The Descent of Inanna as a Woman’s Alchemical Initiation
The descent of Inanna into the underworld is one of the earliest versions of Katabasis; the act of descending into the underworld to obtain wisdom and knowledge not available in any other form. This mythology may be used as a form of alchemical descent and ascent in ritual form, thus divesting the soul of negative planetary aspects associated with alchemy; then uniting with the lower half of the soul, before ascending to the divine as a balanced being (the ‘Alchemical Wedding’) leading to the immortality of the soul itself.
The Myth of Inanna’s descent details her relinquishing one piece of jeweler or clothing at each one of seven gates; each item representing attributes of civilization intended to serve as her protections. They included a crown, lapis bead earrings, a double-stranded necklace, a breastplate called “Come, man, come”, golden bracelets, a lapis measuring rod and line, and her royal robe.
This form of practice can be used as a cathartic ritual for dealing with personal obstacles and demons which are effecting the woman. This is done in the company of other women who would support and comfort as needed. to work this as alchemical ritual the practitioner would descend through the gates divesting themselves of the vices of each planetary gate and on the return journey having faced their demons in the underworld they claim the virtues.
This ends with the cleansed and balanced soul arriving back to the beginning of the ritual, having gained the alchemical experience.
Sian has been a practicing witch for around 30 years and has lead a coven in South Wales called DragonOak for around 25 years. She is currently studying for an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology in University of Wales Trinity St David’s; the MA incorporates a great deal of study on the Graeco Roman magical Papyri and the impact of astrology and star lore on cultures around the world. In DragonOak we teach traditional witchcraft, using toolmaking, astrology, herbalism, working with the PGM, Kabbalah, animism and working with the spirits of plants, genus loci and the dead. Sian has trained many people in the magical arts and runs workshops in the South Wales area to allow people who do not want to be in a coven situation to gain access to good quality courses. Sian and her group work ritually with Hekate and Hermes and are currently in the process of reconstructing ritual from the PGM into a workable craft form.