Descent of Inanna into Bohemia Grove






When I first met Belle Burch in Ken Kesey Square, I told her about the poet Joaquin Miller who co-founded the Bohemian Club.

“There’s such a thing?” she asked with glee!


When Belle called me, and I told her she was going to be my heir to the Great Tale, little did I know she was already an heir to much of it. Belle’s mother had done much of the work. Catherine Vadertuin’s Descent of Inanna is reminiscent of the plays that Joaquin Miller put on in the Oakland Hills, and the dramas at Bohemian Grove.

What is profound, is, there is a Great Owl at the Grove that some say is Inanna who is accompanied by owls. It is here in the grove of redwoods that I place my Sleeping Beauty Princess. I have captured her. There is nothing she, or anyone, can do to free her – until the Great Story is at an end. Belle’s mother and father put their daughter at the entrance of Labyrinth. Catherine looks like a great owl. Her eyebrows are like the wings of an owl. Look at her long neck. This is a bird-woman.

At the very bottom are some poems that were recited in Vandertuin’s Descent of Inannan that resemble to poetry of the Grove where the 1% gather in the summer. Belle, Alley, and I were/are associated with OCCUPY that are supposed to be united against the elitists.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2014



Descent of Inanna

The inspiration for these pieces came from working with the actors and director of Eugene Chamber Theater. They improvised the story of the , and then provided encouragement, insight, and feedback for the words that I wrote after being inspired by their work. I owe an immense debt to Catherine Vandertuin, Eugene Chamber Theater’s late producer and director (see “Slant” article that follows). She was the archetypal woman gatherer in her role in both this theater piece and this group as she undertook the daunting task of producing a theater piece out of the poetry that came to me in our collaboration. I have been deeply touched by the spirit, talent, perception, and dedication of DJ Adams as Old Woman, as , Nancy Hopps as Inanna (who has taken new directions with her talent) , Richard Leebrick as Dumuzi, Katina Poxino as Ereshkigal , Barratt Walton (also a talented director and playwright) as Ninsubah, Corey Woods as an early Dumuzi, and Tim Guetterman and Jason Hines as Inanna’s sons. I know of no greater gift than to work with such brilliant performers and whole-spirited human beings. I would not have written these words but for their generosity, courage, imagination, and intelligence.

The artist, Jo Mora, created and donated the sculpture to the Bohemian Club of which he and Bret Harte were members. In 1933, when the old Bohemian Club was torn down, the memorial was removed and  reinstalled on the new club in 1934,
Francis Bret Harte (August 25, 1836 – May 6, 1902) was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California.
The plaque which is on the Post Street side of the club depicts 15 characters from Harte’s works.
The characters represented come from a handful of stories and a poem that established Harte’s reputation. He wrote these while living in San Francisco during the gold rush:  Tennessee’s Partner, The Outcasts of Poker Flat, M’Liss and The Luck of  Roaring Camp.  Through his poem “Plain Language from Truthful James,” Harte created a wily Chinaman who outwits his Anglo gambling opponents shown on the far right as the Heathen Chinee.


Bohemian Club in Ceremony to Scatter Poet’s Ashes to Winds

…. .* *r -, i -.-..– —— : :….•:.. ;i !j?; Public memorial services in honor of Joaquin Miller, the* “Poet of -the Sierras,” will *; be held? by the ***’, Bohemian club at 2:30 o’clock tomorrow afternoon at the home -of the poet,’ “The * Hlghts,” back Xbtji. Oakland, v ?Preparations ?ifor, elaborate Jfceremonies y at V* the ?; massive stone pyre erected on the highest hilltop on the Testate? have been completed. The T pyre { stands?* in fa–circle”?’ of cypress and ‘ eucalyptus >’ trees, through which a view of “the ? Golden – gate/may*;?’ be obtained. AAA- yx “•■; ■ n X.A^’ : ‘ A.Ayr AyA XX.. ‘■A- In a poem ” which Ina;D.”Coolbrith has written especially for the occasion particular ?, mention .Is j. made -(of “The Hlghts,” *as A Joaquin » Miller called his home. ? Wallace ;A. : Sabin 5 s has set *: to music theywords of one of ythe*?poet’s late verses V and it will *” be sung by a chorus of ?60 i members of the Bohemian club. In this poem the “Poet of the Sierras”.^speaks of death as a stately, ship that moves “past Alcatraz toward orient skies.”

The program consistsy of an introduction by Z Charles?;K”Field,\president ; of; the?’ Bohemian club; the ,: read Ing X of Miss Coolbrith’s ; poem, “Vale, Joaquin.” ‘by Richard j Hotal ;[an ‘ address *|,t’Coh*-7 sidering Joaquin Miller In His Relation to V Literature,” vyby.f William Dallam Armes :of the English ?: faculty of the University of California; Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem,” music by Dr. H. J. Stewart, by the chorus; an eulogy of the Poet of the Sierra by John P. Irish, and the singing of **f Miller’s £ “Goodby, Good Night,” music, by ??-Wallace r A.?- Sa-; bin, during which the Vpoet’s ashes will be scattered. ■ ” , … …j ‘

a .The”Bohemian club requests that the public attend the services. ‘






Lilith is a Sumerian or Babylonian demon Goddess, Who is perhaps better known for Her role in Jewish legend. Called “The Dark Maid” or “Maiden of Desolation,” Lilith is associated with owls and is a creature of the night. She is depicted on a Babylonian clay plaque from 2000-1600BCE as beautiful winged woman with bird’s feet and claws.

As a young woman, Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of love and war, plants a sacred huluppu-tree from which She hopes to make Her throne (representing Her power as an adult woman) and bed (representing Her full sexuality). But Lilith, along with the serpent and the lion-faced anzu-bird, takes up residence in the huluppu-tree, as a symbol of Inanna’s fears. The hero Gilgamesh eventually drives Lilith out, and Inanna is then able to claim Her throne and bed.

The term ‘Bohemian’, by the way, has very little to do with the East-European region of Bohemia. The original Bohemians were a group of pennyless rebellious young artists living in 19th century France. Among them were Victor Hugo (wrote ‘Hunchback of the Notre Dame’ and is today an inspiration for the elite European Institute), Arthur Rimbaud, Alfred De Musset, and Paul Verlaine. Those who referred to these people as ‘Bohemians’ meant that they thought of them as Gypsies (low life). The first accusation we know of was made in 1834 by Felix Pyat in a Parisian publication called ‘Nouveau Tableau de Paris au XIX Siecle’.

It read: “alien and bizarre… outside the law, beyond the reaches of society… they are the Bohemians of today.” The Frenchman Henry Murger was the first to popularize the term in his 1849 novel ‘Scenes de la Boheme’, which was turned into a play 2 years later. In this book the main character, together with a few newly found friends, is involved in creating a small unofficial Bohemian club at a local Parisian tavern. Murger’s description of a Bohemian is someone who purely lives of the art he creates. Bohemia, according to him, was located in Paris. So, I guess it’s pretty obvious to see where the San Francisco artists got their inspiration from when they established the Bohemian Club in 1872. And they might have been totally different persons then those who inspired the creation of the Cremation of Care.

The Owl

The Bohemians adopted the owl as their mascot right from the beginning, but it is doubtful that they attached any serious mystical values to it at that moment. Today, when the average person sees pictures or videos of the Cremation of Care ritual they will usually get away with an entirely different impression. Who would ever have imagined that the president of the United States, together with a large chunk of America’s elite, attends a yearly gathering where an ancient Babylonian (mock) human sacrifice is carried out in front of huge stone owl? The original Bohemians were quite eccentric (and the absolute opposite of today’s Grovers), but this is just too bizarre. So whatever the owl meant for the early Bohemian Clubbers, it is quite reasonable to philosophize a bit about what the owl is supposed to represent these days. After all, the Cremation of Care was devised by a not-so-average Bohemian and the giant stone owl was only put into place in the 1920s when the Grove already was an elite gathering for at least 10 to 15 years. In fact, the nationwide coverage of the Cremation of Care ceremony around the turn of the century seemed to have drawn in lots of important people.

However, the best candidate may be Lilith a reference to which dates back to the 2,000 BC Sumerian epic Gilgamesh and the Huluppu-Tree wherein she is referred to as “the demoness Lilith.” The Burney Relief, a terracotta plaque dating to circa the same time, either represents Lilith or Inanna. The figure is nude, has

wings, talons for feet, various horns, is standing on two lions and between two owls. Now, Inanna is a Sumerians goddess and was known to the Akkadians as Ishtar.

Clearly, part of the issue, the confusion, is that one figure was known to various cultures by various names, etc.

Keeping in mind that this is all supposedly about blowing off steam note that during the ritual it is stated:

The Owl is in His leafy temple. Let all within the grove be reverent before Him…And holy are the pillars of this house…For behold, here is Bohemia’s shrine. And holy are the pillars of his house…let them [gallant friends] join us in this ritual!…It is a dream. And yet, not all a dream…

This is a call to worship. Also, the reference to pillars is clearly Masonic.

For lasting happiness we turn our eyes to one alone, and she surrounds you now. Great nature, refuge of the weary heart…She is ever faithful…seek ye her in any quiet place…she will rise and give to you her kiss. So must ye come as children…

The only true happiness, so it is being stated, is nature worship: Paganism.

Bohemians and priests!…By the power of your fellowship, Dull Care is slain. His body has been brought yonder to our funeral pyre…O thou, thus ferried across the shadowy tide. In all the ancient majesty of death

Dull Care, ardent enemy of beauty. Not for thee the forgiveness or the restful grave.

The ritual takes place before a stream and so there is an actual ferry which brings the corpse of Dull Care. This is reminiscent of the traversing of the river Styx with the Greek daemon Charon who is the ferryman.

Dull Care states:

Fools! Fools! Fools! When will ye learn. That me ye cannot slay? Year after year ye burn me in this grove. Lifting your puny shouts of triumph to the stars. When again you turn your faces to the marketplace. Do you not find me waiting as of old? Fools! Fools! Fools to dream you conquer care…

Ye shall burn me once again! Not with these flames! Which hither ye have brought. From regions where I reign. Ye fools and priests. I spit upon your fire!

Clearly, Dull Care is a Phoenix like figure who is not burned never to return but is burnt, raises from the ashes, as it were, is burnt, raises again, etc.

Say Thou mocking spirit! It is not all a dream. We know thou waiting for us…But this too we know. Year after year within this happy grove. Our fellowship bans thee for a space. Thine malevolence which would pursue us here. Has lost its power under these friendly trees. So shall we burn thee once again this night.

Again, this is all supposed to be pageantry representing forgetting the cares of the world. Why then the ritualistic, mythological, religious terminology and imagry?

O Owl! Prince of all mortal wisdom. Owl of Bohemia, we beseech thee. Grant us thy council.

This is nothing but a prayer which petitions the wise owl for council: sounds like a petition to the revealer of the knowledge of good and evil.

Next, in referring to fire, the following is stated:

Let it be in the world. Where care is nourished. On the hates of men. And drive Him from this grove. One flame alone must light this fire. One flame alone must light this fire. A pure eternal flame. At last, within the lamp of Fellowship. Upon the altar of Bohemia.

The ritual ends with:

O Great Owl of Bohemia! We thank thee for thy adjuration. Begone detested care! Begone! Once more, we banish thee! Begone Dull Care! Fire should have its will of thee! Begone Dull Care! And all the winds make merry with thy dust. Hail, fellowship’s eternal flame! Once again Midsummer sets us free!

Are the same thing:
How to say, “bird”
Is to inhabit a body of wings,
To be lifted up
On the chair of the sky.
It was the red-handed wind
That first taught me
To rise between worlds,
To drink from
The twin breasts of the Earth
That anchors us all.
Inanna Burns Dumuzi through Four Lifetimes:
The First Time
Ah, the first time!
Do you remember the first time
The daughter of the sun
Every burned for you?
How eagerly you traveled
The sparkling labyrinth of my skin,
Rode my bull of pleasure
To its swinging gate?
You were my shepherd
And I your queen.
You smelled of earth and wine,
And I took off everything
Except my scent for you.
We lapped one another like mead,
Swallowing flame and fermentation.
I made you my king,
Trading you rod for rod,
Your scepter was so sweet to me,
Commanding the whole
Kingdom of my vulva.
I was Queen of the Light,
But it was your torch
That made a city of daylight
Out of my body.
Do you remember
How you softened me
Under the sway of your staff
Until the whole earth exploded,
Rising up green and moist
And frothing with fruit?
Do you remember
How we dove together
Into the hurricane,
How the tornado talked to us
And the lava melted us
To a single mountain of flesh,
Monument to the eternal rock
Of our desire?
De you remember
How you kept me awake
All night, burning,
My beloved Dumuzi,
I have always
Burned for you.
The Call of Ereshkigal
You have stolen
The thunder and the lightning,
The rain
That speaks for itself.
You keep the temple.
I keep the sanctuary
Of the womb.
You keep your lapis:
I keep the blue stone of time.
You keep the crown,
I keep that
Which buries the crown.
You keep your thousand torches,
I keep the mystery of bones.
Only in entering my body
Will you find it.
I am your twin!
What they have stolen
From me they have
Stolen from you.
You keep the height of heaven.
I keep everything
You must step on
To get there.
You keep
The tree of heaven,
I keep the roots
That hold her upright.
You keep your jewels,
I keep the treasure.
You keep the codes;
I keep the law.
Every king you have ascended
To the throne will tumble
In the wind of my voice
If you have not
What I have.
I am your secret
And you are my song!
You are the morning
And the evening star,
But I am the horizon.
You are the rising
And the setting-
But I am forever.
I am the voice of the lion
You keep by your side;
I am what you wear
Under your robes
Even if you clothe yourself
In the entire heaven.
Inanna, I am your twin!
What they have stolen from me,
They have stolen from you.
I am your secret
And you are my song!
Inanna, I am waiting.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Descent of Inanna into Bohemia Grove

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    Here are the words Belle’s mother helped compose. The wiccans and warlocks that surrounded Belle, went insane with rage when they saw the White-haired Old Fool had captured them, the core of their Dark Magic! “Do you remember the first time
    The daughter of the sun
    Every burned for you?
    How eagerly you traveled
    The sparkling labyrinth of my skin,
    Rode my bull of pleasure
    To its swinging gate?
    You were my shepherd
    And I your queen.
    You smelled of earth and wine,
    And I took off everything
    Except my scent for you.
    We lapped one another like mead,
    Swallowing flame and fermentation.
    I made you my king,
    Trading you rod for rod,
    Your scepter was so sweet to me,
    Commanding the whole
    Kingdom of my vulva.
    I was Queen of the Light,
    But it was your torch
    That made a city of daylight
    Out of my body.
    Do you remember
    How you softened me
    Under the sway of your staff
    Until the whole earth exploded,
    Rising up green and moist
    And frothing with fruit?.

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