Title: All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power: A Transmythology
Publisher: The Red Lotus Library
Author: P Sufenas Virius Lupus
Pages: 174 pp
Price: $20.00 US
ISBN: 1475025289 / 9781475025286
A frequent contributor to EHS, P Sufenas Virius Lupus is also a blogger (Queer I Stand, Aedicula Antinoi) and a published author (The Syncretisms of Antinous, plus too many others to mention). When Lupus announced the publication of a new novella-length poem, I jumped at the chance to read and review it.
All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power has — like the Gods it honors — multiple origins. As Lupus explains in his introduction, part of the impetus lay in a divination he received at PantheaCon 2011 in which he was told that he would create “something new” in regards to his spiritual path. Additionally, the inclusion (or not) of trans-individuals at PantheaCon events reached a tipping point in 2011, with fallout continuing at PantheaCon 2012. Lupus was also moved by a blog post by Foxfetch who “demand[ed] transcentric imagery, gods and goddesses with the wide variety of trans bodies, trans genitals, trans selves ….” Finally, Lupus underwent what he can only describe as a “spiritual birth,” a psychological/physical/spiritual experience at the end of which he knew that new entities had come into the world. That knowledge was varified by an oracle of Dionysus several days later.
The end result of all these convergences is a new myth: the creation, birth, death, rebirth and nature of the Tetrad. Composed of Panpsyche, the male-to-female transsexual/transgender Deity; Panhyle, the female-to-male transsexual/transgender Deity; Paneros, who is metagendered (or non-gendered); and Pancrates, who is pangendered (or androgynous), the Tetrad are necessary and welcome Deities for a community which has none. Certainly, the trans-community can lay claim the Deities such as the Norse Loki, the Welsh Gwydion, the Greek Hermaphroditos, and the Hindu Shiva — but none of these really quite fit. Such Gods were not/are not trans by their very nature. The Terad are, from the very moment of their creation. As such, they fill a hole in polytheist spirituality which, until recently, I don’t think most people even realized was there.
Lupus’ poem is sensuous, lusty, earthy, raw, and Mythical-capital-M. It is not for the prudish nor linguistically-squeamish (there is sex in all its variety and some four letter words). The poem is also, at its heart, syncretistic; Deities from a variety of pantheons interact with one another over the course of the poem, and contribute to the creation and birth of the Tetrad.
Lupus has a wonderful gift for imagery. I love his description of Apollo: “Golden Apollon, like a shower of honey,/ came forward from the throng of gods.” And the following: “Set emerged, his ears like sturgeon’s fins cutting through water,/ sliced the arid air in the early moments of dawn.” Equally, the description of Artemis’ contribution to the creation/gestation/birth of the new Tetrad:
Thirdly, Artemis the maiden huntress,
of Brauron and Ephesus, Diana of Nemi,
upright, indomitable, never ruled by male,
drew forth from her left breast
a handful of her own heart’s blood,
rammed it down Pan’s throat
without permission nor apology
to mingle with the previous ingredients.
“Though I have not given birth to it,
though I will never give birth to it,
may every god and mortal know this well:
I am the mother of this new god
and all its offspring forever after,
my blood is its blood, my mysteries its mysteries,
my power its power, no matter what any may say.”
I was also struck by Lupus’ use of e/em/eir when referring to Paneros, and sie/hir when referring to Pancrates. Is this standard usage in the trans-community, or something which Lupus invented? And have science fiction and fantasy authors caught on to this usage yet? (I can see it proving very useful in those genres.)
Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed All-Soul. It is a welcome addition to contemporary Pagan poetry and theoilogy. I hope others (heterosexual, homosexual and trans) will answer Lupus’ call to create more art in honor of the Tetrad, and bring them further into the world.
Highly recommended to trans-individuals and syncretists, as well as those with a passion for modern Pagan poetry and mythology.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]