'Inanna's Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power' is raw, insightful and compelling. It rekindles the ancient recognition of women's intimate connection with the Goddess and, for me, evokes the affirmation that women are “preeminent by divine right and natural law”.1 This ancient perception has blossomed again in recent years, and it is deeply moving to read about the ways in which it is guiding and nourishing women's personal journeys today. Most profoundly, this vibrant book shows that women are embracing the hidden Goddess within themselves. They have stopped walking “in fear of the [...] Sky God”, 2 and in coming to know themselves as Goddess they are taking the next step along Inanna's path: splitting “the door where cleverness resides” to reveal “what lies inside”3 Simply put, 'Inanna's Ascent' shows how women are recovering the sovereignty that is their fundamental birthright.
The essays in this anthology are filled with thought-provoking insights – from the telling of ancient female-centred myths and noting their significance in terms of Jungian psychology, to the retelling of patriarchal myths in women-friendly ways; from discussing the tensions in balancing women's vulnerability and weakness with their inner resources of strength and power, to ancient perceptions of men both as nourishing harvested wheat and as partners in women's ascent from the underworld to the intimate sacred dance of renewal. And, among these powerful essays, the book also holds other rich offerings: beautiful celebrations of Goddess and Woman in heartfelt poetry and captivating artwork.
It is irrelevant whether we agree with these women in every detail (especially as men). Their stories and insights are as personal and artistically-crafted as their poems and illustrations. What is important is that this book resonates. It may not happen in the same way, or in the same places, for all of us – and certainly not in a single reading. This is a book to be savoured: a companion worthy of the time we spend letting its stories, its sacred songs, and its inspiring visions sink in deeply.
It is also a book to be shared with friends and loved ones. In fact what may be most startling about it is its relevance not only for women, but also for the men who love and admire them. As women become more conscious of the Goddess in their lives and being, and thus reclaim their implicit sovereignty, it is vital that we men learn to listen – and to recognize, revere and respond appropriately. To do this we too must connect with the feminine, with the “life-giving springs [...] hidden in the depths” of our psyche, of nature, and of the women in our lives.4 Absorbing the offerings in this book will help women explore the Goddess they share in the depths of their being. It will also help men to connect with and understand those depths – especially if we are included in women-led discussions and sacred rituals inspired by this book's eloquent invocation of the Goddess. We too must become “sacred attendants of ecstasy”,5 and in this connection it has been a genuine honour and gift to be asked to review 'Inanna's Ascent'. It is a book that will help restore the balance of nature's order: that of the Goddess, emerging once again as life-giving Matrix and Mistress.
~ P.D. Mackenzie Cook (author of 'Epona: Hidden Goddess of the Celts')
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1 Henricus Cornelius Agrippa (1529), Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex, Albert Rabil Jr. (Ed. and Transl,), University of Chicago Press, 1996.
2 Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer (1983), Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row; p. 5.
3 Betty De Shong Meador (2000), Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart, University of Texas Press; p.124.
4 M. Esther Harding, Women's Mysteries, Rider, 1991; p. 30.
5 Betty De Shong Meador, ibid