Hail to Inanna, Queen of Heaven

On October 30th, 2011, a group of pagans gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House to honor the feminine divine and support religious freedom. We were motivated partially by the malefic prayers of NAR, but mostly out of our love for the goddesses of our various traditions. Here is my speech, my invocation and my prayer from the ceremony.

_ _ _

In September of 2001, many of us felt overwhelmed and filled with emotions from fear to rage, from shock to grief, and from numbness to action.

For those of us who study mythology, we too felt all those same feeling, but we felt something else at work beneath the surface. And here I must quote the late Dr Maggie Macary in her inaugural blog of November of 2001.

“I felt paralyzed along with the rest of the world, wondering how to move forward in life in the face of so much death and destruction. In the days that followed, further news of terrorist acts and death confounded me, leaving me at a loss for words.  I have felt locked in a liminal, in-between state since September, betwixt and between what once was and what will soon be.  Now, during the darkest days between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, I feel lost in the Underworld, trying to remember: how does life go on in the face of death? 

As always, I return to my solace: the myths of life, death and rebirth, those timeless stories of darkness and light, despair and hope. ... In studying these stories of death and descent, I am reminded what the ancients knew so wisely: that all transformation, all initiatory experiences, must first begin with a death. The ancients understood this instinctively, basing their rituals, the same rituals that appear disguised over and over again in our own modern lives, on a cosmogonic cycle in which a retreat to Chaos is required before a new world can be created. This Chaos is the end of a “mode of being,” a death to the old life in preparation for the new.  In our modern lives, we forget that death is the beginning of renewal, a time to dismantle the old in preparation for the new.

It is this forgetting of the old patterns, the loss of our retelling the old tales, the forgotten reenactments of initiatory and cosmogonic rituals, that causes us to feel despair at so much death and destruction.  In these tales and rituals humans have found a spiritual comfort that transcends the literal tragic events of life. These tales and rituals allowed people to experience the rebirth that comes from the darkest places of death. Without the retelling, life begins to lose its sense of spiritual meaning and the unconscious steps forward to create its own destructive patterns. ...

It is conscious re-mythologizing of the old tales that becomes important for healing to occur.

... We are not the authors of the stories, we are the re-tellers, the ones who once more take up the ancient myths and through our imaginations, make these stories our own. In the process, we will find a healing that revitalizes our lives.

...Let us rekindle the hearth fires and gather around to re-tell the old stories. Let us hold tight to one another through the long dark nights ahead, and remember that, as always, the light will soon return.”

I savor her precious wisdom, but unlike Dr Macary, I am not only a mythologist, I am also a pagan priestess. So I do not just retell the old stories, I honor the gods within these precious remnants of our ancient human heritage.

And for me, the stories of descent not only lead me toward healing and transformation, they bring me into the presence of many of the old gods. And it is important to honor them all, but today we are here to honor especially Inanna, the Queen of Heaven.

And it is during times of darkness, despair and confusion, that many shrink from the transformative work, clinging instead to forms and structures that are falling apart, creating orthodoxy from past nostalgias and even resisting the turning of the great wheel.

It is at times like these that folks clinging to the status quo demonize the old gods. It seems far easier to denigrate the Queen of Heaven than to follow in her footsteps.

And so the New Apostolic Reformationist have deliberately focused on demonizing the Queen of Heaven. Even today as we gather to hold up Columbia, herself a very American goddess, they seek to dislodge her from her perch because in their eyes, she is an aspect of the Queen of Heaven.

But I am here to say that if our American Goddess, Columbia is an aspect of Inanna, then we will hold them both up for devotion, honor and worship. Because that means that Columbia, like Inanna has the power to transform, the power to heal and the power to guide us towards the new world that is coming into being all around us.

And so today, we honor Inanna, Columbia, and a host other goddesses with prayers and songs.

And in the words of Doctor Macary ...

“Let us rekindle the hearth fires and gather around to re-tell the old stories. Let us hold tight to one another through the long dark nights ahead, and remember that, as always, the light will soon return.”

So mode it Be!

_ _ _


*Our Lady of the Morning is Radiant
She looks down upon us from Heaven

We sing your praises, Holy Inanna
Radiant on the horizon (2x)

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Procurer of the Me
Keeper of the laws
Earning the right through ordeal
to rule all she surveys

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Admirer of her own sexuality
Taking what is hers to receive
Lover of Men and
The Giver of Pleasure

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Journeys under her own authority
Knocks on the gates of the darkness
Enters to face the dark Queen
And dies to be reborn

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Guide us in our journey
Show us the way
Help us face the darkness
of our own transformation

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

*Our Lady of the Morning is Radiant
She looks down upon us from Heaven

We sing your praises, Holy Inanna
Radiant on the horizon (2x)

*Original song written by Katrina Messenger

_ _ _


Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth
I am your daughter and priestess

I who bow in your presence and revel in your love
pray that you bless this work and these people
gathered in your honor.

We greet you as our queen, our guide and our mother
We ask that you bless this work and hear our prayers

Teach us how to reach outside of our comfort
for the work that is ours and true

Give us courage to take what is ours by birth
and defend these traditions and mysteries
against the tyranny of fear

Delight in our beauty and innocence
while gently nudging us forward on our path

Help us to hear the call to healing
and step on the journey of transformation

Open our hands so we can let go of what is non essential
Hold us close when despair takes hold

Revive us with the waters of life
and guide us back into the living light

Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth
We who are your children, please protect us with your love.

_ _ _

Copyright 2011 Katrina Messenger

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Thu, 11/03/2011 - 4:45pm.

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Recent comments

  • Nephthys (not verified)

    I've been with Firefly for a number of years, I recently left my position at The Firefly Community to pursue other dreams but to be clear how much I was involved before I address the statements made, I was a teacher, Priestess, member of the Inner Circle of the Council of Elders, Course Contributor, Clergy, Delegate and Divination reader so I was quite involved with Firefly on many levels.

    I am offended by your statement that Firefly is cultish. Given my involvement as listed above I can safely say that Firefly members are not cultish in behaviour nor is Firefly cultish in of itself. I am no longer involved with Firefly in any strong capacity other than that of a student so I can also safely say this is not coming from a blind faith position. I will be the first to admit that part of the reason I left Firefly was because I did not agree with some of the changes Lady Iris intended to make, that being said, I don't support the idea that abuse should be turned into a political statement.

    I don't know Sean and I am not close to Lady Iris (I live in a different country) and have not commented on the situation with her marriage but some of his behaviours are reprehensible. If a President did this he would be impeached and booted so I fail to see why it should be ignored and relegated to 'personal marital issues' when behaviour like this is indicative of larger psychological issues. If Sean Bennett is allowed to use and abuse women in this fashion, eventually he would work his way through the single ladies in the OHF and what would you be left with?

    2 years 2 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I for one have been pondering this question. Iris did highlight a valuable point - how are checks and balances established to prevent potential abuse and to air concerns. These are hard lessons that groups need to learn.

    Without denying people their agency, how do you set up a system that will prevent abuse by other members? How far does a group go to ensure the mental and emotional safety of the adult members?

    For example, I know with my disability (brain injury), I would deeply resent being told that the group is looking out for my best interests. It would seem to be paternalistic on the group's part to assume that I cannot fend for myself. But because of my disability, I can be easy prey for a con-artist. How do you solve a dilemma like that? Can this be encoded or is this sort of thing too nebulous to pin down?

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I have a traumatic brain injury.

    That being said, I got caught in the cross-fire in the Firefly Campaign, since I did not get with the program - i.e. Firemoon was abused by a sexual predator, who for the sake of the community had to be removed. I was shocked at how this mantra was repeated over and over everywhere it could be. I was shocked at how the Firefly folks did not identify themselves as they sought to achieve their goals. It left a poor taste about Firefly in my mouth since I started to regard them as "cultish", incapable of independent thought or discussion. Also it disturbed me how the Firefly folks who had nothing to do with DC, carried water in the campaign as well.

    Since I had lot of free time, I researched the consistent posters and everything I could find, and an disturbing picture arose. The one you described of a one-sided campaign to achieve a stated end, without proper identification or perspective.

    As for the brain injury - I got raked over the coals for making light of the issue from an avowed healer, who thought my injury was a ruse. That scared me into thinking that perhaps my impression of the "cultishness" of the Firefly group was true. (I know cult is a loaded word, but I cannot think of the word that would indicate a group of people, emotionally inflamed with one mission in mind, and not allowing any dissent.)

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Kali Firemoon (not verified)


    I am so sorry that we have not met yet since it so obvious from your comments that you are a close personal friend of Iris’s and know all there is to know about the situation from a front row seat. I mean, after all, one who has seen a woman four months pregnant, losing weight and physically appearing to not be pregnant would of course understand the emotional, and yes, physical stress she was under. But of course, since you were there I don’t need to remind you of that. So lets move on to the rest of the story, you know where her husband chose to have unprotected sex with someone else, who I am sure was a complete virgin and posed no risk to mother or child, and then husband went home to engage in carnal activities with his wife, confident that his unborn child was never at risk. Yes, I am sure that all of your female students understand why you are firmly in the husband’s court. After all, it’s always the woman’s fault when marriages go bad. Or at least that is what I seem to glean from your article. Yes, I am Firefly, and I was one of the one’s chosen to help this woman after she was victimized by this predator who seems to have persuaded the pagan community that it is acceptable to treat not one, not two but at last count four woman as though they were simply a means to his end. And BTW I know she attempted to alert the community to her situation and apparently no one felt it worth even a cursory investigation. Oh yes, one more example of us not wanting to rock any one’s boat. I will tell you that in response to her story, several other pagan women have come forward with similar stories of abuse reported to the male members of a community met with similar disdain and an obvious desire to hide this type of behavior. Do I believe it happened this time, yes; do I believe that this community is willing, no matter the cost, to hide this type of behavior, yes. No one wants to call attention to the pagan community because we already have an undeserved stigma. But that does not mean we should allow behavior none of us condone simply because we are afraid of controversy. If one of us needs be sanctioned, then we either stand and sanction or accept the stigma so many would place upon us. We need to “police” our own. When four and probably five women come forth and tell the same story of predatory behavior against women we either act or fold the tents and go home. So I suggest you talk to all of them before you post any more pontifications. I also realize you can never post this but we both know you will have read it.

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Cara Schulz (not verified)

    Hello Katrina,
    Although we know one another, mostly online but also when we met at Sacred Harvest Festival, for your readers let me note that I'm the Managing Editor of PNC-News and the Co-Editor of PNC-Minnesota. I was the primary author of the PNC-News statement that you are writing about.

    The persons who contacted me asking when PNC would cover this were not Firefly members. Most were not local to DC, but were Pagans and polytheists in other parts of the country who had donated to the Pagan community center in DC and naturally had an interest in it. Why would they contact me? Because I'm the Managing Editor and people often contact me to ask if PNC is covering a story or to request that we cover a story. That's how we get many of our articles - through our readers.

    As for why PNC-News put two different situations in one statement, it's because they are related in nature and both needed to be addressed promptly.

    If anyone has any questions, we encourage them to contact us and ask them.

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Kat, Emralde (not verified)

    Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

    2 years 5 weeks ago