The Masculine Journey to the Underworld: Addressing Abandonment in 2020 Part 1

Greetings beloveds,

I wanted to speak to you today about a subject that is of the highest importance to me. I haven’t spoken on sacred sexuality and union in a bit as I have had some healing and lessons to learn in this area. What I have found has profoundly changed me in ways that I am better able to feel the beauty of as opposed to explaining through words. Eventually through it will be ready to come forth.

What I would like to express is the most recent experiences that I have been blessed to have. The couple of years ago, I held my first ever workshop on taking a journey into the underworld. Within the workshop I reviewed the underworld myths of Persephone and Inanna. The basis of the workshop centered on Inanna’s descent, so I reviewed in detail every aspect of her story. As I got towards the end of that tale and the beginning of Demuzi’s transition from King to taking Inanna’s place in the underworld, I decided that was a good point to stop as that gets to another form of self exploration. I mentioned that Inanna’s ascent and coming upon Demuzi who was not in mourning was symbolic of where the masculine and feminine are today. I was asked to expand upon that and think that it is worthwhile to speak on this today.

When Inanna returned from the underworld followed by the Galla, or the underworld spirits, she was tasked with locating another to take her place. She came first upon her handmaiden Ninshubur who had faithfully followed Inanna’s instructions and brought about her return. The Galla proposed to take Ninshubur in Inanna’s place but, Inanna said no not Ninshubur who stayed by her side and did as Inanna asked.

The Galla agreed and they went on to Umma where they came upon Shara, Inanna’s son who had lamented at her death and disappearance. Upon Inanna’s return he threw himself at her feet and the Galla suggested that they take him in Inanna’s place. Again, seeing her son paid tribute to her and mourned her loss, Inanna argued for him to be spared.

The Galla agreed and they continued on to Badtibira where they came upon Lulal Iannas’ second son. Lulal’s clothes were torn and he was lamenting the loss of his mother Ianna. Ianna would not agree to this and the group moved on still searching for another to take Inanna’s place.

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Finally they traveled to Inanna’s city where her husband Demuzi sat seated on his throne in his me garments, or the symbols of his power and identity. Having found her husband seemingly acting without remorse or any change whatsoever upon her disappearance, Ianna fixed the eye of death upon him. “Spoke against him the eye of wrath. Uttered against him the cry of guilt,” (Wolkstein and Kamer, 1983). This is where I had a significant change in perspective of the relationship between not only Inanna and Demuzi but the masculine and feminine.

As I was preparing for my workshop I read over Diane Wolkenstein’s interpretation of Inanna’s myths from her descent to Demuzi’s taking her place. It was here that I came across Wolensteins’ opinion that Demuzi was still in his role as King without having gone into mourning  and closing Inanna’s temple. It had not occurred to me that as the King, with the disappearance of Inanna, Demuzi could have fallen to his knees discarding all of his me garments in order to lament for his wife, but what did he see as his duties as her husband? As the King?

Next month, we will look at the role of the King, the husband, and the masculine in a world that has pushed away the feminine. 

Let me know what you think of Demuzi and the masculine today. 

-Kamilah Rose 

References

Woklenstein, D. & Kramer, S. N. 1983. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and

Hymns from Sumer.

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