Bearer of the Vine — an Orphic Hymn to Dionysus Liknitos

Liknitan Bacchus [Liknitos Dionysos], bearer of the vine,
 thee I invoke to bless these rites divine:

Florid and gay, of nymphs the blossom bright,
 and of fair Venus [Aphrodite], Goddess of delight,

‘Tis thine mad footsteps with mad nymphs to beat,
 dancing thro’ groves with lightly leaping feet:

From Jove’s [Zeus’] high counsels nurst by Proserpine [Persephoneia],

and born the dread of all the pow’rs divine:

Come, blessed pow’r, regard thy suppliant’s voice,
 propitious come, and in these rites rejoice.

This is one of the longer Orphic Hymns honoring Dionysus (although there are more honoring him than there are for any other God). This is one that hints at the myth of Dionysus being the son of Persephone instead of being a demigod who attained full godhood. No matter his birth however, Dionysus is called a “blessed power” and accorded “rites divine”.

This hymn is one that calls forth the image of him as the leader of the dance, the lord of celebrations. He leads a procession of nymphs through the woods “with lightly leaping feet” and as bearer of the vine it can be safely assumed that the Orphic view honored him as the god of wine and as a bringer of happiness.

Other Orphic Hymns in his honor tell other parts of his story, so I will be writing more on some of those in the future.

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