Here is footage of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and members of his crew being arrested while reporting on the riots in Minneapolis being held to protest the death of George Floyd (an African-American man who was killed by a police officer who had knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while arresting Floyd).
Now, I try not to comment on controversy but I felt moved to make a statement: whether or not you believe the protestors are right or wrong, the arrest of Omar Jimenez is proof that we are living in a police state. Be very careful, everyone. It is painfully obvious in these times that our so-called “rights” are merely privileges allowed to us by those who feel that they own us.
While I do not usually place emphasis on my nationality in preference to an identity as a member of the world, I must say that this is a violation of the high ideals of the American people (as others have pointed out, a Dionysian people) and I cannot stand for it.
Here is a link to the story of that statue I just told you about called the Windham Bacchus. It’s always good for Polytheists to connect to the locsl forms of their deities so here’s an image for anyone in New England that could be used to get to know the Bacchus of this region.
So I was looking into whether ot not there was Bacchic imagery from Connecticut I could use for these posts when I found the Coat of Arms for the state of Connecticut: three grapvines upon a field of white with the Latin motto Qui Transtulit Sustinet or “He who transplanted still sustains”.
Doesn’t that sound exactly like something Nonnus or Euripides would write of Dionysos?
In the year 1820, Ephraim Lyon of Eastford, Connecticut came up with a surprising idea: he decided to found a church dedicated to Bacchus, the god of wine.
The temperance movement was starting to gain influence at this time, so perhaps Ephraim’s religious revelation was in reaction to the movement’s anti-alcohol messages. Whatever the reason, Ephraim took his calling seriously. As the History of Windham County, Connecticut notes, “He named himself as the high priest, saying he must become badly intoxicated several times each year in order that he might hold the office.”
The rest of the church’s membership was composed of those who “used intoxicating liquids to excess.” Members didn’t need to apply, and Ephraim didn’t ask permission before adding someone to the church’s membership list. Instead, he added a new member’s name whenever he learned of someone who had been drinking heavily. Eventually, the Church of Bacchus had more than 1,000 members, both male and female, in its congregation. The only way to be removed from Ephraim’s list was to go on the wagon.
Unfortunately because of the growing temperance movement many of the church’s members didn’t want their names on the list, and asked Ephraim to be removed. He refused. The requests became threats, but still Ephraim refused. Fearing for life and property, Ephraim’s wife finally burned her husband’s list, but he recreated it from memory and hid it someplace secure. It was rumored that he shared the list only with an inner circle of church deacons derived from Windham County’s most zealous drinkers.
Despite threats and being socially ostracized, Ephraim maintained his devotion to the god of wine until his death in 1840. The deacons and other devout Bacchants memorialized his life with plenty of strong liquor and merrymaking. Ephraim claimed that “members who died in full membership were said to go the Bacchanalian revels of their patron god,” so I hope he’s happy somewhere with a big glass of wine in his hand.
Was Ephraim Lyon serious about his church? Did he really believe in Bacchus as the god of wine? I suppose it’s impossible to say. Maybe he was just protesting against the temperance movement, or perhaps it was just all an elaborate joke.
I do wonder, though, if a joker would risk his life and his home the way Ephraim did. And Ephraim’s statements about the afterlife match what the ancient followers of Bacchus believed. Perhaps he did receive a genuine divine revelation, even if it was a drunken one.
It should be pointed out that I was not able to find a picture of our friend Ephraim Lyon so I decided to use a picture of a statue of Dionysos that resided in the region Lyon lived in at the time (more on this statue in a moment).
“If you take mushrooms and hallucinate because it’s fun, you’re just doing drugs. If you work with an entheogenic Plant Ally to engage with the Holy Powers, you’re doing religion.” – A guy named Ryan who said this on another blog but he was super spot on with this so it was only right to share it