Day 19 with Dionysus (12.10.2016)

Dionysos, Richard Seaford

  • Mysery-cult is equivallent to a rite of passage. It fundementally changes the state or status of one or more people. ie boy to man or marriage…interestingly
  • The idea of marriage as a rite of passage perhaps explains our reluctance to accpet individuals who choose not to go through it.
  • We cant understand them, because they do not pass through the ritual they cannot change status and yet they do.
  • associated with death. Like passing through a close to death idea. Also removes a fear of death…possibly
  • Isis is associated with mystery-cult. Ali Smith.
  • again Dionysos doesn’t have a building. His mystery cult is all over but others (Demeter) have a headquarters — 50
  • Dionysiac mystery-cult is a political threat? — 50
  • Pentheus dressing as a woman reflects gender reversal in rites of passage. — 53
  • effeminacy and transvestism -Bacchae 353; Aeschylus fragment 61; Lydus De Mensibus 160. Epithets and visual representations as well apparently?
It is -in part at least- a projection of the practice of transvestism in his ritual — 53
  • Dionysos gets a dress from Rhea (Apollodorus Bibl. 3.5.1)

Dreaming of Dionysos signifies a ‘release from terrible things’ (Artemidorus 2.37)

  • Maybe the dissolving of male and female is interesting in terms of Feminism? The current trend(?) is that we should not hink of gender as a binary, or that there is anything in gender accept performance. It does not express anything fundemental within us.
  • Perhaps this is a bacchic move? Or maybe it should be bacchic? Maybe we should have a frenzied removing of the boundary/binary?
  • at one point you had to go and register and have all the proper stuff. at this point the cult is an agent of the ruling party.
  • In Roman Italy the cult and the state clash — 59
  • The Roman thing (Livy) talks about it being a type of counter culture. And he was concerned that they were plotting to take down the state.

It is a freely choosen initiation. It is not determined by family, or Area. And I think this has some communion with coming out, it is a thing sperate, and perhaps against those other things that define you. — 60

  • romans hate the mix of men and women in the cult
  • Also they hate the efeminateness of the men
  • Also it chalenges class structure of roamn state
  • There is an emphasis not just on that everyone needs to worship Dionysos but that there is no distinction between his worshipers
  • the cult is associated with dancing and dancing into Hades — 69
Religious ritual, and indeed religion in general, attempts to control the power of what is unknown. The unknown power that mystic initiation attempts to control is the power of death. — 74
  • ritual initiation must abolish personal identity — 75
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