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Pagan Gods:The Dionysus Resource Page
Updated 7-10-01

"Dionysus(TO BE ADDED)(raging).In Green and Roman mythology,a title for Dionysus,son of Zeus and Semele,who was a daughter of Cadmus;also called Liber. Numerous art and music works identify the god Dionysus as Bacchus,such as The Young BacchusBy Caravaggio,which portrays one of the artist's male lovers;Titian's great Bacchus and Ariadne,depicting the god jumping from his chariot;and Roussel's two-act balet,Bacchus et Ariane(1930).Ovid'sFasti(book 3) supplied most of the imagery for the paintings.

Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus, appears to be a god who has two distinct origins. On the one hand, Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature, who is also the patron god of the Greek stage. On the other hand, Dionysus also represents the outstanding features of mystery religions, such as those practiced at Eleusis: ecstasy, personal delivery from the daily world through physical or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites. Scholars have long suspected that the god known as Dionysus is in fact a fusion of a local Greek nature god, and another more potent god imported rather late in Greek pre-history from Phrygia (the central area of modern day Turkey) or Thrace.
According to one myth, Dionysus is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman, Semele (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes). Semele is killed by Zeus' lightning bolts while Dionysus is still in her womb. Dionysus is rescued and undergoes a second birth from Zeus after developing in his thigh. Zeus then gives the infant to some nymphs to be raised. In another version, one with more explicit religious overtones, Dionysus, also referred to as Zagreus in this account, is the son of Zeus and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Hera gets the Titans to lure the infant with toys, and then they rip him to shreds eating everything but Zagreus' heart, which is saved by either Athena, Rhea, or Demeter. Zeus remakes his son from the heart and implants him in Semele who bears a new Dionysus Zagreus. Hence, as in the earlier account, Dionysus is called "twice born." The latter account formed a part of the Orphic religion's religious mythology.
It does seem clear that Dionysus, at least the Phrygian Dionysus, was a late arrival in the Greek world and in Greek mythology. He is hardly mentioned at all in the Homeric epics, and when he is it is with some hostility. A number of his stories are tales of how Dionysus moved into a city, was resisted, and then destroyed those who opposed him. The most famous account of this is that of Euripides in his play the Bacchae. He wrote this play while in the court of King Archelaus of Macedon, and nowhere do we see Dionysus more destructive and his worship more dangerous than in this play. Scholars have speculated not unreasonably that in Macedon Euripides discovered a more extreme form of the religion of Dionysus being practiced than the more civil, quiet forms in Athens.
Briefly, Dionysus returns to Thebes, his putative birthplace, where his cousin Pentheus is king. He has returned to punish the women of Thebes for denying that he was a god and born of a god. Pentheus is enraged at the worship of Dionysus and forbids it, but he cannot stop the women, including his mother Agave, or even the elder statesmen of the kingdom from swarming to the wilds to join the Maenads (a term given to women under the ecstatic spell of Dionysus) in worship. Dionysus lures Pentheus to the wilds where he is killed by the Maenads and then mutilated by Agave.
by Rachel Gross and Dale Grote
Copyright (c) 2000 Encyclopedia Mythica. All rights reserved."
Page accessed June 22, 2000

Prayers and Hyms to Dionysos

Homeric Hymn To Dionysos

Ivy-wreathed Dionysos of the loud shout I sing,
Radiant son of Zeus and Semele,
Nurtured by lovely-haired nymphs who, receiving the child
From his father, took him to their breasts and tenderly reared him
In the grottoes of Nysa. There, in a sweet-smelling cave,
He lived among the nymphs by the will of his father,
Growing in strength and numbered among the Immortals.
But after the nymphs had raised the God everywhere honored
In hymns, he wandered at will through the wooded dells,
His brow enreathed with ivy and laurel, the nymphs
Following after, their outcry resounding throughout the vast woodland.
Thus do I hail you, Dionysos, heavy with clusters,
Grant that we return to this season rejoicing,
And from this season on again through the many years.

Trans. Thelma Sargent
The Orphic Hymn to Dionysos
Translation copyright ?998 Adam P. Forrest To Dionysos
With storax incense I summon Dionysos the Loud Roarer, He Who Cries Eua, Firstborn, Two-Natured, Thrice Born, Bacchic One, My Lord! Wild One, Unspeakable One, Secret One, Two-Horned and Two-Formed One! Ivy-wrapped, Bull-faced, Martial Reveler, Thou Pure One! Eater of Raw Flesh, Lord of Biennial Rites, Bearer of Grapes, Wearer of Green Shoots! Good Councilor, Frequent Councilor, Child of Zeus and of Persephon?BR> When They joined in an ineffable Union, Thou immortal Spirit! Hear Thou, Blessed One, my voice, and gently breathe Thou upon me Kindheartedly, with Thy fair-girt Nurturers.

The Words of Dionysos Bromios
through His Maenad, Philentheos I am the Far-Reacher, I am the Earth-Shaker, I am the Loud-Shouter. I am Dionysos Bromios and I sound My cry to awaken your heart.
I am the White Bull of Harmony, I am the White Bull of the Anthesteria. Nymphs, satyrs and beloved maenads follow behind Me. I am strong of flank and delicate of hoof. Where my foot falls, flowers spring forth, plucked by My devoted followers, Fashioned into garlands. Flower garlands twine about My thrusting horns and mighty neck. I am the White Bull of Spring, My nostrils exhale the breath of renewal. My enticing broming calls forth the souls of the dead and for this brief moment They again dance and cry and look toward life renewed. I am the White Bull of Life Who carries strength and vigor on the tips of My horns.
I am the piercer of the sack of life, I am the carrier of the sacred nectar. I am the joy and the ecstasy of the hive. I am the great fountain of life and I bid you to drink from Me. I am all this, but I am more.
I am the Black Bull of the seed of generations. I am the fullness of the phallus, I plow the earth with My seed as I dance.
I am the Charger of Many Forms. With Me you toss your head-in dance, you become the Black Bull I am the great earth shaker, I am the mover of mountains. I am the ripple, the swelling, the great excitement. I am the wild herder, I am the cutter and the sorter. By My ripping horns the mark is put upon those who will begin their death dance
And through Me a new seed is generated before death can claim. I am life eternal, I am the frenzy and the madness. I am the berserk lover who casts aside all inhibitions. My broming comes from the very depths of the heart. My wild cry bursts forth from containment to freedom. I am the greening of the vine, the mover of the sap. I am the life force, I am the ultimate release. I am Zoe. I am all this, but I am more.

I am the Red Bull of the sacrifice, the blood nourisher of the earth.
My seed, deposited in the earth is fed by My sacrifice.
I am the heat of the flame, the intense scorcher.
At the tip of each horn burns the blue flame of My Divinity.
I am the bloodlust, the great trampler.
My hooves pound and the ground runs red.
I am the Render of Souls, the Tearer of Hearts.
I am the Red Bull who illumines the ultimate Lysios.
I am the freedom bringer, for I take away all.
My awesome broming strikes fear in all who know not that
My ear shattering cry is meant to vibrate the soul.
I am the Red Bull of the Fiery Blood, know Me in your heart.
Through fear, know excitement
Through excitement, know passion
Through passion, know ecstasy
Through ecstasy, know union
Through union, know Zoe
Through Zoe, know the All
Through the All-Nothing
I am the Red Bull of the Fiery Heart, know Me.
I am all this, but I am more.
I am the Far-Reacher, I am the Earth-Shaker, I am the Loud-Shouter I am Dionysos Bromios and I sound My cry to awaken your soul.

Dionysus Pages Across the Internet

1.Dionysus and the Bacchae
2.Dionisis/The Gods
3.A View of Apollo and Dionysusby R.H. Albright (Boston, MA; 1996-2000)
4.Dionysus 2 :By Carlos Parada
5.DionysusAuthor Unknown.
6.Hermetic Fellowship-Dionysian Link
6.The Bacchae or Bacchantes : By Euripides - Dionysus Wineskin God