Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners?It’s that time of year again. The Hallmark holidays have run their course, and cold hard work looms ahead. But the most exciting holiday of the year is yet to come! And cum. Yes, all the little elves, angels and devils are trimming their wings and training their telescopes for the Twelfth Annual Eros Day on Saturday night, January 22, 2011. Happy Eros Day Everyone!
What, you may ask, is Eros Day? On Eros Day, we honor Eros, who is both a great and powerful God, according to classical mythology, and a little penis-shaped planetoid, according to modern astronomy, as well as the “Spirit of Eros”–the philosophy of peace through pleasure and the feeling of passionate love.
Celebrations of Eros, the God of Sex Love and Life itself, were held in Ancient Greece perhaps as far back as 1800 BCE, most notably in Thespiae, as part of the Eleusinian Mysteries and in Athens where Eros shared a popular cult with his mother Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans). These erotic ceremonies and ritual gatherings continued until around 390 AD when Roman Christian Emperor Theodosius forbade the practice of all other religions except Christianity under penalty of death.
Ancient Festivals of Eros shared many similarities with our modern holiday of Eros Day, most notably a ritual coming together of people wishing to express their appreciation of and desire for the principles of love, lust and erotic pleasure. However, these early revels did not necessarily take place on or around January 22, as the planetoid 433 Eros had not yet been discovered.
The modern holiday of Eros Day originated in the mind of our longtime friend, Italian filmmaker, author and classicist Alberto Ferro, a.k.a. Lasse Braun. A lifelong devotee of Eros, upon learning about the planetoid 433 Eros and its January 22 proximity to Earth, he began honoring that date with a girlfriend?or two. Then, on the first day of the new millennium (just after Lasse and his son Axel Braun made me squirt for the first time on New Year’s Eve 2000), Lasse said in his quintessential Northern Italian accent, “Susanina, we must celebrate Eeeroos Day.” The evening of January 22 was a spontaneous sensation with Playboy Centerfold Teri Weigel’s husband Murrill Maglio becoming Eros–his proud manhood bearing an uncanny resemblance to the planetoid–and Teri herself transforming into a radiant and raunchy Venus. Eros Day became a habit, and we began hosting annual celebrations, some intimate gatherings, others drawing hundreds of participants coming from halfway around the world, while thousands more have shared in the festivities online. Some Eros Days have been very political, such as 2005’s Eros Day Counter-Inaugural Ball, featuring effigies of Bush and Cheney that were gleefully smacked and paddled throughout the evening, and 2009’s exuberant Eros Day Orgy for Obama
Eros the God, the Planetoid & the Spirit
Similar to another very special divinity, EROS is actually a trinity that consists of god, planetoid and spirit. Eros the God is the Classical Eros, one of the four original Creators of the Universe, all of whom emerged from Chaos, according to Hesiod’s Theogony of 800 BCE. The other three are Gaia the Earth Goddess, Uranus the Sky God, and Tartarus the God of the Dead. The fourth Great Creator is Eros, God of Life, Love and Sex. Eros blows the Breath of Life into all creatures, even the Gods (this is what I call the Original Blow-Job).
In other Greco-Roman myths, Eros is portrayed in more human form as a handsome, sexy, mischievous young man with large wings and a potent quiver of arrows to pierce the hearts of paramours with desire. His closest relationship (quite shockingly incestuous at times) is with his beautiful mother Aphrodite, Venus to the Romans, Goddess of Love, Sex and Beauty (we tend to go with the Roman “Venus” since that’s what the planet is called. Also, more importantly, Lasse and Max are from Rome).
This more human Eros also becomes the husband of Psyche, Goddess of the Soul. In keeping with his swinging character, Eros’ father is uncertain; He could have been Zeus, Ares, Hermes or any one of his mother’s many lovers. Eros becomes Amor in Rome, and later, Cupid. Even later, Cupid is portrayed as a cuddly little angel, or troops of angels who fly around shooting their arrows of desire into the hearts of people everywhere to make them fall in love. These little angels even manage to make their way into the heart of Christianity through Valentine’s Day and other images of chaste romance.
But Eros is not just some funny Valentine. Discovered by Dr. Carl Gustav Witt in 1898, EROS-433 is a planetoid, or large asteroid, and we celebrate the holiday of Eros Day every year on and around January 22 when it spins closest to Earth. If “size matters,” Eros measures 25.3 by 9.1 by 8.8 miles, making it one of the most elongated planetoids in our solar system, the better to penetrate our hearts, and other metaphorical organs. Though astronomers and newscasters tend to say that Eros is shaped like a banana, I’ll tell it like it is: Eros is shaped like a nicely curved penis.
After all, Dr. Carl didn’t name his planetoid Chiquita, did he?
In addition to Eros the God and Eros the Planetoid, Eros Day celebrates the Spirit of Eros, the philosophy of peace through pleasure, the feeling of passionate love and the essential drive that Sigmund Freud recognized as the libido. The idea, feeling or “Spirit” of Eros is our inherently libidinous and erotic drive to mate, to relate and create.
Make Eros, Not Thanatos?
Our philosophy of “peace through pleasure” is based, to some extent, on recent primatological observations of the “make love not war” bonobo chimpanzees who use frequent erotic play to diffuse violent tension and have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity. Proceeds from Eros Day donations will go to help save the highly endangered bonobos from extinction in their native habitat of the Congo (via the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary and the Bonobo Conservation Initiative), and promote the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure around the world.
Following the Bonobo Way and honoring Eros in our lives seems to be more vital to humanity than ever. As Perma-Wars continue abroad, domestic terrorism rises at home, all fueled by the rhetoric of hate, so vividly illustrated by Head Cheerleader for Gun Barrel Politics, Mistress Sarah Palin, and other right-wing extremist bigots who placed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords into the crosshairs of Thanatos just before a deranged young man shot her in the head and killed six people, including a beautiful little girl who happened to be born on September 11, 2001. We must expose these media darlings for the murder-mongers that they are and work hard to defeat them and their violent, hateful, lie-filled agenda. But all work?even good progressive work–and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull liberal. Nothing beats Thanatos like a little hardcore Eros in your life. And there is no more auspicious day for honoring Eros than Eros Day.
And you don’t need to be watching a computer screen or swimming in a sea of naked bodies to celebrate Eros Day. There’s no greater way to honor Eros than by making love to someone you love?even if that someone is you.
Eros and Assange
Though he makes an adorable Santa, we feel in our bones that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is a devotee of Eros. After all, he is a purveyor of transparency and openness, which is good for governments, but also sounds rather like a sexy, sheer babydoll nightie. He may not get rave reviews for his lovemaking skills, but he is certainly a lover of beautiful women, even if some of them try to take him down like the Sirens did Greek sailors. Also placed in the proverbial crosshairs of Thanatos by various American pundits, government officials and fellow so-called journalists, we’d like to invite Assange to be a Guest of Honor at Eros Day, but we’re sure he wouldn’t willingly set foot on American asphalt–even for the God of Love?so we’ll just send him a free pass to watch it live online.
We’d really love to invite poor Private Bradley Manning, accused of providing many of the documents that Wikileaks has been publishing, now locked up in the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia, in a brutal form of solitary confinement 23 out of 24 hours a day, to Eros Day. He could definitely use a little communal ecstasy.
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK is an internationally renowned LA sex therapist and author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. Commit Bloggamy with her at http://drsusanblock.com/blog/ Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzy. Email comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org Do not look for her on the Facebook Farm.