I mention Dionysos and his louche fabulousness and Apollo, Fabulous Complexity Himself, promptly appeared in sunlight in my windows. I don’t want to say more fabulous than Dionysos because I am superstitious. The two are complementary and pour energy into each other’s negative spaces.
Apollo cannot stand the cavorting of Dionysos. Apollo thinks: wasteful of divine energy. Disordered movement which fragments light and blurs colour and rumbles relationships so that all we see is frenetic movement and we don’t know what is going on.
Dionysos wants to know what is orderly about Apollo’s murderous rages and his childish Halloween disguises to the end of his obsessive seductions. And his cruelty to the boy, Icarus.
Apollo chasing Daphne; Guido Durantino workshop; Florence; 1535. Ceramic. Philadelphia Musuem of Art.
Apollo’s response is that, were he not divine, the contradictions of his ridiculously layered archetype would have driven him mad before he was out of his teens. Drunk all the time like Dionysos. Instead, he is more or less coherent and thoroughly glorious.
And Icarus had been warned:
Icarus Falling; Hendrick Goltzius, 1558 – 1617, Dutch; Philadelphia Art Museum.
Icarus, 1947, pochoir. Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
As is known, Apollo casts bright light on what moves and on what is still so that everything and everyone can be seen in pin-prick detail in order to be relished in fullness. A million shades of colour; forms without number; contexts and relationships as clear as clear.
No shadows anywhere: falling down in dark drunken thumping heaps out of the question.
Apollo is to be thanked for the light of spring and summer still here in early autumn. I can thread my needle and work without eye strain.
I store the liquors I made this summer for winter: fennel vodka, orange brandy, and blackberry whiskey: medicine for affective sunlight disorder.
The days grow short. Night at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Then the days will grow long with bright pinprick light to enlighten the world. The enlivening Dionysos will be trailing Apollo closely as usual.
The featured image is of a basketry sunflower, made by students of the Itegue Mennen School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1967. Cotton thread and dried grass.