Katabasia

For now, I am exploring a relationship with Dionysus and his retinue, especially as He appears in The Thiasos of the Starry Bull.  In an effort to better understand some of his aspects, I’ve decided to low-key celebrate some of his festivals.  Last Thursday (10/27/16) was the Katabasia, commemoration of Dionysus’ decent into the underworld to bring up his mother Semele.  Sharing his divinity with her, she becomes a goddess.

Since I’m aiming for low-key right now, so I didn’t do much.  I took a cleansing bath, dressed in the black dress I wore to my grandmother’s funeral.  I had set up the altar before hand, so it was mostly ready to go when I came down stairs.  I played some music while I read some hymn and poems to Dionysus and Semele.  I lit a candle for the occasion and some incense,  I offered wine (Apothic Inferno), mead (Charm City Rosemary mead- rosemary chosen because Semele is the grand daughter of Aphrodite), milk, and honey.  I’m not sure that if the wine and mead were well received or not, but I probably won’t be using them again.  Just a feeling.   The rosemary mead especially (unless the I get a big sign that They loved it)- the smell alone was off putting.  Taking a sip almost ended the ritual because of almost puking.  So, yeah.  I took a moment and moved on from that.  I prayed and danced and drank wine for a while, then sat in contemplation of Dionysus, Semele, and the myths involving Dionysus’s birth and Semele’s death.  I have a mental picture of how I’d like to try to paint a statue of Her, so I’ll be thrifting around to find one that works (I’m just starting to try art, making a sculpture is too advanced for me right now).

So anyway, I wasn’t particularly feeling as connected as I wanted to be feeling, so I went on walk around the block.  It was probably about 12:15 AM, and I live in a decent area so it was no big deal.  While I was walking, nothing much happened except I kept smelling some kind of flower, I think.  It was overpoweringly strong.  Kind of like honey suckle, but not quite.  I looked around for the source, tried to follow my nose, etc., but came up with nothing.

I got home and prayed a little more and ended the festivities.  No big revelations, and nothing  really interesting to report, but I’m glad I did it.  I’m really trying to focus on easing in, building up kharis with these Gods that have been pulling me towards them.  Hail Dionysus!  Hail Semele!

The Book of Life (movie)

I want to bring to light books, movies, and shows that have polytheist and/or ancestor worship themes or even “feels”.  First up, the children’s movie “The Book of Life”.

On the surface, the movie is about a would-be musician who is afraid to stand up to his father about who he is/want he wants in life.  At the same time, he and his childhood best friend vie for the love of the same woman.  Two Gods make a bet about who the woman will marry, the ruler-ship of their own portion of the land of the dead as the prize. Those first two plots are fine, especially acknowledging that since its a children’s movie, certain things have to be a little more on the nose.  I think a deeper, more meaningful plot hangs around in the background until the end of the movie, where it takes center stage.

The movie opens to a scene that shows families at the grave yard, making offerings to their dead and explaining why that is important.  Ancestor worship, the Gods, and the land of the dead are at the heart of the story.  By the end, “being true to yourself” and the love triangle plots are set aside in favor of saving their town- not just to save human lives, but because without those living humans to remember the dead and make offerings, the ancestors will lose access to a blessed afterlife.  That’s the plot point I was blown away by- the dead were more important than the living.

As a parent who is raising a polytheist child, I love having media to show her some of these points.  After seeing this movie, ancestor worship became much easier for her to understand because she was able to see it in some way.  It was no longer just something mom said/did, but something others did as well.

Finding the Gods in music

Ever since I began to study and forging a relationship with Dionysus and Ariadne, I’ve begun to “see” them in a lot of my music.  Songs I’ve heard a thousand times are suddenly taking on new meaning.  I’ve always used music as a connective tool, but still, it’s really caught me off guard (not in a bad way though).  Three times a week I take my daughter to a marital arts class.  It’s about 20-40 min there depending on traffic, about 25 min on the way back.  This gives me a lot of music time in the car.  The Girl entertains herself and generally doesn’t pay me any mind.  I’ve taken to hitting shuffle and focusing my thoughts one deity in particular, praying to them for connection.

The first time I did this, Ariadne was my focus.  These seven songs are what played from a playlist of over a hundred songs and at least twenty different artists.  They didn’t play in this order, I’ve reorganized them.  I know other may see no connection but to me, I hear in these songs the myth of her languishing away in her old life, betraying her brother to escape it all, being left by Theseus and finally meeting Dionysus.

Listen here if you’d like.