Friday, February 15, 2008

Inanna and Owls

Excuse me while I just go ahead and jump in with both feet.

What excites me most is the opportunity to explore the strength of this first goddess, Inanna, and in turn strengthen ourselves and hopefully all women.

I just finished reading "Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Ahaled Hosseini. Views of modern day Afghanistan and surrounding countries, what I think of as modern day Sumeria. It is always a shock to read about the abuse of women and men in these countries. 

A few nights ago I dreamed that two black spiders spun webs over my head where I was sleeping in my bed. I startled awake and grabbed my bedside flashlight, shining it up above me thinking they were really there. But it was just in my dream. I thought of it as a harbinger of important mythological work to come and hopefully these were dream catchers being fashioned for me. Perhaps this is some of that work.

When I picture Inanna the first image that comes to mind is the bas-relief attributed to "Lilith". She is naked but winged with spurs and taloned feet that grip the back of the reclining lions who are her natural guardians and flanked by two sacred owls.

I am reminded of the time I retrieved a dead owl from a ditch and took it home to collect some of the undamaged parts. It was opening of bird hunting at that time and someone had shot this beautiful Great Barn Owl. I was concerned that I would offend some spirit but wanted to honor this lovely creature. So when I got home I said a prayer that I wouldn't offend but be guided to honor this owl. I laid the bird on a round wooden table outside and got my sage bundle and my kitchen knife. (Of course I knew how to cut up a whole chicken but this was different, rather sacrilegious!) I lit my sage bundle, purifying myself first then went around the owl and the surrounding the table. Having purified the area I first cut one leg with the foot from the owl. The smoldering sage bundle then rolled on its own accord over to the severed leg and seared the cut area. I understood I should do this to all cut places as an acupuncturist would stop the energy from leaving your body after pulling out a needle. I retrieved one wing and the two legs with feet  then I buried the rest of the owl on the East corner of our home.

After burying the owl I then got my Yupik (Eskimo) drum and performed what I thought might be an owl dance to release the spirit of the owl back to the heavens.

If there is anything to use as a symbol of "HOLDING ON TIGHT TO SOMETHING' it would be owl feet. Because if you have ever seen owl feet they are very muscular and covered with round balls that when closed could capture and hold on to something as small as one hair. They leave no wiggle room to escape.

I have done artwork about this experience and it is called "Moon Woman Welcomes the Return of Owl Spirit." The story I just told you is but a part of the story of this one painting.

Mary Ann Warner, Red Crow Studio,