Author: thehouseofvines

Rites of Bacchus

GM IV.1716-1870
Sword of Dardanos: Rite which is called “sword,” which has no equal because of its power, for it immediately bends and attracts the soul of whomever you wish. As you say the spell, also say: “I am bending to my will the soul of him NN.”

Take a magnetic stone which is breathing and engrave Aphrodite sitting astride Psyche and with her left hand holding on her hair bound in curls. And above her head: “ACHMAGE RARPEPSEI”; and below Aphrodite and Psyche engrave Eros standing on the vault of heaven, holding a blazing torch and burning Psyche. And below Eros these names: “ACHAPA ADONAIE BASMA CHARAKO IAKOB IAO E PHARPHAREI.” On the other side of the stone engrave Psyche and Eros embracing one another and beneath Eros’s feet these letters: “SSSSSSSS,” and beneath Psyche’s feet: “EEEEEEEE.” Use the stone, when it has been engraved and consecrated, like this: put it under your tongue and turn it to what you wish and say this spell:

“I call upon you, author of all creation who spread your own wings over the whole world, you, the unapproachable and unmeasurable who breathe into every soul life-giving reasoning, who fitted all things together by your power, firstborn, founder of the universe, golden-winged, whose light is darkness, who shroud reasonable thoughts and breathe forth dark frenzy, clandestine one who secretly inhabit every soul. You engender an unseen fire as you carry off every living thing without growing weary of torturing it, rather having with pleasure delighted in pain from the time when the world came into being. You also come and bring pain, who are sometimes reasonable, sometimes irrational, because of whom men dare beyond what is fitting and take refuge in your light which is darkness. Most headstrong, lawless, implacable, inexorable, invisible, bodiless, generator of frenzy, archer, torch-carrier, master of all living sensation and of everything clandestine, dispenser of forgetfulness, creator of silence, through whom the light and to whom the light travels, infantile when you have been engendered within the heart, wisest when you have succeeded; I call upon you, unmoved by prayer, by your great name: AZARACHTHARAZA LATHA IATHAL Y Y Y LATHAI ATHA LLALAPH IOIOIO AI AI AI OUERIEU OIAI LEGETA RAMAI AMA RATAGEL, first-shining, night-shining, night rejoicing, night-engendering, witness, EREKISITHPHE ARARACHARARA EPHTHISIKERE IABEZEBYTH IT, you in the depth, BERIAMBO BERIAMBEBO, you in the sea, MERMERGO U, clandestine and wisest, ACHAPA ADONAIE MASMA CHARAKO IAKOB IAO CHAROUER AROUER LAILAM SEMESILAM SOUMARTA MARBA KARBA MENABOTH EIIA. Turn the ‘soul’ of her NN to me NN, so that she may love me, so that she may feel passion for me, so that she may give me what is in her power. Let her say to me what is in her soul because I have called upon your great name.”

And on a golden leaf inscribe this sword: “One THOURIEL MICHAEL GABRIEL OURIEL MISAEL IRRAEL ISTRAEL: May it be a propitious day for this name and for me who know it and am wearing it. I summon the immortal and infallible strength of God. Grant me the submission of every soul for which I have called upon you.” Give the leaf to a partridge to gulp down and kill it. Then pick it up and wear it around your neck after inserting into the strip the herb called “boy love.”

The burnt offering which endows Eros and the whole procedure with soul is this: manna, 4 drams; storax, 4 drams; opium, 4 drams; myrrh, [f drams;] frankincense, saffron bdella, one-half dram each. Mix in rich dried fig and blend everything in equal parts with fragrant wine, and use it for the performance. In the performance first make a burnt offering and use it in this way.


Not necessarily how I experience the God (usually somewhere between this and this, with differing flavors depending on the aspect) but that’s not exactly surprising, either. Insofar as I know what that state is like, the video gave me strong Thyiadic vibes, at least at the early stages. Granted, that’s not a path to Dionysos I’ve ever taken, nor do I suspect I can considering its strongly gendered nature. There is a corresponding male role, or rather one centered on erotic fire — though Thyiadism involves a lot more than just that, obviously. 

Everything is number

According to isopsephy (basically Greek gematria, a favorite practice of the Pythagorean Orphics) Dionysos’ allonym Βάκχος has the numerical value of 893 (which is the solution to my Riddle, in case you missed the acrostic.)

893 is a number with some interesting properties, especially when applied to the text of the Bible. For instance “wilderness” (Num 14:2; Exo 7:16), “transgressor” (Pro 21:18), αναγγέλω (“to call; announce” = Joh 16:25) as well as μεθυσκεσθε (“to make drunk” = Eph 5:18) all add up to 893. Also, I chose the verses carefully as these words crop up in a number of places. 

And the sum of the following verses (taken from here since I don’t do math) is also 893:

  • Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. (Gen 7:3)
  • And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. (Rut 3:8)
  • And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. (Job 11:17)
  • And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. (Mar 14:22)
  • How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words) (Eph 3:3)

All very interesting and Dionysian, but I’m curious how 893 turns up in inspired texts such as Homer’s Iliás or Odússeia, the fragments of Empedokles and Herakleitos, the Orphika, and Nonnos’ Dionysiaká say. I chose “inspired” rather than “sacred” since only Empedokles and the Orphika would technically count, despite the depth and meaning to be found in the rest since it’s important to recognize the distinctions in this type of literature and evaluate them properly.

Of course, now that I’ve brought it to your attention you’re going to start seeing 893 (or 8/93) everywhere, in meaningful and meaningless ways. You’re welcome. Io evohe! Io io Bakchos! 

And I love that about him

There’s some really good conversation happening on my post calling out John Beckett and co.’s scaremongering. For instance this comment by yours truly:

While my values come from my religious tradition, and those values would inform my politics if I had any, I don’t comprehend the need to provide divine sanction for one’s political ideology and action. The Gods gave us intelligence to reason this shit out for ourselves; I don’t need Dionysos standing over my shoulder telling me what’s right and just or which lying, corrupt, corporate stooge to vote for. I’m less bothered by them ritualizing their political activity – whatever I may personally feel about their aims and efficacy -because we should, as Orpheus taught us, begin all things with the Gods. I just find it amusing – and presumptuous – when they take it that extra step and assume that the Gods are automatically on their side and think exactly the same way they do on every issue. There are plenty of things I do not agree with Dionysos on, usually because he does not share my pessimism and misanthropy. (And I love that about him.)

Join in!

To Dionysos Eleutherios

Hail to you Dionysos, freedom’s God
and beloved consort of richly-crowned Eirene
who brings sweet concord to the people
and whose grace is so desperately needed
at this time. Zeus’ pet eagle no longer sits
tamely at the side of the Heavenly Father,
symbol of justice and far-reaching equanimity,
but now is perched upon the shoulder of dread Enyo,
who has burst her brazen bonds and strides through many lands,
her dark shadow inciting men to madness, division and strife.
The eagle calls out for blood and vengeance, its shrill cry
echoed in that of weeping brides and fatherless sons,
speaking of dark days behind us, and darker days to come.
Wretchedness and woe may be upon numberless peoples,
foreign and domestic, but I cry with the Vínland Mainades
who cry, “Down from the Sacred Mountain have we come,
to the banks of the Potomac, and the shining marble
of the nation’s capital. Come out of your homes,
o sons and daughters of the patriots and revolutionaries
who through struggle and sacrifice kept the torch of hope
that serves as an inspiring beacon to the oppressed of the world burning,
dawn the star-spangled fawnskin and lift high the ivied wand,
and sing with us praises of Bromios, the beautiful and boisterous one
whose simple worship gladdens the heart.”
Sweet it is to lose yourself in the dance,
to feel the juice of the grape course through your body,
stirring your spirit until you toss back your head
and give the ecstatic cry Euoi! Euoi! Io Euoi!
Drunk on the God, we have no care
for burdensome possessions, and the foolish rantings
of angry kings and haughty potentates,
for with Dionysos we know ourselves to be free,
and have the Earth’s rich bounty as our inheritance.
Ie ie Bakcheios! Io io Bromios! Hail Eleutherios!

Sannion’s Guide for the Apocalypse

Druids aren’t the only people with cool hats. As Archiboukolos of the Starry Bull tradition I have one too.

According to John Beckett and co. there’s a great war, sorry — Great War in the Otherworlds and the “good guys” are 100% in support of his progressive politics and values while the forces of evil and uncreation are backing his ideological opponents, the Republicans and cultural conservatives more generally. 

How surprising.

A friend asked my thoughts on the subject and, well, I strongly suspect that if I shared them here I would be in violation of WordPress’ Terms of Service. 

Instead I’m going to take a point on which Beckett and I are in full agreement – we’re headed into some very uncertain times – and suggest some practical steps people can take to mitigate stress and suffering during them. 

Read Seneca and Plutarch. Build a network of family and friends you can rely on as things get tougher and start breaking down. Know and have good relations with your neighbors. Learn how to do things the old way; in other words, develop practical skills that are not dependent on modern technology. Learn the essentials of emergency medicine and keep a well-stocked kit. Garden, buy local, barter and trade, etc. as you’re able, as well as learn basic survival and prepper skills (i.e. foraging, hunting, how to cook and preserve food, how to fight and use various weapons, etc.) but without going completely overboard and letting fear and paranoia govern your life. Maintain your religious practices, especially those involving local land-spirits and the dead who can be potent allies, especially against malignant spirits. Perform regular cleansings, protections and psychic hygiene, whether you think you need such things or not. Listen to what your Gods and Spirits are telling you, even if it doesn’t make complete sense at the time. Trust that more than what the experts, influencers and other authority figures are trying to convince you of, especially if there’s a conflict between them. Keep an eye on the news, without obsessing over it so you have a sense of what’s going on locally and in the wider world. But minimize your exposure to social media and pop culture and be intentional, selective and critical when you do consume such content. And the rest – don’t worry about it unless it starts impacting your life. Then pray, make offerings, amp up your psychic defenses, divine frequently, and consult religious specialists and other respected authorities within your community to figure out how to proceed. Did I mention prayer and making offerings? You should do that, a lot. 

Anything you guys would add? 

Of course I think all of these are things that a mature, responsible adult should be doing whether the eschaton is imminent or not, but that’s just me. However if you do follow these simple prescriptions I guarantee that you’ll be ahead of the pack should the shit hit the fan.

And here’s the screed of the prophet Beckett, should you be so inclined to read it for yourself.  

To Dionysos Who Rises

Rise up, O Lord!

No longer suffer the inequities of this unrighteous tyrant
with mildness and restraint, but like boiling lava flowing down
the side of a mountain, come, come! Come mad and raving Dionysos,
to inflict terrible destruction upon this fool who would wage war
on a peaceful people, and lay the wretch low!

Rise up, O Lord!

As you rose up against Pentheus, who vainly sought to oppose
your worship in the very city of your birth. You enticed him
into insanity, and beneath a pine-tree his own mother
tore him to pieces.

Rise up, O Lord!

As you rose up against Lykourgos, who put your women to flight.
You blinded him, and made him think that his son was made of vines,
then opened his eyes that he might witness
the bloody spectacle he had wrought.

Rise up, O Lord!

As you rose up against the daughters of Minyas,
who shunned your sacred rites. You inflicted
such hunger upon them that they cast lots
to see which of their children they would boil in a pot.

Come, come night-roving Bakchos, terrible to look upon,
roaring like thunder, like a bull in frenzy, shake the Earth
to its core, and topple this arrogant bastard I pray!

Visit NYC, See the World

I’m back. All in all it was a very restful and productive break from the internet, even if I didn’t get any writing done or do as much ecstatic ritual as I would have liked. Which isn’t to say that there wasn’t any, just that I would have preferred that there be more — but life has a way of fucking your plans hard, and without lube, now doesn’t it? I did meet all of the other goals I set for myself, and spent a lot of time reflecting on certain matters I’ll be addressing later, and gained a measure of clarity on certain others which I won’t be addressing so there’s that, and it is good. My little staycation (wherein I didn’t see or communicate with another human being outside our household) culminated Saturday with a trip into the city to see Chinatown (Faye Dunaway was nowhere to be found) and Brighton Beach (aka “Malorussia”) which was fun and full of lots of surreal culture shock, especially visiting them back to back like that. My favorite parts (not counting food) was the ocean at night and all the shrines spilling over with incense and offerings for the Buddhas and the dead in so many shops and restaurants we passed. Normally I’m overwhelmed by the press of people (and all the history and predecessors who lived and died there before them, and who often still linger) as well as the pollution (spiritual as well as physical) which comes of living in any sizable city — but it was different in this neighborhood, ironically one of the most populace in all the boroughs. (I also didn’t have any trouble in the gourmet halal supermarket, which closes for a couple hours on Fridays for evening prayers, run by friendly immigrants from the -stans.) My biggest disappointment of the trip was that the Black Sea Bookstore was closed, possibly permanently. Although it only carried books in Russian and Ukrainian I was hoping against hope that I might find something there by Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov, which would have been a very potent kledon indeed. (That came via fortune cookies earlier in the day, thanks to Hermes Logios.) Also, fuck I forgot how much I adore this song

So what have y’all been up to?

Figured I’d leave y’all with some reading material before I depart

Speaking of bittersweet the House of Vines is going on hiatus, because I’m taking a break from the internet to spend the next week communing with my Gods and Spirits, writing, installing a new couch in the living room, doing drugs and performing ecstatic rites to revitalize myself and the land. I’m going to miss you guys, but this is long overdue. Feel free to email me during this time but don’t expect a response for a while, even after I come back. See you on the other side.

Venus in the ninth house

Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis 3.6.17
Constant attacks (assidua … interpellatione pulsari) by daemons are indicated by Venus in the ninth house by day. It creates natives who are squalid and stay in temples or roam about, and such as never cut their hair, and such as claim to announce to humanity pronouncements from the Gods, the sort that are often in temples and are accustomed to prophesy (vaticinari); often they are interpreters of dreams.

When it is deposited in a house, it protects it from all sorcery and the shades of daemons and empty dreams and blasts of lightning.

Damigeron, De lapidibus 7.1-14
The coral stone has the greatest powers in magical usage and in the achievement of serious undertakings. For it is hardy and repels all delusions of dreams by its remedy. It provides the greatest protection (tutamentum) against the wrath of masters when the name of Noctiluca (‘night-shiner’), that is the sign of Hecate, or the face of Gorgo is engraved in it.

The person carrying it is never harmed by any drug (medicamento) nor by lightning nor by a shade sent against them.

In war and in a fight, it is of the greatest assitance. And it will be invincible and efficacious and insuperable, without fear and without sadness, and makes the one holding it safe, easily able to accomplish what they will and gives easy access (to the powerful? into houses?). Furthermore, when it is first consecrated, then ground up, and sown together with corn or barley or any other crop, it keeps hail and all pernicious weather away from the earth. And strewn over vines or olives, it repels all destructive force of winds.

When it is deposited in a house, it protects it from all sorcery (maleficio) and the shades of daemons (umbris daemoniorum) and empty dreams and blasts of lightning.

If you have it with you on a ship, you will accomplish much more, because it resists winds and tempests and whirlwinds. So great is the power allotted to this stone as a remedy against adverse forces (partes).

This protective object (tutamentum) ought to be consecrated by a God and at holy places (sanctis locis), so that it has the greatest effect, day and night, at a dirnual or nocturnal hour. And the stone coral offers good protection (praesidium).

Her name means “sunlight, dawn”

A detail in both of these passages from Vegetius (1, 2) stood out for me:

argyritis (silver dross/litharge) stone, 1 ounce each

Which sounds an awful lot like Αυγέτρις, the companion of Dionysos Χοιροψάλας. Or maybe just to my ear. 

And therefore weakness which is induced by a pestilent wind is more easily cured by the salutory airflow of suffumigants.

Vegetius, Digesta artis mulomedicinae 3.12.1-4
This composition of suffumigants repels bewitchment/the evil eye (fascinum), purifies (lustrat) an animal, chases daemons away, and removes/keeps away diseases; for the fume and breath (spiritus) of the odor, when it enters through the mouth and nostrils, penetrates to all the recesses of the organs very often cures places which potions cannot cure. Likewise, a cough in humans is healed with the vapor of suffumigants above all. Furthermore, the authorities of veterinary medicine (mulomedicinae) assert that the most desperate and dangerous diseases derive, not from faults in the fodder or the water, but from the corruption of the air. And therefore weakness which is induced by a pestilent wind is more easily cured by the salutory airflow of suffumigants.
Their composition is as follows:

essentially the same recipe as above

These ingredients are all dried and mixed together; when the need arises, you take one spoonful of this mixture and strew it over ‘live’ coals, and you suffumigate the animal with its head uncovered, so that it receives the fume through the mouth and nostrils. This suffumigant not only heals the troubles of beasts of burden, it also repels oncoming human diseases and hail, it scares off daemons and puts shades to flight.

oppose with their odor the diseases of humans as much as of animals, and chases daemons away

Vegetius, Digesta artis mulomedicinae 1.20.1-3
There is also another composition of suffumigants (suffimentorum) for warding off diseases, but more expensive and, it is thought, more effective:
living sulphur, 1 pound (libra = 12 ounces)
Judaean bitumen, 1 pound
opopanax, 6 ounces
bearsfoot, 6 ounces
galbanum, 1 pound
Castoreum, half a pound
“crude air” (?), 6 ounces
(H)ammoniac salt, 2 ounces
Cappocian salt, 3 ounces
stag horn,—
“male” jet stone, —
“female” jet stone, 3 ounces each
haematite stone, 2 ounces,
magnet (sideritis) stone,—
argyritis (silver dross/litharge) stone, 1 ounce each
“sea-tails” (caudas marinas),—
sea snakes (ungues marinos), to the number of 7 each
“sea grapes” (uvae marinae), 3 ounces
deer marrow,—
cedar pitch,—
liquid pitch, 3 pounds (pondera) each
bones of ink-fish, to the number of 7
gold, half an ounce
a “pod”(?) of gold-dust
And these all when mixed together and burned oppose with their odor the diseases of humans as much as of animals, and chases daemons away; it is said that they keep away hail and purify the air. But if you cannot find the stones mentioned, or decide not to buy them because of the high cost, the rest of the ingredients will work well enough.


Sorry, folks. I’ve been meaning to post the good news – the Kindred of the Well and Tree will be hosting its first pub-moot for polytheists of every denomination and description who happen to live in the area (roughly the Hudson Valley, unless you’re willing to drive a ways to be with us.) We’ll be hosting the event at an undisclosed location on April 1st, which some Heathens hold as a holy day for Loki. Accordingly our topic of discussion will be Laufey’s son. If you’re interested visit here for more information, including how to contact us to gain access.

Also, I should have shared this with you earlier.

It’s only been out a couple weeks, but still. I think you’ll like it, if you enjoy bittersweet. And, well, you do read this blog…

this far north

Oh, and afterwards we had to run some last minute errands, including stopping off at the gas station. While I was filling up the tank and Galina was inside paying, a truck hauling a large trailer pulled in, the kind of trailers that are commonplace in Wyoming and Montana where I grew up, but not so much out here in the scenic Hudson Valley (even this far north.) At first I thought the guy was hauling horses, but then I noticed the horns. Looking closer it became clear that the trailer was carrying a bull and his harem of cows. I take that as a powerful omen, and confirmation that tonight’s divination session was on point.

the taste of honey

This has been a truly trying weekend, but it was capped off with an incredibly intense divination session during which Dionysos-Óðr came through so strongly that hours later Galina had a contact high from the residual energy and could taste honey in the air. Hail Dionysos! Hail Óðr! Even now I’ve still got a buzz going and can feel his strength, joy and creative frenzy coursing through me. I needed this. Thank you for the grace of your presence, my Lord, and may you always be hailed.

Hail Thor!

Also, have you read Galina’s stream of consciousness meditation on Þórr? If you haven’t you’re missing out on something pretty special.