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Dionysus: Born of a Virgin on December 25th, Killed and Resurrected after Three Days

Categories: Stellar House Archives

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

The Greek god of wine, Dionysus or Bacchus, also called Iacchus, has been depicted as having been born of a virgin mother on December 25th; performing miracles such as changing water into wine; appearing surrounded by or one of 12 figures; bearing epithets such as “Father” and “Savior”; dying; resurrecting after three days; and ascending into heaven.

Dionysus shares the following attributes in common with the Christ character as found in the New Testament and Christian tradition.

“Early Christian art is rich with Dionysiac associations, whether in boisterous representations of agape feasting, in the miracle of water-into-wine at Cana, in wine and vine motifs alluding to the Eucharaist, and most markedly…in the use of Dionysiac facial traits for representations of Christ.”

—Dr. Thomas F. Mathews, The Clash of the Gods, 45

Dionysus as the Sun

In studying religion and mythology, it is wise at to keep in mind that in the ancient world many gods were confounded and compounded, deliberately or otherwise. Some were even considered interchangeable, such as the Egyptian gods Osiris, Horus and Ra. In this regard, ancient Greek historian Plutarch (35, 364E) states, “Osiris is identical with Dionysus,” the Greek son of God. Dionysus, also known as Bacchus or Iacchus, is likewise identified with the god Aion and referred to as “Zeus Sabazius” in other traditions. (Graves, R., 335) Hence, we would expect him to share at least some of all these gods’ attributes, including being born of a virgin at the winter solstice (Aion), and dying and rising from the dead (Osiris).

“Bacchus, Apollo, the Sun, are one deity.”

Moreover, in Seven Books Against the Heathen (3.33), early Christian writer Arnobius (284-305) remarks that the Pagans “maintain that Bacchus, Apollo, the Sun, are one deity” and “the sun is also Bacchus and Apollo.” (Roberts, VI, 472-3) We would expect, therefore, Dionysus’s attributes to reflect solar mythology as well.


Dionysus returns from India riding a quadriga chariot
Mosaic pavement, 3rd cent. ad/ce
Sousse, Tunisia
(Patrick Hunt)

December 25th/Winter Solstice

As with Jesus, December 25th and January 6th are both traditional birth dates in the Dionysian myth and simply represent the period of the winter solstice. Indeed, the winter-solstice date of the Greek sun and wine god Dionysus was originally recognized in early January but was eventually placed on December 25th, as related by ancient Latin writer Macrobius (c. 400 AD/CE). Regardless, the effect is the same: The winter sun god is born around this time, when the shortest day of the year begins to become longer.

“Macrobius transfers this feast to the day of the winter solstice, December 25.”

The ancient Church father Epiphanius (4th cent. ) discussed the birth of the god Aion, son of the Greek goddess Persephone or Kore (“Maiden”), at the time of the winter solstice. In this regard, Christian theologian Rev. Dr. Hugh Rahner (139-140) remarks:

We know that Aion was at this time beginning to be regarded as identical with Helios and Helios with Dionysus…because [according to Macrobius] Dionysus was the symbol of the sun… He is made to appear small at the time of the winter solstice, when upon a certain day the Egyptians take him out of the crypt, because on this the shortest day of the year it is as though he were a little child…. Macrobius transfers [this feast] to the day of the winter solstice, December 25.

Dionysus is thus equivalent to Aion and was also said to have been born of Persephone, the virgin maiden. Esteemed mythologist Joseph Campbell (MI, 34) confirms this “celebration of the birth of the year-god Aion to the virgin Goddess Kore,” the latter of whom he calls “a Hellenized transformation of Isis,” the Egyptian mother goddess who was likewise called the “Great Virgin” in inscriptions predating the Christian era by centuries.[1]
Virgin Birth

According to the most common tradition, Dionysus was the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Semele. In the Cretan version of the same story, which the pre-Christian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus follows, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Persephone, the daughter of Demeter also called Kore, who is styled a “virgin goddess.”

In the common myth about the birth of Dionysus/Bacchus, Semele is mysteriously impregnated by one of Zeus’s bolts of lightning–an obvi­ous miraculous/virgin conception.





Semele immolated by the sky-god father-figure Zeus, who takes the divine child Bacchus (Bernard Salomon, Metamorphose figurée, 1557)



Concerning Dionysus’s epithet “twice begotten,” in the third century Church father Minucius Felix (Commodius, XII) remarked to his Pagan audience:

Ye yourselves say that Father Liber was assuredly twice begotten. First of all he was born in India of Proserphine [Persephone] and Jupiter [Zeus]… Again, restored from his death, in another womb Semele conceived him again of Jupiter… (Roberts, IV, 205)

“The virgin conceived the ever-dying, ever-living god of bread and wine, Dionysus.”

In another account, Jupiter/Zeus gives Dionysus’s torn-up heart in a drink to Semele, who becomes pregnant with the “twice born” god this way, again a miraculous or “virgin” birth. Indeed, Joseph Campbell explicitly calls Semele a “virgin”:

While the maiden goddess sat there, peacefully weaving a mantle on which there was to be a representation of the universe, her mother contrived that Zeus should learn of her presence; he approached her in the form of an immense snake. And the virgin conceived the ever-dying, ever-living god of bread and wine, Dionysus, who was born and nurtured in that cave, torn to death as a babe and resurrected… (Campbell, MG, 4.27)

This same direct appellation is used by Cambridge professor and anthropologist Sir Dr. Edmund Ronald Leach:

Dionysus, son of Zeus, is born of a mortal virgin, Semele, who later became immortalized through the inter­vention of her divine son; Jesus, son of God, is born of a mortal virgin, Mary… such stories can be dupli­cated over and over again. (Hugh-Jones, 108)

Using the scholarly Greek term parthenos, meaning “virgin,” in The Cult of the Divine Birth in Ancient Greece (95) Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso concludes: “Semele was also likely a holy parthenos by virtue of the fact that she gave birth to Dionysus via her union with Zeus (Hesiod, Theogony 940).”

These learned individuals had reason to consider Dionysus’s mother a virgin, as, again, he was also said to have been born of Persephone/Kore, whom, once more from Epiphanius, was herself deemed a “virgin,” or parthenos. In this regard, professor emeritus of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania Dr. Donald White (183) says, “As a title ‘Parthenos’ was appropriate to both Demeter and Persephone…”


The fact that Persephone is associated with parthenogenesis, the scholarly term for “virgin birth,” lends credence to the notion that Dionysus was virgin-born. As related further by Rigoglioso in Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity (111):

Persephone’s connection with the parthenogenetic pomegranate is attested in text and iconography. In speaking directly about the Eleusinian Mysteries, Clement of Alexandria (Exhortation to the Greeks 2:16) informs us that the pomegranate tree was believed to have sprung from the drops of the blood of Dionysus…

Although Dionysus is depicted as being the product of a “rape” by Zeus, the story is little different from the impregnation of the Virgin Mary by Yahweh without her consent, especially in consideration of the identification of Dionysus’s very blood with parthenogenesis. In this regard, Rigoglioso also states, “I contend that Persephone’s eating of the pomegranate was the magical action that instigated her ability to conceive parthenogenetically.”

Also, in the museum in Naples has been kept an ancient marble urn showing the birth/nativity of Dionysus, with two groups of three figures on either side of the god Mercury, who is holding the divine baby, and a female figure who is receiving him.[2]


This depiction resembles the gospel story of “wise men” or dignitaries, traditionally held to number three, approaching Joseph, the divine child and Mary.



The miracles of Dionysus are legendary, as is his role as the god of wine, echoed in the later Christian story of Jesus multiplying the jars of wine at the wedding feast of Cana (Jn 2:1-9). Concerning this miracle, biblical scholar Dr. A.J. Mattill remarks:

This story is really the Christian counterpart to the pagan legends of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, who at his annual festival in his temple of Elis filled three empty kettles with wine-no water needed! And on the fifth of January wine instead of water gushed from his temple at Andros. If we believe Jesus’ miracle, why should we not believe Dionysus’s? (Leedom, 125)

Dionysus’s miracle of changing water to wine is recounted in pre-Christian times by Diodorus (Library of History, 3.66.3). As the god of the vine, Dionysus is depicted in ancient texts as traveling around teaching agriculture, as well as doing various other miracles, such as in Homer’s The Iliad, dating to the 9th century BCE, and in The Bacchae of Euripides, the famous Greek playwright who lived around 480 to 406 BCE.

“Dionysus’s blood is the wine of the sacrifice.”

It is further interesting that the Communion as practiced today within Catholicism also had a place within the cult of Dionysus, as Campbell points out:

Dionysus-Bacchus-Zagreus-or, in the older, Sumero-Babylonian myths, Dumuzi-absu, Tammuz-…whose blood, in this chalice to be drunk, is the pagan prototype of the wine of the sacrifice of the Mass, which is transubstantiated by the words of consecration into the blood of the Son of the Virgin. (Campbell, MG, 4.23)


In an Orphic hymn, Phanes-Dionysus is styled by the Greek title Protogonos or “first-born” of Zeus, also translated at times as “only-begotten son,” although the term Monogenes would be more appropriately rendered as the latter. He is also called “Soter” or “Savior” in various inscriptions, including a bronze coin from the Thracian city of Maroneia dating to circa 400-350 BCE.[3]  Like Jesus in his aspect as the Father, Dionysus is called Pater, or “father” in Greek.

“Dionysus is ‘first-born,’ ‘Savior’ and ‘Father.'”

The title “King of Kings” and other epithets may reflect Dionysus’s kinship with Osiris: During the late 18th to early 19th dynasties (c. 1300 BCE), Osiris’s epithets included, “the king of eternity, the lord of everlastingness, who traverseth millions of years in the duration of his life, the firstborn son of the womb of Nut, begotten of Seb, the prince of gods and men, the god of gods, the king of kings, the lord of lords, the prince of princes, the governor of the world whose existence is for everlasting.” (Budge, liii)


Dionysus’s death and resurrection were famous in ancient times, so much so that Christian father Origen (c. 184-c. 254) felt the need to address them in his Contra Celsus (IV, XVI-XVII), comparing them unfavorably, of course, to those of Christ. By Origen’s time, these Dionysian mysteries had already been celebrated for centuries. Dionysus/Bacchus’s resurrection or revival after having been torn to pieces or otherwise killed earned him the epithet of “twice born.”


‘[S]cene in the underworld. Dionysos mounting a chariot is about to leave his mother, Semele, and ascend’
(Kerenyi, pl. 47)



Moreover, it was said that Dionysus/Bacchus “slept three nights with Proserpine [Persephone],”[4]  evidently referring to the god’s journey into the underworld to visit his mother. Like Jesus, the god is claimed also to have “ascended to heaven,” such as by Church father Justin Martyr (First Apology, 21; Roberts I, 170). Note that Dionysus is depicted here as an adult, rising out of the underworld after death, with a horse-driven chariot so typical of a sun god. One major astrotheological meaning of this motif is the sun’s entrance into and exit from the cave (womb) of the world at the winter solstice.

Hence, in Dionysus we have yet another solar hero, born of a virgin on “December 25th” or the winter solstice, performing miracles and receiving divine epithets, being killed, giving his blood as a sacrifice, resurrecting from the dead after three days in Hades/Hell, and ascending into heaven. These motifs have all been claimed of the gospel figure of Jesus Christ since antiquity and have to do not with the adventures of a “historical” Jewish savior but with the ubiquitous solar mythos and ritual.

[1]  See Murdock, Christ in Egypt, 120-197.

[2]  Carus, 49; Mangasarian, 74. For the illustration, Carus cites: “After Mus. Bord., I., 49, from Baumeister, Plate I., p. 448.”

[3]  Wright, 30. See also Adrados, 327.

[4]    Classical Journal, 92.



For more information, see Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, 95-103, etc. See also The ZEITGEIST Sourcebook.

Mithra, god of the sun, was born on December 25, day of the winter solstice

On the night of 24 to 25 December it is celebrated in the West the birth of Christ. But it was not always so and today it is not in the whole Christian world; until the fourth century it was celebrated on January 6 and it continues so in the east, among the Orthodox.

The winter solstice occurs on December 25th; It is the time when in the northern hemisphere the days are shorter and the nights are longest. But from this moment the day begins to grow and  "dies natalis solis invicti"  “the birthday of the unconquered sun",  is celebrated on this day .

That invincible sun is the god Mithra, whose worship and devotion competed with Christianity with which has certain similarities.

Born of a Virgin on December 25th, Killed and Resurrected after

That invincible sun is the god Mithra, whose worship and devotion competed with Christianity with which has certain similarities.

I have dedicated an article to this issue in this blog:

I also spent another comment on some aspects of ritual and celebration of our Christmas, including the episode called "Three Kings".

Mithraism and Christianity have many similarities and many differences. This is demonstrated by some Christian parents and polemicists,  who curiously give us often many details of these secret or semi-secret religions of salvation . Otherwise Christianity also takes elements from  religion and worship of Isis and Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus.

To explain the coexistence of similarities and differences we must imagine the spiritual and religious environment of imperial Rome in which there are all religions and rites with which they are encountered in their imperial progress and also the popular atmosphere is very conducive to the development of religions and inimical to atheistic positions.

Reference may be able  the current environment of some American cities where all kinds of religions and sects, mixture of rites and various ideas, emerge.

Note: syncretism is called the phenomenon of mixing, assimilation, fusion of diverse elements into one. The word comes from the Greek συγκρητισμός, synkretismos, consisting of συν- prefix syn, with, together, at once, and perhaps the κεραννυμι, kerannymi,  verb, meaning to mix. Or maybe, as Plutarch explains in his Moralia, on Brotherly love ( De amore fraterno), 19,  relates to Crete and its practice of joining all Cretans against the common enemy. This is an interesting etymology I will try in an exclusive article.

Mithra Is a Persian god  at least 4,000 years old. Its existence has to be before the separation of Hindus and Persians, because this god exists in the Vedic pantheon of India and exists in the Medo-Persian religion, then developing a different evolution. In India he diluted, he was accentuated in Persia and he was prominent in the mysteries of Roman times. His primitive holy book is the Avesta.

It is characteristic of this religion the existence of an absolute dualism: there were two opposing gods, Ahura-Mazda, the god of good and heaven, and Ahriman, god of darkness and hell. In between there is a mediator, Mithra, benefactor and protector of men.

The Mithra of Persia is many centuries later spread throughout the Roman Empire, first accompanying the Roman legions, also led by officials and merchants, among whose members will quickly settled.
But to get here it underwent many changes and contamination. First the original Persian religion and primitive rites were reformed by Zarathustra, whom the Greeks called Zoroaster, leading to Zoroastrianism. It was very also affected by the religion of Babylon and the various peoples of Mesopotamia, and impregnated with astrology, it is also spread throughout Asia Minor, it came into contact with Jews and other Semitic peoples, it influenced and in turn it was affected by Greek philosophy, taking helena form, etc.

In many cases their gods were identified with Asian or Greek gods: Ormazd or Ahuramazda with Zeus, Hades with Ahriman, etc. Mithra remains as such because he has no equivalent in the Greek pantheon. That is, Mazdeism  is also an example of  syncretimus.

Mithraism spread throughout the empire in the early centuries of the Empire accompanying especially the soldiers. Precisely the religious life of the devotee of Mithras is conceived as a militia and way of perfection. It is no wonder that it had remarkable success among the legionaries. An essential factor, of course, was the favor of the emperors, whose tendencies to deification and justification of power by divinity, grew stronger the Oriental Mithraic beliefs.

Testing the extension and development of this cult it is for example the existence of many kings of the area called Mithridates: Pontus, Parthia, Cappadocia, Armenia.

The  mithraea or temples of Mitra appear throughout the empire, particularly associated with Roman legions camps. In Rome there were several, perhaps the greatest it is under the church of San Clemente near the Colosseum.

Mithraism disappeared, but their beliefs into two antagonistic powers that dominate the universe, good and evil, light and darkness, remained in Manichaeism and other beliefs as bogomilism, in the Cathars or Albigensians.

Even the Zoroastrianism  still occurs in the small community of Parsis, ancient Persians who migrated to the India. See you:

Between Mithraism and Christianity there are great similarities in the doctrinal aspect and in the ritual and consequently there was a strong rivalry, which triumphantly came out Christianity from the fourth century, but as at the time the French philologist, philosopher and writer Renan (1823-1892) said in his book "Marcus Aurelius", 579,:

“If Christianity had been checked in its growth by some deadly disease, the world would have become Mithraic.”

It is impossible to make a detailed study of the multiple similarities and therefore I will only to point out the most important.

The Nuba people are indigenous inhabitants of central Sudan (Kingdom of Kush)
Thoth, is the Egyptian equivalent of Hermes…
“Hermes” is just an Egyptia
n synonym for the "Son of Ham"
The composition of “Her-Mes” is, first, from "Her", which in Chaldee is synonymous with "Ham", or "Khem" 
Then, secondly, "Mes" is from Mesheh, meaning "to draw forth"
There is a connection between this word and birth...
Thus, Her-Mes is "The Son of Her, or Ham" which is, Cush...
Now, “Menes" it is said by Diodorus, "instituted the worship of the gods"
That is to say, he was the originator of idolatry...
But it was Thoth appointed king over Egypt by Nimrod, who "first arranged those things which belonged to religion and the worship of the gods"
So also it was Thoth whom Mantheo, the Egyptian priest calls our forefather, i.e., he from whom the Cushite Egyptians were descended...
If, then, Thoth and Menes were both the first instructors of the Egyptians in religion and the worship of the gods, and both were the forefathers from who the Egyptian kings claimed descent, it is clear that they were one and the same person...
If then Cush was Hermes or Mercury, he would seem to have been, not only the teacher of mankind and originator of the ancient idolatry, or worship of the gods, but also the ringleader in the enterprise undertaken to build the Tower of Babel...
Now, Hermes was the great original prophet of idolatry; for he was recognized by the pagans as the author of their religious rites, and the interpreter of the gods...
A statement of Hyginus shows that he was known as the grand agent in that movement which produced the division of tongues...
His words are these:—
“For many ages men lived under the government of Jove [the Jehovah of the Hebrews], without cities and without laws, and all speaking one language. But after that Mercury interpreted the speeches of men, the same individual distributed the nations. Then discord began”
Mercury, then, or Hermes, or Cush, “the son of Ham”, was the “Divider of the speeches of men”
He, it would seem, had been the ringleader in the scheme for building the great city and Tower of Babel; and, as the well-known title of Hermes—“the interpreter of the gods”, would indicate, had encouraged them, in the name of God, to proceed in their presumptuous enterprise, and so had caused the language of men to be divided, and themselves to be scattered abroad on the face of the earth...
It has been shown that there are strong grounds for identifying the most ancient Buddha with Cush, i.e., Thoth or Hermes (Son of Ham)
In short, the votaries of Theosophy and Spiritualism, who draw their occult knowledge from the teaching of Buddhism, speak of it as “The Teaching of Hermes” (Hermeticism)
It is from their publications, therefore, that one may learn the nature of the knowledge which constituted the teaching of Buddha or Hermes, i.e., Cush—the father of the Cushitic black race...


When Nimrod, the founder of Babylon, died, Semiramis told the people that her husband's spirit had taken possession of the sun. She encouraged the people to pay homage to her husband by worshipping the sun. Thus began the evil practice of sun worship. Later on when Semiramis gave birth to a son by the name of Tammuz, she hid her licentious form of living by lying to the people. She told them that she was miraculously overshadowed by the spirit of her dead husband, Nimrod, and it was in this way she was able to bring forth this so-called "son of god."

Semiramis also declared that her son, Tammuz, was in actuality the return or rebirth of her husband, Nimrod. Hence through this teaching the doctrine of reincarnation was born. And since Tammuz was born on December 25, this day was highly honored and recognized by Nimrod's supporters. Note, therefore, that this date (December 25) was observed in honor of the birth of Tammuz long before Christianity existed, and that it was not until many centuries later this pagan custom was "Christianized" as being the birthday of Christ (or Christmas day).

The similarity between some of the ancient pagan beliefs and the truth is notable. Those who existed after the Flood knew the true prophecies of God very well because the Creator had made His plans known unto all the descendants of Adam and Eve. Therefore, it was not difficult for Satan to counterfeit the truth with erroneous applications. The notable writer Alexander Hislop tells us:

"If there was one who was more deeply concerned in the tragic death of Nimrod than another, it was his wife Semiramis, who, from an originally humble position, had been raised to share with him the throne of Babylon. . . In life her husband had been honored as a hero; in death she will have him worshipped as a god, yea, as the woman's promised seed, 'Zero-ashta,' who was destined to bruise the serpent's head, and who, in doing so, was to have his own heel bruised." The Two Babylons, p. 58-59.

Of course, because of the deifying of her husband, it was not long before Nimrod's followers began to also worship Semiramis. And her son Tammuz (Zero-ashta) was worshipped as well. More and more Semiramis was revered by the people and was viewed by many as a priestess and goddess. Later on she also became known as "the queen of heaven." Thus began the awful practice of exalting human deities. These false beliefs have led up to the many different forms of idolatry that are still practiced by different people today. Yes, it was through the introduction of these satanic evils and the many sacrilegious practices of ancient Babylon that witchcraft, priestcraft, spiritualism, and other forms of paganism were born. Says the well-known author Ellen G. White:

"The doctrine of man's consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism." The Great Controversy, p. 551.

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