Inevitably in the second half of life, we are confronted with separation, sorrow, and loss. Now, as more and more of us age beyond the life expectancies of our parents, we ask what are the later stages of individuation? Ageing brings the inevitable process of letting go. Wise sorrow becomes a surprising companion. In her capacity as teacher, sorrow accompanies the initiate in an ever-expanding grasp of life’s meaning and reality. Not surprisingly, we discover the wisdom of sorrow articulated in ancient Chinese texts, in Jung’s description of inner evolution, and in the poetry of a modern mystic. We will consider the role of sorrow in initiation, ancient and modern.
The workshop will consider in depth the stages of individuation, with particular emphasis on separation and aloneness as the initiate enters what Joseph Henderson calls "the undefined final stage." We will follow the path of Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld, a five thousand year old myth from ancient Iraq, a prototype of the journey the seeker must follow. Then, through the poetic words of an ancient initiate and devotee of Inanna, the Sumerian high priestess Enheduanna, we will discover who Inanna becomes after her return to the world above, a model of completion for the seeker to observe.
Betty De Shong Meador is a Jungian analyst, retired member of the San Francisco Jung Institute. She is the author of Uncursing the Dark. Her translations of the devotional poetry of the Sumerian high priestess Enheduanna, the first author of record, appear in her book Inanna – Lady of Largest Heart. Her translation of the forty-two Sumerian Temple Hymns of Enheduanna will appear in the forthcoming On Your Radiant Site. She lives on a ranch in San Diego County where she and her husband grow a prize-winning merlot in their vineyard.