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God Silenus and the Rules of Drinking

Some might say God Silenus has the best job in the Multiverse - God of Wine Quality Control and Supply. However, his rules are strict and he counsels for moderation.
Text title Silenu

Summary of Contents: Silenus in Mythology | Arrival and Appearance | Pubs and Bars | Silenus' Rules | Wine or Beer? | No Party? No Problem | Silenus vs Atlas Drinking Contest

Festival Day - 16 February and 4 October

God Silenus in Mythology

Old stories told of how Silenus was friend and mentor to the god Dionysus. Renowned for his good-natured wisdom, sometimes those who managed to gain his focused attention for long enough could discover the future.

Most descriptions portrayed him permanently in a state of drunkenness.

God Silenus Mythological references

Goddesses, Gods and You

What kind of Heaven do you expect. Soft fluffy paradise of eternity, or oblivion of nothingness? Out-of-body survival expert Margo Williams discovered a surprisingly simple system of management and afterlife recycling.

There are many goddesses and gods in the community. Speaking their name aloud evidently sends a signal; creates a link to wherever they are at any given moment. If it works for you as it worked for Margo, and they respond, be respectful but be yourself. Honesty and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

Sacrifice nothing but your time. Most of them seemed approachable and appreciated being remembered.

The ancient temples that still can be found in some places, although mostly broken, are huge monumental structures; impressive sacred spaces, their scale designed to impress, to be worthy of divine visitation.

However, it is not the size and splendour of any sacred space but the sincerity of the person seeking contact.

Photo image of Margo Williams in Africa
Margo Williams in Africa

"Is Silenus also Bacchus, God of excess?" Nick Hammond asked out-of-body survivalist Margo Williams.

Arrival and Appearance

"I discovered Silenus counsels for moderation.

His arrival was preceded by sounds of deep-throated chuckle. White light streaked with red, green, blue and purple flooded the air.

"This is different." A big grey haired, grey bearded god formed. Broad, fat-bellied; dressed in short tunic to just above his knees, revealing short fat legs.

"I like it. Thank you for the wine, as near the nectar of the Gods as possible."

He stared around at the situation then focused back on me, grinned hugely. I couldn’t tell if he was drunk or not. Rosy rounded cheeks, eyes small and knowing; aged somewhere late fifties, I guessed.

Grey wavy beard short-cut, hair brown greying long to his shoulders. It fell in ripples and ended in curls.

"The mighty Gods have brought you love, wisdom and courage. I bring you nothing like that." He gestured, joyously. "I bring laughter, which is just as important. Retain your sense of humour and all will be well."

I liked the sound of his chuckle but heard no slurring. He bubbled with merriment offering a description of himself of sorts.

"As a God I take my work very seriously. I am not a mighty God, rather a lesser one," he conceded, cheerfully. "Yet I enjoy myself better than those on high. I am a happy god, who, I hope, brings happiness into here."

Although weighty and big, Silenus was not massively intimidating like Poseidon or Pan. Definitely a strong smell of wine wafted in the room.

It occurred to me his streaked light was probably only the colours of grape.

God of Wine on Pubs and Bars

"You are honouring us all,’ he continued, juicily. "The mighty and great gods and goddesses, and now even the monsters. This shows true dedication."

He grinned hugely and gestured at me. "I have entered many public houses, as you call them, and was following you when you visited one such place the other night."

A gaze of serene contentment beamed from Silenus' face.

"I enjoyed this, and you conducted yourself with dignity, as befits you."

Extravagantly he waved his opinion of alcohol. "Wine from the grape is far superior to liquid from hops or from spirits."

I had no idea he had accompanied us to our local pub.

"I like you two mortals, why should I not?’ he answered me. "You respect and honour me, and are not afraid of drinking wine."

He reached down, took hold of my hand. I noticed he was a bit thin of hair on top of head. "Come with me."

Silenus definitely swayed as we exited.

Silenus' Drinking Rules

Arrived on a gentle sun-warmed hillside ranged with lush ripe red grape vines.

It was harvest time, a group of women were busy picking and filling baskets. I looked for Silenus but saw no sign of him.

I tried to take a juicy grape from a basket, guessing the woman-picker couldn’t see me, for none of them seemed aware of my arrival. But maybe she sensed my intent. She snatched up her basket and moved it to the other side.

So I sat and watched them pick and carry grape-loads.

I noticed a decrepit old man sitting under a vine, raggedy clothed, back bent. Arthritis-ravaged hands looked gnarled and deformed. A basket stood beside him but he was slow to fill it, he seemed unable to use his fingers.

So I helped him pick grapes.

The filled baskets were collected by a man driving a small tractor between the vines, pulling box containers. Some pickers put two or three tagged baskets on the tractor.

I helped the old man lift his filled basket on board but when the tractor was gone he didn’t look up, didn’t even say a 'Thank you'. The old man shuffled away between the vines.

But with every step he straightened and rose taller, ragged trousers and shirt fell away revealing only a loincloth. Chuckling he turned to face me. "I wanted to see whether you would help, or just laze around."

The big joke eventually ran its course and Silenus’ mirth quietened. He waved me to follow through the vineyard. "There are a few rules for me," he talked as we walked. "I am a happy God, and like my wine. When you honour me you will always have wine, which so far you have." He gestured the next rule.

"From the moment you start your devotions until the time you go to bed that night you must be happy."

"I do not like it if anyone is miserable while I am present. In the temples I have visited so many of the mortals leave with miserable faces.’

Silenus mimicked a frown-mouth expression but couldn’t hold it for long, it set him off laughing again.

Joke over eventually, his tone turned as serious as Silenus could muster.

"Although it is not a day when you will be honouring me, next Saturday is the festival of wine, of the grape. I, and many gods and goddesses, celebrate this day, as we indulge in with the wine." He focused interestedly on me, gauging how much wisdom was absorbed. Paused thoughtful a moment.

"We honour the grape ourselves. So, see you have bottles, and be happy. It must be grape."

I followed, listening. Paying attention to the rules.

Wine or Beer?

"There is nothing like wine for strength," he continued. "Wine should flow freely and should be cheap, as you call it."

He stopped and looked at me, as if to emphasise his point. "Without getting completely inebriated, to be merry on wine is good for the physical body and the astral. Beer is better than nothing at all, the fermented apple is fun."

We walked through grape-growing countryside. I guessed France, from the grape-pickers’ language as they called to each other.

Silenus sometimes stopped to watch the harvest, his smile beamed evidence of how much he loved his work.

"I am a God who likes enjoyment and hates cruelty," he continued. "Some call me Bacchus. I am Silenus, the god who loves wine. Known by some as the God of Wine.’ He paused, in joyous contemplation of that responsibility.

"God of the most important of liquids. He is quite different," he said. "But it does not matter that I am not Bacchus."

So far he hadn’t mentioned spirits, brandy and cognac are grape.

"There are mortals who do not believe in alcohol. Strong drink to them is a sin"’ There was a moment’s silence as that thought passed through his mind.

I thought of people I knew who abstained, and I couldn’t say for certain if that made them less happy. But nor would I dispute his opinion, he was making the case from his own particular responsibility.

On we walked, Silenus concluded his lesson.

"Mortals knew how to enjoy themselves in the past," Silenus waved. "They have forgotten how. But to drink oneself into a stupor when one does not know what is happening, is more than foolish. Instead of awareness, doubt and evil will creep into the mind."

He stopped again to emphasize the point. "I tell you this, so you know. A moderate amount of drinking is good for you. None at all, or too much, is bad. I am the great God Silenus who knows these things."

"But to drink to be merry is the finest thing and therefore should not be stopped." He gestured widely. "Wine should be available for all."

No Party? No Problem?

I felt certain some people live happy lives without wine, by choice or consequence and maybe Silenus read that thought. Or maybe not.

"How much is taken by an individual is up to them," he added. "Some use it with a little wisdom, others use it foolishly. Enjoy my gift to the world, the grape. Enjoy your wine."

That was Silenus’ one and only test.

Most times spent in his company were outdoors in some country place or another. Rarely was he alone, mostly he partied with nymphs and often accompanied by Pan.

When next I was invited to join him I arrived to find Silenus surrounded by a cluster of big earthenware jugs, each over three feet in height filled with wine.

He sway-stood. Holding a huge goblet in each hand as four watchful nymphs ladled wine into the goblets. When one was drained he held it out, while he drank from the other, and the empty one was filled.

Somehow he turned to me and said, quite rightly: "You cannot drink like this, it is not expected. But be proud of drinking wine and of being who you are."

Silenus’ capacity truly was awesome. Even when there were no official celebrations, that fact was no reason not to have one anyway. No party? No problem seemed to be another rule.

Silenus Vs Atlas Drinking Contest

"Other gods and goddesses bring you power and they bring love, but I believe laughter is more important," was his oft-repeated opinion. "Frowns and a miserable nature deform the face. Laughter makes it pleasant."

Huge belly spilled over loincloth, busy with heave of amusement. That day he shared some information about himself and how it all happened.

"I, Silenus, have three days a year for different celebrations." He waved the goblets for emphasis and refill. "The first is of my birth, the second is my first taste of wine; and the third is being given the great power I have."

Both goblets splashed with fullness.

"Today is the celebration of my first taste of wine, so welcome."

On another occasion I found him sitting beside a small fountain, its water golden-coloured and curiously sweet-smelling. He sat close beside it and greeted me with a huge belly laugh when I figured out what that smell was.

"My fountain of wine," he confirmed. "I believe every day and every night are for celebrations, yet this does not seem to be so, today. So I make my own. If no one comes, there are the nymphs, and there is wine."

Silenus sat forward as best he could, peered into the distance and pointed.

"Today he is coming."

Someone big approached. A massive male, his heavy footfall caused ripples in the wine fountain pool.

Atlas arrived grinning hugely, picked up a big goblet from the far side of the pool, filled it and then sat by Silenus on the basin edge.

Atlas towered over us both.

"I have company." Silenus waved. "And I have wine, so I celebrate."

He tapped me on the shoulder. "Now you may return to your world. Do not be unhappy. I give you the gift of laughter."

Silenus looked to Atlas, who nodded huge head; then grinned back to me. "And the gift of wisdom. You also have the gift of my love. And the love of wine."

I don’t know if Atlas could out-drink Silenus. Even with his colossal head-start, it would be a contest.

Thank you for your company on this short introduction to god Silenus. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' experiences and suggestions for how to survive in the hereafter read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Book cover link to purchase Olympian Goddesses and Gods Coexistence
Olympian Goddesses and Gods Coexistence. Now available from Amazon.co.uk
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