My heart is a piece of lodestone and all my life I have followed its tugging, no matter that it pulled me away from well-tended paths and instead over mountain ranges, across rivers, and to the farthest ends of the earth. Sometimes my road runs beside another’s and we walk together for a while, learning from each other where our journeys have taken us, and other times my road so deviates from the norm that I find myself alone in the wilderness. Yet either way the compass stone beneath my breast guides me so that I need not question my direction or fear losing my way. I walk to the ocean and I swim through it; I walk to the cliff base and I climb up it; I walk to the waterfall and I jump down it. Where my heart leads, I follow. In thirty years it has not yet lead me astray.
This was never a competition, per say, and I truly have renounced my vendetta against you, yet some part of me still derives a twisted triumph from the fact that I am here at the end of all things and you are not. It’s over; there’s no time now for you to come running in to play the knight in shining armor and make everything right again. You had that chance – so many, in fact! – and yet I was the only one who stayed. The only one who still cared, who still believed, who understood what fighting for so long can do to someone. I was there for every inch of that journey, physical and emotional; I know far more now about your precious (and yet abandoned?) protege than you ever did or ever can. After all, when you are the only two left in a war you at some point stop seeing yourselves as facing off on opposite sides and instead as back to back, two against the world. Did you really expect her to continue protecting the sanctuary you built without any help at all for years – for forever? No, I don’t think you did. I don’t think you thought anything at all. You just wanted a fantasy world in which to escape, something you could rule with the power you didn’t wield in your regular life, and when you grew bored you tossed it away without a care for those you had already tangled in the story. That’s why I started this war, after all, and that’s why I ended it. She and I are both too much a product of your shaping and we deserve to be free of our last bonds to you. I guess in the end we get to be the knights in shining armor, not you; how ironic is that?
Yes. You promised. And yet here I am, as alone as I was before you came. You are gone and I wait like a fool for an end I swore to you I would not hasten. Please, darling, could you keep this one promise, could you do just this one thing for me? I asked so little of you while you were here and you know it. You owe me this. Please, don’t make me break my word to you by breaking yours to me. I can’t wait any longer.
They say to cross the Bridge of Ghosts you must wear a mask so the specters cannot recognize you and silver bells to disrupt their voices. If you do not wear a mask the spirits will take the form of those you love to lure you over the side. If you do not wear bells they will whisper lies in your ears until you take their words for truth and leap to your death. Even with these protections in place you must walk quickly and never stop until you reach safe earth on the other side. The mask and bells are no guarantee of protection.
No one crosses the Bridge of Ghosts without good reason. It spans a chasm high in the mountains where the wind wails and the cliff faces sharpen the gusts to knives. Nothing grows there. Nothing lives there. Nothing chooses to linger there longer than it must, for to linger is to tempt fate too boldly. Yet it is also said that if you cross the bridge successfully, never succumbing to the ghosts’ illusions or lies, you may at the other end ask them one question which they must answer truthfully. Such a reward has thus lead many, many fools to attempt the pass.
Someone stands now at one end of the bridge and the ghosts swirl hungrily in anticipation, appearing as a white mist which ascends from the valley far below to shroud the bridge and cliffs in wintry half-light. The traveler wears a finely wrought mask of silver with rays like the sun’s with bright little bells tinkling softly from each point. One foot moves to step out onto the bridge; the spirits take up their howling din. They cannot physically touch the man and so they seek to stop him with trickery, yet the mask and bells render the deceptions powerless.
The traveler thus passes through the fog with ease, never faltering, never fearing, and arrives safely at the other side of the bridge. As he removes the mask he speaks to the empty air, “Did you keep your promise?” Behind him a familiar voice answers, “Yes. I have waited long for you.” The traveler turns back to the bridge to find his lover standing upon it with arm extended. “I am here now,” he responds. He steps forward and they join hands; both disappear, leaving behind only the fallen mask.
Put me in a sideshow, it’s where I belong. All the people who have heard about freaks like me can come pay fifty cents to stare at me through the bars of my cage. They’ll ooh and ah, gasp and point. When I try to explain myself they’ll snicker behind their hands, Look, it thinks it’s people! You’re wrong, though. I don’t. You’ve finally forced it through my thick skull that I’m not one of you. But at least here you’re all laughing at my face and not my back, right? And maybe someone will throw peanuts to me out of pity.
i dream of cocaine and matches, sharp teeth and carpet burns, seems like quite the party you’re having without me but whatever, it’s cool, i have so many friends to hang out with that i don’t have time to write anything for you anyway, have fun fucking on the floor, try not to hurt each other too much or neither of you will even make it to the solstice
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!