A Dancing God

“I would only believe in a god who knew how to dance. And when I saw my devil, there I found him earnest, thorough, deep, and somber: it was the spirit of gravity — through him, all things fall…” —Thus Spake Zarathustra

One should not give much consideration to a “mythology” that does not provoke laughter with some regularity. Myth is — or originally, it was — the story of your blood, the blood of your people, and how it, via its most prominent avatars or champions, has made its way through the world and throughout time. So does the hero, an eponymous ancestor, struggle against and match wits with the best of the non-human powers, be they spirits or flesh-and-blood beasts, forging or negotiating a path forth for his descendants or those of his kin. So does the ancient Trickster, whether as a partly-human ancestor or a totemic creature or power closely aligned with the tribe’s genesis, go about his deeds of fooling the non-human powers in order to (or, at least incidentally) help or uplift the people who cherish his name. And thus the affectionate and filial titles some of these figures will be invoked with — “Father,” “Mother,” “Grandfather,” “Uncle,” “Old Man,” “Elder,” “Auntie,” and so on.

You would expect a mythos to be uplifting, heartening, and in some sense familiar as such, because when you recount myth, you tell the tale of family itself, with all of the baudy gusto and gleeful embellishment people like to make of family tales and incidents after the fact. The greater the distance of the legend in life to the contemporary storytellers, the more embellished it may become, the threads of his original identity slowly unravelling into the mists of time, where all far shapes waver and seem to stand as tall as giants — but whether remembered as gods or men, the legend yet maintains his intimacy to the people, by the jocularity of his very human fickleness or failings, or in his extraordinary mastery and excellence in the “mundane,” day-to-day tasks of the people that make up their cultural life. More serious encounters in an account may sweep you up in awe or sadness; but rarely is there not a note a triumph woven within, for the heroes and you who wear their mantle. There may be an outright invitation to laugh at the absurdity in the story’s larger-than-life atmosphere or moments— the best response to any absurdity. Myth, as such, in its proper function, is a colourful tapestry recording the long and vigorous life of a family, the tale of their descent, with modification, by their interactions with the rest of the living world, and its patterns, though of course not free of the tangles of tragedy, reverberate overall with a supernal joy that is the will to everlasting profundity.

Myths that attempt to only invoke “reverence,” by contrast, are very much the socio-psychological analogue to the jumped-up bureaucrat demanding that you respect their “authority.” The stories of such a mythos drag you down, belittle you, riddle you with guilt or shame, demand an unwarranted abasement or respect before a “power” in the tale through a myriad of proscriptions — though what the teller of such a tale is really after is your submission and humbling before their own authority by their poisonous weaving of words. It is no surprise, in that light, that the mythology of the former type, in its more earthly carriage and jollity,  is only found amongst those “saucy, irreverent savages,” be they Amerindians, the Gaels of yore, or the largely-extinct “European peasant,” and the latter type is, by and large, composed of the “world religions.” Such religions, save for a few benign and unorthodox strains/interpretations, often seek, via their allegiance with the state, to crush people down into servility, not uplift them — to make them feel powerless, gloomy, perpetually penitent and sorry for something or for their whole existence.

Thus is the mythology of a profoundly sick society, where there is no longer a free people, but a state, the “coldest of all cold monsters,” to paraphrase Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. The formerly happy-go-lucky ancestral fathers and heroes are inappropriately hoisted up as the father/fathers of all creation, rather than of the people or their own modest part of it — and they sit, detached, on high, just as the elite sit remotely from the rest of society, humourless and vicious in their bid to remain masters of all carnality, casting impartial judgements towards the subjugated (though quite partial and accommodating to their own) and demanding regular displays of obeisance and submission (that so happens to liberally benefit the would-be masters of creation who minister for these gods). Society is divorced from itself at such a fatal disjuncture; the Father is replaced by a tyrant, his familial favours replaced by impersonal and absolute law, and his promise to uphold his kith and kin twisted into a promise to uphold the nation-state, the welfare of which is primarily purposed towards the ends of an elite and parasitic class.

“I, the state, am the People,” roareth now the god-kings, and the creators, they who hung a true faith and love over a people, are utterly profaned and perverted. All mythology and belief that does not begin and end with the usurper’s authority, to his advantage, is deemed superstition, or denigrated to a lesser intellectual category such as “fable” and “peasant belief.” The playful landscapes of life, of man freely conversing with gods and spirits, and betimes outsmarting or besting them entirely, is gradually carved up with barriers of “thou shalt not,” enclosed in a maze of deliberately-mystifying rituals and slavish praise. Bureaucratic intrigue becomes the order of the heavens, and in the abject misery and instability of this state of affairs, the mythicosocial imagination begins to paint pictures of and pine for the catastrophe of apocalypse, of the death of the gods, of the end of days, whether by the elites’ eugenic desire to be free of the “chaff” they must constantly herd and dupe, or in the people’s desire to be free of the slavery under these false gods — the gods of statehood — by one means of liberation or another.

Caption: The figure of “Raven” found in numerous Northwest Coast Native American cultures is one of many divine figures (popularly typified as “Tricksters”) whose canon is often humourous and who often is seen as an ancestor/crucial in establishing the tribe or human race.


It is little wonder that the secular man of today has such bad opinions of mythology and religion, and can easily dismiss it all as misguided bunk designed to manipulate the ignorant — that has likely been his only mythical inheritance, there now being few and far between peoples who still preserve their covenant with their gods, their allies, and their blood. His ancestors are often entirely unknown to him, beyond what a clinical study might superficially tell him about some prominent and impersonal figure who was his forbearer. There is a good chance even his own immediate family is estranged to some greater or lesser degree from him, such that he knows not nor cares for the special closeness of family tales and polity, or how “folktales” and “myth” are just that but resounded and magnified down the ages. He does not keep faith, because he has none to keep faith in, thanks to the pilfering by the state, in its insatiable greed, of the hotbed of sacredness itself — that is, family, tribe, and its own communion with the otherworld.

He instead seeks, as so many of the lost before him, a replacement for the divine in some other abstracted god and its tenets, be it another “world religion” or a dogmatic political philosophy, but here he flies merely from one debasement to another. We witness today, as at the end of any empire (the state at its grandest and most invasive), this flight on a massive scale, the people in their misery seeking new myths to shake off the yoke of their tiresome, old potentates. So blinded by the ruddiness and lushness of the new stories’ wares  are they that they do not see that they be merely seeds or cuttings of the old one, just waiting to be watered and burgeon forth, with new oppression and misery, by the adoration of fresh converts. There is a veritable market for these faithless thirsting for a paradise to be regained, and much of this market is delivered on social media, the products branded as “creative mythologies” or treatises on the “divine” or “truth,” when in fact they are often simply political polemics, with a poor or deliberately-biased scholasticism, written not by any enlightened one but by one of their own damned brethren, thirsting for fame and power rather than redemption. When the preaching of these peddlers is not just utterly dull and mostly plagiarised, one easily discerns in them all the patterns of the latter mythological type — the bitter tales of the gods of statehood— replete with the obligatory proselytising.

Thou shalt fear me, behold unto me, take my word as law, bow and quake before my various fetishes and idols, repent for your sins, your decadence, your degeneracy, or your “privilege.” Hate yourself, shame on you, pay me tribute, beware the hellfire and brimstone, ye who do not follow me and the rotting deities that I wear about my neck like so many prayer beads! They want little else but to tear you down, for whatever the loss to your power or self-esteem is a gain to them, if in no other way than you have clearly been robbed of the good sense to not toss coins to such beggar-priests. But ideally, they hope to ride upon your shoulders, to add your power to their own and have it at their disposal, and whether as gurus living off of your fat or as glorious revolutionaries treading to glory over your martyred corpse makes little difference to them in their quest for power. But, the same as all their insidious forerunners, humour and irreverence is their number one foe, because their gloomy gods forbid anyone have fun or feel happy, if that happiness is at their expense. A several day long feast is not materially “productive,” for instance, but it is sure to inspire much more happiness than breaking one’s back over the plough, in working to feed the excess of one’s feudal or corporate overlords. And so these creatures’ vitriol against the jokester, toward the scepticist, to the trickster, to the irreverent, to he who laughs at their petty illusions and vain ambitions, be the trickster just an average Joe coming along with some banter or a deliberate inquisitor.

For it has always been laughter that reveals the ridiculous, which dispels even the most powerful of illusions and which, in their breaking, can turn a king into a crippled beggar. And so to the point of those lost ones who adhere to the latter mythology deeming such irreverent laughter and the high spirits — free spirits — fostered by it a lesser sort of thing, childish at best, or at worst a profanity before their gods and their thrones; nothing is as deadly and dangerous to them as a true divinity, after all, a laughing god with courageous and vigorous blood who bends knee to none. Beware “reverence,” as such, and those who demand it of you. It is the lowest of the low when it comes to sentiments towards myths and gods, for behind every severe brow and penitential knee is someone who either is self-loathing or spites you for your gaiety, and would be well-pleased to break your spirit, to yoke you and yours up for some end or other of their own. Believe in no gods who cannot dance, and have little to do with those you would not be fain to dance with, for that reckless joy alone is your first step back to reclaiming the sanctity of your people and of yourself.

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