Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dionysus - God of Wine

Dionysus was the Greek god who inspired ritual insanity, drunken madness, joyful worship, along with presiding religious ceremonies, eccentric ecstasy, crazy carnivals, kooky celebrations, and was also a major figure of Greek Mythology. It sounds like him and the free-spirited Satyrs would get along just fine, if ya know what I mean...
Dionysus was the god of wine and is often depicted with vine leaves in his hair, while holding a cup or goblet of wine. He is often described as being sort of a feminine male, but with him being a divine sot, this is to be expected. Dionysus was, in addition to his wine god status, a god of Greco-Roman mysteries.

Popular Birth Story of Dionysus

Dionysus, by myth, had a bizarre birth. His mother was a mortal woman named "Semele," and his father was the mighty Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus' wife, Hera, a jealous goddess who was a bit of a prude, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant. Appearing as an old hag, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that Zeus was the actual father of the baby in her womb. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele's mind.

Semele got duped by Hera's deception and due to this, she became curious and doubtful. Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood. This was a terrible mistake by her albeit Zeus begged her not to ask this, but she persisted and he finally agreed. Hence, he came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals, however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in the ensuing blaze.

Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh. A few months later, Dionysus was born on Mount Pramnos in the island of Ikaria, where Zeus went to release the now-fully-grown baby from his thigh. In this version, Dionysus is borne via two "mothers" (Semele and Zeus) before his birth, so one could say he was a "twice-born" wine-drinking bastard, perhaps. He is also known as Bacchus (the Roman equivalent).
Related Non-Myth Link: Health Benefits of Beer & Alcohol

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