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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Inanna

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

At the time of writing, several friends of mine are engaged in formal initiation proceedings, leading me to consider my own experiences with initiations.  It was easy to pinpoint those formal initiations such as being initiated into the National Honor Society, or being initiated into a co-ed social group at my college that I can only explain as being modeled on the Merry Pranksters.  But the experience that first came to mind when thinking of initiatory experiences was working the Twelve Steps.

Anyone who has a desire to stop using can become a member of a Twelve Step group.  You do not have to work the Twelve Steps.  However, the process of working the Twelve Steps is the manner in which one draws closer to the program or becomes truly initiated.  It is how we begin to view fellowship as family.  Since we work the Twelve Steps with a sponsor, we are forced to reach our hand out and ask for help.  No longer are we able to sit in the back of the room, not talking to anyone.  We must make connections in order to move forward.  As we reveal ourselves to our sponsor, we learn how to become open and more vulnerable.  We become open to taking suggestions, and learn about humility.  These are essential elements for being part of a society instead of being a party of one.  Not only does the process of the Twelve Steps change us into better people, but we also learn how to be with people as we work the steps.

The many tales of underworld descents provide a poetic structure through which to understand a program of recovery. Much of what we do is painful, and involves spelunking around in some of the darker neighborhoods of our psyche.  If we persist, at the end of the experience we are reborn.  As in the Sumerian tale of Inanna’s descent, there are seven gates (steps) we must pass through in the Recovery version of the Underworld, and at each of them we must turn over some part of ourselves just as Inanna was required to turn over a symbol of her power and wealth.  In Step One, we hand over our attachment to the idea that we shall ever be able to exercise any power over our drinking or drugging.  In Step Two, we give up the specter of self-sufficiency.  In step Three, we turn over our will and our lives.  We hand over denial and self-delusion in Step Four, and in Step Five we part ways with our pride.  In Step six we relinquish our attachment to our character defects, and then in Step Seven we actually ask for them to be removed. As Inanna became stripped of the symbols of her holy priestesshood, so too do we become more naked and vulnerable as we go along.  When we question, as Inanna did, why we have to do this or that, our sponsors or old-timer’s might snap at us as the Chief Gatekeeper, Neti, snapped at Inanna, “Quiet Inanna, the ways of the Underworld are perfect.  They may not be questioned.” We’ve all met the Big Book thumpers who talk like this!

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The Goddess and Beer: I'll Drink to That

As the nights shift to cooler weather in my part of the world, a woman’s fancy begins to turn to…beer? Well, maybe that’s just me, but the harvest time brings to my mind celebrating life around a bonfire with a cold bottle. Autumn grain festivals could be the perfect time to pour out a foamy libation. As interestingly, many researchers argue that our ancient ancestors began cultivating grains not for baking but for brewing. Ancient cultures across the world incorporated these brews into daily religious life. And in that history of the development of beer, women and the Goddess take a central role. The ancient beer makers in many cultures were often women, and their products were sacred to Goddesses.

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  • Peter Dyr
    Peter Dyr says #
    Siduri not only represents a goddess of beer/fermentation, she was also the first recorded person to provide us with Carpe diem-li

Posted by on in Studies Blogs


    Considering the articles I've read lately about whether or not pop culture icons and fluffy bunnies are appropriate idols for worship, and whether or not to bow to them, I'd like to address the reverence I feel for Classical music and the composers of that art.  At the beginning of May, I sang in a concert of music by Beethoven.  This concert may have changed my life.  Towards peace. 

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  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Well said. And I agree...what we do is ultimately up to each person and whatever path calls to them.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Inanna Called Her Home

There used to be this odd thing at funerals here in the South.  There were these big floral arrangements, often with artificial flowers in bright cheery colors, and wired to the center was a toy princess phone.  There were words on the arrangement:

Jesus Called Her Home


They seemed so peculiar at the time and I haven't seen one in years. But when I heard this weekend that Diane Wolkstein had died unexpectedly in Taiwan, my first thought was:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Inanna is a very old Goddess.* She is one of the oldest Deities for whom we have a name and a record of worship -- and that worship lasted all the way up to the conversion of the Near and Middle East to first Christianity, then Islam. Today, Inanna (or Ishtar, in the Akkadian) is an immensely popular Goddess among Pagans, especially solitaries and those who practice Goddess Spirituality.

There are a number of resources available to those who are interested in Inanna, ranging from the densely academic to the poetic to children's books.**

In that first category can be found In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth by Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Controversial and iconoclastic, this text chronicles the gradual marginalization of Goddesses in the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheons, which Frymer-Kensky contrasts with the more egalitarian monotheism of very early Judaism. You may not agree with her conclusions, but the book will still make you stop and think. 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Byron: you're welcome. And if you find any new books or articles about Her, please let me know.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for this! I've been dedicated to Inanna for decades now and continue to be thrilled when new information emerges. During

 

O, yes, it is nearly Samhain. Oya is crashing north- and westward, Her winds clearing the path, driving the waters ahead of Her. And I am composing an invocation of the Morrighan and have purchased a perfect, fat pomegranate. It is so tempting to tear it open and taste the sweet wild seed-fruits, to quench my thirst as Persephone did and doom myself to a dual-life. 

The lore surrounding Persephone's descent into the underworld has come down to us in some interesting ways. One is the abduction scenario--Hades rises from a great cleft in the Earth and pulls her into his black chariot. She leaves her mother Demeter behind, bereft at the disappearance of her only child. Persephone serves as Queen of the Underworld and in the course of her time below, she eats six seeds from a pomegranate. These doom her to a bi-coastal existence--six months above ground with Mummy, six below with her husband, the Dark King.

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