Dionysism (pronounced die-oh-ny-sis-em) is an aesthetic based on the Grecian god Dionysus, his cult, and various other aspects of Grecian life and polytheism. As the god of wine, Dionysus is supposed to spread the knowledge of how to grow grape vines. In ancient Greece, wine was one of the few goods they could produce. Because of this, Dionysus was a major deity, and it was said that he was one of the twelve gods that lived upon Mount Olympus. Temples were erected in his honor and worship of him spread throughout the Greek poleis. Annual festivals called Dionysia were held in his honor and, of course, the purpose was to relax, feast, dance, and drink wine. Some dances in honor of Dionysus were performed on oiled wineskins, which were bags made out of animal skins that were filled with wine. Dionysus loved goats, donkeys, and tigers. Not only were those animals at the Dionysia, but their skins were also danced upon. When someone fell off the oiled wineskins, everyone cheered, laughed, and drank wine. In place of these outdated traditions, modern Dionysism may take place at various rowdy parties where alcohol is present and modern equivalences may be toga parties and dinner parties.
There are two facets to Dionysism; classical and contemporary, both explained in full below. However, the long and short of it is that classical Dionysism draws inspiration from the true Cult of Dionysus, while contemporary Dionysism draws from modern ideas of hedonism, usually stemming as a way to cope with burnout.
Classical Dionysism based on the original Cult of Dionysus. Think parties in the woods, dryads and satyrs, dilapidated marble statues, abandoned stone buildings full of rowdy drunks, and metal goblets filled to the brim with wine. This is almost the idealized version, but there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Contemporary Dionysism is based on modern hedonism being used as a way to help with burnout. A lot of imagery comes from frat parties where everything just feels a little magical, even if it’s just the alcohol talking. Imagery includes smoking on someone’s roof, a smokey basement with colorful lighting, toga parties, running from the cops with friends, and talking with the beautiful stranger in the corner.
Note that both strains of Dionysism have unhealthy behaviors attached to them. Whatever you do, be sure to be responsible and health.
Dionysism has a core value of hedonism, so comfort is first and foremost in a Dionystic outfit. Classical Grecian influences are equally important. This means earthy colors like sky blues and grass greens, linen whites, and metals like copper and gold. Some common fashion aspects and clothing pieces can include:
- Loose, draping clothing
- No or little makeup
- Lounge clothing like oversize shirts and sweatpants
- Togas and capes, sometimes made from everyday objects like sheets or blankets
- Flowy, long dresses, tunics, and skirts in light colors
- Whatever’s comfortable!
Activities & Media
- Reading classic Grecian myths and poems, such as The Iliad and The Odyssey
- Learning an instrument like the harp, flute, or acoustic guitar
- Smoking or drinking with friends (again, please be responsible when using intoxicants)
- Hanging out in the forest
- Going to parties
- Staying up and waking up late
- The album Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience (especially the song The Cult of Dionysus)
- Your choice of college frat movie
- Anything with the subject of hedonism or rejection of authority
- The Greek classics