I knew all along that when the Pagan Blog Project came back around “A,” I would be writing about Ariadne. As the wife of Dionysos, she is an important figure in my faith. I imagined, however, that this post would be along the lines of the one I wrote last year for Semele: basically a recap of Her mythology and various cultic honors, interspersed with my own feelings about Her.
But then, that was before we were properly introduced.
It all started with a dream. I won’t go into the details here, but it was one of those dreams that you just know comes from somewhere outside of your own head. Suffice to say that it was about Dionysos – I had been questioning whether I was really fit to be His follower, and the dream was addressing those concerns. Ariadne Herself appeared at the end and gave me Her nod of approval. Apparently I was acceptable as “one of the girls…”
Or maybe it started before that, when I turned a corner at the Phoenix Art Museum and found myself face to face with this painting: Bacchus and Ariadne by Antoine-Jean Gros. I rarely like how Dionysos, or Bacchus, is portrayed in art of any period except ancient Greek, or the occasional contemporary piece. This painting was is exception. But Ariadne was a different story. She captivated me. Every time I returned to the museum (which was fairly often, it being one of the few places I actually liked in Phoenix) I would find myself coming back to this painting, standing enthralled before Her until something broke the spell.
So now I find myself slowly getting to know Ariadne, not as a distant figure in myth, but as the living goddess that She is.
A goddess who was once human. She was worshiped in places as Ariadne-Aphrodite, but unlike the Olympian Aphrodite, Ariadne has experience love as a human would. She has made mistakes. She has faced rejection and a broken heart. In the end, she triumphs. In this aspect she is a comforting goddess.
Her aspect of Mistress of the Labyrinth hints and a much darker mystery. I am intrigued, and must explore deeper.
Unfortunately my understanding is too fragmentary, the acquaintance too new, for me to be able to write further today. For a more coherent perspective on Ariadne, I recommend the links below.