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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Myths of Dionysus

Sunday, August 28, 2011
Dionysus the ancient God of Thrace was a complex diety. While he was the God of wine and ecstasy, representing the chaos and disorder in the world around us. He was also the God of fertility, crops and harvest which are all symbols of order and civilization.
One of the stories of his birth has him being born of Zeus after being conceived in Semele, a mortal. According to the story, Hera jealous of the affair convinced Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his true glory to her. This of course caused her to be burnt to ashes but before the infant could be destroyed Zeus retrieved him and sewed him into his leg. Later the child was cut out from Zeus and was subsequently driven insane by Hera.
Yet strangely in his insanity he traveled the world bringing wine and civilization with him. His insanity stayed until he met his grandmother, Cybele an Earth Goddess, who cures him of his madness and taught him the mysteries of life and resurrection

Because crops die in winter and return in spring, Dionysus was seen as a symbol of death and resurrection. In another story about his birth, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of crops and vegetation. Hera was jealous of the child and convinced the Titans to destroy him. Although Dionysus was disguised as a baby goat, the Titans found him, caught him, and tore him to pieces. They ate all of his body except his heart, which was rescued by Athena *. She gave the heart to Zeus, who gave it to Semele to eat. Semele later gave birth to Dionysus again. The story represents the earth (Demeter) and sky (Zeus) giving birth to the crops (Dionysus), which die each winter and are reborn again in the spring.
So as you can see Dionysus was a complex and interesting God that is a perfect for this harvest season.
Blessed Be!

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