Inanna

In a recent panel participation at the Calgary Jung Society, I mentioned that Inanna, a fourth millennium BCE deity of Sumer, was a warrior goddess. Several people picked up on that and wanted to know more about the female warrior. Here are bits of Inanna’s story through which a feminine modus operandi begins to emerge. 

Story #1: Inanna planted and tended a tree in her garden with the conscious intention of turning it into her throne when it reached its fullness. In other words, she believed herself to be worthy of authority. Through her commitment to the tree, she took hold of her place in the world. 

The feminine aspect of the psyche is about creating and fostering life. Expansion and furtherance of life is her area of sovereignty.

A modern example: In 2017, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to read a letter written by Martin Luther King’s widow on the Senate floor. She was told to stop, did not stop, and was removed from the room. Outside the Senate door, she proceeded to live-stream her reading of the letter, which was about protecting the right to vote for all people. After closing the Senate door on Warren, the Speaker of the Senate unwittingly gave the women’s movement a meme when he said of her, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The Feminine Warrior speaks up for life and – without using violence – refuses to be silenced.

Story #2: As Inanna grew in awareness and maturity, she noticed that the powers bestowed on her were minor compared to those of the gods. She went to visit the God of Wisdom, talked and laughed and drank (reservedly) with him, then accepted a gift of powers that he offered to her in his drunken state. What she got from him was the knowledge and authority for shaping civilization.

Psyche’s feminine side knows when to confront power indirectly. She seizes equity where she can and in ways open to her.

A modern example: The female mayor of Washington, D.C., had the Department of Public Works paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in large, yellow letters, on the street in front of the White House. She did this during the night after federal police were called in to confront peaceful protesters. The mayor had no authority to remove the police, but she had jurisdiction over the streets. Asked why she ordered the midnight street-signage, she replied. “There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen and to have their humanity recognized.”

Story #3: Inanna was Queen of Heaven and Earth, but she knew nothing about the Underworld, so she took a journey there. Upon returning from a travail of humiliation, death and rebirth she found that her consort had usurped her throne. Incensed, she sent him to the Underworld. His sister interceded for him and Inanna reduced the sentence to six months every year in the Underworld. 

The archetypal feminine is about community, compassion and justice. She takes a stand when propriety is breached. 

A modern example: In 2019, more than forty women stood up and turned their backs on our Prime Minister during a speech in the House of Commons. He had expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould following her accusation that he was interfering in the criminal prosecution of a large business. Another female minister resigned in support of her stance. 

Our individual warrior-acts are not as public as those in the world of politics. Nevertheless, the feminine pole of the Warrior archetype enables us to live our life with great courage. This means accepting the searing events that come into our life, enduring severe emotional distress with bravery. It may include being exiled, like Jody Wilson-Raybould was. Through the feminine warrior energy within, we may make a statement to the world from our place of banishment, as Senator Warren did outside the Senate door. 

When rooted in the soil of the deep feminine, we break silence and persist. We exercise the authority we have in service to fairness. We stand in a creed of decency and respect. Whatever our circumstances, we practice these ethics because they are the nature of the feminine principle. 

Peggy Voth

September 30, 2020

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