Quite literally I am getting Dionysos for my birthday. Well a statue of him anyway that I have wanted for a while. I don’t often buy statues because it is a luxury that I can rarely afford and there are always many more needs ahead of the list. But birthdays are for a little extravagance and getting what you really want. So I ended up purchasing two inexpensive statues (I did set a budget for myself of what I could spend for my birthday) and got a statue of Aphrodite disrobing for the bath that I thought was absolutely beautiful that I wanted for my shrine to Aphrodite and Hera (still looking for the perfect statue of Hera of course!), and a statue of Dionysos.
The decision to get Aphrodite was more of a aesthetic response to a pretty statue, and of a goddess that I had planned to get another statue of. I have a small bust of her on her shrine in my household but I wanted to get a full body statue for my second shrine devoted to her and Hera for the living room..bringers of domestic harmony when they are in accord with those in the household and honored as such. So that was the purpose to purchasing this one. I had in mind for a couple of years to get the statue of the goddess unclothed with the exception of a belt and with doves flying all around her, and I had always assumed that I would get that one. After all doves are the symbol of peace and harmony. But when I saw this other statue I just adored it. There was just something in the expression and the dainty half-clad half revealed look that just struck a perfect chord in me.
Dionysos is a bit more complicated. The statue that I had bought is one that I have looked at many times over the last year. I have been very picky about what statue I got of him, nearly as picky as any statue of Apollon I have bought. Ok I give…I am extremly picky all around when it comes to my statues lol. But in the case of Dionysos I did have something of a clear idea of what I wanted to see in it, and just took me a while to find it. I know that one statue of Dionysos that seems to be favored among many Hellenic polytheists in this country is one in which he is standing with thyrsus extended and his head is tilted back to consume the grapes in his hand. While I admit it is a nice statue, it just didn’t appeal to me as an item of worship. I wanted something in which the face was more visible and the pose more relaxed. And I found those things in this statue. He is youthful, with something of a sweet expression on his face of a mischevious little boy who knows something he hasn’t decided if he is going to tell you or not. His cup is extended and you wonder if he is getting ready to drink from it or to offer it to you…likely both! He wears the grapes in his hair so that gives the traditional symbolism between the grapes and cup. And then there was an additional detail that delighted me. Behind him, where you really can’t see very well fron the front view, is Pan.
Since Dionysos is the god who is part of the human experience, the journey of the human soul and the link between us and the gods, it seemed quite appropriate before all others that I finally get my statue of Dionysos on the occassion which celebrates my entrance into this world…my birthday. Therefore linking some memorable personal occassion with the statue. Not to mention that my birthday is in between the god’s arrival at Delphi, during that period when he is in the underworld, before the celebration of his winter birth. Therefore I will have the occassion to have his statue for all the important winter festivals in honor of Dionysos. And that is something I am greatly looking forward to! As for where the statue will sit. I am undecided if he should accompanying the shrine for Zeus, or be the first peice of the Delphic/axis shrine that I have yet to build. But I suppose that I will jump that particular hurdle when I get it to it!
Hail Dionysos who joyously jubilates at the births into the world, shaking his thrysus stalk and crowning the newborns with his vines.