In my previous piece upon the subject, I asserted that Dionysus is a facing of the Indo-European Sky Father; and sought to illustrate this via the illumination of a range of connections of Dionysus to a range of figures from the broad Indo-European mythology – both Greek and of further afield. This article shall go further – intending to more fully attest the character of the underlying Indo-European deific facing (and other attendant reconstructive theology) as traced through the constellation of these connections, as well as picking up and expanding upon the explication of several elements which I had excised from the previous text due to reasons of length.
The forms via which these connections may be attested are manifold – including by making use of what the Greeks themselves said upon the matter (which, I would reiterate, specifically includes Hades as Dionysus, as well as Hades as Zeus) , as well as via the deploying of a comparative framework and typology arrived at by considering the essential characteristics of Dionysus and these other, obvious cognate figures. We can even make fairly inductive use of what the Greeks *almost* said – for instance, their pointed and repeated ‘doubling’ of Zeus in certain relevant areas of Dionysus’ mythology (such as the site and situation of Their respective infancies and the direct parallels explicitly drawn by Classical authors in *that* regard; or Dionysus’ lofty station seated upon the Throne of Olympus wielding Zeus’ Thunderbolt] in pursuit of the further underlying truth of the matter.
However, of great interest to us here is not merely that we *can* link these various deifics to the Indo-European Sky Father.
But rather, that these help us to understand the particular archaic Facing of the Sky Father from whence these more recent expressions have all clearly come.
That is to say, that we can go the other way – at least, ‘outward’ from Him. And thus, via the cross-comparative analysis of these ‘Faces of the Sky Father’ amidst these descendant Indo-European Peoples (and I mean ‘descendant’ here in several senses) – we can sketch out the likely characteristics of the more specific *Aspect* or *Form* of the Indo-European Sky Father that these are all ‘running off’ or perhaps ‘drawing from’.
The Masques of the Sky Father
To speak more clearly about this – it is my belief that the appropriate theological perspective for the archaic Indo-European religion does not oversimplify Gods in the manner of saying that, say, “The Sky Father Is (Just) The Sky Father”. But rather, has a focus out upon particular ‘Aspects’ of Gods in line with the relevant function or role – focusing upon a portfolio-area of the deific, often operating under a differentiated (or even different) Name so as to make additionally clear for both ritual and mythological purposes just which competency of the Deity is being called upon or otherwise engaged with. This is, perhaps, quite a useful ‘safety mechanism’, helping to ‘regulate’ and provide some measure of predictability to our attempted petitioning of the Divine. After all, we may get quite a different response or form of assistance if we are asking for aid from, say, the facing of the deity oriented upon death and destruction rather than the facing of the deity oriented upon life and growth. Although considering that Dionysus often seems to accomplish death and destruction via making *active use* of life and growth (c.f His turning of the wood of a ship He was held captive upon to more living timber and snakes with consequent impacts upon both morale and mortality of His would-be captors), perhaps that is not an ideal example.
Some of the best conceptry for all of this is, of course, to be found within The Vedas – wherein as applies the God Dyaus Pitar, hailed as Rudra … the rituals are often *quite careful* to ask Rudra to instead be ‘Shiva’ – the more ‘Benevolent’ facing – when we are asking for something for ourselves (such as health) … and Rudra, the Roaring Destroyer, when we are asking for something for our foes (such as the removal of said health). We similarly have the situation of Vayu playing the cognate role to Odin in the Creation of Man – wherein Vayu Odin invests the ‘Breath of Life’ into man. Same Deity (and, it should be noted, similar ‘Paternal’ consideration for us), but of course, Vayu is ‘focused in upon’ as a particular Facing of the Sky Father in order to highlight the particular elemental association and empowerment made utilization of in this Role.
Why I mention this, is because we have long known that there is just such an ‘Aspect’ of the Sky Father Who is hailed for His bestowal of another intrinsically Indo-European characteristic to His People. Specifically, that quality of Furor (whether ‘Poeticus’ or ‘Teutonicus’ – and as I have argued, and have Vedic support to state, these are in essence the same quality, just somewhat differently expressed) – known to the Norse as ‘Odr’, and known to us of the Vedic sphere as ‘Ugra’ and as ‘Manyu’ (and it is not at all coincidental that these two terms are also Shaivite theonyms). This ‘bestowal’ may take place in a number of conceptually resonant vectors – for example, via something correlated to the ‘hot breath’, the ‘wind’ within us (and the underlying Indo-European linguistic conceptry is rather close to ‘smoke’ as ‘anger’) – which further links back to the aforementioned investment of the Breath of Life via the Wind(Wanderer) Form of the Sky Father ; or it may take place via the provision of an ‘altering’ elixir.
The True Distillation Of The Indo-European Elixir – The Brew Which Is True
This ‘altering elixir’ is known to the Old Norse as the Mead of Poetry ; and to the Vedic religion as Soma; and it is interesting and important to note just how closely correlated these two understandings actually are – something I have demonstrated in my series upon the subject via direct cross-comparison of the Eddic and Vedic accounts of their obtaining. By which I mean both the ‘ritual’ production thereof (in the case of the Soma) and the mythological presentation which also helps to encode these. In these two cultures, we find the Sky Father in the form of a Raptor bringing from Heaven the three vessels. Although it is important to note that whereas the Vedic Soma is quite plausibly explained via having some psychedelic psychoactive such as psilocybin as its active ingredient (and we have archaeological support for this) – the Norse appear to have more closely correlated their concept, perhaps for cultural reasons, with that of an alcoholic beverage. Given the strong concordance between the Nordic mythic account of the Meath of Poetry’s obtaining and the Vedic ritual elements, which lead one to the deduction that the Nordic myth is preserving the same ritual processes as the Vedic manuals upon the subject … it is evident that if there is a divergence between Vedic and Eddic elixirs – that somebody has deviated. And I would posit that it is more likely the later and more fragmentarily attested tradition that has done this, rather than the far earlier and more comprehensively preserved one.
I raise these points, because as applies the figure of Dionysus, we of course have the strong association with the alcoholic beverage – and the state that this induces, which whilst it *might* be compared to the Furor concept, strikes me as a rather different kind of altered state indeed. That of drunkenness rather than the more ‘pure’ empowerment.
This helps to explicate just why the Scythians in Herodotus are so appalled by their King becoming a Bacchic initiate – they do pointedly express their horror at the spectacle of inebriation via alcohol; and yet we know that they also had ‘ecstatic’ religious states and figures of their own – including the imbibing of drug-infused consumables (and it is interesting to note the co-occurrence of cannabis-milk amidst both Scythian and modern-day Shaivite alike). Perhaps, therefore, they saw in the Bacchic cult revelry something that was a dark and to their view, ‘degenerated’ reflection or recollection of their own rites and sacred conduct. And, given the famed Scythian religious conservatism, perhaps this is further evidence that the Greek and to an extent Nordic emphasis upon alcohol instead of more authentic entheogenics is the ‘deterioration’. Acts of substitution in some ways comparable to – although actually the opposite of – the Zoroastrian substitution of ephedra for the essential ingredient(s) of the Vedic Soma. I say ‘actually the opposite of’, because the utilization of ephedra seems to be designed to promote the *opposite* of a wild and unconstrained state – a deliberate choice presumably the result of the prominent Zoroastrian opposition to such ‘wild’ and ‘free-moving’ elements. It is, after all, not at all coincidental that two of the major demons of the Zoroastrians are Indra and Rudra – the two ‘uncontrollable’ Gods Who also have such close relationship with the Soma (and the Nasatyas – also involved in Soma’s preparation, find similar status amidst their twisted ‘demonology’).
Importantly, this does NOT fully discount the possibility for continued utilization of other, non-alcoholic preparations or ingestions for ‘interior’ cultic use – by Greeks or Norsemen. But that is another area of inquiry for another time.
Anger And Ex-Stasy – The Voice In The Wind – The Aesir-Asura Of The Actors
To bring things back to our explication for the underlying Indo-European typology of this Mask of the Sky Father – it is evident that there is strong association with the notion of what Jung called ‘Ergreiffen’ : the quality of being ‘Seized’. And this presumably also helps to explicate the linkage of various of these Deific expressions with the roles of Actors and playwrights, poets. Not only due to the provision of the Inspiration for the writers of these dramas, or even due to the furious dancing to accompany them, or the perception of the amazing beauty unlocked via these altered states of mind that we then seek to reproduce via culturo-artistic production. But the very act of Acting itself – speaking with the voice of another, donning a mask (the latter of which was quite literal in both Ancient Greek drama and the traditional Hindu dramatic arts), assuming a role, becoming somebody else.
This is partially what we would think of with reference to the Furor state, of course – the Berserk warrior that is ‘not himself’ but has become ‘something else’, perhaps even transforming into a wild animal (or, at least, thinking himself to do so as part of drawing from its power and competencies). This is also partially what we think of when we are speaking about several of these Deific expressions as being ‘transgressive’ or enabling ‘transgression’ to happen for one of Their initiates … wherein a particular persona is put on that enables operating according to a different morality than would otherwise be the case – particularly acting like a wild-man from the barbarian fringes rather than a civilized and well-to-do upstanding member of society (although with the attendant risk that, to reference Kurt Vonnegut’s remark that “we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”, we may become somewhat ‘trapped’ in this mask, this role, never to truly come ‘home’ to our more ‘domesticated’ selves).
Yet what I am actually referring to is the facility wherein something ‘becomes’ us. Something attested in the underlying sense to the Latin ‘Vates’ (‘Seer’) and its corresponding Vedic conceptry – wherein a Rsi may speak with the Voice of the Divine, and the Brahmins of various rites ‘become’ the Gods in question. Because They are speaking through us. Directing our words and conduct. Performing a ‘play’ in some ways – a narrative re-enactment; moving us with Their force and ‘Manyu’ [‘Spirit’/’Zeal’/’Passion’].
A Hunter Of Souls
It is no coincidence that Odysseus, Dionysus , Rudra-Shiva – all go Wandering about in disguises. Communicating with us not only *through* us – but also in direct interactions in human-appearing facing, from time to time, as well. (Something also, and entirely uncoincidentally, undertaken by Zeus and Hermes – as well as Athena, Who is parallel in a great swathe of these capacities – and, in a symbolic sense, Hades with His Helm of Shrouding)
The Wandering, too, is integral. For while the more ‘conventional’ or ‘orthodox’ form of the Sky Father is at the center, both of society and of the cosmos (and there, in a sense, I repeat myself) – *this* form of the Sky Father is the opposite. We are never *quite* sure where He may be … until He is standing right in front of us (and even then …). This also connotes the ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘unconstrained’ nature of Him – and the quality imparted by Him to the devotee. Hence also, in part, the consistent associations with the wild, the wilderness – as source of power and quality imbued.
This may further recollect the archaic Indo-European Past – not least because we so frequently find this Form of the Sky Father depicted as a mounted spear-wielder. Perhaps in a manner such as the Scythian Idanthyrsus – as certainly, the famed ‘antlers’ of Scythian horse adornment may explain why various of the relevant Vedic figures are mounted upon antlered steeds; and appear to act against their Foes as if they were hunting animals for sport [as, again, Idanthyrsus et co do directly towards Darius – symbolically telling the Persians thus in the course of their confrontation, as I covered in “A Message Even A Persian Could Understand”].
The ‘Hunting’ element is also, as we have previously seen, reasonably consistent amidst the relevant deific and other mythic expressions of the figure – although of interest to us is that in a way, it is the ‘inversion’ of the more usually expected typology of the huntsman. That is to say: rather than the civilized human figure stalking wild animals – it is the Spirit of the Wild Who hunts and pursues the civilized man. Potentially either directly or symbolically reducing the latter down to the status of a prey-animal in the process. And thus further helping to explicate the conceptual reasoning for the Tiger(-skin) and Leopard(-skin, and vahana – mount) of Shiva and Dionysus – the animals who are growling apex predators of their respective spheres. And a worthwhile reminder to Man that there are far greater, more powerful figures and forces out there in Nature than we might otherwise imagine in an ostensibly anthropocentric cosmos. Greater than Man, specifically, and civilized Man in specia.
The Wild Hunt, too, links in to this – wherein the Spirits of the Greatest Dead, the Storm Spirits, pursue certain among the living. I have previously argued that the generalized spectrum of the Wild Hunt phenomenon – including the Einherjar of Odin and the BhutaGana etc. of Lord Shiva – represent a sort of ‘living memory’ of the Ancestors; hence why, in connective conjunction with the (Proto-)Indo-European Past, we find these figures riding through the sky in accompaniment of the God Who Is Their Sire (in multiple senses of the term). It is not hard to see how the Scythians fit so strongly into this – as the actual living remnants of the ancestral way in antiquity; and creatures of half-manic myth made manifest to all.
The Wild Creatures (and Men), the Ghosts of Those Who Have Gone Before, the Storm-wreathed Sky-Spirits … these all represent the forces and the foci of the Sky Father’s Power – That Which Is Called Down, and Called Upon, via His Chosen; and which is also innate within the Descendents of Him just as they accompany Him in warlike processional across the Cosmos. Indeed, it is not just that the Power is to be found borne by His Descendents – the Descendents in literally veer-y real sense *are* the Power also, as well.
The Wild Sky & Wheel Of Life
In addition to the Wild – the place beyond the fringes of civilized thought and perceptible conceptual space brought under man’s scientific dominion of rationality – these other two axials also stand for the Domain, the Dominion, the Realm of the Sky Father: the Place of the Glorious/Ancestral Dead , and the High Heaven Above The Clouds – The Storm’s Energies’ Ultimate Source. And it is interesting to note that in the oldest texts available to us – the RigVeda – we find that the twin locations are almost one and the same. Paramevyoman is Highest Heaven, above even the Leaping Lightning’s Arka of Descent. Valhalla maintains its Uppland situation, as does Gimle. We find these recalled in the mythic conceptry of Dionysus – wherein Dionysus is not only co-identified with Hades, but prominently hailed as performing successful ‘Katabasis’ venturing even ‘down’ to the Underworld and Back; as well as Dionysus depicted Enthroned and Thunder-Wielding along with the Scepter of Olympus. Shiva, meanwhile, is not only upon Kailash – but also regarded as to be found amidst the Cremation Grounds : the place wherein one migrates *from* the mortal realm, to the post-mortem next placing. In common with Odin presiding over Valkyries bringing worthy souls back to Valhalla – this evinces a more ‘active’ role presiding over and tracing via footfall and hoofbeat the ‘conduit’ betwixt and between Afterlife and Currently-Living.
In this way, perhaps, we may potentially seek to explicate the underlying conceptry for the ‘dual’ symbolism of Dionysus as both ‘young man’ and ‘old’; a feature found in several other of the expressions of this same deific. What it refers to is the heading for the ‘liminal spaces’ between non-living and the active life of an adult – the Youth, wherein one is ‘coming toward’, and the Aged, wherein one is ‘going away’. Perhaps there is some hint of the ‘reincarnation’ belief found in many Indo-European metaphysical schemas (including, after a sort, the Norse – and in some forms also the Greek) – that the Young figure is expressive of the ‘Coming Back Around’ of He Who Was (and yet still is) Old, Death, Dying, Dead.
Or perhaps it provides active coterminous expression to the evident portfolio of the God as the Grower , the Bestower of Life. Someting we see also in the frequent ‘green shoots’ and other such vegetable-relevant subject-matter (and the MahaMrityunjaya Mantra of Lord Shiva brings together these various skeins) associated to Him. Although often given far ‘darker’ expression than a more peacable God of Gourds may perhaps be imagined as.
After all, the consistent element to both Dionysus causing certain woods of a ship to grow and transform – to come alive , and the Bestower of the Furor (whether Dionysus, Odin, or Rudra) investing such quality within a man … is that we are seeing the ‘quality’ or ‘qualities’ of Life taken up beyond what is conventional. To a heightened state which can be quite actively and quite deliberately Terrifying. Too much of this ‘life force’ for a man to handle may bring about his impending death – as well as that of those others caught around him who may so happen to share in his unctuous crime.
But whether it is Manyu / Odr in relation to ‘Spirit’ – or the growth and life of plants and animals – or even the essence of the empowering elixir [and it is worth noting that ‘Amrit’ can quite literally be translated as ‘Life’ – ‘Opposite-to-Death’] : what is seen here is the power and the potency to invest Life. Something which we find also expressed in the relevant RigVedic hymnals where such investiture is correlate with the Rainfall and the Lightning.
He Gave Us His Word – The Roaringly Resonant Speech of Cosmic Order Acted Out Upon The World-Stage
Yet to Speak again to the Storm – it is this act of Speaking , precisely in the powerful potency of the Storm’s Fury , that is truly essential to what this Aspect of the Storm Father is about. We see this attested in the relevant theonymics – Bromios of Dionysus , Rudra of Dyaus Pitar , any of quite an array of ‘Roarer’ relevant descriptive terms for Odin; and, of course, quite few other instances as well for both the Greek and the Hindu conceptry. My favourite expression within the realms of the Hindu theology – Vacam Garjit Lakshanam – has similar underpinnings: Thunder with the Characteristics of the Divine Speech.
Why does this matter? Because Words are Power – even when, as with the other underpinning meaning of Vacam Garjit Lakshanam, we are not quite sure what these Words may so happen to be saying. It is through Words that the world around us is changed – indeed, in certain perspectives upon the cosmogenesis of the Indo-Europeans, is brought into being in the first place. First, there is Thunder – the Roaring which is only later shaped into Words intelligible to others – and then there is the World. And then *within* the Realms of the World(s), we find this Facing of the Sky Father going forth amidst His People, in disguise, guiding them via His Roaring, Radiant Voice. Or ‘Speaking Through’ the senses of the Poet or the Priest or the Performer (but, then, I repeat myself thricely) and acting through us more indirectly.
Now these Words are, of course, Law – and yet they are also Lore. Hence the further poetical and dramateurgic association: for it is the Stories and the Heritage, the Culture that He also both Brings and Embodies. And, in a manner visible most clearly with the excellent Hindu conceptry of the Universe unfolding as Drama, we see His ability to move through the story as both a part of it and yet in many ways its master.
This also matters due to the complicated relationship of this Great God to the concept of Law in the first place. I have expounded upon this in far grander depth in the ‘Of Bhairava And Balance’ series – but the long and the short of it is that this is a deity that is running upon the Deep Law … and therefore may *appear* upon the surface to be anarchic, anti-order, and not concerned about law at all. Human law, that is – the ultimately insubstantial niceties of ‘polite society’ being amongst the first to go. Hence why we find such reverent mention for the Avadhuta sorts who figuratively “shake things up” [that is also the underpinning to their name] by disregarding pedestrian propriety in favour of pushing forward towards the deeper principle and greater education through shock-value.
As I have said – this does not and cannot mean that the Sky Father is in this aspect ‘anti-Law’; only that the seemingly “transgressive” modus operandi of this ‘facing of the Sky Father’ is more direct in adherence to the Deeper Law , the True Law , of the Cosmos and of Creation – and therefore may do what is necessary even if it might violate the more peripheral manifestations thereof in the process. So, as we explored in “Of Bhairava And Balance”, the example of Bhairava carrying out an act of (necessary) Brahmanicide is treated as a sin, yes, but a peripheral one … carried out in deep adherence to the *underlying principle* of the Law; and therefore a transgression on one level yet a congruence upon the other, more vital one. That does not mean that the act in question is entirely without detrimental consequence to its inceptor, however – only that this form of the Deity, and this form almost alone, has the ‘freedom of movement’ to do what must be done. In a manner that is not reliant upon the approval and conceptual validation of what is held to be surface-level ‘right’ for a more ordinary figure. What appears to be ‘chaos’, in other words, is not Capital C Chaos. Rather, it is merely (in both of the PIE senses of ‘mer’) another, deeper and more fundamental manifestation of Order – which does not care so much if it might happen to be mistaken by less-perceptive passive observers in the act of its commissioning.
This, too, is part of the underpinning conceptry to the accompaniment of this Face of the Sky Father by groupings described as ‘criminals’. Apart from noting that there is a necessary overlap of concept between ‘criminals’ and horse-mounted Steppe raiders (as if you are being raided by them, then ‘brigands’ certainly seems about right) – what we are being shown here is, again, the tangible manifestation of forces that are *above and beyond* human law. And yet are not above and beyond Divine Law – for they are amidst the Retinue of the God.
Therefore, in a similar manner to the other phenomena which might be associated with Him – to attempt to force a conforming of Him to our petty human perceptions of what is, what ought, and what should be … is like endeavouring to impeach the morality of a thunderstorm. The Storm is beyond such things. It just Is. Although as this particular Storm is also a Being – it is possible that Terry Pratchett’s excellent aphorism about Prayer as a sophisticated way of pleading with thunderstorms is doubly relevant here. For sometimes – the Thunderstorm does indeed listen.
Best ensure that the invocation is proper and pious, then – and recollect well the utter lack of wisdom implied in actively defaming to His Face , a Figure capable of lashing forth with Tongue of Lightning in electrifying eloquent response.
The Heaven-Haired Storm-Brow
There are two final areas upon which we shall briefly focus our attention before moving to our concluding remarks.
The first of these concerns His Hair. And I am entirely unlikely to better my earlier exposition of the concept, so I shall simply quote it here:
“Entirely uncoincidentally, we find Dionysus and Hades coterminous in the Greek iconography upon the point of Their “Kyanokhaitis” [interestingly also hailed as a characteristic of Poseidon] – the ‘Dark’ (Blue-Black) ‘Flowing/Wild’ Hair, often depicted in long locks; and fundamentally resonant with an identifying characteristic of both Rudra-Shiva and also various of His Holy Men: The Jatta-Hair of the Ascetic; or, as applies Rudra Himself, the ‘Braided Hair’ spoken of in the Vedas. This is depicted in quite the ‘wild’ fashion – whirling around with the motion of His Dance, billowing up with crackling power, and with the strands thereof seeming to rear and twist like serpents. Dionysus with Serpent Hair or Garlanded with Serpents is most definitely a Classical visualization of the God – occuring prominently in a number of sources.”
The significance of this is immediately apparent – representing much the same above the water as Poseidon’s form of the descriptor signifies within it : indeed, *as* it. The long flowing locks of the Sky Father in this visage represent the atmosphere itself – and more especially, the currents of the wind, particularly when it is roiling in storm-form so as to congeal as the dark and electricity-wreathing tendrils of thundercloud. This meaning can be attested not only through the transposition of the symbolism of Poseidon’s more blue form of the emblem (although it should also be noted that Blue-Black is the colour also of Death – ‘corpse-black’ or ‘bruise-black’ we should say in the Old Norse especially) from the Sea to the Sky (and it must be ever remembered that for the archaic Indo-European world-view, the two were functionally quite the same – blending between as liminal zones abuttng the land and the world(s) entire; hence the ability to ‘sail’ to the High Heaven, for instance, or The Waters as liminal sphere about Creation). But also through the direct preservation in the Hindu tradition of such meaning for the Hair of Lord Shiva – wherein this stands for the Wind, particularly about the upper atmosphere; hence the hailing also of this as Vyomakesha as ‘The Heaven-Haired’, ‘Sky-Hair’. Although it should be noted that the ‘Jatta’ hair is also the ‘matted hair of the ascetic’, and further reinforces not only the ‘wildness’ of Winds – but also the ‘wild men’ association of the Great God. Particularly due to the prominence of this feature amidst His holy-men even today amidst the Mountains and Forests of India and Nepal.
It is interesting to note that even, perhaps especially here, we find the trinity of ‘creation’, ‘destruction’, and ‘simply that which is’. For Shiva’s Hair as Wind is correlated with the Breath of Life (a feature also found in the Nordic characterization of the creation of Man – wherein it is Odin Who imparts this quite literally vital element unto us) ; yet in its roiling force and fury is comparable to the mightiest thunderstorm. And is also responsible for the preservation of the Universe Entire via receiving the flow of the Ganga of the Heavens – the Heavenly Torrent – and thence distributing / dispersing these Waters so that They do not bore down and through the fabric of the cosmos entire.
This is incredibly interesting for our purposes, as apart from noting the potential correlate between this and the Metis that is in Zeus’s head in more ways than one in the Greek mythology (and at some point I mean to write up in grander detail just how this is a parallel of sorts), the Celestial River in the Hindu conception is the Milky Way. Otherwise known as the Path of Aryaman, Irmin’s Road. And links also more specifically to the ‘River’ constellation which flows to the Head of Orion ‘midst the Stars. What are the commonalities here? A ‘River’ or other traversable space, flowing through the Heavens, along which not only the Wandering God may Walk – but which also inform the trajectory of the Souls of the Dead en route to His High Heaven Realm.
Orion Stalks Among The Stars – The Death & Resurrection Show Of ShulaPani
The figure of Orion, too, is incredibly relevant here. Orion, after all, is the Great(est) Huntsman, dog-accompanied, bow-wielding, ‘Earth-Born’, and sexually linked to the Pleiades (consider Agni-Shiva’s employ of the Krittika Stars – the Pleiades – to give birth to Lord Skanda : a situation paralleled in Odin’s Son Heimdall’s multiple Mothers). With a name that is etymologically either that of ‘Mountain’ or ‘Rainfall’ (‘Oros’ vs ‘Ouron’, although I suspect that rather than ‘Urine’, it is ‘Uranian’ – the PIE for both Ouron and Ouranos being the same ‘Hwers’ meaning flowing water; and therefore explaining Orion’s Poseidon-given ability to Walk On Water as being to Wander amidst the Stars, the Sea of Sky; an interpretation seemingly confirmed via Servius’ statement of Orion managing to *walk* to the realm of the Stars); and one mythic genesis effectively that of expressions of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades within the skin of a Bull [other recountings have Zeus or Poseidon as Father to Orion – but, then, I repeat myself … and as we have seen with Dionysus, the terms for a paternal relationship occasionally appear more to mean ‘facing’ that has become occluded with the traversing of antiquated memory].
And, importantly for our purposes, is not only a master of the wilderness … but is also linked in partnership to a certain furious female deific, Who is responsible for His Death. Although in some tellings, the figure of Asclepius (correlate in important ways with a Vedic sage learned in the secrets of Soma, as we have previously discussed), endeavours to bring Him back to life. In other versions, Asclepius’ intervention is to restore *Sight* to Orion – although this detail, too, is mutable; and instead it is Helios that brings back Orion’s capacity for vision. The Sun, you might say, comes to represent the Sight Power of Orion – what we should expect for a Sky Father deific. And perhaps, given the situation which leads to Orion’s blindness, something with some degree of conceptual resonancy in the Hindu myth of Parvati blocking Lord Shiva’s Sight and thus the Light of the Sun going out.
But it is the relevant deific complex that I have just mentioned – that of Parvati – wherein the final major point to be made in this comparative theology is to be found. For what we see in the Death of Orion is two Goddess names cited – that of Artemis, and that of Gaia. Artemis, the similarly Wild Huntress, a seemingly uniquely similar figure in preferred environs and pursuits to Orion, also a bestower of ‘Madness’ to men (which might, just as with Dionysus, actually portend their doom), and possessed of a most powerful Fury. The parallels to various forms of Devi – including, as it happens, the sororital relationship of the Huntress Bhadra to Shaani (in this instance, linked to Apollo); and, of course, viz. Bhadra-Kali, to the situation wherein the enraged form of the Earth Mother Goddess brings about the (thankfully temporary) Death of the Sky Father, Shiva Rudra Dyaus – followed by Her Remorse for the situation and a restoration to life..
We have certainly already discussed at length in the previous article the relationship of Cybele to Dionysus (with Cybele hailed in primary source materials as Rhea – the Earth Mother) – and I have directly addressed the irreducibly strong coterminity between Cybele and Durga Parvati in my previous work. The notion of an enraged Gaia and/or Artemis bringing about Orion’s demise … potentially on a temporary basis … has parallels not only with the situation of Parvati Durga Kali with Shiva [not least due to the Huntress form She takes in direct parallel to Him as a Kirata, a Hunter] – but also with the situation of the males linked to Cybele: Attis and Dionysus. In the former case, as I previously observed, we have the situation of a Death and Resurrection carried out via the intervention of a Tree and this Earth Mother. In the latter, we have Dionysus as Zagreus being killed and further injured by the actions of a furious Hera – and then brought back from this point via the positive attentions of Rhea Cybele .
It is not hard to follow this story once we are acquainted with the Hindu account. The Sky Father is in an occasionally somewhat fractious relationship with the Earth Mother. This leads to the Death of the Sky Father (or an expression, a facing, an Aspect thereof) – followed by the Earth Mother in a different mood working to set things back to rights via the resurrection of this Sky Father figure.
And as applies Orion – the ‘resurrection’ (other than that briefly mentioned involving Asclepius in the work of Telesarchus) is achieved via Orion’s elevation to the Heavens … in the form of the much-familiar and most recognizable constellation of the Night Sky. That we may never forget Him. An act which is impelled via the grief and remorse of Artemis and/or Leto [‘Leto’, as we have seen during the course of the Radiant Queen of the Heavens series, being potentially linguistically cognate and certainly somewhat mythically cognate with ‘Wife’ for Zeus].
Concluding Remarks – The Singers Change .. Only The Song Remains
The figure of Dionysus is, understandably, a significantly complex as well as a complexly significant one – even before we begin to apply the frameworks of Indo-European comparative analysis to Him. It is one thing to endeavour to attempt to trace the various skeins linking this or that Greek mythoscriptural account to other texts – whether also Greek / Classical, or those of the broader Indo-European World. It is almost quite another to seek to make sense of all of these, as best we can, and chart out what the actual underlying meanings of these things are. We might perhaps term this another instance of our Forensic Theology (a term I had coined for the style of effort necessary to ‘reconstruct’ the Myth and the Meaning for the archaic Indo-European account underpinning that of the various Progenitor Twins expressions – Romulus & Remus, Manu & Yama, etc.) .
Although in this particular case, it is less an examination of Who Killed Whom (although it is also, I suppose, that in part) – as it is the ‘Unmasking’ of a God of Masks. Indeed, it is the surprisingly unsurprising revelation that said God – directly hailed as the God Going In Disguise in various sources across the Indo-European sphere – in fact *has* these Masques, and that several otherwise rather prominent figures from a given mythology are effectively a case of this God donning different Masks. Or, perhaps, are cases of the humans down here in the audience – the ‘Groundlings’ to use some remarkably apt Shakespearean terminology (and ‘Spear-Shaker’ is *also* a not-infrequently encountered theonym of the God in question) – making mistakes as to perception or recollection, transmission or transcription. And thus assigning a functional relationship between God and Aspect to that of the paternity between God and Son. Or other, even more exotic or outright internally contradictory semi-competing attempted expositions by the Ancients for things that were more Ancient than them still.
It is fitting, then, that the path of my words’ write-wandering brought us towards Orion as we arcened towards our terminus. For what we see there is almost exactly what we have been hunting with all along. A fragmentary figure wherein significant and sustained effort is necessitated in order to begin to piece back together how the underlying Indo-European mythic typology in question is invoked. And yet … where such effort is almost unnecessary, in its own way, because the Stars Themselves are effectively unchanging.
The same ones, known by the same name, shine down upon us now as they did in the days of Hesiod – some nearly three thousand years before. And just as in Hesiod’s day, we know that the figure in question is the Bringer of Storms, Wild, Powerful, an Archer (or, perhaps, Spearman) – a Huntsman beyond human compare, Canine-accompanied – Wandering amidst the Heavens, tracing the not-quite-Trackless Paths cross the Sea of Stars that only He Knows; Watching and Influencing us down here upon this Earth.
And I say that it is the Stars Themselves that are *effectively* unchanging – for that is unquestionably true (Supernovae etc. excepted). At least from our perspective. Which is what *actually* changes – the *perspective*, the more direct symbolic associations *we* project up to upon Them.
As Terry Pratchett put it in The Last Hero:
“‘In the olden days,’ she said, ‘when a hero had been really heroic, the gods would put them up in the stars.’
THE HEAVENS CHANGE, said Death. WHAT TODAY LOOKS LIKE A MIGHTY HUNTER MAY LOOK LIKE A TEACUP IN A HUNDRED YEARS’ TIME.
‘That doesn’t seem fair.’
NO ONE EVER SAID IT HAD TO BE. BUT THERE ARE OTHER STARS.”
So it is with our Sky Father Deific.
Just as some Stars may have changed Name or place within the realm of Myth from our point of view – so, too, have some Facings of the Sky Father come a little bit more ‘disguised’ than others. And the blessed Illumination sent to us from Above, which takes thousands of years to get here, may now perhaps be thought of differently.
Yet when we project ourselves back in time , trace the trajectories via whence this image of a ‘shining one’ has came , what we find is ourselves back at the starting-point. Before things went off in all directions.
We find ourselves, in other words, ‘Home’.
Hail to the Indo-European Sky Father :
Long May He Reign