I believe in freedom. I believe that freedom must be asserted by individuals and always fiercely and diligently defended by them. What is given may be taken away, and inevitably will be by those who seek power, unless their efforts are strenuously resisted. All political systems tend towards self-perpetuation and authoritarianism, often in direct proportion to their claim to serve the interests of the common man. Every tyrant begins as a liberator. Most genuinely believe that their actions, however cruel and stupid and corrupt, serve the greater good and are in his fellow man’s best interests. I do not recognize the legitimacy of any form of government or political system and reject wholesale their claim to hold power over me or dictate my behaviors. Consequently I do not participate in the political process in any form whatsoever. Although there are inescapable natural laws and divine laws, man’s laws may only be enforced through violence, and hold sway over the individual in direct proportion to the degree that he fears that violence. I do not. All they can do is destroy this physical body of mine – and I’m beating them to the chase through voluptuary indulgence and neglect. I oppose anyone who would dictate what I must do or say or believe, thereby curtailing my essential freedoms, whether that person claims to be of the left, the right or anywhere else on the political spectrum.
Dionysos is not just the orgiastic God – dissolving boundaries and drawing his followers from all classes and segments of society – he challenges us to look beyond simple binaries and socially determined identities.
“Who are you?” is the question he poses to us over and over again, in a thousand different ways.
We must anchor our sense of self in something deep, authentic and abiding and avoid illusory constructs if we are to make a successful transition into the next world.
You are not the contents of your bank account. You are not your job. You are not the groups you belong to. You are not your hobbies. You are not the role you perform in a family or your community. You are not your race or gender or what you fuck. You are not the ideas stuffed into your head by advertisers, authorities and other manipulative forces.
Proof of that is that each of these things may be stripped from you and yet you still exist.
Now that is not to say that all of these things are without meaning or value – far from it! – but they are not what we should be defining ourselves by.
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, 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.
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.
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 I proclaim her a Goddess dear to my heart!
Hail, Goddess! I will remember you with many songs!
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.
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.