Apollo vs. Dionysus

The epic battle happening in our collective unconscious

Liman Albridge
4 min readJul 29, 2021


19th century drawing of The Temple of Apollo in The Schwetzinger Garden.
The Temple of Apollo in The Schwetzinger Garden. Credit: British Library

There are games happening in the substrate that we cannot easily perceive.

Invisible processes working themselves out in our collective unconscious, like the way a dream helps us consolidate.

Some of these processes have frequencies of days, others have frequencies of thousands of years.

It’s as though all of us, living, dead, and not yet arrived are sharing the same dream.

These patterns are hard to see, but sometimes we catch glimpses of them.

One such pattern I believe in is the battle between the right hand and the left. For millennia, there has been a war between the hemispheres in our minds, expressed in the way that we organize our societies.

You may have heard me refer to this as Apollo vs. Dionysus. Apollo is the sun god. The prototype for a singular sun god. In the light of the sun, everything can be seen and clearly organized. This is the right hand and the left brain.

On the other hand is Dionysus. The left hand and the right brain. They dance by the light of the moon. Dionysus brings chaos, uncertainty, and what we might call magic.

Robert Graves writes about this in his book The White Goddess, which I have not yet read. I get my material from his friend, Colin Wilson, author of The Occult Trilogy.

“According to Graves, there are two forms of poetry: ‘muse poetry’ and ‘Apollonian poetry’. The first is created by ‘inspiration, checked by commonsense’: the second with the intellect.

He associates ‘muse poetry’ with the White Goddess of primitive lunar cults. Science, like Apollonian poetry, is an attempt ‘to banish all lunar superstitions and bask in the light of pure solar reason.” — Colin Wilson, The Occult. Pg. 80

In Food of the Gods, Terrance McKenna argues that in our distant past, psilocybin in our food gave rise to human consciousness and language, in part by increasing communication between our two hemispheres. Then, 12,000 years ago, things shifted and that connection to hemispheric balance was lost.



Liman Albridge

Half Ben Franklin, Half Tyler Durden. Emphasis on half. I get weird over at occultedordinary.com.