Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Heirophants Mysteries

This summer is slipping by too fast. I apologize for the lateness of this entry. I guess I need to get another computer, as my son has hogged this one all summer. This is not as long and scholarly as the other entries I have done. I am moving soon and won't have the internet for a while and wanted to get this out before I go.

Eleusian mysteries initiation

Dionysus-god of wine, grapes, intoxication, agriculture, wild nature, fertility, madness, ecstasy, the theater, carnivals, among other things. Sadly, he is usually just explained as a god of wine and left at that, but he was so much more. He was also known as the Liberator, allowing you to free yourself from your cares and worries. He is an ancient Greek god, with mentions of him as old as 1200 B.C., though for some reason the Greeks of later ages treated him as a foriegn god or even as a newer god. Though they did the same thing to Eros, who was originally told of as one of the Elder gods of creation, but was later turned into a minor god of love and son of Aprhodite. You can see the shamanic themes in his worship, with animal skins and the thyrsus (pine cone tipped wand wound in ivy leaves.)

His story is one of the themes of the Orphic Mysteries. It starts with the son of Zeus and Persephone, named Zagreus, concieved when Zeus took the form of a snake and laid with his daughter, by Demeter. Zeus loved this child so dearly, that he was going to make him his true heir, above all his other children. This angered Hera, the wife of Zeus, so much, that she had the Titans kidnap the child and planned to kill him. He shapeshifted into many animals to escape them and finally turned into a bull and was caught by the Titans, who tore him to peices and devoured him. Zeus reacted by immediatly hurling a thunderbolt at them and turned them all to ash. The ashes mixed with water and the human race was created from this divine ash, with both traces of Zagreus' good nature and the Titans malicious nature. Persephone was able to recover Zagreus' heart though. Zeus fed the heart to Semele, a mortal woman, and she gave birth to Dionysus, who became the god we know today, thus securing that he was an ancient god and a young god at the same time. While he is mentioned as a son of Zeus, Persephone was the wife of Hades and one of Hades titles was Zeus Katachthonios, "Underground Zeus". So, he may have actually been the son of Hades. Semele eventually died and went to Hades. Dionysus went into Hades after her, and pulled her up to Olympus with him, showing the dying and ressurecting god of nature.

Dionysus can be contrasted with Apollo. Dionysus represents freeing your emotions, wild beasts and wild nature in general. While Apollo represents culture and civility.

His legions of female followers were called Meanads, and many were thought of as being supernatural creatures themselves, similar to nymphs, though only when they were in the company of Dionysus, or touched by him. They were intoxicated and fueled with strength and ecstasy.

Demeter-goddess of agriculture, the earth, seasons and fertility. The sister of Zeus and one of the great Olympians. She had a daughter with Zeus, named Kore "maiden." They are thought to actually be the same goddess, in 2 forms, the Maiden and Mother. The Eluesian Mysteries is about the story of how Hades came and abducted Kore to marry her. She searched for her daughter and the earth grew barren while she searched. Meanwhile, Kore resided in Hades, waiting for her mother to free her. Finally, with the earth wilting away, Zeus was forced to act, and told Hades to let Persephone go. But, Hades had tricked Kore into eating one of his pomegranites. If you eat the food of Hades, you must reside in Hades, so he tried to lay claim to her again. Zeus finally judged that she would reside in Hades for half the year and with her mother for half the year. She then became Persephone. Here she is the Crone, goddess of the underworld. Also, her mother, when she is the old woman of winter, sad and alone waiting for her daughter, is the Crone. So Kore is the maiden, Demeter is the mother, and Persephone and old Demeter are the Crone.

Hermes bringing Persephone back to Demeter from Hades

The Eluesian Mysteries: were the ancient mystery rites that surround the story of the Goddesses Demeter and Persephone.

The Dionysian Mysteries: give an often unheard of interpretation of the story of the birth and life of Dionysus. The Dionysian mysteries are entwined with the Orphic Mysteries.

The Orphic Mysteries: revolve around the story of Orpheus and his tragic loss. Orpheus was the son of Apollo and he was very musically inclined, so much so, that is was supernatural. His fiance was killed when a snake bit her, after his friend tried to rape her and she ran away. In his sadness, Opheus went to the underworld to retrieve his bride, where he used his music to charm first Cerebus, the canine guardian of Hades realm and later of Hades and Persephone, the rulers of the Underworld themselves. They promised that he could take his bride, if he lead her out of Hades without looking at her once. He agreed and led her all the way out of the underworld, resisting the temptation to see his love, until at last they reached the entrance and he exited, turned to see his wife, but she had not left the entrance yet, and she was pulled back into Hades. In his sadness he wandered around, until a pack of Meanads came upon him and ripped him to pieces in their ecstasy. Orpheus was said to have created the Dionysian mysteries, and revered Persephone and Dionysus.

Death of Orpheus