I know, you’re probably wondering who or what exactly is Ereshkigal, unless you’re up on your Sumerian Mythology. 🙂
Ereshkigal is the Queen of the Underworld, who the goddess Inanna goes to visit in her most well known saga, the Descent of Inanna. Inanna decides she wants to visit Ereshkigal, to go where no human or god has ever returned from. Inanna must lay down all of her adornments that identify her as the Queen of Heaven and Earth to enter the Underworld.
Once there, Ereshkigal hangs her on a peg, where she withers and dies. Inanna witnesses Ereshkigal’s misery and pain as she labors to give birth.
After three days, two tiny creatures arrive to rescue Inanna. They moan and groan and sympathize with Ereshkigal, who is shocked – no one has done this before. In gratitude, she offers them a gift. They choose Inanna’s corpse, and bring her back to life.
There is more to the story, but this is where I was this last week: moaning and groaning and crying out in misery. Several events had combined to pull me off my normally positive center. I felt stuck, trapped, and I couldn’t see a way out. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just couldn’t bring myself to take the one action I knew would bring change because I don’t know for sure if it will bring a positive change.
For three days I quivered and cried, and wanted to shut myself away from society. My despair was so deep it even pulled my husband and children in briefly.
And then I remembered the lesson from the myth that has been speaking so loudly to me the past several months. I sympathized with Ereshkigal. I felt her pain to my very core. And I allowed myself to just be there. I scheduled some time off from work, and nurtured myself. I took the time to actually figure out what had sent me to the Underworld, and began taking steps to clear up some incompletions.
I still have some more work to do, and I can feel that Underworld energy running below the surface. Just like Inanna needs Ereshkigal to be complete, I need my shadow to be complete. I am on my way back out, and I am starting to feel a lot better. I will keep investigating the mysteries of Ereshkigal and Inanna, because I know there is much more there for me to discover. And I know this is a cycle that will come around again.
PS. This quote helped me as well. I have no idea who said it.
Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long.