Ariadne’s Axe: We Haven’t Been Sleeping

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Do you ever wonder at it? This whole thing where people construct their whole practice out of ancient mythology? It’s like they imagine that someone, some two thousand years ago (a little less) hit the pause button.

There is no cosmic pause button. The gods are not figments or toys that vanish when humans can’t see them. We do not cease to think, or learn, or grow because you’ve forgotten about us.

It is time to ask yourselves, “What have the gods been doing since then?”

Then, I don’t know. Maybe somehow integrate that into your practice. Or — Quelle scandale! — write new mythology to reflect what the gods might have learned from what happened to their ancients cults.


  1. For that to happen the gods will have to tell us what they’ve learned in the interval so it can be related to others. Myths don’t write themselves. They don’t come out of a vacuum. They may be garlanded by their writers but that kernel of truth has to be at the center. So what have you learned? And how do you mean to implement it when the time comes that you may?

    1. Her reply was super intense and kind of scary, but the salient points boiled down to: “Shall we start telling you stories?”

      1. I hope you come to me later rather than sooner, Ariadne, but come you will. But yes, tell us your stories. We are old friends met after long journeys and much time and you have many tales to relate. Tell us what you’ve seen and done and learned. We will write them down for others to read and think about. New myths will be born. Just don’t expect a ‘Eureka! ‘ moment from the collective. Because Julian is right.

    2. Oh, holy hell, addendum:

      “Imagine that you spent ten years building a house. It was meant to be a true and proper mansion. You hired some contractors, who, in turn, hired some wage-workers, and they did the construction.

      Over time, you noticed the wage-workers being mistreated. You said nothing because you imagined that the foremen had it under control, and that it wasn’t really your business to interfere.

      Construction was finished, and you lived in your house for 11 months.

      Then, there was an uprising. The wage-workers came back disgusted by their mistreatment, and tore your house apart, brick by brick, board by board.

      Now, you and your family sleep in a tent.

      What did I learn? NEVER TURN THE OTHER WAY WHEN PEOPLE ARE OPPRESSED. What will I do going forward?

      I am the primordial maenad. I am the first. I am the mother of tearing tyrants limb from limb. I bear the fennel stalk, for my husband’s domain is my domain. I know no fear, only frenzy, and salty tears are only a product of rage restrained. If there be deities left in the broad heavens who are still too ignorant of the universe to know that no endeavor is worth causing injustice, then I shall not wait for them to see the fruits of their own foolishness. There will be blood.”

      1. Yeah, sometimes they tear your house apart, but historically most often, they just stay oppressed. What’s lost to oppression is mostly in the unseen, the potential-but-never-did, because oppressed people don’t have their heart in the work. I find myself wondering what heights humanity could achieve, if we weren’t nearly all shackled to an economic system that directs most people to spend their lives on subsistence slog and not their vocation. (Does Ariadne agree with me that “basic income” is a good idea?)

      2. Her philosophy, elsewhere expressed, is that the goal is freedom, and sees people living in poverty has having been robbed of freedom, in our society, largely by people who have made the business decision to put them there.

      3. ‘There must be blood – this I knew
        Surely there must be wonders too.’
        Well, that’s a given, isn’t it? Are you going to give them a chance to show what they’ve learned or are you going to prejudge and go at it? If you seriously want to change the system then you have to change humanity. The gods give us what we want, not what we need. I don’t know why they reflect us instead of holding us to higher standards, but they do. The gods aren’t responsible for the culture we have. We make that ourselves. They could work to change it and change us and I hope they do – they will have an unprecedented opportunity to do so. What will you do with that?

      4. She’s more about the blood. Dionysos, on the other hand — he’s about the wonders.

        The thing I am coming to appreciate is just how much they balance one another. Her furious sense of duty and responsibility are tempered by his carefree attitude, fearlessness and joy.

        “I don’t know why they reflect us instead of holding us to higher standards, but they do.” — Depends on the gods. The spirits of certain kinds of Buddhism are certainly that way, representing something higher. Hermes, too, with his impossible standards of tolerance, acceptance and peace.

        But Greek gods, mostly, represent a certain meta-cognitive social reality.

        As for the opportunity to change out culture… I am reminded on an old Chasidic tale about an old guy giving a sermon, and it went like this:

        “Where does the spirit of the Omnipresent dwell?”

        And everyone smiled, because they knew that their deity was everywhere, always. But then the old man answered his own question:

        “His spirit dwells where he is invited in.”

        Much the same applies to any deity. Whatever the case may be with a handful of individuals being god-smacked, society isn’t built by the god-smacked. It’s built by the 99.98% of everyone else, and most especially by the people with the time, energy and opportunity to acquire money and power.

        Often times, when Ariadne refers to “evil gods” she’s not referring to mythological beings. She’s referring to the people like the Waltons.

      5. That makes more sense, referring to the greedheads among us. It’s amazing how those with the most are the ones who behave like they have the least and so must hoard, fearing to give so much as a penny to someone else. Well, not all have the disease, but enough. Ariadne’s desire to balance the scales is admirable but impractical. Can she alone change our basic nature? I think most pantheons feel as the Greeks do. You work with what you have, not what you wish was there. The godsmacked are there to support the ones who find themselves searching and dissatisfied. So the numbers grow and things change. I think perhaps that the gods have so many brides, lovers, etc in order to balance their many parts. Not an easy task.

      6. No one would ever accuse either Dionysos or Ariadne of being “practical.”

        A pantheon is a whole. Each deity represents something different. There are practical deities, deities whose job it is to try to make the world a better place with careful planning. And then there are wholly idealistic deities, who help us to not give up on what *should* be.

        If you want practical deities, go for Hermes, Hekate or Zeus. There are some master strategists for you.

      7. Although… I have already seen Ariadne make waves. She seems to know exactly when the iron is hot, and sitting next to her, watching her strike, and seeing the reverberations in society.

        Change is coming. We are going forwards. Each time Freedom strikes a blow, Oppression strikes back. This is a war, but it is a war that we are very slowly winning.

      8. Hmm. She seems to be operating on the basis that it’s evil individuals or at least evil decisions that are to blame. But I can see the forces of society constraining those decisions, moulding those individuals by the roles it provides for them to take (and if they didn’t take the boss jobs, somebody else would, and too few people have the moral fiber to refuse what the role demands). This is why I feel that a focus on oppression is fighting on the defensive; the offense has to be made against the form of society itself. And I feel too, that a focus on the poor (valid as it is) misses the fact that nearly everyone in society, poor through bosses, except the very richest few, is forced out of their natural vocation right now (and even those few must live in a dystopia, they can’t escape it). That’s a huge unseen gap between actual and potential, it’s pain we can’t see because we’re too close to it.

      9. Yes, that is very much her opinion. She’s a sensate deity of freedom, very close to humanity, and on closer to the heart end of the spectrum than the head end of the spectrum.

        The view you espouse sounds much more in line with the thinking of Zeus, who views human behavior, in aggregate, as complex, predictable and impossible to control as the weather. What is happening today in the U.S. is as much a product of what happened 200 years ago and what is presently happening in Europe and China as it has to do with personal decisions made by business people or politicians.

        Ariadne would say that people with power can, CAN choose their actions.

      10. People with power can choose – up to a point. They are as constrained by societal expectations as anyone else and sometimes more so. We are herd animals and that governs much of our response. Anyone can choose to operate outside the norms if they’re willing to pay the price for doing so, and it’s the same for those with little power as it is for those with more. But it goes against our instincts to do so, which is why so few people do it. Ariadne refuses to take basic human constraints into consideration. She paints with an overly broad brush. That’s her heart speaking.

      11. Right. For reasons like these

        1. It is ludicrous to obey deities without question, no matter how much you like them.

        2. It is foolhardy to worship only a small part of a pantheon. Deities are simply extremely whatever they are. When taken in aggregate, you get dialogue and discourse, and those perspectives balance one another out.

      12. My own perspective is that people with power often suffer from limited perspective, which is why they say things like “Human beings don’t have a right to water.” — Religion *is supposed to* provide a sort of moral compass for society. It should provide some commentary like, “Hey. Don’t give up trying to be decent” and/or “Hey, a Divine Being gets really pissed off when you mistreat people”

        That’s what deities like Ariadne are for. They’re impractical enough to be able to say what “should” be.

        But I doubt anyone would ever suggest putting her in charge of a pantheon.

      13. Guess it would have to be Nammu or Hermes then. Ariadne reminds me of the overly optimistic youth of the 60s and 70s when we thought we could change the world for the better – and then ran up against Society and it’s fear of change. They raged – She rages. Neither one could understand why the rest of humanity couldn’t see the necessity of it. Religion should provide guidance like that but religion today has no true force in society at large, and the major one here preaches ‘prosperity’ at the cost of harming others. I wonder if they really think that their Messiah would approve of his pastors and their thousand dollar suits and their multi million dollar homes. Evidently the holier you are the richer you are.

      14. Ariadne has been old but is now young. Her older aspects are obtuse, and really hard to converse with, and I think she’s making an effort to build a relatable persona which yet reflects her deeply held values (Freedom.) Her higher aspects are the ones driving my work on Apotheosis, largely because she’s hoping that I can craft some metaphysical hack to help her better integrate inside my alembic. It will be interesting to see how my manifestation if her develops.

        Hermes is very kind, and a very practical fellow. He’s also very, very good at long-term planning. Yet, his role is always as the right hand of the ruler, never the ruler himself.

        So, why would a deity who could convince anyone of anything and talk his way into anywhere choose not to head a pantheon?

        I trust his wisdom in this matter.

      15. Historically speaking, the Eminence Gris served one ruler after another, as each succeeding one died. Usually by assassination. Much safer to stand behind the throne than sit on it! Which I’m sure Hermes knows. Do the gods routinely reinvent themselves to stay relevant? Or comprehendable? I wonder where her older aspects hail from and how different it must have been. Did she see Atlantis destroyed? Does she know the fate of the Amazons? So much a witness to history!

      16. Yes, I think that’s probably his reasoning.

        Comprehensibility, I think, is the main issue. Despite what some people would have you believe, no symbol is universal. What the symbols meant to ancient people, they no longer mean to us.

        For deities, attitudes and personality are symbols, too. So, that’s the rub? How do you weave yourself a persona that means the same thing to modern people as you once meant to ancient people.

        It can be touch and go, if you’re coming back to it after doing very little for several centuries.

        Hermes, by contrast, has been active, in one form or another, for the entire time.

        Ariadne does not talk about Atlantis, but she does talk about a caldera eruption in (Crete?). For her, it was a major personal event.

      17. She might be talking about the eruption of Santorini that almost destroyed the island and left a huge sunken caldera. The tsunami most likely struck Crete and caused major damage. If she were living there at the time I’m sure it was a harrowing event. Thought she might have some insight into the fate of the Amazons since they bucked trad and fought with the Greeks. I’m not sure you can mean what you meant to the ancients and relate it to the moderns. So much has changed but the essentials do remain the same. Does freedom mean something different to us than it did a couple millenia ago? Has Truth morphed?

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