A couple folks have asked who the Heroes and Heroines are in this particular system, which is a really good question since it’s rather difficult to perform effective cultus if you don’t know who it is you’re honoring.
The simple answer is that these are the dead of Dionysos – initiates and revelers and drunkards and maniacs and prophets and martyrs and poets and all the rest who heard his call to freedom and responded. Being that these are the dead who belong to Dionysos, a god with a strong streak of gender fluidity himself, the division between male and female heroes isn’t an iron-clad one and some individuals can be included in either category, both simultaneously, or neither. And yet there are certain themes that run through these individuals’ lives making the distinction of limited utility. If you compare the stories of Orpheus, Melampos, Akoites, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy Philopator, Marcus Antonius, Friedrich Nietzsche and Jim Morrison on one hand and Ariadne, Arachne, Erigone, Charilla, Kleopatra, Dirke and Semele on the other you’ll find a lot of repetition almost as if they were acting out a pair of primordial myths through their lives. These two archetypes – the Suffering King and the Mournful Maiden – are not the only ones to be found in the tragic repertoire of Dionysos and most of his followers, dead or otherwise, do not follow any particular pattern this closely.
Since the dead are so important to Dionysos within the Bacchic Orphic tradition I felt it was important to set aside two days a week to honor them. At first I would just recommend honoring the Bakchoi and Mainades who came before us with the standard offerings and devotional activities for the dead and perhaps use this time to read their stories, reflect on their meaning and get to know them better. As you do so different ones will likely step forward and catch your interest and then you can take it further with these individuals if you feel called to do so. But it’s alright if you don’t – simply acknowledging those who came before us is an important and I might even say essential step in honoring the god in his chthonic form.