Dionysos and the Pirates

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As part of some rumination with a group of satyrs, maenads, and other fascinating folk calling themselves the Bacchic Underground, we were tasked with making art from Dionysian themes. This week’s homework assignment was to contemplate an ancient story about Dionysos and some pirates. Following is my attempt at rambling poetry:

K12.15TyrrhenioiThe ship has sailed, I tell you.
It’s been headed toward the Deep since that strange night
when we picked up the boy on the island.
No mere boy it was. But at the time,
only one of us was paying attention.
He got to leave the ship intact.

Since then, we’ve followed:
swimming circles in the wine-dark water
Maybe it is wine? Or maybe blood?
No matter now. We keep swimming,
because if we stop we sink down
down
down
to where the faceless things live,
nine days past Hades’ rusted gates
to the place the island-boy called home.
They tried chaining him there, too.
Who chains a loosener?

Fools.

Lucky for us, he has use for fools.

God (Sabazios) (Pagan Blog Project, Week 13)

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G this week, is for god.

Which god, you ask?

Sabazios (Sabazius in Latin), the Thracian Horseman, comes to mind. There are a number of excellent writings on Himself, and His worship, throughout the ancient Near East in the forms of various horse-riding deities and saints, warriors and serpents. It’s even possible to see His imagery in the common Ptolemaic (and earlier Egyptian) images of Horus spearing a hippo or crocodile from horseback, that eventually morphed into Mari Girgis or Saint George, Egypt’s patron saint.

Horus the Horseman - Ptolemaic relief in the Louvre

 

Image of St. George (Mari Girgis) over a church in Old Cairo

Today, my Anomalous Thracian brother shared a link to P. Sufenas Virius Lupus’ most recent and most beautiful hymn to the Horseman with me, and I knew that I had to share it with you. For those who don’t link well, I hope that PSVL doesn’t mind if I share it with you here.

Serpent Sabazios
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

Upon his horse, he defeats serpents,
horned and hooded, vipers and pythons,
but upon the earth and within it
he is the Serpent Itself.

He passes, golden, between the breasts
of the initiates, through their hearts,
and emerges below, whether male or female
or neither, from the region of their sexes.

The burrows through the earth he makes
are the trackways to Hades and Tartaros;
the ways he clears through our hearts
are devotion and virtue and good speech.

Thracians have known this for centuries;
Bithynians and Phrygians as well,
Karians and Lykians and far-off Scythians,
Keltoi and Galatians, and even the Greeks.

Through Meroe of Nubia and Egypt,
the Samothracian isles, and ancient Canaan,
through the marbled streets of Rome
and the forests of Gaul and Germania.

From the pristine landscapes of Hyperborea
to the titan-haunted halls of Olympus
the fame of Sabazios as serpent
is older than Chronos and Kairos.

His flitting tongue upon ears
is the beginnings of prophecy;
his venom in the veins
is intoxication and madness;

his coiling around the finger
is mastery of spear and sword;
his trampling underfoot
is the beginning of liberation.

(But is it the hero who tramples him
or is it he who tramples himself?
Only the eyes of a shadow can see it,
can know it with certainty.)

Through the breasts of gods, even,
he has wound his serpentine way…
therefore, for him this day
may offerings and praise be gathered!

*****

Khaire Sabazie!

 

Dele Mezenai, Horseman bless, each and every one of you.

A modern hymn to Nyx

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A modern hymn to Most Ancient Night, in honor of Her holiday.

Thank you, P. Sufenas, for sharing this on your blog, and for letting me know you’d be posting it!

http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/to-nyx/#comment-22621

(And with permission, the poem itself is reproduced here:)

 

To Nyx (P. Sufenas Virius Lupus)

I sing to you, queen before the heavens existed,
firstborn of goddesses, daughter of Chaos,
lady undaunted, her dark cloak overpowering all.

Every star in the firmament is but a fraction
of the beauty of your coronet, complete in constellations,
and the firmament itself is your thin tiara.

Pythagoras could not count the diamonds in your diadem,
nor could he calculate a single harmony of the spheres
which whirl and sing to you upon your ineffable skin.

There is no god on the earth nor goddess in the heavens
who does not exist enclosed within your blackness,
first goddess, eldest queen, dark lady over all–hail to you!