Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bruno on Momus

(from a Dan Merkur article on nectar in Renaissance Magic )

... in the sixteenth century, the psychoactivity of nectar continued to be remarked by occult writers. Giordano Bruno's Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast had the god Momus discuss nectar in a speech directed to Jove:

"This council meeting, oh father, must be postponed for another day, and for another occasion, since it seems that your being disposed to having a conclave now, immediately after dinner, was prompted by the generous hand of your affectionate cupbearer. For nectar which cannot be thoroughly digested by the stomach neither satisfies nor refreshes it, but distorts and saddens our nature, and perturbs our imagination, making some gay, and without purpose, others unrestrainedly happy, some superstitiously devout, others vainly heroic, others choleric, others builders of great castles in the air, until the time when, with the vanishing of the same pipe dreams, passing through brains of different complexion, everything falls to the ground and vanishes into smoke."

In his reply to Momus, Jove responded, among other topics, to the question of his inebriation.

"Do not believe, however, that I have been so violently assailed by some strange humor while dining, that, after dinner, it still holds me bound and chained, because of which I proceed to action, guided not by reason but rather by the power of nectarean fumes. On the other hand, from this very day last year I began to deliberate within my own mind what I was to carry out on this very day at this very hour after dinner. Because it is not customary to bring sad news on an empty stomach, and I well know that you would come more willingly to a celebration than to a council meeting, which is studiously avoided by many of you....
"Now I remind you, oh brothers, sisters, and children, that those whom Fate has permitted to taste ambrosia, to drink nectar, and to enjoy the dignity of majest are also enjoined to bear the heavy responsibilities that accompany privilege."

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