Dining on Bacchus

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When all reflected on itself and contemplated endlessness,
it dreamt itself in two while subtly looking on and being seen.
From perfect point to perfect line, this Yin and Yang duality
took form within androgeny.

Amorphous Chaos, Gaia, Void, her multiverse of galaxies,
thence known by lusty Uranos – that Uranos, the husband-son,
who gushed his light upon her seas.

Their dance of love at first brought forth those dreaded beasts of hideous form:
the many-headed hydras and the monstrous cyclopes of one eye –
demons of the hurricanes and thunder storms and lightning bolts,
so feared by jealous Uranos he bound them deep within the pit.

But Uranos and Gaia mated once again and now brought forth
those sons and daughters of the starry world – the Titans, elder gods:
Cronos, Rhea, Oceanus, Phoebe and Hyperion,
Tethys, Themis, Hecate, Helios, Atlas and Prometheus.

Storm and daylight, male and female, love and hate now all appeared:
still two, still yet androgenous, this diverse multiplicity –
like Heaven’s light on watery Earth dividing up the firmaments,
dreaming endless worlds to come, the many still within the one.

But Uranos despised this brood and kept them captive in his wife,
and all recoiled in fear of him – til once when he approached his mate,
his youngest, Cronos, lord of Time, unmanned his father with cruel flint.
As Noah, too, from whom would come all life after the purging flood,
was castrated by Ham, his son, when time decreed his work was done,
so Uranos would seed the world to come no longer with his forms:
his seed was spent, and now came forth the lord of Time and queen of Space.
(Some say that hateful giants grew from Uranos’ blood spilled on land,
but love’s great goddess, Aphrodite, sprang from drops spilled in the sea.)

Unmanifest to manifest, unfathomable sacrifice,
Heraclitus’ logos crosses through the veil between two worlds,
connecting changeless endlessness to flowing rivers wrought in Time
that parody Eternity. From Heav’n-above-Heav’n across that gap
where Aphrodite’s task will be to loosen souls from density
and free them back to endless bliss, now comes her brother Hermes, who
alone traverses ‘cross these realms, from one, to two, and thence to four.

Three points, three lines, the sacred Three – in Time, yet of Eternity –
an elementary quantum flash, a mere potentiality
appearing in this world of sense – this fourfold world of elements –
and disappearing back again: the mystic Three, the missing link
that disappears and reappears and disappears again between
potential world and actual world: This Myst’ry, God’s geometry,
this Three between the Two and Four, this Holy Spirit spanning realms,
this mercurial Messenger, this flash beneath the atom’s state,
behind the Big Bang’s magic point, is where one finds the source, the root –
where “the beginning” still begins.

Like pent up steam and lava bursting forth beyond the mountain’s grip,
impatient Life’s volcanic force now cleaves the threshold’s door apart,
and Iris with her rainbow bridge guides Being to Becoming’s realm:
the grass, the seed, the fruit of trees, the beasts of water, land and sky,
abundant life from Mother’s womb (the Sun with all her heat and light)
where Three inseminated Four: “Be fruitful thence and multiply”.
Thus Twelve, the sign of plenitude: twelve constellations of the sky;
twelve patriarchs, twelve tribes of old; twelve chieftains born of Ishmael’s seed;
twelve Tabernacle loaves of bread; the twelve who spread the word of Christ;
the twelve who pledged at Aqabah; twelve baskets still when all were fed.

Then stars begat the solar world, as Cronos King and Rhea Queen
gave birth to planetary gods: to Zeus and twice-born Aphrodite,
Mars, Demeter, brethren, sistren, twelve Olympian gods and goddesses,
circling ‘round the mother Sol, the ‘heav’n’ we dream of “in the sky.”

But when life crossed from World to world, Becoming tempted life with pride.
Defiant Cronos, prideful King, would have no child usurp his throne
(as he himself had long ago usurped his father Uranos,
and just as Uranos and Gaia long had warned in prophecy.)
Each day Time waited for each child and swallowed each upon their birth,
til bitter Rhea took the just-born Zeus before his father knew,
and hid him deep within her mother Gaia til his time should come,
and gave instead to Cronos swaddling clothes with naught but stone inside.

Then Zeus grew great and strong, and when the time of his adulthood came
he forced his father to disgorge the stone and all his siblings too,
and so came forth those gods and goddesses, born of this solar world.

There followed, long and terrible, the War of Heaven twixt these two:
the elder Titans, born above, against their children, born below.
But now the Titans too were spent, for Life continued its descent.
Zeus won by freeing from their pit the thunderous hydras, lords of storm,
who lent him all their power and might, and gifted him their lightning flash.
Then Zeus inflicted dire punishment on his defeated sires,
banishing them all in chains to dark caves deep within the Earth –
(except for Atlas doomed to bear the weight of earth upon his back,
and two who sided with the gods: the Titan Epimetheus,
and his great brother, Zeus’ friend, the Titan called Prometheus.)

Thus Time does swallow and destroy all things within this world of sense –
except for Zeus, that inner god, eternal Spirit hidden deep
within our own archetypal mother, Gaia. Zeus, who promises
to battle Time and Death with force that only comes from raising up
those inner demons from our depths, and always ends victorious.

Then Zeus lay down with Earth, Semele, child of Thebes and Harmony,
and from this union twixt two worlds was born the child of Earth and Heaven:
Bacchus, god of wine and dance, fertility, and ecstasy;
Bacchus, god of wine and madness, blinding rage, and lunacy;
Bacchus, born of Zeus, Above, and Semele, the Earth, Below;
Bacchus, god of blood red wine, the soul, partaking of two worlds;
the soul, connecting Heaven and Earth; the soul, impelling Life’s descent.

Like other gods of vegetation, Bacchus died a violent death;
Like other gods of vegetation, Bacchus was returned to life,
much like a serpent symbolizing wisdom, evil, God and sin,
shedding skin and symbolizing resurrection, Christ’s rebirth,
rising to the heavens like a phallus filled with power and light,
swallowing its tail before encircling the universe,
diving into earth, and rock, and dust, and symbolizing death,
serpents biting Moses’ people’s feet with poison, pain, and death,
the serpent raised by Moses on a copper pole that granted life –
the serpent power, the Holy Spirit – Logos, Eros, Thanatos.
Like every god of vegetation, every soul succumbs to death;
Like every god of vegetation, every soul returns to life.

The goddess Hera, Zeus’ wife, despised his half-breed bastard child
and plotted ways to kill the boy. But Zeus, aware her heart did rage,
soon placed the boy into the care of guards he thought that he could trust.
But Hera bribed them to her side, and gave a mirror to the child
who stared into it, hypnotized, full fascinated with his face –
beguiled by mere reflection, mere illusion, false reality –
until unwittingly he wandered blindly into Hera’s trap:
the cave of bitter co-conspirators, the Titans, chained below,
who caught and tore the boy to pieces, boiled his flesh, and ate their fill.

But Wisdom’s goddess, who had shared the treachery of Zeus’ wife,
now repented of her actions and retrieved the young god’s heart.
Athena brought it back to Zeus, who nurtured it and from the heart
he brought his son, the god of wine, now resurrected, back to life.
Then Zeus, enraged, took hold his mighty thunderbolt and aimed it true,
and all the murderous Titans held below were soon reduced to ash.

But in those ashes were retained the remnants of the wine god’s flesh,
so from those ashes Zeus determined that his friend Prometheus
would now create composite creatures, dust and soul, a human race,
their lower nature made of stardust, ashes of the elder gods
(who had grown bitter from their long interment deep in matter’s world),
but also with a higher nature: charred remains of Zeus’ child.
And thus these bodies, temples, all belong to Bacchus, lord of song.

Who among us can deny the hypnotizing force of death,
beguiling us with cruel and false illusions that we think are us?
Like souls upon the shore awaiting Charon’s craft we fight to be
the first aboard, the first to yield, the first to feed death’s hungry jowls.
But all’s not lost if in our hearts a seed of Bacchus still resides,
and if the spirit still can claim that seed and guide it to rebirth,
permitting the celestial goddess, Aphrodite, to perform
her task, releasing life from matter, back to our celestial home.