On the Melinoeia…

I dressed in black and white.  Silver and black eyeliner.  Fake pearls around my neck, twined with my wedding rings.  I read aloud some hymns and poetry to Melinoe, burned myrrh and peppermint, and offered a plate of foods that were a mix of dark and sweet, pungent and aromatic.  Dates, concord grapes, ginger preserves, dark chocolate, sprigs of fresh herbs, raw cheese, red wine mixed with cardamom syrup.

I also asked Melinoe if there was a devotional activity she would have of me, and drew from my Pithos.  “Write a hymn or poem to today’s spirit”.  Made sense.  Melinoe is one of only two of the Thiasos’ deities/spirits that I have not contributed to the communal hymns for.  (The other being Apollo, because he still escapes my understanding for now.)  With Melinoe, though she is arguably enigmatic, it was more because I was hesitant. I have been through grief-caused madness a couple times, and the worst and most recent felt too fresh, and I wasn’t sure how approaching Melinoe would provoke the sort of rocky equilibrium I currently have.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been worried.

On the way to go dancing, I stopped spontaneously at a grocery store to buy a pomegranate, which I felt would come in handy later.

Once at the club, I used some of The Witch of Forest Grove’s Toad flying ointment and drank pomegranate flavored liquor.

There were some amazing moments on the dance-floor.  Although, I remember little of them now, which is typical.  Such memories are sacrifices to ekstasis.  I do remember actively manipulating energy and dancing in doorways for the dead (like on the Hekatesia). I remember feeling an emotional madness overtake me into a particular frenzy where I was manically pulling on my own hair. How crazy I must have looked?  Not crazy enough that I wasn’t approached towards the end of the night by two women on the dance floor, asking me questions.  They might have been flirting with me, but I’m a little immune to that sort of thing.  But I did have an inkling earlier in the night that if anyone approached me tonight they were going to have some repercussions of what I was doing — so when it happened, I just smiled.  If that smile had words it would have been saying “So you need some of this transformative stuff, do you?  I am somewhat sorry, but then I am just a vessel…”

I can’t recall what prompted it exactly, but one of them said to me, not without playfulness, “Anyone who comes to a club by themselves has issues.”  I smiled even more wickedly and replied “Oh, I’ve got issues- of a whole other variety.”  You have no idea.

When the night was over, I went home and took my pomegranate outside.  It seemed obvious what to do with it.  I tore it into little pieces, with my hands and some with my teeth.  I had no particular grief in mind when I did this, just thought of Melinoe and started tearing it apart – but as soon as I began the tears suddenly came — a real deep almost angry weeping.  My mind was completely blank.  I don’t even know what I needed to cry about, something unnamed or something residual perhaps.  But I didn’t feel the need to name it, I just threw the last bits of seeds and red flesh with particular vehemence as the juice dripped down my arm.  (I noticed later with curiosity that the juice dried in the shape of veins down my forearm to my elbow.)

I paced a little and breathed through it, but the emotion seemed to clear and then disappear completely once I splashed some water on my face.  I tried to watch an episode of my favorite ghost show, but I passed out almost immediately.  I had dreams within dreams.  One of a spider crawling on me while I slept.

I remember you, Melinoe.
You are the violence between Earth and Sky,
your lightning-scream so bright
that the resulting silence is as profound as negative space.
Melinoe, phantom queen, tear down the veil between
what the mind has lost and what the heart cannot forget,
so we may be pure of spirit.


Aridela Pantherina is a Dionysian and polytheist of no particular consequence (or perhaps too many consequences). Her passions are changeable but generally include music, dance and hierobotany.  She currently resides in the deserts of the Southwest and she looks forward to being struck by lightning. She blogs at ariadneinexile.blogspot.com.



  1. Those are all such wonderful ways to honor Melinoe. I think I might have to incorporate the pomegranate-ripping next year–this holiday falls too close to the beginning of school for me to do anything like clubbing.

    I really like your poem, too, and it helps my understanding of Melinoe to think of Her as the one whose madness purifies us by helping us work through everything “between what the mind has lost and what the heart cannot forget.” Beautiful!

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