Who is Dionysus? by Dusty Dionne

I stand in circle. My white linen robes fall over my skin. My black tabbard, still bare of it’s 3rd degree Wheel, is draped over my shoulders and tied around the back with my rope cingulum, lifts gently as I raise my arms to the heavens…

The cingulum of red, and white cords denotes my rank as a 2nd degree in British Traditional Wicca. On the day I went to buy those cords I searched everywhere for a good old American Flag Red colored cord. I went to four stores. I was going through my Second Degree Initiation. This was a big deal. Nothing. nothing at all. There were no red cords to be had in two cities. I solemnly went back to the first place I had tried, in the hopes of manifesting a set out of nothingness. Goddess knows it had happened before. There were no red chords to be found, yet again, but there was something far more perfect: Merlot colored cords.

I lift my voice and speak over the North Altar, and across the Veil: “Lord of the Vine, Thrice Born Son, He Who Walks Among Man. Dionysus, Please descend into the Body of this thy Priest” My hands lower gently to my sides as I draw in the energy of my Patron God…

It was too perfect to contemplate. So with $9 and a new outlook on my service to my Patron, and to the sacred community, I set off back home. It is difficult for someone whose patron is truly Dionysus to accomplish academic learning. We naturally desire to forge through nature and the world creating and teaching others. Our teachings usually come from self study, and not from a guide. We find our guides through Mercurian role models. Usually our most influential teachers are people we meet at the bus stop, someone we met in that one class during college, or any number of the 10 minute mentors that show up in our life. During my early days of studying with Bella (bless her heart) I had a very hard time sitting in a seat and allowing myself to be taught.

As I move through the ritual, my thoughts hang suspended. My mind moves out of the way so that the sacred works can flow uninhibited. Feelings and concepts move through me, like a Jungian slide show. I am the Archetype of the Sacrificed God. My heart moves for the people in my circle. Not because they are my charges, not because I am lucky enough to be allowed to do the work, but because I am the Earth, and the Sun, and the Moon. I am their Life, and their Death, and in this I feel every their heartbeat, their very soul, in my own chest….

I had been looking for a teacher since I was 16. I had also started going to Wisteria Festival Grounds to Pagan Spiritual Gathering. PSG is held every June, on the week of the 21st. In this it is very sacred to Dionysus. 5 years I went to PSG. Every year I would quit my job, sell anything I could, leave whatever lease I was in for my living arrangements, and move to southern Ohio for a month to help put on the festival. I would lose my home, my stuff, my job. What others would call “my life’ would be sacrificed to this event every year. In this, my patterns of life were very sacred to Dionysus. I aligned my life with his energy.

Dionysus is often labeled as a God of Madness and Debauchery. It is true: he is both of these things. He is the God of Lunacy because of his association with the Moon. Likewise he is the God of Werewolves, and Changelings. But his was not the worship that scared the locals of Greece, India, and Northern Africa. He was celebrated, worshipped openly, and considered one of the only Gods with mortals’ well being in mind. The truth is, no one worshipped Zeus outside of the temple: calling to him might get your wife pregnant out of nowhere. Posiedon might sink your husbands vessel if you made your self seen to him, The same is true with Apollo, Pan, Hecate, Hera, Aphrodite, Hades (whose dedicants did not even knew his real name outside of the temple) and almost all the other Gods, except Demeter. Dionysus lives with the People, amongst them. Hestia was asked to step away from the Olympians’ Table so that Dionysus may join. He respectfully declined. He walked the Earth instead; living and dying each year. His energies intrinsically connected to humanity. A thought occupies my mind, but I know it will not bear fruit in my mind until I devoke the Mad God’s energy: Why, in the modern age, do we treat him with ‘gloves on’? Why is the energy seen as so malign and uncontrollable, when inside my body It is so pure, the divine love of mankind?

My whole life I had walked through the sacred patterns of Dionysus. My father is a Sagittarius, which is ruled by Jupiter. My youth was spent traveling from place to place, learning from everyone I could, and then turning around dishing it out; teaching to people far older than me. Eventually I would make it to my teens, and begin living the mysteries out each year, until my 21st year on the planet. Oddly enough, just old enough to drink. I was yet again at PSG. It was late, I was drunk, and I began to tell the Goddess exactly what I thought about Her not giving me a teacher.

I’m not saying there isn’t a measure of loss of control involved in the worship of the Mad God. In vino, verità. In Wine is Truth. Truth of word, as well as action. We often see the inability to not tell the truth, or to not hold ourselves back from our desires, as ‘Mad’. Wine loosens our lips, as well as our hips, and allows us the freedom to go take a dip. But the point of Dionysus is not to make you do things you don’t want to do. THAT is the Great Misgiving of our Vined Lord. As I look into the eyes of these people in my circle I do not feel the need to throw myself into their energy, and raise their passions. I do not feel the need, as I look through the eyes of a misunderstood deity, to spin them into madness. It just isn’t a part of the make-up that is the Sacred Archetype of the Sacrificed Son, or the Mad God. My needs are those of connection. To feel myself connect with each and every one of them through the pleasures of the physical, spiritual, and emotional realms. Feathers on skin. Yelling at a football game. Kissing a neck. Devouring a mango. Brushing hair. Running through the woods. Spinning in the street. Crying together. Singing together. The madness comes from the bubbling up of love, and the need to bring that love to those around you. It’s not madness, but ecstasy of life. Making crazy, obviously illogical decisions, for the sake of love, and desire, is that not madness?

The Goddess always gives us what we need. If possible, she bundles it with what we want as well. I was a raving mess. I had already had two experiences where the fine upstanding ladies involved yelled out that I was Dionysus at the top of their lungs. (I will neither confirm, nor deny if this was during really, really good sex or not) one of them even wrote me a note in my notebook, calling me Dionysus through the whole thing. I have always followed him, but never had aquaintances just pick up on it. As fun as the week had been, my love for my path, and I want to reiterate that all madness stems from love in one way or another, was driving me into the Sacred Madness. I told Goddess that I was absolutely going to become a Taoist Monk if She didn’t pony up, and give me a teacher. Cue Bella.

The ritual crescendos. The energy peaks. My desires do not spin out of control. I do not fly wildly toward lunacy as I fill to the very brim with the sacred energies of my charge. The feeling is like climaxing through each vertebrae up your spine, in succession. I make my way back to the front of the circle, drawing the energies together to release the circle, and bid farewell to He That Has Graced Us This Evening.

The week became a whirlwind of magic. Bella was everything I could have ever hoped for in a priestess. When we met I took her to the faerie shrine, and she invoked Dionysus into me. It was the first time I had ever invoked, and the third time I had been called Dionysus. The most magical experience of my life would ensue. It has yet to stop. The pieces were lining up. My patron was making himself known, and He was letting me know that He would know me and be with me. All I had to do was walk the path.

The vessel that is me has held the Divine energy of Dionysus; leading the people through the sacred mysteries that they could only trust from a God who lives and dies with them to convey. The trust that is shared between us, is older than us. Older than our country. Older even than The Mysteries themselves. Dionysus is OUR god. He is OUR companion. He walks with us day in and day out. He feels our burdens, and he longs to help us with them. He feels our Happiness, and he longs to share it with us. My hands raise to the heavens as I let this divine knowledge flow through my core. Connecting with it I begin to release the energy back across the veil.

My path lead me to Spring Mysteries Festival ‘06. A wonderful Priest was playing Apollo. I had been so steeped in Dionysus that I felt that I had fallen into the madness and was not able to get out. I asked Apollo “How can I be more like you, without loosing myself? How can I balance Dionysus’ energy with your energy?” Apollo looked to me and smiled “I am but one side of a single coin. I rule Delphi for 6 months, and in the other 6 months the other side of my coin is in charge of my shrine. Do you know who that God is?” His smile told me everything.

He gave me a small golden sun charm that still lives on my Wine Colored Cingulum. I had learned a sacred lesson. Dionysus is tempered through the societal understandings of Apollo. One cannot flourish without the other. Society falls with no pleasure. Pleasure corrodes with no responsibility. I had pieced myself together in a sacred way. I had become a whole being who had truly become the God the world had said he was. The true God, Born of Madness, yet tempered by Society.

The circle closes. The working complete. The words I spoke during the rite have traveled across the veil to join the Divine energies they reached out to meet, so I think of the love that has been left inside of me. The Divine Son, who has had his home within me my whole life. The Vined Lord, who led me down the path to find out my sacred charge, and sacred voice. The Thrice Born God who lent me his name at my birth; allowing me the Divine Blessing to be named Dusty Dionne. His mysteries are deep. They are born of ages worth of worship, and have been passed by word of mouth since before the great Library of Alexandria. In this space, and in this Circle, I have added my name to the list of priests touched by His hand, and moved in His ways. As I leave the Circle, I know that I am blessed.
June 2011

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