In this modern vision quest, readers discover that the capacity to live joyfully and creatively is intimately wed to the erotic life of the soul. Melina Costello gives a gripping firsthand account of the ecstatic flights and dark impulses that accompany a woman’s inner journey of self-awakening. Progressing through dreamscape encounters with Dionysus, the Greek god of ecstasy, Costello boldly addresses sexual repressions and spiritual assumptions as she seeks to liberate her inner and secular life. Half-mortal and half-god, Dionysus personifies humanity’s instinctual sense of unity with the natural world. To receive the ecstatic light of divine truth which is granted to those who enter his realm, she must also embrace the deity’s shadowy impulses of erotic desire. Her seduction by Dionysus compels her to re-imagine sexual love as a creative participation in the soul’s boundless fertility, not as a demoralization of spiritual values. Opening the realm of discovery in Seeking the God of Ecstasy, Costello invites readers into a world that is both breathtakingly personal and universal.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
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.
Moreover, Costello is an excellent writer. This memoir could easily be a novel and be just as appreciated. Recommended. ~ Lisa Mc Sherry , Facing North
A remarkable journey. The authorâ€™s search for ecstatic union is an inspiring testament to the awareness process of inner life as it rumbles and dreams, revolts and awakens us. ~ Arnold Mindell, Ph.D, author of Processmind, Dreaming While Awake
...a book that will carry you to dizzying heights of ecstasy and cast you into forbidding realms of shadow.... The place to which you are going is the place of the soul, and I am honored to have my name associated with this marvelous book. ~ Robert A. Johnson, bestselling author of He, She, We, Inner Gold
Once a Catholic, now a Maenad, Costello vividly recounts her firsthand experiences with the psychic forces of an archetype personified as Dionysus. With courage and aplomb, she willingly walked through a hole in the universe and got an initiationâ€”unique, authentic and life-changingâ€”and crafted a narrative that catches it all.. ~ Richard Leviton, author of Looking for Arthur, Santa Fe Light
Powerful and unique. The authorâ€™s vivid writing style and descriptive ability take the reader into another world. Because the book is written from a feminine point of view, it is extremely timely and will help many people, much needed in this essentially sexually uptight world. The author involves the reader in her experiences beautifully and the dreams are excellent. I know readers find dreams and how they apply to one's life fascinating. ~ John D. Goldhammer, Ph.D, author of Radical Dreaming
Blew me away! Join Melina Costello on her awe-inspiring journey of individuation and sexual discovery. You'll be amazed by her insights and honesty, and will be tremendously empowered yourself! ~ Gillian Holloway, Ph.D, author of Erotic Dreams
An heroic work. With persistence and courage, Melina Costello has deeply embraced her experience of the archetypal world and offered us a brilliant and poetic account of what she has found there: 'a massive network of opposites twisted inside a powerful column of life reaching heavenward.' ~ James Bertolino, author of Finding Water, Holding Stone
Whatâ€™s rare about this book is the authorâ€™s willingness, honesty and courage to integrate the tension she experiences between the mundane world of kitchen and laundry, and her soulâ€™s journey through the archetypal world with Dionysus as her guide and trickster companion. Her courage inspires us to do likewise. And itâ€™s a courage that manifests on nearly every page as she opens to sexual passion and its usefulness in exploring the interior world, the world of relationships and that place where the divine and mundane join in the dance of life and ecstatic union. The authorâ€™s integrity in opening to the depths of her feeling world lends a profound sense of authenticity to a book that amazes in its ability to probe the hidden nooks and crannies of our psyche as we, her readers, meditate and reflect on our own experiences as we read. This is a book that will endure over time, provide insight and comfort to fellow travelers on the way and serve as a wonderful example of a lay person's ability to enrich the Jungian corpus. ~ Herb Long, Th.D, counselor and instructor, The Process Work Institute of Portland, Oregon
A captivating journey through the labyrinth of imagination and dreams. Opening to the mysteries of the body, Melina Costelloâ€™s psychic and somatic relationship with a theater of deities unleashes the alchemical fire of self-initiated awakeningâ€”the hieros gamos. Deeply personal and profoundly transpersonal, Seeking the God of EcstasyÂ provides readers with a radically entertaining learning tool for reaching into the depths of their own souls. ~ Jana Dixon, author of Biology of Kundalini
Melina Costello has entered the winepress and produced from her own alchemy of soul a rare wine to savor. Through bridging the sacred and commonplace, she candidly and intimately fleshes out her dramatic initiation into the paradoxical realm of 'ek-stasis'â€”the fall into the breathable dance of opposites that is the fragmenting fate of soulâ€”which merges us with the divine madness that is Dionysus. The archetypes, as Melina makes clear, are the openers of mysterious doors, leading to terror, wonder, wisdom and transformation. Creative dialogue with them requires a shamanic kind of inner strength, shrewdness, imaginal power and moral courage. When approached with the author's brand of creative fire, reverence and vulnerability, this can be a perilous yet exuberant dance at the rim of the Abyss: too much or too little control and we risk being overwhelmed. Melina discerningly avoids either extreme. She both gives herself fully to a raw merging with the rending joy of Dionysus and at the same time wisely distances herself in order to reflect. This is a god we cannot, dare not face till we have ourselves become many faces, many masks, all of them forged through successive deaths and rebirths that render us as fluid as nature's elements and changing forms. Melina makes all this viscerally real and alive in this uniquely exuberant, timely and deeply personal work. ~ Maureen B. Roberts, Ph.D, Soul-centered Psychiatric and Shamanic Therapist, Co-founder: Mental Health ReEducation and Human Rights Network Australia, Inc.
C.G. Jung anticipated that â€˜Manâ€™s procreative power is only a special instance of the procreative nature of the Whole.â€™ This deeper procreation and conception process is described in the Hermetic alchemical 'coniunctio' as the sexual unification of the goddess and the god that leads to new creation and incarnation in the universe. However, the human body was not sufficiently included in Jungâ€™s theory. Melina Costello has the courage to face this deeply introverted process and shows us that the Holy Wedding is constellated as the unification of the god and the human being. By surrendering to the allegedly destructive demons instead of fighting against them as in Active Imagination, she extends the methodology of Jungian depth psychology and experiences the coniunctio of Hermetic alchemy, which, according to Jung, symbolically represents the unsolved task of Analytical Psychology and the challenge of the 21st century. ~ Remo F. Roth, Ph.D, author of Die Gottsucher (The Quest for God)
Living fully as an embodied soul is the great invitation of human existence, but often we find its realization frustrated by a myriad of influences. Indeed, it often seems there is little wisdom in our cultureâ€”even in its religious traditionsâ€”that addresses how to facilitate the integration of body, psyche and spirit necessary to realize our fullest potential. In Seeking the God of Ecstasy, Melina Costello details her courageous journey of integration and individuation through profound inner work with archetypal characters, who reveal to her the deep-seated fears and disenfranchised parts of herself. By honestly facing these inner forces and what they represent about herself, she is able to reclaim repressed potentialities, as well as discover gifts of creativity and vitality that deeply enrich her life. ~ Philip St. Romain, author of Kundalini Energy & Christian Spirituality
Boldly venturing into the soul's inner domains, Melina Costello brings to consciousness the reunion of opposites at the heart of the feminine mysteries: the taboo marriage of sensuality, corporality, lust, the drives of the bodyâ€”with sacredness. By sharing her discoveries in Seeking the God of Ecstasy, she has done us a great service. ~ Sandra Lee Dennis, author of Embrace of the Daimon