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Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus Paperback – May 1 1992

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; New of ≪i> Shiva and Dio ed. edition (May 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892813741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892813742
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #541,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Danielou's books are remarkable for their clarity, scholarship, and uninhibited celebration of erotic and mystical ecstasy." (Interview Magazine)

"Gods of Love and Ecstasy makes compelling reading with so much information on the role played by gods and goddesses, revealing the theological complexity of this ancient cult. This book also includes many references and sources along with a fascinating chronological chart dating back to 15,000 BC. Highly recommended!" (Jane Lee, New Dawn, May-June 2002)

"While written nearly thirty years ago, the message of Gods of Love and Ecstasy is more critical today than ever, as it points the way towards reestablishing our links to the energies these archetypes represent, and their power in the material world." (The Institute of Hermetic Studies, Dec 2007)

About the Author

One of the most distinguished living Orientalists, Alain Danielou was an intimate of Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau, and Nabokov, and spent more than 20 years in India     studying music and philosophy with eminent pandits of the Hindu tradition. Danielou is the author of Myths and Gods of India; While the Gods Play; Yoga: Mastering the Secrets of Matter and the Universe; Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation; The Phallus; The Complete Kama Sutra and Music and the Power of Sound. He is the founder and former director of the International Institute for Comparative Musicology in Berlin, is a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and Officier du Merite National. 

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Feb. 26 2004
Format: Paperback
Alain Daniélou's assessment of the dionysiac cults is somewhat naive. The Dionysaic cults are by no means just about free, ecstatic love and religious tolerance. As René Girard has shown, these cults are most of all about the sacrifice of an - innocent - scapecoat in order to regularly release the tensions which again and again build up in a society. Pagan societies, which do not know forgiveness, need this form of tension release in order to preserve or reinstate their unity. The origin of the dionysiac cult is the cruel and indeed ecstatic murder and paradox divinisation of the founder of a culture/society. In Indian mythology, for instance, Parusha was torn to pieces and out of the pieces came the four castes. This founding murder is again and again repeated in the dionysiac cult. Archaic forms of this cult used to sacrifice humans, later forms animals. The Holocaust is a modern form of dionysiac ecstasy. Daniélou of course does see very clearly that dionysiac ecstasy is tension release. What he does not see or know is that mere tension release is not all that is possible in lovemaking.
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Format: Paperback
Having made the connection between Siva and Dionysus from other sources, I looked forward with some anticipation to a book that treated both together. I have come a way a little disappointed. While the book is well documented and very factual it lacks poetry. I could not get a feeling for either of the Gods from this book as I have been able from others (Like 'Dionysus: Myth and Cult' by Walter Otto.) However it was reassuring to to have my intuitions about the link between the two Gods substantiated.
The bulk of the material is about Siva, (which is understandable given the background of the author and the relative amounts of material available on each of the subjects) though this leads to a somewhat fragmentary portrait of Dionysus.
In places it has the tone of a polemic for a return to 'natural' or 'ecstatic' religion as a basis for saving the planet. It treats the 'good' features of such an approach at length but fails to adequately address the fact that 'Siva/Dionysus' is at heart a 'mad' and ambivalent God (CF. W Otto above). I am not sure I can stomach a return to ritual or cult prostitution or to human sacrifice. Feminists may be interested in his description of the 'natural' role of women.
At first he appears to be anti-christian though this turns out to be more anti Roman-Catholic and Institutional Church. He believes that Christianity in its original, unadulterated form was very close to 'natural' spirituality and points to the many parallels between Dionysus and Christ.
I would suggest that readers get a good background in both subjects before reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
Danielou meant that book to be an introduction to a religion that lies at the roots of all of us, and possibly lead us back to such primordial religion. The claim is bold. First, it is the author's controversial opinion that such a shaivite/dionysian religion was really so widespread. Second, the book itself doesn't give a "feeling" for what that religion is/was like. It gives extensive, scholarly details on the gods and myths, but little insight into what that would all mean to us nowadays.
However, the discussion of civilisations so remote from ours in time and spirit (Dravidian, Indus, Cretan, etc...) is mind-boggling and challenging. It makes our own culture seem very narrow-minded in some ways and ignorant of so much of human nature. The author was a native Frenchman yet deeply immersed in Hindu/Shaivite culture and religion from a young age. His insights are rare and precious. Thank you Monsieur Danielou.
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Format: Paperback
Alain Danaielou has written a fascinating look at religion
before it was bastardized by modern man. The Shivaite
tradition, and its Bachannalian equivalent in the West,
is the basis of all world religions, and this book does a great
job of explicating and delineating concepts in terms of yesyeryear and
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