Monday, January 7, 2008

Innana: Embracing The Shadow

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto. For more information on their work, please visit the following websites:

Amy Sophia Marashinsky:
You can download the meditations included in the ritual suggestions at

Hrana Janto:


I went there

of my own free will

I went there

in my finest gown

with my rarest jewels

and my Queen of Heaven crown

In the Underworld

at each of the seven gates

I was stripped seven times

of all that I thought I was

till I stood bare in who I really am

Then I saw Her

She was huge and dark and smelly and hairy

with a lion’s head

and lion’s claws

devouring everything before Her

Ereskigal, my sister

She was all that I am not

All that I have hidden

All that I have buried

She is what I have denied

Ereskigal, my sister

Eriskigal, my shadow

Eriskigal, my self


Sumerian Queen of Heaven, Innanna (pronounced eh-na’na) tricked her father, Enki, God of Wisdom, into giving her the hundred objects of culture, which she then gave to humankind. Desiring to pay a visit to her sister, Ereskigal, she journeyed to the underworld. There she was stripped and killed, and left to hang on a hook for three days and three nights. Inanna was allowed to leave the Underworld only if she found a substitute. She chose her sun-lover, the shepherd Damuzi, who, in her absence, had usurped her place on the throne of Heaven.

Meaning of the Card

Inanna is here to tell you that a journey to the Underworld is the way to wholeness for you now. It is time to dance with your shadow, reclaim what you’ve denied, embrace your own Dark Sister / Dark Self. You need all those aspects of yourself that your parents, caregivers, teachers, society have deemed unacceptable in order to achieve wholeness in your life. Whether it be your talent, your beauty, your inner vampire, your anger, your madness, you are required to surrender to the journey and embrace your dark side. If you are already in the Underworld, the appearance of Inanna may signal that the time for your return is at hand. Journeys to the Underworld to embrace your dark side are a law unto themselves. They take as much time as they need to take – you can’t just fit them into your schedule. When it is time for you to journey, you will and you will not be done until you return. Take comfort in the fact that all journeys to the Underworld do end and that you will indeed return – much different from who you thought you were when you went.

Ritual Suggestion: Journey to Meet Your Shadow
You can download this meditation at the following site for $1.50

Find a time and place when and where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie comfortably with your back straight. When you feel ready, take a deep breath and release it, letting everything go. Breathe in and let your body relax. As you breathe out, drop your body as if you were removing a suit of silk clothes, letting it lie in a pool at your feet. Breathe in and see the entrance to a tunnel. It can be one you are familiar with or one you invent. As you breathe out, see yourself standing before it. Breathe in and enter. The tunnel is warm and well lit. You begin to go down, down, down. The tunnel is safe and feels pleasant. You are going down, down, down, deeper and deeper and deeper. Now you see a light at the end of the tunnel. You are at the threshold of the Underworld. Step out into the Underworld.

Call what you need to see – your shadow, your dark side. Call this entity to you and it will come. What does it look like? How does it make you feel? It asks you for something and you give it freely (Note: If you experience any fear, either before the journey or when you meet your shadow, keep breathing deeply and acknowledge the fear. It is there to help you. Being able to witness all the parts/aspects of ourselves, with or without fear, is what brings us to wholeness).

It is now time to return, so bid your shadow good-bye for now and return to the tunnel. Now you are coming up, up, up, through the warmth and the safety of the tunnel, feeling energized, feeling refreshed, feeling relaxed. Up, up, up, till you reach the entrance of the tunnel. Take a deep breath and, when you exhale, you are back in your body. Take a deep breath and, when you exhale, if ready, open your eyes. Welcome back!

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