Apollonian and Dionysian

2355 Words Apr 12th, 2005 10 Pages
The Apollonian and Dionysian man complete each other in the sense that these two

terms create our society. The Apollonian man was given its name from Apollo, the sun-

god. He represents light, clarity, and form. The Dionysian man was given its name from

the Greek god Dionysus. As the wine-god, he represents drunkenness and ecstasy. The

Dionysian was the primal aspect of reality, as well as raw nature, life and death, pleasure

and pain, desire, passion, sex, and aggression. It is the source of primal instincts. "The

Dionysian with its primal pleasure-experienced even in pain- is the common womb of

music and tragic myth...the Apolline is the realm of dreams and ideal forms."("The Birth of

Tragedy" Nietzsche, 1871) The
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Eventually Hestia, the ancient and respected goddess of Hearth gave Dionysus her

seat on Olympus. He was content, although he was not satisfied. He wanted to see his

mother. He rescued her from the underworld and brought her to Olympus to live with

Immortals. He named her Thyone, which meant "ecstasy". He was eventually ejected from

Olympus. Forced into the realm of dream and myth, his energy is once again returning to

our consciousness. "If we can go willingly to meet and understand Dionysus, we can use

this archetypal power to transform our lives."(Johnson, 33)

"Happiness is stated to come at the whim of fortune. No happiness can be kept

permanently. Therefore, the differentiation is so crucial: because to seek joy is to seek

Dionysus."(Johnson, 39) You can not kill a god, who is immortal. Neither can you kill an

archetype. An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way. It

is a basic human drive. We carry the archetypes deep within us. They are important parts

of our human nature. Therefore, they must be lived out. When an archetype is not lived out

with consciousness or dignity, it "loads up with energy and becomes inhuman."(Von Franz)
This happens not only on the level of the individual, but on the level of the collective

unconscious, the psyche of a whole society. The collective unconscious is the foundation

of our experiences as a species, a type of
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