The Ivy Wreath
by Rebecca Lynn Scott
Ivy covers things over. It smothers other plants and trees. It tears up mortar and, slowly, pulls down buildings and town.
Even when cultivated, it cannot be tamed; it grows where it will, no matter how often it is cut back.
It was with ivy that Dionysos covered his mother’s tomb and the ship of the pirates who would have sold him into slavery.
Ivy twines the thrusting thyrsos, both weapon and instrument.
Ivy is toxic, its leaves and fruit causing delirium, convulsions, hallucinations. It only harms, while the grape vine’s leaves and fruit are edible and good for us, and the intoxication wine brings is liberating, when drunk correctly.
Ivy is the Other Vine, the reminder that Dionysos destroys as well as creates, that covering over and pulling down is liberating in another way.
Ivy marks the death in life of Dionysos, while the vine marks the life in death.
Ivy has always been worn by celebrants of Dionysos.