Supernaturals in Focus with Cels—Maenads
Now those of you who have read the Sookie Stackhouse novels or watched True Blood have already had the pleasure of getting to know a Maenad that little bit better. For those who haven’t, here’s a crash course that will hopefully save your skin should you ever stumble upon one.
Maenads can trace their roots back to Greek mythology and were consorts of that fun-loving, ruckus raising god, Dionysus. Now good old Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine; and, just to add a little adventure to his immortal life, he also scored the gig of god of ritual madness and ecstasy. See, I told you he was a “fun” guy. Maenads were his fervent female worshippers or “wives”.
Maenads were taken to a state of ecstatic frenzy thanks to more than generous amounts of alcohol and frantic ritual dancing. Sounds like just a bit of fun right? Well if it hadn’t led to uncontrolled “adult” behaviour and donning the old fawn skin to hunt and consume animal and human flesh alike-which according to some myth variations gave them a form of immortality-they probably would have gone down in history as the original party girls rather than vicious monsters.
Surprisingly though, it wasn’t till dear old “hubby” disappeared that Maenads became truly frightening. Desperate to both maintain their fragile grip on immortality (usually at the expense of some poor guy becoming lunch) and reunite with their beloved, the hunt really began. It became legend that the sacrifice of another Supe (especially Shifters and Fae) could harness enough of a power punch to bring Dionysus back from the nether world.
Now for many a poor victim who had never come across a Maenad before (which was most thanks to the fact most who tussled with them never lived to tell the tale), chances of killing them were slim. There is in fact only one way to put a Maenad at rest and it isn’t pretty. One must remove their blackened, dead heart and crush it to dust. Now no one knows just who spilled the beans on ending the big bad, but one thing is for sure–the gross factor sure outweighs becoming lunch.
So if you ever find yourself at the mercy of a Maenad (though thankfully it is mainly believed they are now all laid to rest) pray you have the mad skills of True Blood’s Sam or that you can run–fast.
To enjoy some Maenad adventures safely from the reading chair you can catch some of their exploits, not only in the Sookie series but also in Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” comic series and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel “Go Ask Malice: A Slayers Diary“.