I’ll be going to Kaleidoscope Gathering again this year! It is an annual Pagan festival here in Canada. It’s a week-long camping trip with all varieties of Pagans, witches, and supporters, with workshops, concerts, swimming, and drumming around the fire pit, dancing all night.
I went last year and had a blast! It was the starting point for my work with Dionysus, so this is kind of a 1 year anniversary for me and Big D!
My man will be coming with me, so we talked a friend of ours into apartment sitting for us; we have AC. She doesn’t. It wasn’t a long negotiation.
This year I almost wasn’t able to go, and was really let down because on the tentative schedule for the week, I saw that someone was planning on having a Dionysian ritual!
Now that I am going, I am kind of side-eyeing the new ritual description. The organizer says that “This is a ritual celebration of Love, Joy, Fellowship and magick through the ecstasy of wine, dancing, chanting and community.”
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with what he’s saying. There definitely is love and joy to be found in working with Dionysus. Sure, there is fellowship in His followers (that’s the whole reason I started on Tumblr; the fellowship of fellow Dionysians!) But there is just something a bit too ‘love and light’ about it. Like I said, those things can all be found in Dionysus, and in His followers, but they certainly wouldn’t be my go-to words for Big D.
We’re talking about the mad god of ecstasy, here! We’re talking about the breaker of barriers, the cause of chaos, and the god with hands who have ripped through the flesh of living things! He is a biter, and a shaker; a thrasher, and a dancer. To me, even his generative and fertile aspects have a frightening undercurrent; in their madness the Bacchantes were able to summon milk and honey from the very stones of the earth! His vines and fruit are green and lush, but they bring on the madness of men and evoke terror in kidnappers and nay-sayers.
“Love and Joy” just don’t seem to cut it for me.
But, well, I’m going to be there anyways, whipping my hair around and exposing my throat to the sky. I’ll be bringing Him honey and wine, and there is a part of me that thinks that maybe He’ll hear His name. Maybe He will come down and join us, and maybe freak a few people out. Really bring in some energy people weren’t expecting.
Or, y’know, maybe I will experience a new part of Dionysus. Maybe I will understand a gentler side of Him; a side that isn’t unnerving or overwhelming, that really is about the joy and love of community and fellowship.