With the winter season is rapid approach, I have to admit that despite having a strong dislike for being cold, there are many things accompanying winter for which I am fond. There is a certain gaeity in the season, with the cheerfulness of colors against the gray backdrop of the weather, the sweetly spiced smells of cinammon and evergreen. Much of it is attached to the sense of comfort and tradition. Most notably the winter season has a bit of childhood nostalgia attached to it because it was the time of the year for theatre. Whereas my family rarely attended such events the rest of the year, we often made time for such things in the winter, particular in seeing the yearly performance of the Nutcracker Suite.
So then it is of no surprise that winter is the only time of the year that I go all out for Dionysos. That is not to say that I ignore him through the rest of the year, but rather, that in winter he really takes the centerstage. Apollon has long departed to the land of Hyperborea and the world is dark and cold, yet it is we who brighten it and bring warmth to it with roaring fires, flickering lights, bright ribbons and bows hanging gracefully wherever we care to tie them, not to mention the boughs of the evergreen that speak of some great principle in nature and sacredness among the gods. It is all about hope, and the focus on the internal. Therefore in my home Dionysos reigns in the winter. I even have a small figure of the infant Dionysos that I had sculpted and painted. Dionysos who is born from death, from the fires of Semele, whence he is sewn up in to his father’s thigh to be born again from Zeus.
Death and life, a pattern of mortal existance. I had said before in another post on Intoxication that the symbols of Dionysos represent the human experience and no more certain is this for me than in the winter and the cult of Dionysos. This is of course reinforced with my own history of watching theatre performances in the winter, and nothing better mimics the human experience in association to the worship of Dionysos than the the theatre as Dionysos displays the humanity and the human condition before us, as if he is weilding a great looking glass so that we may see ourselves but also catch a glimpse of the potential for greatness (and equally the loss of that potential through our own downfalls). As intraspective as I get during the winter I find I can appreciate the theatre more at this time for this reason. All the gifts of Dionysos are all the dearer to me in the winter. Which also makes those greater festivals of Dionysos, which all mostly occur in the winter season, all the more special and contain a greater nature of celebration to me culminating in the return of spring….the realized hope.
So hail to Dionysos the companion of mankind, the loud-roaring, cheerful hosting god. Make he bring blessings upon the households during the months of winter dormancy, that we revel and be festive in cheer in his name in our wait for the certain return of spring. Hail Dionysos!