The fucked up family of Dionysos

The Dionysian Artist presents three family trees for Dionysos, which are not entirely contradictory to one another, even if they don’t all fit perfectly. Things like this are among the reasons I don’t take myths literally.

But, hey, everybody’s family is at least a little messed up, right?

The Dionysian Artist

I hope it does not come as a shock that Dionysos has a complex and often confusing family tree. I’ve divided this into three tales:

Standard myth: has him the son of Zeus and Semele, daughter of the founder of Thebes, Cadmus (his grandfather) and Harmonia (his grandmother). If we look back through Cadmus’ family tree Zeus is something like Dionysos’ great, great, great, great grandfather via Io. Zeus is also his great grandfather on Dionysos’ grandmother’s family side. And as a technicality Zeus is his father and mother…  is your mind twisted yet?

If we regard Orphic mythology: the Olympian Dionysos is a second incarnation. His first incarnation is known as Zagreus-Dionysos, the son of Persephone and Zeus.
Zagreus is a supreme deity that Zeus concedes the throne to his son, thus giving Zagreus the universe as a mere babe. As is typical in myth: Hera is jealous, and employs…

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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