I’m starting a new semi-regular feature here at The House of Vines. It’s sort of like the old Miscellanea posts – only better because it’s entirely focused on Dionysos! If you write something for him or encounter some interesting tid-bit in your online travels and would like to see it highlighted here, drop me a line. Anyway, without further ado …
From Finnchuill’s Mast comes Wine Haired, a poem written in honor of the Greater Dionysia:
Wine haired child of the Nysan cave
Standing on the dark headland,
Hair panther dark, eyes merlot,
So perfect you seemed carved out
Of some primordial substance, some antique
Wood from long vanished aromatic forest.
From ginandjack come these musings on Dionysus Diphyes:
I don’t care much for duality. Black and white bores the fuck out of me, honestly. Shades of grey? Billions of shades in the light spectrum, so many we can’t even see them all is more like it! Sure, a cursory understanding of right and wrong is necessary for day to day living, but many things can be fundamentally true whilst opposing other profound truths. The world is full of multitudes, and there is room enough for contradictions. Now, knowing I don’t care for simple 1 vs. 1 dualities, how then, do I pray to, and fairly reflect on the epithet of Dionysus Diphyes (Two Natured).
Divine Twin Diversions discusses walking the labyrinth and dancing with Ariadne:
I suppose that I should be used to it now. It never quite goes the way I figure it would. I say this not only about the labyrinth, but also meditation, heck magickal work even. There are always surprises in store it would seem. Such was last night.
Ariadne in Exile shares her current reading list, which includes lots of Dionysian goodies:
Recently, I was listening to the audiobook of The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, and was pleasantly surprised at how often he brought up Dionysos. He makes a rather good argument for Johnny Appleseed being an American Dionysos. Did you know that apples from trees planted by seed are pretty much inedible, but they were great for making alcoholic cider? That was NOT in the Disney cartoon I saw when I was a kid. There is more to it than that, including his being an outsider, a wanderer, very close to nature, and having some pretty radical spiritual views for the time, but I recommend reading the whole chapter at least – but the whole book is excellent. He also discusses Dionysian vs Apollonian principles in his discussion of our human ideals of beauty on the chapter on the tulip, and unsurprisingly, Dionysos comes up again on the chapter about Cannabis and intoxication.
She also provides an overview of the top 9 Dionysian perfumes from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab:
Bacchanalia (Discontinued in 2004, very rare) A boisterous, belligerent, festive blend that lends to mad revelry, overindulgence and excess. Perfect for a weekend bender. Earthy musks combined with a beastial civet bouquet, a hint of sweet grape and orange blossom. This is what Maenad SHOULD be, in my opinion. But like the description suggests, this isn’t an “every day” perfume. The musk and civet (faux civet of course) make it very animalistic and “other”. I imagine the god himself might smell like this if you happened upon him in the woods. A lot of people don’t like civet or say it doesn’t work with their body chemistry, but I really enjoy this one and plan on reserving it mainly for rituals and festivals. (If you’re bummed about this one being hard to find, you might try Satyr in the GC for a substitute in the meantime, as I’ve heard it also has a civet note, although Satyr won’t have the grape.)
Nicole Danielle wrote a love song for Dionysos:
If I prayed as I have loved
You of curls and face so fair
Would you draw me from my home
Into the balmy summer air?
Would you lead me on the path
Up mountains to the milky stones
Lord of wine and Lord of vine
Would you draw me from my home?
Columbine praises Big Texas Dionysos:
Big Texas Dionysos
You are everywhere I look
Oh, Long-horned God
Oh, Ivy-clad Son of Zeus
I see Your lusty presence adorning fine country homes
Of Red Hat Ladies
In their grape-cluster wallpaper
And their cocks in the kitchen
Is that what happens when the magic dies?
When youth seems a lifetime away?
The old women have reduced You to mere symbolism
And I pity them
Because, I’ll never be too old for You, my Lord
From Keri at Three More Ways comes Said the Satyr:
Oh! The wine has spilled over us
as we have spilled
over each other.
Let us waste not one
drop of flesh.
Instead we shall help drive
into the embrace of ivy crowned madness.
Here are a couple scholarly studies that may be of interest:
* Wine and Wealth in Ancient Italy by N. Purcell
* Beer in Greco-Roman antiquity by Max Nelson
* Ancient Egyptian humor by Amr Kamel
* Roman agricultural magic by Britta K. Ager
* Curses and laughter: The ethics of political invective in the comic poetry of high and late medieval Italy by Nicolino Applauso
* An introduction to the investigation into the mental health of female medieval mystics by Sarah Levene
From ThinkSicily comes an historically and mythologically problematic story which national pride compels me to accept nonetheless:
Meanwhile, Dionysus (aka Bacchus), so the story goes, came across a strange, unknown plant during his voyage to Sicily. Curious, he took an example with him and on arrival planted it. The plant was of course a vine! So the next time you pop open a bottle of wine, spare a thought for Dionysus and Sicily!
And here are some relevant news stories:
* People with tattoos drink more alcohol than their friends. This, of course, has been going on since the days of Ptolemy Philopator.
* Moderate alcohol intake actually makes you more intelligent and creative. Again, we’ve known this at least since Archilochos.
* Scientists have invented an instant intoxication spray. I’ve had one of those for years: it’s called prayer.
* In Bhutan, friendly phalluses painted on houses scare off evil spirits. Seres fought beside Mark Antony at Actium, therefore this is relevant. Well, that and the giant ghost-scaring cocks.
And lastly, there’s a new gay porn series by Andrew Grey entitled The Children of Bacchus.
Here is the blurb from Thursday’s Child:
Graduating from college would be a highlight of any man’s life, but Arthur Kraus is different. He’s just reached satyr maturity, and he’s going out of his mind as he’s swamped with sexual urges. In a desperate moment, he invites his roommate to a Bacchanal and asks him to be his first. But after hearing the first-time stories at the Bacchanal, Arthur decides to wait for more than physical satiation—not knowing that someone has overheard his decision.
That someone, Gaelen, is special in his own way: he’s the last remaining Fey, a creature of the light, innocent and pure, the protector of the remaining joy the Fey bring to the world. Though attracted to Arthur, Gaelen is afraid to trust. He knows he’s being hunted for his power by a force that wants to overthrow Bacchus himself, and Gaelen will have to allow Arthur into his life if he wants to survive.
Hopefully this will be as good as some of the previous offerings from this site such as Dream Come True: The Sky People Trilogy Book One, Love Means … No Shame and the classic Oh Werewolf, My Master. If the cover art is any indication this is gonna be some good reading!