Next week we officially move into the season of winter. On Tuesday, the Sun transitions into the sign of Capricorn and marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Two days before the Sun enters Capricorn (December 19), Venus stations retrograde: an event which happens approximately every 18 months.
So what does all this mean?
It means the feminine energy is going underground, on a 6-week journey, where something dies in order for something else to be born. This journey is reflected in myths and folktales around the globe. Perhaps one of the earliest tales, and one of the most famous, is the story of Inanna: the ancient Mesopotamia goddess of love, war, sex, justice, and political power.
The original story has many details. Here is the cliff note version.
Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, “opened her ear to the Great Below” and decides to visit her sister Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Before Inanna begins her descent, she gives her loyal servant, Ninshubur, instructions on what to do if Inanna is not allowed to leave the underworld. Ninshubur lovingly agrees to come to Inanna’s aid. Inanna sets off.
As Inanna approaches the gates of the underworld, she is greeted by the gatekeeper who asks her the reason for her visit. Inanna tells the gatekeeper she wishes to witness the funeral rites of Ereshkigal’s husband.
Ereshkigal is not happy about her sister’s visit. She blames Inanna for the death of her husband. Ereshkigal, therefore, instructs the gatekeeper to lock each of the seven gates leading to the underworld. Ereshkigal tells the gatekeeper if Inanna wishes to proceed through a gate, then she must divest herself of a royal garment. By the time Inanna enters the underworld, she is completely naked.
Once in her sister’s throne room, Inanna is judged, condemned to death, and hung on a hook to rot. Needless to say, plan B goes into effect. Ninshubur goes to Inanna’s father who sends two transgendered servants to rescue Inanna. Ereshkigal brokers a deal with the servants. In exchange for Inanna’s freedom, someone has to take her place.
Ninshubur offers to take Inanna’s place as do several other loyal servants. Inanna declines their offers, moved by their mourning of her. Instead Inanna condemns her husband, who does not seem the least bit upset by her death. Inanna’s husband attempts to hide, is found, and sent to the underworld. Her husband’s sister offers to split the time with him. The split time is how the ancient Mesopotamians explained the shift in seasons.
Inanna was one of the first goddesses associated with the planet Venus. Our ancestors tracked this bright star as it moved across the sky and noticed it completed the same journey every 18 months. Sometimes the star was seen in the evenings and other times it was seen only in the mornings. Within every 18-month cycle, our ancestors noted the star disappeared for 40 days (retrograde). The planet’s disappearance from the sky was explained as the goddess’ descent into the underworld: a story which became a part of the collective consciousness.
I, like many other enthusiasts of archetypal psychology, choose to interpret this phenomenon as an opportunity to descend into the dark where one is stripped of any pretenses. This descent is often compared to death because the journey asks us to leave behind the roles we have created for ourselves and the limited beliefs keep us small.
If this journey sounds scary, then you are normal.
Giving up the status quo requires us to feel uncomfortable and to deal with uncertainty: neither of which is very fun.
While this idea is not my most enjoyable activity, I do see the value in examining the present and asking myself the question: “Is my current situation (the roles I assume, the beliefs I endorse, the thoughts I perpetuate) helping me show up as my best self for the highest good?”
I have found, when I allow it, the descent into the dark purges the extraneous and makes room for my best self to emerge. As Glennon Doyle so eloquently wrote in Untamed.
“My goal is not to remain the same but to live in such a way that each day, year, moment, relationship, conversation, and crisis is the material I use to become a truer, more beautiful version of myself. The goal is to surrender, constantly, who I just was in order to become who this next moment calls me to be.” (p. 77)
This winter I offer a six-week group which invites each woman who joins to descend into the dark and to find her best self. For those of you who have asked if I will offer another Emotional Burnout Support Group, this winter group is my answer. I will use the information I learned in the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski as well as the information gleaned from The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock.
In addition to this support group, there will be multiple other offerings to support and to nurture healthy community. Stay tuned. The Shakti Winter Schedule will be released soon. In the meantime, mark your calendar for January 8 for our annual Vision Board workshop.
Wishing you all a beautiful week!
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Since 2010, Kim continues to build and to support a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.