There is a place in oneself where magic and psychology intersect and interconnect so tightly that an outsider cannot discern the difference. This interconnection is beautifully portrayed by Melina Costello in her lucid encounters with Dionysus as described in Seeking the God of Ecstacy.

Civilization, in general, has followed the pattern of Apollo -- reasoned, orderly, a bit prim in the external but with hidden sexuality. In short, the opposite of a Dionysian structure. Dionysus is a persuasive archetype to work with: half human, half god, he straddles the dichotomy of nature and reason with instinctive cunning. Through understanding and working with Dionysus we can come to an integration of physical pleasures and divine union.

This process is not at all easy, as Costello learns. She is achingly honest about her difficulties, her fears, and her unfolding learnign process. I found her skepticism refreshing, as this book could have gone deeply into the 'woo' aspects of spirituality without offering an underpinning of exploration the reader can follow. For the reader, it can be difficult to acknowledge the work that would need to be done, but COstello lays it out. (I was reminded of how hard Lynn Andrews had to work to gain even the smallest lessons.) Her skepticism becomes belief, even in the face of rational constructs.

Moreover, Costello is an excellent writer. This memoir could easily be a novel and be just as appreciated.


~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Melina Costello
O Books, 2010
pp. 352, $33.95

A fascinating interview with Ms. Costello is available here .