This morning, my son revealed, unprompted, the flavors of the various colors of dragons. I would advise you to arm yourselves with this information.
Archive for January, 2011
Posted in Western Fiction, tagged Books, Indian, Kilrone, Literature, Louis L'Amour, Native American, Political Correctness, Public Transportation, Random, Reading, Western Fiction on January 26, 2011 | 9 Comments »
Posted in Food, tagged British Food, Cuisine, England, English Food, Fat, Food, Food Coma, Great Britain, Happiness, Heaven, Marriage, Obesity, Paradise, Sex, Southern Food, The South, Weight Loss on January 25, 2011 | 1 Comment »
My beautiful and sexy wife has started up a new food and cooking blog, called katyjane cooks. On the one hand, this promises to be a delicious culinary adventure–she is tackling one cuisine at a time, starting with British/English, since that’s where her parents are from. On the other hand, my idle dreams of losing a bit of weight have become yet idler still. Hopeless, even. Once she tries Southern cooking, I will be completely done for. But happy. Oh, so happy.
Posted in Spirituality, tagged Bacchus, Blood, Chaos, Christianity, Christopaganism, Civilization, Darkness, Dionysus, Dishonesty, Drama, Euripides, Freud, Gospel, Greece, Greek Drama, Greek Mythology, Hellenic Polytheism, Hellenismos, Honesty, Insanity, Jesus Christ, Jung, Madness, Maenad, Mental Health, Monarchy, Myth, Order, Paganism, Polytheism, Pontius Pilate, Psyche, Psychology, Religion, Self-Deception, Sex, Sexuality, Shadow, Spirituality, Theater, Thebes, Theology, Transgression, Wisdom on January 12, 2011 | 13 Comments »
In Euripedes’s the Bacchae, Dionysus, god of wine, intoxication, madness and the revel rolls into Thebes with a train or crazed maenads in tow. Thebes is Dionysus’s homeland, although that is not widely known. The Thebans go out to the wilderness to join in the frenzied worship, dressing the part and dancing the dances and partaking in the mad rites of the god. All of the Thebans, that is, except Pentheus, the king of Thebes and a cousin of the god, who is livid. To Pentheus, the god is a pretender, an interloper and a chartlatan who disrupts the social order, makes fools out of wise men, and makes the women of Thebes act… inappropriately. Pentheus fobids the worship of Dionysus, and orders the arrest of anyone who gets involved.
Pentheus has Dionysus detained and brought before him, and he peppers the god with questions in a scene not at all unlike Jesus before Pontius Pilate, and Dionysus gives the same kind of wise but evasive answers that we see Jesus give centuries later in the gospels. Pentheus is unhappy that Dionysus’s answers are not more clear to him, so he has the god imprisoned. Of course, Dionysus escapes easily; he’s a god after all, and in the process, he reduces Pentheus’s palace to flames and rubble.
Angry but curious, Pentheus is tricked by Dionysus into going out to see the maenads, and Dionysus inflicts madness on Pentheus because Pentheus fought against the god’s worship. The frenzied maenads tear Pentheus to pieces, and the king’s own mother parades his head through the streets, unaware that she holds the head of her son.
This is a work of profound spiritual and theological importance. If you have not read it, you need to.
Inside each one of us is a dark side, a shadow to the Jungians, a part of us that needs to break free from our bonds, break all the rules, go crazy, be wild, be drunk, and in short, to transgress the boundaries of civilization. That part of us can be tamed and channeled, but never destroyed and never completely suppressed.
Dionysus calls to that part of us—he is the living embodiment of that dark, beautiful and terrible shard of the human soul. When we give in to it, we are his. But Dionysus is not a jealous god! It is enough that we, like the Thebans, go out to meet him and join in the revel every now and then. Our shadows need to be expressed but they can be expressed deliberately, channeled into appropriate and healthy pursuits.
We don’t need to let our shadows devour us: that would be the end of civilization and the end of virtue, and that’s not, as a general statement, what Dionysus wants from us at all. He certainly does not demand it. But we have to give our shadows a place in our lives. We have to entertain Dionysus in order to stay healthy and balanced. Because when we suppress our shadows, war against our shadows, pretend they are not there—when we imprison Dionysus and threaten those who do give him the honor he deserves—we do so futilely and at our own peril.
Dionysus is a god; he will not be imprisoned. He will not be defeated. The god of breaking bonds will never be bound. And if we, like Pentheus, refuse to admit Dionysus into our lives, the results will be catastrophic. Dionysus will have his way with us one way or another. The choice is ours: either we give honor to Dionysus on our own terms, or he compels us to give honor to him. And he is a god who knows no limits. Dionysus does not use safe words or designated drivers.
When we suppress our shadows they gnaw at us from the inside, and they tear us apart just as Dionysus tore the king’s palace apart. Healthy appetites become unhealthy obsessions. When we do not engage with our shadows, our shadows make ever-greater demands from us; our psyches fester in ever-deeper darkness. And eventually, we lose. Eventually, because we refuse to bend to Dionysus, we are broken by him. The results are ugly, and they leave a wake of victims. Pentheus ended up dismembered and decapitated by his mother; the psychosexual implications are not accidental.
So we party. We dance. We fuck. We drink. We fight. We let our hair down and have a good time when good times are called for because we have to. Its built in to who we are. If we think we can suppress those urges all the time and conquer that part of us completely we are fooling ourselves, and the script for our destruction has already been written, centuries ago.
Just a quick note: my awesome sister-in-law is getting married to an awesome guy, and they awesomely asked me to officiate. I was honored, and I think its a splendid idea, so I went straightaway to the Universal Life Church to get ordained. So now I can blog with even more authority, as a fully vested Space Minister with all the power and knowledge appurtenant thereunto. I even have the authority to absolve you of your sins… in space!
Or, you know, wherever.
And as such, I hereby exercise that authority to absolve YOU of all your sins, right the fuck now. You’re good. Carry on.
PS, it can’t be undone, sorry. If you want to be sinful again, you will have to go out and commit some new ones.
Posted in Music, tagged Agriculture, Alcohol, Ancestry, Art, Copperhead Road, Country Rock, DEA, Death, Distilling, Dodge, Draft, Family, Knoxville, Marijuana, Moonshine, Muscle Cars, Music, Politics, Poverty, Rock and Roll, South, Steve Earle, Tennessee, Vietnam, War on Drugs on January 6, 2011 | 5 Comments »
In case you thought the part about being from Tennessee was a joke.