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Queen of the Great Below: An Anthology in Honor of Ereshkigal Paperback – October 20, 2010
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Gugalanna her first husband perishes fighting against the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh. He died defending Inanna's honor. Inanna is the sister of Erishkigal. Whenh Inanna goes to visit her sister who is in morning. Namtar , Erishkigal's vizier, makes Inanna take off an article of clothing before descending each of the seven gates of death. Finally, Inanna stands before her sister naked and in a wrath filled rage is slain by her sister and hung up on a hook like a rotting piece of flesh. The Gods eventually send two a sexual being to rescue her.
The second story involves an invitation to the Heavens. Since she is Queen of the Underworld, the Queen of the Great Below, she is unable to attend the feast. Namtar her servant is sent up to retrieve her food. All the rise except for one Nergal, the Sumerian God of War. Upon hearing this Ereshkigal is enraged. She threatens to let loose the dead. Nergal then sojourns in the Great below for six days. There is passionate love but Nergal leaves before the seventh day. Ereshkigal is enraged once again the boundaries are about to burst. Finally Nergal return and becomes her husbabnd.
Ereshkigal ruler of the Underworld is not the evil Goddess many believe her to be. She is a teacher, a tough teacher. Her method is not of softness but sometimes her ways are harsh. Ereshkigal is the Goddess who tells you to deal with your s***, she is the one who maintains the boundaries. In a word she is the Goddess of No. The Goddess of No is the Goddess who makes you defend your boundaries, a warrior.
Death is transition it is change. Ereshkigal is a Goddess who makes you give up the excess baggage you do not need. She is a Goddess who perfects you by challenging you and giving you challenges.
Janet Munin has compiled a set of writings that will open your eyes about the ways of this Goddess. There as stories of experiences some of them close to tragic as people loose things they no longer need. There are stories about ordeals and pain in order to bring about perfection. Some of the writers have contributed prayers and meditations. This is not a comprehensive book that will tell you how to work with the Goddess it is a book that will open the door. To work with this Goddess you will have to use your intuition, Ereshkigal does not spoon feed.
Now the question is, will a modern day devotee get anything truly worthwhile out of it? I would say yes, there is enough here to give a devotee something to think about, or possibly reenact. But much that could be reenacted could easily be culled from the myths themselves, this just allows you a peak at what others have done. I think the most important thing that can be taken away is that Ereshkigal is accessible, and if one is willing to take the blows she shall give, and is worth working with.
There are several well-known figures in the contribors list. Lee Harrington, Galina Krasskova, Inara de Luna, Clare Vaughn, Erynn Rowan Laurie, and H. Jeremiah Lewis are all respected authors in their own fields of spirituality.
According to the Introduction, Ereshkigal is best known as a rather scary, vengeful figure in an ancient myth called "The Descent of Inanna." The contributors' stories and poems reveal other facets of her personality that were experienced through ritual or even being possessed by her energy. While Ereshkigal is definitely a "dark" goddess, she is never presented as evil. The contributors describe sometimes painful events, but the end result is always healing and/or growth.
While I genuinely enjoyed the pieces, what was missing from the book was a more in-depth description of how people can work with Ereshkigal on their own. The editor refers to shadow work, the ordeal path, processing grief and anger, but the pieces don't provide as much information about that as I would like. There is only a short essay at the end called "Meeting Ereshkigal" which provides some tips on setting up a first encounter with her. Even without that, however, this is still a fascinating book.
I didn't finish my reading yet so i can just say that is a catching book.