Frenzy, a love for Apollon and adoration of Dionysos

I am an Apollon’s woman. I cannot claim to be any maenad or thyiad that so honors Dionysos. I adore Dionysos, do not get me wrong. I don’t suffer from a common difficulty it seems to belong to one of these two gods and have difficult connecting to the other. Maybe it is because I allow myself to feel that adoration and accept the role that Dionysos plays in the mysteries of life and the cosmos, without it interfering with my relationship with Apollon.

Of course it could be argued that there is just a big gulf between the two gods that makes it difficult for people who have a intense devotional relationship with one brother to be able to establish a relationship with the other. After all we do not, not that I have seen anyway, find references to the Pythia being in a frenzy in number among the thyiads. And certainly Apollon does have his own play into frenzy which not only can be seen by the Pythia from ancient art but is also described in a manner by Euripedes in regarding Kassandra when she is seized by the god in prophecy. It would suggest then that frenzy for Apollon is solely prophetic and serves an entirely different purpose than the frenzy of Dionysos. Under such light it would seem to affirm that there is a distinct gulf between the Dionysian mystic frenzy and the Apollonian prophetic frenzy, and that this gulf makes a greater distinction between the brothers.

I am not so sure of this myself, not only from my experiences but also from mythological example. In such examples it is not the allegiance has switched from one god to another, but that in being a part of the spiritual body of one god that they are celebratory of the presence of the other appropriately. In such we find the Muses. Not only is Dionysos, like Apollon, called Musagetes, the leader of the Muses, but we also have mythic account in which we are told that Dionysos, upon arriving at Parnassos, is greeted by Apollon and that the Muses rave for the god. At Delphi too we have Thyia, a nymph, who bore Delphus to Apollon in their love affair and yet is also considered the first among the thyiads. This is not, I do not think, a simple matter of a switch off as people take the context of Delphi itself as being, but rather it seems to be that it is part of their relationship with Apollon to respond to Dionysos this way.

I say this because the very character of Apollon in his relationship with Dionysos rarely takes form of being oppositional. In fact more often than not it is just the opposite. He is the first to greet the young god, this makes him the first to celebrate and honor him, and in this context we can understand the exhuburent adoration that those who are his may be inclined to greet Dionysos. In the Orphic Hymns he and Artemis alone are called Bacchic outside of Dionysos, revealing that the relationship of these gods to Dionysos is one that is celebratory and illuminating for the mysteries of the god (which likewise repeats in their roles in regards to the mysteries as leaders of the processions). He nurturers the vine in its growth and preparation for harvest, he guards the bull and lamb from predators until the day that they are meant to be slaughtered. As such it would seem that Apollon himself would have been the first Bacchic (and thus providing his son Orpheus as the teacher of the mysteries of Dionysos) for which he is lauded in the hymn by that title, and why he would have been hymned to as the son of Persephone and Dionysos in the great mystery program.

Apollon’s music is the fundamentals of the cosmos in all its varying harmonies, pitches  and rhythms. Even in the most unorderly music his order can be found. The dithyramb which is so different than his sacred paean, the dithyramb of Dionysos being an excellent example. Wouldn’t it be logical that with the mythical context above that Apollon would have been the first  singer to Dionysos. Certainly this seemed to have occurred to Diodorus Siciulus, for when he was speaking of Egypt he had said that the brother organized the singing troops of Dionysos. Apollon, the marshaller of the host.  He is at once the destroyer, the guardian and the celebrant. His voice rouses the spirit, and his song  drives the spirit. He is a great charioteer.  He is among the Dionysian company playing his music as the bacchantes lift their song and frenzy for the god.

It is in this manner that I am quite comfortable with adorations and worship of Dionysos despite my love and devotion to Apollon. It is not an either/or thing. It fits together. It is in fact part of my service to Apollon to so  celebrate Dionysos. In fact, it is my belief that this is especially true in the winter when Dionysos has descended to the netherworld at the time in which Apollon is in Hyperborea which I consider a realm of the land of the Blessed. It is thus an appropriate part of my devotion in which I imagine the cosmic song of my lord and king greeting and  lauding the god in his return, and even more so again at Apollon’s return and his banquet at the Theoxenia.

It is by being Apollon’s  that I am able to truly  understand how I can best celebrate and honor Dionysos, and that by honoring Dionysos that I am too honoring Apollon by his own Bacchic nature. There is no conflict within me regarding this, and my soul too rejoices all the while in Dionysos as I am meant to do.


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