Something I wrote back on 8-25-01:
Something has been lost from the world. We dwell in our comfortable cities, in our comfortable homes, living our comfortable lives, dying each day as our soul is stifled by the comfort around us. We go to jobs we hate so we’ll have enough money to buy things we don’t really need, because we’re convinced that they’ll bring us some sense of happiness or the completion that we so desperately want. But they never do, and the more things we acquire, the more lonely we feel. We do what everyone expects us to do. We go to school, get a respectable job, get married, have kids, take part in community volunteer activities, go to the right Church, read the right books, buy all the right things – all that is expected of us, whether we want to do it or not. We never go outside of our bounds, challenge ourselves, follow our dreams – because that would be silly and impractical, and what would the neighbors think? And so, each day, the chasm grows wider, our lives have less meaning and less joy, until we are filled with emptiness and self-hatred, and we can barely get up in the morning, afraid of the hellish drudgery that our existence has become.
This is the plight of modern man. We have become monsters, alienated from everything that is good and true in life. We no longer live with the rhythms of nature, no longer feel the vital, fluid power that courses through all things. We’re disconnected from our bodies – they’re just flesh suits that house our minds. We don’t feel any real connection with the people around us, because we’re afraid of opening ourselves up and letting another person really, truly touch our lives. We suppress our dreams, finding a million reasons why it will never work out, even though this is the only thing that will bring us true happiness in life. This is what our world has become. A nightmare place of darkness and depression, far worse than the torments of any mythical Hell.
Why did it become like this? The reason is that man banished the Old Gods from his life. In his arrogance he said, “We can make it on our own. We know best what will make us happy. It is too much to pay you the proper respects, so we aren’t going to do that any more.” And the Gods said, “Very well, if that is what you want, it will be so. Your will is free, we do not command respect, though it is properly ours. Foolish man, if you can make it on your own, then do so.” And so the Gods no longer spoke with man, no longer gave him their wise council. In time, man forgot the ancient rites, which were a source of great happiness in his life, and he ceased to see the wonder and beauty of the world around him. With piety gone from his heart, greed and arrogance took over, upsetting the natural balance, so that there was no longer room for joy and peace. Man warred with nature, killing the other animals, building his ugly cities everywhere, poisoning the air and water and land around him. He was no kinder to his fellow man, making murder and war and suffering the common lot. Man thinks he knows best, but his life is filled with sadness and aching and fear and desperation. And the worst part is – it doesn’t have to be this way!
For you see, the Gods never went away. They have been here the whole time, working for our best, even though they did so in the shadows, the mass of men neither noticing nor honoring them for their help. A few men of great vision have seen the Gods at work in their lives, and have honored them properly, keeping the memory of the Gods alive through art and philosophy, and here and there through the keeping of the Gods’ festivals. And now, in our darkest hour, more and more people are stepping into the light, seeing the Gods and honoring them. The Old Ways are coming back, in all their wonderful diversity. People are saying, “This horrible thing that you say should be enough – this modern life – I will have no part of it. I claim more from life, I want fullness, and real joy. And I will honor the Gods for the wonderful things they do, and because it is proper to honor them!”
The God who has remained the closest to man, and who is now so busy in our world, is Dionysos, the wild God of fluid nature, of wine and drunkenness, of madness and blessed release. He appears to people and helps them to truly see what life is about, waking them up from the terrible nightmare, and bringing them out to dance wild in the hills, where they can discover their true selves, and drink deeply of all that life has to offer, the bitter and the sweet. Dionysos transforms everything that he touches. He takes our suffering, and turns it into joy; he cracks the coward’s shell to let the wild Satyr free. Dionysos dissolves all boundaries: between people, between the worlds, between our souls and our body. Everything becomes unified in the sacred dance of the God.
Many people are feeling the call of Dionysos, though, perhaps, they do not always realize that it is Dionysos who is calling them. These people want to honor the God, but they are often alone, with no one else who has ever felt anything like they have, or they do not know the proper ways to worship Dionysos. Sure, they make do with their solitary devotions, but there is always the sense that there is something missing, that they need to gather with other worshippers, and perform the rituals as they once were for it to have meaning. This is why I believe the time is right to bring back the formal worship of Dionysos. I think that we need to create groups that will gather to learn about the God, and to observe his festivals. Groups to fellowship, to celebrate our shared experiences with Dionysos, to create a place where those experiences can happen. To bring back the revels, bring back the triennial feasts, bring back the wine festivals and sacred theater. To create new rituals in his honor. To go through the Mysteries once more.
I want to find a group of people to work with, to practice these rituals and undergo initiation with. There is so much I, myself, have to learn and experience. I want to learn trance techniques and experience states of ecstasy. I want to become transformed, to discover who I truly am, to feel the God rise up and take possession of me. I want to live the Mysteries, and I want to be there for others, and teach them how to do this, guide them along the path.
That is my goal, my dream, the thing I have dedicated my life to accomplishing. And while it is difficult – the pressure to do it right, the difficulty of breaking free of the inertia of a bad life, the fears and insecurity about whether it will ever actually happen – the rewards are well worth it. I cannot think of anything I would rather do. This is my True Will, the meaning of my life. Io euoi! Io Bacchus!