The energy of these images began coming to me in 1993 after my daughter and son disclosed the abuse they had suffered at the hands of their father. Plunged into severe clinical depression by the despair, guilt and deep pain for what I perceived to have been something I should have prevented I began the journey inward to retrieve the memories that would help me support my children in their healing as well as recover my own lost self.
In 1995, while meditating on a hilltop I felt a presence with me and, upon asking it to identify itself, She said Inanna. Puzzled by this unfamiliar name, I returned to my house and picked up Sylvia Perera’s book , Descent to the Goddess, a Way of Initiation for Women, which I had just purchased, sensing that the answer would be in there. Reading the story of Inanna’s descent for the first time a deep knowing arose in me that I had known Her for a long time and that She was appearing to guide me on my own descent to reclaim the unwanted and denied parts of myself. That night I received a phone call asking me to join a trip to sacred goddess sights in Turkey including the ruins of the temple of Innana.
The grouse , my central totem whose medicine is the dance of the sacred spiral, accompanies me on my journey.
” At a time in my life when my own children’s disclosure of painful childhood memories plunged me into severe clinical depression and a coming to terms with years of denial and pain, I found a giant maple tree which became a healing place for me. Although the tree had a huge and healthy crown, it’s trunk was rotted out inside to such a degree that I could crawl inside to kneel. This “womb” space became a metaphor for my own grief and shame-filled body. Here I began the journey of remembering. “
” As my healing process deepened, Inanna called me to travel to Turkey. At the well of the Temple of Inanna, the Goddess (in both her light and dark aspects) held me as I was shaken to my core with memories of my life as a priestess in this very temple and the ultimate sacrifice of my life. Memories of my own childhood and that of my children mingled with the ancient ones. Inanna spoke saying, ” In the past you sacrificed your life and your power for me; this time you can choose otherwise and become a healing presence on the planet. “
” My own descent began when a grouse actually flew through the window of my studio, shattering the window as well as many illusions I was clinging to. Although darkness and depression were engulfing me, I felt the Goddess Inanna’s presence supporting me the deeper I went. Below, like the Goddess’s sister Erishkegal, waited my own unclaimed and denied aspects of myself. “
” One day in my studio during this journey within, I was guided to hang a piece of canvas on the wall. At first I smeared it with red, paint feeling intense anger, and gradually my own face emerged. As I continued, the Medusa herself, snakes wriggling through her hair, became visible. I suddenly realized she was the embodiment of the so-called “ugly” and unwanted parts of myself. I dropped to the floor sobbing and then with tears streaming down my cheeks, I took my paint brush and drew a big heart around her. Then, in this moment of ego death, compassion filled me and I began to transition gradually (as had the Goddess Inanna after being killed and hung on a peg by her sister) from a place of froziness to embracing myself. “
” After the intensity of my descent and surrender to ego death, came a time of rest and gestation in tune with the winter . In a dream I saw myself in the womb of Mother Earth cradled by a huge polar bear. The owl, long a symbol for Goddess and for wisdom and vision, circles over us bringing the energy of that which is soon to be reborn. “
” I emerged from my descent into the light of the new millennium. Again, the dream time brought me a vision of a turtle (symbol of Mother Earth in Native American spirituality) climbing into my lap to lay her eggs. The energy of this image penetrated me deeply and I felt it a powerful sign guiding me on my path. In the image I am seated beneath a giant white pine (symbol of peace) and am guided by the “Ancient Ones” who began to be very present to me, supporting me in my remembering of ancient wisdom and knowing that I carry. “
continue to DESCENT II