Local Cultus 3: Dionysus without grapes

Same disclaimer as my previous post on local cultus: This will not be informative unless you’re interested in how I approach the issues I’m trying to solve. Note that obviously this is stuffed with UPG.

The grapevine (vitis vinifera) doesn’t naturally grow in this northern part of the world. While there is some wine production in some parts of Sweden, Finland is still too up North for grape and wine production (though there have been attempts and experiments which I won’t get into).
I can’t say it’s been much of an issue since imports from southern countries make grape products easily available (albeit at a slightly higher price), but when considering local cultus and how to adapt to what the soil here provides, you still need to dig a bit deeper.
There were several questions to consider when thinking about the possibility of a local Dionysian practice:
  1. What are local alcohols?
  2. Are there traditionally elements Dionysian that are present here?
Putting aside alcohols like beer and vodka, which I would more easily attribute to Demeter, two drinks stood out to me. The first is Terva, which is a liqueur made out of pine tar. My interest there is obviously in the use of a pine byproduct. The other drink is cloudberry wine/liqueur (lakkaviini / lakkalikööri). Technically, most, if not all, berries are fermentable to make fruit wine. My interest in cloudberry especially comes from the environment they naturally grow in: the marsh.
Dionysus has the epithet “of the marsh/swamp” (Limnaios) in Athens as well as a temple of the same name, which seems to have been mostly in use for the Anthesteria and for the Oschophoria.

You get the point, it’s this kind of connection I’m looking for. I haven’t yet grabbed a bottle, but it’s on my list of things to try out in practice.


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