In my dreams, Her lips
Red as ripe pomegranates
the Queen of Heaven
In my dreams, Her lips
In my dreams, Her lips
Red as ripe pomegranates
the Queen of Heaven
In my dream a goddess led me up a long, winding staircase in the dome of a mountain. I thought she was Inanna, though I cannot remember now if she offered that as her name or if I assumed it from her appearance. She looked like how Inanna appears to me – a beautiful, naked woman with thick red hair, voluptuous breasts, and full hips. The only difference was that this woman bore both a penis and a vagina, yet I did not find this odd given Inanna’s power over gender. I understood she intended to complete some ritual by which to awaken other gods, or perhaps to resurrect them. I wasn’t sure of the exact details but I trusted her intentions and was happy to be of assistance.
After we walked for what seemed an eternity, we reached a vast stone chamber beneath the mountain’s peak. There was a dais at the top of the stairs on which stood two thick candles. The dais leaned out over a circular platform which seemed suspended in the air, save for a single staircase connecting them. The platform floated above a darkness which reached all the way down to the heart of the mountain. Its surface was carved with casting circles, sigils, and other such symbols of power, and in the center was a large image of a goddess.
Inanna took up a dagger from the dais and used it to cut both her palms. She then grasped the candles and as they soaked in her blood images suddenly flickered in the air around her, so fast I could barely make them out. They were all women, mostly dark haired and black clad, and I understood them to be all of the forms this goddess had taken since the dawn of time. Most of them were long forgotten, truly ancient, primordial beings who never even had names, yet some I recognized. I can’t remember who exactly but I think I saw the Morrigan, maybe Lilith and Ereshkigal, or other such goddesses of death and darkness and the underworld.
The images flickered out and Inanna stood now in the center of the sunken platform, beckoning me to join her. She needed blood and semen to complete the ceremony, and I was eager to lay with her. I descended the stairs to the sunken platform below, yet when I set foot onto the carvings everything changed. Not like lightning, but like how quickly the darkness descends in its wake. The carved circle was now a pit filled with sharp black gravel. In it a woman crouched, her feet buried in the rubble. She was a pale, starved thing and wore only a ragged black dress that covered little of her sunken flesh. The hands she extended were naught but splintered, blackened bone that dug into my flesh as she grabbed hold. I looked from them to her face and cried out in terror. Her head was a blackened horse skull topped with straggled black hair. Its long teeth grinned at me while its empty eye sockets leered and seemed to see too much.
I couldn’t even hear my screams; the chamber, or perhaps just my mind, was filled with a cacophony of screeching noise like every instrument in the world being tortured at once. I turned away to run for the stairs but her bony hands yanked me back. The long snout of the horse skull appeared over my shoulder, breathing rotten air past my ear as her grave dirt voice laughed and asked, “Isn’t this what you wanted?”
You whose body feels like a cage
She will break the lock and set you free!
You whom society cast out as unclean
She will embrace you skin to skin!
You who are judged for how you love
She will exalt you in her temples!
Rise up, weary one
Inanna is with you!
Rise up, grieving one
Inanna is with you!
Rise up, wrathful one
Inanna is with you!
Inanna is with you!
They broke your throne, my queen
And destroyed your holy temples!
They tore the sacred raiment from your priestesses
And cast them into the street to starve!
I weep, my queen
I weep for your loss!
I weep, my queen
I weep for our loss!
Then I hear your voice like thunder
Crying I am the Queen of Heaven!
Then I hear your voice like thunder
Crying I am the Morning and Evening Star!
The great dome of the sky is my temple
And my throne is my own sacred body!
My priestesses dye their hair with rainbows
And dance in the streets in the name of love!
I no longer weep, my queen
I sing your praises with joy!
I no longer weep, my queen
I call your name with pride!
Hail the Queen of Heaven!
Hail the Morning and Evening Star!
Bast’s love comforts
Hathor’s love energizes
Inanna’s love ignites
The Morrigan’s love challenges
They slew the goddess
Buried her temples and name
Yet still she rises
She wears rubies crimson as menstrual blood
And garnets dark as the battlefield’s gore
She is Astarte, She is Aphrodite
She is Ishtar, She is Inanna!
She licks pomegranate lips with a dawn-pink tongue
And between her thighs grows a red, red rose
She is Babylon, She is Lilith
She is Venus, She is Inanna!
they say “fake it ‘til you make it”
so here I am, a child playing dress-up
wearing my mother Bast’s smile and poise
Inanna’s confidence and Hathor’s positivity
and the Morrigan’s steel spine underneath it all
if I walk like them, talk like them
will I be strong like them?
will I be brave like them?
will I be good like them?
Hetheru, be my armor!
Morrigan, be my blade!
Inanna, be my strength!
Bast, be my courage!
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, Lady of Flame, Lady of Truth
Vengeful Eye of Ra, Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Het-heru, Lady of the West, Sweet Sycamore
Bearer of Joy and Bringer of Prosperity!
Dua Wepwawet, Opener of the Way
Shepherd of the Path, Unique and Adorned One!
Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven, O Radiant Star
She Who Descended and Arose Again!
Hail to the Morrigan, Phantom Queen and Prophetess
Sovereign of the Battlefield, Carrion Crowned!
Hail to the Sun and Moon, Lords of Darkness and Decay
Lords of Light and Love, of Sacrifice and the Solstice!
Hail and thanks to all!
What did You do, O Queen of Heaven, for those three long days You hung dead on the hook? Christ probably ascended to Heaven and returned once more in his three days, and Odin must have been absorbing all the knowledge of the universe in his nine nights, so what about you? While Ninshubur wept at Your absence and Ereshkigal writhed in birthing pains, where were You? Were You in Your heavy body experiencing for the first time how mortal flesh rots and decays? Or were You, like Odin, stretching out Your consciousness to touch the vast unknown? If myth be true, death buys the most precious secrets, especially if that death be a willing one bargained for truth. You must have learned something, for there are times when I can see the white skull grinning beneath Your skin or all the darkness of the underworld condensed into Your heavy-lidded eyes. But that is the reward of walking Your road, isn’t it; what knowledge You gained in death can be revealed only if we make such a sacrifice ourselves.
The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason.
Bast appears to me close at hand as if I’m a small child and She’s holding me in Her arms. She is an older woman with a face graced always by a gentle, loving smile. Freckles are scattered across her cheeks like stars and perpetual laugh lines gather at the corners of her golden eyes. She is muscled yet soft, in the way a woman who has given birth to many children is simultaneously rounded and strengthened. Her dress is of white linen, Her jewelry of gold, amethyst, and lapis lazuli. Her dark hair is woven through with beads and charms which jingle softly when She moves. She is the quintessential mother goddess with a soft breast to cry on and strong shoulders to lean on. I can feel in Her embrace the latent energy of the war goddess, and know She could change in a heartbeat if any danger came my way, yet to me She always appears in this maternal form.
Inanna appears to me veiled in red silk and firelight so I may only see Her soft belly and pendulous breasts and that sacred place between Her hips for which songs were sung. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of red hair, full lips, a proud hawk nose, but otherwise Her specific features remain uncertain. She is almost close enough to touch but always just out of reach, the way a dancer moves away from your embrace with the fluidity of water. Her face is hidden in shadow and because of this She might be any of the wild, unbound goddesses men have tried to shame for eons: Inanna, Ishtar, Lilith, Babylon the Great. She takes this form so I must face Her innate physicality; if I want to work with Her, I cannot avoid Her divine flesh.
The Morrigan appears to me only from afar as a shadowed figure backlit by heavy red skies. I cannot make out Her face but I can feel the weight of Her gaze, the immensity of Her presence. She is tall and thin as a finely honed blade, and like a blade there is a patient tension in Her form, a promise of deadly grace. She has long, dark hair, I think, and pale skin. She is not young; if I could get closer I would see lines on that gaunt face, especially at the corners of Her mouth and between Her eyebrows. Neither, though, is She frail; beneath Her dark cloak is a body spare yet strong as steel. This is all the Morrigan will let me see just now: the sovereign of the battlefield, the goddess of war and bone.
The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason. What these forms show us – and do not show us – always hints at what we have to learn from them. Bastet is my mother; Inanna is my mentor; the Morrigan is my guide down a dark road.
Inanna is the essence of divine autonomy – one may even say divine selfishness. Hers is the supreme confidence to say yes! and the innate audacity to say no! She neither dissembles nor waivers, neither gives up her standards nor gives in to another’s. She does all She desires and nothing She does not desire. She is beholden to no one and thus Her every action is made with absolute freedom of will. The Queen of Heaven has not broken Her chains because She never suffered them to exist in the first place. Inanna is the only sovereign of Inanna, and She can teach you to be the sole sovereign of yourself as well. Every time we exercise our right to self-care by saying yes to something we want or no to something we don’t, we tap into Her willpower. Her road isn’t easy, but it’s the path along which we regain our authority over ourselves and come out the other side wiser and stronger.
I am recording the following for my own reference but I welcome any insights or questions anyone may have. I’m not yet sure what lesson or conclusion I’m supposed to reach in all this. On Friday, October 12th Tanim and Daren (though mostly Daren, I suspect) borrowed my wife (okay, she used the word “hijacked”) for a session of unwitting automatic writing while at work – by which I mean she thought she was taking notes on a patient and looked down to see she had actually written the following with her non-dominant hand:
“It was all there on the table.
The candlestick. The rope. The lead pipe. The wrench. The knife. The gun. He trailed his fingertips along each weapon with veneration.
Clue had always been his favorite board game. He loved the idea of giving six people unique opportunities to kill one another. When he played the game as a child, he often concocted complex scenarios that resulted in the deaths of all six guests. He’d been sent to Sister Reverence’s office more times than he remembered. It was always the same.
‘Young man, this is becoming habitual.’
Habitual. Habit. Like that stupid thing she wears everyday. It would be so easy to grab her by it and pull. Up, up, up. A widening grin. Until she turned purple, like that bitter chalice offered every morning.
STOP TELLING IT. YOU’RE TELLING IT WRONG.”
At this point the writing stopped, but she could still see a scene unfolding very clearly in her mind. She provided me with the following notes:
We discussed it all and here are some of our combined observations:
So that’s where I am now. More to come, I guess??
A maw of darkness gapes before me. Beyond the cave mouth a pathway descends steeply into the cold, primal earth. There is no light to be had down that trail, nor heat, nor companionship. I am finally here – the mouth of the underworld, the first gate of seven through which I must pass. At the end of this journey awaits my death… and, if I am very lucky and very brave, my rebirth. I need only take the first step. Why can’t I take the first step?
I always knew Inanna’s road would lead me here, though not for what purpose. I believe I finally understand, however, and now I the fool who a year ago swore to run boldly in Her ancient footsteps tremble in fear at the threshold. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. How did She do this? How did She walk into the waiting darkness knowing that at every gate She must surrender a piece of Her identity? I don’t know how to let go so easily as She. I don’t know how to leave behind the things which I have dragged with me all the years of my life: internalized misogyny, unattainable beauty standards, self-hate and self-doubt and self-sabotage. I know how to love someone else’s flaws but not my own.
I’ve wondered for years why I could never quite grasp Inanna’s full appearance, why She came to me naked and unadorned with face hidden in shadow. The answer is obvious in hindsight; She was forcing me to look past Her silk robes and glittering jewels, Her golden headdress and lapis lazuli scepter, past the various trappings of the Queen of Heaven and instead to the plain flesh beneath. I had no choice but to stare at Her round hips, Her soft stomach, all Her folds and curves which were so lovingly depicted in devotional art over 5500 years ago. She wants me to understand – and truly embrace – the fact that what I find beautiful in Her I cannot vilify in myself. I must respect my body for what it is: an extension of the divine.
My body issues feel insurmountable sometimes. I’m not sure I can even make it through the first gate of this journey the goddess intends for me, let alone all seven. I asked Inanna how I can learn to love my body; She gave me the tarot card Justice as a reminder that I am my own judge and jury and therefore control the harshness or leniency of my sentence. To make any progress I must learn to see my body through a loving lens, not one warped by society’s impossible standards and my own insecurities. Is that, then, the first sacrifice on this journey? Should I – can I – surrender that broken mirror so I may pass through the gate?
I lift my foot. I take the first step.
The mother comes to me first, bearing open arms and unconditional love. In her embrace I learn to be vulnerable with myself so that I may to listen to and follow my intuition. She sets me upon the path which leads to the others yet remains always at my side as I walk it. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for what I know is right.
The maiden comes to me second, walking naked out of the underworld with head held high. She shows me the beauty of curves, the haughtiness of folds, the rebellion and freedom inherent in self-love. In the mirror I see her staring back at me, daring me to find flaw in this sacred form. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for myself above all else.
The crone comes to me last, dragging war in her wake. Under her fierce gaze I learn how to live when all the earth’s become a battlefield, how to survive and thrive on death like her black-winged children. She kindles the witchblood in my veins so I may face the darkness without flinching or giving ground. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight, to fight, to fight.
Me two years ago: Should I worship Sekhmet too, since I already worship Bast?* …no, the war/death goddesses are scary. Gonna stick with Mamma Cat.
Me a week ago: At least Inanna is the only war/death goddess I worship, She’s more than enough to handle on Her own.
So yeah, last week I dreamed I oathbound myself to The Morrigan. I have never worked with Her or anyone from Her pantheon, nor had I even been pondering the possibility. When I woke from the dream, though, I knew it was one I couldn’t ignore. As I sifted through information about The Morrigan, what struck me hardest was how many of the things I’ve come to associate with Inanna fit The Morrigan as well. This, combined with the fact that I’ve struggled since day one to figure out what Inanna wants from me, lead me down a confusing path of wondering, Was it always The Morrigan and never Inanna at all? Or are they both here? Could they be one in the same – and if not, will I offend them if I work with them both? Where’s the line??
To best analyze this new connection as it develops, I’m keeping track of the similarities between the Inanna I know and The Morrigan I’m coming to know, as well as of the things in my past which could also connect with this Celtic goddess. These include (in no particular order):
– I have recently felt extremely drawn to iron nails, knives, and jewelry; a few weeks ago I bought two poison-tempered iron necklaces, one with a skull stamped on it and one with a triskelle and the triple moon (I actually hesitated on buying that one because those symbols are associated with pantheons I don’t work with, but the calling was too strong to resist)
– I have always associated The Morrigan most with my character Mage, and have sometimes even felt like something bigger or older was “wearing” Mage like a mask
– Inanna has always appeared to me as a pale red-haired woman, which never made sense considering She should look Middle Eastern
– I associate ravens, skulls, bones, and bullets with Inanna, all of which also fit The Morrigan
– Since She came into my life, I’ve felt that Inanna wanted me to focus on the story of Her descent into the underworld – to the point that I see Her as a death goddess, though that was not traditionally Her role
– I’ve always been obsessed with crows and ravens; my first word was “caw” and my parents often called me a crow because of my habit for finding things
– I was raised on Irish and Celtic music and have always felt a connection with that land because of my father, who incidentally I dreamed about the same night
– My current DnD character is a champion of the Raven Queen, a goddess obviously modeled after The Morrigan; this was our DM’s choice and a total surprise to me
– My wife recently gave me her old set of runes and as soon as I held them I felt drawn to them despite not having any interest in runes before
– I recently started seriously studying witchcraft and identifying as a witch, and The Morrigan is apparently associated with witches; I’ve also been drawn to poisonous plants, though I don’t know if those are associated with Her too
– Since the dream I’ve seen crows everywhere, along with triskelles and other things associated with Ireland, and either the name Morrigan or names associated with that pantheon
Trying to clear things up, I did a reading with Bast about the situation and a deity reading with The Morrigan and made some additional interesting connextions:
– When I asked about Her omens, signs, and manifestations I drew the King of Cups; this confused me because the card is ocean-themed (seahorses, turtles, etc), which didn’t seem to make sense… until I realized the card reminds me of my father and the same night I dreamed about The Morrigan I dreamed about my father saving a turtle from a plastic bag
– I drew the 6 of Wands for the deity Herself, a card I once pulled when asking Bast how She felt about Inanna and one I pulled in the reading with Bast about this situation
– For The Morrigan’s personality I drew Strength, the card which Inanna first used to identify Herself
– In both readings I drew the 6 of Swords as something I’m not seeing clearly or not paying attention to; this card features storm crows
Many of these things could be pure coincidence or signs from Inanna Herself, considering She does have a war aspect and connections with the underworld, but I sense there’s more to this. I assumed Inanna was the one behind my sudden push into witchcraft, including the poisoned iron and my recent pull toward the darker aspect of the craft, but that assumption never fit quite right. When I imagine The Morrigan as being behind it I feel a sense of rightness.
What I suspect at this early point is that Inanna is in my life to help me master my body issues and self-love and that The Morrigan is the one who desires to help me become a stronger witch. I’m too much of a hard polytheist to treat them like they’re two sides of the same coin – and there’s no way I’m risking pissing either of them off! I always thought I’d stay away from the goddesses of war and death because I get such immensely powerful, scary vibes from them… but I guess that choice wasn’t in the cards for me.
(*Yes, I know Bast is a war goddess as well – but She’s my mamma, that doesn’t count.)
After completing the Bast FAQ I wanted to write one for Inanna. For all that She was an extremely important goddess in the ancient middle east, She doesn’t seem to have much of a following anymore – and often when She does, She just gets lumped in with other similar goddesses. It’s hard to find anything modern about Her worship so I hope my experiences can help anyone else who has been called by Her or is considering working with Her. Again, the following is all based on my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis).
What’s Her personality like?
Inanna shows Herself to me as a copper-skinned woman with dark red hair, very reminiscent of the Gerudo race from The Legend of Zelda. Her fierce warrior essence and proud sensuality give Her an alluring “don’t fuck with me” vibe that’s definitely intimidating – She is the Queen of Heaven and you won’t forget it when you’re in Her presence! In the beginning I saw mostly her warrior side, that part of Inanna which rejoices on the battlefield and destroys entire mountains for not bowing to Her. This aspect must be respected; Inanna’s temper is short and Her memory long. Over time, however, I have come to see Her ‘softer’ aspects more clearly. As a goddess of love and sexuality, She embraces all regardless of perceived flaws and encourages self-love and self-care. Though She may lead you through the underworld to face your deepest fears and secrets, She will also lead you back out into the light. Inanna is the embodiment of tough love, which we all need sometimes in our lives. She will expect a lot from you but never more than you can give.
How did She come into your life?
About two years ago I dreamed about a goddess who was totally white – white skin, white hair, white eyes, like a marble statue – and who had a white snake coiled around Her neck so that it looked almost like ram’s horns. In the dream She asked me, “Why have I been summoned?” in a resounding, thunderous voice, and when I woke I had the name Inanna on my lips. I didn’t know She would be a real goddess; I’d never heard of Her before nor knew anything about the Sumerian pantheon. When I googled Her, though, I found out She was THE goddess of the ancient middle east, powerful and greatly worshiped for ages, and even connected with the earliest named author (a woman!!) in human history. Talk about intimidating…
What does your devotion to Her look like?
For the first year or so of my devotion to Inanna it was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. She indicated She had plans for me, but that I wasn’t ready yet. Therefore, for a good portion of that time I just had a small altar for Her at which I would pray and offer food weekly. Every month or so I’d check in to see if things were moving – and sometimes had Inanna AND Bast tell me I wasn’t ready! At the beginning of this year, 2018, things started to pick up. Inanna indicated She is in my life for two reasons: one, to help me better love myself (especially my body) and two, to assist me as I take up witchcraft. So lately I’ve been trying to honor Her by being kinder to myself physically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as allowing myself to really dive into my interest in witchcraft. Basically any time I stick up for myself or feel like a truly capable, badass person, that’s a tribute in part to Inanna.
Can I worship Her if I’m [insert race/orientation/diagnosis/etc]?
Since Inanna’s expertise covers such a wide array of topics – love, sex, war, government, knowledge, the underworld, fertility, freedom, gender equality, queerness, joy, wrath, courage, magic, and more – just about anyone could follow Her as long as they weren’t actively working against something that falls under Her purview. However, I believe certain groups are especially under Her protection and care, including women and queer people. Inanna has historical connections with gender-swapping, androgyny, and trans-ness, and Her role as a goddess of love and personal autonomy make Her a strong ally for anyone who’s queer or otherwise marginalized by society.
How do I go about initially connecting with Her?
Inanna is scary – and it’s okay to admit that! She wants to be scary. She wants to be intimidating. She wants to know that you’re ready to put the hard work in and that you can handle Her at Her toughest. Never forget that She’s a goddess of war who asks a lot from Her followers. Set some time aside to focus before you reach out to Her, then light some candles, offer up something nice (that won’t break your bank, of course), and introduce yourself. While you don’t need to grovel in the dirt or anything, try to remain formally respectful. Use some of Her epithets and state your intention politely. Inanna isn’t a goddess to go to with instant demands or only when you need a quick fix; everything with Her takes time. If your first connection is weak or it seems like nothing “happened”, just wait and try again. Perseverance will get you far with Her.
How should I communicate with Her?
Everyone will have their own method of communicating with a deity so experiment and see what works for you. I usually use tarot to speak with Inanna when I want a more in-depth answer and this works fine for me – though She can be very blunt! She is partial to the swords and pentacles suits and identified Herself to me as the Strength card. I have also had Her communicate with me through signs like finding crow feathers, certain songs, Day of the Dead imagery, and even several fictional characters. Once you make contact with Her, you might be surprised at all the ways and places She suddenly pops up.
What kinds of offerings does She like?
Inanna is a little picky when it comes to offerings, I’ve learned. While you can get away with the basics (bread, water, etc) if that’s all you have, She definitely knows when you can do better and She’ll make sure you know She knows. For Inanna quality is definitely preferred over quantity. Buy or make something for Her specifically and you’re much more likely to earn Her approval than if you make Her share an offering with other gods or give Her something thoughtless. Don’t worry, though, She’ll be sure to tell you when She wants something!
Some specific offerings I know She likes include: dark chocolate, baked goods, kombucha, apple cider, pomegranates, rose quartz, carnelian, garnet, lapis lazuli, flowers, skulls (especially bird skulls) or skull motifs, candles (I go with something spicy like frankincense and myrrh), bullets, nails, statues, raven figurines or artwork, moodboards, red and gold, witchcraft-related items (athames, cauldrons, mortar and pestle, etc), celestial motifs, dancing, and jewelry (especially snake-themed).
Does She require ritual purity?
Inanna has never required me to be ritually pure to approach Her altar, though I usually already am because I cleanse myself before talking with Bast. That being said, it’s probably not a bad idea – Inanna expects and appreciates respect, and adhering to ritual of any sort is a good way to show respect.
How does She feel about Her followers worshiping other gods as well?
Not only does Inanna come from a very large pantheon, She is heavily associated with other goddesses such as Ishtar, Isis, Venus, and Aphrodite. Given this connection, I don’t think She would have any issue with a follower of Hers worshiping other gods. That being said, I’ve noticed two pet peeves of Hers. One, She doesn’t seem to like sharing altar space if it can be helped – She is much happier with Her own dedicated space. Two, She wants to be recognized as Inanna Herself, not just a carbon copy of Ishtar or other similar goddesses. Every time I considered getting a statue of Ishtar for Her, since finding one of Inanna is rather difficult, I received a very strong NO. I think the similarities between Her and other goddesses can be appreciated and drawn upon in your practice, but you should remember that Inanna is Her own entity and not just an offshoot of any other deity.
I hope this helps!
Seven gates. Seven gates and seven items. Seven gates and seven items surrendered as payment to pass through until at last the goddess Inanna stood naked before Her sister’s throne; no dress, no crown, no jewels to mark Her as the Queen of Heaven, just flesh and bone and bravery. Yet still She was Inanna, even crownless, even when Ereshkigal struck Her dead and hung Her corpse on a hook for three full days. She knew what waited for Her in the underworld and yet She went there anyway in order to know Herself better. To follow Inanna’s path I too must pass through the seven gates, and thus I too must relinquish the seven aspects of my identity with which I define myself. But what are those seven aspects, and who am I without them? Will I like the person I meet beneath the layers of armor and artifice? I do not feel nearly brave enough for such a confrontation, yet I am taking my first hesitant steps along that path all the same. The first gate approaches.
Tarot reading with Bast and Inanna because my brain has been in a semi-frantic state of wondering, “Am I witch? Do I want to be?? What does that mean???”. Introspection is great, but sometimes you need to get out of your own head by seeing what the cards have to say.
Question: What will identifying as a witch bring me?
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: I doubt I could have pulled a more archetypal card for this question. Clearly, choosing to identify as a witch will open up a whole new journey for me, hopefully one of adventure, personal growth, and satisfying rewards. The Fool in the Shadowscapes deck is a very joyous card, one that celebrates the possibilities inherent in any new venture even while acknowledging the hard work ahead. As a harbinger of how this choice may affect my life, I find The Fool to be a very positive prediction.
Question: What, deep down in my heart, do I truly want to do?
Card: Page of Wands
Interpretation: I have always identified most with the suit of Wands and so I wasn’t at all surprised to see a Wand card in this position. The Page of Wands indicates a desire to embrace creativity and confidence, to finally take action, and to delve within yourself to seek opportunities that seem frightening or otherwise impossible. The Page of Wands is comfortable in their skin and has almost mastered their craft, which allows them to meet new challenges with grace and intuition. I long to reach this stage in my spiritual journey and I think this card illuminates a desire inside me to learn more, to do more, that I haven’t acknowledged before.
Question: What advice does Bast have for me?
Card: 9 of Swords
Interpretation: Bast urges me to set aside the fear, doubt, and anguish that currently keep me from feeling worthy of the title witch. She reminds me that I am already a creature of spirituality and magic, and that the only thing holding me back is myself. If I want to walk this road, all I need do is take the first step and leave my uncertainties behind. This response is very in character with our relationship; a lot of Bast’s readings with me are basically, Stop worrying about the thing, honey, you’re fine. Still, the answer is comforting because I know that if She did see an issue with me delving into witchcraft, She would not hesitate to tell me. This card indicates not only Her approval, but also Her future support.
Question: What advice does Inanna have for me?
Card: Queen of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Shadowscapes Queen of Pentacles shows a naked red-headed woman emerging from the trunk of a great oak tree with arms outstretched. She stares directly out of the card at the reader, exuding pride and authority. When combined with this card’s meanings – security in material aspects of life, abundance, confidence, and the ability to help others – this image seems to indicate Inanna Herself. I believe She is telling me that She will be by my side for this journey, which supports the “witchy” (for lack of a better word) sense I’ve been getting from Her lately. This may be the natural extension of the path She wants me to walk; if so, witchcraft may play a role in my shadow work and self-care goals.
I get the feeling Inanna wants me to do some shadow work, so I used this tarot spread to see where I need to focus.
Question: Your current state of balance
Card: Page of Cups
Interpretation: You’re currently in a new stage of emotional development, one which strengthens feelings of sentimentality and romanticism and leads to a better balancing of your emotions. The Page of Cups especially indicates that you are partway through this phase and have made good progress on the journey of emotional connection and intuition.
Question: Your light side
Card: The Empress
Interpretation: Your light side is represented by The Empress, a card meaning great creativity, abundance, and confidence. Your light side assists in establishing and strengthening emotional connections, especially those that provide positive guidance or support.
Question: Your shadow side
Card: Knight of Pentacles
Interpretation: Your shadow side is represented by the Knight of Pentacles, a card indicating you can be stuck in your ways, rigid, apathetic, and either ignorant of or unable to read others’ emotions. Your shadow side is more concerned with physical reality and the issues of the day-to-day than dealing properly with your emotions or spirituality, which causes these to be pushed away when your shadow side is in control.
Question: How your light side expresses itself in your life
Interpretation: Your light side shows itself in sweeping change and dramatic transformations, in burning the old to make way for the new. Your light side helps you let go of negative influences in your life and grab hold of new, healthier ones.
Question: How your shadow side expresses itself in your life
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: Your shadow side shows when you are overburdened but willing to bear those burdens in silence, when you refuse to complain or ask for help out of stubbornness or martyrdom. You feel weighed down by reality and its restrictions, unable to move or grow, and by necessity you forgo the creativity and transformation generated by your light side.
Question: Advice for balancing your light side
Card: 7 of Pentacles
Interpretation: To balance your light side, take the time to enjoy what your sowing has grown, to reap the rewards of your hard work thus far. You are making steady progress, so don’t get discouraged by what seems like too slow of a pace. Harvest is coming; give your seeds the time to grow and don’t rush what only patience and diligence can produce.
Question: Advice for balancing your shadow side
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: To balance your shadow side, strive to see the good all around you; don’t get so lost in your own pain that you see only darkness. Ask for help, admit when you’re tired or sad, and keep moving so the thorns of stagnation and discontent can’t tangle your feet.
Other thoughts: Though three of the suits, both the major and minor arcana, and both pips and face cards are represented here, there are no swords. The spread is dominated by pentacles, which show up as my shadow side and as instruction for balancing the light and the shadow; given my struggle to identify with this suit, obviously some work needs to be done. The presence of cups and multiple pentacles is also in keeping with my other recent readings with Inanna.
Question: Where am I on my spiritual journey?
Card: Ace of Pentacles
Interpretation: You’ve planted the seeds and are working hard to nourish their growth. Many possibilities are open to you and you can achieve your goals if you continue to dedicate yourself to learning and expanding your practice. You’re still in the early stages of your journey, but that’s okay; it’s a journey that will last you a lifetime.
Question: What’s next on my journey?
Card: 3 of Cups
Interpretation: Slow down, daughter! Let yourself take a moment to review the work you’ve done so far and what work will be needed in the future. Celebrate the steps you have already taken; you’ve come a long way in the last three years. Use this time to also reach out to your community, to grow your connections with others who share your beliefs or practices.
– – –
One card reading with Inanna:
Question: What lesson do I need to learn from You next?
Card: Knight of Cups
Interpretation: You haven’t finished learning the first lesson yet, so slow down. You need to focus on building your intuition and through it your other psychic senses. You will need to hone all of these senses in order to continue down my path, and especially to acknowledge and accept the darkness you will find along the way.
I dreamed I was in a giant antique store which contained all sorts of pagan/witchy items. While I was walking around, a woman I did not recognize (either in the dream or in real life) found me and was convinced I was supposed to be her teacher; it seemed she had received a sign or some sort of spiritual message that I was the one to teach her witchcraft. I politely turned her down at first by saying I thought she had the wrong person, but she would not leave me alone. She stuck by her story and her certainty that I was the person she was told to find. At some point I became frustrated and snapped, “I’m not even a witch! I’m just a pagan who does some witchy stuff with my gods!” Yet something in my gut told me the woman’s certainty must have a bit of truth to it. I was even considering showing her my book of shadows, but the dream changed at that point. I woke from the dream feeling like I needed to listen to its message; while some of my dreams feel like random sleeping-brain entertainment, and others like memories of past lives, this one definitely felt like it was trying to tell me something. I couldn’t figure out what, though, so I turned to my tarot cards.
Question: What message was my dream trying to send?
Card: Ace of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Ace of Pentacles is all about prosperity. It can indicate financial security, a new financial or educational venture, or other forms of abundance – though it also cautions that patience and work are required to make these gains. Pentacles can also apparently refer to self-image, self-esteem, and the ego, as well as that which manifests itself in the physical world.
Question: What step should I take now?
Interpretation: Justice counsels the need to make a reasoned and thoughtful decision after having weighed all factors. It also urges you to admit and acknowledge the truth of a situation. Justice is not necessarily a mind-over-heart card, but it does emphasize balancing the two.
Question: Who sent this dream?
Card: Nine of Wands
Interpretation: The Nine of Wands is a lull, a little breathing-room amid the constant battles of life. It indicates someone with a core of inner strength, someone who won’t back down from what they believe is right; they might be called persistent or tenacious, or even stubborn, inflexible, or rebellious. This card is also associated with fire, and especially with the fire signs Aries and Leo.
After mulling over the cards and talking with my wife, I think I sent myself the dream – or at least some inner shadow part of me did. I think the woman in the dream was that part of myself trying to get my attention. It could be that I have focused so much on outward aspects of my spirituality, such as my gods, that I have neglected to nourish my inner spiritual aspects. Even with my new journey toward self-love, I’ve been focusing way more on Inanna, what She wants from me and what I can do for Her, than myself… which is kinda the opposite of self-love. I think I need to focus inwards and get to know my (witchy??) self.
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.
Here’s what 2018 holds for me (spread from Tarot.com):
Question: A lesson learned in 2017
Card: 3 of Cups
Interpretation: This year I learned the value of developing community, in this case through the queer meetup I started early in the year. Through Queer Club I made several long lasting friendships that really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and boring routine. I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on me to have queer friends in real life; while I love the connections I’ve made online, there’s something much more comforting and immediate about being in a room full of other queer folks. I found this to be especially important in light of the downturn my country, and much of the world, has taken in the last year. While I can educate myself about all sorts of issues online, and offer my support, sometimes what I need is to just get off my electronics and hang out with friends. I’m so grateful for the connections I made in 2017 and excited to see how they develop in 2018.
Question: What to expect in the next year
Card: Ace of Cups
Interpretation: The Ace of Cups is here to tell me I’ll be doing more emotional, intuitive, and psychic work in 2018. I suspect I may be doing a lot of this work with Inanna’s support, as She has recently taken to communicating through cup cards. In addition, a recent energy reading mentioned a “small white bird”, which made me think of a white dove. Doves are common symbols in the cup cards of many tarot decks, and are also one of Aphrodite’s/Venus’ symbols. With Inanna encouraging me to focus on Her aspect as a goddess of love, She’s been reminding me a lot of Aphrodite and Venus (who are considered connected with Her).
Question: A challenge you’ll face in the next year
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: 2018 looks to be a big year for me – more responsibilities at work, this new journey with Inanna, and the continued development of my intuition and spiritual practice. In between all that I also need to find time for family, friends, my wife, our animals, and my hobbies. The 10 of Wands therefore warns me I’ll be juggling a lot of responsibilities in 2018 and will need to tap into my inner strength to make it all happen. The 10 of Wands also rightly indicates that I’m afraid to take on some of these responsibilities and challenges (especially at work), so I’ll struggle with that anxiety as well.
Question: How to harness your inner power next year
Card: Knight of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Knight of Pentacles urges me to be methodical, patient, focused, and goal oriented. Its motto could be “slow and steady wins the race”, and there’s a lot of truth in that statement. I have zero patience, after all, and tend to procrastinate boring or unpleasant tasks out of laziness. If I want to successfully juggle all these different responsibilities and goals in 2018, I need to have a plan in place and not let myself get distracted or discouraged.
Question: Some guidance for the year ahead
Card: 4 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The 4 of Pentacles says let go! In 2018 I should try to let go of my need to control everything because all it does is cause me anxiety, anger, and depression. I need to be generous in spirit and with my blessings, instead of hoarding those blessings against some hypothetical future disaster. Having a savings is one thing; refusing to spend a dollar now because I might need it in thirty years is another. I did work on this during 2017, so I think the 4 of Pentacles is indicating I’m on the right path and should continue that work.
Question: Your personal theme for the year
Card: 4 of Cups
Interpretation: 2017 was a year of apathy as armor – though I’m not proud of being apathetic, I think a dose of apathy was what kept me from sinking even deeper into the well of depression. The 4 of Cups indicates that the time for apathy and internal discontent is over; it’s time to learn how to look within and act without, to find balance between introspection and action. Basically, I need to get out of my head, which some emotional and spiritual overhauling should help.
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
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
[ 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.