The phoenix must burn to emerge. ~White Oleander
I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.
Letters to My Daughters
Metamorphosis is the most profound of all acts. ~In the Night Garden
The story of the Sumerian goddess Inanna (who then became the Babylonian goddess Ishtar) has resonated with me for years. I first read of her story in 2014, while reading Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey and its companion workbook. Over the years her story has become more and more meaningful to me, and has come to embody each of our own life journeys in this world, especially as women.
The Heroine’s Journey differs in subtle and not so subtle ways from Joseph Campbell’s defined Hero’s Journey – as it in my opinion should. The story of Inanna on the surface is little more than a hero’s journey, there is an event that leads her to a dark time, and then she emerges “reborn” and goes back into her world, changed and stronger than ever.
But there is more to Inanna’s journey, to the heroine’s journey, than going through a dark time and having it change us.
What I find most valuable about Inanna’s journey is that in order to get to her dark place, to get to the Underworld, she needed to enter naked. To become naked, she needed to slowly set down everything she wore, everything she held close to her. She needed to enter the Underworld in her most vulnerable state.
While there in the Underworld, having no one and nothing there to protect her, to distract her, to keep her from her self, she died. The old her, her old ways of being could not help her, and that iteration of herself had to come to an end.
However, in order for her to emerge, she could not do it on her own. I find this to be deeply profound. She required the help of the handmaiden – who gathered the help of Inanna’s uncle, who made two golems to help “free” Inanna. Inanna required her community, her family, her people, to be a part of her own rising up, her own rebirth, her own re-emergence as a changed, stronger, more confident woman.
If that isn’t a perfect metaphor for a woman’s life today I don’t know what is.
We need to go into the darkness alone, naked. But we can only come back out with the support of those we hold dear, who we trust, who value us.
The Becoming Unleashed circle is based on the story of Inanna. We spend seven weeks descending into the underworld, setting down our own narratives of how we are too much, not enough, don’t matter, and the shame that goes with those stories. We will then take a week to focus on our own self care and allow a small bit of space for the work we have already moved through to begin to settle into our being. Next we spend seven weeks in the Underworld, or what I more lovingly call The Goo – learning to sit in the discomfort of the in-between, the unknowing, grappling with some of our own demons in the process while also allowing space for us to grieve what we have lost or never had. After this time we will spend another week intensely focused on our personal self care. Finally we will spend seven weeks on our ascension – reclaiming those parts of us that we had neglected, or shoved down, or weren’t even sure existed with us.
This circle is about unearthing and examining the narratives that run through our heads, that live in our bodies, put there by our families as well as by our culture. It is a about unlearning harmful ways of being with ourselves and others while learning to embrace all parts of our Self and foster and nourish our own strengths, power, and daring. It is an opportunity for us as women to come together to see our common and profoundly unique experiences and to see all these hurtful narratives are not at all about us individually, but are about controlling us all collectively.
We will learn to take off another layer of the leash that our culture has put on us and find our own ways to freedom and liberation so we can go out in the world to do the same with others.
This circle is limited to six women (CIS, Transgender, and AFAB non-binary are all welcome) to help create a more intimate and safe environment for us to dig into this work together. We begin on October 1 and will journey together for six months. There are bi-weekly (every other week) group calls, most with guided meditations/journeying; bi-weekly emails with essays, exercises, and homework, and a private on-line group (on Facebook) where we can check in and connect between our calls.
I would be honored if you joined us. If you have any questions or would like to connect for a 30-minute chat to see if this circle is right for you, I’d love to hear from you so we can get something on our calendars soon. You can start the process by filling out the form on this page
To learn more about the circle and to register you can go right here.
Whether you join us in this circle or not, I hope that you have an amazing season to come, finding your own ways of release, renewal & reformation, and reclamation.