The myth of Zagreus, the chief object of worship, who was identified with most of the numerous gods of the Orphic pantheon); the rape of Persephone; and the descent into Hades.
This phase of his character was developed by the Orphic poets, he having here the name of Zagreus (" torn in pieces "), and being no longer the Theban god, but a son of Zeus and Persephone.
Hellenic Studies, xxiii.), the swinging being supposed to act as a charm in awakening vegetation from its winter sleep. The conception of Zagreus, or the winter Dionysus, appears to have originated in Crete, but it was accepted also in Delphi, where his grave was shown, and sacrifice was secretly offered at it annually on the shortest day.
According to others, Zagreus was originally a god of the chase, who became a hunter of men and a god of the underworld, more akin to Hades than to Dionysus (see also Titans).
The tales of divine cannibalism to which Pindar refers with awe, the mutilation of Dionysus Zagreus, the unspeakable abominations of Dionysus, the loves of Hera in the shape of a cuckoo, the divine powers of metamorphosing men and women into beasts and stars - these tales come to us as echoes of the period of savage thought.