To Mania the Gatherer

Mania, oh Mania,
you are worthy of every honor
for your love alone is truly universal.
Everybody makes distinctions
— between man and woman, rich and poor
even the good and wicked are judged separately
by Minos and his brothers.
But you, Mania, come to all in their time.
Your bony embrace means an end
to pain and doubt,
to tears and the labor of living.
Mania, oh Mania,
look kindly upon me
when you knock on my door one day
and say you’ve come to lead me away.

Mania Choephore

Mania, are you Death’s bride,
womb barren from birthing the vengeance-thirsting Furies,
with wings of leather like the bats that flit across the moonless sky
and coiling snakes for hair, and skin pale as bone
bleached by the summer sun?
Or are you the Mistress of Madness,
staring flame-eyed at things others cannot see,
whispering words sharp and strange which others do not wish to hear
– words that cut both the tongue and the ear –
frail form trembling with the effort
of holding back that which your stygian heart conceals,
that which others could not possibly endure?
“Yes,” she nods, voice hollow and distant and barely audible
above the din of Etruscan myths unspoke.

To Kyberia

Here’s something I wrote back when I was maintaining my first website. Some of the details are a little outdated, but in general it still works.

I was having difficulty updating my website, when in desperation; I called out to Kyberia, Goddess of New Technologies and the Computer, promising that I would honor her with a hymn and a libation if she offered me the assistance I so greatly needed. Now this was a Goddess I had only heard spoken of jokingly, and I didn’t expect it to work. Well, to my total shock and considerable pleasure, all of the trouble I had been having ceased and I was able to successfully complete the task. That very night I made my libation to her, and now I have written this hymn in her honor.

I hope that she finds it pleasing – and that she will remember me in the future.

To Kyberia

Sing, Muse, of Kyberia, patroness of new technologies,
gentle guide through the Internet’s pathways,
who bestows shining insight
to all those who call upon her blessed name in prayerful tones.
She stands over the computer, dear creature of her heart,
and with her fiery sword chases off the baneful viruses
and those vexing adds for porn.
When she is remembered, and AOL’s silver
start-up discs are offered
on her altar with honey-sweetened wine
there are no 404 errors,
and one needn’t fear their screen turning blue.
She delights in the hum and whir of old computers,
and the clickedy-clack of fingers on keyboards.
When you are writing code or working to upload graphics to your webpage,
remember her and recite a pleasing hymn in her honor,
and I swear to you, it will go a lot easier!
Unbidden the answers will come to you,
and your hands will speed across the keyboard
typing out the right things,
even if you haven’t the vaguest clue what those things are.
Who is this Goddess whom I hymn?
Some say she is grey-eyed Athene,
known under a different name,
or the daughter of Eris,
brought into being by the mad-rush of technology.
I do not know for sure, but I call her Kyberia and Tekaté
and The-Pattern-That-Is-Found-In-Chaos
and I proclaim her a Goddess dear to my heart!
Hail, Goddess! I will remember you with many songs!

The honey of the Pontic Sanni

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Pliny the Elder, Natural History § 21.45.1
There is another kind of honey, found in the same district of Pontus among the people called Sanni, which from the madness it produces is called maenomenon. This poison is supposed to be extracted from the flowers of the oleanders which abound in the woods. Though these people supply the Romans with wax by way of tribute, the honey, because of its deadly nature, they do not sell.

unformed

Dionysos and I are having an odd trip down memory lane. Specifically back to 2002, when Serj Tankian released the independent project Serart with Arto Tunçboyaciyan. I walked half way across Las Vegas, in scorching heat (and listening to Smashing Pumpkins) to get the CD. At first the clerk of the chain record store didn’t understand what I was talking about (which increasingly pissed me off since I’d called ahead to confirm they had it) but eventually it turned up in the jazz section of all places.

I’d really dug the more melodious and Armenian parts of SOAD’s first two albums, and often used them in ritual for Dionysos. Somehow I’d heard there was going to be more of that on this project, so I waited excitedly for the release. And was met with some of the weirdest tunes I had encountered since I tried listening to Frank Zappa as a teen. My brain could only handle it in small doses, so it took me a couple months to make it through the whole thing. (I was so unformed back then.)

An instinct, the voice of Dionysos, my desire to be cooler than I actually was, something said keep going there’s important shit in it you’re not getting, so I stubbornly persisted and one night during ritual it all clicked into place and I fucking loved it. Listened to it over and over, all the way through, for weeks on end. It captured my mental state and certain aspects of Dionysos I was connecting with at the time in an uncanny way, to the point that it’s basically my personal soundtrack for 2002-03. (Along with Blind Melon, which I was equally obsessed with.)

Listening to Serart again really brings it all flooding back, both the good and the bad. And yet through everything that happened in Vegas, Dionysos was there with me, and that’s pretty cool.

Not sure what the point of any of this is, but I uncharacteristically felt like sharing something personal, so enjoy.

To Andvari

For F.

I call to the careful one,
the cunning dwarf who lost his ring
but retained his gleaming wealth, Andvari
who lives behind the shimmering waterfall
where the long-toothed pike swim freely
and the rapid white-capped river
blesses the weddings of the the village girls
who still come by night to make offerings
of braided wheat dolls and wildflowers.
Lord of the oak-crown, with beard of moss
and fingers like gnarled roots and dripping mud,
you know how to make things increase and how
to reap the rewards of fine investment,
and even more importantly how to take advantage
of obstacles and the unexpected.
Venerable maker, this I pray, teach me to see
the true worth of all things, and to know always
what is mine to carry, and what is not.

To the Kouretes

For Petros.

I summon to these prayers
the dancemad, hauberk-clad Lads
who slam their ashen spear butts to the ground
and scream ferociously
in time to the thunder-summoning kettledrums
and double-pipes trilling like pandaemonium
loosed upon the earth.
Everything quakes and throbs as they draw near,
these bringers of flowers and plump summer bees;
beasts and trees and everything else
are caught in the potent rapture
of their raw, unyoked masculinity which comes
crashing against the shore in foamy waves,
breaking through a well-ordered foreign phalanx,
crushing walls that would dare keep them out.
When they leap and prance upon the field
the cold winds are driven to cowardly flight by their heat,
snow trembles and pisses itself into nothingness,
ice is afraid as a child in a cage
and all rejoice for the beloved of the Nymphs,
the protectors of the grotto and defenders of the innocent,
the march-loving springtime Youths
are here to play.