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The Healing of the Temple Door

By Melissa Pinol

A narrative journey to begin the healing of Vaginismus and other conditions relating to sexual trauma.

This healing journey should take place in Sacred Space, created by all those participating. One personal with ritual experience should read the narrative and act as a guide, monitoring the state of the other women on the journey. I have found that it is best do this meditation in the evening, shortly after the appearance of the evening star. The presence of Inanna should be felt clearly during the narrative, so remember to thank Her before concluding the ritual and leaving Sacred Space.

Press pause to stop the chant


The Journey

'We are going to take a journey to another place, and another time. The place where we will be going was called Sumer, and is located where the modern country of Iraq is now. The time is 4000 years before the present, when things were very different then they are now, in more ways than we can imagine. The country, too, is very different than it is now, instead of a hot, arid desert, the people have worked with the land to create a lush place for growing things, with a series of carefully constructed canals and irrigation channels that bring water to the populated areas. The land around the canals is marshy, with tall reeds surrounding fields and orchards where many things are grown.

We find ourselves on the bank of one of the larger canals, looking out over the water. The air is hot and humid, and the ground is damp beneath our feet. The time of day is twilight, and the sky is a beautiful dark blue color, almost the color of Lapis Lazuli. As we wait a boat made of reeds glides up to us, guided by a silent figure of a woman wearing a long garment resembling a fringed shawl which is wrapped around her body, and wearing an ornamental headdress over her dark, carefully arranged hair. The woman is a priestess of Inanna, and she has come to take us to the city of Uruk, a short distance away down the canal, for a very special celebration at the temple of Inanna, the patron Goddess of Uruk. We glide away from the shore and start down the canal toward the city.

The sky darkens, and we see the stars begin to appear. As the sky darkens more the crescent of the waxing moon appears, and then the priestess points out something very significant- the Evening Star, Inanna's own special sign, is visible over the horizon. Because the air is so clear and unpolluted, the planet is incredibly brilliant, outshining all the other stars, and we can see why Inanna, who outshines all the other deities of Sumer, has chosen it as her own symbol.

The priestess points it out with special excitement, saying that it is brighter tonight than has ever been before in her memory - could our presence, as strangers who are clearly from a very different place, have attracted Inanna's attention and made her sacred sign shine more clearly? How could we possibly have journeyed so far, if Inanna had not had a hand in it? Perhaps this means a time has come when extraordinary changes may happen, both in society and in people's personal lives. Because Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, this unusual brilliance must have been sent by her to tell the people that the time was right to make great changes.

The priestess tells us that on this very night a special celebration is being held in the temple of Inanna, and we, as emissaries from another time and place, have been invited to attend. As the boat gets closer to the city, we begin to hear the sound of voices, singing and chanting, and the sound of many musical instruments. Outside the temple, they are beating the drum to invite the people to gather in the temple plaza. We begin to see the light of many torches, and the dim shapes of many buildings. The boat finally comes to rest at a dock, and we climb out and join the procession winding it's way to the temple of Inanna. We begin to smell the odors associated with a large ancient city, some pleasant and some not, the smells of people, animals, garbage, delicious spicy food cooking, and, father away but growing stronger, the scent of incense from the temple.

Finally, the procession halts in front of a large, impressive building, the temple of Inanna. The structure is built of mud brick which has been whitewashed and decorated with many brilliantly colored tiles. The whole structure gleams in the torchlight. The door of the temple, which is made of carved cedarwood, is closed, and the priestess explains that we must wait for a special ceremony called the Opening of the Door which will allow us to come into the presence of the Goddess, and also will allow the holiness of the temple to be let out in the world to bless the people.

She explains that the region was invaded not long ago, and the temple door was damaged and desecrated, and though the door has been replaced, part of the ritual tonight will be to repair the spiritual damage that had been done. Many of the people in the plaza are dancing and singing, but the priestess suggests that as strangers here, with a special mission, we should sit down, relax, and observe what is to happen. She will stay with us and be our guide. Though we already know this inside, the priestess explains to us that a woman's body is like the temple, with a sacred doorway that she can open, at the right time, to let worshippers in and to allow blessings and life to flow forth from within. She tells us again about the war and invasions, and how the very temple door had been broken down and damaged, but here it is whole and intact again, having been restored by those who loved the Goddess. All that needs to be done now is for the door to be opened again in a sacred way, restoring the connection between Inanna and her people.

As the evening star rises higher in the sky there is a sense of expectancy in the crowd, and we know something is about to begin. The priestess explains that earlier in the day all the priestesses and priests have left the temple except for the high priestess, the living embodiment of Inanna. The other priestesses and priests have spent the day purifying themselves, and now they gather to return to the sanctuary with their offerings, opening the door for the rest of us. When the door of the temple is opened all the way and the the love of the worshippers pours in at the same time the blessings of Inanna shine forth, anything can happen. Sanctity will be restored, and the people can enter freely again. Inanna, who is the Lady of love and war, sexuality and destruction, growth and decay, can bring about the reconciliation of opposites and the resolution of things which may seem impossible. After all, Inanna returned from the land of the dead - is there anything she can't do?

Suddenly, the drums begins a different beat and the the crowd becomes more still and focused. We look behind us and see all the missing priestesses waiting in a group, clothed in their white fringed garments, some carrying drums and musical instruments, others carrying, food , drink and other offerings. One of them begins a chant that is taken up by the rest of the people: "I-Nann-A, I-Nanna-A, I-Nann-a". The crowd parts to let the procession of priestesses through. There are many, many priestesses present, more then we can count, and they do not come single file but seem to be arranged in a formation that looks like an inverted pyramid, the group growing wider as it stretches away from the temple. One of the assembled priestess begins to sing a narrative song, telling the story again of how the door of the temple, the Goddess' symbolic vulva, was damaged in the last invasion and that the purpose of this ceremony is to open the door again, slowly and respectfully, to allow the worshippers to come in again and the Goddess's blessings to flow out. She sings of how the Goddess has sent us, the visitors from far away, to show that it is time for the inner and outer energies to be joined again and what is lost, or broken, can be made whole in that exchange. As she sings another priestess, who is second to the high priestess who waits within, steps forward to lead the procession.

Silence falls as this priestess approaches the carved temple door, which is wide enough to allow seven people to pass through side by side without touching. She calls on the women in the crowd to help her, because all women are made in the image of the Goddess and have their own Sacred Doorways. She asks all the women to think of their own vaginas as Sacred Doorways, maybe to put their hands on their bodies, maybe just to hold the image in their minds, and think about how carefully, how gently, they would want their own doorway to be opened. Those women who have a good relationship with their bodies and have never been hurt, she asks to think on the pleasure their bodies give them and lend their positive energy to the ritual. Those who have been sexually hurt or wounded, she asks to give their compassion to the goddess and ask that their own bodies and spirits be healed and blessed as the temple will be healed and blessed.

The chanting and drumming build up again as the lone priestess approaches the temple door. Instead of pounding on it, she caresses it, anointing it with fragrant oils and honey, and adorning it with beautiful flower petals. She presses her face against the door, touching it with her hands. She is speaking to the door but we can not hear her words over the chanting, the priestess guide says she is praying for entry, saying "I love you, please let me in. I love you.." Suddenly, the temple door opens just a crack, and we can see the light shining and smell the incense from within. The crowd outside is overjoyed, applauding, dancing and chanting louder. We notice that many of the women in the crowd seem to be concentrating, their hands over their wombs or between their legs. The priestess at the door speaks a prayer of thanks, and very, very gently pushes the door open just wide enough to admit her own body. She disappears into the temple. The chanting goes on "Inanna, Inanna". She is followed by more priestess, processing single file, right behind her. Each one pauses at the door, anoints it with fragrant oil, and passes gently within. One priestess... Two priestesses... Three priestesses... Four priestesses.. Seven priestess in all pass through the temple door single file. The next to approach the temple door are two priestesses side by side. They make offerings, touch the door and pray for admittance, and the door is gently opened a little more, enough to admit the two priestess side by side.

Narrators note
The two priestesses enter the temple, followed by another two, until seven pairs of priestesses have entered the temple. The next to approach the door are three priestesses, all in a line, they approach the door and pray for admittance. Slowly and gently the door opens a little wider and the three priestesses enter followed by three more until seven sets of three enter the doorway. The process continues with four priestesses, then five, six and finally seven priestesses in a row gently ease the door fully opened. Narrators note

When all the priestesses have entered the temple, they turn and beckon to the waiting priests, who come forward and joyfully and respectfully enter the opened door.

As the door is completely opened, we feel something extraordinary, like a rush of energy, issuing from the temple and passing into the crowd of worshippers waiting in the plaza. The women in particular seem to feel it, but everyone in the crowd seems affected and an awed silence descends on the plaza. At the same time, it seems that the collected energy of the crowd, all the joy and celebration and hopeful anticipation, surges forth in a tangible wave to meet the energy coming from the temple, and an exchange and balance is met. Someone points at the sky, and looking up, we see the evening star is now directly above the temple. The drum begins to beat again and one of the priestesses calls from inside the temple door, inviting everyone, men and women, to come inside and receive the blessing of Inanna. The respectful crowd slowly moves forward, and we fall in with them as we follow our priestess guide into the temple. We slowly pass from a kind of outer, covered court, beautifully decorated with more carvings and brilliantly colored tiles, into a wide passageway illuminated by torches. The air smells of cedar oil and incense.

The crowd comes to a halt before another door, which our guide tells us is the inner sanctuary of the Goddess, where she will receive her guests. We wait as the worshippers go in in small groups, each person receiving a healing or message from the Goddess. Because we are special guests from far away, we do not have to wait long, but are soon invited to enter the sanctuary.

As each person experiences the sanctuary of Inanna differently, I will not describe it in physical detail here. You know what it looks and feels like in your heart.

As you enter the sanctuary and approach the altar, you feel an indescribably powerful energy and presence. The high priestess is there, in her blue robe with her lapis beads and the crown of interlocking horns on her head, but the presence of the goddess is much vaster, it surrounds her and you and fills the entire room. You pause before the altar to receive the healing energy and speak personally to the the Goddess. You may ask a question or a favor, and now you may take some time to wait for a reply.

Narrators note

As you leave the sanctuary and the temple, you know that you have received a healing deep within yourself that will unfold and manifest itself when the time is right. Bring with you the knowledge that you too are a manifestation of the goddess, an embodiment of her temple and divine doorway, and like her you can be healed and made whole again. We follow our priestess guide out through the corridor, through the outer courtyard, and through the repaired and healed temple door, into the outer plaza and the celebrating city.

Our priestess guide tells us it is time for us to go home now, back to our own time, so she leads us through the city, down to the dock, and back onto the boat of reeds. We sit with her as she poles the boat down the canal and away from the city, returning us to the marshy bank where we first met her. She says goodbye to us, tells us to close our eyes and when we open them again, we will be back in our own time and place, bringing with us the healing and blessings we received in Inanna's temple. We look at the evening star one last time, knowing the next time we see it we will be in our own time, 4000 years in the future. We close our eyes and listen to the sound of the boat moving away from the shore. As the sound fades, we feel the marshy ground beneath our feet become firm, the air becomes cooler and less humid, and we are home. Open your eyes and know a change is growing within you.'

The background chant for this page is by the Voices of Gaia, from the track Heart Mother Crone on their album The Voices of Gaia (available in the yOni gift shop).

Notes

Vaginismus is a constriction of the muscles at the entrance of the vagina, which can make any kind of penetration painful or even impossible without injury. It often the result of rape or molestation, or negative messages about sex being "sinful", dirty, or dangerous.

Narrators note 1: Perhaps this part can be chanted to a tune, with rhythmic accompaniment: Two priestesses, side by side through the sacred door to the beating of the drum... Two more priestess, side side through the sacred door to the beating of the drum... (And so on until all the priestesses have passed through the door).

Narrators note 2: You may wish to continue the details of the narrative as the four, five, six and finally seven priestesses enter.

Narrators note 3: Allow some time for the women ask and receiving healing taking care to bring them back to focus if they seem to be taking too long.

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