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Thoughts on Pothos

August 22, 2009

He is longing; he is yearning. He is passion for that which we do not, or cannot, have. He—delicate, tender, flighty—is never satisfied, for it is not in his nature to settle for anything less than the best. He is the wish, the need: he can never fully appreciate that which he already has because he always wants something else, something more.

He, quite unlike his brothers, struggles against the unrelenting Moirae and their ever-so-rigid rules and decrees. He is not one of the gods of law: he does not accept or acknowledge authority, for it is not his concern. His thin wings are trapped and torn by the Moirae’s rigidity: he is the essence of flexibility, shifting from one wish to another, from one destiny to one not quite his own.

He infects hearts, not minds. He is utterly illogical, and thus cares nothing for politics and debates – and laws. His only laws are his mother’s whims: for he is constant only in his affection for her, there-but-not, attainable and yet completely not. He draws away from arguments – he shivers and wraps his warm, shredded wings around his body, as if in defence against the barrage of unmoving ice that drips from the lips of the Fates.

He is a god of choices, or, rather, of unsettlement, of choosing to never choose the path of ease and idleness. He strives forward constantly, improving himself with his every breath, and urging his followers to do the same. Only when they are as perfect as they can be—for they are, after all, only human—is he satisfied with them: for he does not appreciate laziness and lack of effort. He deals, instead, in tokens such as sweat and blood – he wears his own painted across his skin, swirls of translucent sweat mixing with the thin sheen of fresh blood, as a sign of his divinity, and of his own, relentless quest to become truly Perfect.

He, carrying his twisting vine of passion, flits through the air and caresses the throats of his victims – wary and unwary alike; it matters little to him. The vine in itself is both a symbol of his power and a weapon; for those who do not heed Pothos’ influence fall into despair and, often, find themselves curling a noose around the echo of the vine. But his vine isn’t merely a tool of destruction: it, a gift from Dionysos, symbolises Pothos’ nature as a god of pleasure, of the yielding of flesh and the blurring of blood and wine. He is the pursuit of pleasure: sometimes self-destructive, sometimes self-improving, but always, ultimately, a profound and life-changing experience.

That, then, is what—who—Pothos is, and that is what he offers: the chance to better one’s self through constantly seeking that which one does not have. He looks upon those who stumble and pause in their Quest with perfect indifference; but should they continue, striving on, on, on despite the obstacles that face them, then his indifference melts and he laughs and cheers for them. He does not know who will ultimately succeed or fail in their Quest: and he does not care. He lives in the present—yearning, always yearning, and pushing his followers endlessly on—and he expects the same attitude from those he chooses, regardless of whether they are truly ready for his influence or not.

He knows that nothing will ever be gained from endlessly fretting about the past and the future instead, he throws himself into pleasure, into whatever will improve him. Do not waste your life worrying, he advises with shining, smiling lips; dream forever, and act on your dreams: reach out and seize them, for if you do not, then no one will.

That is who he is, and that is what he gives those who ask. Longing, yearning, passion: Pothos.

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