Antinous for Everybody

I worship a dead gay teenager and you can too

Archive for the tag “dionysus”

Saturnalia (belatedly)

On the first day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the second day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A bale of hay in honor of Epona

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the third day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the fourth day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

Four shining rings in honor of planet Saturn,

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the fifth day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A bottle of wine for Antinous and Bacchus,

Four shining rings in honor of planet Saturn,

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the sixth day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A jar of honey, a dish of salt for the Lares Permarines,

A bottle of wine for Antinous and Bacchus,

Four shining rings in honor of planet Saturn,

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

 

On the seventh day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

Sweet beeswax candles for the Sigillaria,

A jar of honey, a dish of salt for the Lares Permarines,

A bottle of wine for Antinous and Bacchus,

Four shining rings in honor of planet Saturn,

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

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Antinous Epiphanes

On the fifth day of Saturnalia I gave to all my friends

A bottle of wine for Antinous and Bacchus,

Four shining rings in honor of planet Saturn,

A horn of plenty in honor of the fruitful Ops,

A bale of hay in honor of Epona,

And a golden acorn for the golden age.

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To Antinous Dionysus

Come, Antinous Dionysus! Antinous Epiphanes, come!

Come crowned with ivy and bring surcease of sorrow.

Come shaking and stamping your thyrsus and bring the joy of dance.

Come with amphorai of wine, with sweet grapes sprouting

from your wild curls, and bring laughter, intoxication, and release into sleep.

Come let us see you, let us hear you, be near you,

let us get close enough to touch you, embrace you and kiss you,

taste the wine of your mouth and smell the perfume of your hair.

O Antinous Dionysus, you may be kindly, you may be cruel,

you may be severe, you may be mirthful, but what you never are

is distant, and in your intimate closeness is my ecstasy.

POEM: A hymn for the winter solstice

The longest night, the shortest day
Each year it comes and goes its way
The bleak midwinter blest with feasts
To joy the greatest and the least

The newborn light becomes a boy
His mother’s pride, the whole world’s joy
The gods immortal come to earth
In mortal flesh for mortal mirth

Here Jesus sleeps with ox and ass
As one by one the shepherds pass
To worship him the angels sang
On whom the coming centuries hang

Antinous puts on the crown
That Dionysus handed down
Of ivy, grape, and fragrant pine
And bids us to the feast with wine

While Hercules, the victor strong,
Cries, “Io, Io!” with the throng
And Angerona has the right
To keep us silent for a night

So let us keep our flames alight
Through shortest day and longest night
And hold each other, heart and hand,
Till spring spreads forth throughout the land.

Hymn to Dionysus VI: Mirror

I am afraid of you, Dionysus, for I am afraid of myself.
I am afraid of your anger, for I myself am deeply angry.
I am afraid of your lust, for my own lust seems boundless.
I am afraid of your masks, for I hide my own truth constantly.
I am afraid of your wine, for it blurs my anxious mind.
I am afraid of your chains, for when you break them, you destroy,
and I have wanted to destroy and clutched my chains instead.
I am afraid of your freedom, for what will I do if I am free?
I am afraid of your love, for you loved both Pentheus and Ariadne.
Yet if I love a god, how can I empty that vessel?
Can my thirst be too great for you, Dionysus?
You only smile and offer me the cup.

Hymn to Dionysus V: Not a tame lion

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Ben Whishaw as Dionysus in the Almeida production of The Bakkhai, 2015

He comes from somewhere else, at a time when he is unlooked-for.
He doesn’t wear the right clothes; his hair is too long or too short,
his walk is too butch or too femme. Women love him, but men
know better than to trust him; women crowd around him, but
right-thinking men back away. He smells of women’s perfume
and new leather and animal fur. He takes drugs and sings
lewd songs and women are always at his feet. He has no
permanent address, no stable job, no steady girlfriend.
He carries a club, or is that a parasol, or is it a stage prop,
or is it a weapon? He smiles too much; he doesn’t smile enough;
he doesn’t make sense, isn’t predictable, why won’t he follow
the rules? Rules keep us safe, and you are whatever makes us
feel unsafe, God of Nysa, stranger from far away. You are
sex to the prude, violence to the upright, drugs to the sober,
dance to the rigid, theatre to the boss man, religion to the atheist.
Yet you are also chastity, gentleness, mindfulness, stillness,
silence, and the closed mouth that has tasted the Mysteries.
Bull-horned, bull-footed, complicated god, no one is safe from you.

Hymn to Dionysus IV: Thyrsos

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Take a stalk of fennel, tall enough to bear with pride.
Wind it about in one direction with ivy, ever green.
Wind it about in the other direction with grapevines,
which stiffen as they dry.
Crown it with a pine cone, bristling with hidden seeds.
Adorn it with ribbons, splash it with wine,
honor it with kisses, water it with tears or blood or come.
Carry it, wave it, shake it for attention,
lean on it when weary, pray to it when alone.
Sleep with it beside the bed, near to hand.
Watch it grow in your dreams; see it cast its shadow
over your life, spread its roots into every place.
Find the god waiting there, by his sacred tree,
the thyrsos: Dionysus, Bakkhos, Liber, euoi, euoi!

Hymn to Dionysus III: Forthspringing

IMG_20150319_071615The shoot thrusts up from the earth as the days lengthen,
and your dead creep forth, wandering the roads in search of new wine.
The mushroom springs up in the shit, in the shade, where the rain fell,
bearing its gift of flavor, or intoxication, or illumination, or death.
The phallus springs up, hidden, kept secret, wrapped up,
behind closed doors, under covers, searching blindly
for a place to root itself. In your rites, Bakkheios,
we raise the phallus proudly, for everyone to see;
we dare the intoxication for the illumination; we pour
the wine for the wandering dead, drink deep, sleep late.
May it be so, lord, may your rites be welcomed in the city,
may your gifts be treasured as they turn us topsy-turvy,
may the way be clear for the secrets to come forth,
and show themselves, and be known, and then,
like seeds beneath the snow, to hide themselves again.

Hymn to Dionysus II: God of Masks

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From a mural in Hadrian’s Villa at Tibur

 

Dionysus, you are the giver of many gifts to mortals,
but not least of them the mask. There is a mask
that grins and lies, and there is a mask
that tells the truth. There is the mask
of the revel-song, and there is the mask
of the goat’s lament. There is the mask
the actor puts on to play the appointed role,
and there is the mask that is the actor
whom you wear to walk among us.

The mask is hollow, but the god within it
is real. O Dionysus, grant me to wear the mask
when I must; grant me to honor those who wear it,
for they are your servants and prophets; grant me
to see through the false mask, the lying mask,
over the hollow soul, and call upon you to free us,
O god of tragedy, comedy, travesty, life, death, truth.

Hymn to Dionysus I

k12-1dionysosHail, Dionysus! To you, the son of many mothers and the child of no father,
I turn my attention now. Even Zeus was your mother, cradling you in his thigh,
Zeus the lover and destroyer of your mother, earthly Semele, who became
heavenly Thyone, the raving queen. You freed her from the underworld
and exalted her to the stars, and you exalted your bride, too, Ariadne
of the labyrinth. So you always treat those who worship and honor you,
exalting the senses, exalting the spirit, making humans greater than mortal,
while you cast down those who reject you, who refuse your joyous dance.

You bear many names and bring many stories when you come dancing,
Dionysus, Bacchus, Liber, Bromios, Lyaios, Kissios, Anthion, Zagreus.
You deck your hair with grape vines or ivy or spring flowers; you carry
the thyrsos tipped with a pine cone and trailing vegetation. Sometimes
you come as Father Liber, bearded, bull-strong, and crowned with horns;
sometimes you are the pretty boy, the effeminate stranger, hair in ringlets,
eyes outlined with kohl. You are never more dangerous than when
you seem vulnerable, never more kind than when you are fierce,
O rule-breaking god, noise-maker, breath-taker. I welcome you
and your jug of wine, your prowling beasts, your star-crowned wife,
all your mothers and lovers, your labyrinthine stories, your masks and dances,
your songs and trances, I welcome you, god who has danced around my life
ever since I was a child, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus!

The Day of the Mysteries: To Persephone

For generations now this mystery has been lost
that we long for: A Mother. Her Daughter.
The grain. The fruit. A cry in the night.
A light in the darkness. And a child, a boy.
Your mother’s son, or yours?

Daughter of the grain, wife of the shadows,
queen and savioress, your face is my mirror.
I am my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s
mother, my husband’s wife, my father’s duty.
I am my self, none other, agatha tyche, divine
juno, sovereign queen.

I pray to Persephone, daughter of the Mother,
queen of the underworld, goddess in two worlds.
I pray to Demeter, mother of an only daughter,
giver of the grain, the old woman who grieved.
And I pray to Iakkhos, the mysterious Child,
Son of two Mothers, Dionysus, Bacchus, Antinous.

A cry in the night. A light in the darkness. The grain.
The fruit. A mirror held by two goddesses. A boy,
a mortal, a god. Demophoon in the fire,
Triptolemus in the field, Antinous with a spear.
The mystery we have longed for. The whole
world holds its breath. The sacred way is opened.

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