spira spiritum noctis

..Vitis Vitaceae: A Page of Dionysian Discoveries
........Dedicated to Dionysos & Ariadne,
........the isle of Naxos & the Corona Borealis,
........the wild Thyiades on Parnassus
........and the truth in the wine.

Be always drunken. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish. But be drunken!

The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way's stardust;
'I am crushed for your drink,' says the Green Man,
'I am crushed for your drink,' says he.
(William Anderson, "The Green Man")

Wine brings out hidden things.
(Mary Renault, The Persian Boy)

Dionysos in his coming and going recalls us to the origins of the sacred, those animal powers that both manifest our finest energies and threaten to devastate all that we cherish. If you let him into your life, under appropriately ritualized circumstances, you will be deeply disturbed but also deeply enlivened, touched by the sources of good and evil and yet sanely returned to the casual comedy of civil society. If you refuse him entry he will invade.... His rituals will involve madness, and resistance to them will involve even more.
(Dudley Young, Origins of the Sacred)

The god came kindly at first to Thebes, saying, 'Bring me all that wildness in your hearts; I understand it, it is my kingdom. My gift is the lesser madness which will save you from the greater.'
(Mary Renault, The Mask of Apollo)

Look how black, how blue-black, how globed in Egyptian darkness
Dropping among his leaves, hangs the dark grape! . . .
Our pale day is sinking into twilight,
And if we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us
Out of the imminent night.
(D.H. Lawrence, "Grapes")

Where is the wine we were promised, the new wine...?
(Jim Morrison)

"Madness is sacred to the gods. The give it us at the proper season to purge our souls, as they give us strong herbs to clean out our bodies. At the Dionysia we are a little mad; but it leaves us clean, because we dedicated it to a god."
(Mary Renault, The Last of the Wine)

I see the place of the innocent rich life and hapless fate
of the beautiful noctural son, the full-limb'd Bacchus...
(Walt Whitman)

True Dionysia cannot be planned like a nocturnal picnic with a supply of hashish and a basket of food and drinks. Dionysia must emerge from a culture or a community, and the preparation must by psychological as well as practical, personal as well as collective, mundane as well as spiritual.
(Ginette Paris, Pagan Grace)

Drugs don't cause revelations...they simply lower the revelatory threshold.
(Bill Maher)

In common parlance, among the many who have not experienced ecstasy, ecstasy is fun, and I am frequently asked why I do not reach for mushrooms every night. But ecstasy is not fun. Your very soul is seized and shaken until it tingles... The unknowing vulgar abuse the word, and we must recapture its full and terrifying sense.
(Albert Hofmann, as quoted in Ginette Paris, Pagan Grace)

Dionysos is a part of what Gilbert Durand calls 'night-mode' -- that is, a nocturnal consciousness associated with the moon, moisture, women, sexuality, emotions, the body and the earth... If any given culture receives only Apollonian sunshine, it dries up and dies; conversely, if it receives too much Dionysian moisture, it rots and becomes crazy... We need both Dionysos and Apollo.
(Ginette Paris, Pagan Grace)

This is what I believe:
That I am I.
That my soul is a dark forest.
That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.
That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing
of my known self, and then go back.
That I must have the courage to let them come and go.
(D.H. Lawrence)

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I opened my eyes to take a peep,
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility.
'Twas then when the hurdy gurdy man
Came singing songs of love.
(Donovan, "Hurdy Gurdy Man")

It may be that Ariadne goes to sleep so that her destiny may change, so that Theseus can go away. She chooses, even if semi-consciously, not to embark with Theseus because she wants someone else -- Dionysos.
(Ginette Paris, Pagan Grace)

Ah yes, to be passionate like a Bacchante, like a Bacchanal fleeing through the woods, to call on Iacchos, the bright phallus that had no independent personality behind it, but was pure god-servant to the woman!
(D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover)

I'm wide awake... I'm not sleeping.
(U2, "Bad")

Dionysos finds his Maenads among women who can't stand any longer being locked into the domestic enclosure. They become wild women who break their chains in order to follow Dionysos the Liberator.
(Ginette Paris, Pagan Grace)

The ivy falls with the Bacchanal's hair
  Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes;
The wild vine slipping down leaves bare
  Her bright breast shortening into sighs;
  The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,
  But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare
  The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.
(Charles Algernon Swinburne,
from "Atalanta in Calydon")

* * * * *

Caught up by the slender stem, hanging heavy
In wet lush shining clusters of purple,
I hold them against my hair and face
And moisten my lips with their pale blood.

...I crush the grapes of my own vineyard
For an incomparable intoxication.

...There are intricate secrets for me to decipher
From the twined and twisted grapevines.

(Tess Avelland, from "Maenad," 1988)

In true dreams I have drunk your essence, my fire-born mad young beauty;
what is and what will be between us is fixed upon the jeweled northern sky.
Priestess-proud I take for a queenly sceptre this rough wand pinecone-tipped,
for a queen's bed these soft skins flung on pine boughs. For you, for you
I will put away my golden crown, and weave one of starlight and ivy.

Come to me with wine on your wonderful mouth, and kiss me awake.

(Tess Avelland, from "Ariadne," 1998)

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