by G. Krasskova
I recently had to have an MRI. I’d tried twice before but there’s something – even with the open MRIs–that triggers intense terror and claustrophobia in me. Twice before, I would get to the point of laying down on the sliding bed and the moment it started moving, or as soon as I was actually in the MRI tube, I”d panic and claw my way out. I think it was partly past life stuff and partly having been restrained violently as a child in order to be anesthetized for a surgery when I was very, very small that contributed to the panic attack but regardless, the MRI wasn’t happening, or, as I quipped to a friend “medical procedures shouldn’t involve bondage!”
Because I needed to have this done (I have severe disk problems in my lumbar area and my doctor needed to actually see what was going on), I gave it a third try. This time my partner went with me, held my hand, stroked my head, told me funny stories, and talked about the terror Dionysos has the power to wield. I had prayed fervently to Dionysos before this last try too, asking that He help me master my panic and get this oh so necessary procedure done. I tried looking at it as an ordeal, but I wasn’t able to slip into the necessary ordeal headspace. It wouldn’t have been a problem had I been able to do that, but I think Dionysos was giving me a gift and perhaps even actively preventing me from doing so. Why? Well, that headspace is a great aid in helping the ordeal dancer surmount any pain or fear inherent in an ordeal. To go through what is, in fact, a psychological or emotional ordeal but to do it without any aid, to do it feeling every ounce of terror is something quite different and requires a different sort of trust and fortitude.
I wonder at the relationship between Dionysos and Pan. I know fear and it is conscious and immediate. Terror – panic- is something quite apart from that. It roils up from the pit of the soul, from the dark twisting innards of the gut, from the lizard brain of instinct, fight, or flight that we all possess. There’s no logic to it. There’s no panacea. It comes in waves, buffeting consciousness and must be ridden to its end. I very rarely experience panic and its peaks and valleys were new to me. Yet when I called to Dionysos, it seemed as though those feral rhythms were a cloak that He could wear at will, a weapon, a tool, a gift. It coiled around His hands like a serpent around the arms of a temple dancer. The gift He gave me, sending His priest to help, was this: to be in the conscious flow of that panic and not be overwhelmed by it. I got through my MRI with no problem, in fact, I was quite calm once it all began. I was also, as I only realized much later, in a deeply altered state. More and more I’m gaining insight into how He uses altered states to cleanse, purify, challenge, to open one up to whatever mysteries one’s Gods and wyrd might have in store.
Odin is always at my back supporting me, challenging me, guiding my steps and it’s an odd thing to be led to the feet of another God of ecstasy, yet an ecstasy to different from that of Odin. I think this God of wine and fury is chewing up my insides, heart and mind and spirit, spitting them up whole and healthy again, drawing out every fear, ever phantom terror, ever binding, choking memory, dragging them out into the light, purifying with His fire. He seeps into every crack and in that place where both He and Odin hold sway I’m finding purchase in my humanity. I think I just have to trust Them both, that it will not make me weak.
I had divination done recently to see what He might want from me in terms of service. He has been good to me, and in my work with the Thiasos I want to be diligent. I’ve been conditioned after all by Odin to be the consummate work horse when it comes to things devotional. I was surprised by His answer: flowers, pretty things given in offering, to be invoked more often when I paint, to develop a better, healthier, more effective protocol for engaging with the battlefield dead. That was all and it is so strange to be asked only what is a joy to give. I hear His laughter when I ponder that and it is seductive, and savage, and glorious. Io Evohe.