4,000 years ago, before the Bible or Koran existed, before the Greeks and Romans set down their myths and legends, there was Inanna. Her story is recorded on cuneiform tablets in the world's oldest epic, the Epic of Gilgamesh. She embodies the quest for growth.
As a girl, she rescues a huluppu tree so it may be carved into a throne and bed, fit for a queen. She outwits Enki, God of Wisdom, in a drinking contest, wresting from him the powers of civilization. She fights him off when he demands them back, and carries the treasures home to her people. Impressed, Enki declares they will be allies, and that she and her people will prosper.
As a woman, Inanna falls deeply in love with a shepherd, Dumuzi. She marries and makes him king. But despite their mutual delight, the marriage bed is not wide enough for Inanna. Neither is her power as Queen of Heaven and Earth sufficient. She wants to be Queen of the Underworld as well, and to experience even the pangs of death.
Willingly, she abandons her power and descends to the Underworld, which is ruled by her bitter sister, Ereshkigal. She endures the Trial of the Seven Doors. At each door, she gives up one item of clothing until she stands naked in front of her sister. She is murdered, and hung from a meat hook for three days, until rescued by Enki. But there is a price to pay. Nobody gets out of the Underworld alive! Someone must take her place. Furious because he did not try to rescue her, Inanna chooses Dumuzi to replace her. His loyal sister elects to share his terrible fate.
Restored to power, Inanna mourns her lost lover. Embarking on a reign of terror that mirrors her grief and rage, she becomes a pitiless warrior, destroying everything in her path. This dark period finally passes, and Inanna, as Wise Woman, returns to creation and joy. Compassion for the lowly state of women prompts her to action. She creates a new race, in which men and women will work together for their mutual benefit.
Warrior, lover, nurturer, seeker of wisdom, giver of power, Inanna is a model for the empowerment of women. She leads the way for all who descend into the dark places, and who return to share what they know - and to seek new directions.
(Story on back of card.)
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