The Dark Goddess.

It seems ironic, given how narcissistic our judeo-christian world has become, that most folk with an interest in Revelation think the last book of the Bible has just got to be all about them..

and their enemies…

over whom they will be victorious….!


Whatever Revelation is about, it contains the casting out of Sophia/Wisdom, the ‘Whore of Babylon’ and the instating of the new bride, Israel.

Divorce court meets shotgun wedding….

with sundry colourful guests to both events.

Sophia was called the ‘Whore of Babylon’ because She and her supporters were sent in Exile to Babylon by uncle Neb’. So Babylon became her capital for a brief time while all the divorce papers were getting sorted..

Took about three millenia.

Sophia is cast in three pieces back into the sea. This is an archaic fragment of collective consciousness older than ‘In the beginning’,

before the fresh start..

Could these three ancient pieces of the goddess be the components of the Innana story? It would be poetic if it were true.

The classic response to trauma is to become split. This can typically manifest as an inner three way ‘mexican stand-off’, the traumatised self represented by Ereshkigal, the adapted self in need of self discovery and renewal represented by Innana, and the healthy self represented by Nishubar, Innana’s hand maiden who raises the alarm when her mistress fails to reappear.

Innana, the adapted self, is the part that’s developed strategies for life that might well work but may not be really ‘her’. These strategies are effective but not particularly authentic and so she has to re-aquaint herself with Ereshkigal who is a lot less PC but far more gutsy and real.

The problem is that Ereshkigal hates Innana, regards her as a lap-dog and a sell out, someone who is more interested in keeping the peace. To some extent her feelings are justified. Though she forgets what  Innana has endured in order to find a way of living above ground, in the real world, where Being seems like a constant process of costly negotiation.

Adapt or die.

an alla dat stuff, mon.

Ereshkigal might keep Innana captive forever if not for Ninshubar, the healthy self, who can pick up the phone, arrange childcare for the kids, leave messages and raise alarms. She has faith that Ereshkigal might still somehow be reached and Innana saved. She’s the one who intuits what to do and knows there’s help out there.

Enki’s little dirt helpers are the key, all those little acts of kindness and charity to our inner demons, or at least our unacknowledged less-than-perfect selves which can validate suffering such that meaning can be made of it.

“The original abandonment, the original abuse, the original horror has some reason and meaning in it. It is not senseless. It is not like being run down like a dog on the highway.” Clarrissa Pinkola Estes.

The encounter with Ereshkigal is uncomfortable, but she returns us to a more authentic way of being, one that is not so nice maybe, but one which feels like the real thing and is therefor worth its weight in gold.

Sometimes the only thing to do is to acknowledge our own limits and wait to see what happens.

One of the most memorable sessions I ever had with my analyst Chuck Shwartz was when I took him a whole bunch of archetypal dreams full of symbols and mythic encounters.

He listened to me reel it all off, nodded a bit, then said, ‘well, Andy, I haven’t the faintest what that is all about, but lets see what the literature says”, scooped a number of books off the shelf, pulled up his chair and we started leafing through them together.

What I remember is not this meaning or that, but one man’s simple willingness to acknowledge his limits so that I could, by extension, be okay with my own. It was a massive relief.

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Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, 'Going Mad to Stay Sane', a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition. Soon to be printed for the first time, 'Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery', described by activist Satish Kumar as, ' A Tao of the Soul'. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way. In the meantime..... Narcissisim is the issue of our age. This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

3 thoughts on “The Dark Goddess.”

  1. You say: “What I remember is not this meaning or that, but one man’s simple willingness to acknowledge his limits so that I could, by extension, be okay with my own. It was a massive relief.”

    It reminded me of the idea in a book called, “The Beheaded Goddess: Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers” by Selma Nemer. In it, she says (paraphrasing) that, unless the narcissistic father can come down to earth and acknowledge his human weaknesses, he remains as a god-like figure in the daughter’s psyche so that she has nothing left but to take on his rejected shame (the Scapegoat polarity).

    Likewise, if a son has had a narcissistic father, he would be relieved to find an authority figure who could admit his imperfect humanness. If the son had taken on the “Golden Child” aspect of the narcissistic father, he would be expected to show perfection in the father’s eyes. Then, to find another authority figure who is a real-human-warts-and-all, this would allow the son to accept his own imperfections, and yes, it would come as a relief.

    I’m 61 and just now coming to the end of a decades long process of reclaiming my self.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog and have purchased your book, “Going Mad to Stay Sane”.

    1. Thankyou..I agree with Nemer that the narcissistic father holds his daughter in a kind of trap, and though its preferable that she be released by him acknowledging his fallibility she can also be released by recognising the source of the shame and the nature of the service she is providing which would deflate the godlikeness of the unconscious image. She might have to trade shame for depression…. though the latter would pass. Enjoy the book…

      1. Yes, you just described the process I have gone through. Because the narcissistic father is unable to acknowledge his fallibility, we have to take the long route through shame and depression. It’s a long process but better late than never.

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