Commentary on Hymn IX: To Antinous-Dionysus, Liberator

As long as there’s music to dance to, he will come.
As long as there’s a bottle of wine or something else to share, he will come.
As long as lovers slip off and couple even when there’s no place or time for it,
he will come, Antinous Dionysus, Dionysus Lusios, Liberator.
As long as there’s sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, he will come.
As long as people march in peace and break windows in fury, he will come.
As long as people sit home in the darkness, afraid to get up and step out
into the light, he will come, Antinous Dionysus, the breaker, the loosener.
He will come and break the bonds of tyranny and oppression.
He will come and loosen the knots we tie ourselves up in, inside.
He will throw open the windows and doors, turn stairs into ramps,
water into wine, sorrow into joy, depression into weeping,
tears into laughter, He will come, Antinous Dionysus, Lusios,
Liberator, deliverer, he will come, he will come, if we call:
Evohe! Evohe! Evohe!

Dionysus and Maenad by NicholasAx

The next group of nine hymns crosses three of the syncretisms of Antinous with his three cult titles of Liberator, Navigator, and Lover. The first three of these are devoted to Antinous Dionysus.

Dionysus is pre-eminently a liberator. He is Lusios or Lysius, who delivers, and Luaios or Lyaeus, who frees from care. He is the rescuer, loosener, unbinder. His gift of wine undid negative emotional states, if properly used; his cult rituals undid rigid social conditioning. He is the god of such liberating acts as drink, sex, dancing, wild music, parties–in short, the god of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, the original rock idol. He is also the god of theatre, which in our time includes cinema and television as well as live performance, the art which transforms its audience through emotional catharsis.

The secret of the liberation offered by Antinous-Dionysus is emotion, the movement of energy. Let it move through. Grief, sorrow, rage, desire, all of these can become restrictions when they are held in the body, and we know explicitly now that it is the body which holds unresolved emotion. What we shove out of our minds or try to banish from our hearts simply gets stored elsewhere, in the shoulders, the spine, the hips, the feet. The gods knew before we learned on our own that movement and sound can unbind stored emotions and let them move once again, cleansing the psyche while the soma (the body) is at work.

That same emotional release can be put to work for justice when groups of people move together. I have no doubt that Antinous and Dionysus both have been present at protest marches, allies in the fight against injustice, and that they would agree with the axiom, “No one is free while others are oppressed”. If the emotions are oppressed, so is the whole person; if a class of persons is oppressed, so is the whole society. Antinous Dionysus comes to offer freedom for the whole person and for all.

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