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THE MYSTERIES OF ELEUSIS: Initiation by Sanderson BeckBECK index Contents and Introduction Initiation Dromena (Things Acted) Revelation

of the Mystic Grain Legomena (Things Said) Epopteia: The Holy Light of the Holy Night Different Interpretations Initiation: Dromena (Things Acted) There were three degrees of initiation: the Lesser Mysteries which were a preliminary requirement, the Greater Mysteries or telete which means "to make perfect," and the additional and highest degree, the epopteia. The telete initiation can be divided into the dromena : things acted, the legomena : things said, and the deiknymena : things shown. Theo Smyrnaios has his own particular stages of mystical initiation related to his five-step understanding of philosophy. They are 1) initial purification, 2) mystic communion or communication, 3) epopteia : revelation of the holy objects and transmission of the telete, 4) crowning with garlands as the badge of initiation into the mysteries, and 5) the happiness resulting from communion with God. According to inscriptions the crowning of initiates occurred at the beginning of the ceremonies described as the second and third stages. Their names were recorded on wooden tablets by the priests, and their myrtle wreaths were replaced by wreathes with ribbons, the emblem of their consecration to the goddesses. (Mylonas Eleusis p. 261) The seventh day, Boedromion 21, was the second day at Eleusis and was probably spent resting and preparing for the final ceremony (orgia) in the Telesterion that night. Proclus writes: to those entering the temenos (sacred precinct) of Eleusis the program was stated, not to advance inside the adytum. (Ibid. p. 261) In the dromena the initiates may have imitated in ritual fashion the actions and feelings of Demeter in the original time. These could have included the abduction of Persephone, the wanderings of Demeter, her arrival at Eleusis, her sorrow while staying with Celeus and Metaneira, the rejoicing at reunion with her daughter, and finally her divine gifts of grain and mystic knowledge. Tertullian complains of a ritual discrepancy. Why is the priestess of Demeter carried off, unless Demeter herself had suffered the same sort of thing? (To the Nations 30) Lactantius says: In the Mysteries of Demeter all night long with torches kindled they seek for Persephone and when she is found, the whole ritual closes with thanksgiving and the tossing of torches. (Mylonas Eleusis p. 215) Many literary sources and especially the art show us the dominant importance of the torches in the rites. Ovid gives this account of the original action of Demeter: There the goddess kindled two pine-trees to serve her as a light; hence to this day a torch is given out at the rites of Ceres. (Fasti IV, 492-494) A quote from Apollodoros indicates sound effects. The Hierophant is in the habit of sounding the so-called gong when Kore is being invoked by name. (Fragment 36) This gong was used in the Greek theater to imitate thunder, which was believed to come from the underworld. (Kerenyi Eleusis p. 84)

which muesis . as far as to muesis. and jostle against one another but when the holy rites are being performed and disclosed the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence. (Casavis The Greek Origins of Freemasonry p.like the leap of a man mad. On the contrary . or possessed .it is like Aristotle's view that men being initiated have not a lesson to learn.Plutarch describes the serious reverence on the final night as being analogous to the deepest calm of the enlightened philosopher. he is filled with horror and astonishment. adopts another bearing of silence and amazement. by performing accurately what he is commanded to do. by sacrificing for all the people. what the boy who attends the altar accomplishes. while they are becoming fit (for revelation). and "humble and orderly attends upon" reason as upon a god. For the sacred matter (contemplation) is not like attention belonging to knowledge. priests are able to effect. a passing beyond reason without the previous exercise of reasoning. there is terror infused over the minds of the initiated. in nations and cities. that. (On Abstinence From Animal Food ) According to Hermias. 111) Porphyry tell how a boy's part in the ritual helps the relationship between god and man. Within this hall. (Ibid. 50) Stobaeus speaks of: a rude and fearful march through night and darkness. (Synesius Dio 1133) Themistius says of the initiate: Entering now into the secret dome. and not information. so too at the beginning of philosophy: about its portals also you will see great tumult and talking and boldness. He is seized with loneliness and total perplexity. as some boorishly and violently try to jostle their way towards the repute it bestows. (Themistius Orat. and through piety inducing the Gods to be attentive to the welfare of those that belong to them. provided they were prepared for it. as though a shrine were opened. For. Just as persons who are being initiated into the Mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting. nor is it like one thing in one place and another in another. (Progress in Virtue 81e) Aristeides describes the range of emotions experienced. but an experience to undergo and a condition into which they must be brought. in order to render the gods propitious to all those who have been initiated. till the prophet or conductor lays open the anteroom of the Temple. 111) The following account by Synesius indicates that Aristotle took the same position: But their procedure is like Bacchic frenzy . in your mysteries. those initiates who closed the eyes. He says the Eleusinian initiates were to receive "impressions. the mystics were made to experience the most bloodcurdling sensations of horror and the most enthusiastic ecstasy of joy.to compare small and greater ." and the aim was that they be put into a certain attitude of mind. or an outlet of mind. he is unable to move a step forward. and at a loss to find the entrance to the way that leads to where he aspires to. (Casavis The Greek Origins of Freemasonry p. but he who has succeeded in getting inside. 111) Proclus says: In the most sacred Mysteries before the scene of the mystic visions. and has seen a great light. in Patrem. p.the attainment of a goal without running the race.

unable to believe in the blessings that lie beyond. The latter is an earthenware vessel. though of death remaining still sunk in its evils. oil. The following passage from Plutarch's essay On the Soul survives today only because it was quoted by Stobaeus (Florigelium 120).signifies. and utter amazement. 478d) Pausanias in discussing Cyamites of bean fame clearly implies that beans are not to be associated with Demeter. Thus death and initiation closely correspond. And the formula of the Eleusinian mysteries is as follows: "I fasted. I cannot say with certainty whether he was the first who sowed beans (kuamoi ). greet it. holding within it a large number of small cups cemented together. rice-wheat. just before the end. Clement of Alexandria refers to the mystic kistai (baskets) which contained the Hiera. beans. I took from the chest. grains of wheat and barley. So significant are its ideas and perhaps others in the same essay. no longer received by sense those divine mysteries. milk. peas. 148) Revelation of the Mystic Grain The Deiknymena (objects shown) were the sacred things (hiera) displayed by the Hierophant while standing in front of the Anaktoron in radiant light at the climactic moment. white poppy-seeds. It does more than describe the emotions experienced in initiation as it goes to the core of its meaning. Any one who has seen the mysteries at Eleusis. a strange and wonderful light meets the wanderer. you uninitiated. he is admitted into clean and verdant meadows. At first there are wanderings. F. he is the companion of pure and holy men. Hellenistic Religions p. (To Demeter 1-5) Athenaeus gives us Polemon's account of the rites using a tray (kernos). lentils. and walks at liberty like a crowned and dedicated victim. I placed in the basket. in the treatise On the Sacred Fleece. compressed fruit. C. says: "After these preliminaries (the priest) proceeds to the celebration of the mystic rites. joining in the revelry. wine." (The Deipnosophists XI. and so do the things.neither then nor when we spit from parched mouths fasting. 18) We learned of these baskets from Callimachus. trembling.child nor wife nor maid that has shed her hair . and looks down upon the uninitiated and unpurified crowd here below in the mud and fog. then. . greatly hail! Lady of much bounty. sweating. Here the now fully initiated is free. vetches. saying "Demeter. tastes these articles. but with the pure soul itself. or whether they made up the name of a bean-hero because the discovery of beans cannot be attributed to Demeter. and from the basket into the chest. Moreover Polemon. and gaze not from the roof or from aloft . That the wedding and close union of the soul with the body is a thing really contrary to nature may clearly be seen from all this. I drank the draught (kykeon ). he takes out the contents of the shrine and distributes them to all who have brought round their tray (kernos ). resembling the bearer of the sacred winnowing-fan. After this. where he discerns gentle voices. honey. from the ground you shall see it. even the words (teleutan and teleisthai) correspond. that it may have been censored from his collected works by some ruthless dogmatists. (Exhortation to the Greeks II. knows what I mean. oats. trampling itself down and crowded together. there are all kinds of terrors. and toilsome running about in circles and journeys through the dark over uncertain roads and culs de sac . of many measures of corn. and choric dances. okra-seeds. and in them are sage. and the majesty of holy sounds and sacred visions." As the basket comes. with shivering. As the basket comes. and sheep's wool unwashed The man who carries it. you women. or has read what are called the works of Orpheus. having done my task. (Grant.

and marvelous. for on the relief of Lakratides the priest. but it is reserved for the spiritual only. miry. (Now) by night in Eleusis. who obtain their shares (in this mystery). And into this (gate). however assert. "August Brimo has brought forth a consecrated son. where the Good Deity dwells alone. the might. hence also ." that is. but made a eunuch by means of hemlock. and most perfect secret suitable for one initiated into the highest mystic truths: (I allude to) an ear of corn in silence reaped. for the word "eleusesthai" is. is what they affirm who have been initiated in the mysteries of the Eleusinians. yet best guide to Highly-honored Aphrodite's lovely grove. vociferates and cries aloud. a sophist who lived in Athens when Julian was Emperor of Rome (361-363): an old law ordered the initiates to take with them landfuls of agricultural produce which were the badges of a civilized life. 3) Ears of wheat were represented on the architrave of the Lesser Propylaea in the decoration of the kiste supported by the Caryatids. they called amalai. 103) Hippolytus wrote down the account of the Eleusinian Mysteries told to him by a Naasene. and conducts those that are perishing to Proserpine. while initiating people into the Eleusinian rites. he says.) enacting the great and secret mysteries. that he is likewise "a green ear of corn reaped. heavenly." But "Anactorium" is of the same import with the expression "to ascend upward. 37:3) Pollux refers to a dance involving these trays (kerna) and crowning torches. however. we who are spiritual come flowing down from Adam above. he says. is the generation that is spiritual. saying. the Athenians. no unclean person shall enter. a regulation of law. taken separately. which is wide and spacious. In regard to the dance in which kerna were carried. (the Celebrant. of the same import with the expression "to come. I know that they carried lights or small hearths on their heads. These probably included ears of wheat. the poet likewise says: "But under her a fearful path extends. receive greater portions. from above. he says. he says. indeed. and despising all carnal generation. he says. and this a house of God." This. he says. he says. But the inferior mysteries. beneath a huge fire. Brimus. he says are those of Proserpine below." These. a potent (mother has been delivered of) a potent child. For greater destinies obtain greater portions. According to Himerios. But this ear of corn is also (considered) among the Athenians to constitute the perfect enormous illumination (that has descended) from the unportrayable one. Now. The Phrygians. his sons have handfuls of wheat. in regard of which mysteries. are the inferior mysteries those appertaining to carnal generation. (Hippolytus The Refutation of All Heresies V. and (then) be admitted into the great (and) heavenly (ones). those men who are initiated into these inferior (mysteries) ought to pause. (Mylonas Eleusis p. but when these are gathered together and many are made into a single bundle people called them ouloi or iouloi. (Pollux IV. just as the Hierophant himself (declares)." And after the Phrygians. and potent is he that is so born. likewise display to those who are being admitted to the highest grade at these mysteries. For this. Hollow. is the gate of heaven. 275) Athenaeus has gathered more material on the original "barley mother.(I." Now Semus of Delos in his work On Paeans says: "The handfuls of barley. that those who have been admitted into the lesser should again be initiated into the Great Mysteries. not. For the mystery is called "Eleusin" and "Anactorium. For they." because. emasculated like Attis." "Eleusin. and the path which leads there. But revered. nor one that is natural or carnal. he says. he says. It is.

The ritual has been consummated. but here you have no desire to laugh as you listen to the words of the elder (for he is always old) and as you look at the exposed symbols. but also the hymns sung in honor of the goddess. but in fact and in reality that the hierophant becomes the creator and the revelator of all things. and second that he would have been considered initiated if he had heard the words even though his entire experience was in a dream. by vivid sparkling of light and clouds piled upon clouds. under penalty of death. he offers another recitation. but the hierophant who is within will soon open our eyes. conceive. But first. and we are seers forever. and perhaps invocations accompanying the dromena. O Men. the moon. still blind. if you heard them outside the temple. he reads to us things which we must not divulge. we hear the chorus of the blessed ones. Hence from Demeter's gifts they call not only the fruit.'" (The Deipnosophists XIV. Porphyrus gives us a description of initiation which includes legomena and seems to indicate also much of the content and feeling of the Epopteia. But the last word has been uttered: Knox Om Pax. his helper of the altar. You would laugh. finally. Now it is not merely through an external appearance or through a philosophical interpretation. (Mylonas Eleusis p. (Mylonas Eleusis p. Let us say only that they are in harmony with the place and circumstance. the sun is but his torchbearer. and Hermes. A knowledge of Greek was necessary for initiation due to the importance of the legomena. Edouard The Great Initiates p. along with the other initiates we enter the entrance hall of the temple. 270) Legomena (Things Said) The legomena were short liturgical statements. And I will with the women and the holy maidens go Where they keep the nightly vigil. overflow. his mystical messenger. but because he could not hear clearly the words of the Hierophant he could not be considered as initiated. we see the pure Elysian fields. explanations.they called Demeter sometimes Chloe. 272) This incident implies two things: first that knowledge of the sacred words is needed for initiation. (The Frogs 442-443) . Crowned with myrtle. a plenteous sheaf. an auspicious light to show." they gazed down upon the earth and cried "conceive. ouloi or iouloi. Then. sometimes Ioulo. And you are far from laughing when." On the edge of a well by the Dipylon gate of Athens where the procession to Eleusis began. and the refrain: 'Send forth a sheaf. Their importance is shown by a rhetorical exercise of Sopratos which tells of a young man who dreamed that he was initiated in the Mysteries and saw the dromena. We remember from Aristophanes the mention of the holy light. beautiful Nymphs. perhaps. 618d) In Proclus' commentary on the Timaios 293c. an inscription reads: O Pan. rain. Demeter confirms everything that we have seen and heard from her holy priest. There are also Demetrouloi and kalliouloi . a sheaf send forth. The legomena may have provided instruction to guide one in the other world as in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In the Eleusinian rites they gazed up to the heaven and cried aloud "rain. be of good cheer. The most sacred objects were revealed to them. (Schuré. by her special language and signs. 406) Epopteia: The Holy Light of the Holy Night Those initiated (mystai ) could return a year later for the higher degree of initiation attained by the epoptai during the second night in the Sanctuary of Demeter. We are led before the hierophant. From a book of stone. let us wash in the holy water. for nothing is to be done in haste. the light of a serene wonder fills the temple.

celebrated by us in our state of innocence before we had any experience of evils to come. Orpheus prays that men remove their needless fear of death and sights invisible. partly black thy limbs and partly white. On waving pinions thro' the world you fly. found in the excavation of the Telesterion that was dedicated to Demeter by Eukrates. Priapus. Perspicuous now they meet the fearful sight. men by night inspire When seen in spectred forms. . (Kerenyi Eleusis p. Lock up Eleusis. dark-ey'd splendor. Hence. 407) Orpheus in his hymn "To Protogonus" sings of the appearance of these holy spirits in the mystic rites." (Casavis The Greek Origin of Freemasonry p. Hence. Jove divine Deceiv'd with guileful arts dark Proserpine. which we beheld shining in pure light. Now darkly visible involved in night. pure and holy light. 113) We may also recall Heracles' words on a papyrus. and rites divine. Phanes. Dadouchos. again in quite different form. And bless thy mystics." an ineffable spirit of life and death. Genial. with terrors dire." In all the initiations and Mysteries the gods manifest themselves in many forms. occult. (250) The eighth day of the celebrations was the initiates' last day at Eleusis and was devoted mainly to libations and rites for the dead.. With holy aspect on our incense shine. call'd the glory of the sky. ever blessed king. and then we beheld the beatific vision and were initiated into a mystery which may be truly called most bleed. 'Tis thine from darksome mists to purge the sight. from Jove ethereal bright Thy color'd member. 97) Schuré quotes Proclus and interprets the word "gods" in this instance as "all orders of spirits. (I have beheld) the fire. Over the inscription is carved the face and head of the goddess surrounded by red rays. (Ibid.."Psellus says that when the initiate was raised to the Sublime Degree of the Epoptae. thee I sing. he beheld the divine light.. I was initiated long ago. under Pluto's semblance. Ericapaeus. all-shining flow'r. (The Great Initiates p. Terrestrial queen. Athenaeus tells us of a .. There was a time when with the rest of the happy band they saw beauty shining in brightness. When. Deny me the holy night! I have already been initiated into more authentic mysteries.) Finally we offer Socrates' mystic vision of initiation from Plato's Phaedrus. assuming a great variety of guises. when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm and happy. (Ibid. celebrated pow'r. 84) Kerenyi describes a painted marble votive relief of the fifth century BC. all-prudent. whence (. With joyful aspect on these rites divine And holy Telite propitious shine. and put the fire out. expel wherever found The soul's mad fears to earth's remotest bound. All-spreading splendor.we philosophers following in the train of Zeus. Ineffable. sometimes they appear in a formless light. (Taylor Mystical Hymns of Orpheus ) In his hymn "To Melinoe.. others in company with other gods. and) I have seen the Kore. p. From Pluto dark.

yea the whole of Greece gathers to celebrate that vanity? I not there (in the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis) the katabasion and the solemn meeting of the Hierophant and the priestess. Plemochoe is an earthen dish shaped like a top. symbolizing the consummation of her marriage and sojourn in the underworld part of the year. the bishop of Amaseia in Asia Minor in his Engomion to the Saintly Martyrs. but tolerably firm on its base. and everyone did not have to go back to Athens but could go directly home if they wished. This pomegranate-tree is living. 496a) This rite was probably followed by celebrations of singing and dancing and other festivities. 390 CE). This law was established by Solon in the sixth century BC. They use it at Eleusis on the last day of the Mysteries. but Mylonas notes that none of the Fathers appears to have been initiated into the Mysteries nor does any claim that he is repeating what was told by initiates converted to Christianity. you will find the inside like blood. It is bright red and somewhat unusual in that the seeds are the edible fruit.. that is the temenos of Kore. (The Deipnosophists XI. (The Great Mother p. 280) Different Interpretations Persephone's eating of the pomegranate may be seen as symbolic of sex and death. They were free to return to their lives enriched by their experience. 287) Many of their assertions make strange innuendoes. Having been raped by Hades Persephone is persuaded to taste the sweet morsel. Pausanias describes a pomegranate tree growing over a burial place. singing to the idol. a day which they call from it Plemochoai.. On the tomb of Menoeceus there grows a pomegranate-tree: if you break the outer husk of the ripe fruit. reciting a mystical formula over them.ritual performed which gave this day the name Plemochoai. p. on that day they fill two plemochoai. each with the other alone. and it is a very large temple. In Alexandria there is the so-called Korion. (Mylonas Eleusis p. Take the statement made by Asterios (c. 25:1) Kerenyi describes a terra-cotta statuette from the end of the classical period showing a pomegranate cut in two revealing a maiden in a short dress. 308) The early enthusiasts of Christianity often denounced the mysteries. are not the torches then extinguished and the vast crowd believes that its salvation depends on what those two act in the darkness? (Ibid. It is important to note that he is describing the imitation mysteries of Alexandria. This was not an organized procession. and they invert them (standing up and facing the east in the one case. the west in the other). After the call . tucked up around the waist disclosing herself as befits an epiphany. are they not the main part of your religion and the demos of Athens. (IX. Mylonas points out that the initiates were under no obligation to the Sanctuary or the Goddess in regard to worship or rules of conduct. 144) Erich Neumann interprets the redness of the pomegranate as the woman's womb and the seeds as fertility. Boedromion 23. according to Pamphilus. The Eleusinian Mysteries. some call it a kotyliskos. (Kerenyi Eleusis p. (The worshippers) having passed the night in vigilance with songs and flute playing. The initiates returned to Athens on the ninth day. 311-312) The next is by Epiphanios who was a bishop of Eleutheroupolis of Palestine and Konstantia of Kypros and lived 367-403 CE. On Boedromion 24 the Council of the Five Hundred assembled at the Eleusinion in Athens to hear the Archon-Basileus's report and to handle any problems that may have occurred. (Mylonas Eleusis p.

(Ibid. I will quote you the very lines of Orpheus. and a woman's comb." The mysteries. who form the priestly clan at Athens. and Eleusis celebrates with torches the rape of the daughter and the sorrowful wandering of the mother. bearing on its forehead some seal of a cross. seated. 12) Or consider his history: It tells how Demeter. Triptolemus was a herdsman. also balls of salt and a serpent. a lamp. round cakes and poppies? These are their holy things! In addition. and they say that at this hour. whose names were Baubo. then. wandering through Eleusis. having received Demeter as a guest. Demeter is pleased at the sight. And drank the draught from out the glancing cup. marjoram. which is a part of Attica. and thereupon uncovers her secret parts and exhibits them to the goddess. for I will not forbear to tell the rest of the story. for I must strip bare their holy things and utter the unspeakable. there are the unutterable symbols of Ge Themis. Now it seems to me that the terms "orgy" and "mystery" must be derived. offers her a draught of wine and meal. and having sang and danced they take it down again to the underground place . II. the contents of the mystic chests. She declines to take it. and it is a deceit of the serpent that men worship when. child Iacchus was there. Consider.. pyramid and spherical cakes. Dysaules. becomes exhausted and sits down at a well in deep distress. gave birth to the Aion. This display of grief is forbidden.. Eumolpus a shepherd. Then smiled the goddess. fig branches.. with spurious piety. too. being unwilling to drink on account of her mourning. today the Kore. covered with gold . making a circle around the most central temple with flutes and drums and hymns. ivy leaves. and they carry this xoanon around seven times. they turn towards these sacred initiations that are really profanities. and solemn rites that are without sanctity. These were progenitors of the Eumolpidae and of the Heralds. the former from the wrath (orge) of Demeter against Zeus. and also Eumolpus and Eubouleus. to those who are initiated. (Exhortation to the Greeks II. in her heart she smiled. she drew aside her robes and showed A sight of shame. cakes with many navels. delighted with the spectacle! These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians! These are also the subjects of Orpheus' poems. nude. that is the Virgin. and now at last receives the draught. thinking she has been slighted. the mystic sign of Dionysus Basareus? Are they not also pomegranates. 16-18) The self-righteous Clement is able to speak the "unspeakable" and describe the "unutterable. up to the present day. Baubo is deeply hurt. which is euphemistic expression used in the mysteries for a woman's secret parts. and it seems very likely that Clement of Alexandria's descriptions of the Eleusinian mysteries were influenced by these very different rites than the ones they initially tried to copy. And laughing. and the latter from the pollution (mysos) that took place in connection with Dionysus. (Ibid.of the roosters they descend with torches in hand to an underground chamber and from it they bring up on a litter a wooden xoanon. At that time Eleusis was inhabited by aborigines. are mere custom and vain opinion. Are they not sesame cakes. 302) These mysteries were celebrated in a place called Eleusis in Alexandria. in order that you may have the originator of the mysteries as witness of their shamelessness: This said. . plunged his hand below her breasts.. in search of her daughter the Maiden. But to continue. fennel stalks. Baubo. Triptolemus. a sword. and Eubouleus a swineherd. p. lest the worshippers should seem to imitate the goddess in her sorrow. Consider Clement's etymology: Demeter and Persephone have come to be the subject of a mystic drama.

and when accompanied with sacrifice and prayers.(Ibid. But this allegorical representation. But no man sails from a port without having sacrificed to the Gods and invoked their help. you have not the garments which the hierophant ought to have. Now. and they require a long initiation before they enroll (their members). and I will establish a herald. there is a torch-bearer at Eleusis. and you say: "Sacred are the words by themselves. it is mystical. He turned it upon its pivot. Accordingly. Carefully is that guarded." You ought to approach these matters in another way. nor is it given to every man. in order that they may mold their opinions by this suspension of full knowledge. All the divinity. in this way we come to the notion that all these things were established by the ancients for the instruction and correction of life. which he seems to exaggerate. "There is a temple at Eleusis. Here the ancient got to work. even instruction during five years for their perfect disciples. and shall a man who has undertaken so great a work undertake it safely without the Gods? and shall they who undertake this work come to it with success? What else are you doing. The words are the same. when a man is first purified. which is so long in finding. the shape of the sky. 19) Epictetus. and one here also. There is an Hierophant at Eleusis. man. nor the head-dress. however. II. nor the hair. and laid it upon the lid of a chest. than divulging the mysteries? You say. without sacrifices. and I also will make an Hierophant: there is a herald. 21) Tertullian criticizes the secrecy and elaborate preparation. Then follow the duty of silence. there are torches at Eleusis. nor have you purified yourself as he has: but you have committed to memory the words only. and I will have torches here." criticizes those who imitate the superficialities of the Eleusinian Mysteries but miss the spiritual significance. and the exact time and veritable course of the season which gave her birth: then he bent the turning fingers of his hands and measured the moving circle of the ever-recurring number counting from hand to hand in double exchange He called to a servant. which are the very heresy of Athenian superstition. and when he is disposed in his mind to the thought that he is going to approach sacred rites and ancient rites. the thing is great. In this way the mysteries are useful. not common thing. it is their secrecy that is their disgrace. nor do men sow without having called on Demeter. the symbol of virility. nor the voice nor the age. but these could just as easily be seen as virtues protecting and increasing the sanctity of the rites. and Asterion lifted a round revolving sphere. obscures a real sacrilege by help of an arbitrary symbol and by empty images obviates the reproach of falsehood! (Tertullian Against the Valentinians I) Nonnos of the fifth century CE has Demeter consulting the astrologer Asterion in his Sixth Dionysiaca. (Epictetus Discourses III. But you publish and divulge them out of time. lies in their secret recesses: there are revealed at last all the aspirations of the fully initiated. and directed his gaze round the circle of the Zodiac. and apparently raise the dignity of their mysteries in proportion to the craving for them which they have previously created. He learned the details of the day when her only child was new born. they previously beset all access to their body with tormenting conditions. in the case of those Eleusinian mysteries. the entire mystery of the sealed tongue. scanning in this place and that planets and fixed . and I also will establish a torch-bearer. is there no difference? these things are done both in due place and in due time. without purity. in his "Against those who readily come to the profession of sophists. out of place. the image of the universe. under the pretext of nature's reverend name. how do the things done here differ from those done there?" Most impious man.

and the counterfeit sky went rapidly round and round in mobile course with a perpetual movement. Observing the sphere with a glance all round. the sphere with its curious surface. a half-monster cunning-minded: since I perceive by the western point Ares the wife-stealer walking with the Paphian. heat. force. the planet of sex. (Nonnus Dionysiaca VI. the benevolent and expansive planet. when the rays of the Moon are stolen under a shady cone and her light is gone. a pointed cone of darkness creeping from the earth into the air opposite to the Sun hid the whole Moon. harmonious marriage. Apparently Jupiter was very close to the star symbolizing the ear of corn. since the Virgin Astraia holds out her hand full of corn for the destined lot of your girl's parents. Jupiter. and I notice the Dragon rising beside them both. 58-102) The spherical device for measuring the revolutions of the sun. Naturally Asterion found Mars there. indicating marriage and partnership. and strong action. Its conjunction with Venus. boldness. but the interpretation of the horoscope is cosmic and the same in all ages. He rolled the pole about with a push. indicating Demeter's gift of the grain. can mean a rash. intense. father of rain. because you shall bestow fruit on the barren soil. Its darkness when it should be full is symbolic of Persephone's prominent and sudden venture to the underworld and the shadowing over the mother. and round the Ear ran the light-bearing star of Cronides. the feminine principle and domestic life. in Virgo in the "Portion of the Parents" (fourth house) means great benefit to the parents through the products of the earth. he put away the ever-revolving sphere in its roomy box. and espied the wife-robber over the sunset house along with the evening star of the Cyprian. When he had noticed everything and reckoned the circuit of the stars. The "sunset house" is the twelfth portion of the sky over the western horizon and is called the seventh house. carrying the artificial stars about the axle set through the middle. Then when he heard the rivals for wedded love. THE MYSTERIES OF ELEUSIS Contents and Introduction Eleusis and the Goddesses Agricultural Background and History Mysteries Preliminaries Initiation Interpretation BECK index . The eclipse of the moon caused by the earth blocking the sun's light is portentous for the mother. and the Sun was half through his course opposite the Moon moving at his central point under the earth. You will see before marriage a false and secret bedfellow come unforeseen. a secret ravisher of your unsmirched girl. the planet of love and harmony.stars. and planets round the zodiac is certainly a product of later times. He found the portion called the Portion of the Parents under the Virgin's starry corn-ear. and in answer to the goddess he mouthed a triple oracle of prophetic sound: Fond mother Demeter. he looked especially for Ares. But I proclaim you most happy: for you will be known for glorious fruits in the four quarters of the universe. adventurous. guard against a robber-bridegroom for Persephoneia. the deity found that the Moon at the full was crossing the curved line of her conjunction. moon. if the threads of the Fates can be persuaded.