Working with the Archetype of Dionysus: Irrational Wisdom

Posted by Candice Covington on

Dionysus: Vibrational Essence You may use this vibrational essence to invoke any or all of the Archetypal pattern listed below 

 Dionysus with Grape Leaf Staff 

“One function of love is to cure us of an anemic imagination, a life emptied of romantic attachment and abandoned to reason. Love releases us into the realm of divine imagination, where the soul is expanded and reminded of its unearthly cravings and needs”. – Thomas Moore

Sacred Plant: Grape Vitis vinifera

Element: Water seed of Fire

Catalyst for: Cultivating the Untrammeled Self  

Chakra Correlation: Svadhishthana (pelvic bowl, 2nd ); Manipura (solar plexus 3rd)

Sacred Syllables: Vam, Ram 

Key Vibrations: Gifts: For cultivating an expansive, sensuous, sensitive, spontaneous nature, which delights in the discovery and the beauty of everyday life. Have it be from tasting the tart juice of the pomegranate, a perfectly balanced wine, the quickening from your lovers embrace or the simple beauty of a sunset; you see the navel of divinity in all. Balancing: From being a reductionist and learning that all things are more than the sum total of their seeming parts. Learning to enjoy the outwardly “messy” as your edges come undone and you begin to grow from deep, new, fecund places.

Key Concepts: Water impregnated by Fire gives rise to the energy of Soulfulness. This is an expression of incredible depth, which provides softness toward human experience. It is not the quest for perfection but instead the practice of exploring what it means to be fully human within all of our shades. It is growing to love the seemingly disorderly and paradoxical aspects of a human incarnation and staying within that process, without shutting down, until the rich gift of experience has bloomed.  

Archetype: Dionysus. Irrational Wisdom

Grapes have been used since time immemorial to celebrate the divine in its most paradoxal yearnings that allow one to arrive in fantastical places where the conscious mind could not navigate us. The energy of a grape turning into wine “show[s] flowering in decay and fermentation, indestructibility in the midst of destruction.”[i] This is the tale of death and rebirth, for whenever this plant is used as a sacrament (or in ritual), it echoes the very tale of the Grape turning into wine. Dionysus was celebrated yearly at Delphi, where he was worshiped as an adult god who died and spent time in the underworld and was born again as a newborn child, “in the inner sanctuary of Apollo’s temple was the grave of Dionysus. For three winter months, Apollo handed over his temple to Dionysus while he went away far north, to the fabled land of Hyperboreans.”[ii]. This is a powerful vibration to work with, and since it personifies paradox, it births the reality of both light and the dark. The two sides of Grape are reaching mystic heights that allow you to merge with the divine in wild, joyful, orgasmic ecstasy and, in that moment, understand who you are in your most organic and feral state. This is the Dionysus who understands the secrets of nature, friend of the Nymph, and champion of women whose souls are not being honored. This can be understood as the Grape in its fruit form: joy, levity, brightness, radiant health, love, and nurturing.

Then the alchemical transition takes place and the sweet sugars of the Grape as they decay do not rot but ferment and are born into something mystical. This is the soulful side of the —Grape – Dionysus in his grave. This dark does not mean negative but deep. A few synonyms for soulful are emotional, unfathomable, profound, fervent, heartfelt, sincere, passionate, along with meaningful, significant, eloquent, expressive, moving, stirring, sad, and mournful. An interesting definition that sums up soul is the definition of Soul Music. “Broadly speaking, soul comes from gospel (the sacred) and blues (the profane). Blues was mainly a musical style that praised the fleshly desire; whereas, gospel was more oriented toward spiritual inspiration. [iii]

This is a vibration that allows individuals to intensely feel into all of their emotions not just the bright ones or dark ones. It is an important part of soul health to be able to cry, feel sincerely into injustice, sorrow, grief, and all other deep expressions.

This is the death and rebirth cycle: dark into light, light into dark or the alchemical turning of the Grape into wine that is personified here. One gets to cycle between all aspects of soul with its natural rhythms.

An aspect that makes this vibration fascinating is, to my knowledge, that there is no role of a deity with death and rebirth function which exists that is a female archetype with the Grape as its vehicle. The Grape seems to act more in the role of serving the feminine. Dr. Bolen writes, “Cybele or Rhea (both pre-Olympian great mother goddesses) … significantly, taught him [Dionysus] her mysteries and rites of initiation. Thus Dionysus was a priest of the great goddess, as well as a god himself.”[iv] Another masculine energy that seems to love the orgasmic nature of merging with the divine is Rumi. He expresses this rapture in his poem My Lips Got Lost:

My lips got lost on the way to the kiss –

that’s how drunk I


Luckily though I still connected

with the most tender part

of her.

The moon conceived—what

a wild looking baby

we are going to


Take a moment to sit with this: “My lips got lost on the way.” Rumi is talking about divine direction. One frequently has a mark set within the conscious mind, and in this poem the mark was the “lips,” although he was lucky in that instead he “connected with the most tender part of her,” the soul. He goes on to cite a known simile for the soul, the moon. And in true form to the soul, what “a wild looking baby” they will have! This is talking about the deep plumbing of one’s depths that will produce an outcome that is beyond the abilities of the rational mind. The Grape has often called women and men to step out of their ordinary lives and to revel in nature, support the divine feminine, and to discover an ecstatic element in themselves. In short, the Grape serves as a “priestess,” and initiates woman and men to the experience of Soul or the Great Goddess embodied in us all.

Incantation:Grape, I honor that you are the bringer of wildness and the most blessed deliverance. ‘Your realm is the life-giving and seminal moisture: the sap rising in a tree, the blood pounding in the veins, the liquid fire of the grape, all the mysterious and uncontrollable tides that flow and ebb in nature’[1].” I call upon you to give me your gifts and open me to life-giving nature to find my passion that burns in my veins.


[1] Pg 251-252 Bolen, J. S. (1989). Gods in Everyman: Archetypes that Shape Men's Lives. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

[i] Page 32. Cashford, Jules (2002). The Moon: Myth and Image. Four Walls Eight Windows 

[ii] Page 134. Bolen, J. S. (1989). Gods in Everyman: Archetypes that Shape Men's Lives. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.


[iii] Web Site: . Authored by Mark Edward Nero

[iv] Page. 253 Bolen, J. S. (1989). Gods in Everyman: Archetypes that Shape Men's Lives. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

© candice covington 

1 comment

  • Simply divine!!
    I’m swirling in new thoughts of understanding myself even more deeply.

    Jennifer Clay on

Leave a comment