Last week our guest facilitator read an accessible version of the myth of “Inanna in the Underworld.” The women in our circle were then asked to write about Inanna – how they felt about her; how they would judge her if she were a man; why she is not well known and what is lost by that? Some turned to the prompts, while others chose to personalize the experience of traveling to hell and back. At the end of class, when we traditionally reflect on the content and process of the session, SS wrote enthusiastically “Inanna is my new hero! It’s cool to see a woman that really puts herself first and is only loyal to those that are loyal to her.” What follows are her written thoughts in response to the story and its prompts:
She told lies, but she desired more, needed truth no matter how painful. That’s what her journey was really about. Self exploration . . . self realization . . . She journeyed through the depths of hell for him.
My journey lasted much longer than three days. No one mourned for me. I had no one to take my place, my life not valuable enough for anyone to want to trade places. So I stayed there. On my own journey finding myself through rage, then despair, then resentment, through bitterness – all the different seasons of gut-wrenching heart-shattering emotions. To find my king happy without me. No love loss, no sorrow in his eyes. Just pity and disgust.
I thought my king would be the only one to come for me. The only one to mourn for me. But it hit me so hard, the truth, the oneI’d been searching for . . . The one I still can’t say out loud . . . He looked at me like I was no more than some peasant to him, my king. As if I was never his queen . . .
My king, cold and rigid. More cold, more strategic than I remembered, turned his back on me.
I wish I had her strength to repay him, my king, for making me look like a fool. I wish his rigidness could’ve made me bitter so I could’ve forced him to take my place. To know my pain, know my emptiness. That his disregard and disrespect could’ve forced me to stand up as a queen, for every woman. True love has no boundaries. My forgiveness makes me weak . . .
My loyalty, my love still to my king, even though I’ve been condemned to this underworld, waiting for him . . . to come back for me.
This journey’s all mine, wandering around empty and angry – til I realize . . . .