The wondrous happenings of the world were once considered omens: symbolic messages from the Gods that required our imaginative interpretation. While we continue to experience them today, they've been stripped of their significance and are spoken of in purely rational terms. To most, they are the subject of viral photographs, videos and stories. To me, they are much more, as I continue the divinatory traditions of our ancestors, gathering information from them, viewing the world through their lens and following their guidance.
Once such video recently came to my attention. It shows a chaotic scene. An Irish man named Denny struggles to catch a bat with a towel as it circles round and round his kitchen, while the cameraman excitedly narrates the unfolding events. In the end, Denny catches the bat, releasing it outside, just as the family dog enters the room and urinates on the floor. This encounter is worth more than a few laughs. It's worth our careful consideration, for there is no doubt that it is an omen.
I have called upon the ineffable energies of the universe to enlighten my perception of this video, to reveal its true nature, and I have had a vision—a vision of the Minyades, the daughters of an ancient Greek king.
As mythology teaches us, Dionysus and his worshippers would put on festivals where they engaged in ritual wine drinking and frenzied dancing, all to lower their inhibitions and free themselves from the constraints of society. During one such festival, the Minyades decided to stay home and continue their usual routines, thus profaning the rituals. Angered, Dionysus changed them forever into bats. From then on, bats reminded the Ancient Greeks to honor the god, Dionysus, and this viral video is a reminder to us today.
Denny represents all of us, and the bat entering his home, being chased, caught and released, represents our need to free themselves from the constraints of society, to participate in our own Dionysian rituals: to go out, drink wine and dance. I encourage you to do so this weekend— responsibly, of course. For those, like me, who prefer a more traditional experience, I recommend fashioning a thyrsos, a staff with a pinecone on top, wearing a wreath of laurel around your head and drinking from a kanthoros, a large cup with two handles. While I believe the dog urinating in Denny's kitchen is significant, it is unnecessary to incorporate this into your ritual, but if you feel you must, you must.
I am Zardulu,
Zardulu's reading of Denny and the bat video first appeared on our weekly podcast, you can listen to the episode here.