The Eleusinian Mysteries: An Unresolved Ancient Greek Puzzle

To this day the Eleusinian mysteries remains a subject enveloped by broken pieces of information, creating great controversy among historians who work under heavy assumptions while trying to puzzle out this ancient tradition. Complete details involving the rites and celebrations which took place during the mysteries were marked by a sworn oath of secrecy by the initiated and, therefore, vanished from our knowledge. In that respect, what do we know about the mysteries and what are the speculations involving it? Although modern Historians still argue about different aspects regarding this mystic ritual, some ideas are often accepted among them, which are understood by the testimonials of the initiated.

In Ancient Greece, the town of Eleusis, situated west of Athens, became the most important religious center of the pagan world during its time. According to the old belief and relates in the Homeric Hymn, Demeter (goddess of agriculture) stopped to rest at Eleusis during her quest for her daughter, Persephone, who was kidnaped by Hades. There, Demeter ordered a temple and altar to be built in her honor. After the joyful reunion of the goddess with the missing Persephone, she instructed the leaders of Eleusis in how to perform her rites. The cult, then, is believed to have been taught directly by Demeter herself.

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Drawing down the Moon 

 

δραςινγ-δοςν-τηε-μοον

Drawing down the Moon (also known as drawing down the Goddess) is a central ritualin many contemporary Wiccan traditions. During the ritual, a coven’s High Priestessenters a trance and requests that the Goddessor Triple Goddess, symbolized by the Moon, enter her body and speak through her. The High Priestess may be aided by the High Priest, who invokes the spirit of the Goddess. During her trance, the Goddess speaks through the High Priestess.

The name most likely comes from a depiction of two women and the moon on an ancient Greek vase, believed to date from the second century BCE.

In classical times of ancient Greece, ancient Thessalian witches were believed to control the moon, according to the tract: “If I command the moon, it will come down; and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head; and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight.”

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The Orphic hymn to Selene (Moon)

One of these songs is the Orphic Hymn to the goddess Selene, namely the Moon. The text could be also considered as a spell one could address to the Blood Moon that is going to appear in the skies tomorrow.

“Hear, Goddess queen, diffusing silver light, bull-horn’d and wand’ring thro’ the gloom of Night.

With stars surrounded, and with circuit wide Night’s torch extending, thro’ the heav’ns you ride:

Female and Male with borrow’d rays you shine, and now full-orb’d, now tending to decline.

Mother of ages, fruit-producing Moon [Mene], whose amber orb makes Night’s reflected noon:

Lover of horses, splendid, queen of Night, all-seeing pow’r bedeck’d with starry light.

Lover of vigilance, the foe of strife, in peace rejoicing, and a prudent life:

Fair lamp of Night, its ornament and friend, who giv’st to Nature’s works their destin’d end.

Queen of the stars, all-wife Diana hail! Deck’d with a graceful robe and shining veil;

Come, blessed Goddess, prudent, starry, bright, come moony-lamp with chaste and splendid light,

Shine on these sacred rites with prosp’rous rays, and pleas’d accept thy suppliant’s mystic praise.”

Hear, Goddess queen, diffusing silver light, bull-horn’d and wand’ring thro’ the gloom of Night.

With stars surrounded, and with circuit wide Night’s torch extending, thro’ the heav’ns you ride:

Female and Male with borrow’d rays you shine, and now full-orb’d, now tending to decline.

Mother of ages, fruit-producing Moon [Mene], whose amber orb makes Night’s reflected noon:

Lover of horses, splendid, queen of Night, all-seeing pow’r bedeck’d with starry light.

Lover of vigilance, the foe of strife, in peace rejoicing, and a prudent life:

Fair lamp of Night, its ornament and friend, who giv’st to Nature’s works their destin’d end.

Queen of the stars, all-wife Diana hail! Deck’d with a graceful robe and shining veil;

Come, blessed Goddess, prudent, starry, bright, come moony-lamp with chaste and splendid light,

Shine on these sacred rites with prosp’rous rays, and pleas’d accept thy suppliant’s mystic praise.

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The Winter Solstice in Ancient Greece

Solstice (from the Latin sol ‘sun’) celebrations honor the sun. At the summer solstice in late June, there is no dearth of the sun, so celebrants just enjoy the extra hours of daylight, but by the winter solstice in late December, the days are much shorter as the sun sets earlier.

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Week 2- Goddess Knowledge Medusa

When Medusa was slain, the winged horse Pegasus sprang from her blood. The Greeks pottery Medusa as a horrifying gorgon, an ugly woman with snakes for hair; anyone who looked at her face was turned to stone. Yet her name has the same root as medicine and measure, and derives from a Greek word meaning “to protect, to rule over.” Medusa is a moon goddess, the triple-headed Great Goddess in her death aspect. She is associated with blood, so to meet her is to meet the mysteries of moon-blood or menstrual blood, sacred and terrible, in many mythologies the source of life. Medusa is serpent energy, enlivening, terrifying, impersonal. Somehow Medusa, a symbol of growth and generation that dies so that from death may come life, became a symbol of fear, for to look directly upon the divine is to face a terrifying reality.

Pegasus is instinct, wisdom, imagination, life force, and intuitive understanding.

For more information about the Goddess Medusa here is the link for a general search: Information about Medusa

To see images of Medusa please use this general search link: Images of Medusa

When Artemis Aims, When Artemis Calls

Artemis was the first goddess to call to me. She was between the branches and in the shuffle of leaves. And she called to me to a lake in British Columbia.

She called me in story and song and clear night sky.

Artemis inspired me during a Reclaiming Witchcamp in 2015. And I saw Orion in the space above my house before I left to join the group of teachers.

To join the witches.

To join the space between and beyond time.

To join the hunt for our hearts.

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Hearth of Hellenism: How Are We Equals with the Gods?

The article I wrote in August, Freedom from Spiritual Slavery,left a bad taste in the mouths of some of my readers. I was charged with being hubris when I wrote that we “approach the gods as equals” in worship. The article was a complaint against contemporary Orthodox Christian behavior and its incompatibility with Hellenism. In Orthodox Christianity, humans are called servants/slaves (δοῦλος/doulos) of God. This is against the principles of Hellenism to think of yourself as a slave to any God because of your human nature.

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Magic in Ancient Greece: Necromancy, Curses, Love Spells, and Oracles

The magical traditions of ancient Greece encompassed spells, curse tablets, drugs, potions, poisons, amulets, and talismans. For many cultures of the past, there was a very fine line between magic, superstition, religion, and science. The ancient magicians were seen as symbols of wisdom, keepers of secrets, and masters of the arts, mathematics and science, particularly chemistry. Because magicians were believed to be individuals with access to supernatural powers, they were both feared and respected.

Spells and incantations had been used by the Egyptians for thousands of years and the Greeks carried this tradition forward, as evidenced by surviving Greek papyri containing magic records that date back to the 4th and 3rd century BC.

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Asklepios/Aesculapius – Greek/Roman God of Healing

Greek Name Ασκληπιος, Transliteration Asklêpios, Asclepius, Roman Name Aesculapius, Translation To Cut Open

To Cut Open

Asclepius, Greco-Roman marble statue C1st-2nd A.D., State Hermitage Museum

ASKLEPIOS (Asclepius) was the god of medicine. He was also the patron god, and reputed ancestor, of the Asklepiades (Asclepiades), the ancient guild of doctors.

Asklepios was the son of Apollon and the Trikkaian (Triccaean) princess Koronis (Coronis). His mother died in labour and when she was laid out on the pyre, Apollon cut the unborn child from her womb. From this Asklepios received his name which means “to cut open.” Asklepios was raised by the centaur Kheiron (Chiron) who instructed him in the art of medicine. He grew so skilled in the craft that he was able to restore the dead to life. This was a crime against the natural order and so Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: ASKLEPIOS/Aesculapius

Agathos Daimon

Agathos Daimon means “good spirit” and is a religious observance held on the second day of each lunar month, immediately following the Noumenia.  It is the third celebration of a trio of household monthly observances.  A good spirit usually refers to a type of divine being that is less powerful than a God, is personal to each family, and can bring the family good luck, protection, or some type of assistance.  Household spirits are usually seen as either snakes or a s a young man with a horn of plenty in hand.  

I celebrate the Agathos Diamon by pouring a libation to the spirit and asking for his continued blessings on our family.  If there is something in particular that our family wishes help with, I may give an additional offering to our family’s protective spirit.  Although I know I can always approach the Gods directly, the Agathoi Diamones are seen to be helpful intermediaries between the Gods and man.  

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