Assorted early prayers

An Invocation

Greetings, O Dionysos! You who are hailed by the Satyrs and Maenads as the Beautiful One, the Fertile Bull, the Dancer on the mountain, Mad One, Boisterous One, Full of Life, Ecstatic, many-formed and many-named Lord of ineffable Mysteries, hear my words, and come! Join me in my rite, and graciously accept these gifts I have to offer you.

To close the rite

I thank you, O Dionysos, kindly Lord whom my heart adores, for coming and accepting these gifts, offered in gratitude for the multitude of gifts and blessings that you have given me. May the memory of your beauty and greatness remain with me throughout the day, a constant source of joy and strength for me.

Wine consecration

This, O Lord, is your greatest gift to care-worn mortals, for it eases our suffering, and when we are drunk from it, we are filled with joy and a lively spirit. Without wine, there would be no festivals, no fine banquets, no sacrifices for the Gods, and love would completely disappear from the world. But wine is even more precious than that, for this wine is your blood, first poured out upon the black earth when the Titans set upon you with their murderous knives. A part of you dwells in each sip of wine, and dwells within us when we drink it.

From a rite for oracular dreams, adapted from the PGM

Hear me, kindly Lord of the earth’s rich bounty,
master of my passionate heart,
Dionysos at the head of the triumphant procession,
Bromios entwined in ivy and ripe bunches of grapes,
Zagreus who dwells in the deep and hunts beneath the moon’s full light,
And by whatever other names you like, hear me, as you have heard me before!
Lord who weaves the fantastic dreams while we sleep,
who sends forth oracles by day and night.
Who fills minds and bodies with powerful, prophetic spirits,
Who dances with the mad women on the side of the mountain.
Hither, O Blessed One, O mighty son of heavenly Zeus,
be kind and look upon me graciously,
and to your passionate servant reveal a sign,
and send to me an oracular dream, true and without fault.

To make chernips

Take a bowl and fill it with water. Hold it aloft and say:

“Water, be pure! Become like the tears that Ariadne shed when she beheld the beauty of Dionysos on Naxos; become like the streams that flow through the forests on Mount Nysa, where the pure and lovely Nymphs dance; become like the waters that washed off the foolishness of Midas. Water, you are pure! You are pure! You are pure!”

Incense offering

The first offering to be made to Dionysos is that of incense. Light the incense and then hold the burner up before you. Say:

“As fragrant as your skin when you appeared to Ariadne on rocky Naxos, is this (name of incense). May it fill the temple with its pleasing scent, a reminder of the day on which you were born, when the fruit sprouted on the vine, the earth adorned itself with green grass and flowers of every hue, and the air was sweet with the scent of fine Arabian incenses: the whole world rejoiced at that time, as I rejoice now in you.”

Hymn to Dionysos

Dionysos, I sing, whose head is twined with ivy
and grapes in ripe bunches that tumble to his gentle shoulders,
clad in their fawn-skin cloak.
Swift-moving God, racing down the side of Olympos,
or through the wooded coverts of the Nysan plane,
attended by goat-footed Satyrs, and the lovely Nymphs,
giving out the call, “Euoi!”
All-conquering, fierce-eyed One,
who wields his thyrsos like a fiery brand,
striking with madness those who offend him.
Mystery discovered through our bodies,
in dancing round bonfires till exhaustion overtakes us,
and the touching of
trembling flesh against trembling flesh
underneath the all-seeing moon.
I suppose there are older Gods, and stronger –
but there has never been a God dearer to my heart
than the son of Semele and Zeus who reigns in Heaven!

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