“Take a deep, slow breath, and as you exhale, allow yourself to begin to relax.” Sitting on the floor, I began the meditation hoping to meet Dionysus, the god I am dedicated to.
I was leading the meditation that night, for the rest of my circle. I believed I would not go as deeply into trance as I would if someone else were speaking, so I did not really expect to be very successful in meeting my god.
Still, as I began to speak, I found myself drifting deeper and deeper into an altered state of consciousness. Even if I did not meet Dionysus, I felt certain that some teacher or guide would appear for me and reveal something of importance for my life.
The goddess in all her many forms has always been present for me in every aspect of life. A few times a teacher who appeared male has manifested in meditations, but I had not really thought very much about the gods, or about following a god, until I was dedicated to a coven and had to choose one.
My High Priestess suggested Dionysus when I asked for her advice, because of who she knows me to be, and I agreed, but continued to be much more focused on the goddesses and what they were teaching me.
When I am responsible for leading a pathworking (meditation ritual), I seldom expect to fully participate, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself walking upon a path winding through a beautiful meadow. Birds were singing, insects made small buzzes and chirps. The mingled scents of wildflowers in bloom and other plants flooded my senses. The peace and beauty of the natural world filled me with joy as I walked toward the hill ahead.
Occasionally opening my eyes a tiny slit to check on those following my voice, I was pleased that everyone else appeared relaxed and deep in trance.
The path became steeper as I climbed and I instructed everyone to open their hearts to the one waiting ahead, focusing intention on asking him to appear and advise. A twinge of anxiety made me shiver. The thought intruded that I was being foolish, I was making this all up, that even if everyone else in the group met their god, I would not be worthy to do so.
With the next breath I let go of the tension and fear from those thoughts, remembering that what I do not know is much greater than what I do know, so I was opening my heart in trust and love toward the god awaiting me. Creating a state of pleasant anticipation for whatever lay ahead, I continued to climb the path and mentally call for Dionysus to appear and instruct me.
Finally the path became level. A giant boulder rested directly ahead, and the path circled to the right around it. Seeing it, I described it out loud and said, “When you walk around this huge rock, you will meet your god. Allow yourself to feel happy that you are going to meet him and have this opportunity to learn something important.”
Again fear and doubt vibrated through me, again I began breathing deeply, relaxing my body, and affirming my willingness to be present to whomever or whatever appeared. Much to my surprise, when I walked around the rock, Dionysus stood there smiling at me.
Gasping with shock and joy, I paused for a moment and then slowly moved nearer. I always slow way down when approaching a sacred one, as I am not really sure just how to behave. I definitely try to avoid doing anything that might be annoying to a god. Many years ago when I rushed up to a group of them, demanding answers to questions which were driving me crazy at the time, I was swatted really hard energetically. I hope never to annoy a god again.
Dionysus is so beautiful! He appeared as a young man about 25-30, dressed in a loose fitting toga-like white robe. When he looked into my eyes and smiled, it took my breath away and I staggered from the impact of his energy.
“Thank you for coming here and allowing me to see you,” was all I could manage to think of to say. I somehow remembered to speak out loud to remind everyone to ask their god if he had a gift or advice for them, and mentally asked the same of Dionysus. He smiled more, and as I approached closer, held out a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread, inviting me to eat and drink with him. I accepted the bread but, with much fear said, “I no longer drink alcohol, will you still accept me?”
He laughed and changed the wine to fruit juice, took a drink and offered it to me. I drank some, and ate some bread, while never taking my eyes away from his. He reached out and began caressing my face, my breasts, and then rubbing and stroking my whole body. Again I was finding it difficult to breath.
I reached out to caress him in return as he began changing from a young, slim muscular man to one who was older, fatter, and whose smile became a friendly leer as he rubbed his aroused body against mine. In the next moment, he transformed to another male, and then another, continuing to fondle me and bathe me in his extraordinary energy and passion.
By this time I was almost panting with arousal myself, while observing his changing form with amazement. My own arousal gave me the courage to talk, and I said, “I really like this, and I am honored by your attention, but I wonder if I am not just making this all up to justify my behavior in life. You know, it’s not that I’m a slut, I’m a follower of Dionysus?”
At this he laughed out loud, gently hugged me, and stared so deeply into my eyes that I almost fainted, saying, “You are acting exactly how I wish my priestesses to behave, don’t be afraid,” and laughed again.
Stepping back away from me, he smiled again and held out a pinkish heart-shaped stone, saying, “Here, take this and always remember that sexual ecstasy helps people open their hearts to each other and to the deeper mysteries of life. Sex is one of the greatest creations. It enables two to join and create a third which carries their energy into the future. Ecstasy and celebration make life worth living because they open humans up to the joyous energy of the universe, of creation. Never be afraid to love, or to express that love with another.” Then his form began to slowly fade and disappear.
I turned and walked back around the rock, down the path I had earlier climbed, my mind trying to contain and sort the vastness of what he had shown me. My body was almost in a state of shock from the intensity of his energy. Fortunately I was only walking in my altered state and my body was physically sitting on the floor. I doubt I would have been able to have had this experience standing without falling down. It took a few minutes to return to a more ordinary state of consciousness, but I was able to remember to instruct the others to do so too.
Each of us in the group took a turn in describing what had happened to them, and everyone else had also had an equally powerful experience.
This encounter with the god made me want to know more about him and, I learned that he was Bacchus to the Romans, Lusios the Releaser, and Zagreus – son of Zeus and Persephone who was killed by the Titans and eaten. Athene saved his heart, which was swallowed by Semele, another lover of Zeus, and conceived anew. Hera convinced Semele to trick Zeus into revealing himself in his full glory, which burned Semele to ashes. Zeus rescued Dionysus from her ashes, stitched the unborn babe into his thigh until he was able to be born again, so he is sometimes called twice-born, and Zeus then gave him to the nymphs to raise.
When grown he became the god of all altered states, including drunkenness, religious ecstasy, and celebrations of music, dancing, theater and lustful excess. His male followers were the satyrs, half man and half goat with a horse’s tail, and his female followers were the maenads (mad women). His followers often carry a staff with a pine cone on the end, called a thyrsus, sometimes twined with grape or ivy vines.
The experience I had in this ritual meditation has continued to reverberate through my life and I am deeply honored to express the energy of Dionysus into the world.