Originally posted at http://gargarean.wordpress.com/ (28 June 14)

Earlier this week Sannion introduced Apollo into the pantheon of Thiasos of the Starry Bull. Personally it was a bit of duh moment, as I’ve always considered Apollo to the counterpart of Dionysus. But Sannion wants to focus on the wolf related Apollon found in Italy called Apollo Soranos.

Admittedly I’m academically behind the Archiboukolos and many members of Thaisos, especially in regards to the Magna Graecia and the surrounding cultures and later influences. Actually, I’m behind on a lot of things in this whole subject and mostly wing it when it comes to discussing it all. I’m a lazy researcher and note taker, often my contribution is from memory alone. On top of it all, I’m also a new comer to philosophy.  Just last year I started heavily reading the subject, I think I read more that year than my entire lifetime. Well over one hundred books. Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, is one that I have deliberately stayed well away from since my teenage years, until then.

I suppose this give my peers material to criticise me – as lack of sources boarders upon the ridiculous term: Unverifiable Personal Gnosis. But I actually like my slow wading through information. Whenever I find something amazing it is like… orgasmic. Perhaps best described like eating chocolate or some delicious olives but I have epiphanies because I’m uneducated. I really think that because of this – Nietzsche’s influence has not had impact on my understanding of dynamic between Dionysus and Apollo.
A secular friend of mine – who is very well educated – once talked to me about this schnauzer looking dude called Nietzsche that I’d never heard of and I was like, “yeah… so? Anyone dipshit can draw those comparisons… It’s already been mentioned by the Greeks.” Still an uneducated response, I suppose, but one that proves the purity of the two gods.

Why I had a duh moment when Sannion made his announcement:
I consider myself a follower of Dionysus, but anyone that *actually* knows me, knows that my personality is like the Nietzsche Apollonian. I’m a ordered person, very serious and often cold. I lack humour and even after drinking copious amounts of alcohol have a reputation of being sober, I’m creative but follow reason, logic and the rational. These restraints are not conscience  on my part, it is a series of walls I have developed since birth to protect myself from pain experienced in living, these forces relate to Apollo and I love and adore him for his aid, but they hinder me. Dionysus is the liberator and frees me from these barriers. I hope with the blend of the two I find myself moving on and coming towards the abstract concepts that we call self-betterment and maybe, even enlightenment?

Like Dionysus, the chthonic aspects of Apollo have always appealed to me. In the recent discussion within the Thiasos, some found this confronting, but it seems natural to me. Apollo has to me always been a cold god (please don’t misunderstand that), he is the great avenger that has no issue bringing even innocent to their doom just to prove a point (story of Niobe and the start of the Iliad). He dominates through order while Dionysus dominates through madness. These poles are the same thing but sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, at either end domination is domination and both deities govern over it.

The association with wolves interests me as they are ordered creatures, they calculate their movements to set up traps for their pray, also they are one of the few direct rivals to rural man. While we try to control nature around us, by herding creatures, they use calculated tactics to fuck it up. Wolves can outsmart the most vigilant shepherd.
After their carnage follows the crows and ravens that pick at the carcase of the freshly killed lamb. (Crows being Apollo’s sacred bird.) Apart from wolves – farmers face another of Apollo’s animals: mice. Mice are the wolves of grain that destroyed crops and cause famine, the following malnutrition and piling dead causes disease. All part of the complex network of Apollo’s domain.

Wolf_with_Caribou_HindquarterWhen I heard of Apollo Soranos and did some quick research I immediately thought of Apollo Lykaios, and going by my memory the mystery rites of Lykaia on Mount Lykaion. This rite is attributed to Lykaios (wolf-Zeus) but Apollo has an similar epithet in Athens, Apollo Lycaeus. I suspect that the two were interconnect. The  Lykaia rites supposedly involved animism that resulted in ritual human sacrifice and cannibalism. To what extent we do not know, but so far there is no archaeological evidence that there was *actual* human sacrifice at Lykaion. It is safe to assume that these rites were simulated. There is stark comparison to the Dionysian mysteries that involved similar themes, in that the initiate would assume the form of the Dionysian bull, which would be consumed by the initiated clad in clay who would assume the Titans that ate the first incarnation of Dionysus, Zagreus.

Back to Apollo Soranos, Sannion has provided this quick description from the Roman Myth Index:

A Sabine divinity of the lower world. Mount Soracte, which probably derived its name from him, was, according to Servius (ad Aen. xi. 785), sacred to the infernal gods, especially to Diespiter; and it is related that during a sacrifice offered to Soranus, wolves snatched away the entrails of the victims from the altar, and that the shepherds pursuing the wolves came to a cave, the poisonous vapours of which caused a pestilence among them. An oracle then ordered them to live, like wolves, on prey, and hence those people are called Hirpini, from the Sabine word hirpus, a wolf, which was joined to that of Soranus, so that their full name was Hirpini Sorani. It was a custom observed down to a comparatively late period that the Hirpi or Hirpini (probably some ancient Sabine families) at the festival on mount Soracte, walked with bare feet upon the glowing coals of fir-wood, carrying about the entrails of the victims (Serv. ad Aen.xi. 784, &c.; Plin. H. N. vii. 2; Sil. Ital. v. 174; Strab. v. p. 226). Strabo connects this ceremony with the worship of Feronia, and this circumstance, as well as the proximity of the sanctuary of the two divinities, shows, that Soranus and Feronia probably belonged to the same religion. Roman poets sometimes identified Soranus with the Greek Apollo. (Virg. Aen. xi. 786; comp. Müller, Etrusk. vol. ii. p. 67, &c.; Hartung, Die Religion der Römer, vol. ii. p. 191, &c.)

Do you see a kinda correspondence here? There is no mystery that the Italian tribes were influenced by the Greeks. I really wonder if Apollo Lycaeus migrated over to become Apollo Soranos? Who knows. I’m just brain farting. But despite the obviousness of Apollo being the leader of the Muses, one of the fathers of Orpheus, sharing his sacred seat with Dionysus during winter in Delphi and many other connections such as music, dance, etc. these esoteric factors fascinate me, I’m very happy that Apollo has been included in Thiasos Pantheon.


( Images supplied from original post, from Wikipedia under CC license.)

Markos Gage (The Gargarean) — an Australian, Dionysian – Hellenic polytheist artist and writer.
Personal blog
Art website
Email: markus.gage85 at gmail .com


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