©Nadja Gruberg 2013-2016

UniKrea - Studio for Expressive Arts and Myths


The Descent of Inanna 

A Female Rite of Passage for Women in Need of Spiritual Guidance during Existential Crisis 

Exploring the Path of Descent and Return through Expressive Arts Therapy


Life consists of transitions. We go through changes from birth to death, move from childhood and adolescence to maturity and aging. Giving birth and confronting loss in the budding, blossoming and decay of our bodies. In former times these transitions were prepared for and acknowledged by the community with initiatory rites. Today we are left to ourselves to make these transitions from one stage of life to another. When challenged by crisis, confronted with death or struck by grief and suffering, a demand for spiritual guidance may emerge. However, many women in existential crisis find themselves at loss in a male centered spiritual tradition and are searching for a tradition and ritual which will nurture their search for meaning and wholeness.


The myth of Inanna and her Descent to the Great Below, has served as a rite of passage and an initiation for numerous women during the last decade. As well as offered solace and given sense to suffering, it has opened the gates to the mystical realms where soul/body/spirit can be re/membered. During this workshop, working within the frame of the myth with Inanna´s descent to her Dark Sister Ereshkigal, and using the Expressive Arts, we will explore how the myth can be used as a rite of passage.  In the part of the myth called The Descent of Inanna, we find Inanna preparing for her descent by gathering the seven me, getting dressed in all her emblems of power and beauty. Before descending she informs her faithful servant Ninshubur to ask the gods for help if she does not return."Set up a lament for me by the ruins. Beat the drum for me in the assembly places. Circle the houses of the gods." What she can not prepare for is the outcome of the descent nor imagine what it will demand of her. Like Inanna, we also need to prepare for our descent into the myth, not knowing what it will bring us.

James Hillman, Jungian analyst and the originator of post-Jungian archetypal psychology, has written extensively about myths in relation to soul. He sees myths as"fantastic accounts, elaborated tales, symbol systems that ground because they open leading farther into the unknown. Instead of always valuing consciousness or trying to make the unconscious conscious, Hillman looks for routes into the unconscious areas. It is all part of the gravity of his approach, his tendency always to go down, to find holes into the undersphere."(from James Hillman "A Blue Fire")The way Expressive Arts work is similar to Hillman and his view of the effects of myths. If we can allow the creative process to unfold, it will guide us down and through.


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UniKrea, Studio for Expressive Arts
Fjällgatan 23B, S-116 28 Stockholm, Sweden

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