Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dance of Inanna

Inanna danced into the minds of the Sumerian people. It was harvest time: Inanna's time. The fruitfulness of the year was celebrated by the princes of the land and even the slaves and servants joined in the party. The dance lasted, sometimes, for weeks depending on how much grace Inanna bestowed on her people. She is the goddess of fertility, sex, and ... warfare. She is the goddess of the fever; of the dance.

You know what dance I am talking about? That dance that goes on in your heart and mind between your passions and your reasoning. Inanna is the goddess who stirs your body when you see someone beautiful of the opposite sex. Inanna is the goddess who drives you to just one more drink and everything will be better. Inanna is the goddess who stirs the fever of war, the propaganda, and the passion to fight.

The sister of Inanna in Sumerian/Mesopotamian mythology is Ereshkigal. Ereshkigal is the goddess of the aftermath. While Inanna is the goddess of the fruitful harvest, Ereshkigal is the goddess of the barren fields of winter. Inanna is the goddess of passionate, secret, and illegitimate sex; Ereshkigal is the goddess of guilt in the aftermath. Inanna is the goddess of life and Ereshkigal was relegated to the goddess of the afterlife or underworld.

Yet Inanna was not happy being just the goddess of the college party of life; she wanted more. She went to the underworld to confront her sister who suspected she was up to something. At each gate of the underworld, in order to pass, Inanna was forced to give up some of her jewelry and clothes which was her power until finally she confronted her sister to conquer her but found her drive to control had stripped her of all her power and her sister easily overpowered her. In the myth with Inanna gone the world became fruitless. No crops, no children, no parties. The other gods saw the problem and pleaded with Ereshkigal to release her sister which she agreed to by requiring someone to take her place. While all Inanna's friends mourned for her she found her husband simply reading under a tree and she sent him to the underworld in her place. Yet six months of the year she pines for him and so we have the fall and winter months of unfruitfulness.

While ancient myths are not true they do convey some truths. Guilt and barrenness will follow the mindless caving in to your passions as sure as fall and winter follow summer. The inability of your reason to stop you passion will not only hurt you but hurt those you love.

Too often today we look for remedies for the hangover instead of stopping the drinking; we look for counselors who will tell us to ignore the guilt instead of seeking repentance for the sin and STOPPING the action. We all dance the dance of Inanna. The question is who will lead, who is the stronger: your reason and self discipline or your passion and weaknesses? Your dance, your decision.

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