In retrospect, it just makes sense that I would wind up working with Dionysus. I have a long history of dancing on his stomping grounds, because they are similar to my own. I knew what it was like to go mad before our first run-in; I knew ecstasy, loosening, liminality, and the blurring of boundaries before I ever thought of his name. I am, after all, tied to dreaming, surrender, death, rebirth, and places that one can only get to by easing the grip on what qualifies as sanity.
I am one of those people that can only be sane, by embracing the insanity.
I never could understand how often Dionysus is referred to as the god of wine, the god of theater, and the god of revelry. I see it all the time, and it just baffles me how much he gets associated with the means instead of the purpose. Just how much it feels like the heart of the message is lost in the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Dionysus is not some inebriated frat boy jamming to Jim Morrison and trying to hump anything that moves.
He is, at the heart, about connection. Union between god and man; between man and nature; between absolutely everything.
It is not easy being entirely open to your core. It is not easy stripping, and exposing yourself to anything enough to forge that kind of sacred and divine joining. It requires the willingness to bend until you completely break; the willingness to feel every emotion to the depths of your being until it completely overtakes you; the willingness to not only lose yourself in a moment, but to completely let go in the presence of someone or something else for an indefinite amount of time and trust that you can be put back together again.
Anyone can let everything go when they want to die. It takes something else entirely to let go when you want to live.
For some people, it may take some help. Wine can help loosen the tongue and lower inhibitions. Drama is designed to cause welling up of vital emotions via empathy. Revelry creates a sense of community and not being alone; one cannot connect when they are alone. Going mad is a way to break open when one is stuck. These are not the ends. They are just potential steps, methods. It scares me how many people seem to get stuck in the methods. Confuse these temporary stages for reality, and for Dionysus.
I have a very charged relationship with Dionysus. When we meet, it tends to either involve him driving me mad, or him telling me I have driven myself to the wrong kind of madness (the difference between the two is another post entirely). When he is away for an extended duration, I miss him terribly. After two minutes with him, I wonder why I ever missed him in the first place.
But I do love him. I love how he embraces the things he stands for. How far he will go to push me to the places I need to be. How much he will lose himself, and how he shows that it is in that loss that you can truly be yourself. How deep he goes. How he smells of dampened earth, and Summer air, and grapes. How he feels like being wrapped in the night sky – clear, velvety dark, and speckled with flashes of fiery light that can burn your heart if you let them. Just how much he embraces life, in all that it is, for all that it is.
Dionysus is not the downward spiral of destructive derangement and death. Dionysus is a god of Connection; of Life.