Honouring the Dark Moon

Modern astronomers denote the New Moon as the day the moon is at zero illumination. They mark this as the exact point when a new moon cycle begins, ie the New Moon. Modern calendar makers have followed suit & what is marked on most calendars as the New Moon is actually the time when the moon is at 0% illumination.

However when the moon is at 0% illumination this is, technically, the Dark Moon. The New Moon begins when the moon shows the very first, tiniest sliver of illumination. 

While modern astronomers tend to use these terms interchangeably, they are actually two different parts of the moon cycle. And as such, they have slightly different energies and are supporting us in slightly different kinds of introspection and growth.

This week’s New Moon occurs tomorrow (17 September) at 8:30 pm (ACST). This is the moment the moon receives exactly 0% illumination and will begin growing again. Until the moon is illuminated again, we are in the dark moon phase of the moon cycle.

The Dark Moon is a very important part of the moon cycle. A part that is often forgotten. 

This is where the wisdom of the ending cycle settles into our souls and our spirits. Without taking this moment of pause, we are missing this important integration of all our work and all our growth from the previous moon cycle.

It is not surprising to me that in our modern society we have lost the tradition of observing the Dark Moon. In so many facets of life we have dismissed this vital moment of pause. We rarely stop and rest when we complete one thing before moving on to the next. Rarely do we give ourselves these crucial moments of pause and reflection before diving in to the next thing coming.

In losing these pauses, we are also losing this vital time where we absorb and assimilate lessons learned & wisdom gained from our experiences. We are missing this crucial component of our personal growth.

Source:
How Does the Dark Moon Energy Encourage Your Personal Growth?

Contemporary Witchcraft – Pre-orders now being taken

I am delighted to be able to advise that pre-orders for my forthcoming book, Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life, will open on Saturday, 5 September 2020, with physical copies expected to be received by the end of the month.

Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life aims to set the series of foundational practices that will benefit any neophyte (beginner) interested in contemporary witchcraft (initiatory Wicca) or to magick in general. As I explain, how you design and build your practice is entirely up to you however with solid understanding of some foundational practices, you can be assured that you are effectively set for life, regardless of where your own path takes you.

 My initial instruction into contemporary witchcraft not only focused on the practical application of ritual and magick, but also the “behind the scenes” information, providing an insight into the psychological changes, as well as what is actually happening on the astral level. It is this understanding that enabled me to gain a stronger belief in the magical work that I was undertaking – a belief that also proved to be most beneficial during dark nights of the soul, the times of doubt when the logical mind saw me questioning what I had been dedicating much of my adult life to. 

Times may have changed, as have the needs and desires of people, and whilst spiritual practices also have changed, this does not necessarily mean that all of the original vision Gardner had is outdated and needs to be discarded. As the saying goes, we do not have to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. When it comes to magick, there are still aspects and techniques that simply can only be learnt over time through the practice of the magical art. Such things cannot really be taught through the pages of a book or the internet. There are other aspects of magick that are best taught under physical instruction of a trained practitioner as opposed to a handful of inexperienced novices boasting about their alleged successes.

You can pre-order your early release copy of Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life here for only $35 (includes postage within Australia).

The actual release date for Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life is not until July 2021.

COVID-19 and Responsibility of being a Public Person

There is certainly a divide when it comes to the coronavirus and now some six months after we were initially warned of it, many of us having restructured our lives around governmental advice, are certainly feeling “over it”.  However it is not over as is clearly seen in Victoria and now New South Wales, with these States recording record number of cases being detected, not to mention deaths relating to COVID-19.  This situation has also seen the manifest of various conspiracy theories and “alternative” motives as to why the whole world is seemingly being brought to its knees.

For those outside the health system or who are fortunate enough not to know anyone personally affected by this virus, such measures that are being imposed upon us may seem unfair and unjust, especially as we are rocked out of our comfort zone due to pending unemployment options, diminishing superannuation and finances, not allow to travel or even visit loved ones.  After six months of being told “we are all in this together”, I find it extremely disappointing when self-proclaimed “celebrity psychic” considers themselves to be an exemption to the rules. 

Not only has this person been publicly flaunting what they classify as “draconian law” by travelling outside the travel exclusion zones that their State government has put in place in an attempt to contain the spread of this extremely contagious virus, but after their courtship with the media does not go their way, have made statements such as “You don’t get to shut me down because you don’t like what I say” and “Where there’s a witch, there’s always a way and now you are also on my radar” on social media.

The back story is that on Monday, “Karen” (not their real name) attempted to confront staff at a hardware store over the mandatory use of face coverings amid the current coronavirus crisis that is spiraling into extremely worrying levels in their State.  The video of this confrontation resulted in them being interviewed on a morning television show a few days later.  However, after boldly declaring that as the virus was “bio-chemically engineered” (a reason why they refuse to wear a mask), they were asked if they held a medical degree, to which their response was that they didn’t however they had worked as a “medic some time ago”.  At this point the host decided to end the interview as he “couldn’t listen any longer” to the “irresponsible” views that were being made.

The psychic, who has happily courted the media on numerous occasions, then took to social media to advise the television show host could very well be included in the “Ritual of Justice” that they were intending to cast upon the Australian Government.

A further twist is that only as far as back as April, this person was sharing images of themselves not only wearing a mask but also gloves, urging her 1,800 odd followers that “the minute you step outside please wear a mask and gloves” as that the wearing of personal protective equipment was important due to “the virus is invisible and contraction is airborne. We can all contract COVID-19. We could all be carriers of the coronavirus. We could also be immune to the virus”, and “Don’t be fooled, the virus is real.”

I get it – six months down the track and we are all over it.  Personal and financial hardships, the ongoing negatively being reported in the media (first the virus and now to sorry economic state of the country).  And I am fine with people changing their minds. What does bug me with this story is when someone who has a similar spiritual path to me (used loosely however the public does not differentiate) is publicly announcing threats (veiled or otherwise) to compensate for their bruised ego.  How about being mindful that if you want to court the media that you are being seen as a representative of the whole community.

How this virus came about, I don’t know.  Whether governmental health guidelines are outdated, a cover-up or actual, again I don’t know.  All I do know is that this virus highly contagious and our health professionals are working around the clock attempting to deal with it.  Most people have already had some degree of their lives impacted, not to mention others being denied social contact at their most vulnerable times.  However, this so-called “celebrity” psychic really should get over their overinflated degree of self-importance. Instead of a “ritual of Justice” so that they don’t have to wear a mask in public, how about utilising their energy (and social media influence) more positively – like a cure, a reduction in the number of cases or severity of the effects of the virus for those who are personally affected by it.

The Power of Words

My initial magical training included a number of timeless pearls that I believe still hold relevance today, one of them being the power (or energy) that words have. This belief in the power of words is not one that has been wrapped up in ancient esoteric secrecy that is only disclosed through appropriate hereditary initiations, nor has it been randomly plucked out of all obscurity. All throughout history, the power of word (or language) has been evident, being one of the first things targeted by an invading power (ie, where the conquered is forced to forego their language and adopt that of the conqueror).

In various metaphysical, neuro-linguistic and even new age teachings, students are instructed on the “power of words” and how they shape our perception of things including ourselves. Within the various magical communities it is the carefully chosen words that crafts the spell in order to achieve a desired goal, or expresses our devotion and requests to the Gods.

Even beyond the magical, mystical and metaphysical realms, most of us know the power of words – from a young age we are encouraged to believe that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.

Why then, are seekers of the Craft insisting on calling themselves “baby witches”?

Apparently this is not a new phenomenon despite me only first coming across someone (an adult) referring themselves as such a month or so ago (clearly I live under a rock). However, since a recent TikTok incident where so-called “baby witches” attempted to “curse” the moon, social media and blogs have go overboard.

Now, I don’t watch TikTok so have no real interest in whether the moon got “cursed” or not, not I have the energy to invest in ascertaining any logic as to why someone would attempt to do that is in the first place, what is getting my goat is the phrase “baby witch”.

There have been some popular bloggers who have openly stated that to call a seeker or novice a “baby witch” is rather insulting because we all had to start somewhere. However, the only people I have come across calling anyone “baby witches” are novices or seekers themselves. And it is this use of the phrase that, for the life of me, I don’t understand.

When I was starting to take my first steps on the path that eventually evolved into contemporary witchcraft, I was a “seeker” for I was seeking knowledge, experience, the answers to my endless questions, and possibly a teacher/guide. I was also a “novice” as I was still relatively inexperienced when it came to the art of magic and the Craft. Another word that was used was that of being a “neophyte”, again referring to someone new and starting out on the path.

The word “baby” conjures up impressions of an infant, someone helpless and totally reliant upon others (adults). Babies are incapable of acting on their own behalf, are unaware of things that are potentially dangerous due to their inexperience with the concept of harm, not to mention having an intellectual awareness of fully understanding what is going on around them.

While calling yourself a “baby witch” may sound cute, it also implies the avoidance of taking responsibility, and that you are simply absorbing whatever you are being told without displaying and discernment about your own education, needs, and desires. The negative use is further highlighted when compared to the term “novice” where the latter, implies having full autonomy of your spiritual path and the direction you wish to follow.

In my forthcoming book, Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life, I explain that one of the underlying aspects of this spiritual path is that “it calls upon its followers to engage in active participation as opposed to being merely spectators; and where each individual is ultimately responsible for the development of their own spiritual journey.”

How responsible are you prepared to be when it comes to your own spiritual and magical path?

Ebbing and Flowing with COVID-19

Only last week I was delighted to announce a couple of forthcoming events that I would be running at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre – one to celebrate the gateway of spring, Imbolc, on 1 August 2020, and the second was to celebrate and honour the Goddess of the Crossroads, Hekate, on 15 August 2020. Due the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the border in Victoria, and the increasing risk of a potential resurgence here in South Australia, I have now decided to:

Cancel the Imbolc event at Riverdell Spiritual Centre altogether with much regret. If you have already booked through Riverdell, please contact them for a full refund.

The A Day with Hekate event will still remain at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre. Bookings are essential as there will be a strictly limited number of places available. Details of how you book your place can be found here.

At this stage, the August Gathering Around the Cauldron will also still be going ahead on Thursday, 6 August 2020. Booking are essential as due to social distancing observances, there are only a limited number of places being made available. You can book you place here.

Preparing for Spring

As the seasonal Wheel of the Year turns, it is not too long away before spring arrives. Even before Mid Winter my garden had been preparing itself with a display of early spring flowers.

This time of the year however there can appear to be a degree of false hope as the worse of the winter weather is often still to come. One thing that we do know for certain however is that life is starting to stir again.

Within contemporary witchcraft the first of the two spring festivals is Imbolc (Im-bulk), derived from the Irish Gaelic that means “in the belly” referring to the potential of all life that is in the belly of the Great Mother (Mother Earth), but also the pregnancy of other animals, particularly cattle and sheep, who give birth to their young around this time.  An alternative word is Oimelc, meaning “ewe’s milk”.  Although here in South Australia the lambs are often born around the autumn equinox to ensure that there is enough Winter grass for them to eat, in other parts of the country, and particularly in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, Imbolc heralds the birthing season for lambs.

Within contemporary witchcraft, the Goddess is often considered to be in her Maiden, or youthful aspect, while the God is in his Young Stag aspect. Their innocent reflects the lightness of the energies around them at this time of the year.

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look like low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes lightning to hear him sing;
The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
George Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

In the Northern Hemisphere, Imbolc falls around 1st February and is often connected with the Goddess Brighid, or Brid (pronounced “Bree” or “Breeid”), who later become known as Saint Brigit. Spanning both paganism and Christianity, Brighid/Brigit is renown for her healing, and protection, with her sacred shrine still be utilised today in Kildare, County Meath in Ireland. 

As a way of marking and honouring Imbolc, I will be holding a special Celebrate Imbolc – The Celtic Festival of Spring at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre on Saturday, 1 August 2020, where participants will not only learn about the historical origins of this Celtic festival, but they will connect with the Maiden Goddess through empowering meditations.

We will also be making our own protective Cros Bride (Brigit’s Cross) that will be empowered through sacred ceremony, and discover how to connect with the healing energies of St Brigit through candles that have been lit from her sacred flame at Kildare.

Tickets are only $50 (plus Eventbrite fees) and are available through this link.

All attendees go in the draw to win a copy of my book In Her Sacred Name: Writings on the Divine Feminine.

Saturday, 1 August 2020 from 11am to 3pm
Location: Riverdell Spiritual Centre, 51 Clifford Road, Hillier SA 5116

The Power of a Witch’s Healing

These days there are numerous forms of healing, both orthodox as well as alternative, and it is within this latter category where witches most often work, in particular in the area of spiritual healing.

It never ceases to amaze me the power of the collective group (ie, such as a coven) when we are all focused on a single topic. I recall an occurrence a few years ago when a coven member arrived for our regular meetup feeling under the weather. They stated that they were suffering from a lack of energy, not to mention other ailments for which orthodox medical advice had been sought. Yet nothing seemed to be working.

As part of the work we do is that of healing, during our ritual energy was directed to our coven member … and so powerful was the chant that even today I still vividly remember half expecting to find the member in question flattened against the wall (as in the movies).

They declared the next day that they had woken up filled with energy and ready to take on the world again, and it was the most alive that they have felt in a while. Further, that the discomfort and other effects of what they had been experiencing appeared to have ceased. We joked about what they would tell their doctor at the follow up appointment.

Healing is one of those skills that whilst we readily give to others, we tend to forget about ourselves … there is an old saying of “healer – heal thy self” … meaning that before we can heal others, we need to make sure that we are in fact in tiptop condition.

Asking for energy, for healing from coveners who we work with on a regular basis and who we perceive as members of our “magical” family should never be considered as a hindrance. For there will be times that each of us will need a little help from our magical brothers and sisters – especially these days as there seems to be an increasing amount of negativity circling (regardless of whether it is intentional or not).

In any case, the following song from Joe Cocker certainly comes to mind.

Blessings, Frances

Cosmic Musings (Danielle Blackwood)

The following information comes from Danielle Blackwood, astrologer, author and registered counsellor, who addresses a number of cosmic happenings that will occur throughout this coming month, commencing with some tips on how to navigate Mars being in Retrograde.

Five Tips to Navigate Mars Retrograde
Take a deep breath, and a moment to center yourself, because the intensity is just not letting up this year. Mars, the Warrior entered his own sign Aries on 27 June 27 for the next six months. The last time this occurred was 1988, and before that, in 1941. Mars will finally move into Taurus on 7 January 2021.

Mars is the principle of action and energy. It is the way we handle conflict and anger, as well as our sex drive and libido. In Aries, Mars can lead towards frustration, impulsive action, and hot tempers. When unchecked, Mars in Aries is violence, war and unbridled rage.  Mars is also aligned with willpower, motivation and the ability to stand our ground and fight for what we believe in. When channelled mindfully, Mars in Aries is noble, passionate, strategic, and empowering. It is stepping into your sovereignty, standing your ground, and setting healthy boundaries.

Mars in Aries gives us the green light to break new ground, set plans in motion and heed the call to adventure. However, it might be best to wait on those new beginnings until Mercury stations direct on 12 July.

The following are tips for navigating the next six months constructively:
1.  Channel your energy effectively. Choose a cause that motivates you and clear the decks for action. Be proactive.
2.  Realize that anger is a normal human emotion.  If you are angry, take a deep breath and express it in a clear and direct way. Own your anger and speak your truth. Sublimated anger turns into passive aggression, depression, or buried rage that comes out in a distorted way to someone to whom it was not intended.
3. If you’re feeling heated, count to 10 and take a deep breath before responding. If you need time out, take it.
4. Make space for regular self care. If you don’t, you will burn out. If you burn out, you will not achieve your objectives. Know when to take a break, so you can come back out refreshed, focused, and more effective.
5. Cool that Aries fire with exercise, mindfulness meditation, breathing, and time spent in nature. Go swimming. Start journaling. Dance. Eat nourishing, grounding foods and avoid stressing your nervous system with too much caffeine or sugar.

Saturn Retrograde into Capricorn
On 1 July, Saturn moved into its last stint in Capricorn, before moving into Aquarius from December 2020 until March 2023. While traveling backward in Capricorn, Saturn will get closer again to Pluto, but doesn’t become exact as it did in January 2020. However, it is still close enough to intensify the Saturnian element in the mix, bringing a more sober, serious and discerning tone to the collective.

Full Moon in Capricorn and Eclipse (visible in North America)
Fourth July brings a Full Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse in Capricorn. Beginning on 5 June, this marks three eclipses in one lunar month. The next time this will happen is in 2029. This eclipse season has been intense, illuminating that which has been hidden, closing old doors, and beginning bold new chapters.

This is a serious Full Moon. We may feel contemplative or melancholy. The unadorned truth of something may suddenly be brought to light, causing us to feel the somberness of what actually is, rather than what we wish it would be. The Capricorn Full Moon might also bring a reality check. This Full Moon can also show us where we need to be more accountable, roll up our sleeves and walk our talk.  On the other hand, the Full Moon in Capricorn can also be a time of completion or reaching a milestone. It’s time to push past procrastination and self sabotage and commit to something important. Capricorn brings up themes of survival, commitment, responsibility, consequences, accountability, big business, institutions, banking, the patriarchy, and government. On a personal note, we may be re-evaluating priorities, and making some serious decisions before and after this eclipse.

Mercury Stations Direct
Mercury stations direct on 12 July. In a few days, it will be all systems go as Mercury gets back up to speed. You now have the green light to sign contracts, launch something new, or consider travel – with one caveat – if you are starting something big, signing important papers, or buying transportation or tech, try and wait until Mercury is completely out of its shadow, 26 July.

New Moon in Cancer
The Moon begins a brand new cycle in the sign of Cancer on 20 July. The New Moon in Cancer highlights themes of family, home and hearth, real estate, connection, belonging and security.  All new starts and initiatives in these areas will be on the table now. We might be feeling extra sensitive, intuitive, and craving comfort. Perhaps nostalgia plays a part, and we can gain sustenance and wisdom for our next steps by reflecting on the past.

New Moons happen each month in a different sign, pointing out where we can best plant our new seeds of intention for the coming six months.  Look to you chart to see what house this month’s New Moon/fresh start will be happening for you.  This is your most fertile ground to plant those seeds. To make the most of this month’s New Moon, think about what home means to you.  Do you like where you live? How can you make it more comfortable?

Cancer is also about family and family of the heart.  The archetype of the Great Mother is also connected to Cancer, and all things associated with mothering and nurturance are underlined: food, shelter, protection and emotional safety.  The Sun opposes Saturn today, lending a serious tone to this New Moon. We may be feeling the need for intentional solitude as we process emotions, memories and wounding.

Daniella Blackwood is the author of The Twelve Faces of the Goddess: Transform Your Life With Astrology, Magick and the Sacred Feminine (Llewellyn, 2018).

A Little Book of Wicca

The latest offering from TDM Publishing is A Little Book of Wicca.

Consisting of some 60 pages, this short guide to Wicca, contemporary witchcraft, aims to be a perfect introduction to this earth-centric spiritual belief.

Commencing with a brief history of how Wicca came into being, it also covers the common beliefs and ethics found within Wicca, the perception of a dual deity (a God and a Goddess), sacred days and seasonal festivals, as well as information specifically to the Southern Hemisphere that is often overlooked in other books. A glossary containing some of the more commonly used terms is included as well as a recommended reading list.

A Little Book of Wicca is a perfectly priced introduction book for anyone interested in learning more about Wicca, or to being used as a guide to be given to family and friends in order to explain what this earth-centric spiritual belief is truly about.

Details:
ISBN: 9780244863067
Dimensions: A5 (5.83 x 8.27 in / 148 x 210 mm)

Cost: $15.99 (includes postage within Australia) available direct from TDM Publishing.

The Descent of Inanna

TDM DG Descent Inanna

The following is the translation of the ancient Babylonian story of the descent of the Queen of Heaven, Inanna, into the Underworld, the Great Below, the realm of Ereshkigal, as found in The Descent of Inanna by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Kramer.

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.
My Lady abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
Inanna abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
In Uruk she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Badtibira she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Zabalam she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Adab she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Nippur she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Kish she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.
In Akkad she abandoned her temple to descend to the underworld.

She gathered together the seven me.
She took them into her hands.
With the me in her possession, she prepared herself:
She placed the shugurra, the crown of the steppe, on her head.
She arranged the dark locks of hair across her forehead.
She tied the small lapis beads around her neck.
Let the double strand of beads fall to her breast,
And wrapped the royal robe around her body.
She daubed her eyes with ointment called ‘let him come, let him come.’
Bound the breast plate called ‘Come, man, come!’ around her chest,
Slipped the gold ring over her wrist,
And took the lapis measuring rod and line in her hand.

Inanna set out for the underworld.
Ninshubur, her faithful servant, went with her. Inanna spoke to her, saying:
‘Ninshubur, my constant support,
My sukkal who gives me wise advice,
My warrior who fights by my side,
I am descending to the kur, to the underworld.
If I do not return,
Set up a lament for me by the ruins.
Beat the drum for me in the assembly places.
Circle the houses of the gods.
Tear at your eyes, at your mouth, at your thighs.
Dress yourself in a single garment like a beggar.
Go to Nippur, to the temple of Enlil.
When you enter his holy shrine, cry out: “Oh, father Enlil, do not let your daughter
Be put to death in the underworld. Do not let your bright silver
Be covered with dust in the underworld. Do not let your precious lapis
Be broken into stone for the stoneworker. Do not let your fragrant boxwood
Be cut into wood for the woodworker. Do not let the holy priestess of heaven
Be put to death in the underworld.”
If Enlil will not help you,
Go to Ur, to the temple of Nanna. Weep before Father Nanna.
If Nanna will not help you,
Go to Eridu, to the temple of Enki. Weep before Father Enki.
Father Enki, the God Of Wisdom, knows the food of life,
He knows the water of life;
Knows the secret of life.
Surely he will not let me die.’

Inanna continued on her way to the underworld. Then she stopped and said:
‘Go now Ninshubur- Do not forget the words I have commanded you.’
When Inanna arrived at the outer gates of the underworld, She knocked loudly.
She cried out in a fierce voice: ‘Open the door, gatekeeper! Open the door, Neti!
I alone would enter!’
Neti, the chief gatekeeper of the kur, asked: ‘Who are you?’
She answered: ‘I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven, On my way to the East.’
Neti said: ‘If you are truly Inanna, Queen of Heaven, On your way to the East,
Why has your heart led you on the road From which no traveller returns?’
Inanna answered: ‘Because… of my older sister Erishkigal,
Her husband, Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died.
 I have come to witness the funeral rites.
Let the beer of his funeral rites be poured into the cup. Let it be done.’
Neti spoke: ‘Stay here Inanna, I will speak to my queen.
I will give her your message.’
Neti, the chief gatekeeper of the kur,
Entered the palace of Erishkigal, the Queen of the Underworld, and said:
‘My Queen, a maid
As tall as heaven,
As wide as the earth,
As strong as the foundations of the city wall,
Waits outside the palace gates.
She has gathered together the seven me.
She has taken them in her hands.
With the me in her possession, she has prepared herself:
On her head she wears the shurgarra, the crown of the steppe.
Across her forehead her dark locks of hair are carefully arranged.
Around her neck she wears the small lapis beads.
At her breast she wears the double strand of beads.
Her body is wrapped in the royal robe.
Her eyes are daubed with the ointment “let him come, let him come.”
Around her chest she wears the breast plate called “come, man, come!”
On her wrist she wears the gold ring.
In her hand she carries the lapis measuring rod and line.’

When Erishkigal heard this,
She slapped her thigh and bit her lip.
She took the matter into her heart and dwelt on it. Then she spoke:
‘Come, Neti, my chief gatekeeper of the kur, Heed my words:
Bolt the seven gates of the underworld.
Then, one by one, open each gate a crack.
Let Inanna enter.
As she enters, remove her royal garments.
Let the holy priestess of heaven enter bowed low.’

Neti heeded the words of his queen.
He bolted the seven gates of the underworld.
Then he opened the outer gate.
He said to the maid: ‘Come, Inanna, enter.’
When she entered the first gate,
From her head, the shugurra, the crown of the steppe, was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned.’
When she entered the second gate,
From her neck the small lapis beads were removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect
They may not be questioned.’
When she entered the third gate,
From her breast the double strand of beads was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect,
They may not be questioned.’
When she entered the fourth gate,
From her chest the breast plate called ‘Let him come, let him come!’ was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told, ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned.’
When she entered the fifth gate,
From her wrist the gold ring was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned.’
When she entered the sixth gate,
From her hand the lapis measuring rod and line was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned’
When she entered the seventh gate,
From her body the royal robe was removed.
Inanna asked: ‘What is this?’
She was told: ‘Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect.
They may not be questioned.’
Naked and bowed low, Inanna entered the throne room.
Erishkigal rose from her throne.
Inanna started toward the throne.
The Annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her.
They passed judgement against her.
Then Erishkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt.
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse,
A piece of rotting meat,
And was hung from a hook on the wall.

When, after three days and three nights, Inanna had not returned,
Ninshubur set up a lament for her by the ruins.
She beat the drum for her in the assembled places.
She circled the houses of the gods.
She tore at her eyes; she tore at her mouth; she tore at her thighs.
She dressed herself in a single garment like a beggar.
Alone, she set out for Nippur and the temple of Enlil.
When she entered the holy shrine,
She cried out: ‘O Father Enlil, do not let your daughter
Be put to death in the underworld. Do not let your bright silver
Be covered with dust of the underworld. Do not let your precious lapis
Be broken into stone for the stoneworker. Do not let your fragrant boxwood
Be cut into wood from the woodworker. Do not let the holy priestess of heaven
Be put to death in the underworld.’

Father Enlil answered angrily: ’My daughter craved the Great Above.
Inanna craved the Great Below.
She who receives the me of the underworld does not return.
She who goes to the Dark City stays there.’
Father Enlil would not help.
Ninshubur went to Ur and the temple of Nanna.
When she entered the holy shrine,
She cried out: ‘Oh Father Nanna, do not let your daughter
Be put to death in the underworld. Do not let your bright silver
Be covered with dust of the underworld. Do not let your precious lapis
Be broken into stone for the stoneworker. Do not let your fragrant boxwood
Be cut into wood from the woodworker. Do not let the holy priestess of heaven
Be put to death in the underworld.’

Father Nanna answered angrily: ‘My daughter craved the Great Above.
Inanna craved the Great Below.
She who receives the me of the underworld does not return.
She who goes to the Dark City stays there.’
Father Nanna would not help.
Ninshubur went to Eridu and the temple of Enki.
When she entered the holy shrine,
She cried out,: ‘O Father Enki, do not let your daughter
Be put to death in the underworld. Do not let your bright silver
Be covered with dust of the underworld. Do not let your precious lapis
Be broken into stone for the stoneworker. Do not let your fragrant boxwood
Be cut into wood from the woodworker. Do not let the holy priestess of heaven
Be put to death in the underworld.’

Father Enki said; ‘What has happened?
What has my daughter done?
Inanna, Queen of All the Lands! Holy Priestess of Heaven!
What has happened?
I am troubled, I am grieved.’
From under his fingernail Father Enki brought forth dirt.
He fashioned the dirt into a kurgarra, a creature neither male nor female.
From under the fingernail of his other hand he brought forth dirt.
He fashioned the dirt into a galatur, a creature neither male nor female.
He gave the food of life to the kurgarra.
He gave the water of life to the galatur, saying:
‘Go to the underworld,
Enter the doors like flies,
Erishkigal, the Queen of the Underworld, is moaning
With the cries of a woman about to give birth.
No linen is spread on her body.
Her breasts are uncovered.
Her hair swirls about her head like leeks.
When she cries, ’Oh! Oh! My Inside!’
Cry also, ‘Oh! Oh! Your inside!’
When she cries: ‘Oh! Oh! My outside!’
Cry also ‘Oh! Oh! our outside!’
The queen will be pleased.
She will offer you a gift.
Ask her only for the corpse that hangs from the hook on the wall.
One of you will sprinkle the food of life on it
The other will sprinkle the water of life. Inanna will arise.’

The kurgarra and the galatur heeded Enki’s words.
They set out for the underworld.
Like flies, they slipped through the cracks of the gates.
They entered the throne room of the Queen of the Underworld.
No linen was spread on her body.
Her breasts were uncovered.
Her hair swirled around her head like leeks.
Erishkigal was moaning: ‘Oh! Oh! My inside!’
They moaned. ‘Oh! Oh! Your inside!’
She moaned: ‘Ohhhh! Oh! My outside!’
They moaned; ‘Ohhhh! Oh! our outside!’
She groaned: ‘Oh! Oh! My belly!’
 They groaned: ‘Oh! Oh! Your belly!’
She groaned: ‘Oh! Oh! My back!’
They groaned: ‘Oh! Oh! Your back!’
She sighed: ‘Ah! Ah! My heart!’
They sighed: ‘Ah! Ah! Your heart!’
She sighed: ‘Ah! Ahhhh! My liver!’
They sighed: ‘Ah! Ahhhh! Your liver!’

Erishkigal stopped. She looked at them. She asked: ‘Who are you,
Moaning – groaning – sighing with me?’
If you are gods, I will bless you.
If you are mortals, I will give you a gift.
I will give you the water-gift, the river in its fullness.’
The kurgarra and galatur answered: ‘We do not wish it.’
Erishkigal said: ‘I will give you the grain gift, the fields in harvest.’
The kugarra and galatur said: ‘We do not wish it.’
Erishkigal said: ‘Speak then! What do you wish?’
They answered: ‘We wish only for the corpse that hangs from the hook on the wall.’
Erishkigal said: ‘The corpse belongs to Inanna.’
They said: ‘Whether it belongs to our queen,
Whether it belongs to our king, That is what we wish.’
The corpse was given to them.
The kurgarra sprinkled the food of life on the corpse.
The galatur sprinkled the water of life on the corpse.

Inanna rose…

Inanna was about to ascend from the underworld
When the Annuna, the judges of the underworld, seized her.
They said: ‘No one ascends from the underworld unmarked.
If Inanna wishes to return from the underworld,
She must provide someone in her place.’
As Inanna ascended from the underworld,
The galla, the demons of the underworld, clung to her side.
The galla were demons who know no food, who know no drink,
Who eat no offerings, who drink no libations,
Who accept no gifts.
They enjoy no lovemaking.
They have no sweet children to kiss.
They tear the wife from the husband’s arms,
They tear the child from the father’s knees,
They steal the bride from her marriage home.
The demons clung to Inanna.
The small galla who accompanied Inanna
Were like reeds the size of low picket fences.
The large galla who accompanied Inanna
Were like reeds the size of large picket fences.
The one who walked in front of Inanna was not a minister,
Yet he carried a sceptre.
The one who walked behind her was not a warrior,
Yet he carried a mace.
Ninshubur, dressed in a soiled sackcloth, Waited outside the palace gates.
When she saw Inanna
Surrounded by the galla
She threw herself in the dust at Inanna’s feet.
The galla said: ‘Walk on Inanna,
We shall take Ninshubur in your place.’
Inanna cried: ‘No! Ninshubur is my constant support.
She is my sukkal who gives me wise advice.
She is my warrior who fights by my side.
She did not forget my words.
She set up a lament for me by the ruins.
She beat the drum for me at the assembly places.
She circled the houses of the gods.
She tore at their eyes, at her mouth, at her thighs.
She dressed herself in a single garment like a beggar.
Alone she set out for Nippur and the temple of Enlil.
She went to Ur and the temple of Nanna.
She went to Eridu and the temple of Enki.
Because of her, my life was saved.
I will never give Ninshubur to you.’
The galla said: ‘Walk on, Inanna,
We will accompany you to Umma.’

In Umma, at the holy shrine,
Shara the son of Inanna, was dressed in a soiled sackcloth.
When he saw Inanna
Surrounded by the galla,
He threw himself in the dust at her feet.
The galla said: ‘Walk on to your city, Innana,
We will take Shara in your place.’
Inanna cried: ‘No! Not Shara!
He is my son who sings hymns to me.
He is my son who cuts my nails and smooths my hair.
I will never give Shara to you.’
The galla said: ‘Walk on, Inanna,
We will accompany you to Badtibira.’

In Badtibira, at the holy shrine,
Lulal, the son of Inanna, was dressed in a soiled sackcloth.
When he saw Inanna
Surrounded by the galla,
He threw himself in the dust at her feet.
The galla said: ‘Walk on, Inanna,
We will take Lulal in your place.’
Inanna cried: ‘No, not Lulal. he is my son.
He is a leader among men.
He is my right arm. He is my left arm. I will never give Lulal to you.’
The galla said: ‘Walk on to your city, Inanna
We will go with you to the big apple tree in Uruk.

In Uruk, by the big apple tree,
Dumuzi, the husband of Inanna, was dressed in his shining me garments.
He sat on his magnificent throne; (he did not move).
The galla seized him by the thighs.
They poured milk out of his seven churns.
They broke the reed pipe which the shepherd was playing.
Inanna fastened on Dumuzi the eye of death.
She spoke against him the word of wrath.
She uttered against him the cry of guilt.
‘Take him away! Take Dumuzi away!’’

The galla, who know no food, who know no drink,
Who eat no offerings, who drink no libations,
Who accept no gifts, seized Dumuzi.
They made him stand up; they made him sit down.
They beat the husband of Inanna.
They gashed him with axes.
Dumuzi let out a wail.
He raised his hands to heaven to utu, the God of Justice, and beseeched him:
‘O Utu, you are my brother in law,
I am the husband of your sister.
I brought cream to your mother’s house,
I brought milk to Ningal’s house.
I am the one who carried food to the holy shrine.
I am the one who brought wedding gifts to Uruk
I am the one who danced on the holy knees, the knees of Inanna.
Utu, you who are a just god, a merciful god,
Change my hands into the hands of a snake.
Change my feet into the feet of a snake.
Let me escape from my demons;
Do not let them hold me
The merciful Utu accepted Dumuzi’s tears.
He changed the hands of Dumuzi into snake hands.
He changed the feet of Dumuzi into snake feet.
Dumuzi escaped from his demons.

They could not hold him…..