Monday, 28 November 2011


The Muses are very busy entities. They are here and there, checking up on people’s thought processes and planting ideas. Knowing this, they don’t have time for the unworthy. They look for the skilled and the sincere and that’s who they spend time with.

Inspiration is a slippery thing. Many artists and scientists struggle with a “creative slump” or a “writer’s block”, and they wait for a muse to come along and save the day. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. But the muses do not choose people who do not choose them.

When you choose a discipline, you must dedicate yourself to it. This means you love it enough to think about it constantly and improve on it and love it enough to come back to it everyday even when the wells of inspiration are dry. You have to love your craft enough that you breathe it, that you see it in other crafts and the other things that you do. It is called a discipline for a reason, and perhaps it is no surprise that Apollo is their leader.

Become worthy, and the muses will flock to you.

Darkness and Light

I find it quite strange how Apollo is usually described as a young boy, gentle and smiling at the world. But for me, he is far from innocent, far from gentle, and you couldn’t really tell if he was smiling or frowning because if you tried to look, you’d burn your eyes. He is a stern master, more like a father than a child. For me, he is always there, always watching and pushing me towards excellence.

He does not forgive, because he has no reason to. He does not care about your mistakes. You can make as many mistakes as you want and it would not matter to Apollo. What does matter to him is that you are always striving to become better, always reaching for the ideal. You stumble, therefore you must pick yourself up.

Apollo will urge you to cut out everything that you don’t need and focus on the things that you do need. He is a minimalist, and it’s not an easy job to identify and cut out the unnecessary from your life. It hurts, in fact, but it is necessary.

There is no coddling with Apollo. When you are sick, you heal yourself. Apollo’s only reward is the one that you earn for yourself. He gives nothing more, nothing less. In other words, excellence is its own reward.

In my early readings about Dionysus, I was rather confused about how he was depicted a party god. Was partying that important to the Greeks? I did not party in bars at all, and I could not relate to him. But I when I learned more about his other aspects, about trance and madness, I could look back at my life and see how strong his presence is. I did not party but I tranced out on my own. I would focus my attention on a glass of water, so that just a glass of water would be enough to make me happy for that moment. If I did not experience these various flavors of ecstasy, I would likely not be a musician right now.

Those ecstatic moments are alright, but what really convinced me of his presence is his aspect of madness. I sometimes fall into bouts of depression. There are days when I feel extreme emotion I cannot control, destructive thinking and the feeling of my soul being ripped apart. He looks at me with mad eyes and a frothing mouth. Darkness and hopelessness fill me. I once read in high school, if you stare at the abyss, it stares right back at you.

In my moments of extreme despair, he sometimes just laughs and says “Oh, come on, it’s not that bad!” I don’t understand exactly why he does these things to me, but i am sure that I gain new perspectives after each episode. Perhaps it is these intense emotions that fuel the things that I do with force and passion, and impart my pursuits with an inexplicable “umph!”.
For me, the most prominent aspects that these two show to me are the “darker” aspects. Their “good” aspects don’t magnetize me as much as their more “destructive” aspects. So when I see descriptions of Apollo as a happy, childish sun god, or Dionysus as a merrymaking party god, I can only think: Oh, if you only knew what they really do.


My whole life feels like it’s a path of transformation. I’ve identified with the butterfly for this reason. My high school was described as a “trial by fire”, like how you have to heat metal ores to make strong swords, and a “fermentation” like the process of making fine wine from grapes. It’s no surprise that I feel like what I’m going through right now is a mirror of what I experienced in high school. I think another thing that Apollo and Dionysus have in common is the idea of regeneration. It’s even in my name!

Musings on the Gods and myself

I’m reading about Apollo in several blogs and they say he’s a possessive god. I kind of agree, but he’s possessive not in the sense that he doesn’t want to share, but maybe in the sense that he has to be very meticulous about the things he owns, like keeping an heirloom piano in tune and keeping it totally free from dust. Or maybe like a coach who wants to keeps his atheletes always at top performance. I feel it’s like:
“Are you done sulking?”
“Good. Now get back to work!”

I don’t really experience Hermes as close as I do Apollo and Dionysus (close enough to touch; Apollo by fire, Dionysus by madness), but he’s always in the background, and he’s always doing big things for me even if we don’t really touch. I think it’s inevitable that my friend who introduced me to paganism (a big Hermes-boy) and I would interact, since these three gods have something of a close relationship.

Athena comes and goes. It often feels like Apollo calls her for me.
Athena: Okay, what do you need?
Apollo: Look at that boy. You’re more suited to teach this next topic than I am. 
Athena: Alright, alright, I’ll handle this one.
Ares also comes and goes. Again, it feels like Apollo calls him for me.
Apollo: He’s being pathetic again. Do you mind?
Ares: It would be my pleasure.

It’s almost like Apollo’s prepared a course outline, and I’m a student in his school.

Though sometimes Dionysus comes to me with Ares. That’s when I have my weird bursts of anger. Very dangerous stuff.

Aphrodite and Eros. They don’t talk to me often, and I don’t communicate with them often. We’re not close now, but I’m very sure they’ve left their fingerprints on me. I feel like there’s something of them in me. Like a present from godparents or something.

For Apollo & Dionysus

My song is my journey.

To the muse-leaders,
Apollo & Dionysus
May you continue to sing with me
and inspire the coming verse
and the next note.

I am a new species of plant.

Apollo, the brilliant sunlight
that showers these leaves
Dionysus, the nutritious soil-water
sipped through my roots.

when your wondrous music stops,
so does mine.

I am a caterpillar in a fenced garden.

Apollo, the far-shooter, show me
what I can become.
Illuminate the world beyond the fences.
Dionysus, the liberator, give me
the force to transform.
Demonstrate that fences are only sticks of wood.

I will not listen
to those
who tell me
that I cannot fly

I am an ecstatic listener

Apollo & Dionysus, whisperers of prophecy
I will be standing in the shrine at Delphi
through many suns and many moons.
I inhale each vision with enthusiasm.
show me the target,
I will drink the bullseye.

I am a dancing star

filled with light and madness
the pain and pleasure of this process
I shed each layer
and disintegrate into nebula
Apollo & Dionysus, revealers of the true self,
when all is cast off
I will be what remains.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Mad Light

Hi, you can call me Dennis. Obviously, it isn't my real name. I'm very new to paganism and I don't really consider myself a pagan, but my friend had recently introduced it to me, and I use some of its concepts. I am a musician (among other things) and a Physics student, and I feel an attraction towards Apollo and Dionysus.

For a long time, I felt that my art was not going in the right direction, that it felt "dry" and uninspired. I felt like I had lost something after childhood and I wanted to get it back. It was April this year where I tried to do something about that. I read up on creativity and psychology books and did their exercises. At first it was harmless, until I was walking home exhausted one night and I had a flood of hallucinations. It felt like a dam holding back water was destroyed. Since then, I feel like my art has more "juice" and more "meat" and I could submerge in my imagination whenever I wanted. It was great, but I was not prepared for the other things that came with it. I suddenly had trouble with "self-management". I was doing things that were reckless, immature and/or impulsive. And what's funny is that I knew they were reckless, immature and/or impulsive but I did them anyways. I felt like different versions of me were fighting for dominance of my body. I felt my emotions twice as intensely. I used to have more control over them, but they overpowered me. It's like everything that I'd learned about managing my emotions, relating with people, thinking rationally, and making sound choices was deleted from my brain. I felt like a teenager again.

My friend told me that "it sounds like Dionysus." Out of desperation, I read on paganism and Hellenic gods and did a few rituals. I discovered that Apollo and Dionysus have some kind of pull over me, and I have been doing small rituals for them to help retain my sanity.

I was hurting myself and the people around me in non-physical and sometimes verging on physical ways, and my life felt like it was going on a bit of tailspin. I have to suddenly deal with internal and external challenges all at the same time. I feel like the gods have ganged up on me or something.

I'm much more stable now since it started, my art is still "juicy", I can still call up a deluge of imagination at will, I still feel emotions twice as strong, but I have much more control than before. I probably won't be needing a shrink but I still have a menagerie of internal and external challenges to deal with.

Some of my adventures since the breaking of dam include: struggling to combat suicide, prophetic lyrics, unbidden and dangerous hallucinations, nervous breakdowns where I almost get roadkilled, SEVERE migraines that have the WORST timing (but I've learned I could give a decent presentation about reproductive health while having the whole left side of my vision blanked out), a vision or hallucination of Apollo that appeared while I was asking about a job for commodity trading and instead getting a lecture about following your passion (It felt like the usually distant Apollo had to make a personal appearance "DON'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE TARGET", like how my piano teacher would grab my fingers when I was playing weird and make me play the right notes), going into a ritual trance and taking off my shirt in public (hurt the day after), and the most recent (three days ago): depression-induced eye poke!

I'm writing this now as I'm hoping maybe the community can give me more insight on Apollo and Dionysus. I've been having many dreams about the both of them. I've had a dream about astronauts and my mother having a traumatic eye operation. I've had a dream where I've been training this ability to make people go crazy, and I've had to fight a gunman with the power to heal. In a recent dream, I was able to see Apollo: a golden man whose face I can't see because it's too bright, and he's always carrying a bow around, which makes him difficult to hug but doesn't mean you can't try. This dream says that he has been my trainer since I was young, honing my skills, and I'd been memory wiped at some point so that I'd forget them. These are cool dreams but with the villains I've had to face in them, I'm glad they're just dreams. I've also prayed to Apollo before sleeping to heal my eye, and I had a dream in a dream where I woke up with my eye fixed, and then I realized it was a dream and from that I woke up with my eye fixed and I hugged my mother but I realized it was a dream and I woke up and my eye was still the same. I was Inceptioned. My eye is much better now though.

So! My experiences with the gods have been very gut-wrenching, insightful and emotional. I've had my encounters with other divinities as well: The Muses, Hermes, Ares, Aphrodite, Athena, Benzaiten, Hera, though Apollo and Dionysus remain at the focal point of my experiences. I'm hoping the community can tell me more about these gods, and especially Dionysus and Apollo, maybe your experiences with them as well?