Ishtar is the multilayered Babylonian creator goddess, the source of all life and embodiment of the power of nature. She is the giver of plenty, a lawgiver, a judge, the goddess of time as well as the goddess of both love and war. Her name means “giver of light,” and derives from her role as Queen of Heaven. She is the planet Venus as both morning and evening star, and her girdle is the zodiacal belt. Ishtar descends to the underworld and restores the vegetation god, Tammuz, to life and thus restores fertility to the earth. As she descends she removes a veil at each of seven gates. While she is underground all life on earth is depressed and nothing comes to life. Ishtar is a multifaceted, powerful symbol of a forthright mode of being that is unafraid to venture the depths of the underworld. She represents the creative feminine, active and strong.
from GODDESS KNOWLEDGE CARDS,
Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust. Text by Michael Babcock.
Ishtar reminds us not be afraid to venture into the depths of the underworld. She has the power to restore our creativity.
“The Shadow describes the part of the psyche that an individual would rather not acknowledge. It contains the denied parts of the self. Since the self contains these aspects, they surface in one way or another. Bringing Shadow material into consciousness drains its dark power, and can even recover valuable resources from it. The greatest power, however, comes from having accepted your shadow parts and integrated them as components of your Self.” from John Elder
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something helpless that wants help from us.”
–Rainer Maria Rilke
The object of soulwork instead is to bring depth to life, even when it means honoring our suffering (our pathology). It requires, in Hillman’s terms, “growing down” into life. In soulwork, the central question usually pertains to the individual’s “calling” or purpose: “Am I living according to my purpose?” The primary “organ” of inquiry is the imagination (for thousands of years envisioned as the perceptual function of the heart), rather than the intellectual, spiritual or the feeling functions. The body’s role is essential, however. A sense of soul that is not fully felt remains a concept. Cliff Bostock