or, reflections while I drink
Dionysos finds his Maenads among women who can’t stand any longer being locked into the domestic enclosure.
~Pagan Grace, Ginette Paris
So last week was all about the dangers of Dionysos: how he isn’t soft and safe. But now, you need to know why it’s worth it.
For those of you who don’t know me outside of blogging, I’m a contradiction myself. I’m a hyperactive introvert, socially awkward and fundamentally nervous about embarrassing myself. I’m also a performer, opinionated person who tries to live by the motto: What Would Mister Rogers Do?
The thing is, I have to break out of myself to perform. When I was a kid, and I was a choir girl, this was easier, because it was a group thing most of the time. But now, it’s hard. I dance by myself most of the time, and it isn’t nearly as anonymous as performing used to be.
And that’s Dionysos for me: the enabler and liberator, who allows me to access the parts of myself that I would not otherwise. Because of my repeated rituals, where I struggle (yeah, struggle) to enter a trance state, I’m also able to get outside of myself enough to dance in front of people.
I think it’s a pretty mundane example of the type of liberation that Dionysos can offer. Real liberation isn’t the bombastic; it’s the ability to choose and discern and see your freedom, even when your situation is limited.
If Apollo is the kind of god who sheds light and illuminates the world, Dionysos is the fucking god that gives life to the world.
Dionysos is the god of the held breath, expectant and waiting for the next.
Dionysos is the god of the wild forest, of the wildlife creeping into the cityscape, pushing through cracks in the sidewalk, the weeds in the cultured suburban lawn. He will always take root, starting in the marginalized spaces: is there any wonder that he is lauded amongst the women, and coded as queer?
I think we take for granted the popular perception of Dionysos: as the drunkard, the partier, the oversexed god, reclining on a couch, fat and sated. This, the god of the aftermath is my god, too, but he is not the god who comes.
Okay, I am still the worst Dionysian ever. I’m drinking, sure. There’s a reason I didn’t talk about alcohol during this: I’m not much of a drinker. If wine exposes hidden truths, then my hidden truth is that I’m exhausted. Worst Dionysian Ever.