Dr Károly Kerényi superb book on the Eleusinian mysteries transports us into the magnificent world of Ancient human thought and into the archetype of the Mother-daughter cycle, seen from a mythological perspective. The writer compares myths within the Ancient world and with myths in Indonesia for example. Myths around the world tell of humans born from plants. Individual eatable plants are perishable, destructible, edible, but taken together are a guarantee of human life. Such story is found in the Eleunisian mysteries and also in stories such as the myth of Hainuwele. The theme of those Ancient Greek and Ceramese myths go around fruits and vegetable life flourishing from the violent death or the sacrifice of a divine being.

Besides this, we have the concept of a primordial figure, which is typical not only of a particular culture, but on a greater degree, of human nature. This primordial figure becomes what Carl Jung defines as an archetype. Eleusis is the archetypal image of mother-daughter, or more specifically, of Demeter-Persephone. There is the saying that a “woman lives first as a mother, then as a daughter,” which explains the archetype of women’s fate, which is no other than immortality through different stages. Erich Neumann states: “women experiences herself first and foremost as the source of life.” In the Eleusinian mysteries, initiates envisaged the feminine source of life. The jungian quest for the self, as the inner search of the superordinate personality in ourselves, in women goes by stages, but this archetype of feminine destiny is only a step on the way to the self.

The Eleusinian mysteries were performed on a site situated few kilometres out of Athens. There was a sacred road connecting both points and used since Ancient times by people like Theseus, founder of Athens, as a route for initiates into the Eleusinian mysteries. Herodotus mentions about this site on his book. There is a passage in which he explains that a cloudy dust was on the air due to the celebration of the Eleusis festival, right before the battle of Salamis, and the writer mentions about the fertile ground of the area. Euripides and Aristophanes also mentioned about the Mysteries, about the Mother-Daughter goddess and their connection with heaven, earth and the underworld. This festival was celebrated on a specific time of the year and in connection with agriculture. All the dance, rites, the procession and so on, had to be done on a specific period. It was of such importance, that not just females but even gods’ attendance was expected. Moreover, the whole, not just Greek, but the whole human race’s existence depended on the celebration of this festival. Just to give an example, Herodotus book implies that the victory on the battle of Salamis was obtained in part due to the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries.

It was extremely important for personal existence, not just in life but in death also. An initiate into the mysteries had a vision of the union of the path of life to the path of death. They could see the way into the underworld, and therefore could be at peace by having experienced the beginning and the end as a union. Participating at the mysteries offered initiates a guarantee of life without fear of death, of confidence in the fate of death.

Dr Kerényi places the origins of the Eleusinian mysteries in around the 1500 BC more or less, on the Mycenaean period, a period of mutual religious influence between Greece and Crete. It might have started at the site of Megaron B, even though the existence of cults go back even further. These though are the dates in which it seemed to have existed a cult in the area exceeding in scope and importance the small household and tribal cult. There is a Thracian origin related to Eumolpos, the predecessor of the priest Hierophany. Thracians and Greeks have been historically enemies. Apparently, Eumolpos and Erechtheus were enemies-fed myths of poetic style of the Ancient Mycenaean Heroic legend, implying the frictions between Mycenaean and mainland Ancient Greece cultures. There are claims that Eleusis origins came from the sea, from an island in the South, implying Cretan origin. According to Diodorus of Sicily, in Knossos, unlike in Ancient Greece, it was custom to speak quite openly about Eleusinian ceremonies. In Greece in the other hand it was secret, which manifests and evolution in customs in its arrival to the mainland. The arrheton and the aporrheton, ceremonies related to the goddess Persephone, were completely secret. This has brought difficulties into its study. This secrecy was though presented in mythological tales as a preparation for the mysteries. These myths formed a public introduction into the mysteries. It was aimed for people to arrive at the forbidden element, concealed and kept silent. Dr Kerényi expresses it beautifully saying: “Through myths in word and image, the path leads beyond them, to a sphere beyond word and image”.

Eleusinian Mysteries 2

Eleusis is full of symbology. It speaks of priests as figures representing mythological beings. An example is Keleos the woodpecker, a forest king of the same race of beings as the primordial inhabitants of the earth. Myth places Eleusis as the place of happy arrival, as the aim of human life. It speaks of Demeter as the founder of that path into the underworld, as the first initiate. The myth goes that when Demeter re-unites with her daughter Demeter, after Persephone stays in the underworld as Hades’ bride, Demeter restores the fruit that she had withdrawn on her grief, a grain that during antiquity abundantly existed on the site of Thria. In Demeter we find the first part of that godhead which form the Goddess Mother-Daughter, Demeter-Persephone. In her we find no secret, she is the outward goddess, mother of grains, mother of the mysterious daughter, whom one did not even pronounce on the presence of the profane. Nothing in Demeter was secret, not even her daughter in her presence as a maiden or when restored from the underworld. This is why we know about her grief due to her daughter’s rape and capture into the underworld. The myth of Demeter shows her restless search for her daughter, which parallels other goddesses such as Io or Europa and their moon wanderings. Demeter came from Crete. She was in love with Iasios and also lover of the Lord of the underworld, Zagreus. Her presentation as a being also ravished implies that both goddesses are just an image of the archetypal figure of Mother-daughter, combining all attributes. Demeter and Persephone form an image of all feminine attributes of the earth with the inconstancy of the wandering moon.

The myth of the raping of Persephone and the mourning of Demeter starts when Persephone follows some sea goddesses and loses sight of where she is. Then she is adduced by Gaia, Earth goddess, who shows her some never seen flowers, taking her full attention. Persephone admires those flowers on a place named Nysion Pedion, a birth place and first home of the wine god, where she is raped by Dionysus, Pluto or Hades, personifications of the world Wine god. Persephone enters the underworld through a gate placed on a fig tree. There are three different entrances to the underworld: the fig tree, the well and the Agelastos Petra, a place on a rock. Demeter appears to have stayed, according to different myths, in all these places. The raping is heard first by Hecate, then by the god Helios and then by Demeter, who mourns and search for her daughter. The latter moves to a well, where she becomes old and nurses some girls. Then Iambe comes to the story, bring wine to Demeter, who refuses it, and instead the latter makes Kykeon, a drink that will be taken by initiates to the mysteries. Finally, Demeter nourished Demophoon, a boy who the goddess places in the fire with the intention of making him immortal, but the kid’s family intervention stops this possibility. Demeter is finally shown the path into her daughter and to the underworld. Hermes accomplishes this, after Zeus intervention. However, Hades gives Persephone pomegranate seeds, which destined the latter’s cycling return to the underworld three months per year.

The Eleunisian mysteries started with the lesser mysteries or preparations for the initiation, Myesis and Epopteia were its names. Those preparations were performed at Agrai, in Athens. This is mentioned by Plato, in whose writings we find a dialogue of Socrates mentioning about both rites and their physical and spiritual love aiming at the great vision of the ideas. Myesis means in latin initiation and also secret. These preparations were performed in autumn in Ilissos, Agrai, a place known in antiquity to have been a hunting reserve of Artemis the huntress. Agrai also means a persecuted Artemis-like goddess with the foreign name of Brito Martis, the sweet virgin. This is related to an incident happening in Athens, in which maidens were ravished and sacrificed when the place was besieged by Minos, king of Crete. Ilissos in fact is connected not just to Persephone and Demeter, but also to the Dionysus festival happening in February. The Dionysian festival, named the day of the pitchers, tell of the arrival of Heracles and Hermes coming to be initiated. One of the famous initiates into Myesis lesser mysteries was in fact Heracles, a non-Athenian citizen, who was adopted by Pylios, a man connected to the gate. Non-Athenians were rejected for the initiation so Heracles relationship to Pylios must have influenced his acceptance into the lesser mysteries. Purification was a requirement that the demigod had to do to be accepted in Myosis and it involved the slaughtering of pigs, cutting their heads and other rites aiming at his acceptance for purifying and into the initiation for the lesser mysteries. Heracles had already journeyed into the underworld and visited the Queen of darkness Persephone, but this was not guarantee for his acceptance into the mysteries. The Hierophant appears in myth as a second Dionysus and it is depicted on the purification of Heracles.

The initiation into the lesser mysteries involved the sacrificing of animals, the fasting during nine days and the drinking of a drink called kykeon, made of oaths, water and a kind of mint. Kykeon became so important as being the secret password to enter the Telesterion: “Have drank Kykeon”. The initiation also involved the purification with water from the sea and from Ilissos. A number of other rites and customs were implemented before the nineteenth day, the day of Agymos, the gathering day, when the initiates’ procession towards Eleusis started.

Eleusinian mysteries 3

Initiates brought a number of different objects in the Cysta Mystica: including myrtle, torches or the statue of the young god Iakchos, who represented the Alter-ego of Dionysus. Myrtle, vine and ivy were plants carried by Dionysus. The god gave myrtle to Hades in exchange of her mother. Myrtle is somehow connected to the abduction of Persephone and it is also connected to marriage. In myth we find Iakchos and Hecate carrying torches, dressing as pilgrims and guiding initiates, as if grieving for the goddesses. In the procession women carried the kykeon and men the pitches, as if imitating Heracles and Hermes. Once at the gates of Eleusis a number of rites and customs had to be performed, including the fasting, drinking of Kykeon, the performance of rites around the baskets with the snake as the symbol of Zeus, Dionysus and Hades. The baskets, or Cysta Mystica, contained secret objects, such as ears of grain, sprouts, metal vessels and others. Scholars apparently haven’t being able to confirm this, but provably there were some phalluses’ symbols. The various secret objects carried and which the Hierophant brought from a room and shown to initiates, included most provably small relics from the Mycenaean age handed down generation to generation.

Once at the inside of Eleusis, different buildings and areas were found, including a Pluton temple, the great Propylaea, the gate of Hecate, the well, a dance area and the Telesterion. Between the entrance gate and the Telesterion there were different degrees of secrecy. The Dadauchos, secondary priests who represented the god Iakchos, guided the initiates with their torches to the Telesterion. An Omphalos, connecting to the underworld, the heaven and the earth, just as it happened in Delphi, might have existed at Eleusis, maybe at Ploutonion. A boy representing pureness and a symbol of Demophoon, who was nourished and placed on the fire by Demeter, performed some dances on the name of the community and rites to enter the Telesterion, in preparation of the great vision of which the whole Mystai was going to partake. The rites and performances conducted inside the Telesterion, the Epopteia, were completely secret and therefore, unknown to us. We just have inherited few lines written in Hadrian’s times. On this papyrus we read that Heracles was rejected for purification due to the murdering of his own children, which surprised him as he thought that by having already seen Persephone in the underworld would have entitled him for this purification. In these same writings it is explained that the Echeion, a kind of gong, was played, symbolising the thunder, which helped opening the doors of the underworld. In the Oedipus story of Sophocles, the thunder sound opens the gates of the underworld to the star character, who dies in the presence of Theseus.

Inside the Telesterion just the Mystai and the Epoptai were allowed, and the ceremony was presided by the Hierophant. This concept means who he makes them appear. The Hierophant appears seated on a throne turned towards the Anakteron and in control of the fire. From the Anakteron came out whoever was supposed to appear to initiates and the Hierophant might have sung some songs to Brimos, the son of the Queen Goddess Demeter, Maiden and Hecate on her quality of Goddess of the underworld. Fire was an important element connecting the dead with the underworld and very much related to Demeter, who could made humans immortals, by placing them on fire. In Eleusis have been found evidences of fires being lit as pyres to cremate the dead and symbolising the path from death to the other world. In fact, it was proclaimed that Persephone gave birth to her son on the fire. From myths related to Dionysus and Asklepios, it seems that sons could be born from death. Therefore it was believed that also humans could be born from death. Demeter’s usage of fire to turn Demophoon immortal is an example. Fire was considered in India by the Brahmans as an element connecting this world with the underworld. It was used to cremate corpses. Even voluntary or sacrificing rites involving being burned on a fire were rites performed in antiquity in India. It does not surprise then that in the altar of Demeter it was permissible to cremate a heroine. Another important element to the ceremonies performed in the Telesterion was grain, which symbolised wealth in Ancient Greece and symbolised Persephone’s birth under the earth. The Hierophant might have displayed a mown of ear of grain during the ceremonies. The grain of Demeter brought hope of life after death.

During the rites at the Telesterion, a version of the Visio Beatifica was performed. Visions and a kind of ineffable and holy phasmata, the phasmata of Eleusis, happened. There are testimonies confirming that the great vision was seen with opened, corporeal eyes. The Visio Beatifica, as the Epopteia, aimed at not only providing happiness to initiates, but also hope and anticipation, which was one of the characteristics of the Eleunisian phenomenon.


Dr Károly Kerényi does a hermeneutic essay on the subject with impressive findings. The mysteries of Eleusis, he mentions, is a “philosophy of life, possessing substance and meaning and imparted a modicum of truth to the yearning human soul”. The Visio Beatifica is no other than a peak reached after a purification process involving fasting, the taking provably of alcohol and / or psychotropics, which supported by the surroundings and by expectations, spiritual preparation and psychic preparation, determined visionary states on initiates. The fasting period opened the doors of perception plus the taking of an alcoholic drink might have brought an initial thrust. Kykeon was made of barley groats, in some sources state roasted barley groats, water and another ingredient. The drink after a short period must have fermented, becoming alcohol such as malt. Visionary states can be induced by fasting alone, so adding alcohol or even a variety of pennyroyal, as Dr Kerényi claims was the third ingredient, must have induced into awake visions. Dr Hoffmann’s words on the subject were: “the volatile oils containing poley oil (oleum pulegii) might very well, added to alcoholic content of the kykeon, have produced hallucinations in persons whose sensibility was heightened by fasting”.

Dr Kerényi states that within Greek religion “the Eleunisian mysteries were unique of their kind, and this uniqueness was their characteristic trait”. It was belief that Eleusis was a unique place where the living could meet with the Queen goddess of the underworld. The only place where this was possible, and this was very much related to the grain of Demeter, bringing life from death. However, Demeter and everything related to her, such as her mourning or the grain gift, did not belong to the aporrheta or the arrheton, therefore not part of the secrecy. In Antiquity the gift of Demeter was believed to have been a gift given to the world by Athens and Greek culture, as Perikles wife implies in one of her discourses. In this discourse, she claims that Athens gave birth to man, barley and wheat. Then women imitated the earth by nourishing children. There is contradictory information in Greece related to the origin of grain and around who was the original goddess giving it to human kind. In fact there were three places in Ancient Greece where grain grew for the first time: Rharia, in Eleusis, Skiron and Bouzygion.

The Eleunisian mysteries spread around many places, including far away regions such as Southern Russia or Sicily. This happened in a time when death was very much present, so this cult appealed to many people. In Russia, vases have been found showing that the journey of Heracles and the Dioskouroi, lead by Triptolemos, brought grain first to the Peloponnese and then to other regions. Triptolemos is related to the spread of grain and to religious hope. He is a primal being, connected to the goddess Demeter and associated with the Pharian plain, from where the door to the underworld was opened. Triptolemos, together with Keleos, woodpecker or forest dweller, and Dysaules, a peasant who had infertile land, are primordial beings related to the Eleusinian mysteries. Triptolemos is the primordial human being, a version of Demophoon, nourished by Demeter on fire, and in other stories he appears as Demeter’s lover. He played a part before and after the mysteries. Demeter performs the mysteries after he turns from a threefold warrior to a threefold plow-man and his plowing and sowing of the Rharian plain. Kykeon, which is made of grain, is taken on the Mystai, right before all the Eleusinian rites. Triptolemos in fact does not only spread the grain, as Dionysus, but also spreads culture, with the three commandments of honouring parents, gods with fruits, and by sparing the animals.

The importance of Triptolemos is historical, just as it is the goddess Demeter. The unique religious significance of the mysteries would be conceivable without them, but their gifts were a part of the historical form of the Eleusinian religion. Demeter’s grief and mourning reminds us that Eleusinian initiation rites and mysteries started with her and with the search for her daughter. Besides, the bond of the goddesses to grain and agriculture reminds us of the economical importance of the mysteries, the engine bringing prosperity to civilisation at the time. However, the real gift of this religion was initiation. Demeter’s responsibility is handing Persephone’s gift or initiation to mankind.

The story of Demeter, searching for her other half / daughter, parallels the cycles of the moon, wandering and searching for her other half until it becomes total darkness. This is the destiny of women as it is the destiny of the moon, the circulus mythologicus, the Demeter goddess turning into the grain mother, then the story of Persephone who turns into the grain maiden and start the cycle again. These connections with life cycles brought the Eleusinian mysteries to far away areas and regions where wheat and barley grew wildly, such as in Sicily. The theme meant to communities all over the Mediterranean and to other far away regions. The symbol that dead become grain and flourish again is reflected on grains being buried at sites such as cemeteries to bring the loved lost ones to life again.

Eleusinian Mysteries 6

According to archaic myth, the grain was brought to the earth by Rhea, the Earth mother. In post archaic stories and myth, Rhea gives it to Demeter as a gift and empowers the latter to spread this fruit amongst humanity. The theme of the grain and the earth brings us to an original myth, in which Demeter wasn’t present, but instead the mother earth was responsible for the bringing up of essential fruits to civilisation. Demeter seems to have been a later addition into this archetypal story, becoming a classic. Dionysus also appears in myth in various forms, as a son of Persephone or as the underworld version of Zeus. All of this implies an evolution in myth related to the imposition of certain mind thinking of a patriarchal and nomadic influence by Arian tribes coming from central Asia, which took and shape Cretan myth into what later became Homeric myth.

There are important primordial connections between Persephone and the Pomegranate tree. A seed of this tree is given by Hades to the Maiden goddess and this destines Persephone’s cycle of three months return into the underworld forever since. Pomegranate trees are pictured in Ancient Greek myth as the source from which all food and drink derived. This is a similar function as the one taken by vine trees. Dionysus, the wine god, underworld god, is himself connected to pomegranate, apple, vine and fig trees, while Rhea, the Earth goddess, is connected to pomegranate, almond and date palm trees. Plant life is connected to the origins of life in the earth, not just in Greece but in other far away areas such as Mesoamerica or Indonesia. The pomegranate tree might have been exported within the Mediterranean, and the theme itself appears in the myth of Hainuwele and Rabie in Ceram, where coconut palm mixed with Hainuwele’s father blood brings fruit plants to life. In Mayan myth we find corn growing out of the sacrificing and mutilation of a divine being. In pre-Greek myth we find pomegranate trees as a sign of fertility and its seeds being used for magical purposes. The fruit itself, which provides plenty of seeds, is a symbol of abundance but also a forbidden fruit in certain festivals. The characteristic red colour of its seeds provably influenced its taken as blood symbol. As an example we find the story of Menoikeus, from whose grave the pomegranate tree flourished. The theme is that of life flourishing from blood, of pomegranate trees flourishing from death. A Boeotian myth of the wife of Orion the hunter, tells of he who went into the underworld to make the spring of life, of the pomegranate tree. Again and again we find the motif of a bloody death for the community as a necessary step for the original myth of life. The pomegranate tree growing from the sacrifice or the death of a maiden or a daughter, which is a theme in the Eleusinian mysteries. We don’t know what was the original myth in Eleusis but we are certain of Persephone’s connection to pomegranate seeds and of Dionysus and Hades connection to vine trees. In fact these later gods’ ground was fill up with planted vineyards and orchards.

The myth of the seduction of Persephone into the underworld is a myth containing this triad god of Demeter, Maiden and Dionysus, which not randomly, appears at the Dionysus festivals at Eleusis. The last day of the mysteries is devoted to plenty in its liquid form, the day of the Plemochoai, “The pouring of plenty”. The liquid is not named, but one name that appears might be “Hye Kye,” a foreign name maybe designating the wine god as the god of all living liquids. The theme of blood and life coming from blood is present on the last day of the mysteries. Literally we have the theme of a mythical being who dies, but though attended by pain and bloodshed, his death is only an apparent one. Ever since this death, every death has been a prolongation of life in two dimensions, the one plantlike, the other divine. Men and women imitated Demeter by going through the initiation process, searching for her daughter and going to the underworld to find her. All the various rites aimed at that, at imitating the events experienced by Demeter herself. Those that imitated it, as a ritual and ceremonially, implementing all symbology related to this primordial and archetypal act, take the event in themselves as if they went through it. By doing that, they were sure to live an after life in the same way, a godlike and plantlike way. This is how myth was shaped in pre-Homeric and Pre-Hellenic culture. Dionysus and Persephone broke this tendency. They guaranteed plant nourishment for men and the potion of plant origin with its ecstasy for humanity.

The separation of Mother-daughter is also an archetype, the destiny for each female individual. Dr Kerényi states: “the yearning for her own girl-child, the Kore, must be characteristic of undivided human existence, of men as well as women, but in one way of men and in another of women.” The process of evolution in men is different as in women, women is the source of life and goes through changes in life that men does not. However, the Visio Beatifica is the same in women than in men, both genders have the same goal, which is to become in peace with the life-death cycle of nature. Visio Beatifica represented in the souls of the initiates the necessary split for the experience of finding-again the ineffable one in the visitation. This vision is that one showing that all humans and not women alone, bear this origin and this duality, that is both the mother and the daughter within themselves, and are therein the heirs of an endless line, not only of fathers but of mothers as well.

Eleusinian Mysteries 5

This duality of mother-daughter opened up a vision of the feminine source of life, common source for men and women alike, just as the ear of grain has opened up the vision into the “abyss of the seed”. Persephone represents this duality as she is at the same time the queen of the underworld and the daughter of Demeter, to whom she cyclicly returns. She governs over the earth, heaven and the sea. This duality shows the contradictions encountered at Eleusis. Persephone is at the same time an underground goddess giving birth and a daughter returning in middle of February to the earth, bringing the fertility of the land with her. The pantheon formed in Eleusis includes various characters and duality is a main characteristic. Triptolemos in his chariot, who brings grain to regions. Then we have Demeter as goddess on the mystery basket. A duplicated Persephone, Kore with torches and Thea in attitude ordinarily taken by Hera, queen of the gods. The royal Theos or Hades sits between two youths, Iakchos as leader of the Mystai and the other as Eubouleus. Dionysus is also duplicated as the god of the underworld in Ploutos and Theos. Dionysus appears as son of Semele and of Persephone at the same time. Iakchos and Ploutos appear as double of the child Dionysus. It appears a great duplicity of divine figures, created by a duplication of the mystery gods, which sprang from spontaneous spiritual activity, from mythology, a mixture of poetry and music. We even find triple figures such as three females related to Dionysus: Ariadne the wife, Semele the mother and Aphrodite higher, as a future divine marriage.

As we mentioned in this article and taking the indications given by Dr Kerényi, we don’t know exactly what was the theme of the holy event of the mystery night, but it appears in vases such as one in Rhodes, in which the goddess of the earth emerges from the ground holding her child Ploutos in a cornucopia to Demeter. Other characters such as Eubouleus, Iakchos, Aphrodite and Semele also are represented. Aphrodite presence announces the recurrent divine marriage and a new beginning of the holy story which leads each year to the mystery rite.

Eubouleus is another character that deserved being mentioned by Dr Kerényi. A bust of him shows his head with long and curly hair. Boule means counsel, decision and will. In the context of Eleusis is the need to lure Persephone into a marriage with the King of the underworld, so death begins, and so life loses none of its radiance, but on the contrary, it is enriched. This was a divine plan, a boule. In Homeric myth the planner is Zeus. Zeus Eubouleus is the subterranean Zeus, connected to the sacrifice of a pig on Dionysus’s winter birthday. Eubouleus is also connected to Ploutos. Boule is clearly the plan that brought Persephone to the underworld. It was this plan taken and decided by the Dark god himself, who by this marriage with Persephone gave life on earth its fixed order.

In Orpheus, Eubouleus appears as the most mysterious god. His feminine version is Euboule, connected with sacrificial death, similar to that of Persephone, though for the one city of Athens and not for the whole of mankind. In other myths Eubouleus appears as one of the three primordial children born from the primordial couple at Eleusis. His brothers are Triptolemos as cowherd, and Eumolpos as a shepherd. He appears as swineherd, guarding pigs when the path to the underworld is opened. He is also the character of Dadauchos, the priest guiding with torches initiates from the lesser mysteries to the main site and to the Telesterion. Just as Demeter, Kore and Dionysus formed a divine triad in the world of living men, Persephone, Hades and Eubouleus form the triad of the underworld. The secret service of Eubouleus was to give good counsel for the perfection of the world, performed in order that men might die more confidently having lived better. A second condition brought from Eubouleus is that men should know the happy marriage of the ravished maiden, the prototype of all marriages. This knowledge was communicated to them through the Visio Beatific, the vision of the inner most “divine maiden” of men and women.

To finish with the article, just to mention that the main theme of the mysteries is synthesised by Dr Kerényi when he wrote: “Once upon a time the path to the underworld was opened. Persephone was the first who took this path into the darkness as booty and bride of the subterranean god with whom she celebrated her marriage as marriages are celebrated here on earth and to whom she bore a child as women bear children here above. Since then the world has been what it is for us mortals: full of plant food and full of hope. Hope because the way she first travelled has led to her ever since. This hope would not have had such great religious value for those who cherished it if they had not, already here on the earth, attained certainty of the goddess’s existence, certainty conferred by the beatific vision they had of her. In addition, they possessed a myth to which the experience of the mystery night gave a particular credibility. It was a sacred talk that has not come down to us”.

Based on the book “Eleusis: archetypal image of mother and daughter” by Dr Károly Kerényi.

Images found at: