Dionysos Pursues: Spirit of the Vine

Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

Once again we enter through the portals of the bar hidden deep within the heart of the city. A place only found by those who truly seek answers to questions of the Soul. Three hold court in its hallowed premises, the Spirit of Dance, Love and Memory. Which one shall the visitor gravitate towards? He stands silhouetted in the doorway, passion and gnosis encapsulated in breath taking beauty and disintegration. This is no ordinary seeker. Humans, non-humans and gods have passed through this place, leaving profoundly changed in some way. He enters holding the symbol of his divinity, the thyrsus surmounted by a pine cone. A panther, horse and bull soon follow. All eyes gaze knowingly at the tableaux. Something is afoot they sense. The man’s eyes search the dimly lit room, they’re intense and piercing. Many yearn to touch his sensual lips, not knowing why such an urge should overshadow reason and decorum. He brings a wildness of spirit and madness in his wake, with little change of escape for the unprepared.

The Triad watch silently, knowing well who he’s come seeking. The Spirit of Love gestures to a figure waiting in the shadows. A beautiful woman emerges into the light. Nut brown hair is held back form a fine boned face, which is flawless except for a tiny scar next to the right eye. This only serves to highlight her beauty. Her green eyes shine brightly, vulnerability clouding them briefly. They close for a moment, the man then seizes his chance and kisses her lips lightly. Such restraint the woman thinks. Many were the nights when the sleepy eyed god would rain kisses upon her, offering his Body, Heart and Soul. The fruit of the vine flowed like his blood, a sacrifice that was readily accepted by his worshippers, especially the Maenads.  Mighty Dionysos!

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Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

The woman curls her arms around his neck and they begin a slow dance in the centre of the room. The orchestra plays a wistful and hypnotic melody that fires the blood and reaches deep into your memories. It sings of the passion of worship and illumination, of unconscious urges rising from the depths and fragmenting in the light of day. Those present feel its primeval beat and unbridled emotions. They perch on the edge of surrender, surrender to forces beyond human comprehension, as do the two figures on the dance floor. Dionysos whirls away from the woman and performs a dance in ecstatic frenzy. He gives up himself and his very being in this ritual of unbinding and vulnerability.

“Come, maenad, tear me asunder and set me free” he begs his partner.

The woman walks round him, slowly and seductively. She stands in strength and power, confident in every way. Her grace and serenity beguile and warm the heart.

“Unbind your beauteous hair my love and let it flow like a waterfall over my arms” he beseeches to no avail.

“I loosen my hair for no one Great One, those times are gone. I no longer rend my clothes and spirit for you” she whispers in his ear. He moans in protest and then laughs.

They circle each like warriors on the battlefield. Memories swirl around them like ribbons of light, shimmering in intensity when the emotions overflow the cup. His ecstatic trance flows like a river in full rage, unstoppable and dangerous. The Triad held the power at bay if only to protect the bystanders. The driving beat of the melody urges the dancers onwards to a higher state of consciousness. The God of the Vine gazes intently at the woman facing him, her lips whisper prayers uttered in his honour in ancient times. His eyes close in humility and thanks.

The woman approaches and kisses him deeply. It tells of millennia of searching for her true self, of walking on roads unknown and fearful. Yet, she always sensed his presence wherever she went. The kiss told of her fragmentation and subsequent rebirth. It told of nights when the god approached and enfolded her in warmth and safety. It told of a love drawn from a bottomless well.

The two figures part and stand smiling at each other. She stands back and holds out her arms, two serpents emerge from behind and wind themselves round each arm. Her hair comes loose and flows down her back. The God of the Vine drinks bows his head in respect and gestures to a table in the corner. On it wait fruit of the vine and two wine glasses. The red of sacrifice has been replaced by the white of rebirth.

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Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

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Passion and Pathos: Spirit of the Dance

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Image: Pixabay

The dancers moved intuitively to the sound of their hearts as the music swelled and sobbed. It finally paused, waiting for the lovers to catch their breath. This was more than an interlude in a cafe that had seen glory and laughter in a bygone age. Few tourists ventured into the old quarter of the city, much less enter through the portal of this place. The ones that did manage to find this near mythical establishment were fated to come. Their souls were infused with the elixir of passion and pathos. Forever rising on the swell of the rhythm and then slumbering in the arms of the silence that followed.

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Image: Pixabay

A woman sitting at a table in the corner of the room stared intently at the dancers. They presented a magnificent picture; gentleness, poetic beauty in the lines of their faces and a certain melancholy in the embrace. Her dark eyes glittered, mirroring the luminosity of the stars and moon. They mirrored hope in a world that appeared to have embraced shadow and pain. The spirit and soul of humanity were being sorely tested, falling prey to the excesses of materialism and naked cynicism. Was she being naive now? A laugh escaped her blood red lips. She was present in this space set apart from time, present during day and night.

The dance rose from rather less salubrious origins, in the bars and brothels of the old quarter. It was a magnet for travellers from across the globe and some had hinted, from across hidden worlds. This is not to tarnish its reputation but to explain the soil its soul had taken root in. Its root went deep, deep into the fabric of stone and brick. Deep, deep into hearts and minds of the people moving through the city. The woman closed her eyes and travelled down streets clothed in shade and dappled sunlight. Her ears took in the chatter of thousands of voices, each reflecting sorrow and bittersweet regret, each reflecting joy and exuberance, each reflecting darkness and light, each reflecting boredom and inertia. All found solace in the heartfelt tune that rang out of doorways and windows, a memory of something thought lost but only lying hidden within mystery. This was the spirit of the dance, she was the spirit of the dance.

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Image: Pixabay

A voice interrupted this reverie. She opened her eyes and spied a green-eyed god staring down solemnly. He respectfully held out a strong, elegant hand. She grasped it and was gathered gently in his arms. They moved as if one being. Sinuous limbs gave expression to their hearts’ yearning, entered into each nuance and tone of the music washing over the couples gathered in the room. His silence spoke to her of things lain hidden for generations, of perceived shame, of deep regret. She listened and did not judge. She never judged. For that she earned his eternal gratitude. Even gods are inclined to give in to vulnerability now and again. The music soon ended and the radiant god kissed her hand and disappeared into the shadows of the bar. He did not leave empty handed but carried a pearl of the dreams she freely gave to all who were in need. The spirit of the dance returned to her table and carried on gazing at the magical ritual she had created, something filled with awe, passion and pathos.