Spread the love

Eleusis is a town outside of Athens where the Greeks conducted a secret rite of initiation in honor of the goddess of the earth, Demeter, and her daughter and queen of the underworld, Persephone. The rite may have dated before the Greek Dark Ages, more than a thousand years BCE, and could have had its roots in a still more ancient agrarian cult. Eleusis was known for its special relationship with the spirits of the dead who aided in the prosperity of the grains that grew in the fields outside of the town. Anyone could become an initiate who could speak and understand Greek and pay roughly a month’s wages for the cost of a sacrificial pig and the services of priests and guides. In February, the time of the flowers, initiates experienced the lesser mystery in Agrai based on the events surrounding Persephone’s death. In September, the time of the sowing of winter crops, masses of pilgrims paraded over a narrow bridge into the sacred town where they experienced the secret vision of the Greater Mystery, an encounter these initiates could never describe to anyone under any circumstances for the rest of their lives.