Three Kinds of Ritual

After our last Dionysos devotional, Ember and I were talking about the kinds of devotionals we’ve hosted. So far, we’ve had the ecstatic ritual, with drinking and dancing and drumming, and the feast, with minimal ritual but much food and fellowship.

The thought we hand was that we should alternated between these and another kind, something more geared toward sharing lore and inspiration with one another. This kind of devotional would, I hope, better serve those of us who find inspiration in stories and conversation, and give us a more diverse set of approaches to Dionysos and his kin.

dionysos_thiasos_louvre_mne938

So here are the three kinds of ritual I’m thinking Thiasos Bakkheios ought to offer:

The Symposion will be a devotional with opening prayers and libations, followed by conversation focused on Dionysos, His friends and family, and his manifestation in our lives. I envision this including reading of lore, presentations of inspired poetry and other art, no-shit-we-were-there stories about the gods and spirits involving themselves in our lives, and so on. Perhaps we’ll do dramatic readings of appropriate plays.

The Orgia will be the high ritual devotional. There will be an initial round of invocation and libation, followed by multiple rounds of drumming, chanting, and dancing, between which space will be made for divination, oracular work, magic, and requests to the gods.

The Eortie will be a potluck feast, with places set aside for Dionysos and Ariadne. Prayers and invocations will open the Eortie, the plates of the gods will be filled first, and then we eat. I’m thinking that these devotionals could also be a time for games, crafts, and working on group projects. For instance, I’m considering putting the brewing and bottling of mead on the day of the Eortie, since wine-making is one of the activities sacred to Dionysos.

These would alternate, so that each kind of ritual would happen four times a year. I hope this gives a good balance of ecstatic, artistic, and social elements to the Thiasos’ work.

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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