of initiation. In my book, Fire of the Goddess, I write, "When we consciously decide to go to the underworld, sacrificing the outer aspects of our little self, we meet the shadow of our larger self, reclaim her and bring her back, empowered." (p. 32).  This is what Sylvia Brinton Perera calls an Active Surrender  in her book, Descent to the Goddess. Active surrender is when we surrender consciously, willingly with our eyes wide open. This is courage.  This is grace, fierce grace. The fullest time of active surrender were both times I gave birth.  Birth is so active, active like a series of violent earthquakes moving through the body; and yet the [...]

New Moon and Inanna: Facing the Dark Mother

The New Year has turned over, welcoming in 2014.  The New Moon is a potent time to clear away the old and make room for what is coming in, fresh and vibrant for the year. These last several months of my life have been especially life changing, as well as deeply challenging. My thirteen year long relationship came to an end as I faced the truths of my own growth and values around self-love, power and inner wisdom. After a huge amount of transformation, I was left behind to sort out the physical pieces of our relationship, to begin the beautiful embarkation on a new one and to face the sorrow of being so far from my daughter. In the months that followed, I have since lost my main income from online work, my daughter is gone, thousands of miles away, I am moving around like a modern vagabond, caretaking other people’s homes.  My computer began oozing green goo and I have lost friends, gotten rid of most of my belongings and begun the huge process of deconstructing what happened the last thirteen years of my life.  I've learned so much from being broken and shared this here, on elephant journal. As the adventure of 2013 unfolded, I felt increasingly like INANNA, the great goddess of Ancient Sumer who descends into the Underworld to visit her sister, Ereshkigal, the Dark Mother.  Inanna speaks to me, and to so many other women who seek guidance when we move through the especially hard times in life. Ancient myths act like a key to unlock our innermost feelings and the myth of Inanna works to uncover our deepest, darkest truths in the form of a classic tale of initiation.  From my book,  Fire of the Goddess “Initiation is a deep surrender; it is the courage to really give ourselves over to the universe, [...]