Dionysians

Where some gods may demand worship or sacrifice, obeisance or blind obedience, there are others whose appetites are whetted - and then sated - by excesses and indulgence.

A fixture of carnivals, masquerades and bacchanals (despite being etymologically linked to Bacchus’ Greek precursor) the Dionysians are, per their earliest taxonomic classification as daimons, somewhere between spirits and lesser gods. Appearing without fanfare or ceremony and blending into crowds of carousers and revellers all over the world, they amplify and magnify disinhibition and hedonism. They are not known to have an existence independent or outside of their role, and those of a theist bent believe that Dionysians are agents of the God for whom they are named: Increasing the fervour of a celebration until it reaches the heightened pitch that becomes - usually unknowingly or inadvertently - a devotional act.


Both a part of and apart from the parties where they appear, Dionysians may manifest in human form but only lightly inhabit our plane of existence. They are vague and unformed impressions and impersonations of people; less real than the heaving masses and throngs that they walk amongst. It is therefore difficult to describe the Dionysians in any real detail - the gaze tends to glance off and past them, even if one knows who and what they are looking for - and nearly impossible to make meaningful assessments as to whether their number is comprised of unique individuals or randomised instantiations of some more nebulous gestalt intent: Form as a utilitarian extension of function.


Whether or not this is a deliberate attempt to foster anonymity, it is aided by the Dionysians’ ability to intensify the inebriating effects of any drugs or alcohol that have been consumed. In addition to affecting those who have partaken willingly, their presence creates a weak empathic field - a psychic miasma - which allows the intoxication to spread. They become radiant loci of chemically-assisted intemperance; an influence similar to the psychological “contact high” that some sober people experience when surrounded by those who have been drinking. Presumably an aid to their ritual purpose, that Dionysians temporarily impair the critical faculties of everyone around them has the secondary function of making them harder to study or investigate.


Whilst its nature is disputed, Dionysians also have some sort of power to affect the passage of time. It is undoubted limited, moments of ecstasy can be drawn out, a dawn that would mark the close of festivities can seemingly be held at bay, but time marches inexorably onwards even under their sway. It is not known whether this power is external, some observable and measurable phenomenon, or works only within the subjectivity of perception: A trick which plays out in the minds of those under the Dionysians’ influence. Given that the most dramatic discrepancies it causes are typically dismissed without concern by those who even notice them, it seems likely that it is the latter.


Although admittedly potent, the full extent of the Dionysians’ inspiration does not take hold immediately. Instead it embeds and grows over the course of several hours, a cumulative build that elevates a natural careless happiness to a trance-like and carefree euphoria that eventually permeates and envelops a celebration in its entirety. Having been transformed - stoked almost into a mania - the tenor and tempo of the presiding joy is, ultimately, unsustainable. Come the morning after the night before, carousers might find themselves plumbing depths commensurate with the unnatural heights to which they had been raised: Crashing brutally, if only briefly, into an ennui that balances out the earlier elation.


These feelings fade though, are shaken off with worst of the hangovers and comedowns, and the memories that remain are overwhelmingly positive. People are left with the sense that they danced freely, joyously, enjoyed one another’s company unabashedly and without reservation, and that even the most familiar of songs and spirits were imbued with a new flavour and vitality. For those brief and fleeting hours, everyone involved lived more absolutely and authentically than they could ever recall having done before. Even the sadness that followed is eventually recast as nostalgia, a bittersweet aftertaste that only makes what came before that much keener. Given all this, the Dionysians are generally considered a welcome presence and are, sometimes, even seen as a benediction.


There are some historical records which suggest that in addition to being brought forth naturally (they seem to be drawn to any festivity sufficiently large and boisterous to serve their purposes), a Dionysian can be summoned by the use of certain rites and rituals. Despite a few broadly consistent elements (mainly the use of certain entheogens that would have been known to ancient Greek mystics) these differ wildly and look to have been rewritten and revised as need in order to suit their various authors’ circumstances, and what little evidence of success exists is tempered by the fact that the invocations have largely been performed to enliven events that might well have drawn in Dionysians anyway.


Accounts that deal with instances where the allure of at least some genuine revelry is absent are rare and, where they don’t meet with abject and complete failure, they tend towards the cautionary: The sole sour element to the lore surrounding Dionysians. They are, in their way, the ultimate expressions of hedonism - of appetites unbound by the concerns and constraints of the everyday - and where these drives are diffused and dispersed safely throughout the assembled masses at the festivals and celebrations where Dionysians are habitually found, the stories detail the disastrous effects that their presence and abilities are purported to have had on those who would summon and interact with the Dionysians directly.


There is no indication that Dionysians can be bound (if they can be summoned at all) but, absent the mitigation of the crowd and attendant anonymity in which they work, the full force of their influence is said to fall directly onto whoever has invoked them. The sensation is said to be ecstatic - some call it revelatory - but it is also overpowering, and when the feeling fades it leaves behind appetites that cannot be satiated. Every hedonistic desire becomes a desperate craving, more addiction than need, but no amount of indulgence suffices. The hungers are endless, the human form impermanent and fragile; most people gorge and drink themselves to death in a matter of days.

#Dionysians #Hedonism #Dionysius #Bacchanals #Bacchus #Ecstasy #Cravings #Daimons #Devotionals #TemporalDistortion

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