Inanna, Aphrodite, Venus: Her Persons in Me

long_lapis_lazuli_nugget_necklace_d4a10b9aOne of the first Pagan-y, mystical things I ever bought was a long lapis necklace—a cheap one made of chips something like the kind you get at amusement park gift shops. I was enchanted by the Inanna myths and Inanna at the time and the necklace made me feel close to that energy. I identified heavily with her having to pass through the seven gates and give up a part of her estate, her body, and her dignity at each one before she was eventually restored. That connection is also why I have an eight-pointed star tattooed on my back—Venus: the morning and evening star. But in all the hasty moving I’ve had to do to get out of a very bad time, to a slightly less bad time, to where I am now, I lost the necklace.

-sigh-

It’s no big deal, I guess. I can easily get another one, but it won’t be that one—the one from when I very first left the abusive Christian god and came into Paganism.

As I write this I’m thinking perhaps I should reread her myths and see if the old stirrings are there—because, obviously, I don’t have near enough plates spinning already.

Generally speaking, I don’t favor syncretism. For example: Though Anubis and Hermes have similar job descriptions, (part of the description anyway), they are absolutely different gods. There are some exceptions however. I know it’s very unpopular to say, but the Mercury of imperial Rome and Hermes, for example, are the same god. No doubt about it. Greater emphasis placed on certain roles from one culture to another, but definitely the same fella. On the other hand, ask Hermes if he’s also Thoth and it ends in a scolding lecture.
Inanna 8The most noteworthy exception to my hard polytheist rule, however, is with Aphrodite. She, I believe, really is a goddess who has traveled permutation to permutation through the cultures and civilizations of that part of the world since time immemorial. I believe she was both the Innana of Sumer and the Venus of imperial Rome, and Aphrodite in between, (if not also Astarte, though being relatively unfamiliar with Astarte, I cannot be sure). All of this to say that although my relationship with her is extremely -looks right, looks left- “complicated”, I am a Venus person in my bones. There’s no getting away from it. I know she, like Hermes, has also has been with me for a long time, though perhaps not as intimately.

My feelings for her are not, as of yet, warm and fuzzy. I am not entirely convinced they ever will be. They are difficult and fraught with all kinds of issues. How can I, for example, fully embrace her into my life when I fear to do so would bring more abuse down upon me? Because, of course, all that happened to me was my fault. It was in my nature that I should be used that way. So if my nature is tied to her, then how can I, in my own interest, draw near to her?

But then I think of that lapis necklace and what a comfort it was to wear…

She has told me specifically that it is not she who is pulling away from me, but I am the one pushing her away. She is not the sweet and squishy goddess so many make her out to be, nor is she vainglorious and ineffectual. She is ancient among the ancients and extremely powerful. Sometimes I am afraid of her, though on this she has also spoken—that I am not afraid of her in her own person, I am afraid of her person in me.

This is also true.

-M.

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About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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One Response to Inanna, Aphrodite, Venus: Her Persons in Me

  1. I love that necklace. Now I want one. And *looks around and whispers* Astarte is Ishtar. Other Canaanites will disagree. But when Ugaritic texts specifically equate Astarte (Athtart) with Ishtar it doesn’t make sense to argue that they are two separate goddesses.

    Like

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