What advice would you give someone seeking to develop a devotional relationship with Dionysos?

Just do it! I know that may sound a little trite but it’s really the only thing that works with him. Don’t let your fear and insecurities get the better of you. Don’t wait around until the time feels right, until you’ve figured everything out, until you’ve memorized all of the prayers and hymns, mastered the ceremonial procedures, accumulated all of the pretty tools and built up the perfect shrine for him. Because you know what? That’s never going to happen! Perfection is an ideal we should aim for knowing full well that we can never truly attain it. And if you wait around until then to start you’re going to miss out on a lot of wonderful things and precious opportunities along the way. Besides which you’ll deprive yourself of the valuable lessons that can only be learned by monumentally screwing things up.

So my advice to people is this: make mistakes—and lots of them! Pay attention while you’re doing it, figure out why certain things don’t work in certain situations, and try to determine why that is and what you can do to improve on that next time around. And make sure there is a next time, even if you totally screwed the pooch or you’re not feeling it or getting anything out of it. Fake it till you make it. Experiment with different spiritual techniques and worship styles to see what works best for you and gets the strongest response from Dionysos. He’s not going to smite you for flubbing a line or missing a step, but he will be disappointed if you never get around to trying. There are definitely some things that don’t work—and he’ll be sure to let you know!—but unless you persist in doing these even after he’s made his preferences clear, you’re not likely to incur his wrath for doing some bad ritual.

Some additional pointers I’d offer those starting out in Dionysos worship: don’t limit what you do to only what can be done in front of your home shrine. Dionysos is best worshiped outdoors in the wild places of nature, even if that means just pouring out a libation on a mountaintop or whispering a prayer to him as you stroll through a wooded park. Also leave plenty of room for spontaneous, free-flowing, emotional encounters with him. Don’t spend all of your time reading off a script. Sincere, heartfelt words of praise are a thousand times better than even the most beautiful verses of Homer or Orpheus. If you can’t think of anything then just string together a bunch of his standard epithets or create some of your own, commemorating past experiences with him or utilizing imagery that is meaningful for you.

And above all else, you must worship the God with your whole body. Gesture, dance, sacred movement, even running around and yelling his name at the top of your lungs—this kind of physical “prayer” is what he likes best. Don’t worry about being skilled and graceful or avoiding looking foolish—just throw yourself into it completely and let his spirit carry you away. Also, there should always be music in his worship. Prerecorded stuff played during ritual is fine but it’s much better to have music that you make yourself. Drums, rattles, pipes, a bull-roarer or even clapping your hands and stomping your feet will suffice. Where music is he is, so make a joyful noise unto the Lord!