“Inanna’s Descent” is an ancient Sumerian myth. According to the story, Inanna embarkes upon a voyage to the underworld to visit her sister, Ereshkigal. This is a shamanic journey, a voyage inward to recover lost or supressed parts of ourselves in order to become a complete person. It is a process of death and rebirth, of reuniting with and integrating the dark, shadow side of oneself.
This story predates the myth of Zeus and takes place at a time when the Goddess ruled the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. It was written as a poem in cuneiform on clay tablets at some point in time between 3500 B.C. and 1900 B.C., though it may have been created at an even earlier date. It is among the world’s oldest known poems.
Working with wood reminds me of my great-grandfather, Bryant W. Armstrong. He often said, or so I’ve been told, that “If something is worth doing then it’s worth doing right.” He was a carpenter who built, among other things, houses, grandfather clocks, and even a church. He headed the B.W. Armstrong and Son building firm and was the foreman responsible for the construction of the present St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Madison, Wisconsin where he was also a member. But to me his greatest creation is the family and love he and my great-grandmother, Elizabeth, built together which lives on through their offspring. The love we build will always be stronger than churches, monuments, paintings, clocks, woodcuts, or any other thing we humans make, “love abides” . My great-grandfather’s example inspires me and I try to live up to it. I hope he would approve of my efforts. I can’t say that I always do things right, but I do the best I can, and that’s all we can do.