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 Greek Gods: Dionysus

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Location : New York State
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Greek Gods: Dionysus   Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:10 am

In 1 version, Dionysus is the son of Persephone by Zeus, but according to Hesiod, Semel, a mortal, was his mother. After Hera tricked her into insisting that Zeus reveal his divine glory to her, Zeus rescued Dionysus from his dying mother's womb & put him into his thigh to gestate.

Hera wasn't completely satisfied with her rival's destruction, so she caused Dionysus' guardians, his uncle Athamas & Aunt Io to go insane. This time, Hermes rescued Dionysus & carried him off to Mount Nysa, where nymphys took over his care. There, he was educated by the Muses, satyrs & the wisdom filled, but drunken
Silenus.

As a god of wine & revelry, Dionysus represents our wild side, unleashed inspiration, a general flouting of the law, order & protocol. Like Pan, he is the indulgence of sensuality. He's been depicted as wearing a fawn or panther skin & carrying a thyrus, which is a staff topped with a pine cone (sometimes it's a double pronged staff) &
adorned with living ivy. He traveled a lot, bringing wine with him. He rewarded those who pleased him with vine stock & punished those who displeased him with madness. He was associated with donkeys & in some tales, rode one.

His romances were varied; sometimes seduction worked & sometimes when it didn't, he turned the errant one into a tree. There were times when he turned those who annoyed him into rocks.

A Homeric Hymn to Dionysus tells how when he was a youth, he was kidnapped by pirates for ransom. The helmsman recognized him & asked that he be set free, but the plea fell on deaf ears. Dionysus had wine flow throughout the ship & living vines appeared & flourished. Then came berries, flowers & elaborate garlands. At this point, the pirates were going to turn back & release him, but it was too late. In lion form now, Dionysus kills the ship's captain & the sailors plunge into the sea to escape his wrath. He was merciful & changed them into dolphins. If it were Artemis or Apollo, I doubt that any of them would have been allowed to live.

Dionysus was a solar deity, had a pastoral aspect & could increase flocks & operated through warmth & moisture; light & liquid. Sunshine on the vine makes the wine! Through ecstasy, Dionysus expands. It is interesting to note that while Dionysus is a god of excess & Apollo's advertisement is self-control, but when it comes right down to it, Dionysus is much more restrained.

While it is important to honor all facets of the psyche, for "unacted desires breed pestilence in the mind", it doesn't mean that one should act on every whim or perversity, but instead to allow a bit of space for one's Dionysus side to find expression. He represents the will to break free & enjoy life however we feel inclined.

Sometimes it's good to be just a little bit mad.
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