Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eleusinian Mysteries ~ What did the '60s have in common with Ancient Greece? & Neptune in Pisces.

The short answer is LSD.

Long ago, humans felt a deep need to celebrate and honor times of sowing, reaping and harvest, keenly aware that, should anything untoward negatively affect nature's cycle, many people - perhaps all - would die in the ensuing famine. For instance, this day, 20 September, in ancient Greece, would have marked the 7th day of the Eleusinian Mysteries: revered initiation ceremonies held every 4 or 5 years (sources vary), lasting 9 days, honoring Demeter the Mother Goddess of agriculture and fertility, and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.

The Mysteries originated in the city of Eleusis, 15 miles west of Athens, possibly as far back as the early Mycenaean period (c.1600 B.C), and continued for almost two thousand years, in a world both alien yet oddly familiar to us, in the twenty-first century. Theirs was a world permeated with anxiety and dread, perhaps not unlike that of the USA after 9/11, or during the Cold War years.....or right now! Famine was, for them, a persistent threat. A single crop failure could spell the difference between life and death. The risk of war, whether from marauding bands or organized armies, was constant. Death or slavery awaited the losers of a conflict. Family provided the only social safety net for most. People lived constantly on the edge of disaster.

The long drawn-out structured rituals of the Mysteries produced a change of consciousness in the participants bringing about a kind of spiritual birth, intended to reunite the person with the divine spirit of the cosmos. The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept strictly secret. Since The Mysteries involved visions of an afterlife, some scholars believe that the power and longevity of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from psychedelic agents. Here's that link to the 1960s.

Before experiencing the final soul-shattering vision of the Greater Mysteries, initiates drank kykeon, an entheogenic potion made from ergot, from which LSD is derived. The initiates then spent the night in a darkened hall, where they beheld a great vision, which was “new, astonishing, inaccessible to rational cognition.” Most of the initiates were women, but men (including Sophocles, Aristides and Cicero) also took part. Whatever the vision, there is no doubt that the effects were profound. Some hold that a night in the Eleusinian sanctuary may have inspired Plato's “ideas” and world of archetypes. In times much closer to our own, ingesting similar potions inspired the composition of iconic music and song.

I can't help wondering whether, as Neptune, the planet with closest connection to drugs, visions, and mysteries, moves into it's traditional home, Pisces early next year, whether, during its sojourn in that sign, we're going to see a revival or "re-working" of something akin to The Mysteries. During the 1960s, for whole decade Neptune was transiting Scorpio, one of the three Water signs, where it "feels most at home". In Water sign Pisces Neptune will be even more "at home". I'll not be a bit surprised to read of the emergence some new cultish and mysterious goings on, involving an LSD-type substance, in coming years.

Sources ~~





JD said...

links don't work, Twilight

Twilight said...

JD ~~~~ Thanks for the heads up! I forgot to check 'em when I published the post.

They seem okay now. :-)

Anonymous said...

GP: If "the short answer is LSD" to some ancient mysteries, the qick analysis to modern Greece's financial troubles is "Goldman Sachs".

It's them who showed the Greeks how to cheat on the rest of Europe. And in terms of being rapid learners, especially when it comes to take some others over a barrel, the Greeks are olympic world champions. So far they are doing pretty well. The whole of the still holding EU is keeping it's breath, and Geithner/Bernanke/Obama as well. A repeat of Lehman x 10 is perfectly in the cards.

PS. I doubt that LSD type drugs were at the origin of the Eleusian Mysteries. Some dionysian element possibly came into it only at a later stage, when even Romans (Cicero you mention) where allowed to participate. Cannot help thinking of Berlusconi's Italy, also in dear financial trouble - and equally assisted by Goldman Sachs in "papering it over". And one should not forget the traditional links a certain Buffett is having with Goldman Sachs, and Mr. Obama. All seams to nicely "fit together"...

Anna Van Z said...

*Some* people have had some intensely cosmic experiences in the wilderness with magic mushrooms. Some profound insights can be had from such 'shrooms - or so I'm told.

There's an abundance of loud, showy, religious posturing these days, but very little deep, connective spirituality. Bring on some Mystery schools!

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~ Well, yes, I dare say you are right on that, GP. Greece has been in the news more recently than for a long time, other than as vacation venue for Brits and Europeans. I haven't visited the country myself though.

Re the LSD - I know only what I've read online. I doubt anyone knows for sure when the kykeon drink became part of the rituals. It seems likely that some "aid" found in nature to bring on a change of consciousness, other than simply meditation and suchlike, was used though.

We could use a few visions, financial and otherwise, round about now! ;-)

Twilight said...

Anna Van Z ~~ Yes - bring it on!
Our species has hardly ever been in such need of a change of consciousness as now. :-)

The music and art that emerged from artists who experimented with LSD were fascinating and valuable. I'm of the opinion that visions experienced during "trips" are really just a scrambling of our usual brain function - akin to shaking a kaleidoscope. But when some religious nut decides that, in an induced vision, they've seen the creator, or heaven or received messages from the gods etc etc, or seen the afterlife - THAT would definitely give me pause.

(PS found a YouTube vid of the Seinfeld dancer...LOL!!!)

JD said...

you can have a visionary experience without using drugs-
-although this seems a bit of a drastic way of doing it :)

Twilight said...

JD ~~~ Ah yes! The NDE.
The sceptic in me says that the experience of death, near or for real, is just another example of the brains' normal functioning being shaken up, as with the ingestion of drugs - some bits powering down, others maybe trying to crank up to avoid the close-down....but all abnormal, and liable to throw up all manner of stuff stored in the memory banks. But visions of sorts, they are! Not the kind I shall wish to see too soon. :-)

Anonymous said...

GP: In all fairness to the Greeks, ancient and modern, I must correct/amplify what I said before.

When the W.Street Journal says that what housing is to the US, Greece is to Europe, they mean a bottomless pit.

Having spent very enjoyable times when I was much younger in Greece and some of it's islands, I fully understand why a normal Greek would wish to continue to retire at 55. As everybody wishing should be able to do in other places as well.

But then came the EU and all those consumer goods and an easy way to pay for it was credit arranged by the wizzards of Goldman Sachs and the likes.

Today Ms Merkel (visibly exhausted) said one big truth: The present financial mess is the result of "Wachstum zu jedem Preis", economic growth at any cost. Remember Bill Clinton arranging government mortgages of up to 150%, so that he could be re-elected? And Buffett/Goldman Sachs mightily profiting from such a feast (until the bubble bust when Lehman could not hold itself straight anymore)?

Possibly that Ms. Merkel is dreaming of a more simple life, retiring on some sunny Greek island? And she may be so right, in her dreams at least. No need for any other elixir than to "live amongst the remaining normal Greeks!

James Higham said...

Interesting and I have another one - what did the 60s have in common with the 20s?

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~ People who should've known better realised too late what they'd spawned, I guess, GP. The people trusted 'em to know what they were doing....in Greece and in other countries, especially USA.

The situation reminds me a bit of smoking tobacco. It was "the thing to do" for so long, nobody fully realised the cost, healthwise until it was too late.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ '60s and '20s ?

Hmmmm. Music industry booming - jazz in the '20s, rock/pop in the '60s ?
Leaps ahead in technology - movies in the '20s, TV in the '60s.....?

Anonymous said...

GP: Very true, your analogy with smoking tobacco. Humans are constantly druged, some by religion (Marx dixit), others by hope (latest survey showing that over 5 million Americans expect to become millionaires within the next decade) and others by believing what our politicians promise.

What's wrong with our civilization? Or is it as it was planned to be? Humans as the rest of organic life serving some greater undisclosed "cosmic purpose"? At least that(!) one must assume...

Anonymous said...

I believe it's quite possible that the Eleusinian Mysteries could be up to 1000 years older than we may think. I plan to start a blog in the future that explores this possibility. Demeter eschewed wine in favour if Kekyon. Jesus drank wine. Wine is a psychoactive substance and the Last Supper sure looks like a Greater Mystery rite to me. Stop by my blog which explores just how common mystery rites were, and just how likely Judaism as well as Christianity are both jam packed with mystery rite after mystery rite. The particular focus of this blog compares the Eleusinian Mysteries to the Jewish Jubilee. Check it out at lessermystery.wordpress.com

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~Hi there!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting -and for your link. I have saved it to my Favourites and will check it out in full later today.

You raise an intriguing point....I'll look forward to reading more. :-)