Janet asked me why I had written devotional poetry to the Bull of Heaven and to Nergal, both of the husbands of Erishkagal. This is my reply. 

A number of years ago, when Raven Kaldera put the call out that he would be doing the Descent of Innana ritual at Dark Odyssey (that appears in his book Dark Moon Rising), I looked over the list of roles and Neti, Erishkigal’s gatekeeper/right hand jumped off the page at me. When the day of the rite came, there was HIGH drama happening in ordinary reality. The players for Innana and Erishkagal were at each other’s throats, no one had their shit together, everyone was running around… and 3 hours before showtime Neti descended onto me. I watched as my body got into full costume. White-out contacts, dramatic makeup, tight corset, layers of blood red, bare feet… and wandered out to camp. I came to the woman who would play Erishkagal, and growl/bowed, my body tense and feet like claws digging into the wood floor before her where she was gambling and having fun. Erishkagal within the mortal woman saw me, and saw it was time. She began to make a space for herself there, and was thus able to come during ritual time.

As I passed each of the other players for the rite, I behaved to each as I would to who they would be that night. To mortals who would be mortals and observers, I avoided them, or sniffed at them, or growled if they were already thinking of death and it was not their time. I saw through Neti’s eyes at times, and saw Neti do these things with my body.

When I came to the woman who would play Innana, who was full of rage and frustration, I hissed. I growled. I saw my head turn sideways and question her and why she came. I would not see her again until she was at my gate.

I did not come back fully to myself until after the rite was completed. Neti helped set the chairs. Neti helped build the gates to the underworld. Neti sized up Raven to make sure he had what it took to tell this tale.

Since then, I’ve kept getting this ping from time to time to be the voice for the men around Erishkagal. I have served as Neti’s flesh. I have done the ritual I wrote there to break down walls and thus have touched what some of the Bull of Heaven is. And then, when I knew more needed written for Galina’s devotional, I was doing research around Erishkagal and Innana and found the poem of Erishkagal being left by Nergal… and he sat on the back of my head and said “the poet who wrote that was in love with her and biased, you must be the poet biased to me.” So I did, and I am.