Violent Grace

“From the Gods Who sit in grandeur grace comes somehow violent.”
–Aeschylus, “Agamemnon”

My friend sent me this quote today and I thought, ‘how Dionysian!” I experience Him so often as that primal roar that shakes the foundations of the world’s very being, that loosens its organic structure, that penetrates the consciousness of our souls, that rips us open, rips us apart like sacrificial meat, that opens us up to His light. He is monstrous, and laughing, delights in that very thing and maybe we should too because behind the calm, well ordered structure of our public rites, our civic observances, there is a cesspool of scarred soul-muscle waiting to be rent apart, waiting to be set afire, waiting to be brought into His embrace, waiting to be reworked into beauty.

He is a drop into an abyss that has no end. I see it when I paint, when I am so frustrated at my limited technique that I want to tear my world and work apart, use my brushes like knives, and scream and scream at my inability to graft the inspiration He brings onto canvas. I knew it when I danced too and would catch glimpses of the path the daemon of that art had tread, stretching so far back into blood soaked eons that at the time my soul lacked the vocabulary to even fathom what I was seeing. No one will ever be able to convince me that He is not savage. I belong to Odin. I know savage and when neophytes, their eyes aglow with infatuation come to me trying with all their hearts to convince me that Dionysos, Lord of the most painful, most necessary, most joyous of ecstasies is not savage, that He’s all wine and dance and laughter I will throw back my head and laugh and think of the wondrous, awe-ful roar of His presence, and the way the cosmos spins about His fingers like jewels, the fires of destructive creation glittering in His eyes and I’ll laugh and laugh some more. Poor unsuspecting bastards. They will learn.

I dreamt of labyrinths last night and of climbing up to see my way over. I dreamt of a mad bull king who ravaged the very lord of hell and won His people free. I dreamt of that first primal thrust of creation and of explosions and glory. It’s not good when a vitki dreams. I awoke wanting to claw my way out of humanity, wanting that wisdom that piety alone forbids us to seek. I awoke wanting to gnaw my way into a God.

Dionysos is shaking all the parts of me loose, giving life to the monsters inside my head and I’m finding they’re not so bad after all and maybe that is His gift too. He’s unworking the labyrinth of me. I know better than to run from a predator. I will be unworked and then we shall see what we shall see. In the meantime I paint and spit my fury onto canvas and sometimes I’m even pleased with the results. Savagery has so many forms after all, some are even beautiful.

by Galina Krasskova

In progress: The Mad Bull King Conquers Hell

 

 

in progress mad bull king

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2 comments

  1. Interesting you compare Dionysos to Odin in His savagery. I find parallels and contrasts between His madness and Loki’s. My experience of Dionysos (at the Polytheist Leadership Conference and for several weeks thereafter) was the madness of catharsis: accumulated sludge scrubbed thoroughly if none too gently from all your darkest corners.

    Loki, for me, brings the madness of rage. Fenrir got the anger management issues from His father: beneath the wisecracking smartass persona everyone knows so well is a Muspelheim-sized volcano just waiting to blow. Dionysos is a fecund madness: Loki is a destroying madness. The insanity of Dionysos is fecund, like jungle reclaiming the ruins of an old city. Loki’s madness devours like flame. Dionysos is pain transmuted into something beautiful and terrible: Loki is the pain that lashes out at everything in its path.

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