DYING AND RISING GODS

“The philosophers of the ancient world were the spiritual masters of the Inner Mysteries… At the heart of the Mysteries were myths concerning a dying and resurrecting godman, who was known by many different names. In Egypt he was Osiris, in Greece Dionysus, in Asia Minor Attis, In Syria Adonis, in Italy Bacchus, in Persia Mithras. Fundamentally all these godmen are the same mythical being.
Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries – Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God? 1999

J. G. Frazer in The Golden Bough: a Study in Magic and Religion (published in 1890) first proposed the existence of a universal core in religion – a myth about a dying and rising fertility god, along with associated rituals. The idea was popular and quickly adopted, and although sometimes challenged, reveals something of the mystical reality underlying all faiths.

OSIRIS

“The central figure of the ancient Egyptian Religion was Osiris, and the chief fundamentals of his cult were the belief in his divinity, death, resurrection, and absolute control of the destinies of the bodies and souls of men. The central point of each Osirian’s Religion was his hope of resurrection in a transformed body and of immortality, which could only be realized by him through the death and resurrection of Osiris.”
E. A. Wallace Budge, Osiris & the Egyptian Resurrection, 1973 (1911), Preface

Pyramid texts

Utterance 498
“Awake, Osiris! awake, O King! Stand up and sit down, throw off the earth which is on you! I come and give you [the eye of] Horus… Go up and take this bread of yours from me.”

Utterance 532
“Raise yourself, O Osiris, first-born son of Geb, at whom the Two Enneads tremble… Your hand is taken by the Souls of On, your hand is grasped by Ra, your head is raised by the Two Enneads, and they have set you, O Osiris, at the head of the Conclave of the Souls of On. Live, live and raise yourself!”

TAMMUZ

After escaping from the Underworld Inanna found that she was being chased by demons who demanded to take back the third-gendered beings who had rescued her. To protect her rescuers the Goddess appointed them to be her priests and bargained with the demons to find a substitute, Discovering that her husband Tammuz/Dumuzi, the human King of Sumeria, had not been mourning her loss, she sent him back to the Underworld in her place, for six months of every year..

Dumuzi/Tammuz, was mourned every year upon the anniversary of his entrance to the Underworld (his death), and then celebrated every year upon his reappearance from the Underworld (his resurrection). The Old Testament contains references to women mourning for him.

ADONIS

Adonis was a young hunter who was killed by a boar. This version of the myth is elaborated upon in Lucian’s second century AD work, De Dea Syria:

“I did see… in Byblos a great sanctuary… in which they perform the rites of Adonis… They say… that what the boar did to Adonis occurred in their territory. As a memorial of his suffering each year they beat their breasts, mourn, and celebrate the rites… they first sacrifice to Adonis as if to a dead person, but then, on the next day, they proclaim that he lives and send him into the air.”

Adonis’s mainly female devotees would join with Astarte each year weeping for her lost son slain by a boar. They then rejoiced when he was restored to life.

‘ADONIS… was castrated; “gored in the groin” by APHRODITE’S boar-masked priest.
His severed phallus became his “son”, the ITHYPHALLIC g.o.d, PARAPUS’
{Priapus}. Quoted from Adonis,Adonai=Tammuz – Forums at EliYah’s Home Page

Fifth century BC author, Panyassis:

Some say that when Adonis was still an infant Aphrodite, for the sake of his beauty, hid him in a chest unknown to the gods and entrusted it to Persephone. But when Persephone beheld him, she would not give him back. The case being tried before Zeus, the year was divided into three parts, so that Adonis should stay by himself for one part of the year, with Persephone for one part, and with Aphrodite for the remainder. However Adonis made over to Aphrodite his own share in addition. For this reason Adonis may be counted among those who were in the Underworld and came back to be among the living.”

Both Dumuzi and Adonis were said to live a portion of their lives in the Underworld. With Dumuzi it was half the year and with Adonis it was a third. Also, the ritual of the mourning of Tammuz was held in the summer, which was the same time that the annual mourning/celebrating of Adonis took place, while the raising of Tammuz must have taken place in the winter, near the month of Peritius (February-March) when the celebration of the “Awakening of Heracles” took place. Christian Church Fathers Origen and Jerome both clearly believed that Adonis and Tammuz were the very same figure.

PERSEPHONE

In Greece the changing seasons were personified by a Goddess:

When Hades, lord of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone, he carried her off into death to be his queen. But as soon as Demeter began mourning for her daughter, the Earth’s plants began to wither. In order to prevent life on Earth from dying, Zeus ordered Hades to release Persephone. Unfortunately,Persephone had already eaten some of the food of the dead, and so she would have to return to the underworld for one third of every year. So whenever her daughter returns to Hades, Demeter mourns—and this is why winter descends on Earth. Growth only resumes properly when Persephone is returned to the world of the living.

10 Resurrected Religious Figures – Listverse

DIONYSUS

The Ancient Greek god of wine and divine madness – one of the many names attached to him is ‘Twice-born’. ..When Zeus made Persephone pregnant, his wife Hera fell into a jealous rage. She sent the Titans to tear the infant Dionysus apart. They then consumed all of the corpse except the heart. This was saved and modern myths tell us it was sewn into Zeus’ thigh (actually testicles), where he was gestated and born anew.

10 Resurrected Religious Figures – Listverse

“The Greco-Roman cult of Dionysus had their God, born of the virgin Semele, being torn to pieces by the Titans. He was then resurrected by his mother. In commemorating his sacrificial death, the devotees ate bread and wine to represent his body and blood.” Rejection of Pascal’s Wager: The Pagan Origins of the Resurrection Myth (geocities.ws)

ATTIS

Attis was a beautiful young shepherd whom the Great Mother Goddess Cybele loved. Attis died either slain by a boar sent by Zeus, like the Syrian god Adonis, or by bleeding to death under a pine tree, after castrating himself in a madness sent by Cybele out of jealousy. Every spring, the death of the god was mourned until he was resurrected by the Great Mother, when grief turned to joy. At this festival the new initiate priests of Cybele castrated themselves, holding up their bloody organs to the heavens to make themselves eligible for the priesthood, the Galli.

MITHRAS

Mithraist ritual involve the liturgical representation of the death, burial in a rock tomb and resurrection of the very ancient god Mithras, who was especially popular in the male legions of the Roman Empire.

HERCULES

An ancient text says, as James Frazer worded it, “Heracles on his journey to Libya had been slain by Typhon and brought to life again by Iolaus, who held a quail under his nose: the dead god snuffed at the bird and revived” (Frazer1922).

The text is by Eudoxus of Cnidus from an inscription dating to around 200 BC,

“…the Phoenicians sacrifice quails to Heracles, because Heracles, the son of Asteria and Zeus, went into Libya and was killed by Typhon; but Iolaus brought a quail to him, and having put it close to him, he smelt it and came to life again.

ODIN

The chief god of Norse mythology gained great wisdom by undergoing several trials. In order to achieve knowledge from beyond the realm of the dead, Odin decided to sacrifice himself. He took a spear and drove it into his side. Then he tied a noose to the world-tree Yggdrasil, and hanged himself for nine days.
It was after this sacrifice that Odin returned, stronger than ever.

10 Resurrected Religious Figures – Listverse

JESUS

JESUS said: ‘Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee, or ever die for one who had not died for thee?
And if God dieth not for Man, and giveth not Himself
Eternally for Man, Man could not exist; for Man is Love,
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image; nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood.

Published by shokti

i am shokti, lovestar of the eurofaeries, aka marco queer magician of london town. i explore the links between our sexual-physical nature and our spirits, running gatherings, rituals and Queer Spirit Festival. i woke up to my part in the accelerating awakening of light love and awareness on planet earth during a shamanic death-and-rebirth process lasting from January 1995 to the year 2000, and offer here my insights and observations on the ongoing transformation of human consciousness, how to navigate the waves of change, and especially focusing on the role of queer people at this time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: