|Inanna/Ishtar by Monica Sjöö|
Having recently left a significant part of my life behind, I am in a strange, unfamiliar place. This new world is wholly my own – unchartered, exhilarating, thrilling, frightening.
I am sleeping longer – moving deeper into the dream realm, where powerful messages bleed into my waking hours, their residue clinging to my eyelashes, my skin, my thoughts. I am becoming familiar with their intrepid ways, enabling me to observe my experience – and this new space – differently.
I dream that a dark figure is chasing me. But the chase is interrupted when the stranger is bitten by a small black spider. I watch the body of the stranger as it collapses, shrivels, dies – eventually turning to dust and dirt. I lean down and feel the dirt in my hands – cool, moist, and mixed with blood, bones, and bits of clothing. I need to ingest this dirt in order to complete my task.It feels strange to be moving deeper on an inward journey in the middle of summer. The long, sunny days are luring me to play, to socialize, to be light – but I resist. The cool walls of my own internal dwelling seem to offer respite from the heat of the sun.
Like the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna who descends into the underworld, I am making my own journey, releasing pieces of myself at each of the gates – beliefs, behaviours, fragments of identity. “You do not need them here.” She whispers. “Let them go.” The unveiling has begun.
“The process by which the stellar goddess submits herself to concreteness and incarnation involves her unveiling. This motif suggests the removal of old illusions and false identities that may have served in the upper world, but which count for nothing in the Netherworld. There one stands naked before the all-seeing eyes of the dark goddess. The unveiling means being stripped bare, the unveiling of the goddess to herself – the original striptease. It suggests a need to be utterly exposed, undefended, open to having one’s soul searched by the eye of death, the dark eye of the Self.” ~Sylvia Brinton PereraExternal acceptance, approval, rewards for a job well done, mementos collected from habit and predictability are no longer useful, cannot be useful here, and yet, sometimes I want to hold on.
None of it is real. At any moment it can disappear.
Some of it falls away from my body undetected, like the natural shedding of dead skin cells, gathering dust on the floor, on the bookshelf, on the frames hanging on the wall, swept away at the end of the week. Other times, there is resistance – separated with the violence of a Band-Aid firmly attached to the skin, pulling hair from follicle, flesh from bone, red and raw.
My feelings change daily – happiness, elation, fear, boredom – they are all here with me as I learn to fully be with myself.
I dream that my left hand has been severed at the wrist, and I am trying to put myself back together again. My hand feels strange, unnatural, and continues to fall off the stump of my wrist. Forcing it causes bleeding.This dismemberment is not to be solved or fixed.
Can I be with myself, just as I am? Full of emotional fluctuations, self-criticism, discomfort, my own judgment for letting go of what I so carefully, painstakingly constructed? Can I learn to let each criticism, each moment of fear, each thought of self-doubt, pang of regret, wash over me rather than holding on?
These are the battle cries of my identity. They feel like life buoys in the moment, but they cannot save me.
Re-creating, re-building, re-designing a life that will work, that will enable me to act in my own authority, my own confidence, my own truth – rather than through some outside force, some external permission – this is the work.
But I am not there yet.
I continue to turn to her – the woman inside of me, gathering strength and fortitude. She is reconstituting herself.
For her, I am willing to wait.