Lean Into Ritual: Winter’s Descent

The earth is sleeping, the soil has been laid to rest. We are seeping deeper into Winter’s rest, and the time for self reflection is beyond just the static New Year’s resolution. The descent is upon us, the parts of us that no longer fit have grown so tight they may be suffocating our souls. Ritual can be a way to make sacred that which holds us back. It can be an opportunity to drop in and sink beneath the surface.

This ritual is an opportunity to extend and explore greeting the Dark Goddess, the descent, that which you can hold for Winter, to connect deeper over the coming months.

Inanna’s Journey

This ritual invokes the tale of Inanna’s descent. Inanna, Goddess of the heavens ventures into the underworld in service of the dark pathways of the soul. She meets Erishkigal, the goddess of the underworld, who has been exiled and casted out from our societal norms and standards. As Inanna descents, she passes through the gates of the underworld. She removes articles of clothing within each gate.

The Gates of the Soul

Each gate represents a part of ourselves that has conformed or configured to society, and ways of being outside of our true essence, our true nature, our souls. As we remove each layer of clothing, we are removing barriers to parts of ourselves and baring ourselves naked to the underworld.

Coming to reclaim these parts of ourselves, while releasing and shedding dead layers of our protective parts is an important path towards our sovereignty. There are seven gates, which can be represented through the seven chakras. This practice is not connected or appropriated from the Chakra Systems, it merely provides a framework for the ritual if you are already familiar with the system itself.

ritual innana's descent the house of twigs witches muse

The Ritual Descent

Find a place to be alone, uninterrupted, that you can find your center within. Giving yourself permission to not be bothered, allows those boundaries to really create intention for your ritual. Turn off your phone, and request as much space as you can from engagements.

Find seven pieces of clothing to represent your gates. You can incorporate jewelry, talismans, items that you hold dear. Items that may represent of your existence in this middle world.

Find a way to cleanse your space, and set an intention or a sacred vow of gratitude for stepping into this ritual. When you are walking to each gate, allow yourself to notice

With each gate, question what are you willing to release? What defines you?  

Each gate can represent parts of yourself that you are letting go or putting down to rest. Parts of yourself that may have built up old tired patterns, parts of yourself that you feel you can’t live without. This what is asked of you as you enter the underworld, to lay these pieces down at the altar of your belonging.

As you remove each vestige, what do you feel? Sit with this, allow it to wash over you. What emotions come up, can you hold space for this? Know you have full permission in this ritual for anything to come up, so please give yourself the gift of space.

Below are descriptive realms you can sit with at each gate.

Gate 1 is associated with the root chakra, the chakra of security, of our inner foundation, our footing in this waking world. What have you gripped to death? What is something you feel you could not live without? It defines you and anchors you this middle world? What would it feel like to have the ability to let that go? 

Gate 1: the societal way of being in the world. Your vocation, your outer world way of being.

Gate 2: our perceptions, or world views. Our way of looking at the world. Is your lens on the world narrowing? Do you find yourself afraid of looking at something outside of your comfort zone.

Gate 2 is associated with the sacral chakra, our innate intimacy with ourselves, what we connect to on an intimate level.

Gate 3: Our voice, what we project into the world through our actions. Where are their barriers to your radical self expression? How are you showing up for your inspired self? Are you shunning parts of yourselves that long for creativity?

Gate 3 is associated with the manipura chakra, the part of ourselves made visible through our creative action.

Gate 4: the part of ourselves that gives full permission for grief. Have you held back the full spectrum of your heart? Where can you unlock the walls that have been built up that hold you back from feeling into the deep pain of our planet, of our species, of your individual and community place?

Gate 4 is associated with the heart chakra, one that radiates the self-loving and parts of yourself that are deeply nourished by compassion.

Gate 5: Our personal sovereignty, our personal power. What do we try to dictate, or force in our lives or the lives of other? How can we reconnect to our ways of being in the world, that are completely and authentically ours? What part of ourselves may be hijacking our whole selves in order to move forward in the pursuit of getting something “right” or having it all together?  

Gate 5 is associated with the Vishuddha, the path of truth, of open communication. This not only means our voice as we unlocked in the third gate, but standing in a place of complete surrender to anything that does not remind us of who we are.

Gate 6: The Eros and passion that pulses through our veins. Connecting to our sense of life affirming pleasure in all things. How can we remove what has left us thirsty for sensation? What brings us true arousal? This does not have to be inherently sexual, this can voice the space of ourselves that wants to connect with the life preserving, and life enhancing gifts of our inner desires.

Gate 6 is associated with the Ajna chakra. It brings up the visibility of our intuition, our innate felt wisdom.

Gate 7: The final gate that we must pass through to enter the Underworld. The root of it all. The very essence that connects to our soul’s calling. The ability to make meaning to, to make magic in our lives. The ability to let go of all that we have gathered that makes our lifeline as we know it. This gate is the final crossing. We must allow ourselves to die, in a way to release the shell and begin the process of transmutation that happens once we have arrived fully into the threshold of the  Underworld.

Gate 7 is associated with the sahasrara chakra, the crown in which everything stands before. This chakra represents our ethereal essence, the part of ourselves beyond our body. What must be surrender to, in order to step into something much bigger than ourselves?

You have arrived in the underworld. Here you must sit with all that you have let go of. Don’t rush yourself out of this portion of the ritual, sit with Erishkigal, and honor her experience as queen of the underworld. She is forced to remain, hearing the deep grief and sorrow of the world and those who experience it.

Returning Ritual

innana descent the witches muse thot the house of twigs

As you return, what are you taking with you from this journey? What are you picking up after what you left behind? Is it out of comfort and conformity, or are you picking back up these parts that bring you back to your wholeness. You can do this slowly, take your time and allow yourself to move softly back into your daily practice. What can you recount from your time in the other world, to bring back into your middle world?As we shift between these worlds, know the permission is yours.

Reflect on your time here, and then allow yourself the slow journey to ascent. Take time out on nature, reflect and post your comments here if you’d like. Till next time. 

References

Article: https://www.ancient.eu/article/215/inannas-descent-a-sumerian-tale-ofinjustice/

Resources:

https://thesoulstyce.com

https://www.theredthreadportal.com/rt-2018

 

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Exploring the underbelly currents of Soul while whimsically holding the connection to Mystery. Tara is in deep relationship with the art of storytelling. She is remembering how to step out of the village and into the Forest. Tara tends to her Hearth in the Pacific Northwest. She looks to the those in the shadows as on the frontier, not the fringes. Tara is looking forward towards her time at The House of Twigs to romance the witches muse, and what sparks inspirations in the hearts of darkness and of light, and the dance of duality between one’s existence betwixt and between.
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Exploring the underbelly currents of Soul while whimsically holding the connection to Mystery. Tara is in deep relationship with the art of storytelling. She is remembering how to step out of the village and into the Forest. Tara tends to her Hearth in the Pacific Northwest. She looks to the those in the shadows as on the frontier, not the fringes. Tara is looking forward towards her time at The House of Twigs to romance the witches muse, and what sparks inspirations in the hearts of darkness and of light, and the dance of duality between one’s existence betwixt and between.

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