By Mike Gleason
Written In Wine: A Devotional Anthology For Dionysos, by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Neos Alexandrina, 9781434836731, 220 pp., 2007
This work, a collection of thought by modern worshippers of Dionysos, includes essays, poetry, rituals and fiction as well as personal accounts of experiences. There are over 50 contributions by more than 30 writers.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina exists as a non-profit organization dedicated to re-establishing the worship of Hellenistic and Kemetic gods. Every book purchased, and there will a series of them forthcoming, furthers that goal. If you are willing to put your money to a good cause, this is one well worth supporting. Neos Alexandrian, the publisher, is helping to re-establish the Library of Alexandria, one book at a time.
This collection starts off with a short story…a piece of fiction. Or is it fiction? Might it have been a privileged channelling of Dionysos’ thoughts following the horrors of Hurricane Katrina’s damage to a city where his revels were a vital part of daily life? It doesn’t matter which it is. It is an appropriate way to open this book.
The editors made a conscious decision not to impose standardization in style, spelling, etc., which may send the reader into a moment of head-scratching when unfamiliar terms are encountered. But Dionysos does that every day.
The articles, which comprise almost half of the book, range from light-hearted to scholarly; from intensely personal to detached retelling of history. In other words, they reflect the various ways devotees of Dionysos experience his presence in their lives.
The poetry consists of translations of the Orphic Hymns on the one hand all the way through to modern forms.
If this is a representative sampling of the quality of work which is in the offing, all I can say is that I look forward to upcoming volumes. My only fear is that there won’t be enough support generated to continue this enterprise. Therefore I strongly recommend that you add this book to your “must buy” list, even if you are not particularly interested in Dionysos. The only way we can be assured of volumes dedicated to other deities is by offering our support to this effort.
Last updated: February 7th, 2010
Filed under: Religion & Spirituality
Topics: bibliotheca alexandria, dionysos, essays, fiction, history, orphic hymns, Paganism, poetry, religion, review, Spirituality, wine