You have leapt, a bull, into the milk.

 Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, from 1520 until 1523. US Public Domina

Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, from 1520 until 1523. US Public Domina

“Now you have died and now you have been born, thrice blessed, on this day.

Say to Persephone that Bakkhios himself has released you.

You have leapt, a bull, into the milk.

You have leapt, a goat, into the milk.

You have fallen, a ram, into the milk.

You have wine, fortunate one.

And end awaits you such as the rest of the blessed.”

In 1974 this invocation was discovered near the toe of Italy. It dates back to the mid-fifth-century, and appears to reference an initiation into the cult of Dionysus. The poem was written on leafs shaped like tiny leafs if ivy.

The words “You have leapt, a bull, into the milk” seem to imply leaping into the unknown– discovering the bliss of being that lies therein. If so, then Dionysus may an image of the Self.

Invocation Cited in:

  1. Powell, A. (1997) The Greek World, Routledge, p. 497.

Reference for the image:

  1. Bacchus and Ariadne, Titan, 1520 – 1523, in US Public Domain

8 thoughts on “You have leapt, a bull, into the milk.

  1. It seems, too, possibly, signifying overcoming the astrological influences or ages posed by the bull, ram, and goat of the zodiac.

  2. Jenna,

    thanks for the invitation . I’m not able to say very much more though, except that the imagery of the invocation above and it association with the Dionysian rites suggests (using my creative imagination) that where many of us who have grown up under the tutelage of western civilization to value traits associated with masculine strength, aggressiveness, virility as the most effective tools to conquer nature and succeed– traits symbolized by the bull, goat, and ram of the zodiac–the Dionysian initiate addressed in the invocation, in allowing the fruit of the vine to relax his masculine nature (conscious rational thinking), has found the sought after goal–truth, gnosis, knowledge–the “milk” of the gods. This relaxing of the masculine to make room for the feminine (the polar opposite which is also associated with Dionysus) is necessary for true individuated wholeness. Something like that. 🙂

    1. David, your words are a wonderfully poetic example of archetypal dialectics. I am thankful that you have expanded on your thoughts here. I agree that we have grown up under the pressures of aggression. Soon I will be writing on Jung’s concept of libido, which seems quite related to the bull, the ram, virility. I have been contemplating an idea that such libidinal energy has an aim, a force, drive. Jung talks in terms of life energy seeking a vessel or womb. Here I am being vague and musing on the next layer of our contemplation concerning the archetypal movement of consciousness.

      In that regard, I appreciate that you are bringing Dionysus to my imagination. A couple of days ago I was meditating: a bunch of grapes suddenly appeared in my mind’s eye. A couple of days later I dreamed that I found a bunch of grapes in a cave. It seems there is a link between Dionysus (grapes) and images of the mother (cave and the downward pointing triangle). I am still dreaming this, we will see where it takes me. I appreciate your co-dreaming.

  3. Jenna, I am so please to have discovered your blog and the beautiful and important work you are doing. I am very much looking forward to ongoing co-dreaming and dialoguing with you and those seekers who come to you wanting to leap into the milk. 🙂


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