Download Descent to the Goddess: a way of initiation for women by Sylvia Brinton Perera PDF

By Sylvia Brinton Perera

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Secondly, it is a story of an initiation process into the mysteries. There is a gate into and out of the underworld later called Inanna-Ishtar's door. 17 Inanna's path and its stages may thus present a paradigm for the life-enhancing descent into the abyss of the dark goddess and out again. Inanna shows us the way, and she is the first to sacrifice herself for a deep feminine wisdom and for atonement. She descends, submits, and dies. 18 It is not based upon passivity, but upon an active willingness to receive.

She symbolizes raw instinctuality split off from consciousnessneed and aggression in the underworld. And she sends her gatekeeper to deal with the intruder, a male to defend her. These images suggest that chaotic defensive furies, such as rage, greed, and even the unleashing of the animus, are inevi- Page 24 table aspects of the archetypal underworld. They are the ways the unconscious reacts to unwelcome visitation. We see them when a complex is probed, for the unconscious has its own powerful defenses.

46 The poem describing Inanna's descent tells us that the first of the rapes of Ninlil-Ereshkigal produced Nanna-Sin, the moon god, who was born in the underworld and rises to light the darkness and to measure time with his growing and waning cycles. Nanna-Sin, in fact, is Inanna's father (and father of the sun god as well). Thus his mother, Ninlil-Ereshkigal, is Inanna's grandmother in the geneologyan aspect of the boundless, primal feminine which was raped, cut down, and still bore fruit. Ereshkigal became a symbol of dread death to the patriarchy, and was banished into the underworld.

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