Eleusinian Mysteries

“Aristotle once said the initiates came to Eleusis not to learn something, but to experience something.” — Brian C. Muraresku

“Not only is there evidence of psychedelic beer and wine at the heart of the Greek and Christian Mysteries, but also evidence of their suppression by the religious authorities.” — Brian C. Muraresku

“In AD 364, the Christian emperor Valentinian abolished all nocturnal celebrations in an effort to shut down the [Eleusinian] Mysteries. The almost two-thousand-year march of pilgrims to Eleusis was in serious jeopardy of screeching to a halt. The Greek historian Zosimus credits Praetextatus with successfully convincing the powerful Valentinian to backtrack, permitting “the entire rite to be performed in the manner inherited from the ancestors.” But it’s what the initiate says to the emperor that, among all the strange things about Eleusis, always struck me as the strangest by far. It’s a prophecy of sorts. Faced with the obliteration of “the most sacred Mysteries,” Praetextatus declares that the shortsighted law “would make the life of the Greeks unlivable.” Having drunk the kukeon and experienced the vision for himself, the priest points to Eleusis as the one place that “hold[s] the whole human race together.” The Greek word for “unlivable” is abiotos (ἀβίοτος) — literally, the absence or opposite of “life” (bios). It’s a rare, evocative word. The eminent Hungarian scholar Carl Kerenyi is fascinated by it in his seminal 1962 book on the Mysteries, written in German, Die Mysterien von Eleusis. Kerenyi concludes that the word was consciously chosen to inform later generations that the Mysteries “were connected not only with Athenian and Greek existence but with human existence in general.”” — Brian C. Muraresku

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Misha Rogov

Misha Rogov

“Pure immanence without Transcendence remains nothing but deaf existence.” — Karl Jaspers