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De eleusinske mysterier: Demeters ritualer

De eleusinske mysterier: Demeters ritualer


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The Rites of Eleusis, eller Eleusinian Mysteries, var de hemmelige ritualer ved mysterieskolen Eleusis og blev observeret regelmæssigt fra ca. Præcis hvad dette mystiske ritual var, ved ingen; men hvorfor de gamle grækere deltog i det, kan forstås ved de indviedes vidnesbyrd.

De eleusinske mysterier, der hvert år blev afholdt i Eleusis, Grækenland, fjorten kilometer nordvest for Athen, var så vigtige for grækerne, at indtil romernes ankomst var The Sacred Way (vejen fra Athen til Eleusis) den eneste vej, ikke en gedesti, i hele det centrale Grækenland. Mysterierne fejrede historien om Demeter og Persefone, men da de indviede blev svoret til hemmeligholdelse om dødens smerte om detaljerne i ritualet, ved vi ikke, hvilken form disse ritualer tog. Vi ved dog, at dem, der deltog i mysterierne, for altid blev ændret til det bedre, og at de ikke længere frygtede døden.

Ritualerne var baseret på en symbolsk læsning af historien om Demeter og Persephone og gav de indviede en vision om efterlivet så kraftfuld, at det ændrede den måde, de så verden og deres plads i den. Deltagerne blev frigjort fra frygt for døden gennem erkendelsen af, at de midlertidigt var udødelige sjæle i dødelige kroppe. På samme måde som Persephone gik ned til de dødes land og vendte tilbage til de levendes hvert år, så ville hvert menneske dø kun for at leve igen på et andet eksistensplan eller i et andet legeme.

Demeter & Persephone

Historien om Demeter og Persephone er den mest betydningsfulde myte i det antikke Grækenland netop på grund af dens indflydelse på denne forståelse. Mens historierne om Homer og Hesiod informerede kulturen, og dem om Herakles var betydningsfulde udtryk for kulturelle værdier, tilbød Demeter -historien noget, som andre myter ikke kunne: en vision om evigt liv og sejr over døden.

Demeter, naturens gudinde, havde en datter, Kore (som betyder 'jomfru'), som blev kidnappet og på nogle måder voldtaget af Hades, underverdenens herre. Demeter ledte efter hende Kore forgæves over hele jorden og endelig hvile ved en brønd i byen Eleusis. Der, forklædt som en gammel kvinde, passede hun dronningens søn og døbte ham hver nat i ild, så han ville være udødelig. Da dronningen en nat fandt sin plejepige, der placerede sin søn i ilden, var hun forståeligt nok ked af det - men ikke så vred som den sørgende gudinde, der derefter kastede hendes forklædning af og afslørede hendes herlighed og hendes vrede.

Mollificeret, så længe folket ville bygge hende et tempel i Eleusis, lærte Demeter dronningens søn, Triptolemos, landbrugets kunst. Zeus, gudernes konge, fik Hades til at vende tilbage Kore til hendes mor, da afgrøden i Demeters sorg var ved at dø, folk sulte, guderne modtog ikke deres vante hyldest. Hades var enig, men havde narret Kore til at spise nogle granatæblekerner, og hvis man spiste i de dødes land, blev man tilbage med de døde.

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Da hun kun havde spist nogle, blev det dog aftalt, at hun ville tilbringe et halvt år med Hades i underverdenen og halvt med sin mor på jorden. Kore opstod fra underverdenen som Persephone ('hun der bringer undergang') Dødedronningen, og mens hun blev på jorden, fik Demeter verden til at være frugtbar, mens Persephone var i underverdenen, visnede og døde planterne; således blev årstiderne forklaret. Endnu vigtigere afspejlede myten imidlertid begrebet transformation og livets cykliske natur. Ens eksistens sluttede ikke med døden, fordi der ikke var nogen død; der var kun ændring fra en tilstand af væren til en anden.

Mysterierne

Ritualerne blev vedtaget to gange om året. Der var de mindre mysterier, der fandt sted i foråret, og de større mysterier, som de, der var blevet renset tidligere, deltog i, da september kom. De gik den hellige vej fra Athen til Eleusis og kaldte på Kore og genskabe Demeters søgning efter sin tabte datter.

Ved Eleusis ville de hvile ved brønden, Demeter havde sat sig ved, faste og derefter drikke en byg og myntedrik kaldet Kykeon. Det er blevet foreslået, at denne drink var infunderet af den psykotrope svamp ergot, og dette øgede derefter oplevelsen og hjalp med at transformere den indviede. Efter at have drukket Kykeon gik deltagerne ind i Telesterion, et underjordisk 'teater', hvor det hemmelige ritual fandt sted. Mest sandsynligt var det en symbolsk genopførelse af Persefons død og genfødsel, som de indviede så og måske deltog i. Uanset hvad der skete i Telesterion, ville de, der kom ind, komme ud næste morgen radikalt ændret. Næsten hver vigtig tænker og forfatter i antikken, alle der var 'hvem som helst', var en indviet af mysterierne.

Vidnesbyrdene

Platon, en indviet selv (som Sokrates var før ham) omtaler mysterierne specifikt i sin berømte dialog om sjælens udødelighed, Phaedo: "vores mysterier havde en meget reel betydning: den, der er blevet renset og indviet, skal bo hos guderne" (69: d, F.J. Church trans). I Myte om Er, det sidste kapitel af Platons Republik, dræbes en kriger ved navn Er i kamp og går til efterlivet, men drikker i modsætning til de andre, der ledsager ham, ikke af vandet i floden Lethe, hvilket ville få ham til at glemme sit liv på jorden og gå videre til det næste.

Er vender i stedet tilbage til livet på slagmarken og fortæller sine ledsagere om, hvad han så i den næste verden, og hvordan døden er. Han gør det klart, at døden ikke er slutningen på ens liv, men kun begyndelsen på en anden del af rejsen. Interessant nok introducerer Platon aldrig denne historie som en 'myte', som en fiktion, men behandler den som en faktuel beretning. Oversættelsen af ​​kapitlet som 'myten' om Er har været uheldig, da det egentlig skulle forstås som konto eller historie af Er. Ers rapport er sandsynligvis en afspejling af den vision, man modtog fra mysterierne.

Plutarch skriver til sin kone om deres datters død og siger: "på grund af de hellige og trofaste løfter givet i mysterierne ... holder vi det fast for en utvivlsom sandhed, at vores sjæl er uforgængelig og udødelig. Lad os opføre os selv i overensstemmelse hermed "(Hamilton, 179). Yderligere siger han: "Når en mand dør, er han som dem, der er indviet i mysterierne. Hele vores liv er en rejse på snørklede måder uden udløb. I øjeblikket når vi stopper, kommer frygt, gysende frygt, forbløffelse. Så et lys der bevæger sig for at møde dig, rene enge, der modtager dig, sange og danse og hellige åbenbaringer "(Hamilton, 179). Denne beskrivelse ligner ganske den rapport, Er har givet i sin beretning.

Cicero skriver: "Intet er højere end disse mysterier ... de har ikke kun vist os, hvordan vi skal leve med glæde, men de har lært os at dø med et bedre håb" og historikeren Will Durant fra det 20. århundrede udtaler om mysterierne, "I denne åbenbaringens ekstase ... de følte Guds enhed og Guds og sjælens enhed; de blev løftet op af individets vildfarelse og kendte til freden ved at optage i guddom "(Durant, 189). Historikeren Waverly Fitzgerald opsummerer oplevelsen med at skrive klart: "Det blev sagt om dem, der blev indledt ved Eleusis, at de ikke længere frygtede døden, og det ser ud til, at denne myte bekræfter det cykliske livssyn, der er centralt for hedensk spiritualitet: at døden er en del af livscyklus og følges altid af rebith ”(2). Hvert gammelt vidnesbyrd afspejler den samme forståelse, og hver har den samme tone i oplyst befrielse fra frygt for døden.

Egyptisk indflydelse

Lige så vigtig var en nyfunden mening med ens liv. Indviede erkendte, at deres liv havde et evigt formål, og at de ikke bare levede for at dø. En tro på sjælens transmigration - reinkarnation - synes at have været central for mysteriernes vision, og det gav mennesker en følelse af fred i, at de ville have en anden chance, mange andre chancer, for at opleve livet på jorden i andre former .

Det er ganske sandsynligt, at Mysterierne var påvirket af egyptiske religiøse overbevisninger, der forstod døden som en overgang til en anden eksistensfase, ikke slutningen på ens liv. Egypterne havde fastholdt denne tro siden i det mindste den tidlige dynastiske periode (ca. 3150-c. 2613 f.Kr.), og da der var kontakt mellem de to kulturer gennem handel, er det sandsynligt, at denne egyptiske forståelse bidrog til en dybere fortolkning af Demeter og Persephone -historien og mysteriernes vision.

Selvom egyptisk tro regelmæssigt understregede et ideelt efterliv i Reeds Field, et paradis, der var et spejlbillede af ens liv på jorden, anerkendte det også den åndelige virkelighed ved reinkarnation, ligesom de fleste førkristne religiøse gjorde. Tiden blev betragtet som cyklisk, ikke lineær, og man kunne genkende universets mønster gennem de skiftende årstider og forstå, at ligesom træer, græs og blomster døde i en sæson og vendte tilbage til livet i en anden, så ville mennesker.

Slutningen

Eleusiniens mysterier adskilte sig fra konventionel religiøs praksis ved at indviede førstehånds oplevede, hvad andre kun hørte om i templerne. Den traditionelle tilbedelse af guderne var baseret på historier, der blev fortalt om, hvordan universet fungerede, gudernes vilje og hvad disse guder havde gjort. Forskellen mellem denne form for religiøs oplevelse og mysteriernes ville være den samme som at handle i et teaterstykke sammenlignet med at høre om en forestilling; skuespillerne kommer til at få en meget anderledes og mere meningsfuld oplevelse. Alligevel er der ingen indikation på, at indviede så ned på traditionel religiøs praksis eller betragtede sig selv som overlegne. Platon gjorde sandsynligvis det, men kun fordi han allerede troede, at han var bedre end sin samtid.

Mysterierne blev vedtaget i over tusind år og gav på den tid utallige mennesker en højere forståelse af livet og hvad der ventede ud over døden. Ritualerne blev lukket af den kristne kejser Theodosius i 392 CE, da han så de gamle ritualer som inspirerende modstand mod kristendommen og Kristi 'sandhed'. Efterhånden som kristendommen fik flere tilhængere og magt, blev hedenske ritualer systematisk udryddet, selvom kernebetydninger, ikonografi og symbolik ville blive tilegnet den nye tro og transformeret til at understøtte troen på Jesus Kristus som messias.

De tidligere steder med stort hedensk ritual og læring blev forladt, ødelagt eller omdannet til kirker i hele 4. og 5. århundrede e.Kr. Demeter -templet og alle hellige steder i Eleusis blev afskediget af de arianske kristne med Alaric, goternes konge, i sin invasion af 396 e.Kr. om liv, død og løfte om genfødsel.


Eleusiniske mysterier: "Indvielse" til det mest hellige og hemmelige ritual i Attika!

For blandt de mange fremragende og faktisk guddommelige institutioner, som dit Athen har frembragt og bidraget til menneskeliv, er der efter min mening ingen bedre end disse mysterier. For ved deres midler er vi blevet bragt ud af vores barbariske og vilde livsform og uddannet og forfinet til en civilisationstilstand og som ritualerne kaldes ‘ indvielser, ’ så i sandhed har vi lært af dem begyndelsen af livet, og har fået magt til ikke kun at leve lykkeligt, men også at dø med et bedre håb.

Eleusiniens mysterier var den vigtigste festival og hemmelige religiøse ritual i det antikke Grækenland, der fandt sted i Eleusis, Attika, til ære for Demeter og Persephone. På trods af at tusinder af indviede deltog i ritualet over så mange århundreder, er de eleusinske mysterier pakket ind i et hemmeligholdsslør, da ingen nogensinde afslørede deres hemmeligheder og hvad der præcist skete under ritualet. Og stadigvæk, selv den dag i dag føler den besøgende på Eleusis ærefrygt og ekstraordinær atmosfære, som dette ekstremt vigtige sted udstråler.

Demeter og Persephone. Mor og datter. Bortførelsen af ​​den eneste datter og den desperate eftersøgning af moderen i ni dage. Sorgen over moderen, der sidder ved Sørgende rock i Eleusis, desperat og græder. Til sidst tvinger Demeter Zeus til at få Persephone tilbage, der vender tilbage fra underverdenen, hvor hun var blevet taget af Pluto. Pluto lurer imidlertid Persephone til at spise granatæblekerner, hvilket fik hende til at vende tilbage til underverdenens mørke hvert år. Myten taler om datterens tilbagevenden til sin mor og dermed overgangen fra døden til livet, fra mørke til lys, fra vinter til forår.

Oprindelsen af ​​mysterierne

Ifølge græsk mytologi indledte Demeter selv Mysterierne, da hun tilbød korn til Eleusis -folket og indviede ritualerne. Faktisk, omkring sorgklippen, hvor hun sad, sang kvinder fra Eleusis senere salmer til gudinden. De første systematiske arkæologiske udgravninger, der startede i Eleusis i 1882, afslørede bygningerne, der var relateret til tilbedelsen af ​​gudinden, mens de ældste konstruktioner forbundet med mysterierne stammer fra det 8. århundrede f.Kr.

De mindre og større eleusinske mysterier

Der var to eleusinske mysterier, de større og de mindre. Større blev fejret i Athen og i Eleusis, mens de mindre blev holdt i Agrai, i udkanten af ​​Athen, ved floden Ilissos. De mindre mysterier var beregnet til at "forberede" deltagerne til de større mysterier.

I deres storhedstid kunne Greater Eleusinian Mysteries modtage over 3.000 indviede, og alle kunne deltage: mænd, kvinder, slaver og endda børn. Der var to adgangsbetingelser: For det første skulle hver indviede forstå græsk. Ikke nødvendigvis for at være græsk, men for at forstå sproget for at forstå, hvad der blev sagt under ritualerne. For det andet kunne indviede ikke være skyldige i drab. Desuden kunne ingen under festivalen anholdes for nogen sigtelse.

Eleusiniens mysterier blev fejret på den 15. dag i måneden Boedromion (midten af ​​august til midten af ​​september) og varede i ni dage. Ritualet startede i Athen, ved helligdommen dedikeret til Demeter (Eleusinion), ved foden af ​​Akropolis. I et langsomt optog langs den hellige vej (Iera Odos), ledet af en gudinde Demeter -præstinde, gik de hele vejen til Eleusis. Indviede ville derefter samles ved Great Propylaea, hvor de ville drikke kykeon, en blanding af vand, byg og mynte, for at bryde den hellige afholdenhed fra mad og drikke. De måtte bevæge sig gennem de lange entréer i helligdommen, inden de nåede den store hule, der blev betragtet som indgangen til Hades, kaldet Plutoneion.

På dette tidspunkt ville der ske en bemærkelsesværdig ting. Til siden af ​​Plutoneion er en falsk brønd, der strækker sig ned i mørket. Ud af dette skaft ville en person, der spillede rollen som Persephone, formodentlig en præstinde, dukke op for mængden af ​​indviede. Hun gik et par skridt fra brøndens munding, så hendes ansigt og overkrop ville have været synligt for mængden.

Kernen i ritualet er genopførelsen af ​​Persefons tilbagevenden fra Hades. Ritualet havde en ekstremt teatralsk effekt, da mysterierne fandt sted om natten, og det eneste lys blev kastet fra fakler.

Fra hulen steg de indviede mod Telesterion, det vigtigste bygningsværk ved Eleusis, hvor mysteriernes centrale drama fandt sted. Det er et enormt rum med 42 høje søjler, der understøtter et overdådigt kuffertloft. Det kunne holde tusinder af indviede, siddende på trin, hvoraf otte rækker overlever, skåret direkte ind i bjergklippen. I midten af ​​gangen stod en mindre, rektangulær bygning kaldet Anaktoron. Dette var det allerhelligste, det sted, hvor Demeters hellige genstande blev placeret, kun tilgængelig af hierofanterne.

Herfra er historien indhyllet i hemmeligholdelse. Hvis den enorme centrale hal var et teater, så var Anaktoron scenen, hvor de indviede så, og præsterne var skuespillerne. Alt, hvad vi ved, er tre ord, der beskriver, hvad der skete: dromena, deiknumena, legomena. Ting gjort, ting vist, ting sagt. Da hemmeligholdelse var obligatorisk, og at tale om ritualet var en forbrydelse, der kan straffes med døden, er det nøjagtige indhold af ritualet stadig ukendt.

Det tredje og højeste trin i indvielsen i mysterierne blev kaldt Epopteia og var forbeholdt dem, der havde været igennem indvielsen det foregående år. Det centrale symbol for Epopteia var hvedeøret, der henviste til den uudtømmelige kreative kraft fra Moder Jord. Demeter gav mennesker to gaver: tilbagevenden til livet personificeret af Persephone og dyrkning af korn, også forbundet med forestillingen om liv.

Efter afslutningen af ​​mysterierne ærede de indviede de døde ved at hælde libations fra særlige fartøjer og vendte derefter hjem.

Det faktiske indhold i de eleusinske mysterier kan forblive ukendt den dag i dag, men vi kan afslutte essensen og forestille os oplevelsen. Deltagelse i sorg, og derefter deltagelse i glæde. Tilbagevenden til livet, lettelsen, fortroligheden med døden. Følelsen af ​​at livet vil fortsætte. Det vil gå videre. Og der er ikke noget at frygte.


Legenden om Demeter og Persephone

Festivalen udsprang af myten, der begynder, når Demeters datter Kore bliver kidnappet af Hades, underverdenens herre - efter hendes bortførelse ændrede Kores navn til Persephone. Demeter, der bærer en fakkel, søger ni dage efter sin datter og har eventyr med dødelige, indtil hun indser, at hendes sande styrke ligger i hendes frugtbarhed - så hun stopper årstiderne. Og jorden bliver en ufrugtbar ødemark. Zeus bønfalder Demeter om at gøre jorden rigelig igen, men hun vil ikke give op, før Persephone bliver returneret til hende. Zeus beordrer Hades til at frigive Persephone. Hades holder sig, men ikke før han lokker Persephone til at spise et granatæblefrø. Den blotte handling at spise i underverdenen binder Persephone til Hades i et par måneder hvert år. Myten er allegorisk om landbrugsfornyelse, fra liv til død og tilbage igen hvert år. Selvom landbruget spillede en rolle i mysterierne, blev dets rolle stærkt formindsket til fordel for den eskatologiske karakter af Demeters historie, det vil sige spørgsmål vedrørende liv efter døden. I de gamle sind var naturens opstandelse hvert år et tegn på menneskehedens udødelighed.


Hvad er de mindre og større mysterier?

Tempelruiner i Eleusis

Selvom det meste af det, der skete under mysterierne, aldrig vil blive kendt, ved vi, at der var to Eleusiniske mysterier. Disse var de mindre mysterier og de større mysterier.

De mindre mysterier fandt sted midt på vinteren, og indviede skulle ofre en pattegris i de to gudinderes navn for at kvalificere sig til deltagelse. Det var først efter at have afsluttet de mindre mysterier, at indviede blev anset for at være berettigede til de større mysterier.

De større mysterier blev afholdt i sensommeren og blev antaget at være en større lejlighed end de mindre mysterier. De involverede transport af hellige genstande til det eleusinske tempel og varede i alt 10 dage.

Mod slutningen af ​​ceremonien drak deltagerne en psykoaktiv drink kaldet kykeon, og de kunne derefter låse op for de dybe syner, de var der for at søge. Efter højdepunktet i ceremonien kaldte en fest hele natten den Pannychis fandt sted på Rharian Field, der involverede masser af dyreofre, drikke og munterhed.


The Eleusinian Mysteries: The Rites of Demeter - History

"Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone: Fertility, Sexuality and Rebirth" blev skrevet af Mara Lynn Keller og udgivet i 1988 i Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. I artiklen taler Keller om gudinde -religionen Demeter og Persephone. Det var et matriarkalsamfund, før de patriarkalske samfund overtog. Demeters mysterier og ritualerne, der følger med disse, er skabt til at guide mennesker gennem livets faser. Hun inkluderer de tre indbyrdes forbundne dimensioner af liv (1) fertilitet og fødsel, (2) seksualitet og ægteskab og (3) død og genfødsel. Keller bruger disse tre indbyrdes forbundne dimensioner af livet til at demonstrere de foreløbige, liminale og postliminale faser i gudinde -religionen Demeter og Persefone.

Et af hovedtemaerne for gudinden religion og matriarkalske slægt er ideen om at holde kærligheden ud. Det er gennem dette, at folket modtager landbrugets gaver og ritualerne i Mysterierne om Demeter og Persefone. Persephone stiger ned i underverdenen for at blive dens hersker. Når hun er der, er hendes mor Demeter frygtelig deprimeret, og afgrøderne vokser ikke. Når hun hvert år vender tilbage fra underverdenen til sin mor, vokser afgrøderne og folk er glade. Dette overordnede tema om varig kærlighed og historien om Demeters kærlighed til sin datter gennem Persefones egne oplevelser af disse faser, modellerer Mysteriernes ritualer for folket. De hjælper med at skabe mindre frygt for det næste, ved at vide at en gudinde er der for at guide dem igennem det med en stærk følelse af kærlighed og forståelse.

Ideen går også sammen med den kristne religion. Som Keller sagde, “kunne datterens glædelige genforening med moren/gudinden have symboliseret den menneskelige sjæls tilbagevenden efter kroppens død til dens universelle oprindelse eller kærlige kilde” (40). Dette kunne i høj grad hænge sammen med tanken om Jesus i kristendommen. Mennesket dør, og dets sjæl går til det liminale stadie i de dødes rige. Når sjælen er færdig med dette stadie, vender den tilbage til sin oprindelse eller kærlige kilde. I kristendommen ofres Jesus for folket, men er det alt-kærlige væsen. Persephone ofrer sit liv i den øvre verden for at gå til underverdenen og giver derfor samfundet et bånd mellem liv og død, ligesom Jesus gjorde. Når hun vender tilbage til den øvre verden, er det metaforisk for menneskesjæle, der vender tilbage til Jesus på et lykkeligt, kærligt sted (som himlen). At følge ritualerne i Demeters mysterier ligner meget på at følge de regler, som Jesus gav de kristne ved at følge ritualerne og ritualerne, og folket bliver lovet et bedre liv efter døden gennem hemmelighederne fra dem, der har rejst mellem de to rige.

Keller beskriver den mytiske kerne i de eleusinske mysterier som myten om Demeter, der gav korngaven til folket og "instruerede dem i ritualerne om at blive videreført i hendes navn" (31). Dette viger for de tre indbyrdes forbundne dimensioner af livet. Fertilitet og fødsel er primært landbrug i denne sammenhæng, da Demeter er kornets gudinde. Dette spirer de andre dimensioner af seksualitet og ægteskab og død og genfødsel. Persefones nedstigning til underverdenen for at blive dens hersker er den liminale fase, hvor Persephone befinder sig på et nyt sted, finder hvad hendes sted er og guider også de nye ånder i underverdenen til at finde deres sted. Persefones afstamning ses også som død og genfødsel på den måde, at det, hun var, er død, og hendes genfødsel er hendes nye måde at være på. Efter Persefones død er hun i stand til at bringe håb og lykke i afgrøderne, sin mor og folket hver gang hun vender tilbage. Den måde, afgrøderne dør på, hver gang Persephone går til underverdenen, men springer op igen, når hun vender tilbage, giver døden et slags mindre frygtfuldt og mere håbefuldt tema. Det hjælper også med at mindske frygten for døden vel vidende, at Persephone let og lykkeligt kan gå mellem riger.

Et andet vigtigt tema i Kellers artikel er ideen om den patriarkalske overtagelse. Den patriarkalske overtagelse forårsagede aftagning af gudinde -religionen og matriarkalske klanledelse. Det ændrede ideerne om seksualitet på en sådan måde, at mandlige skikkelser tvang det til kvinderne frem for at det var valgfrit eller naturligt. En anden version af myten om Persefones nedstigning i underverdenen var Hades, der kidnappede hende fra en mark og tog hende til sin kone. Dette skete, da den patriarkalske overtagelse var på fri fod. De ritualer, der så ofte blev praktiseret, blev tvunget til hemmeligholdelse, da templerne og symbolerne for gudinde -religionerne blev ødelagt, og vold og krigsførelse tog fat.

Demeters egenskaber blev også vist gennem Isis og Osiris i de egyptiske myter. ”Den afrikanske Isis var nært beslægtet med Demeter, som giver korn og civilisationens love, som healer, Dronning af de Døde og den, der giver mysteriet om det opstandne liv. Isis religion, ligesom Demeter ’s, tilpassede sig tragedierne i det stadig mere voldsomme patriarkalske klassesystem ... I gudindeens mystiske fejringer fortsatte kvinder og mænd med at forny deres tro på universets i hovedsagen kærlige generøsitet gennem liv og gennem døden ”(Keller 36). Osiris, Isis ægtemand, er herre i underverdenen såvel som i den levende verden. Da hans bror Seth dræber ham, bringer Isis hans krop midlertidigt tilbage til livet, så hun kan fylde sig selv med hans frø og føde sin søn, Horus. Gennem Osiris 'ubehagelige død og Horus' fødsel er skæbnen for hvert underverdenens rige og de levendes rige en hersker og vejledning. Dette er den samme idé som Demeter og Persephone, der er herskerne over de levende og underverdener.

Keller skriver også en dybdegående beskrivelse af festivalerne og ritualerne i Demeter og Persefons mysterier. De ritualer, hun beskriver, giver samfundets mennesker måder at blive accepteret til et bedre efterliv. Keller synes at være meget lidenskabelig over betydningen af ​​disse festivaler og udtalte: ”Jeg ønsker her at understrege fylden af ​​oplevelsen af ​​Mysterierne om Demeter og Persefone. Hele processen involverede de indviede såvel som det større samfund og omfattede perioder med udrensning og renselse, helbredelse, engagement, vision, fremkomst og genforening med samfundet ”(54). Disse ritualer giver samfundet håb om et bedre efterliv gennem specifikke ritualer og praksis, hvilket mindsker frygten for dødens uundgåelighed.

Kellers ord i hendes sidste afsnit er meget stærke og tankevækkende. “Endelig kan vi fortolke Demeter og Persefons mysterier som en myte for vores egen tid. Undervisningen om sjælens rejse overskrider enhver bestemt tid og sted, alder eller køn. Mysterierne vækker minder om den tidlige epoke af modercentreret liv og adskillelsen, bortførelsen, denne primære livsforms død ... Den fornyelse, jeg længes efter, er tilbagevenden af ​​en ærbødighed for Moder Jord og hendes rigelige skabningskræfter. en bekræftelse af seksualitetens og menneskelig-hellighedens seksuelle og varige kærlighed og troen på dødens uundgåelighed og sjælens udødelighed. Det er en længsel efter genfødslen af ​​den rigelige kærlighed og næring fra den gamle jordmoder Gaia, Demeter, Persefone ... så de kan være med os nu som trøstere og guider til den næste fase af vores rejse i dette liv. ” (54). De største spørgsmål, dette efterlader mig med, er disse: Hvis vi var i stand til at vende tilbage til moderklansamfundet, ville ideerne om varig kærlighed og ritualer, der guider mennesker gennem stadierne, hjælpe med at reducere noget af den frygt, der følger med disse faser? Ville de faser, vi gennemgår som kvinder og samfund, være lige så trivielle, hvis der stadig var sådanne festligheder og praksisser for ritualerne fra mysterierne og gudinde -religionens ritualer og overbevisninger?

CITEDE ARBEJDER
Keller, Mara Lynn. Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone: Fertilitet, seksualitet og genfødsel. ” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 4.1 (1988): 27-54. FSR, Inc. Web. 20. oktober 2014.
Knivspids, Geraldine. “Ch. 10 Mumiens velsignelser: De dødes mytologi. ” Egyptisk myte en meget kort introduktion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. Tryk.


Eleusinske mysterier

Wi den Eleusinske mysterier Demeters rolle er afgørende. Hun tog sit navn fra Moder Jord, som var blandt generationen af ​​børn født af Cronus og Rhea. Hendes navn giver et link til de indoeuropæiske guder, som hellenerne havde med sig.

Næsten med sikkerhed ville triaden i det sumeriske system have været repræsenteret af Inanna og Ereshigal med Dumuzi eller hans pendant, kongen, i hvem hans ånd var inkarneret, mens han i den klassiske græske formodede, at triaden i Eleusis -mysterierne var sammensat af Demeter ( modergudinden Jorden), Persephone (underverdens dronning) og den unge konge, deres plejebarn, Triptolemos (engang en lokal konge), der siges at have bragt Demeter ’s korngave til verden, og som fostring af Persephone, for nu at regere i de dødes land.

Selvom Demeter blev betragtet som moder-gudinde Jorden, blev hun aldrig forvekslet med Gaia, der blev betragtet som et kosmisk element. Demeter ’s forsyn var dyrkning af jorden, især jordproducerende majs. Således spredte legender om hende sig blandt de forgæves sletter, og den centrale grund for hendes myter var Eleusis sletter, der var omkring Athen og Sicilien, der indeholdt den gamle verdens kornmagasiner.

Sammen med Demeter og Persephone var det også en tredje guddom, Zagreus, der figurerede i Eleusis mysterier. I første omgang var Iacchus råbet fra de troende i løbet af religiøse processioner. Efterhånden antog råbet en personlighed og overtog opgaven med at lede processioner af indviede. Lejlighedsvis blev han antaget at være søn af Demeter, men på andre tidspunkter blev han anset for at være reinkarnationen af ​​Zagreus, en søn af Persephone og Zeus.

I Iacchus ser man et råb, et livløst objekt, antager liv og i Zagreus ser man de døde genvinde livet, begge er åbenbaringen af ​​de Eleusiske mysterier. Dette var som det skulle være, da det centrale tema i Eleusus -mysterierne centrerer sig om bortførelsen af ​​Persephone i underverdenen af ​​Hades. Kun Demeter og Hekate, en mångudinde, hørte hendes datter, Persephone, råbe om hjælp, da Jorden åbnede, så Hades kunne rive hende væk.

Men da den efterladte Demeter forsøgte at spore hendes datters fodspor, fandt hun dem udslettet af en gris. Som ved en tilfældighed på tidspunktet for bortførelsen rodede en flok grise i nærheden. Svinebesætningens navn var Eubouleus, hvilket betyder, at giveren af ​​gode råd ” selv var tidligere i betegnelsen af ​​underverdenens gud. Da kløften åbnede sig for at sluge Persephone, faldt grisene også ind. Dette er ifølge traditionen årsagen til, at grise spiller en vigtig rolle i ritualerne til Demeter og Persephone.

The first festivals celebrating the sorrows and later joys of Demeter and Persephone were exclusively for women held in pre-Hellenic Greece that is in the so-called Pelasgian period, when the hieratic civilizations of Crete and Troy were at their zenith before the time of the warrior-gods Zeus and Apollo who reduced the power of the great goddess.

The festivals included the sacrifice of suckling pigs in a manner suggestive of not only of an human sacrifice but of a gruesome one. The women fasted for nine days in memory of the nine days of sorrow that Demeter roamed the earth holding a staff-like torch in search of Persephone.

She meets Hekate, and together they go tp Phoebus, the sun god, who had seen the young goddess abducted and told them where she was. Afterwards Demeter, filled with wrath and grief, left the world of the gods, and sat as an old woman, heavily veiled, for days at the Well of the Virgin. Next she became a servant in a kingly household in Eleusis, the city that became her largest sanctuary in Greece. She then cursed all the earth so it bore no fruit for man or the gods for a whole year.

Then the gods of Olympus, including Zeus, each pleaded with her in vain, but she would not relent. Zeus finally succeeded in gaining Persephone’s release but while in the underworld she had eaten a seed of a pomegranate and as a consequence would have to spend one third of the year with Hades. She was embraced by both her mother and Hekate and returned to Olympus glorious, and, as if by magic, the earth bloomed again with flowers and vegetation.

The seed-time festival of Thesmophoria lasted three days, the first day being named Kathodos (downgoing) and Anodos (upcoming), the second Nestia (fasting), and the last Kalligeneia (fair-born or fair-birth) and it was during the first that the suckling pigs were thrown, probably alive, into an underground chamber called a megara, and left there to rot for a year, the bones from the year before being carried up to the earth again and placed upon an altar.

Figures of serpents and human beings made of flour and wheat were also thrown into the chasm, or “chamber,” at this time. And the author of this information wrote: “They say that in or about the chasms are snakes which consume the most part of what is thrown in hence a rattling din is made when the women draw up the remains and when they replace the remains by well-known images, in order that they snakes which they hold to be the guardians of the sanctuaries may go away.”

These rites were secret, thus little is known of them. However, in the widely celebrated and extremely influencial mysteries of Eleusis, where the Kathodos-og-Anodos of the maiden Persephone was again the central theme, pigs again were important offerings. And, a new motif appeared for the culminating episode of the holy pageant performed in the “hall of the mystics” at Eleusis, representing the sorrows of Demeter and the ultimate Anodos or return of the maiden, was the showing of an ear of grain.

The mysteries of these rites are the evolving of life, death, and rebirth. The pig was the sacrificial beast, representing death and rebirth. So are the goddesses Demeter and Persephone symbolic of death and rebirth. During the lost of her daughter Demeter had no desire for life, the mother-goddess Earth stopped functioning and the earth was barren.

Her desire for living was gone, taken away when her daughter Persephone was abducted into the world of the dead. Persephone role in Hades, Queen of the Underworld, is as equally important too because she became the dead element of Demeter when she was taken, or severed, from her mother. During the separation of her daughter Demeter did not and would not be mother-goddess Earth. But the moment her daughter, the maiden, was reunited with her, Demeter magnificently functioned again and the earth blossomed.

Thus this is the symbol of the ear of grain, the blossom, or fruit, of the dormant seed the seed with the embodiment of life that lies as if dead until time to live again. Again, Persephone, being a goddess, is thought divine, so when she entered the world of the dead, that divine part of her entered too and when she returned to the living the divine returned too as it believed to do in each individual.

As it was in India, so in these Hellenistic mysteries, the accomplished initiate both realized his own divinity and was honored as a god for what better sign of godhood could there be than a human being in whom his own godhood has been realized, or what better guide to his own perfection? Oh, there were critics, saying cult members were confused, for sure but others such as Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-143 BC) who wrote in his De Legibus of the Greek mysteries of Eleusis:

Among the many excellent and divine institutions that your Athens has developed and contributed to human life, there is none, in my opinion, better than these mysteries, by which we have been brought forth from our rustic and savage mode of existence, cultivated and refined to a state of civilization and as these rites are called “initiations” so, in truth, we have learned from them the first principles of life and have gained the understanding, not only to live happily, but also to die with better hope.

In some manner the Eleusis mysteries are still remembered and participated in, usually by neo-Pagans. This annual reenactment tends to show the dividing difference between neo-Paganism and Christianity and other formalized religions. It is true that the phenomena of death and resurrection is present in Christianity as it was in the ancient Pagan religion, but also present is the concept of the end of this world in order to usher in the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven now. All of this is based on the guilt of man.

Jesus died to pay for this guilt, and his resurrection signified that man, now free of guilt or sin, can enter the kingdom of God. Whereas, in the Pagan view the reenactment of these mysteries symbolize the events which constantly happen on earth, for which this is no improvement or even a need for any, for this world continues forever. The initiates, and those believing likewise, who have learned the ways of these rites come to see and know the world as it is. A.G.H.

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 121
Campbell, Joseph, The Mask of the God: Primitive Mythology, New York, Penquin Books, 1982
Campbell, Joseph, The Mask of the God: Occidental Mythology, New York, Penquin Books, 1976


The Ritual

The initiation rites were secret. Current knowledge is restricted to scraps of information provided by those who dared to divulge them (especially converted pagans) and to those rituals that were public.

The initiation formed part of the state festival of the Musteria, or Greater Mysteries, in the Athenian month of Boedromion (September – October). Initiation at Eleusis was preceded by a preliminary ritual, at Agrai, just outside Athens, that took place in the month of Anthesterion (February – March). Pictorial sources show that this ritual, called the Lesser Mysteries, had a predominantly purificatory character: it contained the sacrifice of a piglet and purifications through fire (a burning torch) and air (by means of a fan). The Greater Mysteries themselves began with preparations in Athens: assembly of the mustai and formal exclusion of "murderers and barbarians" (on 15 Boedromion), a ritual bath in the sea (on 16 Boedromion), and three days of fast. On 19 Boedromion, the mustai marched in procession from Athens to Eleusis, guided by the statue of Iacchos, the god who impersonated the ecstatic shouts (iacchazein, "to shout") of the crowd and was later identified with the ecstatic Dionysos.

Toward dusk, the mustai entered the sanctuary at Eleusis. A secret password, known through a Christian source, provides information about the preliminary rites (Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 21.8): "I fasted I drank the kuke ō n I took from the chest having done my task, I placed in the basket, and from the basket into the chest." The kuke ō n is known to have been a mixture of water, barley, and spice, taken to break the fast (Hymn to Demeter 206ff.), but details of the rest of the ritual are obscure. Perhaps the mustai took a mortar from the sacred chest and ground some grains of wheat. They also enacted the search for Kore by torchlight (ibid., 47ff.).

The central rite is clear only in its outline. Crowded in the telest ē rion for the whole night, the mustai underwent terrifying darkness then came a climax full of illumination, "when the anaktoron was opened" (Plutarch, Moralia 81d – e) and a huge fire burst forth. (Note the parallel to the motif of immersion in fire to gain immortality in Hymn to Demeter 239f.) Details of what followed are conjectural, based largely on the account of Hippolytus (c. 170 – 236). "Under a huge fire," he reports, "the hierophant shouts, 'The Mistress has given birth to a sacred child, Brimo to Brimos'" (Refutation of All Heresies 5.8). Perhaps "the mistress" is Demeter and the "sacred child" Ploutos (Plutus), or Wealth, symbolized by an ear of wheat, for Hippolytus describes another ritual thus: "The hierophant showed the initiates the great … mystery, an ear cut in silence" (ibid.).

The central rite must have evoked eschatological hopes by ritual means, not by teaching. (Teaching is expressly excluded by Aristotle, Fragment 15.) The symbolism of the grain lends itself to such an explanation, as does the symbolism of a new birth. A year after his initiation (mu ē sis ), the must ē s could attain the degree of epopteia. The rituals of this degree are unknown many scholars maintain that the showing of the ear belongs to this degree, on the strength of Hippolytus's terminology.

Initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries was, in historical times, an affair of individuals, as in the imperial mystery cults, but unlike them, it always remained bound to one place, Eleusis, and had presumably grown out of gentilitial cults of the Eleusinian families.


The Eleusinian Mysteries

Sir Peter Sauvant (d. 1892) was the leader of an occult group who called themselves the Eleusinians, after the ancient rites performed each year in Ancient Greece by the devotees of Demeter and Persephone, based at Eleusis. Such an agrarian cult suited the surroundings of the East Sussex coast, but the name was a pretty deceit and had less to do with the harvest as it did with tampering with things men ought to leave alone.

The Journals of Sir Peter Sauvant, eds. P. Cheung, M. Dewser and C. Rickard, (Pagham-on-Sea History Society Publication 27, 2019)

I have today persuaded C and H[1] to join our little group, which in truth was hardly a difficult feat. The harvest last year was worse than the one before, and the farmers are becoming desperate. I am quite sure that C is a skeptic, but is persuaded at least that such ‘frivolities’ can hardly do more harm. H is, I believe, amenable to the idea that something might come of our little experiments. After much research of my own into the Ancient Greek rites,[2] combined with some passages from certain rare texts kept in the British Library and British Museum,[3] I have all the notes I need to put together a rite of our own. Admittedly, not all the incantations relate to Persephone or Demeter, but with such sparse material at my disposal I dare say the extraneous sections can be adapted.

Mrs T,[4] a most sensible woman and not given to flights of fancy, has looked over my drafts and made some invaluable observations. It seems fitting that she be the one to lead us in our first attempt, and while we have no temple, I feel that the cellars of Fairwood would be adequate. We will begin in the garden, of course, and offer libation at the well.[5] My ancestors have held the well in high regard for generations, and although I myself am not a Believer in the powers of the well, I suppose I am of the same mind as C in that regard, namely, that it can hardly hurt.

We will meet once a fortnight to prepare for the rites, and I must coach Mrs T in her part if she is to be our Priestess. Our first attempt will be on the first Saturday in March. Everyone is agreed on the need for secrecy, since the revival of rites like these will bring with them their fair share of scorn and unwelcome scrutiny.

Mrs T came as directed – we spent an hour and a quarter on the wording of certain passages. It is a daunting task. I reviewed my notes from my last visit to the British Museum. We may be able to work in another section that I thought irrelevant, but Mrs T has pointed out the symbolism of certain phrases[6] that I must confess had eluded me upon the first reading. Shall try within our own rite.

Mrs T came again, as with the changes to the rite it is important that she get the pacing and inflection right. We are still considering what one part of the rite should consist of in order to convey the deep symbolism inherent in the final act. The premise is that the climactic moment in the cellar will be the cutting of a sheaf of corn: those inducted into the Eleusinian Society should have had their minds so opened by the preceding acts of symbolism that they will at once see the full mystery in that final act, while for the uninitiated, there is no greater mystery than the cutting of a sheaf of corn. Without the full participation in the liturgy and the rites as a whole, it will not be possible to understand the act nor the great power within it. Nor will it be possible for one so inducted and enlightened to explain what they have seen and understood to an uninitiate. It is not something that can be rationally expressed in mere words but must be set to be understood. I fear that we will not be able to achieve such lofty ideals on the first attempt and that our Society will stumble at the first hurdle. I have hidden my doubts from Mrs T, who is an excellent woman but, as I am learning, has a horror of failure and will not tolerate the thought of this venture failing before it has begun.

Mrs T came by to rehearse the procession, but since we were a small number this day we rehearsed only for a short time. Mrs T last to leave. She confided to me that the losses they incurred last year and the year before are driving R. T.[7] to distraction and he is already in far more debt that I realised. Mrs T most distracted herself: she found my comfort most beneficial.[8]

[Next few entries redacted by editor: see note 8]

…Mrs T persuaded me by means of [redacted by the editor] that we are ready to move the first Mystery to the 1st. How will I look R. T. in the eye after several weeks of looking his wife in the [redacted by Sir Peter] [redacted by the editor] ? Fortunately, BB[9] has insisted on cloaks and masks.

That it should fall on a leap year must surely give our rites added significance, although my hands shake with nerves and excitement as I write. For we perform the first rite tomorrow! All of our hard work will culminate in a marvelous spectacle, and more than that, I feel it will have an effect. I know the others are still skeptical, but even C is showing signs of enthusiasm and is becoming uncommonly defensive on the subject, which betrays his investment. I feel sure that we – all of us – will walk away changed in some way, and for the better. I have constructed the words, but when they are brought to life and performed for the first time, taken into the lives and souls of people other than myself, they will become something far more than I could have imagined alone. Should it not make a difference to the soil, should Demeter and Persephone be nothing but myth, should nothing hear our prayers and incantations or answer us with profound understanding, our minds will be open and we will See. And now, to bed! But I shall barely sleep for thinking of it.[10]

Oh God! The horror! The unspeakable horror! I can barely put pen to paper to write what we saw, but I must, or the memory will fade and I will look back on it as a half-forgotten nightmare, unable to trust my own recollections.

The libations were poured out over the well. We were all present and in masks and robes as agreed, which made H and L quite giddy but under Mrs T’s stern instruction they behaved themselves and performed their parts with a more becoming seriousness. C, BB, G and GW were tense. I think they felt the pressure of the moment quite keenly: the hour had come! The moment of crisis was upon us!

We processed in order, chanting the words (committed to memory, of course) in perfect unison. I cannot begin to describe the kind of feelings that came over me. Before we had even re-entered the house it was as if I had been transported, my mind was not fully my own, and I experienced a sense of weightlessness and the instinctive knowledge that this was a shared experience. The words, as I had hoped, while familiar to me, took on new shapes and layers of meaning hitherto unseen.

We passed around the side of the house and through to the dining room, where we paused for the second symbolic act, and this too took on a greater meaning than its literal, mundane form. The fruit we offered in a bowl was more than fruit: the plump, juicy mounds became something else entirely, and it was in this room that our orgiastic frenzy began…[11]

[next section redacted by the editors]

…It is only now I see that introducing sections of ancient texts that I did not fully understand was a terrible error. For not only did we indulge ourselves so shamefully – we finished together in a climax like clockwork, all at once in a shuddering chime as the clock struck the hour! Oh, the bells! The bells! Even now I cannot bear them! And we rose to continue, as if nothing more had happened than a reel at a dance!

The liturgy continued and it seemed as though the words had taken on solidity now, while we were aethereal, [sic] no longer of this plane. My own vitality seemed drawn out of me, as if sucked into the wood and stone of the house, leaching away into the soil. We came to the cellar, our collective consciousness thus elevated and altered, and prepared for the final rite – the moment the Mystery would be revealed to us, and we would See the Truth! Oh the anticipation! It built up within me as the [redacted by the editor] and I could barely contain my excitement.

Finally, in the perfect moment, Frances stood with her shears high, and cut the golden stalk. Åh! What wonders we expected to see! And as she held the sheaf high in the candlelight, there came a breeze from another world, the scent of pomegranates… oh but the horror! For when that breeze whispered through the cellar and Frances turned, the sheaf aloft, and we saw what was in her firm pale hand…

C gave a great shout, our rapture broken.

Frances dropped the offending thing with a shrill scream, blood flecked across her robe and soaking into the floor.

And lying on the flagstone floor there was only the severed member of a man, only it belonged to none who were with us in that cellar room!

1 ‘C’ is presumably Mr Frederick Causley of Causley Farm, while ‘H’ is probably his wife, Hannah Causley.↩

2 Sir Peter is referring here to the cult of Demeter and Persephone, whose rites were performed at Eleusis and referred to as the Eleusinian Mysteries. They were thought to be fertility rites, and performed by a priestess. We do not know the form these rituals took, but we do know that those who took part in them were seemingly changed for the better and no longer feared death.See: Joshua J. Mark, ‘The Eleusinian Mysteries and Rites’, in Ancient History Encyclopaedia (2012), https://www.ancient.eu/article/32/the-eleusinian-mysteries-the-rites-of-demeter/↩

3 The editors have failed to ascertain exactly which texts these might have been. ↩

4 Mrs T is most likely Mrs Frances Thomas, the wife of a gentleman farmer well-known to the baronet.↩

5 The well in question is the wishing well at the back of the property, which is surrounded by family superstition. If items of great personal value are thrown in, a wish will come true. The well apparently makes a distinction between items of great financial value and great sentimental value – the family legends state that sentiment wins over worth. The well was boarded up after a particularly tragic incident in 1917, where the then-baronet’s daughter tried to throw her first-born child into the well upon learning her husband and three brothers had been killed. The child was rescued by the quick-thinking of the gardener, and Adeline Lambert-Sauvant had a stay in a private sanitorium until 1922. The well was boarded up and never used again.↩

6 The liturgy itself and most of Sir Peter’s notes have been destroyed, but we can surmise that he is referring to sections of a poem or incantation discovered during his research trips. We are not sure what this was, but given the context of later passages in his journal (most of which are regrettably irrelevant to the Eleusinians and so are not reproduced here, although they would fascinate sex historians) they probably refer to procreation or are overtly erotic in tone and content.↩

7 R. T. would be Richard Thomas, Mrs Frances Thomas’s husband.↩

8 From this point onwards, Frances Thomas makes daily visits to Fairwood and Sir Peter’s entries become increasingly pornographic. He seems to have recorded their encounters to titillate himself after the fact, but was not, unfortunately, a gifted writer of erotica. These entries have been omitted to spare the reader the editors’ own confused mixture of baffled amusement at some of the anatomical descriptions and profound boredom at the extended passages describing the mechanics.↩

9 BB might be Bernard Beddowes, one of Sir Peter’s school friends known to be visiting him from London at this time, but elsewhere in his journals Sir Peter refers to Rev. Albert Boniface, the vicar of St Michael’s (the parish church of Pagham-on-Sea) as ‘Brother Berty’. ↩

10 The next entry is the 3 March and its first lines have an edge of inevitability about them… ↩

11 The use of the word ‘mounds’ in the previous sentence to describe fruit erotically is all the reader need know about Sir Peter’s style, and the extended passage describing his feverish recollections of the orgy is best left to the darkest corner of the reader’s imagination since, as the editors have discovered, it cannot be unread.↩


The main theme of the introduction ceremony was the story of Demeter&aposs quest to find her lost daughter, Persephone, whom Hades had kidnapped. These particular ceremonies were considered the most important of all celebrations in ancient times.

The mysteries had three cycles, or phases, which represented the mythological story of Demeter and Persephone. The abduction of Persephone by Hades was shown in ritualistic manner of the phases: The Descent, The Search, and The Ascent. This major festival of the Hellenic period eventually spread to Rome.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Keleos, King of Eleusis, was one of the original priests of Demeter, and one of the first people to learn her secret rites. In honor of Demeter, Keleos had a beautiful shrine built where he had a seat in the temple constructed for only her.

The Eleusinian Mysteries involved two parts, known as the Lesser Mysteries and the Greater Mysteries. Those who joined were sworn to secrecy, taking their vows in the Introduction Ceremony.

Thomas Taylor (1758 - 1835), English translator and Neoplatonist, interpreted the shows of the Lesser Mysteries were symbolic of what the soul goes through while subjected to the physical body experience and the miseries therein. The Greater Mysteries were seen by Taylor as the purification of the soul from the negative influence of the material world and release of the soul into the divine hereafter. Plato described the Mysteries as that which leads us back to a perfect reunion of the spiritual good.

The secrets of the Mysteries are still not known today, for they were never written. There are assumptions and theories based on symbolism and conjecture.

During the annual festival, performances were presented to the public, yet none of the actual Mystery secrets were made known.


C. W. Leadbeater’s interpretation of the mysteries

The Lesser Mysteries

According to Theosophical writer and clairvoyant, C. W. Leadbeater in his book Freemasonry and its Ancient Mystic Rites, the Eleusinian Mysteries were divided into two degrees, the Lesser and the Greater. Candidates of the Lesser Mysteries were called mystae (initiates). He explains:

The ceremonies opened with a preliminary purification or baptism in the waters of the Ilissus [river], during which certain ritual formulas were recited they were continued in the secrecy of the temple, in which representations of the astral world were shown to the candidate, and instruction given upon results of certain courses of action in the life after death. Besides this teaching upon the exact results in astral life of physical thought and action, much instruction was given in cosmogony, and the evolution of man on this earth was fully explained. with the aid of illustrative scenes and figures, produced at first by materialization, but later imitated in various ways. Α ]

The myths of the exoteric religion of Greece were taken up and studied. Among those relating to the life after death was that of Tantalus, who was condemned to suffer perpetual thirst in Hades: water surrounded him on all sides, but receded from him whenever he attempted to drink over his head hung branches of fruit which receded in like manner when he stretched out his hand to touch them. This was interpreted to mean that everyone who dies full of sensual desire of any kind finds himself after death still full of desire, but unable to gratify it. Β] .

Within the Lesser Mysteries . there existed an inner school for the training of specially selected candidates. These were taught to awaken the senses of the astral plane, so that the teaching given in the Mysteries could be verified by them at first hand. As in Egypt, the severe tests of courage were applied only to the small proportion of those who entered the Mysteries who intended to take up positive occult training, and become active workers on the astral and higher planes. This inner school was kept secret, so that none of the initiates knew of its existence until actually received into it. Γ ]

Preparation for the Greater Mysteries

Regarding the Greater Mysteries, Leadbeater explains:

The Greater Mysteries were held at Eleusis in the month of September. and in connection with their celebration all Greece went into holiday, and spendid public processions took place, in which the whole populace, both initiates and non-initiates, joined. Δ ]

Leadbeater tells us that processions continued for several days, during which time the initiates entered the Eleusinion at the foot of the Acropolis. They remained there secluded “receiving instruction and preparing themselves by meditation for their initiation into the Greater Mysteries.” Ε]

After emerging, the initiates took a cermonial bath of purification in the sea and the procession to Eleusis continued as the sacred objects were carried and some placed in a cermonial cart which contained the image of Iacchos, one of the forms of Dionysus. Leadbeater describes the activities leading up to the Greater Mysteries:

Next marched the young men, myrtle-crowned, with shields and lances glittering in the sunlight, whose duty it was to escort the sacred Hallows, Ζ] borne aloft upon the ceremonial car in the great wicker baskets, still bound with purple wool after them came the hierophant Η] and his officers, dressed in their purple robes and wearing myrtle crowns, followed by the mystae in charge of the mystagogues. ⎖] After them marched the vast company of initiates and people, arranged according to their tribes, and preceded by the civil magistrates and the council of the five hundred and the whole splendid throng was followed by a train of baggage-animals carrying bedding and provisions for the few days’ sojourn at Eleusis.

The procession arrived at the sacred village after nightfall, and glowed like a river in the blazing light of the torches carried by all the people and after a tremendous ovation the Hallows were carried into the sacred enclosure by the hierophant, who placed them once more in the secret shrine within the hall of initiation (Telesterion). The next two days, during which the actual cermonial instruction took place, were spent by the initiates within the enclosing walls of the temple, and the whole glorious celebration concluded with a festal assembly held outside the temple walls, in which all the citizens took part, afterwards returning quietly to their homes. ⎗ ]

The Greater Mysteries

The teachings of the next stage of initiation are described by Leadbeater as follows:

In the Greater Mysteries the teaching upon the life after death was extended to the heaven-world. The initiates were named epoptae, ⎘] and their ceremonial garment was . a golden fleece—whence, naturally, the whole myth of Jason and his companions. This symbolized the mental body, and the power to definitely to function in it. ⎙ ]

As in the Lesser Mysteries men learned the exact result in the intermediate world after death of certain actions and modes of life on the physical plane, so in the Greater Mysteries they learnt how causes generated in this lower existence worked out in the heaven-world. In the Lesser the necessity and the method of the control of desires, passions and emotions was made clear in the Greater the same teaching was given with regard to the control of mind.

Further teaching upon cosmogenesis ⎚] and anthropogenesis ⎛] was also continued. In the greater Mysteries instead of being instructed only as to the broad outlines of evolution by reincarnation (which does not appear to have been clearly taught in the outer religion), and the previous races of mankind, the initiates now received a description of the whole scheme as we have it to-day, including the seven great chains of worlds and their positions in the solar system as a whole ⎜] . where we speak of successive life-waves and outpourings, they spoke of aeons and emanations. they represented them to their pupils in wonderful visions of cosmic processes and their terrestrial analogies. Illustrations of the development of the human embryo . were employed to teach by the law of correspondences the truth of cosmic evolution.

The culmination of the ceremonial of the Greater Mysteries was the exposition of an ear of corn. This symbol referred to the divine life of God, ever-changing, ever-renewed, buried in the earth of the lower planes, only to rise in other forms to a fuller and more abundant life, passing from manifestation to manifestation without end. This was explained by the hierophant to the initiates, and the simplicity of the symbol and the beauty and profundity of the meaning underlying it formed a fitting climax to a wonderful ceremony. ⎝ ]

Myths of the Greater Mysteries

We have previously mentioned the myth of Demeter and Persephone as the foundational myth of the Eleusinian mysteries. In the Greater Mysteries the initiates continued to receive instruction on the meaning of the various myths. Leadbeater continues:

The Minotaur, which was slain by Theseus, was the personality in man, “half animal and half man”. Theseus typifies the higher self, who had been gradually developing and gathering strength until at last he can wield the sword of his divine father, the Spirit. Guided through the labyrinth of illusion which constitutes these lower planes by the thread of occult knowledge given him by Ariadne (who represents intuition), the higher self is enabled to slay the lower and escape safely from the web of illusion yet there remains for him the danger that, developing intellectual pride, he may neglect intuition, even as Theseus neglected Ariadne, and so failed for the time to reach his highest possibilities. The legend of the slaying of Bacchus [Dionysus] by the Titans, the tearing of his body into fragments and his resurrection from the dead, was also taught, with the same interpretation as that given to the legend of Osiris in the Mysteries of Egypt—the descent of the One to become the many, and the reunion of the many in the One through suffering and sacrifice. ⎞ ]

Instruments and symbols of initiation

In the Eleusinian Mysteries the initiates were brought into close communion with the Deity through specially consecrated food and drink. Cups of highly magnetized water were given, and consecrated cakes were eaten during the ceremonies of initiation.

The Hallows (Hiera) already mentioned were physical objects extremely highly magnetized, through which much of the magical side of the Mysteries was performed. They were the personal property of the priestly family of the Eumolpidae, ⎟] being handed down from generation to generation.

One of these [highly magnetized physical objects] was the caduceus, the rod of power, surrounded by the twisting serpents and surmounted by the pine-cone. It was the same as the thrysus and was said to be hollow and to be filled with fire…When a candidate had been initiated, he was often described as one who had been touched with the thrysus, showing that it was not a mere emblem, but had also a practical use. It also indicated the spinal cord, ending in the medulla, while the serpents were symbolical of the two channels called in Eastern terminology Ida og Pingala and the fire enclosed within it was the serpent-fire which in Sanskrit is called kundalini. It was laid by the hierophant against the back of the candidate, and thus used as a strong magnetic instument in order to awaken the forces latent within him, and to free the astral ⎠] body from the physical, so that the candidate might pass in full consciousness to the higher planes. To help him in the efforts that lay before him the priest in this way gave the aspirant some of his own magnetism. This rod of power was of the greatest importance, and we can understand why it was regarded with so much awe when we realize something of its occult potency.

There was also the krater or cup always associated with Dionysus, and emblematical of the causal body of man, which has ever been symbolized by a cup filled with the wine of the divine life and love.

Among the holy symbols there were also highly-magnetized and richly jewelled statues, which had been handed down from a remote past, and were the physical basis of certain great forces invoked in the Mysteries and a lyre, reputed to be the lyre of Orpheus, on which certain melodies were played and to which the sacred chants were sung. ⎡ ]

The toys of Bacchus: planes of the solar system

There were also the toys of Bacchus [Dionysus], with which he was playing when he was seized by the Titans and torn to pieces—very remarkable toys, full of significance. The dice with which he plays are the five Platonic solids, the regular polygons possible in geometry. ⎢] They are given in a fixed series, and this series agrees with the different planes of the solar system. Each of them indicates, not the form of the atoms of the different planes, but the lines along which the power works which surrounds those atoms. Those polygons are the tetrahedron [a triangular pyramid], the cube, the octahedron [solid figure having eight faces], the dodecahedron [solid figure having twelve faces], and the icosahedron [solid figure having twenty faces]. If we put the point at one end and the sphere at the other we have a set of seven figures, corresponding to the number of planes in our solar system.

In some of the older schools of philosophy it was said: “No one can enter who does not know mathematics.” That meant not what we now call mathematics, but that science which embraces the knowledge of the higher planes, of their mutual relations, and way in which the whole is built by the will of God. When Plato said: “God geometrizes,” he stated a profound truth which throws much light upon the methods and mysteries of evolution. Those forms are not conceptions of the human brain they are truths of the higher planes. The old philosophers pondered upon them because they led to the understanding of the true science of life.

Another toy with which Bacchus played was a top, the symbol of the whirling atom. Yet another was a ball which represented the earth, that particular part of the planetary chain to which the thought of the Logos is specially directed at the moment. Also he played with a mirror. The mirror has always been a symbol of the astral light, in which the archetypal ideas are reflected and then materialized. Thus each of those toys indicates an essential part in the evolution of a solar system. ⎣ ]

The hidden mysteries: the path of initiation

The two divisions of the lesser and greater mysteries . were generally known, but it was not known that there was always, behind and above those, the greater mystery of the Path of Holiness, the steps of which are the five great Initiations. ⎤] . The very existence of the possibility of that future advancement was not certainly known even by the initiates of the Greater Mysteries until they were actually fit to receive the mystic summons from within . the existence of the true Mysteries was not made public and no one knew of them until he was deemed, by those who could judge, worthy to be admitted into them.

Thus the Mysteries of Eleusis correspond closely with those of Egypt, though they differed in detail and both these systems led their initiates, when properly prepared, to that Wisdom of God which was “before the beginning of the world.” ⎥ ]

Suppression of the public mysteries

The Eleusinian Mysteries were known throughout the Greco-Roman world, especially during the period of their greatest popularity, beginning in the seventh century B.C. As with the supression of the Gnostics, the Mysteries were also supressed. Leadbeater writes:

Even before the destruction of the Roman Empire the withdrawal of the Mysteries as public institutions had taken place and this fact was mainly due to the excessive intolerance displayed by the Christians. Their amazing theory that none but they could be ‘saved’ from the hell which they themselves invented naturally led them to try all means, even the most cruel and diabolical persecutions. ⎦] .

I A.D. 399 the Roman Emperor Theodosius issued his celebrated edict, which was a heavy blow to the outer manifestation of the ancient pagan faith. This edict abolished all privileges conceded by the ancient laws to the priests, ministers and “hierophants of sacred things.” Ved A.D. 423 another edict by the same Emperor proclaimed that exile and confiscation of goods be the punishment for the “pagans” sacrificing to “demons.” ⎧ ]

The value of the mysteries

The teachings were all of the highest and purest nature, and they could not but benefit very greatly all who had the privilege of being initiated into them. In classical and post-classical times many of the greatest men have borne witness to their worth including Sophocles, Plato and Cicero who himself was initiated into the mysteries and held them in great reverence. ⎨ ]


Se videoen: Eleusinian Mysteries. Ancient Greek Civilization: Religion and Cult. (Kan 2022).


Kommentarer:

  1. Chinh

    Jeg lykønsker, hvilket fremragende svar.

  2. Willaburh

    Forfatteren har dog oprettet korrekt!



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