Our ritual on Friday was beautiful — we used Thalia’s backyard, which is quite large.
While our ritual set-up was definitely Wiccan, we incorporated various aspects of Dionysian worship. For example, we had an herb-filled bowl of water and towels for ablution. We drank plenty of wine before and during ritual, making many offerings to Dionysos — I think we went through four bottles all told. (!! — there are only two of us!) Calling in Dionysos included a procession that spiraled into the altar, a calling of meaningful epithets, as well as an impassioned reading of the Invocation of the Rider of the Black Serpent by Klea that you can read here: http://www.hermeticfellowship.org/Dionysion/InvocHymns.html Choosing this particular invocation proved to be somewhat prophetic. We danced for Dionysos, made offerings of wine.
Arms upraised, we addressed Dionysos directly, imploring Him to reveal to us the Goddess He wished us to work with. Then we tranced together to the beat of a frame drum. Prior to the ritual, both Thalia and I were leaning towards Cybele. It made sense, after all, as we both love drumming. We soon found out the Dionysos had a different path in mind for us.
We tranced together, speaking out loud the things we were seeing. This experience can be tough, especially with only two people. When I’ve done this before, it’s happened that my trance reality was altered by the people I was trancing with — and that’s fine, and normal. In that case, I see things and my fellow journeyers bring things into existence by saying what they see too. With Thalia, it was very different — I think there may have been a little of the above experience in the beginning, when we went to the grape arbor that I had initially set up as our destination. However, nothing was really happening in the arbor, except that we saw a fountain. What we found, instead, was an entrance into an underground cave where the Maenads were dancing. And once we got there, we were seeing the same things at the same time. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
I lost all track of time — I have no idea how long we journeyed. We danced with Maenads and we danced with Dionysos. Finally, we had an audience with Dionysos and when we asked Him for a sign, He held out a bowl. We both approached warily because we sensed something moving within the bowl. When we peered in, we saw snakes. And suddenly, there were snakes everywhere. He smiled at us and nodded. It was clear to us that Dionysos meant for us to work with Ariadne.
We began to dance again, with Dionysos, with the Maenads, and then, with Ariadne. Soon, it was time for us to leave the cave, and we did. When we came back to consciousness, we were both stunned. We have “issues” with Ariadne, or at least, with the common retelling of Her story. She seems to willing to wait for a man to come give Her direction. And yet, we see glimmerings of a deeper story, of another Ariadne. So now we are searching for that.
We welcomed Ariadne as our Goddess with dance and with honey. We welcomed Her with wine and mirth. We welcomed Her with awe and wonder. Signs of the labyrinth and snakes have been everywhere since Friday. I am humbled and blessed.
Our ritual took over five hours. I’m still not sure how that much time passed. Somehow, despite the amount of wine we consumed, I managed to be in an altered state of mind without being senseless. Dancing, drinking wine, truly feeling ecstasy — my walk with Dionysos, and now Ariadne, feels more real, more divine, than anything else I’ve experienced.