(continued from last post) C.) The Mysteries of Apollo and Dionysios While the Mithraic my

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(continued from last post) C.) The Mysteries of Apollo and Dionysios While the Mithraic mysteries succeeded those of Zoroaster, they followed those of Dionysios, through which the core of Hellenic mystery teaching found its way into the Western Mystery Tradition. Two streams of consciousness are discernable within the Classical mysteries, which might be called Dionysian and Apollonian. The Apollonian mysteries related to reason, to the heavens and to order; this is in contradistinction to the chaotic, ecstatic mysteries of Dionysios. The priests of Apollo were more interested in wresting the political power away from the earlier Goddess worshipping peoples who held sway as the Oracle at Delphi, and so their mysteries were not so widely spread because they were tied to a specific location and shrine. The Mysteries of Dionysios were those of the sacrificial king: they pertain to the underworld side of things, the chthonic and ecstatic cult of maenads and bacchantes. The mysteries of Dionysios, as well as those of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, seem to be the closest link between the Mystery Religions and the more primal Shamanic lifeways of Ancient Europe. The myth of Dionysios' origins tells that he was first born from the union of Zeus with Persephone. Zeus designated this 'Zagreus' as his heir, but the jealous Titans lured him away while he was yet a child, killed, dismembered him and devoured all the pieces except for the heart, which Athena rescued and preserved. Thus Dionysios is identified with Osiris. Zeus, in anger, reduced the Titans to ashes, from which the new race of humanity was fashioned. Thus each person contains a fragment of Dionysios within their 'Titanic' earthly body. From the heart of the god was brewed a love potion, which was given to Semele, a mortal, who then forced her lover -- Zeus again -- into revealing himself to her in his primal form. This unveiling was so overwhelming as to annihilate her, but the child she was carrying was saved by Zeus enclosing it in his loins until the time came for its birth as the second Dionysios. The young god grew up in Thrace, suckled by goats and raised by satyrs and sileni. When he reached maturity, he descended through the Alcyonian Lake to rescue the shade of his mother Semele from Hades and then raised her to Olympus. Afterward, accompanied by a motley train of semi-human beings, maenads and panthers, he set off on wanderings throughout the world, from Libya to Arabia to India and thus back to his homeland. On the Isle of Naxos he discovered the Cretan Princess Ariadne, abandoned there by Theseus, and joined with her as her husband. Together they ascended to the heavens, whence he offers a similar blissful reward to his devotees, temporarily in this life and permanently after death. (more next post)


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