I have always been drawn to the Dark Goddess.
It is she who called to me, and in her arms is where I feel most at home.
Only lately, have I been really pondering why this is.
In my experience, many Witches are attracted to Her darkness.
Unlike the monotheistic religions, it is not the light we seek, but the comforting embrace of the Dark Mother.
It is darkness we find within ourselves, within our souls.
Darkness as peace, calm, rest and rebirth.
The Dark Goddess is rarely kind though.
Her ways are cruel and brutal to us.
She is Ereshkigal, hanging us upon her meathook, a rotting corpse in the shadowy realm of The Underworld.
She is indiffernet to our pleas, our cries, our screams.
She cares nothing for our suffering.
She cares not because she doesn’t feel for us, empathise with our suffering.
Indeed, she suffers her self, as she labors and gives birth, while Inanna hangs on that hook.
She cares not, because she knows suffering is the flame within which we are transformed, the coals upon which we are forged.
As Inanna is told repeatedly, as she makes her harsh and lonely descent to The Underworld,
‘The ways of The Underworld are perfect.’
Having been afflicted with chronic pain for the last seven years of my life, I have become well aquainted with the merciless face of the Dark Mother.
As the seasons turn to Autumn, and the temperatures drop, does my pain begin to flare up again.
At its worst, I suffer, tormented, lost in a world that is filled with hurt.
I cannot face the world, the noise of daily life, it overwhelems me completely.
My brain, my thoughts, just seem to short out, unable to compete with that constant hot pain that washes over my entire being.
During the early days, I was filled with raging anger.
I railed at the injustice of it, my life seemingly having come to a complete halt.
I could no longer work, I could no longer enjoy the things I previously had.
My world was constant pain, tempered only by the relief and dissociation of opiates.
I lost myself in this dream world for several years.
During the last few years, as my experience and wisdom of the Dark Goddess grew, I came to an understanding, a truce, with my pain.
When I first come across the story of Inanna and her descent to The underworld, I understood completely.
Inanna too, shed all that she was before, all that she loved was taken from her, one by one.
I understand the desperation and desolation of that loss all to well.
I know the shadows and dark caverns of The Underworld that she sort, and found.
I know what it is to come face to face with Ereshkigal, to hear her scream pierce through your very soul, to crumble before her in defeat.
I know what it is to be hung upon that meathook, rotting and putrescent, a corpse that has left light and life behind.
I know what it is to lay before the feet of Ereshkigal, to just give up, to welcome the shadowy peace of The Underworld into my soul.
Until I embraced the Dark Mother myself, this was all I knew.
Darkness, desperation, isolation and defeat.
But for Inanna, as for myself, even in that hopeless corporeal state, it was she that saved herself.
She had left her attendant to stand guard at the first gate, someone to raise the alarm in the event that she not return.
Inanna had left this tiny part of herself outside of her suffering and despair.
That tiny little piece of her soul that wanted to live, wanted to experience the light on her skin once more, was what saved Inanna from rotting away in The Underworld eternally.
I came to understand that there is hope, another chance to live, to emerge from the Underworld even stronger, brighter than when I descended.
Like Inanna, I too made my way back up toward the light, my own little spark of guardian calling to me.
I decided I wanted to live, to experience life again.
Emerging from the darkness of The Underworld, I realised that I too, had become someone other than who I was.
Old habits had been shed, old me had been shed.
Like a snake emerging from hibernation, I shed my skin and basked in the light.
But like Inanna, I too had been joined with that dark side of myself, we are now one.
After a glorious summer of very minor pain levels, I have again been plunged into The Underworld again.
My pain flares, and I pass by the gates, again, giving up all that I am.
The difference now, is that I no longer descend kicking and screaming.
I go down there, to Ereshkigal, to The Underworld, willingly.
I isolate myself, I lie in dark rooms, undisturbed.
I go with the pain, the dreamy wash of opiates, and welcome the embrace of the Dark Mother.
I have come to understand the value in my suffering.
I know now, that pain transforms.
That even though I may not yet understand why this has befell me, I know there is a reason.
Their is purpose in my descent, purpose in sitting at the feet of Ereshkigal the feared.
While my life, my very soul, has been irrevocably changed by chronic pain, I know now that these changes were, and are, essential.
My whole chronic pain experience has been necessary, it has brought me back to my true self, to my soul.
It has brought me to a respectful understanding of the Dark Mother and the ways of The Underworld.
Ereshkigal dragged me down into the darkness and fear of her realm, and she introduced me to the darkest parts of myself, my biggest fears.
In embracing that feared part of myself, I found my whole, my power, my purpose.
Ereshkigal grabbed a tight hold of me and she taught me her ways and her wisdom.
She has initiated me and set me upon this darkened path.
Where it leads. I do not yet know.
Yet, I hold the understanding that many do not;
The Ways Of The Underworld Are Perfect.