“Man is a composite creature, his lower nature consisting of the fragments of the Titans and his higher nature the sacred, immortal flesh (life) of Bacchus. Therefore man is capable of either Titanic (irrational) or a Bacchic (rational) existence. The Titans of Hesiod, who were twelve in number, are probably analogous to the celestial zodiac, whereas the Titans who murdered and dismembered Bacchus represent the zodiac powers distorted by their involvement in the material world. Thus Bacchus represents the sun who is dismembered by the signs of the zodiac and from whose body the universe is formed. When the terrestrial forms were created from the various parts of his body the sense of wholeness was lost and the sense of separateness established. The heart of Bacchus, which was saved by Pallas, or Minerva, was lifted out of the four elements symbolized by his dismembered body and placed in the ether. The heart of Bacchus is the immortal center of the rational soul.
“After the rational soul had been distributed throughout creation and the nature of man, the Bacchus Mysteries were instituted for the purpose of disentangling it from the irrational Titanic nature. This disentanglement was the process of lifting the soul out of the state of separateness into that of unity.” ~Manly P. Hall
Man is indeed a composite creature and in several different ways. On a purely physical level, composite man is made up of many organs and other parts. These many parts need to function together in harmony for the health and growth of the whole. When they don’t, we get an illness or abnormal growth.
Another level of composite man could be called a multi-dimensional man. The physical makes up only one part of this composite. The other parts are the mind, the spirit, and the soul. In the above quote, Hall is reducing this to a lower level and a higher. The lower level is the physical body and mind, the higher is the spirit and soul.
Titanic or Bacchic
Today most people would think of the ship that sank when you mention “Titanic”. That isn’t what Hall means, but it does fit. Those who live a Titanic (materialistic) life are creating a Titanic (ship) disaster of themselves. Of course, they don’t think they are creating a mess of their lives, but they are. They are favoring the temporary over the permanent. The good news is that it is never too late to turn around and head in the other direction. But you do have to do it before the death of the physical body.
While Mr. Hall calls these two choices irrational and rational, it is more accurate to call them material and spiritual. The Titanic types cling to the irrational/material despite its rather obvious failures. The rational/spiritual move beyond the limitations of the Titanic to the Bacchic or spiritual.
I had never thought of the Titans relating to the twelve signs of the zodiac, yet it makes perfect sense. In a time when everyone believed in many gods, assigning a god to each of the zodiac signs would help people relate to them. And since many saw the forces of the stars and the cosmos as irresistible forces that compelled them to do things against their will, those attributes were also assigned to the Titans.
Bacchus and the Sun
So in this myth, Bacchus represents the sun and the powers that defeat the Titans. These are the spiritual powers that exist outside of the realm of matter. They cannot be significantly affected by the forces of matter because they live outside of it. The human spirit and soul are the same. They are spiritual, not physical. They are above the control of the powers of matter. Yet the Titans of matter can control us if we don’t bother to awaken those spiritual faculties that lie dormant within us. That is where the sun comes into it. It is the light of the sun, especially the spiritual sun, that awakens those dormant faculties. And until they are awakened, they cannot save us from the Titans.
We can all be Titanic (temporary) or Bacchic (eternal), but we have to make the choice and work at it. It isn’t a gift just handed to us on a silver platter. Nor do we gain it just by wishing on a star to manifest it. Wanting it is a good start, but we have to also take action to make it happen.
Heart of Bacchus
It is clear from the description that what was called the Heart of Bacchus is actually the Divine Soul of humans. This soul is not rational in the sense that we normally use the word today. But it is, when awakened, a source of higher consciousness. Many people seek to bring the mind to those higher levels with limited success. The mind can only go so far. But these higher levels of consciousness are natural to the soul. The solution, therefore, is to awaken and develop the soul rather than wasting all your time on the Titanic powers of the world of matter and mind.