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  • Hermes children include dionysus, the god of intoxication that invented wine, and whose sired owlsly, the LSD chemist you admire, and Pan, a God of music.

    A reader asks... 2007

  • Biblical history Do you believe in god? even though he shares the same biography word by word as other gods such as mithra, horis, orpheus, and dionysus just to name a few.

    Answerbag: Latest Questions in Question Categories 2008


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  • "Dionysus was no respecter of ethnic boundaries. According to the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, the worship of gods resembling Dionysus ranged over five thousand miles, from Portugal through North Africa to India, with the god appearing under various names, including 'Bakkhos, Pan, Eleuthereus, Minotaur, Sabazios, Inuus, Faunus, Priapus, Liber, Ammon, Osiris, Shiva, Cerenunnus,' and, we might add, the delightfully named Etruscan analog of Dionysus: Fufluns."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 35

    "Dionysus... was not worshipped for ulterior reasons (to increase the crops or win the war) but for the sheer joy of his rite itself. Not only does he demand and instigate; he is the ecstatic experience that, according to Durkheim, defines the sacred and sets it apart from daily life."

    Ditto, p. 39

    March 12, 2009

  • "... Dionysus was always pulling women away from their housework to join his manic rites. Jesus advised his followers to quit worrying about where their next meal would come from and emulate the lilies of the field and the fowls of the air: 'for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns.' Both, in fancier words, upheld what has been called a hedonic vision of community, based on egalitarianism and the joyous immediacy of human experience—as against the agonic reality of the cruelly unequal and warlike societies they briefly favored with their presence."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 60

    March 12, 2009

  • "The prehistoric ritual dancer, the maenad or practicer of Vodou, did not believe in her god or gods; she knew them, because, at the height of group ecstasy, they filled her with their presence. Modern Christians may have similar experiences, but the primary requirement of their religion is belief, meaning an effort of the imagination. Dionysus, in contrast, did not ask his followers for their belief or faith; he called on them to apprehend him directly, to let him enter, in all his madness and glory, their bodies and their minds."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2006), 256

    March 18, 2009