Descent of the Goddess


Now the Goddess was wise, and had learned many things, but She knew that there were mysteries that could not be learned in the Lands Above. So She arrayed Herself in Her finest robes, Her richest jewels, and Her Weapons of Art, and came, still living, to the Gates of the Land of Death, and demanded entry. And the Guardian of the Gate halted Her, and said "None may enter the Land of Death, save they be naked." And She removed her robes, and again demanded entry.

And the Guardian of the Gate halted Her, and said "None may enter the Land of Death, save they be unadorned." And She removed her jewels, and again demanded entry. And the Guardian of the Gate halted Her, and said "None may enter the Land of Death, save they be unarmed." And She removed her weapons, and again demanded entry.

And the Guardian of the Gate halted Her, and said "None may enter the Land of Death, save they be bound." And even to this She consented, but only in part -- Her hands were bound, and one foot, but the other remained free. And the Guardian of the Gate said "It is well -- enter the Gate of the Land of Death."

And the Goddess entered therein, and She beheld an empty land -- for in the Lands Below, there were only images, and forms, and ideas -- but no life. Down and down she traveled in that dry land, ever deeper into Mystery, but no one spoke, and no one met Her. It was an empty place.

And at last, in the center of that dry land, she met The God -- sitting silent and asleep upon his throne, naked, unadorned, unarmed, and bound. So the Goddess broke Her bonds, and came to the throne and released the God from His bonds -- and He awoke. In all that land, only the Two were awake, and unbound.

And They taught each other many things that They had learned in Their travels, each on Their own paths. And at last, the Goddess asked the God " Why was I brought here bound?"
And the God replied "In the Lands Above, the lessons can be easy and come to you unasked for. But in this place, you enter of your own free Will, and when you enter, you must enter as yourself. Neither self-image, nor possessions, nor ritual, nor even your own strength will gain you any advantage here -- for here, all are equal. But now you must leave, for you have violated the rule that 'All in the Land of Death must be bound.'"

" What?" She cried. "If I had remained bound, I could not have awakened You, and I would have learned nothing!"
He answered "You were told the rules upon entering this place, and you broke those rules. Truly you did well -- we all must decide when to keep the rules, and when to break them. But even when we must decide to break the rules, and even it is necessary to do so, we still must pay the price for our choice. And besides, you have not discovered all of the Mysteries, for the greatest of them are found in another place entirely."

And so She left -- but She carried the wisdom that She had learned there.
 
 Author unknown

 
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I've seen numerous versions of this.
If anyone can tell me where this exact version came from, I'd be grateful and attribute proper credit to its author.

 


Rebirth
Now you cannot leave the Land of Death by the same way that you entered it -- for when you turn to retrace your steps, you find that the path you took is no longer there. And so the Goddess, lost and alone, wandered for a timeless time, looking for the gate that leads back to the Lands Above.
And She came at last to a New Gate, but it was not the Gate that She used to enter the Lands Below, and so there was a different Guardian. And the Guardian halted Her, and dressed Her in a simple shift, and let Her out of the Gate. But She found that She was not in the Lands Above, but in another place entirely.

This new world outside of the Gate was strange to her -- Where before She had been alone, now there were two Others with her, and those two Others were surrounded by a multitude of Others still. And though She could not talk to the Others, for a time she was content.

But Time passed on, and She discovered that She was changing. She began to learn the speech of the Others, as She began to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the strange shift that the Guardian of the New Gate had dressed Her in. And as She changed, and grew, She learned many new things -- but She also forgot many of the things that She had learned in the Lands Below.

In time, the Goddess' strange, simple shift changed again, and She met one of the Others whom She loved, and they were married. They raised children together, and grew old together -- together they learned many things, and grew in wisdom. And at last, in the fullness of time, they each passed beyond Life into the Lands Below once again.

And the Goddess looked at the face of the Other that she loved, and beheld the face of the God, and was amazed. Then the God told Her "You wished to discover all of the mysteries, did you not?" And She looked back upon Her life -- growing and learning, caring and laughing, loving and being loved -- and She discovered that as She had asked, it was so.

  Author unknown