Dionysus

Lorenzo Scaramella (photographs) and Deborah Wesley (commentary)

This is the first in a series of collaborations with Italian photographer Lorenzo Scaramella whose gorgeous images of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses inspire us to look deeper into the archetypal meaning present in these ancient works. This first collection of Mr. Scaramella's photographs is of Dionysus.  We present it here along with archetypal commentary by Deborah Wesley.

The ancient Greek myths tell us of the god Dionysus, who would lead people out of their orderly city existence into a life in the wilds, where wine, music, dance and sexuality flowed, animals and nature were close companions, and there arose an ecstatic joyousness which on occasion could tip over into suffering and madness. Perhaps some of the same spirit was felt in 1960's U.S., when a movement away from the conservative 1950's led into a period of sexual freedom, return to nature, use of psychedelic drugs, interest in ecstatic spiritual experience. “Tune in, turn on, drop out” was the theme. This ancient spirit is pictured here in Roman images of the god Dionysus as a beautiful young man and as a lordly mature one.

Dionysus had a great deal of difficulty at birth: his mother Semele was killed when she was pregnant with him, and he spent his last three fetal months sewed up in the thigh of his father Zeus—a substitute womb. After his birth he was set upon by Titans who tore him to pieces and ate all of them but his heart, from which he was recreated and reborn. After that, he was cared for by Persephone and other feminine beings, which perhaps left a slight feminine trace.

Read the archetypal commentary on Dionysus in its entirety and view the images from Lorenzo Scaramella here.