“Song of the earth” book review

Het lied van de aardeSong of the Earth (Het lied van de aarde) by Flemish writer Anne-Marie T’sas (unfortunately only available in Dutch) tells the story of a young theologist, Myra, going to a symposium about christianity and holistic spirituality, but finding nobody when she arrives at the castle the symposium is supposedly held. Curious, she enters the building on her own and finds that, somehow, she does learn about experiencing energies and how she might relate that to the christian religion.

I found the writing style not quite to my taste, it was a bit to much turned inward and.. vague. Normally I enjoy magical realism, but the style did’t quite allow that. But the subjects, wow! I can imagine Myra struggling to combine them with her western spirituality. The existence of chakras and auras, working with the energy for holistic healing and divination, the power of the earth and of rocks as energetic things (for a loss of a better word), even energetic beings. Realizing that even our thoughts and feelings carry energy and can transform the world. It resonated greatly with me. I believe everything is energy, including simple mass. The gods and goddesses are manifestations of specific energies, with which they are often associated (Freya as a goddess of love, for example, and Mars of war). God, the christian God, that is, is associated with unconditional love here. When we practice magic, it works because our intentions and emotions are energy, they carry power. This is also why you might get a different result than what you anticipated if you perform magic angry.

It really is a pity the book is only available in Dutch. With the things Myra goes through, you can nearly imagine it to be an initiation, a shamanic way of learning by experience as I’ve also come across in some books about druidry and shamans. Some things I might adapt to use myself… For one thing, I’ve enrolled myself for the crash chakra e-course from About.com, to start learning more about this from of energy. I’m looking forward to it!

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Inanna’s descent to the Netherworld

Most people are familiar with the story of Demeter and Persephone and how it relates to the changing of seasons. A little less known, though perhaps not in Pagan circles, is the descent of Inanna to the Netherworld. This Sumerian myth was part of an oral tradition, as the repetition of words and phrases in this translated version shows.

Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, decides to go to the Netherworld, the realm of her sister Eresjkigal (Erec-ki-gala). It is said that one who goes there cannot return, so Inanna takes precautions and takes the seven divine powers. She wears lapis lazuli beads and has twin egg shaped beads and a ‘Come, man, come’ pectoral on her breast. She wears a turban around her head, a wig for her forehead and she covers her body in the pala dress of ladyship. On her finger she carries a golden ring, in her hand she keeps her lapis lazuli measuring rod and measuring line, her eyes are lined with mascara. In addition to these protective garments, she gives instructions to her maidservant Ninshubur (Nincubura): I will go to the underworld. When I do not return, go to Enlil and ask his help. If he is unwilling to give any, lament before Nanna and ask for help. If he is also unwilling to help, go to the house of Enki. He knows about the life-giving plant and the life-giving water. He will restore me to life. Inanna travels to the entrance of the underworld and dismisses Ninshubur, telling her not to forget her instructions.
Inanna bounces on the door to the underworld aggressively, demanding entrance to visit the funeral of her brother in law, assuring doorman Neti that she is alone. Neti goes to his mistress Eresjkigal and tells her how Inanna stands at the gate of the underworld, demanding entrance, all dressed in protective clothing and amulets. Eresjkigal is furious and tells Neti: Let the seven gates to the underworld be bolted and open up each one separately. She will have to remove a part of her garment until she has crouched down and has all her clothes removed. Neti follows his mistress’ instructions and bolts the gates. He then welcomes Inanna in. At the first gate her turban is taken from her. At the second gate the lapis lazuli beads are removed from her neck. At the third gate the twin egg-shaped beads are removed from her breast. When she enters the fourth gate the pectoral is removed from her breast. At the fifth gate, the golden ring is removed from her hand. Upon entering the sixth gate, her lapis lazuli measuring rod and measuring line are removed from her hand. Finally, at the seventh gate, the pala dress is removed from her body. After she has crouched down and her clothes are removed, they are carried away. She then makes her sister Eresjkigal rise from her throne and sits on it herself. The seven judges of the underworld decided against her and look at her – and it was the look of death. Inanna is turned into a corpse and the corpse is hung on a hook.
Three days and nights later, Ninshubur goes to ask Enlil for help, which he angrily refuses. My daughter has the heaven and tried to take the earth. Whoever goes to the underworld and takes the divine powers, must remain there. Nanshubur then goes to Nanna, who gives the same response. Then finally she goes to Enki, who is concerned for Inanna. He creates two creatures from the dirt under his fingernails and gives one the plant of life and the other the water of life. He orders them: Go to the underworld and pretend to comfort Eresjkigal, but don’t accept any food or drink, only ask for the body of Inanna. When Eresjkigal hands it to you, sprinkle the life-giving plant and the life-giving water over her and resurrect Inanna. The creatures go to the underworld and carry out what they were set out to do. Inanna is alive and intends to ascend from the underworld. The judges stop her: If Inanna is to ascend from the underworld, let her provide a substitute for herself.
Inanna goes home, accompanied by creatures of the underworld to take Inanna’s substitute. She refuses to let any other gods take her place or to let her loyal servant Ninshubur take her place. When she comes home, she finds her husband Dumuzi (Dumuzid) on her throne, untouched by her disapparel and death. Inanna is angry and decides that Dumuzi will take her place. She grieves for him, and she cries, as does Dumuzi’s sister. Then Inanna decides for Dumuzi: You for half the year and your sister for half the year. In that way holy Inanna gave Dumuzi as her substitute…  And when his half year in the underworld has come, Inanna grieves and the earth grieves with her.

Guided Earth Meditation

When I was a kid I used to camp outdoors with my parents and my brother. As things go at that age (8 maybe 9 years old), we made friends easily and knew our way around in a couple of days. One of the thing I used to do quite frequently, was telling my friend a tale and walking around them while doing so, as she was lying on her back with her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes, she felt all calm again. It wasn’t until I started investigating the various methods of meditation that I realized I was providing a guided meditation! I wrote it down when I realized that, but forgot about it again. This afternoon, looking through papers, I found it again and I’d like to share it with you!

It’s a lovely day. The sun is shining brightly, not a cloud on the sky. You are lying on the grass is a field, all by yourself, nobody around. You’re not doing much and nothing much is happening either. Until, all of a sudden, you feel the earth open up underneath you. You tumble down into the darkness and can only watch the earth close itself above you. You are paralysed with fright. Then you suddenly hear footsteps above your head. You try to move, but you can’t, you try to scream, but you can’t make a sound…
The sound of footsteps has gone. You’re almost desperate now. But then you see a flash of daylight above you. The sun, finally! You feel how the earth pushes you up
. A few seconds later you’re back on the grass and feel the earth closing underneath you. You can feel the sun on your skin again, the grass tickling your bare feet. You’re relaxed, calm and peaceful. Once you feel that, you wake up.