“Pfffft! But Sannion, your last post is just ridiculous. Dionysos is the wine-God, not a storm-God.”

Well, someone should probably tell him that – cause the acorn sure didn’t fall far from the old oak tree.

Here’s a selection of quotes I happen to have on hand. Given more time I’m sure I could dig plenty of others up. 

Photios, Lexicon s.v. Hyês
‘Rain-bringer’. An epithet of Dionysos, as Kleidemos says. Since we perform sacrifices to him during the time when the God makes it rain; but Pherekydes says that Semele is called ‘rain-bringer’ and that the children of Dionysos are the Hyades. Aristophanes lists Hyês with the foreign Gods.

Scholiast on Homer, Iliad 18.486
They say that the stars in the forehead of the constellation of Taurus are called the Hyades, but those on the (animal’s) half flank are called the Pleiades. For as Mousaios says, Atlas son of Iapetos and Aithra daughter of Okeanos had twelve daughters and a son, Hyas. A serpent killed him during a hunt in Libya, and five of the girls died while mourning their brother. The rest? Zeus placed among the stars and named the Hyades, taking their name from their brother. Most say the seven are slowly, † (text corrupt) the ones that died are called the Pleiades. And Pherekydes, as was noted previously, says that the Hyades are the Dodonian nymphs and Dionysos’s nurses, who entrusted Dionysos to Ino for fear of Hera, during which time Lykourgos also chased them … And Hellanikos in the first book of the Atlantidai says that the six joined with Gods, Taygete with Zeus, from whom was born Lakedaimon; Maia with Zeus, from whom was born Hermes; Elektra with Zeus, from whom was born Dardan; Alkyone with Poseidon, from whom was Hyrieus; Kelaino with Poseidon, from whom was Lykos; Sterope with Ares, from whom was Oinomaos; Merope with the mortal Sisyphos, from whom was Glaukos—for this reason she was faint.

Nonnos, Dionysiaka 6.155 ff
Zeus changed his face and came, rolling in many a loving coil through the dark to the corner of the maiden’s chamber, and shaking his hairy chaps he lulled to sleep as he crept the eyes of those creatures of his own shape who guarded the door. He licked the girl’s form gently with wooing lips. By this marriage with the heavenly dragon, the womb of Persephone swelled with living fruit, and she bore Zagreus the horned baby, who by himself climbed upon the heavenly throne of Zeus and brandished lightning in his little hand, and newly born, lifted and carried thunderbolts in his tender fingers for Zeus meant him to be king of the universe. But he did not hold the throne of Zeus for long. By the fierce resentment of implacable Hera, the Titanes cunningly smeared their round faces with disguising chalk (titanos), and while he contemplated his changeling countenance reflected in a mirror they destroyed him with an infernal knife. There where his limbs had been cut piecemeal by the Titan steel, the end of his life was the beginning of a new life as Dionysos. He appeared in another shape, and changed into many forms: now young like crafty Kronides shaking the aegis-cape, now as ancient Kronos heavy-kneed, pouring rain.

Philostratos the Elder, Imagines 1. 14
In Naples you may see the following in a painting: Bronte (Thunder), stern of face, and Astrape (Lightning) flashing light from her eyes, and raging fire from heaven that has laid hold of a king’s house, suggest the following tale, if it is one you know. A cloud of fire encompassing Thebes breaks into the dwelling of Kadmos as Zeus comes wooing Semele; and Semele apparently is destroyed, but Dionysos is born, by Zeus, so I believe, in the presence of the fire. And the form of Semele is dimly seen as she goes to the heavens, where the Mousai will hymn her praises : but Dionysos leaps forth as his mother’s womb is rent apart and he makes the flame look dim, so brilliantly does he shine like a radiant star. The flame, dividing, dimly outlines a cave for Dionysos more charming than any in Assyria and Lydia; for sprays of ivy grow luxuriantly about it and clusters of ivy berries and now grape-vines and stalks of thyrsos which spring up from the willing earth, so that some grow in the very fire. We must not be surprised if in honour of Dionysos the Fire is crowned by the Earth, for the Earth will take part with the Fire in the Bacchic revel and will make it possible for the revelers to take wine from springs and to draw milk from clods of earth or from a rock as from living breasts. Listen to Pan, how he seems to be hymning Dionysos on the crests of Kithairon, as he dances an Euian fling. And Kithairon in the form of a man laments the woes soon to occur on his slopes, and he wears an ivy crown aslant on his head–for he accepts the crown most unwillingly–and Megaira causes a fir to shoot up beside him and brings to light a spring of water, in token, I fancy, of the blood of Aktaion and of Pentheus.

Plutarch, Life of Alexander 2.1.6
And we are told that Philip, after being initiated into the mysteries of Samothrace at the same time with Olympias, he himself being still a youth and she an orphan child, fell in love with her and betrothed himself to her at once with the consent of her brother, Arymbas. Well, then, the night before that on which the marriage was consummated, the bride dreamed that there was a peal of thunder and that a thunder-bolt fell upon her womb, and that thereby much fire was kindled, which broke into flames that travelled all about, and then was extinguished.

The Gurôb Papyrus
O Eubouleus, Erikepaios, save me! Phanes!
Hurler of Lightning!
Tokens … God through the bosom.
Having drunk … ass cowboy …
Password: up and down to the … and what has been given to you.
Consume it, put it into the basket …
… cone, bull-roarer, knucklebones, mirror.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.30.5
There are some who say that Orpheus met his end after being struck by a thunderbolt sent by the God because of the discourses which he taught in the mysteries to men who had not heard them before.

Herodotos, The Histories 4.79
Skyles conceived a desire to be initiated into the rites of Dionysos Bakcheios; and when he was about to begin the sacred mysteries, he saw the greatest vision. He had in the city of the Borysthenites a spacious house, grand and costly (the same house I just mentioned), all surrounded by sphinxes and griffins worked in white marble; this house was struck by a thunderbolt. And though the house burnt to the ground, Skyles none the less performed the rite to the end.

Plutarch, Life of M. Antonius 60.2
In Patrae, while Antony was staying there, the Heracleium was destroyed by lightning; and at Athens the Dionysos in the Battle of the Giants was dislodged by the winds and carried down into the theatre. Now, Antony associated himself with Heracles in lineage, and with Dionysos in the mode of life which he adopted, as I have said, and he was called the New Dionysos.

Archilochos fr. 120
And I know how to lead off the sprightly dance
of the Lord Dionysos, the dithyramb,
I do it thunderstruck with wine.

Euripides, Cretans fragment 472
Son of the Phoenician princess, child of Tyrian Europa and great Zeus, ruler over hundred-fortressed Crete—here am I, come from the sanctity of temples roofed with cut beam of our native wood, its true joints of cypress welded together with Chalybean axe and cement from the bull. Pure has my life been since the day when I became an initiate of Idaean Zeus. Where midnight Zagreus roves, I rove; I have endured his thunder-cry; fulfilled his red and bleeding feasts; held the Great Mother’s mountain flame; I am set free and named by name a Bakchos of the Mailed Priests. Having all-white garments, I flee the birth of mortals and, not nearing the place of corpses, I guard myself against the eating of ensouled flesh.

Aischylos, Edonoi frag 27
… even the sound that wakes to frenzy. Another, with brass-bound cymbals, raises a clang … the twang shrills; the unseen, unknown, bull-voiced mimes in answer bellow fearfully, while the timbrel’s echo, like that of subterranean thunder, rolls along inspiring a mighty terror.

Gold Tablet from Thurii A1
Pure I come from the pure, Queen of those below the earth,
and Eukles and Eubouleus and the other immortal Gods;
For I also claim that I am of your blessed race.
But Fate mastered me and the Thunderer, striking with his lightning.
I flew out of the circle of wearying heavy grief;
I came on with swift feet to the desired crown;
I passed beneath the bosom of the Mistress, Queen of the Underworld,
“Happy and most blessed one, a God you shall be instead of a mortal.”
A kid I fell into milk.

PGM IV.1716-1870
I call upon you, author of all creation who spread your own wings over the whole world, you, the unapproachable and unmeasurable who breathe into every soul life-giving reasoning, who fitted all things together by your power, firstborn, founder of the universe, golden-winged, whose light is darkness, who shroud reasonable thoughts and breathe forth dark frenzy, clandestine one who secretly inhabit every soul. You engender an unseen fire as you carry off every living thing without growing weary of torturing it, rather having with pleasure delighted in pain from the time when the world came into being. You also come and bring pain, who are sometimes reasonable, sometimes irrational, because of whom men dare beyond what is fitting and take refuge in your light which is darkness. Most headstrong, lawless, implacable, inexorable, invisible, bodiless, generator of frenzy, archer, torch-carrier, master of all living sensation and of everything clandestine, dispenser of forgetfulness, creator of silence, through whom the light and to whom the light travels, infantile when you have been engendered within the heart, wisest when you have succeeded; I call upon you, unmoved by prayer, by your great name: AZARACHTHARAZA LATHA IATHAL Y Y Y LATHAI ATHA LLALAPH IOIOIO AI AI AI OUERIEU OIAI LEGETA RAMAI AMA RATAGEL, first-shining, night-shining, night rejoicing, night-engendering, witness, EREKISITHPHE ARARACHARARA EPHTHISIKERE IABEZEBYTH IT, you in the depth, BERIAMBO BERIAMBEBO, you in the sea, MERMERGO U, clandestine and wisest, ACHAPA ADONAIE MASMA CHARAKO IAKOB IAO CHAROUER AROUER LAILAM SEMESILAM SOUMARTA MARBA KARBA MENABOTH EIIA.

Orphic Hymn 47. Perikionios
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon Bacchos Perikionios, giver of wine,
Who enveloped all of Kadmos’ house and with his might,
Checked and calmed the heaving earth when the blazing thunderbolt,
And the raging gale stirred all the land.
Then everyone’s bonds sprang loose.
Blessed reveler, come with joyous heart.

Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories 19
When the Bacchanalian revels were being celebrated at Rome, Aruntius, who had been from birth a water-drinker, set at naught the power of the God. So much so that in a fit of drunkenness he violated his daughter Medullina to insult Liber. But she recognized from a ring his relationship and devised a plan wiser than her years; making her father drunk, and crowning him with garlands, she led him to the altar of Divine Lightning, and there, dissolved in tears, she slew the man who had plotted against her virginity. So Aristeides in the third book of his Italian History.

4 thoughts on “Thunderstruck

  1. So it makes a greater deal of sense, now, something that I have felt for awhile: the Æsir and Jötnar both have Gods associated with thunder, lightning, and its ability to destroy and enliven. It would make sense that here Óðr would fill a kind of between role of Thórr and Farbauti, the madness of storm, inspiration, grapes and wine to Óðinn’s inspiration, battle madness, storms, and mead. Both fury and passions from tribes equal to each other in combat, magic, ferocity, power. Each echo and inhabiting and existing in creation in similar though not the same currents.


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