Inanna, the goddess who survived many ordeals, knelt by a tree longing for a bed. It was her spirit-friend tree, her solace, the sanctuary to which she escaped when life was too much.
Yet the Queen of the Underworld (her dark sister) had taken over the tree, embedding herself comfortably in the trunk. And a serpent lazily twined around, up and down Inanna’s previous source of hope.
As she despaired, a friend appeared. Gilgamesh and Inanna had had hard times and would have more. But they cared for and respected each other, and now he was there to help.
Now, Gilgamesh was no saint. He was king of Uruk, and we all know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
But to the good fortune of Gilgamesh and the people he ruled, the king had a friend called Enkidu. The gods created Enkidu as a wild man so far from the ways of civilization that he remembered the ways of the natural world even after a woman “civilized” him. As such, he gave good counsel to Gilgamesh. And Gilgamesh learned the ways of true friendship from his uninhibited buddy.
A friend brought this story to my attention today, a day after I purchased a REAL bed — a fine full sized mattress and box spring that are now taking up most of another new acquisition, this one from Craigslist, a solid 8×7 Coleman tent.
She showed me a card from Rachel Pollack’s Shining Woman tarot deck. She thought of its relevance to my journey of homelessness after I told her yesterday that I had bought a lightly used bed. After two and a half years of sleeping first in the car and then on an old army cot and for the past year on a twin-sized fold-away bed, this bed is a big deal.
As she pointed out various aspects of the colorful Tarot card, my friend said that when Gilgamesh learned of Inanna’s need for a place to sleep, rest herself and escape the world’s troubles, he cut down the tree.
And made his friend a bed.