mythology

Book Review – Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States by Thomas Hatsis

February, 2019


Book Review
Psychedelic Mystery Traditions
Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States
By Thomas Hatsis
271 pp. Park Street Press

Although it has been the subject of great speculation and demonetization by various religious and political bodies, psychedelic mystery tradition remains one of the great buried seeds of Paganism, hidden under mythology, misinformation, and religious and political oppression — not to mention suppression of information. In “Psychedelic Mystery Traditions,” Thomas Hatsis uncovers a vast history of psychedelic spirit plants in Western tradition and ritual, focusing especially on Greco-Roman tradition and the early days of Christianity.

From the earliest prehistoric discoveries of psychedelic plants and their spiritual potential to the conflation of their use with Satanic witchcraft, Hatsis delves deeply, weaving together the political scenes in which each stage of pharmaka* use developed, while following a coherent narrative through the years. For those who were hoping for a more international subject matter, it’s useful to note that Hatsis doesn’t verge far from the focus of Europe and the Near East — you won’t find information here about the use of ayahuasca in Peru, or psilocybin mushrooms in China.

What you will find is an extensively-researched, academic approach to a controversial subject that synthesizes herbalism, ethnopharmacology, entheogenic practice, ritual, mythology, politics, religion, and linguistics. This may make the book a bit slow going for those who lack the context for the work, but anyone with a good familiarity with Western mystical traditions, herbalism, early Christianity, or mythology will probably find something to enjoy here.

The book boasts a treasure trove bibliography. Hatsis occasionally cites and refers to his other book, called “The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic,” where the subject matter overlaps, but he also taps an impressive number of primary sources, as well as many modern authors. In a few cases, he points them out only to call them out, diverging at several points to argue some misconceptions, such as the popularized idea that ergotism poisoning is similar to the LSD experience (it’s actually much more dangerous, poisonous, and unpleasant), or that the origins of Santa Claus lie in the historical shamanic use of Aminata muscaria (a popular theory for which there is little evidence). It is clear that Hatsis has great love for this subject, but he also preserves respect for the academic process. In exploring the controversy surrounding the historical use of pharmaka, he has an even hand and doesn’t play favorites on the basis of his own bias, pointing fingers not only at those who dismissed or vilified these spirit plants, but also at those who misused and abused these plants for nefarious purposes, such as poisoning, manipulation, and rape.

This rare glimpse into the mechanisms and mythology of mystery traditions is also peppered with humorous observations, as Hatsis refers to bad trips as “what we would call a bummer,” relates amusing historical anecdotes, and makes the occasional pun. But where the book shines the most is in those poetic moments when Hatsis explores the narratives of mythology and ritual that weaved together the experience of pharmaka by exposing and bestowing new cosmological understanding. In these stories, the relationship between humans and spirit plants takes on a life of its own, illuminating both the dark recesses of the human psyche, and the strange roots of spirit plant practice.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions can be found on Hatsis’ website, https://psychedelicwitch.com/, along with many other writings and YouTube videos as well.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants, Magical Practices, and Ecstatic States on Amazon

[*An all-encompassing Greek term for the various plant-derived substances whose uses included theogenesis, medicine, recreation, aphrodisiac, poison, and more.]

For those whose interests are primarily herbological, here’s a short list of some of the spirit plants and pharmaka mentioned in this volume: 

Aconite, amanita mascara, barley, cannabis, haoma, hash, hemlock, henbane, kykeon, laurel, LSD, mandrake, mushrooms, opium, solanaceae (including but not limited to Atropa belladonna), and wine.

***

About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

GoodGod!

February, 2019

Meet the Gods: Eros

Merry meet.

With the Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day, falling in February, it is fitting to turn to lusty Eros, the Greek god of sensual love and primal desire. The word erotic comes from his name.

In some tellings, he is the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of sensual love and beauty, and Ares, the god of war, or of Aphrodite and Zeus, the king of the gods, or of Hermes, the divine messenger of the gods, according to Britannica.

Others say he is a primordial god, the son of Chaos, the emptiness of the universe. Later depictions show him not as an adult male, but as a mischievous child. At sometime he became a winged youth that was made younger and younger until he was the infant we see as a Valentine’s Day mascot that the Romans knew as Cupid.

“In early Greece, no one paid much attention to Eros, but eventually he earned a cult of his own in Thespiae. He also was part of a cult along with Aphrodite in Athens,” according to “Deities of Imbolc” by Patti Wigington on ThoughtCo.com.

In another article for ThoughtCo.com, Wigington wrote, “As a god of lust and passion,?and fertility as well, Eros played a major role in courtship. Offerings were made at his temples, in the form of plants and flowers, vessels filled with sacred oils and wine, beautifully crafted jewelry, and sacrifices.

“Eros didn’t have too many boundaries when it came to making people fall in love, and was considered the?protector of same-sex love?as well as hetero relationships.”

In honoring the lusty Eros today, and asking for his help in matters of love, consider leaving him roses or other flowers symbolic of love, apples or grapes. Offer eggs or hares if it’s the fertility god you wish to honor. Wings, and a bow and arrow are also representative offerings.

An offering to a god is an invitation for him to enter our life. Gods cannot force or demand our worship and cannot violate our freedom or our conscience. Expressing gratitude, appreciation and love toward them, allows their energy to flow back to us.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

GoodGod!

January, 2019

Meet the Gods: The Wise Men

Merry meet.

This month’s column is not about gods. Rather it’s about saints, or, more correctly, magi, the pagan astrologers who came to worship Jesus. The word magic came from magi because they dabbled in the dark arts and were referred to as sorcerers, wizards and magicians.

Tradition refers to three wise men, but nowhere is a specific number stated; in Eastern Christianity often there are twelve. They came “from the east,” which most likely is now Iran. That means they could have traveled more than 800 miles. The Christmas story has them arriving twelve days later, but some traditions have the visit occurring as much as two winters later. (This could explain why Herod commanded all boys up to the age of two be killed.)

These Zoroastrian priests, as part of their religion, had great knowledge of astrology – others say astronomy. According to the Gospel Matthew, these wise men were guided to look for the “king of the Jews” by a miraculous stellar event: the Star of Bethlehem. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As part of their religion, these traveling missionaries paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for their knowledge of the sky, which at that time was highly regarded as a science. As Christianity became the religion of the Romans, the magi were no longer respected, and neither were the Jews.

No names for the three appear in the New Testament. Legends, however, give them a variety of different names. Melchior, also spelled Melichior, was a Persian king, or some say scholar. Caspar, Gaspar or Jaspar was a king of India. Balthazar, also known as Balthasar and Balthassar, was a Babylonian scholar or an Arabian king.

Many sources do no consider them respected kings. Rather, the magi were uncouth and labeled as sinners because of their stargazing, sorcery and divination. Still, Catholics and Orthodox Christians celebrate the festival of The Three Kings, the Epiphany, on January 6. In Germany, they have become the patron saints of travelers; their feast day is July 23.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

December, 2018

AGISCHANAK

 

As I sit here looking out at the world outside my window, covered with the first snowfall of the season, wrapped in a shawl due to the cold. My thoughts turn to Alaska and what Goddess I may find there.

 

(Image Credit: hubpages.com)

 

My search brings me to Agischanak.

Goddess of the

Mountains.

Goddess of the

Earth.

Protector of Her

people.

Agischanak is a Goddess in Southeastern Alaska. She lives on top of Mt. Edgecumbe, near Sitka.

 

(Image Credit: listverse.com)

 

She is kindly and protects Her people and all of the peoples of the Earth. However, She is also forceful and powerful, as She must be as it is She

who supports the pillar on which the Earth rests.

For visitors, She has her brother, who comes but once a year to bring her the news of the world. The trickster, Raven, also comes to visit, always attempting to woo Her away, thereby abandoning Her post. Of course, it is a post She does not abandon. Raven provokes and annoys her at his own peril, as she responds with earthquakes.

It is cold where Agischanak is holding up the Earth, and Her people come to Her and light roaring fires, as an offering, to keep Her warm.

Remember, were it not for Agischanak, the Earth would sink into the powerful depths of the ocean.

 

(Image Credit: liminallandscapes.com)

 

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

November, 2018

SEDNA

(Image Credit: yousense.info)

The story of Sedna, the Mother and Mistress of the Sea, the Goddess of marine mammals, is, to me, one of sadness and betrayal.

In the Arctic Ocean of the Inuits, Sedna lived with her family. She was very beautiful and was wooed by many in Her community. She refused them, one and all. Her father, taking matters into his own hands, gave Her to an unknown hunter, in return for fish to keep the rest of his family fed. This unknown hunter was, in reality, a bird-spirit, and whisked Sedna away while She was asleep.

Another version states that Sedna went with the unknown hunter of Her own free will, as he promised Her a life filled with everything She could dream of – warmth, and food.

Either way, to Her dismay, Her new home was not as promised, as She found herself awakening on a high cliff, in a nest, surrounded by birds.

She got a message to Her father of Her plight. Her father, Anguta, attempted to help Her by putting Her into his kayak to return Her to their home. The birds, seeing this, flew after them, surrounded the kayak, seeking vengeance for the removal of Sedna from the nest.

To save himself, Anguta, threw his daughter overboard. She reached for the side of the kayak to save Herself and Her father cut off her fingers. As She brought her arms up to reach into the kayak, he then cut off Her arms. Sedna sank to the bottom of the sea.

(Image Credit: Hanie Mold/Pernastudios – Deviant.com)

She became the Queen and the Goddess of the Deep, Her fingers and arms becoming the seals, walruses, whales, those ocean mammals most hunted by the Intuit.

Sedna lived, then, beneath the waves, in the Kingdom of Adlivan, the Intuit Land of the Dead, in a home-made of stone and the ribs of whales. She was responsible for sending the sea creatures to the human hunters to feed their families. She took Her responsibility seriously, but She had a provision that when one of them died, their souls would stay with their bodies for three days, whereupon they would bring news to Sedna of how the people behaved. If any of Her laws were broken, She would not send the food to the hunters. This brought Her pain.

When this happened, a Shaman had to visit Her, by passing through terrifying lands and tests, to heal and soothe Her, until Her pain had passed and things were put right once more.

Sculpture of Sedna in Nuuk, Greenland

(Image Credit: alamy.com)

**My fingers were cut off then

I was kicked

I was hurt

I was wounded

I was lied to

I was betrayed

I was abandoned

My suffering was great

but down below in the deeps

in the heart of the ocean

where I was left to lie

I realized my powerlessness

the way my life was lived

helpless and afraid

always being done to

instead of doing

and saw what I did

As realization expanded my

consciousness

fish and sea mammals

grew out of my cut fingers

I became “old food dish”

She who provided for her people

Victim no more**

**From “The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky. Image credit also goes to “The Goddess Oracle”.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

Review: Greek Mythology Reading Cards by Allison Chester-Lambert & Illustrations by Richard Crookes

October, 2018

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

by Allison Chester-Lambert

Illustrations by Richard Crookes

112 Cards

I have many, many decks of Tarot and Oracle cards and am always on the look-out for those that will enable the reader to connect in their own style using imagery that resonates with their spiritual practice and philosophies. The Greek Mythology Reading Cards fill those criteria very nicely; offering a visual that most people know a bit about, regardless of religious or spiritual practice.

To clarify, these cards fit in the category of oracle cards, rather than Tarot. I’ve been asked when teaching what the difference is and by way of brief explanation, oracle cards fit nicely into whatever package or presentation that is offered and do not follow a prescribed 78-Keys of Wisdom format. Any deck of Tarot captures multiple layers of hermetic and esoteric inroads and so the traditional 78-card deck is prominent. Now, this is not to say that one is better than the other for divination or receiving guidance and answers. My thought is that any system or format you choose that will open you or the person you are reading for to a receptive state and enable the information to flow is valid.

Greek Mythology is a topic that everyone encounters during the course of their childhood education. The media is filled with movies, music, books and more that make use of the Greek Pantheon and principles to tell their stories and to stimulate the imagination. So, with this oracle deck, you already have a baseline of information about the imagery and the possible meanings of selection. The cards are beautifully illustrated by Richard Crookes and are printed in natural earth tones, the edges strewn with vines and offer the notion that you are looking in on a columned Temple and witnessing a very personal and intimate depiction of whatever theme the card is offering.

The Key Words of interpretation are printed at the bottom of the card, so it is not necessary to refer to the accompanying small booklet unless you wish a more in depth understanding. The Trojan Horse relates to Trickery, Aphrodite to Attraction, Perseus to Gifts and Ares to War Mongering, to name a few. And, if you follow a Hellenic tradition or use this Pantheon for your personal work, the layers of meaning will deepen to reflect the mysteries you’ve already revealed on your path.

All in all, I think this is a beautiful addition for use in readings, meditation and deepening your understanding of a civilization and its work that has laid the foundations for much of modern society.

 

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

GoodGod!

October, 2018

Meet the Gods: Chernobog

(“Day and Night (Belobog and Chernobog) by Maxim Sukharev)

Merry meet.

This time of the waning year is the time of the dark gods, who balance the gods of the light during the waxing year.

Slavic god Belobog is the “White God,” with his sunshine that brings life. He is prayed to for a plentiful harvest, and for a light that guides through dark times and places. Belobog appears only during daylight, wearing a white robe and holding a staff. He brings good things to those he meets.

Belobog’s brother is Chernobog, the equally powerful god of the dark who rules the night, and is associated with evil and devastation.

Twice each year the two brothers dueled, with the winner controlling the season along the length of the day and night.

The Black God survives in numerous Slavic curses and in a White God, whose aid is sought to obtain protection or mercy,” Evel Gasparini wrote in “Slavic religion” on britannica.com.

(“Creation of the Earth (Belobog and Chernobog)” by Maxim Sukharev)

Chernobog was associated with bleak attributes such as cold, famine, poverty and illness. Despite this, he is still respected among all the other gods,” Ivan wrote in “12 Gods Of Slavic Mythology And Their Amazing Powers” on ancient-code.com.

In that tradition, the dark was respected, as was the light, knowing it was necessary of cosmic balance, and knowing each year, they would find their way back to the light. These cycles of the universe were due to the polarizing actions of Chernobog and Belobog, Ivan wrote.

Egyptian brothers Set and Horus engage in a similar struggle between light and dark, providing a symbol of harmony. Set, the god of darkness, was associated with evil, deserts, wastelands and the northern stars; although he murdered his brother he was still seen as a protector and a source of strength. He was wild and untamed with bright red hair. Horus was depicted as a winged sun disk. He was the god of the east and of sunrise, and also the god associated with the sunset.

In other cultures, the Greek god of darkness was Erebos while Hodr was the Norse god of winter and darkness. Known for murdering his brother, Set was the Egyptian god of darkness and evil. According to anglefire.com, “Itzcolihuqui was the Atzec demon god of darkness, deep freeze, volcanoes and disaster.”

As the darkness grows, working with these gods can offer strength and power.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

September, 2018

Goddesses Who Protect Travelers

As we begin to look forward to September and the first day of Fall, we remember that, for now, it is still Summer. This means there is still plenty of time to take a vacation and travel.

With that being said, this column looks at three Goddesses who will protect you on your journeys far and wide.

*************************

(Graphic: bonstore.org)

CHAM MO LAM LHA

Cham Mo Lam Lha is the Tibetan Goddess of Travelers. She is a worldly protectress who rode on the back of a bee to insure smooth travel.

She not only will help with outward traveling, but also the travel of an inward spiritual journey

(Graphic: Pinterest)

ABEONA

Abeona is the Roman Goddess of Outward Journeys and Safe Passage. She protects travelers on their departure. She also guides and protects the first steps of children, as well as their first steps away from home.

Abeona’s name means “to depart, or to go forth”. As such, She is also the Goddess of Partings.

(Graphic: religion.wikia.com)

ADEONA/ADIONA

Adiona is the Roman Goddess of Safe Return. She protects

travelers on the arrival back home. She also protects children,

as they leave home and reassure parents that they will return

home, at least to visit.

Her name means “to approach or to visit”.

Abeona and Adiona are both thought to be aspects of Juno due to their special focus on children. These two Goddesses worked together protecting travelers as they departed and made sure that they returned home safely.

May you be blessed on your adventures and travels and may these Goddesses of travel watch over you on your journeys.

Blessings!

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis

GoodGod!

September, 2018

Meet the Gods: Mabon

Merry meet.

The fall equinox sabbat takes its name from the Welsh god Mabon. He was called “Mabon, son of Modron,” which means “Great Son, Son of the Great Mother.” The great mother, his mother, was the earth.

According to Arwynn MacFeylynnd, who wrote “A Guide to the Sabbat’s Symbolism” found on WitchesOfTheCraft.com, “In the myth of Mabon, the god disappears, taken from his mother, Modron, when only three nights old. Mabon is freed with the help of the wisdom and memory of the most ancient living animals – the blackbird, stag, owl, eagle and salmon.

All along, Mabon has been quite happy, dwelling in Modron’s magickal Otherworld – Modron’s womb – to be reborn as his mother’s champion, the Son of Light. Mabon’s light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom to become a new seed.”

In that way, his fertility is recognized as we harvest the bounty of the earth. During this the time of abundance, Mabon is putting his energy and light into the seeds that will be planted for next year’s harvest.

As one of the ancient, most likely lesser gods, most stories about him have been lost.

All we know is that he was stolen away from his mother when he was only three nights old and imprisoned until he was rescued by King hur’s companions,” MacFeylynnd stated.

Knowing what it was like to be held captive in a dungeon, Mabon was said to be a god of freedom, freeing caged animals and those unjustly imprisoned.

He protects all that is wild and free. His animal totems are the owl, the blackbird, deer, eagle and salmon. We honor Mabon when defending the animals, and when we work for the freedom of all people,” is written on witchingtime.com.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

GoodGod!

August, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dionysos

Merry meet.

This month we get to know Dionysos, the Olympian god of the grape harvest, wine and wine making as well as the god of ritual madness, wild frenzy, festivity and pleasure. He is also called Bacchus.

He was usually accompanied by Satyrs (lustful, drunken woodland deities who were part human and part horse or goat) and Mainades (frenzied female devotees).

The thyrsos (a staff topped with a pinecone), a crown of ivy, fruiting grapevines, a drinking cup and a panther are all associated with him. Frequently represented in ancient art, he was first shown as a mature, bearded adult wearing an ivy wreath and a long robe that was sometimes draped with the skin of a fawn or a feline. In later times, he was depicted as youthful and beardless, effeminate, and partially or entirely nude.As such he is among the most versatile and elusive Greek gods.

According to mythagora.com, Dionysos’ life began with intrigue and disaster. “Zeus was attracted to the lovely princess of Thebes but his appreciation of Thyone did not escape the notice of his sister/wife, Hera. The vengeful goddess dared not interfere overtly with Zeus’s affairs but she was a master of subtlety. When it became obvious that Thyone was pregnant, Hera enchanted Thyone and induced her ask Zeus to come to her in his radiant splendor. Zeus was flattered and revealed himself to Thyone in all his flaming glory … she was utterly consumed by the flames.

Zeus’s son Hermes rescued Thyone’s premature child from the conflagration that consumed Thyone’s mortal body and gave the babe to a woman named Makris, daughter of Aristaios, on the island of Euboia. Makris did what she could to sooth the child but Hera was quick to realize what had happened … she drove Makris from her home. Zeus took the infant from Makris and sewed it into his thigh so that it might have his protection.”

Dionysos later journeys to the underworld, gets his mother and takes “her to Olympus where Zeus transformed into the goddess Thyone,” according to the Theo Greek Mythology website.

When Dionysos and his companions as were traveling through the Land of Thrakian, the king drove them into the sea. “As punishment,” the website states, “the god inflicted him with madness causing him to murder his wife and son and mutilate himself with an axe.

When King Pentheus of Thebes refused to accept Dionysos’ divinity, Dionysos retaliated by driving the king’s daughters into a crazed frenzy and they tore him apart limb from limb, Theo Greek Mythology states.

Another myth shared on the website tells of Dionysos traveling through the Aegean Sea when he was captured by a band of Tyrrhenian pirates who planned to sell him into slavery. “The god infested their ship with phantoms of creeping vines and wild beasts, and in terror the men leapt overboard and were transformed into dolphins.”

Dionysos married princess Ariadne of Krete (Crete) whom he found abandoned by Theseus on an island.


He traveled as far as India, and upon his return to Greece, those who welcomed him adopted his rituals. His followers also wore or carried pinecone-topped staffs, ivy crowns and drinking cups. Dionysos punished those who rejected him with madness or physical afflictions, or he would turn them into animals. Over time, drinking wine became his sacrament, even to the point of drunkenness.

According to N.S. Gill’s article on Thoughtco.com, “Dionysos is a patron of the theater and an agricultural/fertility god. … Writers often contrast Dionysus with his half-brother Apollo. Where Apollo personifies the cerebral aspects of mankind, Dionysus represents the libido and gratification.”

Despite being the creator and god of wine, the ritual madness associated with Dionysus did not involve alcohol or drugs. “Their wild dancing and estate ecstatic behaviour were interpreted as ‘madness’ only by the uninitiated,” according to the Ancient World Project at the University of Michigan.

Greek theater is said to come from the worship of Dionysus in Athens. The Theater of Dionysus held 17,000. Plays were performed honoring Dionysus as god of wine. It’s said that tragedies dramatized his negative and destructive traits while comedies incorporated innocence, humor and his many festivals

When you incorporate wine into your celebrations, rituals, or for cakes and ale, honoring Dionysus can bring fertility and gratification.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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About the Author:


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

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