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The Dionysus/Morrison Ritual

 I have serious reservations about putting this ritual on-line, but people constantly ask me about it so I thought it was probably appropriate.  The version on this website is what I'm calling the "Festival Version," meaning it's only been performed in front of large groups (100 plus people!), and it's a lot different than the intimate little mini-Morrisons I did in Lansing for several years.  Instead of the original college crowd, at festivals Morrison attracts all sorts of people from every walk of life.  People in Mercedes-Benzes, old volkswagon vans, giant campers, and a various assortment of old cars.  

Before you get to the ritual, I think I should share some Morrison Ritual history.  I didn't start the Morrison Ritual tradition, Jim "Mad Dog" Runnels did, and it was Jim who initiated me at Pagan Spirit Gathering several years ago.  So the idea behind the ritual is not entirely mine, however my version takes the ritual to places it might not have otherwise gone.  (To learn more about Jim Runnels visit http://harmonytribe.org/moondog.html)

The Jason version ups the Pagan Poetry quotient, and uses excerpts from Jim Morrison's poetry to introduce the deity calls.  My version is also set to music, and everything in the ritual is designed to compliment whatever song is playing.  A lot of people think the Morrison Ritual is "Dischordian," and while we do invite Eris to the proceedings, I don't think a tightly scripted ritual is Dischordian.  Dionysus was the god of drama, and the Morrison Ritual is theatrical, and planned.

In my mythology the Morrison Ritual acknowledges Jim Morrison as the 20th Century incarnation of Dionysus.  Jim/Dionysus invites us to walk the path of excess, but not to go over the edge.  Living life to its fullest is a magickal thing, but indulging too much will take us from this realm.  In some respects the Morrison Ritual is a cautionary tale, enjoy it all, but if you do too much you'll end up like Jim.

Parts of the ritual below were written seven years ago or more, while other parts are relatively new.  I'm pretty sure I wrote most of the words below, but Ash Morrison deserves a great deal of the credit for helping me better pace the ritual.  She also helped me with the final edit of the ritual, telling me to rewrite portions of the ritual she didn't like.

I've done Morrison at almost every festival I've been lucky enough to speak at, usually multiple times.  It never varies a whole lot, but it's always a lot of fun.  There are minor tweaks and adjustments from festival to festival, but the basic version of of the ritual conceived in 2005 is what we generally use, with one big exception.  I ended up changing all the "deity calls" in 2006, those changes are noted at the bottom of the ritual.  The original stuff is far more poetic, but the ritual is so loud that the poetry parts of it often get lost.

The Morrison Ritual doesn't belong to me, it belongs to you, and everyone else who makes it the place to be at Starwood and Pantheacon.  It also belongs to all of the wonderful (and usually more popular) High Priestesses who have helped me with it the last few years.  So a special thank you to Ari, Becky, April, and Mari-Anne.  I appreciate it greatly.

Break on through!!!!          -Jason "Pan Morrison" Mankey

Morrison Ritual           Festival Version 1.0

This is the basic version of the Morrison Ritual, I've outlined its origins above, and this version of the ritual was basically the one seen at Starwood 2005 and Pantheacon 2006.


The various versions of the Morrison Ritual below were . . .                    

      Written/Conceived by Pan Morrison, Ash Morrison, and Moonchild Morrison.

 

Preparing the Space/Preparing for the Guests:  The Priest and Priestess purify the circle, ready the altar, and prepare the sacred space.  At the entrance to the ritual space two guardians stand watch, keeping the masses from the ritual area.  After the space is prepared, the Priest and Priestess make their way towards the portal (ritual entry way), carrying two chalices and a bottle of wine.         

     Music during this phase:  Excerpts from An American Prayer

 

Welcoming the Celebrants:  The Priestess and Priest face one another and two lines are formed.  The celebrants walk between the Priest and Priestess stopping to sip the sacred wine and are offered a greeting while taking the wine.  “Drink deeply from the cup of life . . . . . Wine shared is life shared . . . . . . Tonight you shall behold the mysteries of Dionysus and Aphrodite . . . “  (The guardians will be the first individuals to drink from the chalices.)  The celebrants are led into the circle by the two circle guardians who will break up large groups.  A serious mood prevails upon the ritual at this time.  After everyone has entered the circle, the Priestess and Priest take the final drinks and walk towards the center of the circle. 

    Music:  Riders on the Storm

 

Statement of Intent:  The Priest and Priestess enter the circle and survey the celebrants.  The Priestess opens up the rite:  “The program for this evening is not new You've seen this entertainment through and through You've seen your birth your life and death you might recall all of the rest Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?”    The Priest follows the Priestess:  “We come tonight to celebrate life..  We celebrate beauty, intoxication, lust, . . . the path of excess.  We’ve come here tonight to celebrate life’s passions.  We celebrate the great Dionysus and the beautiful Aphrodite.” 

    Music:  Love Street

     Is everybody In?-Jim Morrison

Is everybody in?
Is everybody in?
Is everybody in?
The ceremony is about to begin.
WAKE UP!
You can't remember where it was
Has this dream stopped?

 

 Calling the Quarters/Casting the Circle:  Before the quarters are called the Priest and Priestess start moving around the circle, getting the energy in the circle moving a little bit.  They will encourage the celebrants to make noise, to drink, to sing along to the music.  After a minute or so of this the first quarter will be called.  The Priest and Priestess may signify this step by turning towards the east and shouting “East!” loudly.

 “I call to the spirits of the East.  The wind that whispers in our ears and caress our bodies.  We call upon you tonight, you that carry the words and the music that stir our souls and inspires us.  We welcome and toast to you o powers of air, of the east.  Blessed Be!“

  “I call to the spirits of the South.  The fire that burns in our eyes, and the passion that enflames us with lust and longing.  We call upon you element of desire and sex; fill us with your heat and flame.  We welcome and toast to you o powers of fire, of the south.  Blessed Be.”

 I call to the spirits of West.  The water that washes over us and takes us to new beginnings, and brings us fresh inspiration.  We call upon you element of emotion; awaken our hearts to open up to new experiences.  We welcome and toast you o powers of water, of the west.  Blessed Be.”

 “I call to the spirits of the North. The earth that allows us to experience the pleasures of the flesh, our solid being.  We call upon you element of rhythm, the drumming heartbeat of our bodies.  We welcome and toast to you o powers of the earth.  Blessed Be.”

 The quarter callers will all light the appropriate candle after they call their quarter.  All the candles in this ritual will be on the main altar.

 Casting the Circle:

“Event in a room

Event in a space

A circle

A magick rite to call upon the mighty ones.   (Words:  Jim Morrison)

The circle is cast.  We stand between the worlds.”  

     Music:  Break on Through/

Call to Dionysus 

      High Priestess: 

Do you know the warm progress under the stars?
Do you know we exist?
Have you forgotten the keys to the Kingdom
Have you been born yet & are you alive?
Let's reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages
Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests
We need great golden copulations

the fathers are cackling in trees of the forest  (words Jim Morrison)

 

Charge of Dionysus   (Jason Mankey and Jim Morrison)

     High Priest:

Tonight we celebrate life, not just breath but LIVING, sucking out all this world has to offer.  We gather here to worship with words, with sounds, hands all joyful, playful, and obscene.  We fixate ourselves on decadence, gluttony, and passion.  We know this abides within our own being.  For everyone has their own magick.  There is no death, so nothing matters.  Live in the now, celebrate joy and bliss.  Ignore the naysayers, for they know not that the politics of ecstasy are real!  Can’t you feel them working through you, turning night into day, mixing sun with the sea transforming worries into carefree madness, mere contentment into unbridled ecstasy?  My time is in this moment, not in revels past or in vague notions of what may still come.  Excess is the secret to serving me homage.  Eat heartily at the table and trough, drink to soften your mind and lower your inhibitions.  Learn from the Bachi past, be not like the new ones, for they deserted me, deserted the cause, message or word for another god.  Do not turn your back on what it means to live.  Feel me in all that is pleasurable, joyful, playful, lustful, drunken and maddening.  Tonight you join with me in spirit, memory, longing, music, dance, words, myth, and flesh.  I am Dionysus-God of excess, God of life.

 

    Music:  Whiskey Bar

 Call to Aphrodite

High Priest:

She is magician

She is female prophet

Sorceress

Dressed in the past

All arrayed

The stars

The Moon

She reads the future in your hand  (words Jim Morrison)

 Charge of Aphrodite

High Priestess:

     I am Ariadne Aphrodite, lover and consort to great Dionysus.  My names have been spoken by men and women through the ages.  I am Aphrodite, Venus, Isis, harlot, holy prostitute.

    I am the giver of physical pleasure, my blessings are with you when lips touch, toes curl, bodies join, and organs swell and tingle with anticipation.  My worship is bodily ecstasy, but it too slows the brain.  Like the wine god, I can also make you crazy.

   I am the goddess of love, blessing those whose hearts kneel before another.  Be warned-do not invoke me as a goddess of chastity or monogamy for I turn my nose at such conventions.  I need no man or woman, though I want many.  I will not be chained by another, unless it is a game I play, and be warned, I always make my own rules.

    There is none more fair than I, great Aphrodite; I am your dream whether you be male or female.  I am that which you covet.  I am freedom from inhibition, and I am pleasure received and given.

     Music:  Hello I Love You

 

Call to Dischordia

Resident mockery give us an hour for magic
We of the purple glove

We of the starling flight & velvet hour
We of Arabic pleasure's breed
We of sundome & the night
Give us a creed to believe
A night of Lust Give us trust in the Night  (words Jim Morrison)

 Charge of Dischordia

Here my words, for I am the ancient Goddess of chaos, chance and circumstance.  Welcome me into your sacred rite so that I might sow the seeds of the unexpected into your proceedings.  Let me unleash the passion in your souls, releasing that which you seek to suppress.  I will open the unknown, taking you down pathways you fear to tread.  I am chaos; from me all things are formed, and to me all things return.  I am the spirit of anarchy, the breakdown of social order.  I am the catalyst of change, the nexus of rebirth.  I am life, the unknown, the fear that haunts your nights.  I am that which sets you free, I am Eris, Dischordia. 

    Initiations 

The Priest and Priestess face each other in the center of the circle and then address the celebrants, saying things similar to what is written here.  Exact words don’t really matter so much.

   “And now comes the time that we offer you the opportunity to run with the Morrison Clan.  I, Pan Morrison, and I Ash Morrison, give you this chance to embrace the path of excess, to live life to its fullest.” 

   High Priestess:  Do you Pan Morrison vow to continue to walk the path of excess, will you fall upon your knees before me and renew your vows?”

    High Priest:  ”I choose to walk the path of excess with you oh Ash Morrison.” 

High Priest falls to his knees, and the Priestess presents him with a bead necklace, helps him up and gives him a really long, hot, passionate kiss.  Upon standing he says to her:  ”And do you Ash Morrison vow to continue to walk the path of excess, will you fall upon your knees before me?”   

    High Priestess:  I do choose to walk the path of excess with you tonight Pan Morrison.”  The Priest helps the Priestess up and gives her a bead necklace, he then proceeds to give her a kiss.

Music:  Hour For Magic

After the Priestess and Priest have renewed their vows they turn towards the crowd and say “Who will join us tonight, who will walk the path of excess with us, who among you will join us in our wild hunt?”    A “plant” will have already been chosen to be the first initiated so everyone else will have an equal chance to “get it” so to speak.  After the plant yells a bit and presents themselves the Priestess and Priest ask the following questions:


Do you choose to walk the path of excess?  To live to its fullest, to embrace each and everyday as if its your last?    Celebrant should say “yes” of course.

So what shall be your name in the clan?  

Hopefully they’ll give us a name that’s not totally stupid.  If they have trouble thinking up a name we’ll give them one.  After they give the Priest and Priestess a name they are told to arise, but to arise by their new name  (Arise So and So Morrison).  Upon arising they are presented with a bead necklace and given a kiss.

This part of the ritual goes on and on until everyone is initiated that wants to be initiated.  As soon as all the newbies are initiated, those who are already in the clan can renew their vows in a similar fashion to what has already gone on.  If there are a lot of celebrants, the celebrants can be initiated in pairs or groups. 

    Music:  Not to Touch the Earth,  Light My Fire, Roadhouse Blues, LA Woman, Gloria, Love Her Madly, Back Door Man, Touch Me,
 

 The Dance:  High Priestess:   And now we welcome you who have chosen to join us into the Morrison Clan. Dance with us under the light of the moon. 

   Music:  Indian Summer, End of the Night

The mood for this part of the ritual is a bit more somber, somewhat serious, as it’s time to wind down now.  The Priest and Priestess will lead everyone in the dancing.  If no one is dancing they should split up.

Cakes and Ale:  High Priest:  And now comes the time that we give thanks to the Lord and Lady, to great Dionysus and beautiful Aphrodite who have joined us tonight.  Bless this food that will fill our bellies and bless this wine that wine that will fill our hearts.  Blessed Be.

  The Priestess and Priest share the gifts of the gods with each other and then pass them around the circle, refilling goblets as necessary. 

 Goodbyes to the Gods

 Goodbye Dischordia

Hail Eris and Thank you for joining us tonight in our circle, for bringing organized into our lives.  Stay if you will, go if you must, hail and farewell!

 Goodbye to Aphrodite

Glorious Aphrodite, Thank you for joining us tonight in our circle, for bringing us your sexuality, your lust and your desire.  Stay if you will, go if you must, hail and farewell.

  Goodbye to Dionysus

Great Dionysus, Thank you for being with us in our circle tonight, for sharing your gift of the vine, and giving us the wisdom that only comes from madness.  Stay if you will, go if you must, hail and farewell

  Music:  When the Music’s Over

 

 Quarters and Circle Out

 “The element of rhythm has come to us, allowing us to experience the pleasures of the flesh this night.  We thank the spirits of the North and the Earth for joining us tonight in our revels!  Blessed Be!”

 “The element of emotion has come to us, washing over us with inspiration and the courage to face new beginnings.  We thank the spirits of the West and the Water for joining us tonight in our revels!  Blessed Be.”

 “The element of passion has come to us, enflaming us with lust and longing for life.  We thank the spirits of the South and the Fire for joining us tonight in our revels.  Blessed Be.”

 “The element of inspiration has come to us, touching us with the power of vision, showing us all this world has to offer.  We thank the spirits of the East and the Air for joining us tonight in our revels.  Blessed Be!”

    Music:  The End

 

Grounding  High Priestess:  “And now, reach down, touch the earth. Take with you what you need, give to her what you don’t.”

 Releasing the Circle   High Priest:  Our rite is at end.  We have praised the Mighty Ones and walked the path of excess Go with the love of Dionysus and Aphrodite in your hearts, and make the night your own.  So mote it be!!!!

 At this point the circle may or may not break up.  People might sway in time to the last chords of “The End” and then disperse, or they may leave while the music is still playing.

 

Cleanup . . . .  .                      Music:  L’America

Changes
The biggest change to the ritual over the years has been in the deity calls.  I mentioned all of that above so I won't get into that again, but I will add that the new calls seem to fit into the ritual better.  What follows below is an abbreviated version of the calls, since it now tends to get made up on the spot.  At a couple of festivals I've let a friend call Dionysus and then I'll call Jim.  Ari and I do the same thing at places like Starwood, splitting up the calls and letting someone else take the spotlight for a second. 

Call to Dionysus
Are you ready for the main event?  Are you ready to welcome the god of the hour?  Come on now, let me here you yell and welcome Dionysus!!   Is that all you've got, is that the best you can do?  I thought this was a Morrison Ritual with 200 crazy Pagans!?!?!  Now I want to hear you welcome Dionysus, yell it out for the god of wine!

Now that's better, now maybe the wine won't run out before "The End."  I'd sure hate to offend Him, just not a good idea.  Do you know who else we need to yell for?  Oh I think you do, it's the guy whose name is on the ritual
, let's hear it for Jim Freaking Morrison!"


Call to Aphrodite/Eris

It's all well and good to be calling the wine god, and Jim of course, but I think we are missing something tonight,  a little bit of the divine feminine.  I think we need to remedy that, don't you?  Who should we invite here, what goddess of love, sex, and beauty, should we have join us?  I need to you yell and welcome Aphrodite!!  Is that all you've got, do you want to get laid tonight, we need to welcome Aphrodite! 

Now that's better, but we've got one more goddess to invite, and if we don't invite her, she'll probably crash the party, and we don't want that.  I need to hear you welcome Eris, Dischordia! 


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