Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

The Great Feminine, Life Itself, in the Underworld 

"Holy Wedding", Elisabeth Baldenweg (2022)

By on 21 February 2022

"Holy Wedding", Elisabeth Baldenweg (2022)

The Great Feminine in the Underworld

The traditions say that life itself has entered the underworld. The life-giving, birthing and rebirthing force is symbolized by the Great Feminine, the Goddess. The fact that it is in the underworld simply means, at first, that it is outside the consciousness of man and inaccessible to his grasp.
However, the underworld is also considered the realm of shadows and death. But life cannot die ... quantum physicists have even come to the conclusion that all matter is alive. - Well, if this is so, the big question is: Why is there dead matter at all? Or: Is there dead matter at all? And what about the earthly reality of death?
What answers do the traditions offer and how are they to be understood?

The great feminine includes: all women, all people, the earth and all creation:
The living, receiving and reality-forming matter (feminine) includes:
  • The woman, all women: They can take up seed and give birth to new life.
  • The human body: It receives impulses of consciousness ("male") and translates them into words, deeds and new reality.
  • The collective (group, people, the whole of humanity).It reacts to information, for example news, with moods and actions. It also takes the instructions of the ruler and shapes new reality according to them (carries out instructions, such as building roads).
  • The earth: It can absorb seeds and enable growth. It also reacts to the most diverse impulses from the cosmos or from human behaviour, e.g. with climate warming.
  • The whole of creation: It is given over to transience and thus in the "underworld".


The feminine as living matter, which can absorb seeds or impulses and give birth to new reality, belongs by definition to the unconscious (cf. The Conscious and the Unconscious, King and Queen).

This comprehensive article covers the following topics:

  1. The underworld - a great mythological theme
  2. Why is the Great Feminine in the underworld?
  3. Decoding the Archetypes
  4. Life in the unconscious - consequences
  5. Status quo and outlook


[For a free narrative as an introduction see . The Ruler of the Underworld.]

1. the underworld - a great mythological theme

The ruler of the underworld

The Sumerian mythology of Inanna, the goddess of love, already tells us that the Great Feminine has entered the underworld. It is symbolized by the ruler of the underworld, in other words by the Great Mother (Grandmother), mistress of life and death and deity of destiny.

The powers of wisdom

The underworld is a theme that has also been incorporated into many other traditions and legends. In Greek mythology, for example, the mistress of the underworld appears in the form of the dreaded Medusa. This name contains the syllable "ME", which in the Sumerian tradition stands for the powers of wisdom. In fact, the great mother, as the goddess of fate, possesses profound wisdom (as does the father, the god of wisdom). The fairy tale "Frau Holle" is one of the few fairy tales in which the powerful goddess of fate still plays a positive role. She also appears as the fairy godmother in the fairy tale "Cinderella".

The hero's path through the underworld

In many traditions, however, the feminine, trapped or lost in the underworld, must be redeemed before peace and abundance can take hold.
It is the strong hero, who does not fear death, who sets out to fight for love and bring it back to the light. Famous examples are Orpheus and Eurydice or Dionysius and Semele. According to Judeo-Christian traditions, the Messiah/Christ, as the anointed hero of God, will redeem all creation from sickness and death (symbolized by the underworld).

The acid test

The way through the underworld belongs to every great heroic saga. It is the last test shortly before the high goal of wholeness and unity, which also leads to eternal life. In the trial by fire, the whole existence of the hero and heroine is put to the test, because everything they have fought for in life seems to vanish into thin air. If they nevertheless succeed in holding on to their vision at all costs, then the victory prize awaits them: the promised land, the virgin and an eternal kingdom in abundance.

2. the great feminine in the underworld - why?

The question that arises in this context is: Why is the feminine in the underworld? And what does this mean in concrete terms?

The oldest human traditions

Heaven and earth carried away: the female side of existence

The question why the female has got into the underworld is already figuratively thematized in the Sumerian creation story (around 3000 BC). If the existence still began in "heavenly innocence" (symbolized by the virgin), however, everything changes soon thereafter. The mythology tells that the sky god "carried off the heavens", while the god of the air "carried off the earth".

What happened?

Heaven and earth: died love and exploitation of the feminine (body and matter) 

While "the heavens" are a symbol of pure love, "the earth" is the symbol of living reality and the female body. Both have been "carried away" and are therefore no longer there. This applies to both love and its fruit, life. The love has died because the GOD OF AIR has carried away the EARTH. As archetype he stands for stormy macho masculinity which seeks power (over women and over the matter) to be able to consume. The biblical account of the Fall of Man elaborates on this theme some 2000 years later.

Babylon and the creation of the world from the murdered mother

However, this interpretation is already confirmed by the Babylonian tradition, which reinterpreted the Sumerian tradition around 1500 BC and began to glorify the subjugation of the female as an act of world creation. [See also Introduction to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh.]

This is how Babylonian mythology tells this story.[1]:

Marduk and the Mother Dragon

After a revolt in the heaven of the gods, the male gods had taken to the air. Because TiAmaT, once virgin of life, had become the angry dragon of the seas, and gave birth only to monsters. Therefore, the gods consulted how they could get rid of her. Then the youthful (macho god) Marduk rose up and promised to solve the problem if this would grant him the highest place in the heaven of the gods. The gods agreed.

Marduk now created seven evil winds (of which the wind of confusion is particularly mentioned), which he used to catch the dragon in his net. The beast froze, so the Babylonian tradition tells, in view of the glory of the god. This was now the opportunity to thrust his long spear through the open mouth of the mother dragon right into her heart.

From the corpse of the Great Mother, Marduk then created the world: from the lower part, the earth, and from the upper part, the heavens and the stars.

Remarks, explanations and commentary:

The world creation of the masculine

Marduk, as the god of spring, is also an archetype for youthful macho masculinity and thus identical in energy with EnLil, the god of air. TiAmaT is identical with Inanna. For the syllable Ti or Zi means life and AnNa or A-m-A is the goddess who descended from heaven (AN) and became the mother. It is quite possible that the words "mamma" as well as "wet nurse" have their origin here. (The T at the end of the word is an Egyptian feminine ending).

As already mentioned in the older Sumerian mythology the god of the air carried away the earth (as a symbol for the mother and the female body) and seized so the love and the life. In the younger Babylonian mythology, however, this act was also justified and celebrated by depicting strong femininity as a monster.
As mitigating circumstances, one can introduce here that angry femininity can indeed be terrifying for men.

[More s. Marduk and the creation of the world from the murdered mother and The god of air]

Dragon ("Mother")

This is what the oldest traditions tell us:
The feminine is in negativity due to injury, pain and anger, that is, in the underworld, because pure love ("virgin of life") has died.

[The whole story is detailed in the Sumerian mythology of Inanna, the goddess of love, and is the theme already in the first episode (cf. In the first days - the Sumerian creation story)].


The feminine: life in matter

In the same breath as the creative, divine-spiritual elemental forces of the world, the oldest mythology, the Sumerian, already describes the negativity of the female. This applies both on a small and a large scale. For life itself is hidden in matter, on the one hand in the womb of the woman and on the other hand outside of human consciousness, i.e. in the unconscious.

The underworld: negativity from oppression

For this reason, the spirit of power has always moved people to subjugate matter, which means, on the one hand, to abuse the woman with her body, and on the other hand, to exploit the land with its resources (people and raw materials). With it the topic abuse stands in the room, which lead to impotence or to foaming rage of the feminine. 

[S. I am Lilith, the dark virgin.]

From powerlessness to anger: the wounded feminine

"Trapped" in negativity, figuratively speaking in the underworld, and it must be freed or redeemed from it. This theme with the corresponding images can be found in many traditions of human history.
For example, the powerless rigidity of the younger woman appears in fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are expressed. Powerful angry and vengeful femininity, on the other hand, is represented in lore by witches, harpies, flaming beasts, or other monsters. Because strong femininity and thus the Great Mother as goddess of fate has always been feared by immature men, she has also been demonized (see also Volcanoes, Mount Doom and the Great Mother and Maleficent - theDark Fairy as Goddess of Fate).

Femininity in the grip of negative macho masculinity (animus)!

Here it is to be noted that very well women as well as the Great Feminine can also be in the grip of the same immature male macho energy. This is true as long as their male parts are not integrated (see The Negative Animus as Devil or Pain Body; The Pain Body of Woman. The integration of the anim us means, among other things, reconciliation with one's own weakness).
Thus, angry femininity can also be very destructive. This is expressed in the aforementioned Sumerian lore by the ruler of the underworld and in the Gilgamesh epic in connection with the great flood.

Deep unconsciousness: repressed negative feelings

However, both reactions, powerlessness and anger, are a response to the same grievances, namely unkindness, abuse and exploitation.
However, this negativity is seldom in the light of life, because it is undesirable, laden with shame and is therefore repressed into the unconscious as a hated weakness.
But it is there nevertheless and works with its destructive energy from the shadows. From the unconscious it floods the body into negative emotions and leads to power-oriented behaviour out of fear of further injuries or out of revenge.

[S. Strong Emotions and the Unconscious and Lilith: Disturbing Femininity and the Power of Women.]

Forest ground (the unconscious in the realm of the body)

3. What does the underworld mean?

Decoding the Archetypes

The myths themselves speak in the language of the unconscious, namely in images (see Images and Symbols - the Magic of the Unconscious). That is why it makes sense to ask oneself what they mean, so that their message also becomes accessible to the consciousness and one can make a concrete connection to one's own life.

First to the question:

What exactly belongs to the great feminine?

The feminine - living and receiving matter

The Great Feminine, as "Goddess", represents a spiritual force, namely life itself. Or formulated differently: The feminine side of the creative spirit is living and receiving matter, which receives the impulse of consciousness (spirit, "masculine") and transforms it into material reality ("gives birth").

[S. Male and female, the two primordial forces of creation.]

From the constructive (loving) interaction of male and female, spirit and matter, new reality emerges.

[S. Male and Female and the Creation of New Reality.]

The great feminine includes all women, all people, the earth and all creation. More:
The living, receiving and reality-forming matter (feminine) includes:
  • The woman, all women: They can take up seed and give birth to new life.
  • The human body: It receives impulses of consciousness ("male") and translates them into words, deeds and new reality.
  • The collective (group, people, the whole of humanity).It reacts to information, for example news, with moods and actions. It also takes the instructions of the ruler and shapes new reality according to them (carries out instructions, such as building roads).
  • The earth: It can absorb seeds and enable growth. It also reacts to different influences from the cosmos or from human behaviour.
  • The whole of creation: It is given over to transience and thus in the "underworld".


The feminine as living matter, which can absorb seeds or impulses and give birth to new reality, belongs by definition to the unconscious.

The three aspects of the great feminine

The great feminine as living matter knows three forms, which also correspond to the three phases of a woman's life:

The feminine 3-in-1: Daughter (Virgo, potential) - Mother (reality) - Grandmother (forces of nature and destiny):
  • Daughter as Virgin (white) - potential as the ether or the sea of all possibilities.
  • Mother (red) - living and life-producing reality (quanta; the child symbolises the new reality that is born from it).
  • Grand Mother, the Great Mother (black) - life force in matter, the forces of nature and destiny.

Together, these three aspects form the various manifestations of the great "goddess" as she was worshipped by humans long before there was a male god:

[S. Female Wholeness - the Goddess, White / Red / Black.]

The Goddess in the 3rd aspect: the Great Feminine in the Underworld (the life in matter).

The goddess of the underworld represents the third aspect of the female side of God, the great mother in the underworld. She is mistress of life and death, deity of fate (black) and her domain is the (unconscious) life in matter and in the body. Thus, all life comes from the unconscious and returns there (with the decay of matter).
It is the great mother who - in harmony with the loving father - also gives new life or, in other words, new birth or rebirth.

[S. The Life and the Serpent: Ascent and Descent.]

So to the next question:

What does the underworld mean?

The underworld: the unconscious

The underworld symbolizes the unconscious, which in turn has two meanings:

1. ordinary, "innocent" unconsciousness

On the one hand, the unconscious simply means absence of consciousness (mind, meta-level, see The Human Consciousness). To the area of the unconscious life belong animals and plants. Also the human consciousness must develop first in the course of growing up. As long as this is not the case, the human being lives "naturally unconscious" and therefore "innocent". (There are innumerable the automatic body functions and programs, which steer the life, over genes, instincts and drives as well as early childhood imprints.)
The great myths exhort man to develop his consciousness in order to live consciously, in other words to learn to determine his own unconscious (patterns, imprints) with his consciousness (see Self-Efficacy - Shaping Life Positively. Thus, mythologically speaking, he exercises kingship in his own life. That is the goal. 

2. deep unconsciousness from abysmal negativity

The second meaning of the unconscious is abysmal negativity, which leads to destructive words and deeds. This is also the place of the shadow and death (death as the opposite of life, non-life). If negative feelings like lack, pain or anger are not worked up, they can develop into greed, selfishness, striving for power and finally into murderous hatred.

3. Consumed and Died Love and the Fall of Man

Such traits are called "deep unconsciousness" (because they involve thinking that one has the right to act wrongly). But in reality, one is determined by negative feelings and drives, which is equivalent to a "non-life". In such a state, people are without love and thus spiritually dead. They are figuratively represented, for example, by zombies.
This death, which has come into existence due to lack of love and negativity, is then also represented as a curse and "original sin" and as the consequence of the Fall (the "prohibition" was "If you eat of the fruit, you will die!". The eaten fruit symbolizes consumed love, love as a consumer good, see the biblical account of the Fall).

[S. The Conscious and the Unconscious and The Human Conscious.]

Conclusion: The feminine in the underworld means that the whole of creation is given over to negativity, lack, disease and ultimately death.

Toilets in the London Dungeon (2010)

4. life in the unconscious - consequences

Consequences for humans

What are the consequences for humans?

Apart from the fact of death, man feels the consequences of the fact that life itself is in the unconscious in various ways:

Life itself - a mystery for man
  • Access to life is denied to the human being. Life comes into being when the material conditions are fulfilled and ends when they no longer exist. The consequence is that man can only influence life through material circumstances, in other words ...
  • Also the access to the living matter is denied to the human being. That means he cannot "conjure". He can imagine things with his spirit, but he cannot materialize them or only extremely limited.

Human consciousness - in an unconscious, "animal" body

The spirit of man dwells in an unconscious, namely "animal" body, which controls the vital functions independently of consciousness.

The fight for love - against the urges and the ego

It is necessary to recognize and control drives and driversin order to be able to shape life constructively, i.e. to achieve kingship in one's own life in one's own life. If, on the other hand, the drives rule, man is unfree, trapped in impulsive behavior and reflexive reactions - acting before thinking, see. The snake in the head - the reptilian brain).

  • Man must embark on the hero's path to find the way back to life. Thereby it is necessary to bring the light of the loving consciousness down to the deepest structures of the unconscious. This path includes five phases of examination, which cover all areas of his life.
  • His greatest enemy, the egoman overcomes in the trial by fire. This last test, which demands everything of him and leads him to the bottom of his existence, is The way through the underworld. In the process, he integrates his shadows and recovers his Self and eternal life.

The way back to life: only through inner dying

Thus, man must embark on the hero's path to overcome his drive (see The Expulsion from Paradise). In doing so, the overcoming of the egois tantamount to an inner dying.

In dying, the loving consciousness unites with the unconscious, which is in the underworld.

[S. Christ / Messiah, the Anointed and The Holy Wedding.]

This is also his Way back to the tree of lifewhich symbolizes authority over matter. According to the Jewish tradition he is accompanied by four Cherubim (angels), one of whom holds the flame of the twitching sword, an image of the ordeal by fire, through which there is no way past, but only through.

Collective consequences: the captured or dead deity

The deity "trapped" in matter

Not least because of these myths, the idea probably arose again and again among people that the spirit of life, the mother-deity was "trapped" or "buried" in matter, in the underworld.
And this was followed by the idea that - if it was possible to free her - then the means to heal the world had also been found. This was, for example, one of the main ideas of alchemy, as C.G. Jung explained:

It is not man who is primarily in need of redemption, but the divinity lost and asleep in the substance. [2] 

Dead matter ...?

In fact, quantum physics has also come to the conclusion that theoretically all matter is "alive", in the sense that quanta respond to consciousness.
Accordingly, one would have to ask less the question: "Why is there life?" but rather the question:

"If all matter is alive, why is there dead matter at all?".

And the answer can indeed be found - metaphorically speaking - already in the early traditions, which describe the creation of the world from the slain mother or a large sacrificial animal.
One can also formulate it in such a way that when man consciously appeared in the world, realities were created which worked at the expense of love and in favour of power.

Matricide - as a world-creating act of liberation

In addition, there is this strong quote from C.G. Jung:

There is no consciousness without the distinction of opposites. This is the ["masculine"] father principle of the Logos, who in infinite struggle escapes from the primeval warmth and the primeval darkness of the maternal womb, precisely from unconsciousness. Shunning no conflict, no suffering, no sin, divine curiosity strives for birth. Unconsciousness is the original sin, the evil par excellence for the Logos. But his world-creating act of liberation is matricide, and the [rational] spirit that ventured into all heights and depths must, as Synesius said, also suffer the divine punishments, the bondage to the rocks of the Caucasus. For neither can be without the other, because both were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end. Consciousness can only exist with constant recognition and consideration of the unconscious, just as all life must pass through many deaths.[3]

The ruler of the underworld

Wholeness through integration of the unconscious

Liberation from the underworld

In other words, wholeness always means the recognition and integration of the unconscious. This leads to healing - sanctity.

This is what C.G. Jung emphasised:

"Wholeness includes unconscious content".[4]


"The integration of the unconscious into consciousness has healing effects."[5]

[p. Healing: What comes to light becomes light itself].

 This leads to the next question:

So how can life, which is "trapped" in matter, be liberated?

Integration of the shadows

Liberation or redemption happens when the unconscious, shameful or painful is brought to the light of consciousness ("FATHER"), seen and appreciated. In this way, the shadows are also integrated, which leads to healing or, in other words, wholeness.

Because ... so C.G. Jung again:

The mother-imago, however, represents the unconscious, whose vital necessity is just as much to be connected to consciousness as it is indispensable for the latter not to lose the connection with the unconscious.[6]

Unity between the conscious and the unconscious

The union of the conscious with the unconscious is symbolised in the traditions by the "sacred" wedding of the king and queen.

Because what is in the underworld is not really dead, but separated from the loving consciousness. So the feminine waits for redemption, and so logically also already in the Sumerian tradition the next what happens is that the father and God of the wisdom goes on the way into the underworld. 

Healing of existence: redemption through the Father

The Father and God of Wisdom: Love and Warmheartedness

It is the loving FATHER, the God of heaven or "Father in heaven" himself, who gives himself into the midst of the darkness of existence. He sees the need, accepts weakness and also knows a way out, because he has experience and wisdom.

Because as ARCHETYPE the father has integrated with his daughter ("VIRGIN") his feminine parts and with it pure, unconditional love, and with the growing up of his children he has learned warm-heartedness.
The father enters through his "son" (power, potency) into the living matter in order to sow in it the seed (of the word) of love and thus to initiate the new creation (see The Four of the Family and the Emergence of New Reality and Masculine Wholeness, God, Father - Son - Spirit).

The good son of the father: surrender to the feminine out of obedience

About 3000 years after the Sumerian tradition, Jesus took up this theme again, emphasizing that he had come in the name of the Father and acted according to his will. He respected women and saw their need (see Mary Magdalene and the woman as heroine).
He also gave space to the female mother element with his figurative words and messages, and used old, also shamanic images such as sowing and harvesting spoke or the seed that must fall into the earth and "die" to bear fruit a hundredfold. He himself was a "wounded healer" (see The Sacred Wound and Blood for Life: The Grail and the Cup of Christ).

5. position determination and outlook

Coming to terms with the difficult and painful

Afteranother 2000 years of human history, these themes are still relevant and show the way out of darkness into light.

Reconciliation and healing

The traditions teach that it is important not to block out what is painful, shameful, but to acknowledge it, process it and find reconciliation in it. This leads to a Integration of the shadowand "trapped" resources are released again and healing takes place.[7] and healing takes place.

Fight for love

Women have an important contribution to make to this. As the source of love and life, they must find reconciliation with the suffering of the feminine and resurrect love, as happened with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love. She was killed and resurrected on the 3rd day by the loving father and returned to life (see Inanna's resurrection by the father and The heroic path of the woman).

Healing happens by addressing pain and injustice and thus bringing them to light (see Healing: What comes to light becomes light itself).

So it is to be hoped that humanity will be ready for the better way at the light of love after a last uprising of power.

"Inanna" by Jamali


[1] A theme in C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, p. 324 § 375 ff.

[2] C.G. Jung, Collected Works ,Vol. 12, Psychology and Alchemy, p. 359, § 420, and more also p. 487 § 511.

[3] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 9/I, "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", p. 110, § 178

[4] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 12, Psychology and Alchemy, p. 378 (footnote).

[5] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, p. 547 § 672.

[6] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, p. 384 §457.

[7] On this the Bible says: "Therefore it is said, 'Ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men'"(Eph 4:8 with reference to Ps 68:19) .

Mythological-spiritual backgrounds:

The Sumerian creation report or how everything began
EreshKiGal - from the goddess of the sky to the mistress of the underworld
Marduk or: The creation of the world from the murdered mother (the mother-dragon)
The god of air
Expulsion from the paradise
The original sin
The way back to the tree of life
The four cherubim
Blood for life: The Grail and the Cup of Christ
Garbati's Medusa and #MeToo

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