Part 3: Æëtia’s Instructions
“To what realms do prayers rise?”Æëtia asked.
“Night stars, across time, touching as surf and
Sand?” This I did not know. Since I, Ixia, simply
Prayed, doves on gentle wings, pleas ascending
To golden-haired gods attentive, floating free
Amongst sun-luminous clouds. Naïve notions,
Æëtia perceived. “Prayer is not passive,” she
Advised. “Even smallest voices, those sincere,
Reach the gods as you may define.” Our eyes
Met briefly, then fell away. “Yes, Ixia, higher
Divinity exists beyond household gods.” My
Thoughts returned to voices within cold tomb.
Were these ancient voices same as prayers?
Heaven a great grave awaiting laurel-wreathed
Heroes, life without faith preferred? Days and
Nights, I was lost, such troubling thoughts,
Wingless prayers falling to ground, seeds cast
To barren earth. Odyssey or pilgrimage, secretly
I yearned for mind-resonating voices, embrace
Bright deity and his bones. Shameless, my breasts
I bared beneath Æëtia’s prayerful stars, buoyant
Across time, fingers touching as surf and sand,
Maiden’s dreams, island shores yielding to rushing
Waves, currents and eddies, flowing streams.
Of what greater god does Æëtia speak? Greater
Than my boundless love, prayers to breathless
Heights, upward welling, merging mortal and
Divine, one mind, one flesh, thoughts entwined.
O! Piteous shadows, forlorn and blind, have you
Not seen nor felt beyond mundane ills? Yes,
To him I am obedient even in my dreams. For
I was dead, am now alive, mystical doctrines,
Scriptures on papyri rolls. Lo! I hear prophets
Speak, voice of one godhead. Thus was Æëtia
Instruction, realization past self, secrets held
In depths of sentient starlight.
“Are you listening, Ixia?” Æëtia asked, answers
Known before words breath-formed. “Holy
Mother, I must confess, I believe in ageless god,
Faceless, nameless, desert wanderer. He has
Touched me, dream-words are his prayers.”
Æëtia nodded, her instruction home found.
“One companion you may take. Another prayer
I heard, Dancing mænad, pose frozen upon ancient
Urn. “Reveal!” I said aloud. Thin air, Lenara in
Rosy flesh appeared, diaphanous gown, sandaled
Feet, water bearer, celebrant of Dionysus, agate
Amulet round her neck, two odyssey-prepared.
Ixia has chosen Lenara, dancing marble mænad, as her traveling companion. What knowledge or traits does Lenara have to assist them on their odyssey? Perhaps this passage by Walter Friedrich Otto may be helpful:
The Bacchae of Euripides gives us the most vital picture of the wonderful circumstance in which, as Plata says in the “Ion,” the god-intoxicated celebrants draw milk and honey from the streams. They strike rocks with the thyrsus, and water gushes forth. They lower the thyrsus to the earth, and a spring of wine bubbles up. If they want milk, they scratch up the ground with their fingers and draw up the milky fluid. Honey trickles down from the thyrsus made of the wood of the ivy, they gird themselves with snakes and give suck to fawns and wolf cubs as if they were infants at the breast. Fire does not burn them. No weapon of iron can wound them, and the snakes harmlessly lick up the sweat from their heated cheeks. Fierce bulls fall to the ground, victims to numberless, tearing female hands, and sturdy trees are torn up by the roots with their combined efforts.
Walter Friedrich Otto, “Dionysus: Myth and Cult,” Indiana University Press; Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1965. p.96.