Dionysos and Holy Mess
by Ruby Sara
Greetings, best beloveds, from the tumbledown and ramshackle rooms of the fiercely wild urban midwest! There is bread rising on the counter. My world is a mess – the flotsam of recent rituals littering the hall, and the melting outside with its tired freeze but its burgeoning laughter is infiltrating every crack and corner. There is music on the radio, its river beat working seamlessly with the light. The dinner table where I sit is covered with the writerly stuff of reference and inspiration…not to mention a number of vinyl records…the hobby of the intrepid spouse. And to my left, a bucket of tulips and hyacinths in slow decay.
Our Kore ritual on Sunday went well I think – messy, loud and crazy, not unlike ourselves, and now we are left with these spring flowers, almost a week old and beginning to show signs of blowsy age, relaxing into the sweet and papery stage of death.
Today is a day of Spring cleaning – of turning from old projects to new…of fresh sheets and clean kitchens. Moving forward and showing up. But for just a moment, for just this moment, there is the rock and roll of holy mess, spilling over in green veils and old herb crowns, and I find my thoughts turned in meditation to my Beloved, that Leopard, that Vine…that Delicious Fire…that Dionysos.
A friend recently asked me what it meant to be a devotee of Dionysos, and I found myself a little lost for words. It may be that my feelings in relationship to that most illuminating god of liberation and intoxication can only be expressed in poetry.
But I think at least part of that devotion is an appreciation for the messiness of life.
Each season is a study in mess…spring the mess of joy, summer the mess of abundance, autumn the mess of harvest, winter the mess of restlessness and snow. The Mama is not simple, and is perfect only if perfection is understood as the rocking balance dance of terrible and awesome and awful and amazing that makes up the day to day of being a living thing. Flowers grow in compost. Spring follows winter, but winter comes back eventually. Mud gets on shoes and tracks into the house…the same mud that makes roses possible. Grapes are crushed and their juice gets mixed with the yeast in the air that feeds on sweetness and in their riot of joy…fermentation. Intoxication. Bread and wine. I choose to worship this process, this mess, because to ignore it seems the greater risk. Civilization in a way seems to be all about cleaning the mess…ignoring the strange, eschewing the gunk. But the Chaotes are right about this: entropy lives at the heart of the Mama, and while it is human to seek order, to seek the rest and peace in a ceramic bowl, in the single plum tree, in the apple skin…it is also and still human, wholly human, to bear witness to the wet clay that made the bowl, the beautiful wreck and promise in the soil that birthed the plum tree, and the sweet decay of the fruit behind the apple skin. And that’s Dionysos. The wreck, the promise, the decay, the sweetness, the fermentation, the dancing, the imperfect perfection…the mess.
I go to stem the tide of entropy as much as I can. I will wash dishes knowing they will be dirty tomorrow. But this moment…this one. I give thanks in the mess. Life is weird. Wyrd. Amazing.
Grok mess, beloveds. Grok Earth. Pray without ceasing.