The Mysteries of Eleusis

The greek mysteries of Eleusis ('place of happy arrival' - in the Attica region) took place from around 1500 BC. and were forbidden by the Catholic Emperor Valentinianus in 364 AD.
At the center of the Eleusinian mysteries were the goddesses Demeter and Persephone (Kore: 'girl'). But there are also overlaps with the Dionysus cult.

Demeter is the human soul (not the spiritual soul) who gives birth to Persephone as an essence-body on the level of the Tarot card 6. Here powers are effective in the underworld (tamasic) regions  and so start the beginning of the transfiguration process.

== Triptolemos and Kore ==

The underlying Demeter hymn was written in the seventh century BC. In it, Hades abducts Demeter's daughter Persephone into the underworld, etc. A central hero of Eleusis was also the Triptolemus, who was driving in a winged chariot.

The center of the mysteries was in Eleusinion in Eleusis near Athens. The Hiera Hodos (old Gr. Ἱερὰ Ὁδός, neugr. Ιερά Οδός Iera Odos,: Holy Road) was the ancient road from Athens to Eleusis, on which the annual procession to the Mysteries of Eleusis took place. Hermes steles stood at regular intervals along the 20.5 km long road. The road began at the Twelve Gods Altar on the northwest corner of the agora and continued through the ancient city walls through the Holy Gate (Ἱερὰ Πυλή) lined with two square towers.

The larger mystery celebrations in autumn lasted 5 days.

== The temple of Demeter at Pergamos ==

There were four groups of participants in the Mysteries:

     Priests, priestesses and hierophants
     young men destined for consecration
     Youths who have attended the ceremony before
     Initiates (epoptes) who had already taken part in the Epopteia - initiation stage about the secrets of Demeter

The mystics were subject to strict confidentiality regarding the contents of the initiations. Accompanying visitors along the holy road did not directly participate in the mysteries.

== Mythos ==

The basis of the mysteries was the myth of Demeter, the goddess of life and fertility, and the robbery of her daughter Kore (later Persephone) by the underworld god Hades. This Persephone myth was interpreted here as the parable of the immortality of the soul.

Consecrations (Demeter - Pluto)

Eumolpos ('the beautiful singing one'), a son of Poseidon and Chione, a man consecrated in Egypt, who was also considered the ancestor of the high priestly family of the Eumolpids, which always provided the hierophant or high priest, was considered to be the founder of the Eleusian mysteries. In addition, the families of the Keryken were involved, who provided the daduches ('torchbearers'). As the first stage of the consecration, the Sýnthema was applied, which the church father Clemens of Alexandria handed down.

Persephone's return to the world of the living was celebrated with the smaller Eleusis mystery celebrations at the beginning of spring.

1. The Lesser Mysteries ('Myesis') were mostly held in the month of Anthesterion (February-March). The priests purified the candidates for initiation. This was preceded by the ritual sacrifice of a pig (possibly as a symbol of level 7 of the universal path). Thereupon the priests ritually cleansed themselves in Agrai by bathing on the east bank of the river Ilissos. In preparation for the Great Mysteries, they included sacrifice, fasting, and a sprinkling of water under the guidance of a mystagogus. A ship considered sacred was carried by women during a procession (possibly as an allusion to Noah's Ark or something similar  - U.Path 8).

2.  The Great Mysteries ('Teletai') took place in the month of Boëdromion ('running for help'; ~ August-September), the first month of the Attic calendar. They lasted nine days of initiation.
On the 14th Boedromionie, sacred ritual objects ('hiera') were brought by Eleusis from the Demeter temple to Athens in the Eleusinion at the foot of the Acropolis.
On the 15th Boedromion, the hierophants declared the prorrhesis, the official beginning of the rites.
On the 16th boedromion of celebrations, a procession of aspirants went to the sea, each of whom carried his own piglet, which was sacrificed on the 17th boedromion after the ritual ablution in the sea in Athens ([1]). This ritual symbolized both the cleansing (katharmos) of the sacrificial animal and a cleansing of the initiates ([2]), possibly as an allusion to the level 11 universal path on which Heracles kills the Erymanthic boar, which leads to the gate of initiation, the then leads to mystical death.
The 18th Boëdromion was also called Epidauria or Asklepieia, since the god of healing came from Epidaurus only after the purification and the sacrifices to the mysteries. Therefore, the rituals were repeated so that Asklepios could be initiated correctly.

 The 18th Boëdromion was also called Epidauria or Asklepieia, since the god of healing came from Epidaurus only after the purification and the sacrifices to the mysteries. Therefore, the rituals were repeated so that Asklepios could be initiated correctly.
On the 19th Boëdromion, the festive procession finally took place at the Athens cemetery Kerameikos back to Eleusis, 20 km west of Athens, on which holy objects were carried and the cry “íakch’ ô íakche ”was heard. After the procession arrived in Eleusis, a day of fasting followed in memory of Demeter's fast during her search for Persephone. Fasting was ended in the evening with the ingestion of the Kykeon. The hierophant struck the gong and announced in a loud voice: "The mistress has given birth to a holy boy, Brimo the Brimos." [3]. The birth of the divine child (Brimos) took place here towards the end of the path (at the beginning of stage 15 of the universal path).

On the 20th and 21st the mystics entered the Telesterion Hall, where they were shown the holy relics of Demeter and the priestesses announced their visions of the holy night. This is where the actual initiation took place (dromena, the things done; legomena, the things spoken; deiknymena, the things shown)
In the evening the Pannychis followed, a party that lasted all night and was accompanied by dance and happiness. The youths destined for consecration danced in the Rharian fields like Dionysus in girls' clothes. The legend went that the fields were the first piece of earth on which grain was grown. The celebrations ended with a bull sacrifice (15.1) in the courtyard.
On the 22nd Boedromion, the newly initiated honored death with rites for the dead (15.2) with a libation from special containers with the pouring out of two vessels, with the mystics said to have sung "hýe-kýe - rain, receive". The mysteries of Eleusis ended on the 23rd Boedromion, and all visitors returned home.

== Kykeon ==

A central intoxicating potion for the rites was Kykeon. It is not certain whether this was really drunk by the mystics.
Kykeon (old Gr. Κυκεών: mixture, mixture) was a mixed drink made from grain and water in ancient Greece, also a drink made from water and barley flavored with pennyroyal. For Homer it consists of barley barley (ἄλφιτον), grated goat cheese and pramnian wine. There was also honey in the kykeon prepared for Odysseus by the sorceress Kirke. The preparation here was probably rather thick, as it is called sitos (σῖτος, food ‘) and not as in the Ilias potos (πότος, drink‘).

In the Homeric hymn, Kykeon is the drink Metaneira gives to Demeter, exhausted from the desperate search for Persephone, who was stolen by Hades, i.e. possibly as an allusion to Amrita.

== Literature ==

  • Pallas Athene. Ein aphoristisches Wörterbuch, Anton Fähnrich, Leitmeritz, C. W. Medau 1840 , auch PDF rechts oben!
  • Mylonas, George E. Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 1974, ISBN 0-691-00205-3
  • Uxkull, Woldemar, Baron von, 1860 : Die eleusinischen Mysterien : Eine Rekonstruktion, Berlin : A. Unger 1927
  • Kevin Clinton: Stages of initiation in the Eleusinian and Samothracian Mysteries; In: Michael B. Cosmopoulos (Hrsg.): Greek Mysteries. The Archaeology and Ritual of Ancient Greek Secret Cult. Routledge, London, 2003, ISBN 0-415-24873-6, S. 50-78.
  • Oscar Schütz: Zwei orphische Liturgien
  • Die Mysterienheiligtümer in Eleusis und Samothrake, Otto Rubensohn, published 1892
  • Greek religion and mythology : Demeter
  • Die Mysterien von Eleusis in rhetorisch geprägten Texten des 2./3. Jahrhunderts nach Christus, Riedweg, Christoph, Classical philology 1988
  • Isis regina - Zeus Sarapis: Die griechisch-ägyptische Religion nach den Quellen dargestellt, Reinhold Merkelbach, Saur 2001, ISBN 3-589-77427-3
  • Frickel : Hellenistische Erlösung in christlicher Deutung, Die gnostische Naassenerschrift, Rekonstruktion der Anthropos, Reihe: Nag Hammadi Studies, Band: 19, 1984, ISBN: 978-90-04-07227-5
  • Zu den Hymnen des Dionysius und Mesomedes, Theodor Bergk, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, Neue Folge, 9. Jahrg. (1854), S. 306-311 published by: J.D. Sauerländers Verlag
  • Jarl Fossum: The Myth of the Eternal Rebirth. Critical Notes on G. W. Bowersock, „Hellenism in Late Antiquity“. In: Vigiliae Christianae 53/3 (August 1999), S. 305–315, hier S. 310. Zu Brimo: Apollonios von Rhodos: Argonautica 3.861; zu Brimos: Orphischer Hymnus 24 (an die Nereiden).


  1. Eliade: Geschichte der Religiösen Ideen. Freiburg, Basel, Wien 1978, S.272
  2. Kerényi, K. : Die Mysterien von Eleusis. Zürich.1962, S.105
  3. Messianismus und Mysterienreligion, I. Heinemann, Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, Jahrg. 69 (N. F. 33), H. 9/10 (September/Oktober 1925), pp. 337-355