Kneeling before Inanna’s altar I eat a pomegranate with my hands, bloody juice dripping down my fingers and chin. Sweet, bitter, I swallow seeds and spit out half-chewed rind. Inanna’s self-love isn’t all rose petals and bubble bath; it’s stained lips, sticky hands, the crunch of firm flesh beneath your teeth. Inanna’s self-love is red, raw, naked and proud of it. It is both the throne and the meat hook, the body and the spirit. She would have me know all of myself, especially those dark depths into which I am afraid to descend. There can be no self-love without acceptance, no acceptance without understanding, no understanding without recognition.

In my dreams I call myself witch.


Inanna has been in my life for some time now, but I have yet to figure out why. I know She has plans for me, but I thus far haven’t been ready in Her eyes. I checked in with a tarot reading that gave me some unexpected answers.

Question: Where your path begins
Card: 7 of Cups
Interpretation: The 7 of Cups is a card of unlimited possibilities, fantasies, and paths. These endless choices muddle the mind and make it hard to act decisively. The head and heart may be at war, and the person may be tempted to eschew the inevitable choice for escapism or wishful thinking. I certainly feel like I’m standing in the intersection of a dozen different roads, and every direction I turn I see another option. In waiting for a strong sign from Inanna, perhaps I have lingered at this crossroads for too long. It may be time to close my eyes and trust my feet to take me down the right path. I have been trying to listen more closely to my intuition, after all.

Question: Where your path leads (the descent)
Card: 2 of Cups
Interpretation: Inanna’s path is a long and hard one, and I have feared where it might take me. I therefore did not expect to draw a card which signifies unity, relationships, understanding, and resolution or reconciliation. The 2 of Cups tells me Inanna’s path leads to an agreement or bond, or otherwise a harmony between two forces. I didn’t understand at first – was the card indicating my bond with my wife? With someone new? When I later pulled the Page of Cups, though, I determined that this card must indicate Inanna Herself.

Question: Where your path emerges
Card: Queen of Cups
Interpretation: I am so very fond of the Queen of Cups. She is a master of her intuition and subconscious, a fount of creativity, and exudes the peace needed for true introspection. She neither fears her emotions nor lets them subjugate her, but embraces and sets them free. She is everything I struggle to achieve; to know she lays at the end of this journey tells me Inanna’s path is the right one, wherever it leads me.

Question: What do you want from me?
Card: 4 of Wands
Interpretation: The 4 of Wands encourages celebration of an initial success to reward one’s hard work. Rest and relaxation have been well earned. This rejoicing can be but temporary, however, for there is much more work to come. Inanna wants to lead me to greater successes, and to celebrate those successes with me, but She also wants me to know my journey isn’t over.

Question: How will I know I’m ready?
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: For the last two years, Inanna has been telling me I’m not ready for whatever She has planned. The 5 of Pentacles doesn’t feel like a very positive symbol of readiness, though; it’s all about feeling lost, faithless, and demoralized. You’re so preoccupied with practical difficulties and your personal sorrow that you can’t see the help that waits for you to just reach out. So what does this mean for me? Is Inanna saying that I will know I’m ready when I reach out on my own to her, instead of waiting for something to push me from behind?

I admit, I wasn’t sure what to make of this reading. I decided to draw a single clarifying card just to see if it could put things in perspective.

Question: Why are you in my life? (Asked with some exasperation… sorry Lady!)
Card: Page of Cups
Interpretation: Friendship, comfort, creativity, intuition, psychic ability, introversion and introspection. I am entering a new phase of emotional growth that requires relearning trust and embracing new feelings and attitudes. I must be still and look within, to listen to my inner voice and follow my intuition. Inanna will guide me on this journey, which will strengthen our bond and develop me spiritually in ways only She can show me. This feels like a very positive card.

Other thoughts: I pulled quite a few cups cards, so I know this journey is one of emotion. I pulled no swords, which is odd because Inanna usually uses swords to communicate with me. This reading makes me think I’ve been misinterpreting Her reason for being in my life – I thought She was going to lead me into some majorly dark stuff, because She always appears to me in Her war goddess form. But now I wonder… maybe She’s here to teach me to love myself. That will be fucking hard too, and it’ll require being tough and fierce, but it will also mean letting myself be soft and vulnerable too. I think I’ve been so focused on the Inanna of the descent that I overlooked Her other aspects. Still, it’ll be a hard journey…


Self-love in a woman is so radical it is akin to war. This is Inanna’s lesson.

The Queen of Heaven came to me painted in blood and exhaling ash; with every lightning crack the skull showed beneath Her proud face. She walked up out of the underworld carrying knowledge of life and death in Her curving flesh, and all the armies of man cowered before Her like dumb beasts before a lioness. I cowered too, for I was afraid of what She would demand of me. She is no gentle Aphrodite, no sweet-eyed Venus. She is Inanna, who dances on the battlefield, who strikes down mountains and laughs in Death’s face.

But, Stand daughter, She commanded and I obeyed. When I looked upon Her again, She was not half so terrifying. She wore red silk, not blood, and smelled of roses and myrrh. She was lovely as the dawn and dusk, and all the stars in the sky. Every gem has many facets, She said, and I will teach you to love all of yours. That is what it means to own yourself. That is what it means to fight back.

I begin to understand now. I ignored Inanna’s softer aspects, scornful of the vulnerability of femininity, and focused only on blood lust as Her mode of defiance. But men fear anyone with more power than theirs, and they gain power by making us hate ourselves. In this world, to be a goddess of love is as revolutionary as a goddess of war. Inanna does not rebel against patriarchal oppression with sword alone – She rebels by loving Herself, by taking ownership of Her body and treating it like the sacred vessel it is. Inanna shows us that all we need do to break our chains is embrace ourselves. Self-love is the shield with which we may protect ourselves as we walk onto the battlefield.

I do not know how to love myself. I do not know how to love this body. But if anyone can show me how, it is She who walked naked into the underworld, dressed only in Her self-love, and back out in triumph.


Dua Bast,  Goddess of Family and Home! Bless this marriage and keep safe the family we build together. Lend us the strength to be loving and kind even in times of turmoil.

Hail Inanna, Lover and Beloved United As One! Bless this marriage and help us to stand strong against those who would judge us. Lend us the courage to stand hand-in-hand for all the world to see.

Dua Wepwawet, Shepherd of the Path! Bless this marriage and guide us safely as we embark on this journey together. Lend us the patience to face whatever life’s road may ask of us.

Dua Bast! Hail Inanna! Dua Wepwawet!


Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven
Hail Inanna, the Morning and the Evening Star
Hail Inanna, She Who Descended and Arose Again
Hail Inanna!

Great Lady, look down on Your devotee with favor
I who come to you naked and humbled
praying You will make me as You are.
Protectress of Harlots, Goddess of Queers
teach me to lust, help me to desire
awaken my spirit to the joys of the flesh.
You who sing the praises of Your own body
and take such delight in the bodies of others
teach me Your dances and Your songs.
In return I offer You my blood
that red river which flows with the cyclic moon;
may its monthly resumption honor Your fiery passion
and renew the unbreakable bond between us.

Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven
Hail Inanna, the Morning and the Evening Star
Hail Inanna, She Who Descended and Arose Again
Hail Inanna!

[ TMI explanation: I recently decided I need to do something about my low libido. Maybe I can’t change it, but I feel like I at least have to try for my sake, my partner’s, and our relationship. To that end, I’m starting to work with Inanna in the hopes of nourishing that little seed of lust that sleeps (very) deep inside me. My first step on this journey was to stop taking birth control. I’ve been on hormonal birth control for many years to ease my period symptoms (and cut down my period to 4 times a year), and I think it’s time to go off it and see how my body does without it. I don’t know if my birth control has any effect on my libido, but I think it’s worth trying. When I made that decision, I realized I could, and should, offer the restarting of my natural cycle to Inanna. What better to offer the goddess of war, sex, and raw female power than menstrual blood? So above is the prayer I wrote for this dedication. It could also easily be adapted to the use of any blood, for those who may not menstruate, or to any other deity, should anyone else be considering something similar. ]


[ I wrote this prayer in response to the Trump administration’s reversal of the transgender youth bathroom directive. It could easily be adapted for someone who IS trans and wants to invoke this protection personally, of course. ]

Inanna, walk with them; show them that no matter what they must give up, their pride cannot be taken. Show them how to hold their heads high even as they descend into darkness, for You have walked that long road and wait for them on the other side.

Bast, walk with them; show them each step is a piece of a precious dance and every breath a note of a sacred song. Show them they always have a home and a mother in You, for You are the lioness who protects Her children with tooth and claw.

Wepwawet, walk with them; show them there is always a way forward, if only they can muster the strength to take the next step. Show them they never walk alone, nor can they ever be truly lost, for You are ever their shepherd through both life and death.


Amid snakes and bullets, crystals and rose petals, She watches. Her dark eyes are circled with white skull makeup; She wears Her death with easy arrogance. I fear that gaze. I fear Her, even as I light Her candle and cry Her titles. Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven! Hail Inanna, the Morning and the Evening Star! Hail Inanna, She Who Descended and Arose Again! I fear Her as I fear Her sisters Kali and Sekhmet, Ishtar and Morrigan, Scylla and Charybdis. I fear Her wrath, Her pride, Her fickle love and frightening affection – and yet She calls to me. From Her corner altar draped in red, She waits with infinite patience as I alternately approach and shy back from Her path. It leads down deep, dark roads, and I fear above all what I will have to surrender to walk its length. But She tells me such satisfying stories, tales in which a woman can tear down mountains and sit naked and proud on the throne of death, and She whispers such sweet promises that taste like the salt-sown ashes of our enemies. She reminds me that things were not always this way, the bones of justice ground beneath the boots of our oppressors, and it does not have to remain this way. She reminds me of the goddesses who danced on the battlefield, laughing, howling, rejoicing in the thrill of bloody triumph, and that they remain with us. From Her altar, through Her death’s mask, Inanna watches and waits.


Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven
She Who Makes the Fields Red!

Lady of Dawn, Lady of Dusk
hear your children as we cry out in fear!
Lend us your protection as the world turns on us
lend us your guidance as we find ourselves lost!

Lady of Life, Lady of Death
answer your children as darkness descends!
Lend us your wisdom as we face ignorance
lend us your love as we do battle with hate!

Lady of War, Lady of Slaughter
stand with your children as we cry out in pain!
Lend us your fierceness as battle approaches
lend us your fury as we fight for our lives!

Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven
She Who Makes the Fields Red!
Hail Inanna, Triumphant in Battle
She Who Descended and Arose Again!

[ I will not sorrow today. Today I will rage. Today I will embrace wrath. Today I will dream of vengeance and make blood promises. They will not take this world without a fight. ]


because you are a goddess of love
they chained you to a man

because you are a goddess of love
they caged you in flesh and curves

because you are a goddess of love
they made you slave to your heart

because you are a goddess of love
they stripped you of your hauteur
they stripped you of your bloodlust
they stripped you of your complexity

because you are a goddess of love
they forgot you dance on the battlefield
they forgot you descended into hell
they forgot your memory is very long
and very unforgiving

[ I’m not entirely happy about the way Inanna has been portrayed in recent media (e.g. Carmilla and The Wicked and the Divine). The face She shows me isn’t nearly so prone to squishy, love-related emotions. The face She shows me is terrifying and awe-inspiring, and it bothers me that people learning about Her through Carmilla or WicDiv will think She’s all rainbows and sunshine. ‘Cause shit, she scares me just as much as Sekhmet or Kali or The Morrigan. ]


here’s to the goddesses with war in their bones
with blood on their hands and lies on their tongues
here’s to the goddesses who sunder and rend
who dance on the battlefield and leave ashes behind

here’s to the monstresses hungry and wild
with crocodile mouths and whirlpool lungs
here’s to the monstresses ugly but proud
who punish the reckless and turn lovers to stone

here’s to the queens with hate in their hearts
with laughter like jackals and voices like vultures
here’s to the queens who rule in the dark
who keep what they can and destroy what they can’t

here’s to the ladies made villains unfairly
maligned in mythology and cast as cliches
here’s to the women with a story untold
forgotten by history but not by their descendants


They say at the end of that long road You knelt, naked, humbled, stripped of all that proclaimed Your queenship and divinity. They say this, but I can’t quite believe it. What need have You of robes and bangles, jewels and rings? You would stand as tall and haughty whether You bore a crown or not. No, I think You gave up Your raiments so willingly because they meant nothing to You. Naked and unarmed You came before Your sister, yes, but I do not think You bowed Your head or averted Your eyes. I think She struck You down because You were still a queen, still in command even in a hostile realm with Your body on display for all to see. You descended in arrogance, and in arrogance You ascended when Your life was returned. You can be called many things, Lady, but not humble. Not meek. Not vulnerable. Whether dressed in Your finery or brazenly naked, You remain the uncontested, dauntless Queen of Heaven.


What do these dreams mean? I ask the cards. What should I do?
The Lady of the East answers in cups,
trust Them, you will not be lead astray; clear your mind and let go of your fears.
The Queen of Heaven answers in swords,
a journey of the heart is beginning; have faith and you will learn the truth.
The candle flames leap high. The shadows dance.
I love, but can I trust?



four millennia stretch between us
you with your reed stylus
I with my ink and keyboard
four millennia ago, the goddess whispered in your ear
four millennia later, the dark gods whisper in mine
we are not so different, you and I

we are not so different, you and I
with our poetry and our pleading
our devotion and determination
your words reverberate in my chest
your heartbeats echo through the ages
I pray mine stand the test of time


Inanna is a god of many faces and great complexity. She is at once the girl on the dancefloor and the warrior on the battlefield. She is the receptive maiden and the wrathful woman scorned. She is silk and diamonds and bullets and brass knuckles. She presides over the dawn and the dusk, and She has walked the long dark road between on bloody feet. She loves; She wars; She punishes; She guides. She is the kind of freedom that can only be obtained by fighting back, by tearing a place for yourself in a world that would push you down. Inanna will not wage the war for you, but She will put the sword in your hand and show you how to use it – and when you are triumphant, She will dance with you on the battlefield.


I wonder, in that chaos, how many deities and spirits walked among them that morning. How many angels stood with wings outstretched to shield the bodies; how many ghosts shook their heads in memory of their own violent ends? If you had the Sight, would you have seen Anubis and Wepwawet waiting to guide the dead on, and valkyries forming an honor guard for the souls murdered for living bravely? Would you have seen Aphrodite and Hathor and Mary and Parvati weeping for the blooding of such a sacred space? I wonder, were Sekhmet and Inanna there to guide the bullets that finally slew the killer? Did Bast hold one of those beautiful brown children in Her arms as they died? Did Jesus and Muhammad share the same sad look they must always share, for all the times they’ve met like this? For every person on that scene – victims, bystanders, police, paramedics – were there twice as many spirits standing by to mourn or comfort or retaliate?


you are mistaken if you think
any goddess is soft the whole way through

every goddess has bared her teeth
every goddess has tasted blood

beneath the love goddess’ smooth curves
and the virgin goddess’ youthful smile
sleeps the serpent with its venomed fangs

beneath the mother goddess’ warm bosom
and the hearth goddess’ patient hands
lurks the lioness with her swift sharp claws

beneath the femininity and motherhood and innocence
every goddess has a warrior’s heart

and within the heart of every woman
a seed of the goddess grows


Asexuality and Paganism (for May 2016’s Carnival of Aces)

Standing in the Kemetic section of Crescent Moon Gifts, I waivered. On the shelf before me was a beautiful statue of Bast, lithe form poised to accentuate Her curves and hint at the sensual, playful side of this goddess of felines and motherhood. I held it in my hand, turned it over, all the while feeling an internal pull that yes, this was what She had pushed me here for, this should be my first purchase as I undertook the journey as Her devotee. And yet, I waivered. Not because I was afraid of the commitment, or because I wasn’t sure She was the one I should follow. I waivered because of that sensuality. I wondered if I could kneel before a statue so obviously carved to portray a beautiful female fully aware of, and fully embracing, the attractiveness of her form. I saw the playfulness in it, yes, but also the undercurrent of raw sexuality, and it was at that I balked. Being at best sex-indifferent and more often sex-repulsed, how could I find understanding and kinship in a goddess of physical desire?

In the end, I bought the statue. The call inside me overcame my uncertainty, though I still had strong reservations. And thus my journey as a devotee of Bast began, and my journey to accept and embrace my asexuality evolved to the next level. I had never imagined the two could be connected, let alone inextricably interwoven. The last year has shown me my fears were unfounded; though as with all journeys, there would be bumps in the road.

The first thing I learned when I started working with Bast is that She not only did not judge me for being asexual, but loved me all the more for it. My initial fears that She would push me toward sex or brush me off for not being comfortable with that side of Her were quickly allayed. Bast’s presence always felt motherly to me, and while I acknowledged the sensual side of Her, She never forced me to interact with it. From the beginning She sent me feelings of love and acceptance, and because of this I firmly believe She stands for all sexual, gender, and romantic minorities. She celebrated with me when the United States finally gained marriage equality, and She comforted me when the subject of physical intimacy caused confusion and heartache in my romantic relationship. When I begged to be cured of my asexuality, She helped calm my mind so I could see clearly and remember to love who I am. While Bast is not the only one to thank for getting me through a very dark period, I could not have done it without the spiritual strength She gave me.

Currently, my romantic relationship is doing exceedingly well. My partner and I have found a comfortable balance between physical intimacy and non-physical intimacy, between giving and receiving pleasure and love in all their forms. We have both done an immense amount of emotional work to reach this point, and I don’t downplay either of our efforts. However, I know Bast had a hand (or paw) in this as well, and I honor Her for that. Sometimes when my partner and I are engaging in physical intimacy, I offer that act up to Bast as thanks for Her help. This is a rare offering, and a very sacred one for me to give, and I feel Her appreciation very clearly. I have even had visions of my partner and I as Kemetic priestesses, making love in an ancient temple. I understand those images to be Bast’s way of showing Her thanks and approval. So while there may be no historical basis for the popular rumor that Bast is the goddess of lesbians, She definitely embraces love in all its forms.

Even more importantly, I think, Bast has lead me to help others in similar situations. I currently run a Tumblr blog called Still-A-Valid-Ace, where I offer advice, encouragement, and support to ace-spectrum folks. The image below of one of my posts shows just how widespread the concern about sexuality and faith really is, especially in the pagan community.


Hundreds of people felt connected enough with this post to like or reblog it; some even have contacted me directly, asking how to navigate relationships with deities when you aren’t comfortable or interested in their sexual sides. I told them what I tell you now – have faith. Humans may discredit or discriminate against you because of your sexuality, but deities won’t. They want to form a relationship with you, and that relationship includes helping you love yourself. Whether you follow Bast, Inanna, Aphrodite, or any other deity who lists love and sex under their specialities, they will love you for who you are.

Dua Bast!

[ Post script: To those who find themselves under the attention of, or wanting the attention of, a sexual deity, please remember this – we’re never completely immune to fear. Even after the positive experience I have had with Bast, I still went through all the same reservations and “what ifs” when Inanna came calling, worried She wanted to disrupt my comfortable sex-indifference and make me into a more sexual being like Herself. Of course, She wants nothing of the sort, and I should have know that from the beginning. It’s okay to second-guess yourself, even when you think you should know better. Spirituality in any form is about the journey, not the destination. Your faith will stand by you even when your faith in yourself wavers. ]


Hail Inanna, Queen of the Heavens!
Hail Inanna, Morning and Evening Star!
Hail Inanna, She Who Descended and Arose Again!

My eyes widen as I consider Your path
yet I embrace its dark corridors;
lead me, Lady, and if I wander
by Your blaze I will find my way back.

My feet tremble as I set them upon Your path
yet I surrender myself to Your guidance;
lead me, Lady, and if I stumble
with Your strength I shall stand again.

My heart beats fast as I take my first step on your Path
yet I do not turn back from its challenge;
lead me, Lady, and if I hesitate
for Your smile I will take the next step forward.

Hail Inanna, Queen of the Heavens!
Hail Inanna, Morning and Evening Star!
Hail Inanna, She Who Descended and Arose Again!
Hail Inanna!


The goddesses who have sought me out are so different from me. Bast and Inanna both are goddesses of love, of sensuality and sexuality, of hot desert days and cold desert nights. What do these aspects mean for me, the one who guards her body like a sealed tomb and yearns always for the rain? You’d think such deities would want nothing to do with someone like me. The desert calls to me but it’s not a place in which my soul could take root. I can find pleasure in flesh but it never feels completely effortless. I feel the urge to sing and dance but can barely even bring myself to do them when I’m alone. These goddesses are both so unbridled, so unashamed, so free! I envy them the nerve to waltz into the Underworld, the ferocity to tear down their enemies, the confidence to embrace love in all its forms. I envy their self-assurance and ease in their immortal bodies. It’s hard to imagine either could ever be afraid or weary or uncertain. Do they realize they’ve picked some anxious little asexual girl with absolutely no rhythm who overheats when the temperature tops sixty-five degrees? I want to make them proud, I do. I just wonder how such goddesses could ever be proud of having someone like me as a follower.



goddess for the ages
lady of war and fertility
goddess for this age
lady of rebellion and sexuality

instead of a scepter
brass knuckles capped in crystals
instead of a crown
face painted Dia de Muertos
instead of silk robes
ripped jeans and stiletto heels
instead of precious stones
metal studs on shoes, clothes, skin

lady of rebellion and sexuality
goddess for this age
lady of war and fertility
goddess for the ages


I am hesitant to approach, to even write or utter Your name, but still I sense Your vast, ancient presence all around me. Great Lady, are You truly reaching out to me? Humble though I am, I can understand why The Lady of Flame called me to Her path; I have walked it unknowingly my entire life, seeking a bond with Her children that I could only have with the Mother Cat Herself. I was awed by Her choice, but it made sense after some soul-searching. You, though? How is it possible a deity so powerful, so grand even deigns to notice my single, solitary little life when all the world and heavens bow to You? I hear Your call yet I still think this must be some mistake on my part. Perhaps You seek the ones for whom I am scribe, and I am only misinterpreting Your appearance in my dreams. The Lord Sun and Prince Moon may be worthy of Your focus, but me? Surely not. I am only the scribe; what could the Queen of Heaven want with me?


In my dream I am Tanim, unhappy crown prince whose only joy is found in my lover and bodyguard Daren. Even this bit of peace is wrenched from me with the death of my father as the royal crown passes to me. In his wake the country is left in turmoil and I have no choice but to set aside my own desires, take up the heavy crown, and lead my people. Yet all is not well even then, and on the day of my coronation rumors spread that rebels seek to attack the castle in retaliation for crimes my family committed hundreds of years ago. When a panicked servant seeks the royal party out on the lake’s island pavilion with word of a direct assault, I have no choice but to send Daren to investigate, the one one in my court I trust implicitly.

The choice is my downfall. Even as he disappears over the hill the servant turns on me, panic replaced by cruel glee as he reveals a sharp little blade. I realize my terrible mistake and reach to draw my sword as I jump back, but it’s too late – the knife cuts deep into my torso and even though I try to call out to Daren as I fall, my voice is barely a whisper. Somehow my lover must sense the trap anyway, or perhaps has been enlightened to the falsity, because only a brief moment of the servant’s triumphant snickering passes before he turns in terror at the sound of Daren’s enraged howl. The bloody blade is little use against the gleaming sword and the skillful one who bears it, and the servant collapses before he can parry or flee.

The dream switches, then, and I am suddenly Daren, kneeling at my slain prince’s side as I try desperately to staunch the flow of blood. The wound is too deep, though, and I gather him into my arms as I call for the boat to the brought to take us back to shore. As petrified servants row us back toward the distant castle and its skilled doctors, I watch Tanim slowly bleed out onto the boat’s wooden bottom. There’s little awareness left in his clouded eyes but I speak to him anyway, pleading for him to stay with me, to hold on, to be strong. Soon my entreaty turns to angry despair and I’m alternately cursing the heavens, swearing the Fates won’t take him, and begging that if need be I’ll give anything to keep him safe, if only some deity will come to strike the bargain.

A light flares over my shoulder and I turn to see a woman standing in the boat amid the somehow unseeing servants. She radiates light, her entire being crafted of the cold white of the full moon, and around her neck and brow coils a serpent like ram’s horns. “Why have I been called?” the goddess asks in a voice both thunderous and silken as her blazing eyes stare down at us.

The dream switches again, then, and I am myself, no longer crouched in a tiny boat but kneeling in a pool of clear water, my head bent and lips pressed to the cool surface. Beside me my girlfriend lounges, and as I lift my head she asks, “Is one of them here?” I know somehow that she asks about the snake goddesses and I answer that I’m not sure, for I don’t yet know if the goddess who appeared to Daren is of a real-world pantheon or from the dream’s medieval world. My girlfriend nods and responds casually, as if recalling a sweet nostalgia, “Briar loved them, but I never knew what the Sixteenth Person was.”

And then I wake, truly, and lay in the warm dark with the name Inanna on my lips.