Thursday, July 17, 2014

Aphrodite (Part 1)

"Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love "
Leonard Cohen, "Dance Me To The End Of Love"
Aphrodite was "born from the sea", and without writing about the many sources of the mythic Aphrodite, it seems fitting that the Goddess of love should have her power and source in the vast depths of the ocean.  I also have to say that I believe Aphrodite ........ very, very  wounded in our world, and I don't need to go very far to demonstrate my claim. 

As I wrote earlier, I seem to be needing to re-make the Masks of the Goddess, and doing that means re-visiting the Goddesses.  Or, perhaps, they are re-visiting me.....  I have not yet made a new mask for Aphrodite/Venus, but I did find a performance I wrote  some 20 years ago, and felt like sharing it on this blog.  Funny how  it is with much more difficulty  that I write about the domain of Venus,  than it is for me to talk about Kali, or Hecate, or many others. 

I've been unpartnered and unmarried for a long time, and I like it that way.  I cannot say, to be honest with myself, that I've been very good at marriage, although I've loved  men, and treasure many memories.  But at 65 romantic love seems thankfully a long way in the past.  And yet, I remember a few years ago when I was at a conference in England.  There was a presenter there who was a scholar of ancient music.  In his late 60's, he had that tall, elegant, aristocratic English  face and gesture,  and I remember watching him with fascination, admiring both his knowledge, and his beauty.

The following morning, as I sat down to breakfast at the B and B I was staying at, he walked down the stairs and joined us!  And suddenly, I found myself a girl again, animated, shy, vulnerable, longing,  and quite disturbed by all the emotions that arose.  Aphrodite........

(from "The Goddess Suite" 1998)

The stage consists of three levels;  to the upper right is the Archetypal  Realm.  Here is posed the masked Aphrodite, spotlighted. 

The second level,  middle left, has a raised platform on which is a table and chair.  Nadine is seated at the table, with a glass of wine, photos to the side of her  notebook, a pen holder.   She examines several, plays with pen. 

Below the stage, and to the lower left, not always visible, is the Realm of Uncertainty, and the Heyoka, in black and white, is occasionally seen.  And she/he will always be unpredictable. 

Men.   Why do I always have to deitize  or demonize them, and then obsess, obsess, obsess,  little pieces of me lost bit by bit.....where?  Where do all those little pieces of self, little pieces of soul,  go? Where they somehow stolen from me?  Or do they wander in the dark like lost children, the shy little soul parts,  always trying to find their way home?

I've never really been very good at it.  Why can't we just reproduce by some kind of cell division?  You know, you look in the mirror and notice a few weird bulges.  So you pack a bag and check into the local mitosis center for a "birth of self" retreat?

(picks up glass, takes a drink)

Sex. That's what they call it now, or words somewhat more course.  Long gone is the clinical "intercourse", which manages to imply, nevertheless, some kind of mutual exchange of energy.  To make love....... you don't hear that either.  

Sex.  Reduced to a commodity. We "have sex".  It sounds like "having a beer" . We have each other.  We have cornflakes, we have Cheerios.   Names.  Labels.   Sex surrogates, swing parties, single bars.  Maximize your orgasmic potential.    Consumable.  Buyable. Disposable........O Brave New World!

And beneath the skin, beneath it all,  there is ......

 (sets down glass, looks at audience)

something so vast, so rich and so deep,  spilling out like a super nova through the cracks of every kiss, every stupid, heartbreaking,  hilarious drama, every tear streaked parting, every breathless beginning.  You look back; what was that all about?

And then we rush around looking for therapy,  for why, after the fact,  immersion in Aphrodite's tide pool made us .....crazy, mad, projective, dysfunctional.  Co-dependant. Delusional, temporarily insane............

(soft) Listen to Her laugh like thunder, like silk, like rose petals on a tsunami. 

(louder) Listen to Her laugh like thunder, like silk, like rose petals on a tsunami.......
No answers.  Oh, you'll come up with a few of them later. Ha!  Fit  the ocean into a bottle if you can.  Tame Aphrodite?  Make Her safe?  She'll rip you apart.  In Her waters.

And there, in that other realm,  where no one grows old, where lips are always ripe to be kissed, she lives,  with Her Lovers,  locked in one eternal embrace,   spewing flowers and butterflies and little Gods and Demons from their ferocious heat, their cosmic creativity,
 their immaculate pleasure, their effortless separateness and merging.

While WE just get old,  haunted by old ghosts that chase you around the house like dust balls.  You sweep and sweep, but they always come back.  Old ghosts with eyes like leaves, lips like flowers.  There's a face in the crowd,  your breath stops, "It's you, you haven't aged a bit, you're still so lovely......." but the face is gone, and that was 30 years ago.
I loved them all. Their potbellies and sweat and bad jokes,  all the Gods that possessed them.
(Aphrodite tinkles laughter)

 I remember candlelight.  Moonlight, beaches, whiskey bars,  kissing goodbye at airports and somehow, never, ever to meet again.........all those breaks and  losses and tears and memories and kisses.  Rivers.

The river. 

I erase all my regrets from the storyline.  I remember when everything ignited, when all of Your waters flowed from me, Aphrodite.  And  they rippled out like waves to all the world.

And we made love.  And we made love.  And we remade  all of  Your creation. 

And those, those are moments worth remembering.

Ah, Aphrodite.  I am unmade in your waters. 

Lights dim, fade out on Nadine.  Heyoka appears, disappears.    Aphrodite steps into floodlight,  throws roses into audience as she leaves stage.

Music is "Dance me to the end of love" by Leonard Cohen.)