Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Archetypal relationships: Demeter & Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of wine. He was also the god of ecstasy and enraptured love, pain and suffering, and death and rebirth. He traveled widely, teaching grape cultivation and winemaking. Madness and violence followed him. Women worshipped him. The women drank wine, danced wildly, then tore an animal to pieces and ate the raw flesh. The Romans knew him as Bacchus.
Emotional Control System
The quest for meaning may be hardwired into our brains.
A Dionysus man's life purpose is a quest for meaning. He lives by ideals and principles that he has yet to discover.
Dionysus men lack "real world" goals. They're questing for principles, and haven't yet discovered these principles. They enjoy resting or doing nothing-especially if alcoholic beverages are available. When faced with a decision they let their partner decide, saying, "I'll be happy with whatever makes you happy."
A Dionysus man has a close relationship with his mother-a "mama's boy." He's her "divine child," with a sense of specialness or destiny. In adult life, a Dionysus man may resent people not recognizing his specialness, e.g., when they expect him to do mundane work. He may have mood swings between low self-esteem and ego inflation. He may have substance abuse issues. "Wounding" is central to Dionysus. "Wounding" can be a life-threatening illness, e.g., cancer, which makes a man feel as if he has been dismembered and then reassembled as a new person. Or "wounding" can be a painful experience that forces an individual to break from "the flat ennui of numbing conformity to cultural and familial expectations.
Dionysus men can become cult leaders. They attract followers, especially women. But the followers go mad. The followers may commit crimes opposite to the ideals espoused by their leader
Under stress, Dionysus individuals become Poseidon. They become wildly, out-of-control emotional.
Under safety, Dionysus becomes Zeus
Women surround Dionysus men. A Dionysus man has many female friends, and many of these are lovers. His emotional wounds attract their nurturing instinct. His sensuality and appreciation of their beauty, and his ecstatic lovemaking becomes addictive to women. Dionysus is the more feminized male ideal, who started rearing his long-haired head in the late 1960s and early '70s. Though they carried themselves with all-male swagger, frontmen Roger Daltrey of The Who and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin were clearly in touch with their feminine sides. Women couldn't get enough of these emotional yet masculine men.
Demeter was the goddess of the harvest and of motherhood.
Emotional Control System
Demeter energy is nurturing.
A Demeter woman lives for her children, or to help other people. Demeter women love their children regardless of whether a child is rebellious, disabled, gay, or the governor of Texas.
Demeter women give to get love. They'll sacrifice their own needs, then expect something back. They give unsolicited help, then feel used or cheated when the recipient doesn't express gratitude or return a favor. The problem isn't ungrateful recipients. The problem is that the Demeter woman doesn't recognize that people don't need her help. Too much Demeter energy makes an individual obsessed with diet, stress-reduction classes, or fitness. Too little Demeter energy leads to working long hours without eating, relaxing, or taking a vacation. A woman who works too much may overcompensate by obsession with diet and fitness.
Under stress, Demeter women become Artemis, Ares, and Hephaestus. After Hades abducted Demeter's daughter, Demeter wandered over the earth, day and night, without eating or drinking. This is the seeking behavior emotional control system, symbolized by Artemis. Everywhere Demeter wandered, she broke plows, destroyed farms and cattle, made fields barren, and blighted seeds so they couldn't grow. She used her anger emotional control system, symbolized by Ares. Finally, Demeter disguised herself as an old woman. She met the daughters of the king of Eleusis (near Athens). She offered to do any domestic work in their household. Willingness to work is symbolized by Hephaestus.
When safe, Demeter women become Apollo. They enjoy a symphony or art museum.
Demeter women are warm and affectionate, but are more into hugs than sex. Use condoms because she may not be using birth control. If she gets pregnant, she'll keep the child.
The Dionysus/Demeter marriage
Dionysus's marriage to Ariadne was the only healthy marriage on Mt. Olympus. (Anyone who wants "a marriage made in heaven" hasn't read Greek mythology.) But the wife of a Dionysus man can also find her life alternating between ecstasy and suffering, between "pandemonium and deathly silence." Demeter women marry for children. The husband-or sperm donor -is only a means to her end. Zeus men are happy to provide sperm, but their relationship goes downhill-fast-after the transfer. A Dionysus-Demeter marriage echoes Mary and Jesus. His central issue was "wounding" and suffering. Her central ability was nurturing. A Dionysus-Demeter marriage may look like a mother/son relationship, but they'll give what the other needs.
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