This week, Andrew Cort looks at Bacchus, the God of Wine and a symbol of our soul.
Since bread and wine are traditionally bound together as symbols of life-giving nourishment from the gods, it is not surprising that in ancient Greece Demeter, the goddess of the grain, was often worshipped together with Bacchus, the god of wine. Bacchus was the child of Zeus and a human mother. He is best known to us as the personification of wine and ecstasy. The worship of Bacchus was characterized by wild dancing, music, and madcap abandon.
Like other gods of vegetation Bacchus was believed to have died a violent death, but to have been brought back to life again. Zeus’ wife, the goddess Hera, hated this child born of a human mother and plotted his destruction. Knowing how she felt, Zeus entrusted young Bacchus to the care of guards that he thought he could trust. Hera, however, bribed the guards, and by amusing the boy with a mirror – which he stared into, becoming fascinated with his image – she lured him underground into a trap. The Titans, whom Zeus had imprisoned in the earth, were now co-conspirators with Hera, and they ambushed the boy, tore him to pieces, boiled his flesh, and ate it. But Athena, the goddess of Wisdom, who had shared in Hera’s treachery, now repented and saved the boy’s Heart. She brought it to Zeus, and confessed the whole sordid story. Enraged, Zeus blasted the Titans with a mighty thunderbolt, reducing them to ashes. He was then able to nurture the heart of Bacchus, and from the heart the boy was reborn.
Out of the ashes of the Titans, Zeus had Prometheus craft the Human Race. A composite creature, our lower nature is made of the remains of the Titans themselves (stardust), who had become wicked and distorted because of their long and bitter involvement in the depths of the material world to which Zeus had banished them. Our higher nature, however, comes from the burned remains of the god Bacchus, pieces of whom the Titans had devoured. It is for this reason that the Mysteries taught that suicide is a horrific crime, since every human being contains a portion of the god, and thus our body is his property and his temple and must always be treated reverentially.
Bacchus, a combination of Heaven (his father Zeus) and Earth (his human mother), was thus “of both worlds” – and he is thus a symbol of the Soul, which is also “of both worlds” (and so is Wine, which can produce either lunacy or ecstasy). Bacchus became spellbound by his image in the mirror, hypnotized by the illusory reflection of reality, and thus he was ensnared by the Titans who cut him up into fragments and scattered the pieces amongst themselves (which means, symbolically, that they scattered them everywhere).
In just this way the human soul is mesmerized and ensnared by the fascinating world of matter, and is fragmented and devoured by life, toward which it disperses its scattered attention (hence the need to practice meditation and learn to focus our attention). But all is not lost! When Zeus saw that the Titans, in a degraded caricature of their original generative purpose, were now scattering pieces of the divine idea throughout the lower world, he immediately destroyed them so that the divine idea would not be completely lost. From the ashes (dust) he created human beings, whose purpose is to preserve and nurture the Soul, their little piece of Bacchus, and eventually release it from the lower world of Matter back into the Heavens.
About Andrew Cort
Andrew Cort is an expert on the inner message of Spiritual Awakening that is always ready to be found in the wonderful stories of the Bible and Greek Mythology. To receive several FREE GIFTS from Dr. Cort(a copy of Chapter One, ‘Making the Decision’, from his new book, THE DOOR IS OPEN; a copy of his article on RECONCILING SCIENCE AND RELIGION; and a complete version of the Bible’s erotic masterpiece, SONG OF SONGS , adapted as a Poetic Dialogue to be read out loud by lovers; as well as a subscription to his SPIRITUAL GROWTH NEWSLETTER) click here http://www.andrewcort.com/Gifts . You can also learn more on his blog, Spirituality and Religion.
A native of Boston (and life-long Red Sox fan) who came of age in the turbulent 1960’s, Dr. Andrew Cort has followed a uniquely versatile path through life. He received his Bachelor’s Degree (in English) and Master’s in Teaching (Science Education) from Colgate University. He then went on to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College (he practiced in New York City for ten years, focusing on nutrition, exercise, applied kinesiology, and the mind’s impact on physical health), as well as a Law Degree from Boston College Law School (he is a member of the Massachusetts Bar). During his years in New York, Dr. Cort served on the Executive Board of H.E.A.L., Inc. (“Health Education AIDS Liaison”) and wrote his first book, on issues of health care and the environment,Our Healing Birthright: Taking Responsibility for Ourselves and Our Planet (Inner Traditions, 1990, currently out of print)
Deeply committed to education, spirituality, and activism, Dr. Cort has taught in a variety of colleges and schools, private and public, including The State University of New York in Morrisville, NY; Bay State College, in Boston, MA; The Desisto School, in Stockbridge, MA (a private school for troubled youth); Berkshire Community College, in Pittsfield, MA; and the Springfield Public School System, in Springfield, MA. Dr. Cort has taught courses in Mathematics, Physics, English, Mythology, Business Law, General Science, and English.
In addition to academic studies in literature, science, law and mathematics, he has studied the work of many spiritual traditions — from the Bible, Plato, the Qur’an, Dante, etc., to contemporary teachers including G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, Paul Brunton, Anthony Damiani, Sri Aurobindo, Mme. Blavatsky, Oscar Ichazo, and others.
Dr. Cort is the author of numerous books and articles on religion, spirituality, mythology, politics, history, science, education and healing, and how these all relate to contemporary American culture. Following in the tradition of Socrates, he considers himself a student, and not a teacher, of these extraordinary thinkers, philosophers, mystics, and writers. His work invites readers to study along with him.
He is also the Host of Spirit of the Berkshires on CTSB-TV, and available worldwide on Vimeo.com and on http://www.andrewcort.com. Also on there (and on YouTube) is his series of short videos on The Sacred Feminine: Women in the Bible.
Andrew Cort lives in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, and can be reached at Andrew@AndrewCort.com. He is an accomplished, energetic, and articulate public speaker, and is available for interviews and speaking engagements.
Find Andrew Cort
About The Door Is Open
The door is always open. The light is always ready to receive us. But we have to learn how to tread the path.
Fortunately for us, all of the wonderful myths and legends of ancient Greece, as well as all the sacred and beautiful stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have the common aim of showing us, through symbols and allegories, a practical method for reaching spiritual enlightenment, for returning ‘home’.
THE DOOR IS OPEN describes the seven precise steps that are revealed in all great mythology and scripture, along with enjoyable and effective spiritual exercises and activities that are suitable for individual seekers or groups of friends working together.
This is a story that has been lost and forgotten, even though the entire tale has been right before our eyes the whole time. Buy it from Amazon for your Kindle here or get the print copy here. Or, check it out on Goodreads.
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