Bacchus (Greek) Used by both Greeks and Romans, also called Dionysos by the Greeks, Liber by the Romans, Zagreus in the Orphic mysteries, Sabazius in Phrygia and Thrace; the same as Iacchus (connected with Iao and Jehovah). Generally represented as the son of Zeus and Semele, he is spoken of sometimes as a solar and sometimes as a lunar deity; for, like many other personifications of cosmic powers, he has both a solar and lunar (masculine or feminine) aspect. As a solar deity he has a serpent for his symbol and is a man-savior, parallel with Adonis, Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, and Christos. He is often called the god of wine, natural fertility, etc.
The original, pure Bacchic rites pertained to high initiation, in which the candidate becomes conscious of his oneness with divinity. Thus Bacchus, with his symbolic serpent and wine, stands for divine inspiration. But when the keys of the sacred science were lost and symbols were interpreted literally, the rites degenerated and often became profligate. Bacchus-Dionysos also figures as the inspirer of dramatic and representative art, inspiring the individual with the divine afflatus or mystic frenzy. Originally this meant the inner communion of the candidate with his own inner god and the consequent inspiration; on a lower plane it signifies the fleeting inspiration of poet and artist, and finally it degenerated into hysteria and morbid psychic states.