Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Season of the Goddamn Firestorm

If you don't keep up with Austin Coppock's blog, then you probably want to go and take a look at the series of conjunctions and the pile-up occurring in Aries at the moment.

Mars began his stay in Aries on March 11th, and it will continue until April 20th (two days after my birthday, incidentally). Venus enters Aries, following Sol's course, tomorrow on March 21st. I don't know about you, but Venus already feels pretty chatty to me. I woke up feeling the tide of movement. Meanwhile, Saturn - the great sphere of delineation and realistic limitation - remains retrograde until July 7th or 8th. This amounts of a fuck-off huge planetary firestorm, which can very easily spread.

The only question this season demands an answer to, at least as far as it seems to me, is what deserves getting burned down and what bridges deserve to be burned, and what does not?

Enjoy your Equinox. Heheh.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Drugz & TED Talks [EDITED]

Through Gordon and The Laughing Magus I caught the latest debacle about TED removing Rupert Sheldrake & Graham Hancock's talks and then altering the dynamic where their talks and videos were still 'online,' but in hard to find online avenues.

So I sat down and watched all of Hancock's talk just now. In the event you haven't seen it, you can watch it here (via TLM).

There are several points to raise:
1. TED does misrepresent Hancock's comments. Particularly:
He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” and that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.
 He actually says that the period of 'transcendent cave-art' is the essential point of the emergence of consciousness. He never actually mentions using drugs to access any sort of 'mother-culture,' but I could see how you could change his comments into something along those lines. Further:
 He seems to offer a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs), it’s no surprise his work has often been characterized as pseudo-archeology.
 He doesn't do that. He does imply the truthful factor of drugs and their influence on cultures, however he doesn't specify the arrival being created by drugs. Rather, he refers work by a researcher that may indicate (I'll need to check it out, and may even post about it here) that drugs were an important phenomena in the emergence of consciousness.

Where TED is correct that Hancock seems to stray into 'psuedo-Archaeology,' but couldn't be fucked to set down (apparently) involves his reports on Kykeon and Soma. He references the 'Amanita Muscaria' theory of Soma penned down by Wasson. It has been called into question and is by no means the primary, or even accepted theory regarding the divine drink.* There is no evidence that I know of that Kykeon was actually utilizing an entheogen, but at least one theory points towards Ergot (the fungus from which LSD-25 was synthesized) as a potential candidate. This might make the substance an entheogen, or at least involve one. It could also be, and I do mean this, incorrect. I would love for proof of ergot being included in Kykeon; I just have yet to see any compelling enough to be labeled as such. These factors and others are probably enough to call his talk into question, but it seems odd that TED didn't specifically pinpoint his statements and provide us with a full account of why they pulled his talk. That's bad form on TED's part, and their comments are hardly worth of merit (at least regarding their actions) and in a few places just plain wrong.

* Recently, in 1994, Viktor Sarianidi claimed to have discovered physical evidence of Soma left at the BMAC complex (he claimed it was Ephedra, Cannabis, and Opium). Subsequent retests of his findings have also been found to be questionable. I had a few other links on the matter, but they've also gotten mis-sorted in my bookmarks. I really held out hope for Sarianidi's findings, as physical evidence that could be linked to the culture that produced Soma/Hoama would have finally settled the debate of 'entheogen - or not?!' Unfortunately, those hopes were apparently premature.

[EDIT] I'll be periodically adding links as I grab them from the depths of my bookmark folders, and try to keep the info as legit as possible, the wikipedia references aside. I know they aint, like, reputable. The subject of Soma is just over-run with buy muscle relaxers from Mexico! links and shit, which bogs down the ability to find useful information. Most kykeon searches dead-end with a billion drug forums that are... are... I won't even go there. Thus they're (wikipedia, that is) an easy place that you might be able to glean a generic basis of understanding. Remember that I am not a scholar, and what I trade in is information and sheer madness, and not like, 100% reputable sources myself.

A discussion on the possibility of Ergot as an ingredient in Kykeon in Pharmakon by Michael A. Rinella.

Wasson (oh, hey there!) and his initial comments on Ergot and Kykeon in The Road to Eleusis.

The Soma-Haoma Problem by J.E.M. Hoube. (Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spook Country

How could I not repost these two links?
Alternate-reality games are no longer just for geeks and corporations that want to sell you stuff. America’s intelligence agents now think these interactive games could make for a better way to study human psychology and social behavior.

The intelligence community’s blue-sky researchers, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA), announced they’re seeking designers for alternate-reality games, or ARGs. It’s for work, they swear. The project, which goes by the name UAREHERE (as in “you are here”), “may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-real world contexts,” according to a request for information released this week.
- U.S. Spies Want to Play Alternate-Reality Games (For Work, They Swear.) by Robert Beckhusen. (Via Wired.)

And also:
Over the past two years, Mexican scientists involved in bio- and nanotechnology have become targets. They’re not threatened by the nation’s drug cartels. They’re marked for death by a group of bomb-building eco-terrorists with the professed goal of destroying human civilization.

The group, which goes by the name Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS), posted its manifesto to anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month. The manifesto takes credit for a failed bombing attempt that month against a researcher at the Biotechnology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. And the group promises more.

“We have said it before, we act without any compassion in the feral defense of Wild Nature,” the manifesto states. “Did those who modify and destroy the Earth think their actions wouldn’t have repercussions? That they wouldn’t pay a price? If they thought so, they are mistaken.” The group threatens more bombings against Mexican scientists because “they must pay for what they are doing to the Earth.”
- In Manifesto, Mexican Eco-Terrorists Declare War on Nanotechnology. (Again via Wired and the same author.)
Seriously? I don't think bombing ourselves back to the middle ages, or waging wars against certain forms of emerging technology will get us anywhere. (There are plenty of reasons to pursue nanotech if possible; there is no good reason to allow Fracking, on the other hand, to happen anywhere.) That said, I still fully expect it to happen. It's practically inevitable, and has historically occurred in various forms more than once (the similarities to Industrial Society and Its Future by Ted Kaczynski mentioned in the article is surely on example; the Luddites are another.)

In the event one of my latest screeds made you think I am perpetually about to go all eco-terrorist, then I assure you that such is not the case.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jesus Christ, Gordon.

I shouldn't be laughing at this, because the outrage is palpable.

But, Gordon? I love you, man. And everyone else should, too.

If they don't already, anyway.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Three Posts. One Day.

It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight — Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

This time, the crumbling empire is the unassailable global economy, and the brave new world of consumer democracy being forged worldwide in its name. Upon the indestructibility of this edifice we have pinned the hopes of this latest phase of our civilisation. Now, its failure and fallibility exposed, the world’s elites are scrabbling frantically to buoy up an economic machine which, for decades, they told us needed little restraint, for restraint would be its undoing. Uncountable sums of money are being funnelled upwards in order to prevent an uncontrolled explosion. The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

Increasingly, people are restless. The engineers group themselves into competing teams, but neither side seems to know what to do, and neither seems much different from the other. Around the world, discontent can be heard. The extremists are grinding their knives and moving in as the machine’s coughing and stuttering exposes the inadequacies of the political oligarchies who claimed to have everything in hand. Old gods are rearing their heads, and old answers: revolution, war, ethnic strife. Politics as we have known it totters, like the machine it was built to sustain. In its place could easily arise something more elemental, with a dark heart.

As the financial wizards lose their powers of levitation, as the politicians and economists struggle to conjure new explanations, it starts to dawn on us that behind the curtain, at the heart of the Emerald City, sits not the benign and omnipotent invisible hand we had been promised, but something else entirely. Something responsible for what Marx, writing not so long before Conrad, cast as the ‘everlasting uncertainty and anguish’ of the ‘bourgeois epoch’; a time in which ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.’ Draw back the curtain, follow the tireless motion of cogs and wheels back to its source, and you will find the engine driving our civilisation: the myth of progress.
The myth of progress is to us what the myth of god-given warrior prowess was to the Romans, or the myth of eternal salvation was to the conquistadors: without it, our efforts cannot be sustained. Onto the root stock of Western Christianity, the Enlightenment at its most optimistic grafted a vision of an Earthly paradise, towards which human effort guided by calculative reason could take us. Following this guidance, each generation will live a better life than the life of those that went before it. History becomes an escalator, and the only way is up. On the top floor is human perfection. It is important that this should remain just out of reach in order to sustain the sensation of motion.

Recent history, however, has given this mechanism something of a battering. The past century too often threatened a descent into hell, rather than the promised heaven on Earth. Even within the prosperous and liberal societies of the West progress has, in many ways, failed to deliver the goods. Today’s generation are demonstrably less content, and consequently less optimistic, than those that went before. They work longer hours, with less security, and less chance of leaving behind the social back- ground into which they were born. They fear crime, social breakdown, overdevelopment, environmental collapse. They do not believe that the future will be better than the past. Individually, they are less constrained by class and convention than their parents or grandparents, but more constrained by law, surveillance, state proscription and personal debt. Their physical health is better, their mental health more fragile. Nobody knows what is coming. Nobody wants to look.
 - Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto
All right. I'm all tapped out on doom for the night, so I just grabbed a random image to evoke a feeling, hopefully humorous, of how it came to be. Man, that thing is so goddamn well written. It gave me chills, I tell you.

Austin Osman Spare & Burroughs

I was reading Valentine's “Chasing Pidgins” entry and reflecting on it earlier in the week and trying to figure out how to respond. He brings up a number of interesting critisms of Austin Spare, while also waxing poetic on his preferred madman: William S. Burroughs. And who doesn't love them some Burroughs? The man looked at the world and said, no, you are fucking Queer.

Amongst the comments he discusses some of the absurdity that Spare got up to, such as insisting that the power of his sigils was derived from encountering the hieroglyphs of Egypt. The simplified fetishization of Spare's methods that occurred during the height of the Chaos Magick days does, indeed, tone down it's discourse when it comes to such things, which is totally a lingering problem.

Back in the day, a friend and older magician I consider a mentor asked me if there were any books he could pick up so I could read. I immediately, as I didn't own it then, talked to him about Stephen Mace's Stealing the Fire From Heaven due to the discussions on Mace's text in Fr. UD's High Magic series and other works. He instead picked up Stealing Fire From Heaven: Austin Osman Spare by A.R. Naylor. Given the similarity in the title, I didn't realize that I wasn't reading Mace's book right away. I'd just read The Focus of Life and Anathema of Zos, along with looking at the beautiful works of draughtsmanship in two of his other works. You can imagine the shock I got as I read the compiled evidence by Naylor that Spare had, in fact, stolen some of his work from other artists and presented it as his own in Form magazine. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and forced me to yet again confront the fact that no one is exempt from certain social pressures, nor can anyone truly ever bare the careful and scrutinizing eye of those that come after them. This fact will bear out with any of the older generation of magicians, almost everyone including those of us today, and is also an issue with Brother Valentine's beloved Burroughs.

This commentary does not extend, however, to the techniques of either. I just plain don't like getting into a discussion involving comparing Spare's techniques to those of Grant Morrison. Morrison may have arrived at some of his conclusions and extensions based on his understanding of Spare's work. That does not, however, mean that they were utilizing precisely the same process nor suffer from the same problems. Spare's problems were uniquely his own, and Morrison has hardly driven off his fans by becoming (however temporarily or long term is up for debate) King Mob through the vehicle of his art and work. It's apples and motherfucking oranges, man.

Getting into the interpretations of reality between those different personages is also cumbersome and boring, because it's just more magicians rattling off names and swords as if those influences matter half as much as what we do and learn ourselves. I'm tapped out on that bullshit for a while, sorry.

So my point and only real contribution, lame as it may be, is that no one holds up to scrutiny and wonder stories rarely work out in reality half as well as they do in the narratives that magicians use to prop themselves up. Spare's big contribution to us is his process, which works, and his tech. The same remains true of Burroughs. But if we scrutinize either, the wonder stories fall apart. That's how it always works out. Myth is the utterance of emotion in words, ritual in actions and all that. Cull from both, because they're both worth stealing from.

But they aint – either of 'em, nor are any of the others – perfect nor should we prop them up by pretending they were.

Mars in Aries [Edited.]

“‘Few men realise,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in 1896, ‘that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.’ Conrad’s writings exposed the civilisation exported by European imperialists to be little more than a comforting illusion, not only in the dark, unconquerable heart of Africa, but in the whited sepulchres of their capital cities. The inhabitants of that civilisation believed ‘blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions and its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion,’ but their confidence could be maintained only by the seeming solidity of the crowd of like-minded believers surrounding them. Outside the walls, the wild remained as close to the surface as blood under skin, though the city-dweller was no longer equipped to face it directly.

Bertrand Russell caught this vein in Conrad’s worldview, suggesting that the novelist ‘thought of civilised and morally tolerable human life as a dangerous walk on a thin crust of barely cooled lava which at any moment might break and let the unwary sink into fiery depths.’ What both Russell and Conrad were getting at was a simple fact which any historian could confirm: human civilisation is an intensely fragile con- struction. It is built on little more than belief: belief in the rightness of its values; belief in the strength of its system of law and order; belief in its currency; above all, perhaps, belief in its future.

Once that belief begins to crumble, the collapse of a civilisation may become unstoppable. That civilisations fall, sooner or later, is as much a law of history as gravity is a law of physics. What remains after the fall is a wild mixture of cultural debris, confused and angry people whose certainties have betrayed them, and those forces which were always there, deeper than the foundations of the city walls: the desire to survive and the desire for meaning.”
I thought of the above while reading both thelettuceman's and Satyr Magos' responses to Sannion's previously linked commentary on Dionysos and his savagery. But where I'm about to take my commentary will be different enough, I think, to almost seem off topic. I don't think it is, so bear with me if you care to.

What humanity has always craved, has by its very animal instinct been forced to crave, is safety. In other times we protected ourselves by erecting large walls, by having armed patrols, and so forth. Before we had the manpower to do so, we simply created militia-like forces and turned to the forces of the earth and “other world” to try and gain some possible advantage against a world that is out – at the very best – to eat us and at the worst will horribly maim us and leaves us to die of blood loss in the depths of the wilderness.

As we, in terms of European history at least, erected those vast walls and uplifted our mighty cities from the world that seeks to turn us into food we simultaneously began progressively cutting ourselves off from the world. With walls came safety, and with safety came the convenient views of “civilisation” (the British spelling of that word is so strange to me...). The real world was out there, beyond the walls. It was filled with vagabonds, cut-throats, thieves, liars, and those we found could not be trusted to remain within the walls.*

It was also filled with, as one is easily reminded, with natural predators and the threats of weather, getting lost and dying of starvation, or in desert areas, dying due to lack of water. All of these threats are very real, and the only reason we do not currently face them – as some do in other parts of the world – is because we have erected our walls and established technological dominion over the lands we have settled upon. In short, we've exported the dream of “civilisation” everywhere primarily because it is perceived as safe.

Therein lies the rub. Because the institutions and cities we built can easily crumble back to dust, rock, forest and glen quite easily without the resources and upkeep to keep them useful. And those resources are the bet that we have placed upon our civilisation, resources that cannot last forever.

There are too many humans, and too much civilisation, and not nearly enough resources. The looming crisis is the one dreamed of by poor Malthus. As we have progressively shut ourselves off from the world around us, instead dreaming of ever larger cities and an ever increasing population we have also cut ourselves off from the religious and spiritual dimensions of nature. Those tendencies we once had to implore the forces (Gods, ancestors, etc.) for aid in our continued survival have dwindled and died. As they became unneeded, at least in the view of those who think they don't work (I still disagree, even if the material facts will never be on my side) we cut ourselves off from those respective bodies of knowledge. Who needs daimon-boys to protect flock, field, and village when we have the technology to produce food for entire cities? No one, that's who. And as such it will remain until the resources that fuel that technology are gone.

We have also cut ties with the world outside. The “urban legend” of this sort've discussion normally involves my telling you that the Romans put “Hic Svnt Dracones” (Here Be Dragons) on the edges of their maps, at the end borders of “civilisation” as they knew it. This is actually not historically accurate at all: there is a globe, but no currently known maps, on which the phrase appears. What they instead wrote was “Hic Svnt Liones” (Here Be Lions). The edge of “civilised” space was the space in which all the terrors of the natural world return, and crossing the border into that space meant that one paid due to the liminal Gods who roamed both spaces and in-between: Hekate and Hermes, definitely. But Dionysos, the savage and mad son of the holder of the Throne of the Gods, was also a liminal god. The one that was both near and far; unto whom the Maenads cried and sobbed for his return. To know his mysteries was to become, in some sense or another, barbaric and savage. To become steeped in “the other place” beyond which civilisation was seen as, at best, a game. At worst civilisation of the human sort has always been somewhat monstrous, masking its nature in the covenience of safety.

In his previously linked post, Satyr writes**: 
Unlike the god I may not, must not, unleash that violence. Violence means something different in today’s world than it did in ancient Hellas—though the consequences for the victims, blamed post facto for their own destruction, are shamefully unchanged.”

It is here that I disagree. Violence has never changed. Violence is inherent in the human animal. Any young boy who ever mercilously, or perhaps in some bizarre and niave form of brutal innocence, lifted a magnifying glass over a swarm of ants to watch them smolder and burn knows this well. Any woman who has ever been pushed the edge and forced to match her physical strength against another human's being knows violence in the same sense that the Hellenes and Romans knew. Conflict, as Heraclitus will tell you, is inevitable and necessary. War is the means by which humans have asserted power over others. It is the power by which America retains the status of Empire, brought to these shores by perhaps the Spanish or British in the form of our New Rome, our New Order of Ages.

We have an endless array of tales from all ages of men who looked upon the very face of War, of the savage and violent impulse inherent in the human being, and ran screaming in terror. It has only been in the last century that we've sought to put a psychological term to the response, beginning with the First World War: “shell shock.”*** All that has changed is our technology. We have sufficiently advanced that to the degree that our rival nations could wipe humanity, and most life, off the face of the globe in a series of hours. Truly, ancient warlords would have sold their souls for such power in some cases.

As we erect our safety nets, as we build our walls and concrete jungles, it is only the physical qualities of the world that change. The terrifying animal instinct still remains, undiminished and waiting for the time when our walls and protective edifices have progressively worn down to reappear with astonishing rapidity. It is then that mankind is at the whim, not the reconciling mercy, of such a force. They are, as Jung would put it, “seized.”

The traditional response, and the most unhealthy, is repression and suppression. It is generally followed by sublimation, an attempt to make the impulse socially acceptable. There is another response that is possible, however. That response is integration. Unlike Satyr, I can never put away the violence in my heart because it is so very natural, and were I to attempt such a thing I would only become a far more warped and twisted monster. Rather, first I must turn it upon myself. I must embrace my violence, know it for what it is and when it is to be used. I must temper my emotional desire toward it until it is just another potential tool which sits within me, capable of being called upon when or if it should ever be necessary.

To do any less would be to deny my natural existence, my very humanity. Furthermore, for me, to deny that impulse would be to simply shove it aside and hope – much like the hope that I will “always be safe” – that it should never overcome me. And that may very well be a path of good intent, but it remains like so many others, a path to Hell.****

And so I just kill myself every day, take care to meditate when the urge threatens to bloom beyond verbage.

To fail to do so would be to be unprepared when the moment finally arrives, and one has never once considered the possibility. Then there is only seizure, or like the wild men, to flee into the wilderness. In so many ways, I see the responses and fear of the savage as part of the twin impulse of civilisation: first, to deny our natural and animal origins, and second to flee from the face of that very thing we built our cities and nations against. None the less, that safety is an illusion. It does not exist, and it has never existed.

Still: who would I be to deny any one else their ideals? That much, I leave to you, dear reader. Whether you choose the game of civilisation or to get as close to moving beyond the boundaries, into the realm of lions and dragons, is up to you.

Be seeing you,
Jack Faust (currently using the Voice of Mr. VI, without whom this entry might well not exist.)

* In the lands where the early Celtic tribes wandered, there was apparently also a distinction between “landed” youths (who would come to form property owners) and those who were bequeathed no such land, and became hunters (and just as often, pests) and lived outside the traditional bounds of society. CĂș Chulainn comes to mind as an immediate example of such a one. Keep in mind, however, that my knowledge of Celtic history is... inadequate on the best of days.
** [Edited]: I don't want to come across as crap talking Satyr or his process; I may disagree to a certain degree, but I don't want to disabuse him or anyone else on his (or their) chosen course. I just went into, if you will, war-mode a long time ago and came up with my own, different solutions and thought process in that regards. God, that sounds so fucking pompous. ... Anyway.
*** The symptoms of which, Freud was astonished to discover, were not much different from those being seen in his “neurotic” female patients. War does not, nor the trauma of what we do, stop in those other places where we wage it. It exists in our homes, our lives, too.
**** If the Christian term bothers you, then displace it for another monsterously horrid and terrifying locale.
[EDIT #20 Billion: Fixed the goddamn Uncivilisation manifesto link.  I couldn't possibly be writing while intoxicated. Noooooot at all.]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Savage and Most Beautiful

When I was 22 years of age, I was busy having wild sex (which, of course, evolved into sex magick) and busy enjoying my new freedom to become inebriated. After one of those drinking/sex sessions, I made the mistake of having a conversation that would come to have long term implications on my life. My then-girlfriend and I were talking about deities, and I noted that while I often wished I could resonate with one deity or another I couldn't think of any deities worthy of my veneration.

Except,” I added, “Maybe Dionysus.”

I went home around 3 AM and broke out the black mirror and decided to use it for what it was designed for: scrying spirits. And so I tried to scry up the mythological realms of Dionysos. My head imploded: I saw vines dripping with honey, swarms of dead souls (I had no idea what they were), and rivers of wine that ran like red blood. These images would, along with that of a Mask or disembodied head which speaks in an Oracular voice, become constant companions for me.

A month or two later, Red handed me two books which became – if I need to use a term everyone can understand – my “bibles.” One was Walter F. Otto's Dionysus: Myth and Cult and the other was Morton Smith's Jesus the Magician. One was inspiring due to its descriptions of Goetia in antiquity; the other gave me an appreciation for the concept of the cult that I retain today.

These days I have a larger, and much better stocked personal library to draw upon for sources – although there never seem to be enough, and I've devoted more time to utilizing spirit contacts for information than is probably good for you. But those two books remain two of my favorites. If I had my way, I'd create a cult dedicated to Dionysos which was also overloaded with thaumaturgy and Hero veneration (as in antiquity; not the trite bullshit we have today. It's either dance around clad in armor and beating your shield and sword/spear while venerating those that came before you and the flow from which they come, while around you buzz the mad sounds of bullroarers, which rise to a frenzied pitch... And be lead to the purple clad Throne of God, upon which sits the thunderstone – or nothing at all, I say. Disembodied heads, ala Orpheus, would probably also be involved. Because the HedKult is not quite done with me, I think.)

Anyway: the point of this long diatribe is that I was introduced to the deity in a bizarre, if fulfilling fashion and that I've never truly strayed from that path. Try how I might, anyhow. My feelings about various divinities has also largely changed, of course.

I'd mentioned some of this in brief to a fellow we'll call M.M., following a conversation about how easy it is to mistake the “nature” of Dionysos, which is more akin to the nature of nature or something. One of the recurrent arguments that Otto makes throughout the admittedly dated, but nonetheless badass text, is that if you pigeon-hole the god then you're probably not only wrong, but worthy of academic derision. This is incredibly easy to do with Dionysos, because not only do many people like their views of god to be simplistic, but he's also easy to try and simplify.

My favorite goes something like this:
He's, you know, the God of Wine. So he's drunk a lot. So we just drink cheap boxed wine in his name or whatever. Yay, Diony-shuuush!” (Also: if you do that, it's still proper and Dionysian. There's just more to it all than... that. But, fuck man, if that's as close as you can get - it's close enough. He'll come and get you.)

Sannion recently written a pair of posts (see here and here), along with Galina Krasskova on the savage nature of Dionysos. This brightens my day, as it's a subject that doesn't get nearly enough discussion. Instead you hear much more of about the bliss of ecstasis – which certainly occurs – than you do about being driven into an almost militant proper frenzy. (Which is arguably always somewhat militant, anyway.)

The subject has been getting some other press, however, as M.M. Also had been telling me about JSK posting that “Dionysos is not just a piss-head.” Incidentally, if I were to add two more books to the two above mentioned beloved volumes, it would be both volumes of the Geosophia. JSK's dialogue about some of the principle processes of the Dionysian cults (particularly involving the incorporation of “savage” or “barbaric elements” into one's own life) are fantastic. My only complaint about the two books, really, is one that quite a few people have shared already: it would benefit from information more easily traced back to his sources. Still, the narrative flow of the two books more than makes up for that.

[Addendum]: Incidentally, when I find a link VI threw my way about the Curetes and their orgiastic dances providing potential “cures” for madness, I will probably update this entry to include it for seemingly no real reason. It seems to have slipped from my bookmarks at some point, however.