Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Moon's Initiation: The Descent to the Underworld

The Moon's Initiation:  The Descent to the Underworld
             Sylvia Brinton Perera describes this descent in her marvelous book, Descent to the Goddess.11   Using the Sumerian myth of the goddess Inanna's descent to the underworld realm of her dark sister Ereshkigal, her death and rebirth and eventual return to the heavens, Perera describes our need to descend into the underworld of the unconscious and stand before the dark, repressed feminine that rules there within our psyches.  If we can allow ourselves to make that dark journey, leaving behind our everyday attitudes as Inanna left behind her power in her clothes and jewels at the seven gates of the underworld, we will confront a feminine side of ourselves that has been relegated to the darkness by our collective consciousness of the light.  We can regain the lost knowledge of the feminine from this dark sister, the wild woman in our psyches, Allerleirauh wearing her mantle of furs, if we have the courage to look on her and honor her, which means honoring our deep wounds, our fears, our despair as well as our intuitive knowing and vision.  Then we can begin to bring some of her power back up into the light of everyday reality.  I believe that this is the renewal we are all searching for, for from this death and rebirth a new spirit is available to us, and we will be able to see, with our dark sister's eye of death, what it is that we really want and what is demanded of us by our destiny. 
            Once we have made this initial descent to the dark Goddess and we connect to our repressed feelings, each menstrual period and each cycle of the moon gives us another chance to go within and listen for wisdom.   At the dark of the moon, or during our bleeding, the new birth occurs.  This is a stage of border crossings, when we have the potential to break into other realities, when our ego consciousness sinks into the depths, and we are bereft of light.  Outwardly, it is often a time when we feel distant and cold, unrelated and hidden.  Life feels barren, like a dead thing.  We experience this as a time of depression, grouchiness, being out of touch, yet touchy.  This happens when psychic energy goes into the unconscious, into the experience of being hidden.  Our energy is scattered, for there is nothing outside of ourselves that it cares to hold onto.  We feel dry and lifeless, for the moist, feeling life has gone through an inner boundary into the darkness of the depths.  Usually, we just suffer through it, for we do not realize what is happening to us.  But if we can name these times for what they are - a descent to the dark Goddess - we might be able to go into the depths consciously.  The way, par excellence, for women to experience this descent, as well as the rebirth of the new cycle, is through our menstrual cycle.
            Woman's menstrual cycle is an ebb and flow of energy, a cyclic rhythm we experience in our bodies.  If today's ads are any indication, women experience it as a disruption in their lives, having no idea of the inner meaning of its rhythms.  We only know that the blood flow is a bother, and the only time we look forward to our periods is when we fear we might be pregnant.  How far we have come from honoring the gifts of a female body!   How will this affect our instincts when  women can take drugs and only have their periods four times a year?  The menstrual cycle has an inner dimension whose meaning we have lost, for long ago it was called 'Woman's Friend' and women knew its hidden mystery.12  In losing touch with our bodies and the wisdom of our bodies, women lost the means by which we can consciously partake in the creativity and wisdom of feminine wisdom.  For our bleeding wombs are the symbol and the source of life renewed.

1 comment:

  1. Came to me at the right time. Good insight. Love!