“Like the myth of his birth, therefore, the myths of the appearance of Dionysus also reveal much about his nature.

“At his conception the earthly was touched by the splendor of divine heaven. But in this union of the heavenly with the earthly, which is expressed in the myth of the double birth, man’s tear-filled lot was not dissolved but preserved, rather, in sharp contrast to superhuman majesty. He who was born in this way is not only the exultant god, the god who brings man joy. He is the suffering and dying god, the god of tragic contrast. And the inner force of this dual reality is so great that he appears among men like a storm, he staggers them, and he tames their opposition with the whip of madness. All tradition, all order must be shattered. Life becomes suddenly an ecstasy–an ecstasy of blessedness, but an ecstasy, no less, of terror.”

— Walter Otto, Dionysus: Myth and Cult

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