The Sumerian queen Inanna, it is said, "set her heart from highest heaven on earth's deepest ground...abandoned heaven, abandoned earth--to the Netherworld she descended" (Descent, p. 9).
When I was in Malta, one of the most fascinating and spiritually rich things I did was to visit the Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni and descend into pits thousands of years old. There are many speculations as to its construction and purpose -- a sanctuary? necropolis? temple? Whatever the reasons, it was deeply moving and I think everyone in my group was stirred by the possibilities.
Later, I accompanied my friends to Valletta to tour the National Museum of Archaeology and visit the Sleeping Lady -- a prehistoric sculpture found within the Hypogeum and shown above. She is one of the most exquisite sculptures I have ever beheld and we wondered at her pose and marveled at her tiny hands and feet. I think the Lady must also be dreaming but of what? And what was it about this period of time (3300-3000 BCE) in which so many worshipped the goddess and worshiped the earth that bore her?
How did women become so removed from the earth and its cycles? How did I?