Friday, September 16, 2005


When one recalls the horrific rituals of the followers of Dionysus, it's easy to believe that demonic possession actually occurred. A Christian should find this idea as plausible, and, it would seem, so did the Hebrews. The Hebrew people considered Hades (the Greek god of the underworld) to be equal with Hell and/or the Devil, and many ancient writers likewise saw no difference between Hades (in this sense the Devil) and Dionysus. Euripedes echoed this sentiment in the Hecuba, and refered to the followers of Dionysus as the "Bacchants of Hades." In Syracuse, Dionysus was known as Dionysus Morychos ("the dark one") a fiendish creature; roughly equivalent to the biblical Satan, who wore goatskins and dwelt in the reqions of the underworld.
In the scholarly book, Dionysus Myth And Cult, Walter F. Otto connected Dionysus with the prince of the underworld. He wrote: "The similarity and relationship which Dionysus has with the prince of the underworld (and this is revealed by a large number of comparisons) is not only confirmed by an authority of the first rank, but he says the two deities are actually the same. Heraclitus says, "Hades and Dionysus, for whom they go mad and rage, are one and the same."
Even the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel condemned the mind-altering madness of Dionysus as inherently satanic. He spoke of the "magic bands" (kesatot) of the Bacchae, which, as in the omophgia, were used to mesmerize the minds of men. We read, "Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, Behold I am against your magic bands [kesatot] by which you hunt lives [minds/souls] there as birds, and I will tear them off your arms; and I will let them go, even those lives [minds/souls] whom you hunt as birds" (Ez. 13:20 NAS).
The kesatot, or "magic arm band," were used in connection with a container called the kiste.Wherever the kiste is inscribed on sarcophagi and on Bacchic scenes, it is depicted as a sacred vessel (a mind prison?) with a snake peering through an open lid. How the magic worked and in what way a mind was imprisoned is still a mystery. Pan, the half-man/half-goat god (later relegated to devildom) is sometimes pictured as kicking the lid open and letting the snake (mind?) out. Such loose snakes were then depicted as being enslaved around the limbs, and bound in the hair, of the Bacchae women.
The mysterious imagery of Pan, the serpents, the imprisoned minds, and the magic Kesatot and Kiste, have not been adequately explained by any available authority, and the interpretation of them as a method of mind control is subject to ongoing scrutiny. But since the prophet Ezekiel spoke of the efforts of the Bacchae to mystically imprison the minds of men through the magic bands of Dionysus, and since Pan was most beloved of Dionysus, because of his pandemonium ("all the devils") which struck sudden panic in the hearts of men and beasts, and as the serpent was universally accepted by the Hebrews as a symbol of occult devotion, it can be easily surmised that the iconography of Dionysus represented the most tenacious effort on the part of the Bacchae to fulfill the psychological whims of evil supernaturalism.


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