Subtitle: How to Return to Your Soul
Recommended to me by: Mereth
Jane Meredith weaves together research and interpretation about three myths of descent into the underworld with her own experiences of unintentional and intentional descents. The book is divided into sections on Preparation, Descending, In the Underworld, and Coming Back Out.
The three myths are: Inanna as she descends to her sister’s realm, Persephone as she is taken to the underworld and marries there, and Psyche who is sent to the underworld by Aphrodite as part of a series of tasks to win the right to partner with Eros. These myths are maps of what we might encounter in our own descents – times when everything comes apart through illness, loss, or other transformations.
Jane Meredith strongly advocates for descending consciously with rituals, rather than being dragged into descents without preparation or warning. She makes the case that our lives ebb and flow the way the moon does, and contraction is just as valid as expansion. She also advocates for making maps of our journeys, recording our experiences for the benefit of ourselves and others.
I participated in a Descent of Inanna ritual twenty years ago, and still have the plaster mask I made then. I’ve encountered plenty of descents in my life as well. I wanted the book to tell me how to Ascend, how to find that turning point when things start to get better, rather than living in the underworld. She talks about ascending slowly and consciously, integrating new information. Mirroring the descent of Inanna where she gives up seven aspects of her power and self, in an Ascent we reclaim what we gave up, possibly in changed form.
My body sensed the return of the sun after the recent total solar eclipse as a turning point. The light does return! Things do get better! I’ll have to pay attention to what I’m reclaiming.
Overall, these suggestions and rituals are about confronting the raw truths of ourselves and our lives. Descent is about surrendering everything. Choosing to descend is about reclaiming our power to live fully, even in the hardest times.
Highly recommended as a guide for moving consciously through hard times.