Dionysus is known as the god of many names, many-forms, and a seat of ambiguity. Not only is he both masculine and feminine, his very nature is shape-shifting. By holding opposites in dynamic tension, he achieves his power of paradox like no other deity. --Carnaval.com
That cracks me up, because Charles Atlas promised to build muscle with his patented system of "Dynamic Tension".
Dionysus was identified with the lamb, and called "King of Kings," "Only Begotten Son," "Savior," "Redeemer," "Sin bearer," "Anointed One," the "Alpha and Omega." Hmmm....
Both Jesus and Dionysus were born of mortal women, both are "twice born", both are associated with fertility symbolism like the fig tree and wheat or bread, lions and panthers, and perhaps most succinctly, both are indelibly associated with wine and the vine.
Dionysus (AKA the Roman Bacchus) was the God of Wine, and his Bacchanals were the means through which he was worshiped during initiation into the Dionysian Mysteries. Jesus makes the wine flow like water at the wedding in Galilee - his first recorded miracle in the Gospels:
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." --John 2:1-10
Jesus says "I am the vine, you are the branches" and the association of Jesus with the grape vine goes on and on throughout the murals of the cathedrals of Europe. The most holy Christian sacrament is the drinking of WINE and BREAD during communion... the Last Supper.
Of course, the Jesus I was taught about in Sunday school was a chaste virgin, and all things associated with wild partying and Bacchanals were strictly forbidden. It's as if the archetype of Dionysus, the God of expansion, ecstatic love and orgasmic release, went "under cover". I wonder why? Maybe he's edging, holding back the orgasm, building the tension. maybe... he's saving the best till now. Can't hold back that dam forever. The dam WANTS to break...