I was told by my guides that I was on the archetypal journey of Innana and must lose everything, down to my bones before I would be reborn. I share this story here in case you too are on a similar journey. It is written by a wild and wondrous woman, Jennifer Posada.
Innana's Crown: Journey Through the Seven Gates (course based on Innana’s journey)
There once was a princess named Innana. A princess who was, inside of herself, already a queen and even already a Goddess. She was born in pure remembering, an embodiment of the Queen of Heaven. And she was also a human girl. She already contained the all, but would go on to become even more.
One day, before she was crowned queen, she was walking by her favorite river where she loved to walk nearly every day. It was always golden there. The light made everything glow, and she was always happy there…at peace with all in the universe. On that one special day as she walked the shore, she saw a strange shape ahead of her on the sand. Soon she could see that it looked like a plant, or a branch, and as she came closer it revealed itself as a small tree that had been uprooted somewhere, carried along by the river, and brought to her. She knew the tree was for her…that it was a sign of a coming time of power and beauty in her journey. It glowed in the golden light like everything else, but more so. It’s leaves were at once green, then purple, then silver, as they turned in the breeze. And right away she loved her Huluppu Tree.
She planted it by her beloved river in her most special place and it became her very favorite spot. It was where she was when everyone wondered, “Where is our beloved Innana?” And because she loved her tree so very much, every day that she tended it, it grew a year’s growth…it stretched and reveled in the love it was given. Innana filled it with her soul so much that a serpent moved into the base of the tree, and a magical bird made a home in its branches. It was even said that the spirit of Lilith lived in the trunk. For all these things were the passion and life force of Innana herself. When she was under this tree she felt only her own magnificence and magic. She marveled at her body and here she fell in love her “wondrous vulva”. For here she could explore herself completely. She had never known such embodied joy.
But the world had already begun to forget the magic that Innana knew. They wanted her to rule as queen and felt that she spent too much time under her Huluppu Tree. And there was no reasoning, ever, with Innana…for Innana knew what others did not. So her family and the others who wished her to fulfill a certain role in the way they deemed “right”, decided that perhaps they could entice Innana back into the temples and the court. They would make for her a throne, and a bed fit for a queen so she would rule and live indoors as considered proper. They decided that they would make them from her Huluppu Tree. Then she could no longer go there, and perhaps would think of the throne and bed the way she thought now of her tree.
And so they sent her brother Gilgamesh with his great axe, to take down Innana’s beloved tree. Innana, who was not by the river, felt a terrible pain in her stomach when the axe first hit. The bird cried out and flew away, the serpent slithered quickly off, and Lilith screamed from the tree’s trunk, her red hair wild, and rose naked into the sky.
Innana knew what had happened. She also knew, in that moment, that it was all meant to be for a greater reason, but her wrath also had its greater reason. She forsook her throne and bed, and all she had known before. She knew an act of such ignorance could only be healed with a greater act of power. She knew she was at risk of losing her wildness, her serpent power, her girlhood, her womanhood, her feminine soul, her animal-self, her wings. Things we all have regardless of our gender. She knew the death of her Huluppu Tree meant just one thing: it was time for her even greater rebirth.
It was this loss that made Innana go where no human had gone and returned from before. It was this act that made Innana become not just the Queen of Heaven, but Queen of the Underworld as well.
She waited until the night fell. She went to the stump of her Huluppu Tree and said the no-words that the tree knew, and it opened the secret stairway to the underworld. Once there Innana would give up all of her adornment, her crown and her clothing, one item at a time at each of seven gates. For one can only enter naked into the underworld. And while her journey in the underworld is another story altogether, know that she faced her own soul death, and her great rebirth. And because the world went fallow while she was gone, for a while everyone once again remembered the importance of the wild, and why they needed a queen who would sit under a Huluppu Tree most of the day, and know herself.
When Innana returned to the surface of the earth, she did so again through the stump of her Huluppu Tree and her rebirth was its as well. It grew back, and the serpent and the bird and the spirit of Lilith returned. And Innana was happy, and more whole than before…