Sunday, May 13, 2012

Descent of Inanna and Rebirth

In their well researched and concisely written book “The Wisdom of the Serpent: The Myths of Death, Rebirth and Resurrection”, Joseph Henderson and Maud Oakes say:

“The element of sacrifice and sacrament, of dismemberment or immolation, which is so common in all the myths of the dying and resurrecting gods whether as youths or maidens, is reflected in Inanna's descent, by her willingness to make the sacrifice of the symbols of worldly power (her garments and jewels) during six or seven stages into the place of death. She is ready to risk all for an uncertain return to life reborn. What is chiefly remarkable is that the myth of rebirth never fails; the ravished daughter or the dead son-lover is always resuscitated: Inanna, though "turned into a corpse" and "hung from a stake," is always brought back to life.”

The events relating to Inanna and Tammuz, Isis and Osiris, Cybele and Attis, Aphrodite and Adonis, in the Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman myths all are varied shades of the same theme of a sacrifice unto death with an impending rebirth of which there is no certainty when the journey to death is undertaken. What are these myths trying to tell us. The characters in the myths have a great relevance to the Jungian archetypes of the collective unconsciousness. The story of the descent to the underworld by Inanna is very illustrative of the purpose with which the mythologem is constructed.
If we take a close look at the human life, the gross body and astral body are in constant bond, likened to lovers, but in the process, influencing each other both in their constituent structure as well as in their existential attributes which are beyond space-time. 
At physical death the separation of the lovers, namely the gross body and the astral body, occurs. The gross body , which is represented in the myth of the descent of Inanna, as the heavily bedecked, jewelled and costumed Inanna descends through seven levels casting off the ornaments and clothes to appear in her full nakedness in the underworld. This dissolution or dismemberment in various other myths points to the disintegration of the gross body which is always associated with the male principle or Shiva in Vedic mysticism as the saguna deity of destruction.
The female principle which is always associated with Divine wisdom or the Shakti symbolism is associated with the astral body which is held in hibernation until the God of wisdom, Enki whose daughter was Inanna, sends ‘gala-tura’ and the ‘kur-jara’ to revive Inanna and bring her back to the living world.
In the narration of the myth, ‘gala-tura’ and the ‘kur-jara’ are two androgynous or asexual beings and they are given the power of astral travel (the myth says “Go and direct your steps to the underworld. Fly past the door like flies. Slip through the door pivots like phantoms.”). There is a very deep esoteric content in these words. The astral body is revived to take a gross form in rebirth through a messenger field which is denoted by its asexual and hyper-dimensional attribute.

The encapsulation of individual consciousness is beautifully brought out in the following lines; 
“So when Inanna left the underworld, the one in front of her, though not a minister, held a sceptre in his hand; the one behind her, though not an escort, carried a mace at his hip, while the small demons, like a reed enclosure, and the big demons, like the reeds of a fence, restrained her on all sides.” 

The sceptre points to the directional vector of destination and ultimate life empowerment and the mace represents the weapon of protection. The translucent fencing points to the evolving nature of gross existence which does not attain its gross nature till it reaches the land of the living.

These myths have evoked powerful archetypal imagery in the human psyche in order to purify and help evolve to our higher nature over the last 5000 years.

Love to you all.

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