I had a dream. A very odd dream.
This morning I woke up at 1am. I was not happy. Unfortunately, I was feeling wide awake, so I decided I’d do some studying. The night was spent combing the Sacred Texts website for any mention of Ares. I scanned Hellenic, Roman, and even Christian texts. Cool story, one Christian apocryphal text mentions Ares as an angel who was a general of spirits in a war between Canaanite gods… crazy stuff, right? Anyway, I also read a great essay, The Oracle and Cult of Ares in Asia Minor, by Dr. Matthew Gonzales. Oh, and get this –Gonzales’ doctoral dissertation? It’s a 600+ page survey of Ares and Enyalios in Hellenic religion. I nearly died; needless to say, I’ve contacted Dr. Gonzales to try to obtain a copy of said dissertation. I also went on Amazon after playing citation detective and bought The Cults of the Greek States, Vol 5 by Lewis Richard Farnell, because chapter ten is all about Ares. Anyway, it was a long night. I helped my sister get ready for school, did her homework with her, and about 8:30 was exhausted enough to fall asleep.
Now, my dream wasn’t very vivid. My sleep was fitful at best, but I did have some pretty clear images at points. First was the fact that I had authored my own book on Ares, which in and of itself would be cool enough for me. Second, I had a bad-ass mug for my coffee with hat I assumed was a print of my book cover; I don’t remember the title in its entirety, but Enyalios was in the title and not Ares to my recollection. Third, and most significant, I reading a paper in which was either announcing or reviewing the recent revival of a festival honoring Ares, Hermes, and Dike from Anatolia. It was awesome!
Now, I’m not what you’d call a proponent of mysticism, I don’t believe in visions or oracles really, and to be frank, while I believe in the gods as real beings, I have my doubts to how active They are in the mortal world. My dream, obviously colored by what I was reading prior to going to sleep, nonetheless really motivates me to reconstruct the festival. I think reading the actual oracular statement was the most inspiring portion; it really gives a sense of urgency and compulsion. In fact, read it for yourself. It comes from Gonzales’ essay on Asia Minor:
Pamphylians of Syedra, who inhabit a rich land of mixed men in
shared fields, plant a statue of bloody, man-slaying Ares in the
middle of the city and beside (him) perform sacrifices as you
bind him with the iron bonds of Hermes, and on the other side
let Justice administer the law and judge him; let him resemble a
suppliant. Thus will he become a peaceful deity for you, once he
has driven the enemy horde far from your country, and he will
give rise to prosperity much prayed for. And you, at the same
time, take great pain, either chasing them or placing them in unbreakable
bonds, and do not, out of fear of the pirates, pay their
terrible penalty. For thus will you escape from all degradation.
Pretty cool stuff, huh? It is interesting to note the prevalence of Ares depicted as bound. I recently found a scrap sheet of marble, and you can bet I’ll be putting my carving skill, and my new dremel, to the test carving a relief of fettered Ares. Perhaps that can be my offering for the inception of the festival. Unfortunately, no time-frame seems given, so I’ll have to place that as seems best. As I said, I’m not big on Oracles or believe that I myself received an oracular dream, but we’ll see what happens. ‘Til then, Hail Ares!