Chapter 14: Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries

The prolonged Homeric Hymn to Demeter (2) provides the many important and complete information about DEMETER (CERES) and PERSEPHONE (PROSERPINA), daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and is in chin a literature gem.

The abduction of Persephone.

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Persephone, the daughter that Zeus and Demeter, was also called KORE (“girl” or “maiden”). If she to be picking beautiful flowers v the daughters that Ocean, Earth, at the will certainly of Zeus and to you re welcome Hades, created a many wondrous and radiant narcissus. Together Persephone reached out to pluck the flower, planet yawned open, and Hades showed up in his golden chariot and also carried she away in tears. Persephone shouted and also called out to Zeus, however he did not hear her for it to be by his will that HADES (PLUTO), his brother and her uncle, brought her turn off to it is in his wife and queen the the Underworld.

Demeter’s Grief and Anger. Demeter heard her daughter’s screams and frantically rushed in pursuit. For nine job she did not eat ambrosia or drink nectar, nor did she bathe; she roamed the earth, disconsolate and holding burning torches in she hands. Hecate had heard Persephone’s screams, however could not tell Demeter who carried her daughter off. ~ above the tenth day, the sun-god Helius, who had actually seen everything, explained to Demeter what had happened. He included that Demeter have to not lament. Her brothers Hades would make a well husband for she daughter, due to the fact that he to be a an excellent god, who when magnificent power was an initial divided three means was make king of the Underworld.

currently that she knew the truth, Demeter’s grief was intensified and a an excellent anger rose up in her heart against Zeus due to the fact that he had actually willed the rape of she daughter. She avoided the gods on Olympus and, disguising she beautiful appearance, wandered among mortals.

Demeter pertains to Eleusis. She concerned ELEUSIS and, grieving, satellite in the shade next to the Maiden Well. She looked prefer a really old mrs who can be a housekeeper or a children"s nurse. The four daughters the CELEUS or KELEUS, the king of Eleusis, and METANEIRA , his wife, experienced her there as soon as they concerned draw water and also questioned her. Demeter answered that she would tell them the truth, but instead invented for it s her a human identity. Her name is DOSO , and she was lugged off native Crete by pirates, from whom she escaped when they disembarked. She does not understand where she has actually come in her travels, however she wishes that the maidens will help her uncover work as a housekeeper or a nurse. Callidice, the many beautiful of the daughters the Celeus, argued that the old woman continue to be at the well till they return home to ask their mother if they can come back to fetch her.

Demeter arrives at the home of Celeus and also Metaneira. Once the young women went back home and told their mother all about Doso, Metaneira command them to return quickly and hire the mrs at any price. For she cherished an only son, lengthy prayed for, who needed care. Therefore they carried the goddess to their house, grieving, through her head veiled and wearing a dark robe. As the goddess stand in the threshold her head reached up come the beams, and she to fill the doorway through a divine radiance. Metaneira, overcome by awe, asked her guest to it is in seated. Demeter refused to sit top top the splendid couch readily available but rather waited till a maid IAMBE brought her an artfully do chair and also threw a fleece end it. Then Demeter satellite down, holding she veil over her face, silent and serious, tasting no food or drink and overcome by longing for she daughter. Iambe, however, with jests and also jokes (doubtlessly in iambic meter) caused the divine lady to smile and also laugh. She refuse the red wine that Metaneira available but rather ordered Metaneira to mix meal, water, and also mint because that her. The an excellent lady Demeter embraced the drink for the benefits of the holy rite, i.e., come initiate and also observe the holy rite or sacrament. This drink (the kykeon) very likely represented a sort of communion.

Demeter registered nurses Demophoön. Metaneira promised Demeter good rewards if she would certainly nurse her son DEMOPHOÖN , or DEMOPHON, and bring the up. Demeter took the child to her bosom, promising the he would certainly not it is in harmed by angry charms. She nourished the on ambrosia, and she breathed sweetness upon him, and he prospered like a god. At night, she hid that in the fire, without the expertise of his parents, who were amazed just how their son grew and flourished. Demeter would have made Demophoön immortal, if foolish Metaneira had not spied ~ above her and cried the end in terror since this stranger to be burying her child within the blazing fire.

Demeter Reveals her Divinity. Demeter to be enraged at the stupidity the Metaneira, that by her interference had damaged Demeter’s arrangement to make the boy immortal. Nevertheless, Demeter would certainly still permit Demophoön to prosper as a mortal and also grant him imperishable honor since he had actually slept in her arms. Climate Demeter proclaimed, “I to be Demeter, esteemed and also honored together the greatest benefit and also joy come mortals and immortals,” and also gave she instructions for the future the Eleusis. She actors off her old age and transformed she size and also appearance. Fragrant beauty and a magnificent radiance breathed around her, and her gold hair flowed under on her shoulders. The residence was filled v her brilliance as though v a lightning flash. She disappeared, and also Metaneira was get over by astonishment and fear.

Demeter’s Instructions. before her disappearance, Demeter had ordered that the civilization of Eleusis build for her a an excellent temple and an altar below the town on the rising hill above the fine Kallichoron; she promised to teach them her rites so that by performing them through reverence they might propitiate her heart. King Celeus witnessed to it the Demeter’s will certainly was accomplished.

Demeter’s figured out Grief. Demeter, still wasted v longing for her daughter, caused for mortals a most destructive year with no harvest. The earth would no send increase a solitary sprout. By proceeding in this gashion, she would certainly not only have destroyed the whole human race v cruel famine but would likewise have deprived the Olympian god of their glorious prestige from gifts and also sacrifices. Zeus finally took notice. He sent Iris come Demeter in her temple at Eleusis through his command that she rejoin the company of the gods. Demeter refused to obey. Therefore Zeus sent out down every the immortal gods, that approached Demeter one through one, offering any kind of gifts or honors the she might choose. Demeter stubbornly insisted the she would never collection foot top top Olympus till she through her own eyes witnessed her daughter again.

Zeus’ Orders to Hades. For this reason Zeus was required to send Hermes under to explain to Hades all the Demeter had said and also done; Hermes also delivered the command that Persephone return v him out of the Underworld so that her mother could see her and desist from she wrath. Hades smiled grimly and also immediately obeyed Zeus the king. That ordered Persephone come return with a loving love to she mother; yet he also told her that he was not an unworthy husband because that her, due to the fact that he to be the complete brother of her father Zeus and also that if she was v him she would dominance as his queen, a good goddess. Those who did not propitiate her power by performing divine rites and sacrifices would uncover eternal retribution.

Persephone Eats of the Pomegranate. Joyous Persephone jumped increase quickly. But (according to the poet that the Hymn) Hades secretly offered his mam the fruit the the pomegranate come eat to ensure the fulfillment the his words to her together her husband; she must not stay the totality year above with her mom Demeter but would rule with him listed below for component of the time. He then yoked his immortal equines to his golden chariot, which Persephone mounted. Hermes take it the reins, and in no time at all they pertained to a halt in prior of the temple where Demeter waited.

Demeter’s Ecstatic Reunion through Her Daughter. at the vision of she daughter, Demeter rushed out of the holy place with the passion of a maenad, and also Persephone leaped under from the chariot and ran to fulfill her mother, throwing she arms roughly her neck. Immediately Demeter sensed some treachery and asked if Persephone had eaten any food in the Underworld. If she had actually not, she would certainly live with her dad Zeus and also mother Demeter above, however if she had consumed anything, she would certainly live a third component of the year in the Underworld and also the various other two thirds in the upper world. With the burgeoning spring she would wondrously increase again indigenous the gloomy an ar below. Demeter ended by asking by what trick Hades has actually deceived her. Persephone said that she would tell the truth. According to her version (contradicting the summary of Hades’ mystery deception simply given), once she jumped up at the news of her return, Hades swiftly put right into her mouth the fruit of the pomegranate and also compelled she to eat that by force, versus her will. Climate Persephone painfully explained how Hades brought her off, despite her screams. Their mutual grief to be soothed by their loving and tender embraces. Hecate arrived and also affectionately mutual their joy. From the time top top she came to be one of Persephone’s attendants.

Demeter Restores Fertility come the Earth. Zeus sent out Rhea to lead Demeter back among the gods with the following message. That promised to give Demeter the honors among the immortals that she would certainly choose, and he consented the her daughter live a third component of the year below and the other two thirds above, v her mother and also the various other gods. Rhea rapidly rushed down and delivered Zeus’ pronouncements and also encouraged Demeter come comply, very first by restoring the earth7rsquo;s fertility because that mortals. Demeter obeyed. She miraculously brought about fruit to spring up from planet that had previously been barren, and also the totality land blossomed through flowers.

Demeter creates Her Eleusinian Mysteries. then Demeter visited the leaders of the civilization of Eleusis and showed them how to perform her sacred rites and also taught castle her divine mysteries, which nobody is permitted in any way to violate, question, or reveal. After ~ she had actually ordained this things, Demeter and also Persephone returned to Olympus. The two goddesses sent to your beloved mortals PLUTUS , or PLOUTOS, a god of agricultural plenty, prosperity, and also wealth (not to be perplexed with Pluto, i.e. Hades).

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The complying with words from the Homeric chant promise pleasure both in this life and also in the following for those who space initiated right into Demeter’s ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES: Happy is the one of mortals on planet who has seen this things. But those who are uninitiated right into the divine rites and also have no part never are destined come a similar joy as soon as they space dead in the gloomy kingdom below.

Triptolemus. TRIPTOLEMUS , or TRIPTOLEMOS, is only stated in the hymn, but elsewhere that is made the messenger that Demeter, traveling to teach her agricultural arts in a magical automobile drawn through winged dragons. He and also Demophoön are sometimes confused.


Eleusis is around fourteen mile west the Athens, and the Eleusinian mysteries were carefully linked to the religion and also politics the Athens itself. There to be two significant stages come the rituals.

The Lesser Mysteries. Precise details about this very first stage commemorated in Athens yearly in the beforehand spring room virtually unknown. Ceremonies probably concentrated upon early purification.

The higher Mysteries. These were held annually throughout the months of September and October. A divine truce was declared to concern invitations to individuals and states. The ceremonies included:

Splendid processions between Eleusis and also Athens in which the Hiera (“holy objects”) were lugged in sacred chests by priests and also priestesses. Sacrifices, prayers, and also cleansing in the sea. The to sing of hymns, the exchange the jests, and the delivering of torches. Fasting, a vigil, and also the drink of the spiritual drink, the kykeon. The can be fried mysteries that Eleusis to be expressed visually and also orally, and also their undeded secrets have actually been kept, supposedly forever. The heart of the mysteries connected a dramatic performance of part sort, possibly enacting illustration from the singing (e.g., the sufferings and joys of Demeter and also her miracles) or presenting a vision that the afterlife to evoke a spiritual catharsis. The revelation of the Hiera (“sacred objects”), (which we cannot identify) was made through a high priest, the Hierophant (“he that reveals the Hiera”), when bathed in mystic light, and also he uttered words, the meaning of i m sorry we carry out not know. Of the many guesses made about the nature the the divine objects and also the spiritual words, the simplest may be correct and the many profound: at your heart was the manifestation of ear of grain, representing Demeter and Persephone’s mystery, i m sorry is the an enig of all life. The brand-new Testament expresses the allegory of spiritual resurrection thus: “Unless a grain of wheat drops into the earth and dies, it continues to be alone, but if the dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).