Tag: labyrinth

FLASHBACK: For the Liberalia

Liber et Libera: A Dialogue

You are my brother.

You are my sister.

You are my husband.

You are my wife.

Your sister, your bride.

My maiden, my tragedy.

You went down into the underworld.

I raised you to the stars.

I thought I had lost you.

I thought I would never find you.

I am parthenos and hetaira.

I am the lover of women and of men.

You have ivy in your hair.

You have wine in your lap.

I have never loved anyone else.

I have only ever loved you.

Every one you have touched has been me.

No one touched you until I came.

Every one that I wanted was you.

You are every soul that I have desired.

We will make the flowers bloom.

We will make the seeds sprout.

We will make the cocks rise.

We will make the grain grow high.

We will pour out wine for everybody.

All the revellers will pour out wine for us.

I give you my heart and soul.

I give you my joy and madness.

I am your sister, your wife, the starry-crowned goddess of the heavens.

I am your brother, your husband, the ivy-crowned bull of the earth.

I am Ariadne, Persephone, Libera.

I am Dionysus, Asterios, Liber.

Liberation for All

From the opposite ends of the world they come together,
brother and sister, mirror twins, husband and wife.
Sometimes he is a bull-headed man
and she is the only one who knows how to find him.
Sometimes she is trapped on an island
and he is the only one who can rescue her.
Sometimes she watches from the stars
while he wanders the underworld and sleeps
in the arms of its goddess. Sometimes
he takes her hand and reminds her that she is
the underworld goddess, white-armed,
dark-eyed, implacable.

They are siblings who have never met.
They are spouses who are never separated.
She has always been here; he has always been there.
The grain and the grape, the myrtle and the ivy,
the bull and the princess who leaps between his horns.
He presides when boys stand up and put on the garments
of manhood; she whispers softly in the night as girls,
dreaming, become women, and hands them the key
to the labyrinth and the clue that will guide them through.

A cup of wine for Liber! A sweet cake for Libera!
Raise up the sacred phallus and honor it
with a wreath of flowers! Father Liber makes men
of boys, and Dame Libera opens the labyrinth
and sets all its prisoners free! Liberation for all!

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(Originally published on Antinous for Everybody in 2015 & 2016)

Ariadne

Theseus gave me two wedding cups
made from the horns of my dead brother
and that’s when I knew it would never work out
between us. He was my brother, you know.
Locked up in the labyrinth like the idiot child
in a home, like the junkie teenager left in rehab,
the embarrassment, the black sheep of the family.
A bull with hooves and horns. A boy’s intelligence
in his eyes, human emotions in his bellowing.
I thought perhaps he might follow the thread
out, once Theseus was dead.

I knew it would never work out, but I left
with Theseus because what else was I
to do? It’s not like my parents deserved
a dutiful daughter. My father thought to
cheat the gods; my mother thought to
cheat my father; it was all ruined, all
wrong. So I left with Theseus and pretended
to sleep while his men carried the supplies
on board, drew up the boats and then
the anchor, sailed away.

I woke at sunset and looked at the night sky.
That’s when he came out of the shadows
toward me, a slender figure limned in light.
He had ivy shoots and grape vines for a
crown, but the crown he offered me was
twined of stars. It glittered in his hand far
brighter than the stars above, if not as
brightly as the stars above. He smiled and
then I took his hand. “You remind me
of my brother,” I said, and smiled.