maenad, bacchae, Dionysus, Bacchaus, Sylvia Plath, youth, revelry, orgy, ecstacy, trance, poetry, poem

V&E Poetic Therapy: Maenad

3 comments

Cover art: William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)  The Youth of Bacchus (1884)

On Maenads

The Maenads were the female followers of Dionysus in Greek Mythology. The word Maenads in Greek means “raving ones”. In Roman Mythology they were called the Bacchae as followers of Bacchus, Dionysius’ Roman counterpart.

Maenads were known for their intoxicated frenzy and erratic and violent behaviours while in an orgiastic trance. They are the mythological ‘mad women’ and represented the savageness, ruthlessness, and dangerous sexuality of women.

Bacchus.jpg

The horror of their actions is most famously depicted in the story of Pentheus who tried to ban the worship of Dionysus. He was lured into the woods and savagely torn apart and murdered by the Maenads, along with his mother Agave.

Orpheus, the famous musician and inspiration for the Orphic Cult was also torn limb from limb by Maenads. The reasoning was supposed that he took only male lovers, specifically young boys,  after losing his wife in the underworld.  The practice that eventually became cultural, angered the Dionysian followers and they ripped him apart.

 

Maenads.jpg
Maenads
John Collier (1850–1934)
Southwark Art Collection

Given what we know of Maenads, why do you think Sylvia Plath chose to name her poem Maenad? 

 

Maenad by Sylvia Plath

Once I was ordinary:
Sat by my father’s bean tree
Eating the fingers of wisdom.
The birds made milk.
When it thundered I hid under a flat stone.

The mother of mouths didn’t love me.
The old man shrank to a doll.
O I am too big to go backward:
Birdmilk is feathers,
The bean leaves are dumb as hands.

This month is fit for little.
The dead ripen in the grapeleaves.
A red tongue is among us.
Mother, keep out of my barnyard,
I am becoming another.

Dog-head, devourer:
Feed me the berries of dark.
The lids won’t shut. Time
Unwinds from the great umbilicus of the sun
Its endless glitter.

I must swallow it all.

Lady, who are these others in the moon’s vat —-
Sleepdrunk, their limbs at odds?
In this light the blood is black.
Tell me my name.

From innocence to experience, from ignorance to knowledge; what part of the feminine experience does the Maenad represent?
What is Sylvia Plath’s relationship toward it?
What is your relationship with it? 
I’ll share my thoughts if you will!

Comprehensive Faeries Oracle Reading

The cost includes: Customizable card reading means we will position the cards to get a reading that caters to your specific questions or concerns. A detailed write-up of the cards, their position, and meaning. Images of the cards and the overall spread. Guidance from the faeries which may come in the form of a poem, song, book, or message for you to find an object or to go somewhere. Each reading is Faerie guided and will have a unique imprint for you only.

C$60.00

 Fotor_149607407610038 Fotor_149676805444976
Hypersensitivity, Emotional, Stress, Anxiety, Impulsive, Hyperactivity, yoga for attention issues, ADHD, yoga practice, Focus, Hyper focus, Concentration, yoga for mental health, wellness, advice  Fotor_149677014491494

3 comments on “V&E Poetic Therapy: Maenad”

    1. I felt like it was about belonging in general. That the family experience wasn’t expansive enough and so the Maenad represents a woman trying to find a place to belong. Especially, in the final line: “Tell me my name.” It seems like she has a malformed sense of identity.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s