Meeting Dionysus in San Jose

Dionysus extending a drinking cup (kantharos), late 6th century BC
Seated Dionysos holding out a kantharos. Interior from an Attic black-figured plate, ca. 520-500 BC. From Vulci. Source.

A young woman in a white chiton sat on a chair in front of an entrance to a hotel room. “Would you like to meet Dionysus?” she asked me. A priestess, then. I wasn’t planning on it, not so literally, but why not? Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones is the best thing about Pantheacon, so why not say hello to a God who favors poets?

The priestess said Dionysus only sees one person at a time, so I had to wait until the previous supplicant or visitor or worshipper left. It wasn’t long. Another priestess opened the door and ushered me in.

It was just a hotel room but it wasn’t just a hotel room. Shrines were on every wall on tables, and a little table stood near a throne-like chair with a large bottle of wine placed on it. The room felt peaceful and dedicated to its purpose as a shrine. I didn’t look around too much though, because there he was, Dionysus, enacted by a long-haired and bearded, friendly young man who asked if I wished to hug. I did wish to hug.

“What can Dionysus do for you?” he asked. I paused for a moment. I’m not much of a God-botherer. “Actually, I’d like to read you a poem I wrote,” I said. Dionysus sat down on the throne-chair, and listened appreciatively while I read a poem on my phone. I was strangely nervous. It was all fun and games, but then again, it wasn’t. When I was finished he was effusive. I thanked him for inspiration. He said he was always with me, and loved my poetry.