Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chapter 8B
The Urban Trap
© Eso A.B.

On the green planet, the city is the third pole, on two of which ought to stand the wood.

The city, however, is the only pole that has been allowed to expand, cancer-like, to consume and destroy the wood and most of the wild life therein. Because the dying and destruction of the green is not yet complete and is awaiting completion, those still living there are living in a Purgatory known to no poet. We are at a circle known as ‘sinking Fukushimaplant #4’

One may describe our Purgatory as a space a-buzz with news, rumors, filled with hyperactive anxiety, and random murders. Everyone who anticipates the future has his-her expectations focused on the coming ‘death blow’. This is to say, most everyone regards it a joke. Lady Gaga is more popular than ever, while Madonna’s politics is all about “Pussy Riot”(ing) at a church, and yet others are trying to preempt Purgatory of influence and are committing suicide to save Paradise. Like the Chinese leadership does to the Tibetans (repress them and force them to immolate themselves to be heard and seen), Western leaders do to their own in their own way.

No one is sure any longer what, besides children, is there to save. The news media presents its audience with news sufficiently insane for the audience to suspect double trouble ahead: the monsters, now draft age and trained in military camps, are coming home to serve.

Though the media is warning that humans ought not, nay, may not, give in to feelings of surrender and must maintain a ‘positive’ face in the face of imminent collapse, the ‘positive’ cancels and trumps ‘save’ by promoting cars that run on batteries charged with fuel produced by nuclear power plants in Russia, while teenage boys dream of driving ever faster.

Bread is slated to rise in price; those receiving food stamps are doubling in numbers; though government has no food reserves; and subsistence economy is soon likely to prove to be the only economy around. Unfortunately, there is no discussion as yet that politicians should start making token sacrifices (if they really want the office) by putting their little fingers under a laser blade, and pickling their pinkies in transparent jars placed on the speaker podiums of Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Kremlin, Heavenly City, Riga Parliament, on and on, for all to see.

Some think that such evidence of self-sacrifice is grotesque and obscene; nevertheless, it is common knowledge that in desperate times people demand and are swayed by desperate measures. History records a variety of such spontaneous and despondent measures. For the Aztecs the sun refused to rise until Nanauatzin (the Pimply Populist) jumped into the pit of fire. The King of the Bogomils, too, surrendered to fire. One of the oldest stories recorded is a play by the Greek playwright Euripedes. The play is called “Bacchae”, and it centers on the sacrifice of the King's head.

The story: The God Dionysus (God of sex and love, not fertility, appears in Thebes  wearing a wreath of oak leaves—as in most European cultures of archaic moment. Dionysus has many followers, especially among women. The tradition harks to the days when human beings lived in the wood, and Dionysus and the Sumerian Goddess of Love Ianna were guardians of life and sexual freedom. Dionysus was the women’s equivalent of “der Ewige Man” (the eternally manly) as centuries later the German poet Goethe created “das Ewig Weibliche”, the eternal womanly.

Dionysus quickly gathers about him the women of Thebes and leads them in a ‘bacchanal’, a kind of irregular line dance, out of the city and up the stony and woody slopes of Mt. Cithaeron. The purpose of the rite is to raise the Sun Goddess (just as the Aztecs had to), to get her to move out of a tall pine where she has got stuck during the morning's sunrise. Incidentally, all this occurs on Midsummer Eve.

This ‘bacchanal’ is no ordinary dance, but one that measures as a category 6 cyclone. As Dionysus’ followers advance through Thebes, the participants smash the windows of boutiques, break into wine cellars and smash expensive wine bottles, upturn the carts of vegetable traders and fish mongers, leaves of cannabis are burnt as incense. When they reach the outskirts of Thebes, the women catch the cackling and scattering chickens, and tear wing, leg, and head from body, and wave the bleeding and mutilated remains about their heads. Some women catch young calves and lambs and do the same with their body parts. They pull caches of cool butter from the water wells of peasants, smear themselves with butter, and threw themselves with ashes and fragments of coal from extinct fireplaces. Old women hump young women, and young women catch young goatherds or any man within reach, wrestle them to the ground and jerk them off. The men though horrified cannot help getting a hard-on. The ‘bacchantes’ leave behind them ground soaked with blood, moaning men crawling through all kinds of debris, and a sight reminiscent of chaos. All of this is because the Sun is standing still.

When Dionysus came to visit Thebes, all women joined him in the ‘bacchanal’. This was because the women, having been born in the wood, had become disillusioned with city life, felt they had been put in a prison. They were particularly incensed with men, because the King had imprisoned them in a quarter, which he called ‘Harem’ (a barn for washing sheep wool). Though the quarter had a swimming pool and the guards were eunuchs, the women still believed the place a prison. The 'Y(h)arem' bath house, beside where wool was bathed, was also where the King baptized the men whom he recruited to his cause by letting them enjoy 'a gang bang' at his and the women’s expense.

Dionysus had the entire screaming Yarem following him. All the women had blood flowing down their thighs. When the tornado or bacchanal was at its height, a great pit was dug at a ceremonial clearing in the wood and was filled with all kinds of fallen branches and piles of dry moss. Then a fire was put to it, and the women looked up to the tall pine just a little ways off, to where the Sun was supposed to be caught up in the branches. Instead of the Sun, what the women saw was King Pentheus of Thebes.

How did the King get there in place the Sun?

Briefly, the King had heard a rumor that the Bacchantes were a group of women indulging in pornographic displays of themselves. Starved of sexuality in his own urban atmosphere, he was more than curious to see the promised orgy. He had his guards secure for him a stand in the very tree the Sun was to have been stuck (of course, She was only a paper mache imitation), and had climbed up the tree from which to better see the events below.

When the Bacchantes saw that it was King Pentheus, all went wild. Some screamed, some stuck themselves with sharpened sticks of wood until they bled, some ran to the pine and began to climb up after Pentheus. Dionysus (in some countries he is known by the name of Ian, Ivan, Jean, John, etc.) calmly looked on and egged the women on, saying: "That bastard has stolen the Sun, get him!"

When the women had climbed the tree, they grabbed at King Pentheus legs and clothes and let themselves hang free. With all the weight pulling on him, Pentheus began to fall. He slid down the branches until he and the women fell into a yet larger crowd of women who had meanwhile gathered at the bottom of the tree.

One of the women known as Ianna, Evanka or Agave (the name depends on the ethnic origin of the story teller), ran up to the King, sat herself across his shoulders and seized his head. She twisted King Pentheus' head until she had twisted it right off his body.

Suddenly, Eveanna screamed: “Have mercy, John! Give us back our Sun!” she cried as she raised the King’s head into the air for everyone to see. Clots of blood slowly dripped to the ground from the edges of the severed neck.

As Eveanna screamed, the bacchantes reversed the direction of their wild dance and rushed, with Eveanna holding the King’s head before her as if it were some lantern for the market place and city square of Thebes again, where they threw the head into the outdoor toilet that stood at the centre of the square. All the women took turns sitting on the throne, which was called Cassiopeia, a name borrowed from a constellation of stars, generally located just above our heads, in the Milky Way.

When the ritual was done, Dionysus placed his finger between his lips and began ululating; the bacchantes joined him, then screamed:

“May the bleeding acorn burst forth the future wood!”

“Ayee! Ayee! Leego! Leego!” screamed the Bacchantes who had remained on the mountain. As of one mind, they closed around the corpse of King Pentheus. A few moments later one held up the King's lungs. Apparently the Bacchantes had torn them from the King’s rib cage. Perhaps it was at this time when, as the lungs deflated, they expelled a sound that later everyone insisted had moaned the word “ma-ma".

It was only now when the horns of the King’s body guard were heard as they guards rushed up Mt. Cithaeron to save the King.

“Sweet breasts of mother,” muttered Dionysus and stealthily disappeared among the trees in the grove that flanked the clearing.

Many years later a poet wrote a poem of a flee disappearing in the pubic hair of a lover and was never caught, because it managed to emerged on the side of the arse hole and jumped while the arse hung over the castle’s battlement.

Dionysus was not seen again until the Midsummer Festival of the following year.

However, the story is not yet finished.

Eventually, the shit-covered head of King Pentheus was retrieved from the toilet and washed. Only then the woman Eveanna, who was the mother of the King, discover that the head belonged to her son. Needless to say, she screamed and tore out all her hair. Many friends of her did likewise. Some say that out of these events was born what we know as the tragic theatre.

The great problem of the Bacchantes was that the Sun, which they had gone to the mountain to free from the pine tree, had not risen and was still nowhere to be seen. It was the mother of King Pentheus herself who came up with the solution.

She took the cleaned head, and led the Bacchantes back up Mt. Citheron once more. Once on the mountain and at the fire pit (it was still smoldering), the Bacchantes dug a hole around the pine until the tree fell of its own accord. Then the women shortened the trunk of the tree, and stuck what would have been its top into the pit of fire with its roots in the air. Then they set King Pentheus' head into a bucked filled with pitch of pine and set the bucked among the roots. Then they threw more wood into the pit, until another huge fire rose and consumed the roots of the tree and the bucket with the head of the King in it.

Henceforth, this event became part of a story of how the Sun, who up to that time had been a woman, became of male gender.

In the years that followed, the head of the King was often replaced by the head of a sacrificed billy goat. The bucket of pine pitch was replaced by a huge barrel of oak and, at least among the Latvians, it was then raised high into the sky. To this day, some continue to tell that this burning barrel represents the Sun set to move around the Earth again. Unfortunately, most Latvians have forgot the story, celebrate the Mid Summer Festival as a festival for getting drunk, then killing themselves driving at fast speed into ditches along the road of their now deforested land.

A late variant of the story tells that when Dionysus returned on the following year, he was followed by a group of men, all of who wore around their necks wreaths of oak leaves. When they came to Thebes, Dionysus and the men were met by a group of women with whips of birch in hand.

The women made the men, including Dionysus, stand along the bare slopes of Mt. Cithaeron. Then they and their children whipped the men’s bare legs until they screamed from pain. The women encouraged the men to scream ever louder and did not stop whipping them until their families or some merciful stranger came and planted in the place they were standing a sapling tree.

Sometimes, if no one interfered on behalf of the man and the man stood silent, a woman came and gnashed her teeth in his ear, and whispered in a chilling voice: “How would you like me to cut IT off with my teeth!?” Most men resumed their howling. That is how the Latvian wood began to be replanted.

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