Euoi Bakchai

Scholiast on Clement of Alexandria’s Protrepticus 12.119.1
For the initiates of the mysteries of Dionysos ate raw flesh, doing this rite in commemoration of the dismemberment that Dionysos suffered at the hands of the maenads.

δύσαγνον κρεανομίαν· ὠμὰ γὰρ ἤσθιον κρέα οἱ μυούμενοι Διονύσῳ, δεῖγμα τοῦτο τελούμενοι τοῦ σπαραγμοῦ, ὃν ὑπέστη Διόνυσος ὑπὸ τῶν Μαινάδων.

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Mad as a March hare

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Had a visit with Dionysos tonight and was shown some stuff I need to take care of. Nothing that need concern you, dear readers; as always the show will go on. But first I need to wrap up some loose threads, so I’m fast forwarding things a bit with March Madness.

Here’s the results for Division I – Round Four:

Sterope (5) vs Karya (1)
Thero (4) vs Rhesos (5)

Which gets us Sterope vs Rhesos in Round Five.

Whoever will the Division I champ be?

Sterope, 6 to 4, is the winner! Huzzah! The Division I Champion is Sterope!

And Morrheus with nodding plume chased Mainads innumerable in their fine robes. Eurypyle, Sterope, Soë he mowed down with his sword, Staphyle he cleft asunder, ruddy Gigarto he wounded, and pierced Melictaina’s breast above the pink nipple, staining his deadly steel with crimson. (Nonnos, Dionysiaka 30.220-225)

Here’s the results for Division I – Round Four:

Herakles (1) vs Rheia (3)
Stesichore (5) vs Attalos (1)

Which gets us Stesichore vs Rheia in Round Five.

Who’s the Division II champion? Rheia, winning 5 to 3! Woohoo! Go Rheia!

At nine years old the youngster went a-hunting his game to the kill … He dragged horrible lions all alive, and clutching a couple of feet in each hand presented them to the Mother that she might yoke them to her car. Rheia looked on laughing with joy, and admired the manliness and doughty feats of young Dionysos. (Nonnos, Dionysiaka 9. 136 ff)

And in the final battle for thiasarchos 2015 the results are:

Rheia (1)
Sterope (5)

Sterope takes the prize! She’ll be getting a special devotional anthology all her own.

Thanks for playing along guys, it’s been a blast!

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My heart burns

Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition by Charles Godfrey Leland
This reminds me of the task on which I am engaged. If it were only to gather, collate, and correct a collection of fairy tales, or proverbs, or parables, or games, or Exempla, it would be an easy, or at least a defined work. Such pools are not hard to fathom, or count, or measure, or exhaust. But this mass of old, obscure, unrecorded mythology, comes pouring and foaming down like the Arno from the mountains of La Romagna, in whose mysterious recesses still dwells

the dragon’s ancient brood,
And rocks fall over roaring in the flood.

Well, it is a strange country little known–we have Goethe’s word for that–and it has sent me, all in a spring freshet, obscure deities of doubtful name and fame, sorceries, rhymes, legends–dirt and diamonds–tutti confusi e misti. What should I give? What should I suppress? As compared to anything which I have as yet met in folk-lore this has been more like counting Ossian’s ghosts than aught else. Many a time have I almost despaired over it, and many a time been awed.

But hope springs eternal in the human breast, and so I will proceed to discuss my last discovery of a divinity who is generally supposed to have utterly died out nearly two thousand years ago, and yet who lives as a real folletto among a few old witches in La Romagna. I mean Faflon.

FUFLUNUS was the Etruscan Bacchus. “His name,” writes MÜLLER (Die Etrusker, vol. ii., p. 79), “was sounded (lautet) Fuflunus, Fuflunu, Fufluns–generally Fufluns. GERHARDT, i., 83, 84, 87, 90, &c.; CORSSEN (i., p. 313-5). We find on goblets Fufunl (FAHR. P, Spl. n. 453) and Fuflunsl (CORSSEN, i., p. 430), according to CORSSEN from poculum, and poculum Bacchi. He derives the name of the god from the Indogennanic root fu, to beget, ab. Gerhard from Populonia”–which is very doubtful.

On inquiring from my best authority if there was in La Romagna Toscana a spirit of the vineyards, or of wine, I was promptly informed that there was such a being known as Fardel, or Flavo, but among the witches, or those better informed in such mysteries, as Faflon. And at once there was narrated to me a legend which was then written out:–

“Faflon is a spirit who lives in the vines, and when women or men have gathered grapes and filled the panniers, then comes this Faflon and scatters them all on the ground; but woe to the contadini should they be angered at it, for then Faflon knocks them right and left, and tramples (on the grapes), so that they get no profit. But if they take it good-naturedly, he gathers them again, and replaces them in the panniers.

“Now there was a peasant who greatly loved the spirits, and frequently blessed them. One year everything went wrong with him, his crop of grapes and all other fruit failed, yet for all this he still loved Faflon and blessed him.

“One morning he rose to gather what little there was on the vines, but found that even that little was gone. The poor peasant began to weep, and said: Non mi resta che morire. All that remains for me now is to die, for I have lost what little crop I had in my little vineyard.’ When all at once Faflon appeared, but beautiful with a beauty like enchantment–ma tanto bello di una bellezza da fare incantare–and said: ‘Oh, peasant with great coarse shoes, but with a fine brain, thou hast loved me so well I will reward thee. Go to thy cellar, and there a great quantity

D’uva mastatata tu troverai
E gran vino tu lo farai.

(Pressed grapes thou shalt see,
And great thy store of wine will be.)

“Now what Faflon had said seemed to be like a dream to the peasant, but he went to his cellar, and truly the wine which he had that year made him rich, e non ebbe piú biogna di fare il contadino–he was no longer obliged to live as a peasant.”

No one can doubt that this Faflon–it was written in the MS. sometimes Flaflon–is the Fufluns, or Fufunal, of the Etruscans. His appearance as a very beautiful being is perfectly in accordance with that of Bacchus. It is exactly in this manner that Bacchus flashes up in beauty from disguise in classic tales. Bacchus of old carried off mortal beauties for mistresses, and I now give word for word as related by a witch a story of a modern Ariadne:–

“There was a contadino who had several vineyards, yet all went so ill with them for several years that he had not wine enough to drink for his family.

“Now he had a daughter–di una belleza da fare incantare–of enchanting beauty. And one evening as he was sitting almost in despair, his daughter said: ‘Father, dear, do you not know how all this came to pass? Have you forgotten that strange and beautiful youth who once came to you and begged for me–he was so much in love? And when you denied him what he asked, he replied: “If I cannot have her neither shall you have any vintage.”‘

“Then the peasant was very angry, and beat his daughter, so that she had to go to bed. Then he went into the cellar, but what a sight be saw! On all the barrels were devils frolicking; fire flashed from their eyes and flamed from their mouths, and as they danced they sang:–

Give Faflon that girl of thine,
And henceforth thou shalt have wine
If the maiden you deny,
As a beggar thou shalt die.

“Then the man gave his daughter to Faflon, and lo! all the barrels were filled with the best, and from that time his vintages were abundant.”

The picture of the cellar full of frisking Bacchanals and Fauns is good. I suspect that a Catholic influence made them “devils with fire coming out of their mouths.”

But perhaps it was only

Il vino divino
Che fiammeggia nel Sansovino.

(The wine divine
Which flames so red in Sansovine.)

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Beastly

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When Thracians face off against maenads it rarely goes well for them, so while Rhesos is a hero within the Starry Bull tradition my money’s on Thero.

Who’s Thero, you ask? Why, only one of the most bad-ass warrior women to grace Etruscan and Southern Italian pottery. Although her name and general appearance remain the same, her story changes a bit with each depiction. Sometimes she’s an Amazon, sometimes a maenad, and sometimes she’s just hanging out killing shit, because she can.

The further Amazon, Thero, slightly in advance, wears Scythian dress decorated with horizontal patterns, alternately a double comb-pattern in black, and zigzags in light brown: across the right shoulder and chest runs a border of zigzags, and a border of mæanders across the thigh: her cap is ornamented with a helix: in her right hand she holds out an arrow, in her left (not seen) a Scythian bow. […] Hartwig’s attribution of this cup to Euphronios is strengthened by a comparison with the Naucratis fragments, D 1, on which the same decoration of the drapery with minute crosses, and arrangement of the hem in the triple wavy lines, occur; also the treatment of the hair of Thero resembles the manner of Euphronios. The name Thero occurs as that of a maenad in a vase of Oltos. (Henry Beauchamp Walters, A catalogue of the Greek and Etruscan vases in the British museum, Volume 3 pgs 70-71)

This vase is described by Jane Ellen Harrison thusly:

At this time the vase-painter is still free to make a certain choice, the twelve Olympians are not yet canonical. On the obverse the gods are seated waiting, and on the reverse the new god is coming in all his splendour in his chariot with vine and wine-cup in his hand. With him, characteristically, for he is never unaccompanied, come the Satyr Terpes playing on the lyre and the Maenad Thero with thyrsos and fawn and snake, and behind the chariot another Maenad Kalis with thyrsos and lion and a Satyr Terpon playing on the flute. (Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion pg 367)

satyr-maenad-embrace

Not actually a depiction of Thero, but I love how she’s got the satyr by the neck and is just nonchalantly swinging a cat. Because she can.

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Posting the results a little early, because I can.

So let’s see how good my guessing skills are.

Prediction: In Momos vs Sterope, Momos will be victor.
And the winner is … Sterope, 3 to 2.

Prediction: In Thero vs Skyrtos, Thero will be victor.
And the winner is … Thero, 5 to 1.

Prediction: In Rhesos vs Ampelos, Ampelos will be victor.
And the winner is … Rhesos, 4 to 1.

Prediction: In Thetis vs Karya, Karya will be victor.
And the winner is … Karya, 5 to 1.

Prediction: In Herakles vs Aristaios, Herakles will be victor.
And the winner is … Herakles, 6 to 1.

Prediction: In Stesichore vs Olympias, Olympias will be victor.
And the winner is … Stesichore, 4 to 2.

Prediction: In Attalos vs Arachne, Arachne will be victor.
And the winner is … Attalos, 6 to 1.

Prediction: In Rheia vs Melampous, Rheia will be victor.
And the winner is … Rheia, 5 to 1.

Meaning I’m right about fifty per cent of the time – which is why I tell folks that I’m a diviner not a psychic!

Anyway, next week in Division I we’ll have Sterope vs Karya and Thero vs Rhesos, while in Division II it’ll be Herakles vs Rheia and Stesichore vs Attalos.

Who do you think is going to end up thiasoarchos 2015?

Fufluns

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And here’s a collection for the Minos Bull

My mother bore a child … my mother bore a child!

Hail! Hail! Asterion, Lord of Suffering!

I am a fucking monster

The dreams in their heads cannot be found in the maze.

The red of Cabernet Sauvignon

“Mother,” it seemed to say.

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Διονύσια τὰ ἐν Ἄστει

In honor of the City Dionysia I’ve put together a cinematic compilation of one of the greatest tragedies.

The Tale of Orpheus and Eurydice

a poet who went to the underworld after the death of his wife

One strum of his lyre moves the hearts of stones.

spaziert mit einer Freundin im Wald.

“And what does King Orpheus seek from Hades?”

“I believe in you … and me, forever … and ever … and ever …”

Eurydice was allowed to return on one condition.

Finale.

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Excited

I’m really excited about round three competitions, the results of which will be posted Tuesday.

I have no clue what the outcome will be. See, how this works is that I use two dice – one white and the other purple, each corresponding to a contestant. They’re rolled and the winner is determined by the die with the highest number, with ties going into overtime and being rolled again.

That said, here are my picks:

In Momos vs Sterope, Momos will be victor.
In Thero vs Skyrtos, Thero will be victor.
In Rhesos vs Ampelos, Ampelos will be victor.
In Thetis vs Karya, Karya will be victor.
In Herakles vs Aristaios, Herakles will be victor.
In Stesichore vs Olympias, Olympias will be victor.
In Attalos vs Arachne, Arachne will be victor.
In Rheia vs Melampous, Rheia will be victor.

Further, I think we’re going to end up with Karya as Division I champ and Rheia Division II.

What are your predictions?

And remember, there’s still time to get your bets in for thiasarchos 2015. Just Paypal $5 to me at sannion@gmail.com and if you’re right you’ll receive a personally signed copy of the devotional anthology compiled in their honor. (Alternately you can place a bet by agreeing to write a piece for them should your champion prove victorious. I’m basically doing this to raise funds to cover the production costs of the anthology.)

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Is that a snake in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

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I’m certain that what the author I quoted in the last piece was referring to is the ceremony described by Dunstan Lowe:

Its pivotal moment is described to us by Christian polemicists, and E.N. Lane is very skeptical about it, since there is no explicit documentation from the worshippers themselves, iconographic or otherwise. It would be quite remarkable if there were artifacts, since nothing of the kind exists for the much larger mystery-cults (compare even Apuleius’ silence about Isiac initiation) and, as I shall argue, the widely-used symbol of the snake is in fact the relevant token. A “snake” artifact representing the god Sabazius (and, or as, his father Zeus?) was passed down the front of the initiate’s body under the clothing (through the κόλπος or sinus.) Walter Burkert suggests that the experience was not so much erotic as thrilling, since the initiate might fear that the snake were real. Arnobius specifies that it was made of gold, and was extracted from the lower hem of the garment, emphasizing aspects that to him seemed perversely sensual.

But I prefer to imagine some dude wearing sprigs of rosemary and thyme running around maniacally laughing as he flogs people with snakes.

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Everything’s better in Italy

The article Influence of Greek and Egyptian cultures in Art, Architecture and Religion in the Ancient Roman City of Pompeii reveals a previously unknown rite of the cult of Sabazius in Magna Graecia:

The final major foreign cult was the cult of Sabazius who was a Thracian (Northern Greek) and Phrygia (Asia Minor) god of vegetation. Although no actual public temple has been found in Pompeii a garden dedicated to the worship of Sabazius was in region 2 of Pompeii. There were dancing processions of men and women who were garlanded with herbs. The head priest would then hit each of the initiates with a serpent. Clement also wrote that the initiations were held at night and that in order to symbolise death they were covered in mud and then ‘rose’ to resurrection through the chanting of a special text. Joined in a symbolic marriage to Sabazius the initiates then celebrated with a religious banquet that allowed them to anticipate the joys that would be theirs in the afterlife.

Snake-handlers

“This here’s a fine whacking-snake. Alright folks, line up!”

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Take my gift

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So, remember how I said:

My current obsession is figuring out how Dionysos got to Italy. You see, practically every country – if not city – where he was worshipped has a myth of arrival, which has him appearing to a representative of the place (the majority of the time this person is a member of the royal house, but in a number of instances they may be an impoverished peasant) and either receiving hospitality, however humble, for which they are rewarded with wine and knowledge of viticulture or rejection and violent opposition which inevitably brings about madness and child-killing. In a number of instances Dionysos seduces the wife or daughter of his host, begetting heroic offspring that either supplant the current royal line or fill an important, hereditary position within his cult.

Found one:

Though called away by my great theme, I may not pass over the honours of Bacchus without mention. I must tell of the god who bestowed on man the divine drink, and whom the nectar-bearing vines forbid to set any brand above the presses of Falernus. In the good old days before swords were known, Falernus, a man in years, used to plough the high ground of Mount Massicus. Then the fields were bare, and no vine-plant wove a green shade for the clusters; nor did men know how to mellow their draught with the juice of Lyaeus, but were wont to slake their thirst with the pure water of a spring. But when Lyaeus was on his way to the shore of Calpe and the setting sun, a lucky foot and a lucky hour brought him hither as a guest; nor did the god disdain to enter the cottage and pass beneath its humble roof. The smoke-grimed door welcomed a willing guest; the meal was set, in the fashion of that simple age, in front of the hearth; nor was the happy host aware that he entertained a god; but, as his fathers used to do, he ran hither and thither with kindly zeal, tasking his failing strength. At last the feast was set—fruit in clean baskets, and dainties dripping dew which he hastened to cull from his well-watered garden. Then he adorned the toothsome meal with milk and honeycomb, and heaped the gifts of Ceres on a chaste board which no blood denied. And from each dish he first plucked a portion in honour of Vesta, and threw what he had plucked into the centre of the fire.

Pleased by the old man’s willing service, Bacchus decreed that his liquor should not be lacking. Suddenly a miracle was seen: to pay the poor man for his hospitality, the beechen cups foamed with the juice of the grape; a common milk-pail ran red with wine; and the sweet moisture of fragrant clusters sweated in the hollow oaken bowl. “Take my gift,” said Bacchus; “as yet it is strange to you, but hereafter it will spread abroad the name of Falernus, the vine-dresser”; and the god was no longer disguised. Straightway ivy crowned his brows that glowed and flushed; his locks flowed down over his shoulders; a beaker hung down from his right hand; and a vine-plant, falling from his green thyrsus, clothed the festive board with the leaves of Nysa. Falernus found it hard to strive against the cheerful draught: when he had drunk once again of the cup, his stammering tongue and staggering feet roused mirth. With splitting head he tried, though he could not speak plain, to render thanks and praise to Father Lyaeus; and at last Sleep, who goes ever in the train of Bacchus, closed his reluctant eyes. And when the sun rose and the hoofs of Phaethon’s horses dispelled the dews, all Mount Massicus was green with vine-bearing fields, and marvelled at the leafage and the bunches shining in the sunlight. The fame of the mountain grew, and from that day fertile Tmolus and the nectar of Ariusia and the strong wine of Methymna have all yielded precedence to the vats of Falernus. (Silius Italicus, Punica 7.162-211)

antica-distilleria-petrone-elixir-falernum-liqoure-campania-italy-10627849

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Just sent this off to the good folks at Many Gods West

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Name: Bakcheion
Title of session: Filled with frenzy.
Session description: A celebration of the god Dionysos through wine, masks, drumming, dancing and altered states of consciousness. Open only to those who are 21 or older.
Group description: Bakcheion (Βακχεῖον) is a sacred guild honoring Dionysos Bakcheios, the god of ecstatic deliverance. Formed with the sole intent of hosting a Dionysian ritual at Many Gods West 2015, the Bakcheion includes members from all over the United States and the polytheist and pagan spectrums. Our only requirements are a sincere desire to throw the best celebration possible for the god and that you’re 21 or older. You can join here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/bakcheion/info
Requirements: We’ll need lots of space and the freedom to offer wine and make noise. Our preference would be for a Saturday evening slot.
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Worry not, for he awaits you on the other side

I’m always fascinated by the glimpses we get of local variant traditions in Italy, such as this Etruscan mirror:

ariadne esia

Nancy de Grummond in Mirrors, Marriage and Mystery explains the scene thusly:

Another specimen, of a Praenestine pear-shaped type but with Etruscan inscription, has the theme of the fate of Esia, a name unknown in Greco-Roman myth. E. H. Richardson argued that she was the equivalent of Ariadne, in a story of the latter’s death as caused by Artemis, and many have accepted her suggestion. She is held wrapped up like a dead soul by Artumes, who displays the arrows with which the goddess is accustomed to end the lives of young girls. Next to her stand Fufluns, the Etruscan Dionysos, a bearded male with a drinking cup, and a winged Menrva. Below, coming up from the ground, appears an oracular head. We do not know its message, but most likely it relates to the fate of Esia. It may be that Fufluns will receive her and bestow immortality upon her. Whatever the message, Fufluns and Menrva seem to react strongly: Menrva throws up both hands in a gesture of surprise (or dismay?) and Fufluns also raises one hand. We shall observe these gestures again in other scenes of individuals who are receiving a prophecy.

I’d love to know more details of this story, as it has some direct bearing on the relationship between Ariadne and Arachne, a subject of no little importance within the Starry Bull tradition.

Speaking of which, I received a bit of external corroboration last night from no less than the Bard, good old Willy Shakespeare himself.

I’ll let Elizabeth Freund tell the tale:

In Book VI of The Metamorphoses Ovid tells the story of Arachne, a subtle weaver of Lydia, too skillful for her own good. She dares to rival Pallas Athene with her superior artistry at the loom. Mortal and goddess engaged in a competition in which each wove splendid scene into her tapestry. Athene represented the Immortals (including herself) as all-powerful figures of authority, while Arachne chose to weave tales of divine erotica into her web. When the work was done not even Athene’s envy could deny the superior quality of Arachne’s art. In her jealous rage the goddess struck through Arachne’s loom and tore the tapestry. The girl, ashamed and humiliated, hung herself, but the goddess restored her to life as a spider.

Arachne makes a single, abbreviated appearance in the Shakespearean canon, and even then her provenance is doubtful. Her tale of ill-fated rivalry with divine artistic power is curtailed to a rather obscure simile in V.ii of Troilus and Cressida.

Troilus: Within my soul there doth conduce a fight
Of this strange nature that a thing inseparate
Divides more wider than the sky and earth;
And yet the spacious breadth of this division
Admits no orifex for a point as subtle
As Ariachne’s broken woof to enter.
(V.ii 146-51)

By what devious detours of the imagination does this apocryphal “Ariachne” find her way into the texture of Troilus and Cressida? How subtle is “a point as subtle as Ariachne’s broken woof?” What are we to make of this pointed figure, sharp enough to penetrate the impenetrable, yet obscured by breakage and division? How Ariadne, who provided Theseus with the clue of a thread to guide him out of the Cretan maze, came to be enmeshed in Arachne’s web, whether by a printer’s carelessness or in an author’s slip of the pen or daring of the imagination, is probably beyond conclusive recovery. “Ariachne” may be an “original,” a felicitous neologism spun spider-fashion out of the creator’s own gut; or she may be no more than the accidental issue of a typesetter’s clumsy fingers. In either event she is a new creation who also carries incontestable traces of prior origins.

The conflation or confusion of this marginal figure of “Ariachne,” who is and is not Arachne, is and is not Ariadne, points the way into the major labyrinth of citation and the travesty of citation which is the “stuff” out of which Troilus and Cressida “makes paradoxes” (I. iii. 184). Yet this fragmentary clue proves also the very obstacle which thwarts the expectation of a safe conduct through the maze.

And while you’re pondering all of that, listen to Ariadna en su Laberinto (Ariadne in Her Labyrinth) – a traditional Sephardic romance by Osvaldo Golijov, from his song-cycle Ayre.

Here are the lyrics:

Why do you cry fair child?
Why do you cry, white flower?
I cry because you leave me.

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Fufluns demonstrates ancient art of Etruscan divination

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Step 1. Drink lots of wine.
Step 2. Strip down to your boots and crown.
Step 3. Drink more wine.
Step 4. Get some chick to hold up a mirror or a bowl filled with wine (assuming there’s any wine left) until you start seeing visions.

Fufluns Pachie is totally my favorite version of Dionysos’ name, though the Oscan Loufir comes a close second:

“Charming language,” he said, “charming! Ever since I learned that the Etruscans used to call the god of wine Fufluns, I’ve taken the keenest interest in their language. Fufluns – how incomparably more appropriate that is than Bacchus, or Liber, or Dionysos! Fufluns, Fufluns,” he repeated with delighted emphasis. “It couldn’t be better. They had a real linguistic genius, those creatures. What poets they must have produced! ‘When Fufluns flucuthukhs the ziz’ – one can imagine the odes in praise of wine which began like that. You couldn’t bring together eight such juicy, boozy syllables as that in English, could you?” (Aldous Huxley, Those Barren Leaves (1925) pg. 248)

All kidding aside, this image is really cool as you actually see Dionysos engaged in the act of divination.

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Ever reveled with Dionysos in the pale moon light?

2503da0b84d3714bdc55d055099990f1Where will you be July 31st through August 2nd?

There’s a pretty good chance (if the stars align and finances are juggled just right) that I’ll be attending the Many Gods West conference in Olympia Washington.

It’s even possible there’ll be a big Dionysian happening as part of the official schedule, hosted by yours truly.

Of course, I also hear talk of a small wooded park pretty close to the hotel, meaning that we could do other types of ritual as well. The kind of stuff you don’t list on conference programming. (Boy, Dionysos’ retinue sure are a rowdy bunch!)

And why, with enough advance notice and preparation teletai could even be put together for select individuals. We’d have to start the process pretty soon though. That’s not the kind of thing you just show up to.

So what do you say, you in?

I’ll need to know within a couple days, as they’ve got a deadline of March 31st and if I don’t have the rudiments of a team put together by then I’m not going to submit anything official.

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creeping terror

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Zagreus the horned baby, who by himself climbed upon the heavenly throne of Zeus and brandished lightning in his little hand; but he did not hold the throne of Zeus for long. By the fierce resentment of implacable Hera, the Titans cunningly smeared their round faces with disguising chalk (titanos), and while he contemplated his changeling countenance reflected in a mirror they destroyed him with an infernal knife. (Nonnos, Dionysiaka 6.155 ff)

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looming symbols

Arachne (2)

Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 5.8.49.3
So what? Does not Epigenes, in his book On the Poetry of Orpheus, in exhibiting the peculiarities found in Orpheus, say that by “the curved rods” (κερκίσι) is meant “ploughs”; and by the warp (στήμοσι), the furrows; and the woof (μίτος) is a figurative expression for the seed; and that “tears of Zeus” signify a storm; and that the “parts” (μοῖραι) are, again, the phases of the moon, the thirtieth day, and the fifteenth, and the new moon, and that Orpheus accordingly calls them “white-robed,” as being parts of the light? Again, that the Spring is called “flowery” (ἄνθιον) from its nature; and Night “still” (ἀργίς) on account of rest; and the Moon “Gorgonian,” on account of the face in it; and that the time in which it is necessary to sow is called “Aphrodite” by the theologian? In the same way, too, the Pythagoreans spoke figuratively, allegorizing the “dogs of Persephone” as the planets, the “tears of Cronus” as the sea.

Hippolytus of Rome, On Christ and Antichrist 4
For whereas the Word of God was without flesh, he took upon Himself the holy flesh by the holy Virgin, and prepared a robe which He wove for Himself, like a bridegroom, in the sufferings of the cross, in order that by uniting His own power with our mortal body and by mixing the incorruptible with the corruptible, and the strong with the weak, He might save perishing man. The web-beam (ἱστόν), therefore, is the passion of the Lord upon the cross, and the warp (στήμων) on it is the power of the Holy Spirit, and the woof (κρόκη) is the holy flesh woven by the Spirit, and the thread (μίτος) is the grace which by the love of Christ binds and unites the two in one, and the rods (κερκίς) are the Word; and the workers are the patriarchs and prophets who weave the fair, long, perfect tunic (χιτῶν) for Christ; and the Word passing through these, like the rods, completes through them the will of His Father.

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I smiled into the mirror

I think I’ve had a breakthrough of sorts.

So as you know I’ve been struggling to figure out what I should do since stepping down as archiboukolos, especially since everything I’ve attempted to do has met with increasingly improbable obstacles up to and including having my leg busted and the roof spring a leak when I’ve tried to set up a shrine.

A couple days ago (not really sure when, so I’m just going to say Monday since that’s when all of that cool astronomical shit happened, including the Erigone asteroid obscuring the star Regulus here in New York which, despite the crazy Christian spin put on it I think is actually somehow significant, if only on a personal level – but it’s equally possible it happened on Friday, because Chronos and I aren’t exactly on intimate speaking terms) I had a dream in which Dionysos visited me. It was really low-key; he just sat down and started telling me stories, and then I woke up. I tried to remember the individual stories he told, in case there was something significant buried in them, but they all became a blur shortly after regaining consciousness. I felt instantly better, lighter, as if something had been restored to me and when I got up I discovered that I’d regained a great deal of mobility with my leg. I was totally buzzing from this, but part of me was like, “Damn, Dionysos I appreciate the story-time, I really do, but you couldn’t have given me a hint about what my next role is supposed to be? Do I really have to figure all of this out on my own?”

A couple hours later, while I was in the shower it hit me upside the head like a ton of bricks.

He had told me what he wanted of me. It’s what he’s always wanted of me. Through all the constant transformations I’ve undergone these twenty and more years there have been two constants.

My focus is always on him, and I tell stories.

I’ve noted the first before, and obviously I’ve been aware of the importance of the second (especially the power of Story to overwrite reality) but as I stood there letting the steaming water pour down my face I got how deeply intertwined the two are with such force that it sent me into an altered state. And I realized that is how I needed to use my storytelling. I got a bunch of other stuff, including concepts and practices and how it would all look implemented, but I’m not going to unpack that here in public. A good magician never reveals all of his tricks.

When I came back to myself I was surprised there was still hot water – it felt like I’d been standing there for hours, but as I reoriented myself I realized it had probably been more like minutes.

I hobbled out of the shower, explained to Galina as best I could what had happened, and reached for the towel I’d stashed on the counter with the change of clothes I’d brought up with me. A brown leather thong tumbled out of it. I held it up and asked if she’d put it on my towel for some reason as I hadn’t noticed it before. She was confused at first until she noticed I was holding a string not an undergarment and then said she had no idea how it got there.

I smiled into the mirror.

No one has ever accused Dionysos of being a subtle god.

What was it Vergil said in the Aeneid?

Oh yeah.

But she sees
her lord Latinus resolute, her words
an effort vain; and through her body spreads
the Fury’s deeply venomed viper-sting.
Then, woe-begone, by dark dreams goaded on,
she wanders aimless, fevered and unstrung
along the public ways; as oft one sees
beneath the twisted whips a leaping top
sped in long spirals through a palace-close
by lads at play: obedient to the thong,
it weaves wide circles in the gaping view
of its small masters, who admiring see
the whirling boxwood made a living thing
under their lash. So fast and far she roved
from town to town among the clansmen wild.
Then to the wood she ran, feigning to feel
the madness Bacchus loves.

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As a devotee of Erigone I would personally like to apologize to all of the Jews.

4410511_anton_solomoukha_Ira.Bacchus

You see, on March 20th an asteroid named after her passed over the star Regulus, obscuring its visibility from New York to Ontario for a whole twenty seconds or so.

According to the good folks at DREAM of Restoration Ministries, Inc.:

ERIGONE SIGNALS RELEASE OF A NEW WAVE OF ANTISEMITISM

As I have prayed about the Celestial Harbinger listed below, which will occur on March 20, I have become increasingly alarmed. This morning, The Lord let me know why. “This Harbinger signals a gathering, multiplying,  strength, of the Anti-Christ spirit of anti-Semitism!”

This is bad news because Regulus represents the Lion of Judah and also, apparently, there are a lot of Jews in New York and the Tristate area. And 9/11. (NEVER FORGET!) And Iranians believe in astrology just like they did when they visited the baby Jesus. And even scarier:

Interestingly enough, mythology which surrounds the name Erigone also has suicidal Erigone possessing a kamikaze, suicidal dog whose name is translated in Arabic as Syria. According to earthsky.org “Erigone might have a satellite asteroid accompanying it! Some asteroids do. A ‘secondary occultation’ crossing different territory”.

o-BLACK-DOG-SYNDROME-facebook

You think he’s mourning the death of his mistress, but in reality he’s plotting genocide. Bad Maira – no treat for you!

Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t stay mad at you, puppy. You can have all the treats you want, just don’t track blood on the carpet.

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pretty evenly matched

Attalos I is one of the most important (but least discussed) of the Neoi Dionysoi, depicted here trying to keep Greece free of the French:

minotaur-1

According to Wikipedia:

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon (famous for its Dying Gaul) and the liberation from the Gallic “terror” which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of “Soter”, and the title of “king”. A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second.

And they’ve also got a fairly decent intro to the Dynasty he established.

Regarding his Dionysian bona fides, I’ve previously written:

Pausanias (10.15.3) refers to an oracle of a prophetess called Phaennis, which referred to Attalos as “son of the bull fostered by Zeus” that is Dionysos, and the Delphic oracle made the link even more explicit, referring to the Pergamene king as Taurokeron, or “bull-horned”. The Attalids issued official coins minted at Pergamon with the kiste or mystic basket of the Dionysian mysteries, from which a snake can be seen to emerge. The worship of Dionysos Kathegemon or “The Leader” was installed by the kings, with the priesthood drawn directly from the royal family. (IPergamon no. 248) At Teos, near Pergamon, there was a cult of Dionysos Setaneios (also meaning “Leader”) with its mystai and oregeones, and in 230-200 B.C.E. the city tried to gain international recognition for its right to sanctuary on behalf of its ancient cult to Dionysos the Leader, claiming that “the city and its land were sacred to the god”. It was from Teos that the Dionysian technitai or “artists” spread, those crafters of ritual processions which were so intimately linked with the rule of Hellenistic kings in the East.

You may be thinking this is a sure thing, but call to mind Holy Writ:

Spiders can be caught in the hand,
    but they are found even in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30.28)

Not to mention other, less dignified places:

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Plus part of what made Attalos such a formidable foe was his mastery of the phalanx – which was perfected by a Martian spider.

And while Attalos had a deserved reputation for being a shrewd propagandist, arachnids ain’t slackers in that department either:

439

Well, most of the time.

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