Last weekend, Sannion did his monthly Dionysos Day oracles, and I put in a question regarding what devotional project I should work on next (presumably after I finished the current ones I’m doing), and the answer was something totally unexpected for both myself and Sannion as the oracle involved: I was to do something for both Ares and Sobek. Now, I have nothing against either of them, and am a rather large fan of Sobek actually (particularly due to his involvement in the Serpent Path), but Ares is fairly well outside of my current experience–Mars is not, as I see him in a bit more of the ancient Roman fashion than as an Ares equivalent strictly speaking, but that’s something else entirely. There was also a further freebie given by Dionysos on this occasion that was an encouragement, but still somewhat vague and “out of nowhere.” These oracular responses were done on Saturday the 10th, and that happened to be the day on which my foot injury occurred; I did not see the responses until late on Sunday night, and even then, they were a bit confusing. However, in the events that unfolded over the week that followed, it all made perfect sense, and thus I produced two poems out of the entire experience.
Both of the interpretations of the deities involved in the poems to follow are, to my knowledge, novel. Sobek becomes a strange image of the dark night itself, in many ways; and Ares comes forth as his usual fierce warrior self, but I am seeking his services in my prayer therein as a defender of my health. So, without further ado…
The god is a black crocodile
darker than a black hole in the emptiness of space
sitting, patient, at the bottom
of the murkiest pool along the Nile’s expanse.
All comes to him, in time,
with his yellow eyes he devours every sight
before his sharp jaws close
and swallow each thing that sinks to him.
There is no life or death,
only the engulfing, absorbing, digesting dark;
there is no beauty nor terror
in the sight of this melding of shadow into absence.
Gods and humans alike,
brilliant-webbed multi-legged spiders, bright flowers,
books of poetry, broken cars,
whole civilizations, planets, splashes of tadpoles…
Not one thing ever thought
nor touched by the rays of Re shining above
nor the Duat’s dark sun
has escaped the devouring dark depths of Sobek.
Not even fear itself,
the night terrors, the sudden startles, the losses
and sadness for what has passed
or will pass in the future survives these depths.
There is nothing in those eyes,
there is nothing reflecting off his coal-black skin,
there is nothing in his maw,
there is nothing in his belly nor his bowels…
There is nothing to fear,
even there is also nothing to fear;
and for the fearless ones,
Sobek holds not nothing, but everything.
Prayer to Ares the Healer
Gods be with me, I am under siege;
Gods be for me, I am beset by insurrection;
Gods protect me, I shall not be defeated.
Ares, god over righteous anger,
bathe me in the white-hot molten light
of your purifying cathartic rage.
Purge all invaders from my body,
defend the by-ways of my bloodstream
and be a bulwark for my own defenses.
Stand as a victor behind my strong walls,
never allow the battlements of my city to fall,
prey to the reavers who will abscond with its jewels.
Break the shield-wall of my attackers’ onslaught,
and do not stint in conscripting auxiliaries
that can be marshaled for the melee.
What is broken, may you promote its healing;
what is infected, may you oversee its cleansing;
what is weakened, may you lend your arm to strengthen.
Though I am not fit for the warrior’s life,
though I will not be drafted into your ranks,
I beseech you to stand with me in this fight.