Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jason Mankey, author of The Witch’s Book of Shadows, The Witch’s Athame, Transformative Witchcraft, Witch’s Wheel of the Year, and the new Horned GOd of the Witches.
It was near the end of our first year in California, and my wife and I were actively searching for a new place to live. Our townhouse was “fine,” but it was a long way from our local downtown (we like to walk a lot!) and neighbors on both sides of us meant no Witchcraft rituals at our place with friends. Before the magick, happened my wife looked at me and said, “Would it be so bad if we had to stay in our current place for one more year?”
We were at a bar having a drink before engaging in some Holiday shopping, and were about to head out the door as she asked the question. I remember sadly nodding in the affirmative and then leaving to use the restroom. While I was gone my wife ordered a shot of whiskey, and before throwing it back, asked the god Dionysus for strength. She then dialed the last number on her “potential places to live list.” We signed a new lease a little over 48 hours later.
We honor many deities in our household. I have deep relationships with both Pan and Cernunnos. My wife is a Priestess of Aphrodite and Persephone is a frequent visitor at our rituals, but Dionysus is the one deity we truly share. As someone who has spent much of their life researching Hellenic mythology, this is not surprising. Dionysus has always appealed to a wide range of people, and women served as both his officiants in the Ancient World and as some of his most devoted followers. (The maenads loved Dionysus so much that, according to myth, they often got lost in the divine rapture that occurred when communing with the god.)
Today Dionysus is most well known for being the god of wine, but he’s always been much more complex than that. As the god of theatre, Dionysus by extension also governed the realms of poetry, beauty, and art. For many of us wine suggests drunkenness or light inebriation, but wine making is a complex endeavor, like the theatre, making Dionysus a god of civilization and cooperation.
Dionysus cruelly punished those that denied his divinity, touching them with madness. That madness often led to tragedy, but among those that honored Dionysus the madness bestowed by the wine-god was said to be “divine.” Divine madness brings us closer to deity and helps bridge the divide between the mundane world and the magickal.
A few years ago a friend of mine referred to Dionysus as “they,” and in the corner of my eye I caught the god smiling in response. Dionysus was known to dress in drag, and many of his most devoted followers were (and are) gay men. Dionysus has always inhabited a number of roles, which is why “D” is so beloved by many in the Pagan Community.
Our thanks to Jason for his guest post! For more from Jason Mankey, read his article “Connecting To (and Running from) the Horned God .”