I don’t really know how to write about my recent experiences with the God who slowly revealed himself to me as Dionysos between the months of March and April. He slithered into my life on the heals of the psychological and emotional upheaval catalyzed by my doctoral program. Dionysos’ theophany (of sorts) culminated on April 4th (the Noumenia in my neck of the woods). This post contains the cliff notes of the events leading up to the moment when he revealed himself to me in his splendor. I will try to unravel the significance of these seemingly small events leading up to the big appearance, but I warn you, there are not really any adequate words for the sensations and feelings, so I am likely to sound nuts (but I promise I am not :-D).
Beginning around Wednesday, March 23rd
- I started feeling restless.
- My blood was running hot and quick beneath my skin.
- I felt very trapped, like I needed to get out (of something).
- I had the surreal feeling of living but not being alive, like the “real” me was just outside of my perception.
- I felt wedged between two possibilities, two consciousnesses, two wills. What that duality was at the time was unclear.
Beginning around Saturday, March 26th
- I could feel Hekate’s power rising, drawing nearer. I sensed her as the Wheel of my life turning, the heavy mist of change, the specter of transformation. The fizz of my personal alchemy catalyzing. Her presence persisted throughout all of the following events, growing stronger!
- By now, I feel like I am crawling out of my skin. I can barely breathe, and despite being physically free I feel stuck in a tiny box that I need to claw my way out of. Only the box is my own flesh and pacing is all I can do to keep from ripping whole segments of skin from the muscle and muscle from bone!
- In more concrete terms, I was not “feeling” the Ph.D. thing or anything else in my life!! I was in an intense state of re-evaluating my professional goals, spiritual aims, and all the rest.
- Around this time, I realize that I was probably being influenced by the planet Mercury’s storm period (in Aries, which began on March 16th or so)!
On Wednesday, March 30th (Mercury Retrograde began)
- To give you the astrological context, Mercury’s official retrograde cycle began.
- I blew off my meeting with my academic advisor, shortly after I decided that I could not keep living in fear of her judgement and wrath so I met with her to confess my psycho-emotional hardships in the program.
- Given my concerns, I talked to her about slowing down, and maybe pursuing some personal counseling (which was a huge deal for me to even consider; counter intuitive I know).
On Thursday, March 31st
- I ran into a colleague from another department who is pursuing a non-academic career and getting married this summer. Mind you, a lot of my feeling of being trapped has to do with the sense that my options, my choices are slowly being stolen away. I often see myself living on the edge of nowhere with a happy husband, tons of children, and something delicious simmering on the stove while I weave spells and rituals and offer Pagan pastoral counseling in a comfy spot near my massive outdoor shrine to the gods. My vision DOES NOT include being arrested in a meeting with a bunch of academics gabbing about crap that has no direct bearing on the immediate health and happiness of real human beings living right now. Or, about matters that only serve a select few (e.g. the college elite). So, when I ran into my colleague who plans to leave the academy, start a family, and basically provoke my envy, I took it as the Powers That Be reminding me that no one (but me) is twisting my arm to stay at University! My colleague looked like a huge blinking exit sign!
- Shortly after bumping into my colleague, I had a heart to heart conversation with one of my cohort members about feeling “done” and ready for the summer. He listened well (I would expect no less from a future counselor *smile*) and he shared that he too was looking forward to the break. Did I mention, he is getting married this summer as well!! He was yet one more person standing as a testament to a different or alternative life that I could have.
- As a side note, the summer breaks from University are particularly meaningful for me because I associate them with liberation, self expression, and intense spirituality (which usually has to do with PSG and having more time in general to plan and attend spiritual functions, large and small).
- While continuing to walk with my cohort member toward another campus building, I started humming a tiny bit of the chorus of “Must Get Out” by Maroon 5 because those few lines came immediately to mind and made me think of freedom.
- My cohort peer really likes to sing, meaning he was in a few choirs and he always joins in or interrupts others when they start to sing (very annoying but I have learned to deal with it). Low and behold, he sings one of the songs in my top ten favorites of all time: “All Along the Watchtower”, which is a song that I connect with lifting illusions, epiphanies about the “true nature” of things, self-knowledge, as well as major transitions in life and consciousness. The Bear McCreary version of the song makes me want to dance myself into a stupor, wet myself, or both!!
On Friday, April 1st
- I spent the day trying to make sense of all of the happenings of the previous two weeks. I was still reeling over everything, trying to keep from imploding and exploding at the same time!
- I updated my blog entries (mostly spelling and grammar stuff), including the entry that describes my being torn apart and eaten by Coyote (the Trickster) near the Dying Centaur sculpture at Allerton Park. That post stood out to me at the time because I was feeling pulled in a thousand different directions, feeling torn to pieces by life’s demands (real and imagined).
On Saturday, April 2nd
- A friend of mine in the local Pagan community mentioned that he’s going to PSG and my mind (re)turned to that event and how much I want to be there! How freeing it would be.
- I had incessant visions of me in wild, trance dance with my face painted and eyes ablaze with otherworldly energies.
- I spent a chunk of the day between various tasks pondering how much of me is in that wild woman image. I was at once titillated and scared shitless by the thought that I could lose myself and find MySelf in that life.
On Sunday, April 3rd (Dark Moon in Aries)
- I spoke with a friend from college – who always seems to “get” me (rare among my friends, because how can they when I often don’t get myself, anyway) – about being disillusioned with graduate school, the methodologies of my discipline, and the politics of the University.
- I talked to him at length about some of the lifestyle considerations I mentioned above – about wanting children (which always surprises people because I am so awkward with kids!), a husband, dogs, a garden and, generally speaking, time to just be me!
- For the first time, I allowed myself to articulate fully what I had being thinking about the life of the Academic. For the first time, I allowed myself to cast away the hype of the academy – you know, roundtables of top notch thinkers pondering and solving the latest social, political, and economic problems of the day – and more actively embrace the crushing reality of petty scholarly feuds, questionable peer-review/publication standards, and the disjointedness of knowledge in my field.
- I told my friend that I feel this academic life is choking off some critically important part of me that I can’t quite place.
On Monday, April 4th (Noumenia in Aries conjunct Mercury)
- I walked outside on Monday afternoon after some fitful half-sleep to the ominous sense of being in the thick of massive changes. Hekate was practically on top of me. I asked her about it early that afternoon and she just watched and waited.
- When I got to the bus stop across the street from my place I had to pause because I felt disoriented. The sky was overcast, a crow was flying low, and I suddenly felt like I was between everywhere and nowhere. The madness in me, that ever building skin peeling simultaneously imploding and exploding tension was rising to the point of breaking. I was suspended between melancholy and euphoria.
- As gross as it is, I have said it before and I will say it again. I wanted to rip my flesh off and bleed out. I feel like now I know how a werewolf feels on the cusp of a change. My skin, my body, my very nature was twisting and breaking. A wild fire was rising beneath the surface of me.
- I had been underwhelmed on multiple levels since starting my doctoral program in 2007 but something was different. I wanted more than to just get by. I needed more. I needed reality. I called out to Hekate again once I got home in the late afternoon, early evening because I could not shake the feeling that I was coming undone. She whispered that it was not her stirring the pot – in this particular manner – but that she approved of it!
- Enter the roaring bull that is Dionysos into conscious awareness. The air in the room was thick, heavy, and tinged with gold. I had to pursue him, to learn more, to unravel the mystery of this God! I ran to my computer, and just clicked around. It snowballed from there. I visited Wildivine, a site that I have visited a few times in the months prior but only at that moment did I realize what/who I was really seeking, who was really seeking me. I resonated with Dver’s explication of Dionysos as liberator, horned lord of the wild women, big cats, and satyrs. I followed links from Wildivine to other great sites.
- Deep breaths and clinched fists were all that kept me from running into the woods to surrender to Dionysos that very night. His embrace is uncontrollable ecstasy.
- Dionysos’ link to centaurs was not lost on me either. They are a part of his retinue. Did I mention that I had a transformative spiritual experience at the base of a centaur statue and that I am a Sagittarius, the Celestial Centaur? Grasping at straws? Maybe, but in the wake of everything else, it’s just icing on a gigungous cake!
- In the proverbial heat of that Monday late afternoon turning to cool night, I realized that I am deathly afraid to “let go” of the baggage that makes me who I am but also threatens to keep me from who I really Am.
Quite a bit has unfolded since April 4th. Dionysos is dancing a hot, wild, wine-drenched path through my inner forest. I’d be crazy to follow and an idiot not to. What homage, what service will he ask of me in return? The answers to these and many other questions remain a mystery. At this point in our relationship, suffice it to say that the Liberator is calling, this Maenad is rising, and I have the crisis/opportunity of losing my mind and gaining a Roaring God!