The multiplicity of motherhood extends well beyond the family unit. Many of us mother those around us who are our spiritual children, providing care, unconditional love, and guidance. The Sumerian Goddess Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, offers an enhanced understanding of the term, embracing, as she does the plasticity of evolutionary and developmental stages we go through in our journey toward our collective ascension.
In goddess traditions, the trinity of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, elucidate the stages of evolution in the spectrum of our growth. Each one represents the unique wisdom and power characterizing their corresponding stage. Inanna’s mythology reveals her first as Maiden. We see this in her coming-of-age tales, such as the Huluppu-Tree and The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, in which she awakens to and embraces her sexuality. During Inanna’s descent into the underworld, she represents the Crone by virtue of her access to the Death Mysteries.
While Inanna is most well-known for her role as Maiden and upon her death and rebirth as Crone, her role as Mother is crucial if under-recognized. Indeed, the myths are vague on the details of whether Inanna birthed her own children Lulal and Shara or if they are sons only in name. Upon her resurrection in the Descent of Inanna, Inanna meets both her sons separately, and they throw themselves at her feet in reverence, overjoyed at the return of their mother. Not much else is revealed about her sons except this mutual adoration. The ambiguity around Inanna’s progeny is fitting, however, as the blurring of strict categorization of any kind, including what it means to mother, characterizes all representations of the Goddess.
In many ways, I see Inanna’s expansion beyond hetero-normative uses of the concept of motherhood as liberating and edifying. Indeed, I know many individuals who do not have children but they, in fact, mother many beings, acting as a guide to their figurative children, whether in human form, as animals, plants, or even to the land. Needless to say, many of these folks are dedicated to nurturing humanity and inspiring others to birth their dreams through their various paths as artists, healers, teachers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and innovators, to name a few.
Inanna herself mirrors and highlights these alternative versions of mothering. For example, the myth Inanna and the God of Wisdom opens with Inanna tuning into her sacred feminine magic by celebrating her holy vulva as she looks upon it with awe. Once inspired, energized, and empowered by her own womb potency, she intuitively goes to her grandfather Enki, creating a scenario in which he will gift her his me, the sacred cultures and spiritual powers of the land. After he does so, he second guesses his generosity, and with remorse, he tries to take them back from her. Inanna, however, is already well on her way with her boat full of me to share with her people. She knows what her children need, and she takes it upon herself to provide it for them in a generative and nurturing act. That this gifting to her people began first with a meditation on her sacred vulva—her sacral chakra—underscores its creative conjuring. In effect, she conjured a situation in which to provide for her people.
In the myth above, Inanna demonstrates that the concept of motherhood might be more accurately understood as a desire and commitment to help uplift humanity and the planet. One of Inanna’s most prominent characteristics is her refusal to be bound. This is connected to her willingness to constantly evolve and reinvent herself. It speaks to the processual nature of growth and what our ascension path looks like. We must constantly adapt to the new vibration that emerges. Inanna invites us to explore motherhood through a different and wider lens, and this open-hearted expansion allows us to tap into the medicine of motherhood; the wisdom, nurturing, care, and guidance that supports us.
So, next time you engage with the idea of motherhood and what it signifies, pause and see the ways in which there may be room to amplify your own definition to allow the multidimensionality of Inanna to inform and grow your understanding of what it means. When we do this, we open ourselves to the capacity to mother ourselves in the most unconditionally loving way so we can access the generative power inherent in the Divine Mother, Mother Earth, and each of our individual sacred mothers.
*Inspired by the wisdom of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, this blog is an invitation to help you live as she does, like an Unapologetic Heroine.
*Inspired by the wisdom of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, this blog is an invitation to live as she does, like an Unapologetic Heroine.
Seana Zelazo, LICSW is a psychotherapist, spiritual coach, and intuitive channel committed to helping us live unapologetically, by restoring balance within and without through the wisdom of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna. She is the author of The Way of Inanna: A Heroine’s Guide to Living Unapologetically. seanazelazo.com