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Honoring The Winter Solstice As A Modern Hellenist
25-12-2018, 07:16 PM
Post: #1
Honoring The Winter Solstice As A Modern Hellenist
I’ve blogged about a few examples of other pagan/polytheistic holidays around this time of year, including the Rural Dionysia and modern Hellenic holidays such as the Heliogenna. I briefly touched on the idea of people combining ideas from the Rural Dionysia, the winter solstice, and Dionysos’ prominent role at Delphi during the winter months to produce their own celebration, and in this blog post I’m going to get into that in more detail.

During the summer solstice, I honor Apollo and during the winter solstice, I honor Dionysos. The Rural Dionysia was marked by food, games, comedies (especially theatre, since Dionysos is a god of the theatre), and lighthearted fun. During this time, I enjoy food–either alone or with friends–plus wine, watch funny movies and/or tv, and spent time appreciating the season, what I have, what this year had to bring, etc. In the past I’ve baked phallus shaped cakes too. I also toast Dionysos when the ball drops for the New Year, and bless every glass of wine I drink in his name.

Dionysos, as I’ve blogged about in the past, unfairly gets labeled as a “party god”. Anyone who has read the Bacchae and similar pieces of literature can attest to otherwise. Unfortunately much of the necessary context, including culture, has been lost to a sea of “archetypes” in the modern world which have overly simplified gods like Dionysos. He is a god of the theatre, dance, music, initiation and the mysteries, death and rebirth, vegetation, and is deeply tied in with defying cultural and societal boundaries. In both ancient and modern times, Dionysos is a queer god whose worship allowed women to cast aside cultural conventions on what was appropriate behavior for them. He is a god of our times, and does not get enough love beyond “parties” and “wine”. Granted, I love red wine but the god is so much more.
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