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Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

~Homer

A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Dionysus, Bacchante, Bacchanalia - Gods and Goddess cults


Dionysus/Bacchus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology.he earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a thyrsus
DIONYSUS was the great Olympian god of wine, vegetation, pleasure and festivity. He was depicted as either an older bearded god or a pretty effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes included the thyrsos (a pine-cone tipped staff), drinking cup, leopard and fruiting vine. He was usually accompanied by a troop of Satyrs and Mainades (female devotees or nymphs).
Herodotus, Histories 2. 153. 1 (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"Among the Greeks, Herakles, Dionysus, and Pan are held to be the youngest of the gods . . . and Pan the son of Penelope, for according to the Greeks Penelope and Hermes were the parents of Pan, was [first worshipped in Greece] about eight hundred years before me [Herodotus], and thus of a later date than the Trojan war . . . Had Dionysus son of Semele and Pan son of Penelope appeared in Hellas and lived there to old age, like Herakles the son of Amphitryon, it might have been said that they too (like Herakles) were but men, named after the older Pan and Dionysus, the gods of antiquity;  but as it is . . . for Pan, the Greeks do not know what became of him after his birth. It is therefore plain to me that the Greeks learned the names of these two gods later than the names of all the others, and trace the birth of both to the time when they gained the knowledge."
 http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Pan.html

 SUMMARY
 Dionysus crowned with a wreath of ivy, is shown with a vine in one hand and a drinking cup in the other. A small Satyros stands in attendance, pouring wine.


DIONYSUS & PAN
Museum Collection: Shahba Museum, Shahba, Syria
Date: C4th AD
Period: Imperial Roman
SUMMARY
Dionysos stands haloed and holding a drining cup and thyrsos rod beside the goat-legged god Pan.
 DIONYSUS RIDING PANTHER
Museum Collection: Pella Archaeological Museum, Pella, Macedonia, Greece
Date: ca 400 - 360 BC
Period: Hellenistic Greek
SUMMARY
The youthful god Dionysos rides side-saddle on the back of a panther with a ribboned thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff) in his hand. He is crowned with a wreath of ivy or vine-leaves.

THE CHARIOT OF DIONYSUS
Museum Collection: Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Date: ca 400 - 390 BC
Period: Late Classical
SUMMARY
Dionysos drives a chariot drawn by three beasts: a panther, bull and Gryps (griffin). The god is crowned with a wreath of ivy leaves and holds a thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff) in one hand.
Rubens, Bacchus

 Triumph of Bacchus (Museo de Prado, Madrid), Cornelis de Vos


Dionysian procession on a marble sarcophagus, possibly indicating that the deceased was an initiate into Dionysian mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates. The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the cult practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders. The most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The popularity of mystery cults flourished in Late AntiquityJulian the Apostate in the mid 4th century is known to have been initiated into three distinct mystery cults. Notable among these late cults was the Mithraic Mysteries.
In Greek mythology, maenads  were the female followers of Dionysus (Bacchus in the Roman pantheon), the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maenad

 Furious Maenad,carrying a thyrsus and a panther,with a snake rolled up over her head.Tondo of an Ancient GreekAttic white-ground kylix 490-480 BC from Vulci.Staatliche Antikensammlungen Munich Germany.

Maenad and SatyrAncient Greek kylixby Makron, 490-480 BC. Staatliche Antikensammlungen München

 DIONYSUS, SATYROS & BACCHANTE

Museum Collection: British Museum, London, United Kingdom
Date: ca 100 AD
Period: Imperial Roman
SUMMARY
The god Dionysos holding a thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff), draped with a skin, and accompanied by a panther, follows a Satyros with pipes and Bakkhante with cymbals in a Bacchic procession.
   The Bacchante, Jean-Léon Gérôme.
  Arthur Hacker, A Bacchante        
Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914) & Edmond Behles (1841-1924), A dancing maenad and satyr.



 A naked satyr wearing a pardalis on his left shoulder (right) tugs at the scarf of a maenad wearing a transparent chiton and facing back , Louvre Museum

 Annibale Carracci, Bacchante

 Lawrence Alma-TademaA dedication to Bacchus,

  Giorgio SommerEdmond Behlesmaenad riding a centaur. Photograph of a drawing taken from a fresco from Pompeii

Let's  look at Berdache. It was posted on a forum that promotes spirituality.

The "Berdache" are also known as llahamana, adonisgi, gatekeepers, nadle, mexago, winkte, yirka- la ul, and i-wa-wisp. They are those individuals who, because of their essential energetic androgyny, have the power to enter the Other world. This is NOT a sexual orientation. It is spiritual. Some Berdache are gay, but that is more a choice of action, a preference, than it is a mandate for the usage of this gift.

The indigenous thought about the Other World, the realm of the Gods, is that it is a realm of ONENESS. The Gods or spirits are both masculine and feminine in one. Though a certain spirit might manifest before a human in either a masculine or feminine character, it is---at it's core---BOTH genders.
The Berdache are special in the fact that they carry this androgynous energy---the energy of the Gods. It is what makes them able to exist both in physical form and also "journey" into the other realms as well. Hermes Trismegastrus and the Egyptian God THOTH were both examples of this propensity for androgyny. In fact, the term "hermaphrodite" (Hermes+ Aphrodite) refers to the marriage of the archetypal male and female (these two were the children of Zeus). This important predisposition is seen clearly in the African culture. In childbirth, the spirit of the fetus is exhorted through the voice of the mother. It is at this time that the "energy" of it's soul is examined by the village Shaman. Certain souls who possess this androgyny are seen to be "blessed from birth." They are called "the holy ones." It is in this African tradition that the name of "Gatekeeper" is given to the child. Many preparations are made to welcome it into the community, including the giving of an appropriate name to "harmonize" with it's sacred purpose.

The priestesses in the Temples of the Goddess were often Berdache. Though they often lived "normal" lives---having husbands and families---they would choose, at key times to go and live at the Temple, devoting many hours, days, weeks to worship of the Goddess.

In this "Temple-system" of worship, people from the city would come and pay homage to the particular face or version of the Goddess for which the Temple was built. Most noted were the Temples for Diana, Artemis, Isis, and Hecate---though there were/are many more faces of the ONE Goddess. The "homage" would often consist of money or physical goods---which would be utilized for the upkeep of the Temple as well as the support of the Priestesses.

Temple worship was often sexual in nature. Many times, children were born of the connections made there. These children were raised in the Temple and were called "Children of the Goddess." Those less sympathetic with this religious system, who wrote about these "rites," would refer to these Priestesses as "Temple Prostitutes." They looked upon them with scorn, and later sought to overthrow the whole system.

Hermes Trismegastrus and the Egyptian God THOTH were both examples of this propensity for androgyny.
Yes, the same Hermes who taught the ruling elite how to enslaved and keep us in misery us for ages. He left many teachings but the most powerful that keep us under mass hypnosis are teachings relating to language, crafty, and deceitful, and cunning words. One of the member said that I was obsessed with Hermes which made me smile. We need to know the teachings to get to know the mindset of those who control us; otherwise we will be stuck. I have posted on Let's continue with Hermes blog all of his teachings but let’s look at a few.

GOD OF LANGUAGE, LEARNING & CRAFTY WILES

Hermes came to be regarded as the god of language, alongside Mnemosyne (the goddess of memory). He was said to have been the inventor of writing, which in ancient Greece was first employed in the missives carried by heralds and the stock-taking of merchants and property owners. In addition, he was sometimes said to have taught mankind their many tongues, and so was the god of the "babelisation" of language, so to speak.
As well as writing, he presided over eloquence and persuasion, skills employed by those under his patronage: heralds, merchants, thieves and conmen. Similarly he was the god of crafty thoughts and wiles, and the use of persuasive deception and trickery.

GOD OF SPEECH, CRAFTY WORDS & ELOQUENCE

"Also the Guide, Argeiphontes [Hermes], contrived within her [Pandora, the first woman] lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods [Hermes] put speech in her." - Hesiod, Works and Days 80
She [Maia] bare a son [Hermes], of many shifts, blandly cunning." - Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes 4

Let’s look at some goddess and gods cults.

Aphrodite/Venus
Pindar, Eulogies Fragment 122 (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Guest-loving girls [courtesans and prostitutes]! Servants of Peitho (Suasion) in wealthy Korinthos! Ye that burn the golden tears of fresh frankincense, full often soaring upward in your souls unto Aphrodite."

Strabo, Geography 8. 6. 20 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The temple of Aphrodite [in Korinthos in the days of the tyrant Kypselos] was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple slaves, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated to the goddess.
http://www.theoi.com/Cult/AphroditeCult.html
One aspect of the cult of Aphrodite and her precedents that Thomas Bulfinch's much-reprinted The Age of Fable; or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855 etc.) elided[21] was the practice of ritual prostitution in her shrines and temples. The euphemism in Greek is hierodoule, "sacred slave." The practice was an inherent part of the rituals owed to  Aphrodite's Near Eastern forebears, Sumerian Inanna and Akkadian Ishtar, whose temple priestesses were the "women of Ishtar," ishtaritum.[22] The practice has been documented in Babylon, Syria and Palestine, in Phoenician cities and the Tyrian colony Carthage, and for Hellenic Aphrodite inCyprus, the center of her cult, Cythera, Corinth and in Sicily
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodite
Phallic processions and contests held in his honor were also widely celebrated. His main cult centres were the island of Naxos and Mount Kithairon in Boiotia, the latter being the seat of his Orgies.

Those who partake in his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.[9] His cult is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead.Initiates worshiped him in the Dionysian Mysteries, which were comparable to and linked with the Orphic Mysteries, and may have influenced Gnosticism[citation needed]. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.[48]The bull, the serpent, the ivy and the wine are the signs of the characteristic Dionysian atmosphere, and Dionysus is strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni
Bacchanalia The notoriety of these festivals, where many kinds of crimes and political conspiracies were supposed to be planned, led to a decree by the Senate in 186 BC — the so-called Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, inscribed on a bronze tablet discovered inCalabria (1640), now in Vienna — by which the Bacchanalia were prohibited throughout all Italy except in special cases that required specific approval by the Senate.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus
Do we want to accept any teachings of those who enslaved us? We may ask who they really are if they expect people to be involved in prostitution, blood sacrifice, or ritual madness? In ancient Babylon, Greece, Syria, or Egypt only people who were initiated could participate in sexual or and ritual madness. Today, we learn that it is a spiritual way to reach the real of ONENESS or gods. What a bunch of crap! Those gods need us but we don’t need them. They don’t have a power over our souls but they can get it by lies and deceptions and spirituality is one of their ways. They are not powerful even thought they programmed us for thousands of years believing so. If they were powerful, they could take over humanity long time ago. But they didn’t. Now, I understand paintings of artists when they have painted Golden Age. Golden Age of gods. I hope not.

Let's look at paintings.
 Winged Phallic Symbol Statue Dionysus Temple, Delos Island, Greece, 300 B.C.



The Golden Age, 1605 Joachim Wtewael (Dutch, 1566–1638)

The Golden Age, 1605 Joachim Wtewael detail

Fiammingo,Paolo (Franck,Pauwel) Love in the Golden Age


 Lucas Cranach the Elder The Golden Age

 The Amazement of the Gods (?) Hans von Aachen........ Really? I don't think so.

Let's look at Dionysus/ Bacchus roles..

GOD OF WINE-DRINKING, PLEASURE & PARTY
Anacreon, Fragment 12 (from Palatine Antholog, on Anacreon , Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C6th B.C.)
"For all your live, old man, was poured out as an offering to these three - the Mousai (Muses), Dionysos and Eros (Love) [he indulged solely in music, wine and love]."

GOD OF DRUNKENNESS
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 87 (from Athenaeus 10. 428)  (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Such gifts as Dionysos gave to men, a joy and a sorrow both. Who ever drinks to fullness, in him wine becomes violent and binds together his hands and feet, his tongue also and his wits with fetters unspeakable: and soft sleep embraces him."
Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2. 38e :
"From the condition produced by wine they liken Dionysos to a bull of panther, because they who have indulged too freely are prone to violence . . . There are some drinkers who become full of rage like a bull . . . Some, also, become like wild beasts in their desire to fight, whence the likeness to a panther."

GOD OF MADNESS, PHANTOMS & HALLUCINATION
Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 389 :
"[Dionysos makes phantoms appear:] the crash of unseen drums clamoured, and fifes and jingling brass resounded, and the air was sweet with scents or myrrh and saffron, and - beyond belief! - the weaving all turned green, the hanging cloth grew leaves of ivy, part became a vine, what had been threads formed tendrils, form the warp broad leaves unfurled, bunches of grapes were seen, matching the purple with their coloured sheen. And now the day was spent, the hour stole on when one would doubt if it were light or dark, some lingering light at night's vague borderlands. Suddenly the whole house began to shake, the lamps flared up, and all the rooms were bright with flashing crimson fires, and phantom forms of savage beasts of prey howled all around."

GOD OF HOMOSEXUALITY & EFFEMINACY
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 28  (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Hermes took him [the newborn infant Dionysos] to Ino and Athamas, and persuaded them to bring him up as a girl."
Suidas s.v. Androgynos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Androgynos (androgynous): [A word applied to] Dionysos, as one doing both active, male things and passive, female ones [in sexual intercourse].
Alternatively ‘effeminate’ (anandros), and hermaphroditic (hermaphroditos) [also men who have lost their virility including eunuchs]. Also [in the genitive plural, meaning those who are] weak and have the hearts of women."

GOD OF REINCARNATION & THE AFTERLIFE
Herodotus, Histories 2. 123  (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The Egyptians say that Demeter [Isis] and Dionysos [Osiris] are the rulers of the lower world. The Egyptians were the first who maintained the following doctrine, too, that the human soul is immortal, and at the death of the body enters into some other living thing then coming to birth; and after passing through all creatures of land, sea, and air, it enters once more into a human body at birth, a cycle which it completes in three thousand years. There are Greeks who have used this doctrine [the Orphics], some earlier and some later, as if it were their own; I know their names, but do not record them."
Herodotus, Histories 2. 42  (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"No gods are worshipped by all Egyptians in common except Isis and Osiris, who they say is Dionysos; these are worshipped by all alike."

IDENTIFIED WITH FOREIGN GODS
Herodotus, Histories 2. 144 :
"Before men, they said, the rulers of Egypt were gods . . . the last of them to rule the country was Osiris' son Horus, whom the Greeks call Apollon; he deposed Typhon [Set], and was the last divine king of Egypt. Osiris is, in the Greek language, Dionysos."

Herodotus, Histories 2. 156 :
"Apollon [Horus] and Artemis [Bastet] were (they say) children of Dionysus [Osiris] and Isis, and Leto [Buto]was made their nurse and preserver; in Egyptian, Apollon is Horus, Demeter Isis, Artemis Bubastis."
http://www.theoi.com/Cult/DionysosCult2.html

A Bacchanalian Scene by Auguste Leveque, ca. 1890-1910, Eroticism, Lovers, Lust, Maenad, Orgy 
Peter P. Rubens. Bacchanalia

Bacchus' triumph [1536-37]. Maerten van Heemskerck 


 Nicolas Poussin, Bacchic Scene

   Nicolas Poussin, Bacchanal of Putti

 Midas and Bacchus, Nicolas Poussin

 Titian, Bacchanal of the Andrians

 Thomas Couture: The Romans of the Decadence,

 Annibale CARRACCI, Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne

Sebastiano RICCI, The Meeting of Bacchus and Ariadne

Sebastiano RICCI, Bacchanal in Honour of Pan

Rubens, The Drunken Silenus

 Bacchanalian Scene 


Sacrificio a Baco, Massimo Stanzione

 William-Adolphe Bouguereau - The Youth of Bacchus (1884)

 The Bacchanalia, 1885, Paul Cezanne