For the God of Outsiders…

Dionysos I - Icon

(“Dionysos” by G. Krasskova)

I am not Hellenic, nor is Dionysos the primary Deity of my devotional life. I belong to Odin and as such I come to things Dionysian an outsider, a ‘barbarian,’ a foreigner to His rites. For all that, He’s been both welcoming and extremely good to me. Even before I found myself partnered with a Dionysian Orphic priest, I maintained a small shrine to Him and made the occasional offerings. He had blessed me more than once the past couple of years and that seemed the least I could do. Then, of course, when I took up with Sannion, it made sense to honor Him more regularly as our household was and remains a blended one. My Lithuanian ancestors in particular seem to insist that I take the lead in maintaining household rites, both Heathen and non so I found myself interacting with Him in a devotional capacity more than I ever expected. Eventually He wound His way into House Sankofa rituals too where we were all graced with a drought of His ecstasy. I think this is one of the joys of being a polytheist: one can’t have too many Gods.

It was Sannion who first told me that Dionysos is a God of outsiders and welcomes them. This has certainly been the case in my own interactions with Him. Even in House rituals to Him, I am the one on the periphery, tasting and being taken up by His ecstasy but never giving myself fully over to it as my obligation to the House is to maintain the sacred space, allowing others to drink fully of His Mysteries. This of course allowed me more direct interaction with Him when He possessed so in no way did I ever feel lacking plus there is a grace in being of use. Being always the outsider in His rites though provides a rather unique perspective, at least I have found it so. Belonging to a God who is also a God of madness and ecstasy and ecstatic inspiration — though Odin’s ecstasy is a far, far different thing from that of Dionysos–also provides a certain perspective and that is what I hope to share here in my writings for the Boukoleon. I am not Dionysos’ yet I love Him dearly and I have found both blessings and joy in devotion to Him.

Over the next weeks and months I”ll be writing about Dionysos and His retinue, about my own experiences, and anything interesting that –specifically as a foreigner welcomed to His rites–seems to stand out to me. In the meantime, here is an article that I wrote last year, when the question arose of whether or not Dionysos is savage. Of course He is and it is glorious.

I end now with a praise poem to Him:

Supplication

Wielder of the Thyrsus wand ,
I know that in another life,
in some other place,
some other world of being
I am Yours – a mad bacchante
dancing, roaring forth with my soul on fire,
spitting spirits, coughing up oracles,
Your words, from stained and bleeding lips.
I know as surely as I wrap myself up in sated hungers
that there is a place where I run with You
laughing-mad with Your ecstasy.

Part of me here and now
loving one who is so strongly Yours
longs for that wine-rich fervor,
to be taken up by the inexorable press
of Your frenzied grace,
that You might fill me up to overflowing.
I have so many broken places
enough to let You in a thousand fold
and You can play puzzle-master
putting them all back together again
or dashing the shards of me
to the earth where You dance.
It would be equal pleasure, I think,
in the place where mountains
scream and laugh.

I am taken up by another God’s cold fire though
and my only way to You is as a supplicant.
That You hear my prayers is a grace
and that You have blessed me so greatly a joy.
My God brings ecstasy too
and I dance in it always.
Always however, I will pour out richest wine
at Your altar too and share with You
my longing.

Galina Krasskova is a polytheist, Heathen, and fervent devotee of Odin. The author of numerous books, she can usually be found causing trouble at http://krasskova.weebly.com or writing about her artistic endeavors at http://krasskovacreations.wordpress.com. She may be contacted at krasskova at gmail.com.

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