The Descent of Inanna

Date(s) - 09/28/2012 - 09/30/2012

Cedar Valley Unitarian Universalists, Cedar Falls IA

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.

From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below.

From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.

Inanna abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
–Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer.

The story of Inanna’s Descent is a Sumerian myth as old as the invention of written language. Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, begins a journey to merge the Great Above with the Great Below. Passing through seven gates, each of which presents a particular challenge and demands a difficult sacrifice, she descends to the Underworld to embrace and understand her power. She faces the darkness in order to understand the light.
We used this powerful story as a template for exploring our own personal growth and self-discovery. Although Inanna is a queen, her ancient story is relevant to all of us today, no matter our gender. We considered what it means to claim our power, and what we sacrifice on the journey to our most powerful self. We discovered the deepest truth of what we embrace, what feeds us and gives us life.

On Friday evening, we gathered as a group to begin to explore the meanings of this story through discussion and ritual. On Saturday, we deepened our understanding as we personalized Inanna’s story, seeking to understand how her sacrifices can help us understand our own challenges and gifts. Saturday evening we came together in ritual to descend to the Underworld, find the gifts there, and rise again.

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