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Celebration, Dionysus!

By Misty Gaze -

One evening in Athens, living there for a longer period, in February 2017, via new friends, I was invited to join them, exploring the new revival of the Dionysus cult. In a possession starting by the Dionysus theatre at the Acropolis. Singing, music and small performances made its way through the narrow streets and onto the squares of Athens. Through alleys with an illuminated Acropolis in sight, following an almost 3-meter-tall strawberry red penis, as the illustration of worship. There was wine, red wine, laughs, dancing, and a following dressed up in carnivalesque Dionysus inspired costumes, cones on sticks, animalistic prints, and grapevines. And of cause all of us just observing and following along enjoying and fascinated by the rebirth of this ancient cult.

Walking those streets in Athens that evening is was so clear to me, how rooted theatre is in all of us, with its rituals, dance, music, processions, celebrating, and enjoyment. And it felt so burlesque, it was rough on the edges, a bit too much, very showing off, illustrating sexuality, celebrating life, amusement, poetry and partying, drinking, euphoria and nature. It was amazing and a little bit scary, to be part of something that existed so long ago, and something that there is a very big urge and need to return to in this day and age. Do we need to celebrate more, do we need to be together more? Do we need to let go some more? And do we need to celebrate nature? I think we do.

The Dionysus theatre and the foot of the Acropolis is mind-blowingly situated and imagining performances there, they have had to be big, they have had to convey a feeling of intimacy in a huge open space. They have used props, costumes, masks, everything to deliver the story, and so they did in the Dionysus procession that evening.

I left the procession with my friends, we were supposed to go for dinner, but were full to the brim of impressions, when home, we had another glass of wine and talked about it. I was slightly perplexed, what to do with all this new information. I had read about the Dionysus cult and its celebration of the Muses, the worship, and now experiencing it, this evening it seemed so much like theatre and performance, my burlesque-heart was bursting, and ideas came rushing in. How to celebrate life, nature, the way of the symposium and love. To celebrate all that not really ‘allowed’ in our normal busy everyday lives.

And the thoughts are still rushing, and the deep need to celebrate, so come on Dionysus, let’s celebrate!

From the Dionysus Cult procession at the foot of the Acropolis, Athens February 2017

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