Author Archives: Lon Sarver

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.

Pantheacon Devotional Scripts

For some time, I’ve been promising to put the scripts for our Pantheacon devotionals up for people to download. Well, I finally got ’round to it. All four scripts are here, as PDFs.

Included in the folder are the scripts from 2015-2018, and the Dionysos chants we used, in a separate document. There are Ariadne specific chants from Her devotional in 2018, but I don’t have final copies of those ready. I’ll add them to the folder when I do.

Sorry that there’s no notation about how to chant them as we do. I’m a passable devotional poet and liturgist, but I’m no musician, and I don’t know how to make such notations. If someone who does writes it up, I’ll update the chant document with that.

The 2015 devotional was our first public outing; it was, in fact, our first ritual ever. I was asked to run a Dionysian devotional at Pantheacon for a local Hellenic group, Pandemos, who are the folks who host the Hellenic hospitality suite at Pantheacon.

The 2016 devotional was our first public ritual under the name Thiasos Bakkheios. Pandemos wasn’t available to work with us that year, so when we were submitting the ritual to Pantheacon programming, we needed a group name for the form. I decided on Thiasos Bakkheios, and so another great tradition was retroactively created.

The 2017 devotional was our first openly political ritual. In my opinion, all Dionysian practice is political, even if it’s not partisan, as the kind of freedom of mind and body that Dionysos provides is at odds with much of Western, capitalist culture. We went a bit further, though, as we decided to center it around the dismemberment of Pentheus, the foolish king. Nobody said “Donald Trump,” but we weren’t shy about our subtext, either.

2018 saw our first public Ariadne devotional. She had been communicating to us in our private devotions that She wanted more of our time and attention, so in mid-2017 we decided we’d focus the 2018 Pantheacon offering on Her. Several of our monthly devotionals were dedicated to getting to know Her in preparation, and the script presented here is what ultimately came of that.

During that ritual, it happened that some of the celebrants in attendance were ready to stop dancing and chanting significantly earlier than the rest, and the energy was starting to flag a bit. She moved me to put some of the lore I’d absorbed, while studying Her in the course of writing the ritual, and weave it into a new version of her story. I’m working on a more coherent version of that, and I’ll post it here when I have it ready.

Enjoy these devotional pieces. Use them yourselves, in whole or in part, change things, borrow bits for your own rites. All I ask is that you give the original authors credit and not use our work for profit.

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The Dionysian Artists Q & A

The Dionysian Artist

Late last year I sent out requests for questions of The Dionysian Artists. A modern devotional artist guild and religious cultic tradition I’m attempting to formulate. These are the questions and answers so far. If you have more to add feel free to leave a comment or email me. markos.gage@gmail.com

I also wish to thank everyone who has already asked me questions!


Basics:

Who is Dionysos?
Why is Dionysos relevant in the modern era?
What symbolism is associated with Dionysos and what do those symbols represent?

How to develop a relationship?
Like any other relationship it requires respect and honour. Foremost is establishing some kind of cultus (worship), this may be in any kind of religious expression. It could be via art, devotion, sacrifice, offering yourself through drug use, dance, music, ecstatic practice – etc. Dionysos is a god that comes, he is literal epiphany, it just a matter of…

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The God Who Comes to America

I’ve been doing some research into the history of California wine, as it seemed relevant to honoring local manifestations of Dionysos. After all, the coming of Dionysos to America could be understood as parallel to the introduction and spread of European viticulture here.

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Monsters and Heroes

If we choose to see myths as more than literal stories–that is, as being about more than simply the surface events they depict–then we can see one way in which they are stories that live thousands of years and miles outside of their original context.

As the Dionysian Artist suggests, the stories of heroes and monsters don’t have to be only old adventure stories. They’ve survived so long because they are about more than just a series of events, they’re also about transformation and actualization. Monsters can be seen as the shadow, the chaos in the world, which are integrated by the hero’s triumph into something more.

The Dionysian Artist

(This was originally published on polytheist.com December 2014. As mentioned in previous posts I’m compiling all my writing here for posterity and for future reference.)

Typhon by Wayne McMillan.

When we think of Greek mythology images of fantastic monsters and heroes often comes to mind. The stories are filled with hybrid beasts that haunt the lands as challengers to would be champions. We see these monsters as just that: monsters. An opposition, a narrative piece to add some excitement to tales of heroes. But what if monsters hold a greater significance? What do we gain by understanding their role in the heroes journey? Why do I feel a sympathy and even a reverence to monsters?

There is always a degree of kitsch when discussing Greek mythology. Many of us were introduced to the myths as children. Growing up in the 90’s I would watch the ultimate of camp: Hercules and Xena…

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I’m Not a Dionysian Rock Star–and That’s Becoming OK

Once upon a time, I had dreams of being a rock star. Not a touring musician (no one deserves to suffer that), but a rock star in the sense of someone locally famous for Doing Things in the community. More, I wanted to be a Dionysian rock star. I wanted to hear

Elektra Records promotional photo, circa 1969

Not like this guy.

folks say things like,”hey, isn’t that the guy who does the really cool Dionysian rituals?” as I walked by, to have people email me out of the blue asking about polytheism or Dionysos, to have the kind of blog that gets re-posted and hosts long, interesting discussions. And, dare I dream, maybe I’d found a tradition of reverence that would outlive me.

But, as it happens, I’m not a rock star. As much as I might dream of it, I just don’t have the kind of extroverted drive that it takes, or the kind of life where I can take my traveling Mad God Show on what passes for the Pagan event circuit.

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A Peacock Angel Statement

And this sort of thinking is why I have a shrine to Melek Ta’us among my gods & powers.

GODS & RADICALS

I am the bird and snake braided in Being. I am the Lord of the Painted Fan. My talons clutch the bottom of the abyss of the seven hells as the eyes of my tail feathers fan throughout the seven heavens.

I am Evolution, the striving for integrity amidst the tension of myriad worlds and drives. I am the demand of adaptation, creative transformation. I desire your proud autonomy, not your shame-filled supplication.

My mirror reveals the truth: you are the image of God Hirself, ensouled with Hir divine essence, formed of earth with no greater obligation than to express your most sacred breadth, depth, and height. You are God knowing Hirself, bringing Hir to greater completion.

All queer people are beloved unto me. Every variation of form, body, and spirit is a holy mutation come to further the collective growth and liberation of humanity. To braid and synthesize the…

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The Revolutionary Art of Hearth-Keeping

Over on riverdecvora.com, River writes beautifully about those who keep the hearth (literal or metaphorical) burning, and gives me words for many things I’ve been thinking about myself and my relationship with my powers. I try to be a hearth-keeper for my gods, giving mortal folks a place to meet them. I try to be a hearth-keeper for my mortal friends and family. Awareness of the spiritual dimension of this is important, and worth cultivating.

That, and “Hearth-Keeper” sounds so much better than “Hufflepuff” in Serious Polytheist Discussion.

riverdevora

hearth fire

We are living in terrible times. Every passing day brings more violent racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and classist attacks and incidents at every level of society, from local street violence to “Alt-Right” rallies to State and Federal governmental attempts to (and occasional successes in) passing oppressive legislation to the stripping away of protections for vulnerable communities. The regime we are currently living under is one that attempts to strip us of both individual and group identity, shames us for interdependence, and seeks to destroy our connection to ancestors and descendants, and to the land upon which we live (as complex as these relationships can be). The dominant paradigm is one that endorses survival of the most privileged, at the expense of nondominant communities and vulnerable people. And we are handed the lie that we can rise above the oppression of our people by disavowing ourselves of our cultures, that…

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