There’s no Bacchanalia like a Ukrainian Bacchanalia

I’ve been writing about Dionysos’ adventures in Ukraine (and the Black Sea region more broadly) since 2013 e.v. or so. As it turns out I’m not the only one who recognizes an affinity between the two, as Reuters reported a couple days ago:

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova […] compared the “Kyiv regime” to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine whose name is often associated in Russian with immoral mayhem, chaos and revelry.

Not strictly true as anyone familiar with the Symbolist movement in Russia can attest, but it made me smile anyway.

Regarding recent actions taken by Volodymyr Zelensky & Co. the spokeswoman added:

“This is just some kind of total godless Bacchanalia. There is no justification or explanation for this. And there cannot be,” Zakharova said on Sputnik radio. “This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kyiv regime.”

Is that Mike Oldfield I hear?

I was too exhausted, frustrated and weary to provide an accurate description of what this place is like in my last post, but Galina has done a superb job here; she also shares a beautiful encounter she had on her way out this morning which alone is worth the read. 

for those who celebrate

Well, they finally moved me to the rehabilitation center. Once they get my antibiotics and medications sorted out we can begin the process of recuperation and physical therapy that I’m here for the next 3 weeks or so for. This place is better than the trauma center in some respects, and worse in others. Scratch that. This place is worse in every possible way. I don’t really have it in me for a big update, but I wanted to keep y’all in the loop. Happy start of Sunwait, for those who celebrate. 

an update, of sorts. mostly just complaining.

Yeah, I’m still here getting pumped full of every antibiotic known to man or virus. The trauma center is massive, and the nurses massively overworked, which means that everything is a fight, a waiting game, or usually both – compounded by the fact that all major decisions have to be cleared by consensus of the surgical team. What this really means is that every answer I’m given contradicts what I was told just ten minutes before by someone else, this mythical consesus is never achieved and I’m stuck lying here in pain because you wouldn’t want to give a guy with a broken spine and amputed toe sufficient pain meds even though he has a fucking prescription for them from his regular doc or have him work out with a physical therapist or anything like that which might actually, you know, help relieve some of that pain. The nursing staff are mostly wonderful, and a couple of the docs are too – the problem is the bureaucrats and the American medical system in general. Theoretically I’m going to get out of here one of these days, and either be released into the wild (without having received any physical therapy so I’ll probably just limp along until a gaggle of gophers or an angry coon takes me out) or transferred to a rehabilitation facility (who are all complaining about the expense of my antibiotics, which they don’t normally carry, and thus are refusing to accept me. Next week the hospital is going to shop my application around again with a lesser antibiotic, because sepsis is totally something you haggle over.) I’m sure everything’s gonna work out ok. I’m just getting a little frustrated by the less than ideal circumstances here. But hey, life’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it, so I’m trying to take it all in stride, keep a cheery demeanor with the nurses and learn spiritually edifying lessons when I can. (There’s a lot worse going on, but I’m gonna save it for the book because it’s too grotesque and surreal to be communicated as anything other than poetry. Seriously. You want an example? My neighbor’s a chronic masturbator under constant supervision. Every 10 minutes or so a robot voice will come on telling him to “stop it” and “put it down” or something to that effect. When he refuses, one of the nurses comes rushing in, at which point he regales them with increasingly obscene and blasphemous stories. And the cycle begins again. This has been happening for days now – Jesus, just let the guy rub one out already; so what if his heart explodes or whatever bullshit reason they have for refusing him – yet is not even close to the worst thing that has happened while I’ve been here.) 

I’m not about excluding anyone

It’s very difficult to get the kind of writing I want for this book done in the hospital, so I’ve mostly been brainstorming, jotting down notes, and looking forward to getting out of here so I can do this project justice (I.e. get super baked and write like a wild man.) However I’ve been spending a lot of time praying and to aid my efforts I put together a collection of hymns and poetry honoring primarily Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse divinities. At first this was just going to be for my own use while here but then I realized that it would compliment Thunderstruck with Wine and Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheist Household (which I co-wrote with my wife Galina) nicely. Although it already comes in at a hefty hundred and one pieces there’s plenty of room for more – and so I’m expanding the sponsorship program. If you’d like to see someone from one of those pantheons included Paypal me (sannion@gmail.com) $20 and I’ll write something for them. If they’re from outside those pantheons shoot me an email and let’s talk. I’m not about excluding anyone – divine or otherwise – but I just happen to be more familiar with these cultures and their Gods and Spirits. 

More Puscifer!

I’ve been a huge Maynard James Keenan fan since Sober (which I recall seeing on 120 Minutes or Headbanger’s Ball; I forget which, but that’s where I used to catch all the cool new music.) Although I’ve mostly been into Tool and A Perfect Circle (and a handful of his songs celebrating Arizona and its land-spirits) while recovering in the hospital I’ve taken a deep dive into the Pusciverse … and I like it. Maynard describes Puscifer as “simply a playground for the various voices in my head, […] a space with no clear or discernible goals, […] where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes.” But see for yourself. Here’s a collection of the band’s more spirit-work type songs. Here’s some wonderful surrealism (including an epic about luchadores – in one video a group of them battle a Trump kaiju and that’s not even the weirdest of the bunch) and here’s a random collection of some of my favorite Puscifer songs, which I’ve been listening to pretty much non-stop since waking up after surgery (which means there’s probably going to be a lot of Pusciferan influence on the book.) The only reason it’s “pretty much” is that I’ve also been checking out some older Maynard interviews, such as this one on the secret to staying relevant as an artist over decades, this one on how he built his 120+ acre vineyard empire, or this one where he somehow manages not to kill Guy Fieri or Sammy Hagar (and dude’s a master at jiu jitsu and several other martial arts, so he could do it too.) The answer to all of these: hard work, which he considers a sacred thing. As we all should. 

Grave reminders 

Tonight I’m going to begin working on the book inspired by my experiences; material for this will also be part of the fund-raiser. For $25 (PayPalled to sannion@gmail.com) you can choose 4 words or themes which I’ll fit into a poem for you. For another $10 I’ll include your name as an acrostic.

the music of the angels

Fun fact: this was not the original soundtrack for the movie. That honor goes to Coil. Apparently Clive wasn’t able to complete the movie at budget. The studio liked what he had, however, and gave him what he needed to finish (mostly the ending special effects, and the scene where the guardian chases Kristy through the Labyrinth, both of which are notably of a lesser quality than the rest of the film.) However in return for the cash they wanted two things: to dub the British actors with American accents, and a different, less creepy score. Both this and the Coil are awesome in my opinion.

there and back again

So, what are you doing for Halloween?

I decided to cut one of my toes off for the Spirits.

But I’m sure your thing is pretty cool too.

I’m only half kidding.

Shortly after my last post – around the time of my birthday – I got sick, and then got sicker. My toe swelled up, turned a deep wine red, and started to stink really bad; on top of that I was bed-ridden for about a week and came down with a terrible fever I couldn’t just sleep off like normal.

When we asked my podiatrist about the toe and sent him a pic he insisted I go to the emergency room ASAP, I did, and they proceeded to say, “holy fuck, what is that thing?” and then sawed it off.

That was a couple days ago, and I’ll be recovering in one of New York’s largest trauma centers over Halloween. (By the way, not something I’d recommend if you are at all spiritually sensitive.)

On the plus side, I’ve had some breakthroughs I hope to translate into a book.

And on the negative side I can’t even imagine what all of this will end up costing.

Here’s hoping that book is a bestseller!

Anyway, be well and have a spooctacular time these next couple days.

And maybe when it’s healed a little more I’ll post a pic.

The Hellbound Heart

Curious was not your average Carebear. Oh, to look at her you would not have thought she was any different from her brothers and sisters. She was small and round, with soft lavender fur that tickled when it brushed against your skin in play. Her round tummy was white with a distinct question mark that glowed when she was deep in thought. And that, as it turns out, is precisely what separated her from her siblings. There was something restless and quizzitive about her spirit, something that often kept her apart while the other Carebears frolicked happily through the cloud gardens of Care-a-lot. Whereas they spent their time in silly games and nonsense songs, Curious often found herself deeply engaged in thought. Nothing made her happier than following the threads of an argument down tortuous and labyrinthine paths, and when she was poring over a problem, nothing, absolutely nothing, could distract her. Her siblings did not understand her. Never having felt the ecstasy of pure thought, they felt she must be unbearably lonely, spending all that time with her nose buried in dusty old tomes or searching out new species of flowers down on the earth below. Curious spent so much time in her own head that she often found it difficult to relate to others. She tried to speak to them, to give them some idea of the marvelous and beautiful thoughts which danced through her head, but somehow her words always came out clumsy and disjointed, her friends would just kind of stare at her uncomprehending, and Curious would grow embarrassed and flustered, and hastily withdraw to her beloved solitude once more. Eventually the other Carebears stopped even trying to reach out to her; they accepted that she was eccentric and would never be like them, however much they tried to show her that theirs was the better way. When they saw her walking, they would point and whisper and wonder what was wrong with her. Curious hated their pity, and in time began to hate them as well. She spent less and less time on Care-a-lot, and more time wandering the earth below, taking in strange and decadent sights.

It was on one such journey that she found the Box. It was in an old abandoned warehouse which had been used as a crackhouse until a careless whore had knocked over a gas lamp in an attempt to flee an imaginary police raid, and the filthy mattresses that lined the refuse-strewn floors caught fire. The whole place went up, and now only a burnt-out husk remained. Curious had been drawn by the desolation: something in the sad ruins appealed to her own misshapen soul.

Sifting through the rubble with her paw, the ash and filth staining her lavender fur, Curious found the Box. Strangely, though it had been laying in a bed of ashes, the Box was completely unharmed. Its black lacquered surface almost shone in the darkness: there was not even a speck of dirt anywhere to be found on it. As she cupped the Box delicately in her paws, she was surprised by its warmth. Though it was chilly outside, the Box was warm to the touch, almost like human flesh. It sent shivers through her body, and Curious began to slowly trace the swirling patterns with her thumb. The Box moved! Curious dropped it and backed away. She had felt someone or something’s breath on the back of her neck, and it made her fur stand on end. Curious started to back away: she suddenly felt very, very cold. But then her eyes caught the Box, once more laying in the ashes, and it seemed to call out to her: she could not resist. She picked the Box up and hurried back to Care-a-lot.

For the next two days Curious did nothing but play with the Box. She didn’t eat or drink: her old books lay discarded on her desk, and when some of the other Carebears knocked on her door to invite her to one of their parties, she held her breath, pretending not to be there, and impatiently waited for the sound of their departing steps. Then, once more, her paws began to trace the eldritch designs, and her eyes closed in ecstasy, as if she were exploring the familiar curves of a lover long parted’s body. Of course, being a Carebear, she had never known a lover’s touch, but the Box had awakened something deep, dark and sensual within her. She liked the unfamiliar feelings and longed to set them free. But before she could do that, she had to solve the riddle of the Box, walk the shadowy path of the labyrinth that was traced out in the golden spiderweb of knotwork on the Box’s surface. The Box was not of one piece – it was composed of myriads of shapes which one could shift and twist into new configurations. Her paws seemed guided by a higher force. She did not know what shape the puzzle would finally take, what form would solve the Box’s riddle, but she knew that she had not yet reached it, so she continued to work it, moving pieces into place, making it now a triangle, now an oblong sphere, then back into a box, though a box whose surface decoration had completely changed. With each permutation that the Box underwent, Curious felt herself inwardly change. A rush of violent anger, overwhelming tears of joy, blackest depression, lust whose flames made her ache for secret pleasures she’d never known before. Yet none of these seemed quite right, so Curious continued to work the puzzle Box, wondering if she would ever solve it – knowing that nothing else in all the world mattered as much as that. She would sit there for eternity until she had solved it and opened the dark doorway within her soul and beheld the terrible beauty that awaited her on the other side.

As it so happened, eternity came sooner than Curious might have anticipated. She moved a piece into place, and a small metallic circle was revealed. Hesitantly, Curious traced it with her thumb, and she was gripped with a most exquisite pain. It was as if the Box had suddenly burst into flame, yet she could not drop it. Her thumb remained stuck to the circle, tracing a downward spiral of its own volition. Her brain screamed in searing agony, but the only sound that escaped her mouth was a low, sultry moan. The Box began to change beneath her paws, mechanically falling into place. She had solved the puzzle! The hidden doorway in her mind began to creak open, and darkness poured forth. And suddenly, there was darkness without as well. The candles that she had lit and set up throughout the floor of her room all blew out in an instant. Yet there was no breeze: the air was still, empty, for several seconds the only sound was that of her own heart beating. And then there was the sound of chains rustling, and metal cutting wetly into flesh, and the wails of the damned in Hell. But there was more to them than just pain and fear and mad repentance – there was also the deepest sexual longing, and it made Curious shiver, for it was the sound of her own soul. The room filled with smoke and the smell both of rotting flesh and the musk of rutting bodies. The floor suddenly was wet beneath her, it stained her fur a deep red-black. Curious gasped in horror and dropped the Box, trying to get to her feet; she slipped and fell face-first into the inch-thick pool of blood which now covered the whole of her living space.

Curious managed to rise to her hands and knees – she was no longer alone. Standing before her were three pairs of sleek black leather boots. They belonged to things that once had been human, but were no longer. Slowly, her eyes rose, taking in the figures which stood before her. The leather encased their bodies like a second skin, except where it parted to reveal flesh that was white, a sickly bleached white like the underbelly of a fish. The flesh was pierced and torn, and where wounds did not bleed, it shone with cruel metal – nails and barbed wire and razor blades.

The first of the three was also the tallest. His head was bald but over his whole head and face there was a fine network of lines that had been burned into his flesh, and at the intersection of these lines, countless nails had been driven in. His eyes were cold and completely black, without iris or pupil, and his lips were flat, as if someone had cut a line into the smooth whiteness of his face, and curved at the ends into what might have been mistaken for a smile. But there was no kindness in the gesture, only cruelty and unspeakable delight in the pain of others. He had a severe and priestly stance, his long-fingered hands folded prayerfully before him.

Behind him stood two figures, one male and the other female. The female had some contraption on her face that looked like a dental brace from hell, made of razor-wire and spikes. Her mouth was kept open painfully wide, in a state of perpetual reception, and her teeth had all been knocked out. Her tongue lolled about, like a bloated eel nestled in the cavern of her mouth, and blood drooled freely down her chin. Her eyes stared out wetly from behind the brace, darting here and there but never able to focus on the same thing for long. Her leather skin had been cut open in the front to expose her exaggeratedly large breasts which hung down pendulously over her narrow frame. Large skewer-like rods had been thrust through the swollen mammaries in a criss-cross pattern. Her nipples had been completely removed and then carelessly sewn back on with wire thread. Much further below, another incision had been made in the leather suit to reveal her sex, which was hairless and distended, the plump lips of her labia strung through with several shiny metal rings that completely sealed her up. Her fingers were tipped with long silver nails like daggers and she continually flexed and wiggled them, as if she had an incurable desire to plunge them into flesh and tear long, bloody strips from someone’s back.

The third of the figures was unassuming compared to his companions. He might have seemed a regular human with a fondness for black leather and bald heads, except that the central portion of his throat was missing, leaving a ragged, wet wound that exhaled small gray clouds whenever he breathed, like a cancer victim who continued to smoke through his stoma.

Curious rose to her feet and started to back away, but brushed into a bunch of chains which had suddenly appeared. Attached to each of the chains were large, rusty flesh hooks which bit into her body, trapping her. She tried to move to free herself but the razor sharp hooks only bit into her flesh harder, tearing, trapping and tormenting her. She screamed out in pain and fear, and the leader of the trio, Pinhead, just laughed.

“Oh, your pain is delicious! Keep trying to free yourself, child, you will only make your agony more exquisite.”

Curious stopped moving and tried to ignore the fiery pain that assailed her from every direction. Finally, through her ragged breathing, she managed to find her voice.

“Who are you?”

“Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”

“Why are you here?”

“You summoned us.”

“How?”

“With the Lamarchand Configuration. The puzzle Box. It opened a doorway to Hell, and we came through.”

The cancer victim stooped down and picked up the Box. “How did this thing work the Box?” he wheezed. “It doesn’t even have fingers.”

Pinhead took the Box from him and began working it, transforming it back to its original shape. “It’s not fingers that summon us. It’s desire.”

“What do you want with me?” Curious demanded, jerking her arms back as Pinhead approached her. She screamed as the hooks plunged deeper into her flesh.

Pinhead stopped and stretched his hand out, caressing her soft, furry cheek in an oddly tender gesture. Then his hand closed into a fist, yanking her head back, exposing her throat. Curious swallowed hard, the pain warring with something else within her: desire.

“We have such sights to show you. Such ecstatic agonies to give to you. We shall transform your flesh, teach you all of its secret needs. Unleash your basest desires. You shall suffer in torment for all eternity, and you shall thank us endlessly for it.”

“No, I won’t. I don’t want this.”

“Everyone says that,” the woman hissed, her voice wet and weak coming through her toothless mouth. “And nobody means it.”

“You opened the Box. You summoned us. This is what you wanted,” Pinhead assured her.

“No it isn’t,” Curious gasped. Though in truth, it was, and she knew it. She had never been happy here in Care-a-lot, could never share the simple childish joy of her fellows. She always wanted something more, something darker, something fleshier. But that had been denied her in her Carebear’s body, and so she had retreated deep within her mind, where the limits of the flesh no longer applied to her. And here now these demons – or were they angels, she could not tell for their beauty – offered her a way out, a way to make her dreams a reality. She loved them for that – even as she feared them.

“Do not resist us, child. This is what you want – it is written in your eyes in the way that they have become clouded over with lust, and it is written in your body in how it trembles in anticipation. If you had a pussy, you would be wet.”

The others laughed at that, but Curious just shivered. She had always envied humans their genitals. Carebears only had soft tummies and empty spaces between their legs. They did not reproduce sexually – instead they were formed out of clouds and love and thoughts, each one representing a human characteristic or emotion. But there was no Lusty or Whore Bear – sex was supposed to be alien to Care-a-lot, but it wasn’t, for it dwelt in Curious’ heart. And she had laid there many a night, rubbing the empty space between her legs with her round paws, wondering what it would feel like to have something there, to have fingers to put inside herself. She occasionally felt pleasant sensations from rubbing herself, but never orgasm, and she was never certain that it wasn’t all in her head, a projection of her desire to feel something. Oh, how she ached to feel something. Anything.

“Let us give her one,” the woman whispered, stepping forth. She stank of cum and pussy and dried sweat – of lust – and Curious found the smell intoxicating. The woman reached out with her taloned hand and pressed the sharpness into Curious, just below her tummy. Curious winced, biting her lip against the pain. Blood surfaced and ran down the length of the woman’s nail: the nail stayed right there. Curious ached to feel it open her up, to give her what she’d always wanted, to transform her flesh so that it resembled her dark and twisted soul, and not this cute, innocent, cuddly façade that Nature had forced her to wear all these years. Curious opened her eyes, stared at the beautiful demonic trio, and silently begged with them for the woman to proceed. But she didn’t. They waited. They could wait for all eternity if they had to – but Curious couldn’t. She had to have it. Now.

“Please,” she finally whispered. “Do it. Make me one of you.”

And with that, the woman pushed her long razored fingernail further in and dragged it downward, carving for Curious a real cunt.


When they were finished, Curious looked at her reflection in the mirror that stood in what once had been her study. They had shaved off all of her lavender fur so that she stood pale and pink and nude. Over her flesh they had sewn a black leather suit like theirs, the suit grafted to her flesh with wires and nails. They had carved the question mark out of her Carebear heart and replaced it with a live, bleeding human heart adorned with a crown of thorns. All up and down her face – especially her cheeks and round bear ears – they had pierced her and strung tiny metal rings that glinted in the darkness and jingled as she moved. And between her legs was the still bleeding gash through which she had given birth to her new self. It was lined with sharp razor-edged teeth, and a tongue like a little cock or snake writhed within her. She had never been so beautiful. She was no longer Curious – now she knew who and what she was. She was a Cenobite. The Hellbound Heart.