“While Apollo most generally represents the sun, Bacchus is also a form of solar energy, for his resurrection was accomplished with the assistance of Apollo. The resurrection of Bacchus signifies merely the extraction or disentanglement of the various parts of the Bacchic constitution from the Titanic constitution of the world. This is symbolized by the smoke or soot rising from the burned bodies of the Titans. The soul is symbolized by smoke because it is extracted by the fire of the Mysteries. Smoke signifies the ascension of the soul, for evolution is the process of the soul rising, like smoke, from the divinely consumed material mass. At this time, the Bacchic Rites were of a high-order, but later they became much degraded.” ~Manly P. Hall
Apollo and Bacchus
I don’t know where Hall got this version of the resurrection of Bacchus. It differs from the traditional one, but is in line with the teachings of most mystery schools. If nothing else, this tells us Bacchus was an important “god” in the ancient pantheon. He would not have been helped by Apollo otherwise.
The Resurrection of Bacchus
Based on what Mr. hall says about the resurrection of Bacchus indicates that it is an allegory for the rebirth of the soul. Many tales of gods being resurrected, or reborn, are. The phoenix rising from it’s ashes is also an allegory of this process. But the good news is you don’t have to burn up your body in order for your soul to awaken. Like Bacchus, your soul can be resurrected by Apollo. In other words, your soul can be awakened by the light of the spiritual sun, which Apollo represents.
The spiritual development process represented by the resurrection of Bacchus is aided by getting rid of attachments to the material world. That doesn’t mean that we can’t own and material comforts. It just means that we don’t want to get too attached to them. Each thing we are attached to is like an anchor holding us down. Not in a literal sense, but holding us down to lower levels of consciousness. Spiritual beings like angels operate at higher levels of consciousness. If we wish to communicate with them, we must raise our own level of consciousness as much as possible. So the fewer things we have holding us back, the better.
The legend of the Titans being destroyed by the Olympians, who become the new ruling gods, is another allegory. The Titans represent the material world and the physical body. In this tale, the Olympians represent the spirit and soul. So this tale represents spirit and soul overcoming and defeating the material. But once again, it isn’t necessary to actually destroy the physical body or the ego. It is only necessary that they be controlled by the spirit and soul. That, of course, can only happen if the spirit and soul have been awakened by Apollo, that is, the spiritual sun.
I can understand why rising smoke symbolized the soul, yet I think it is not a good symbol for it. Smoke is often dark and smells bad. The soul is full of light, and if it had a scent, would be that of exotic tropical flowers. This symbol does make sense when the soul is rising from a dead body, but not when it is rising from intentional spiritual practices by a living person. A light leaving the head, or a beam of light going upward would make more sense.
Mr. Hall is certainly correct is saying that real evolution is all about the soul rising to higher levels. The development of a denser and denser physical body, as we have been doing for centuries, is devolution, not evolution. Soul evolution is human evolution. It is the goal of all real spiritual schools and mystery schools. It is necessary in order for the entire planet to transform back into spirit. Everything must transform at the same time or die. As we transform (or evolve), so does the planet. Those who cling to materialism and refuse to evolve will die. Not out of punishment, but because they will not be able to live in the changed world. The resurrection of Bacchus must happen to each of us.