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The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  AgathonZante on Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:54 pm

I am interested in practicing the Eleusinian Mysteries, but the only source I have been able to find on it is a New Age one that clearly has some of the Theology wrong, so there's no telling what else is inaccurate. Are there are other sources that are considered credible in the Hellenic community?
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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Erodius on Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:45 pm

AgathonZante wrote:I am interested in practicing the Eleusinian Mysteries, but the only source I have been able to find on it is a New Age one that clearly has some of the Theology wrong, so there's no telling what else is inaccurate. Are there are other sources that are considered credible in the Hellenic community?

I am aware – there is a modern New Age group that labels one of its get-togethers as a kind of revived Eleusinian Mysteries. The actual relationship, however, is pretty much just wishful thinking; neither the organization nor their activities have much of any connection to the historical cult at Eleusis.

In short, no, the Eleusinian Mysteries were inextricably tied to the sanctuaries of Eleusis (you could not be initiated anywhere else – people traveled from all around the Empire to Eleusis), and the penalty against divulging the secrets (the consequence was the death penalty) made it so that they were never divulged in any real detail in the nearly two thousand year period in which they ran. 

One also did not 'practice' them. One was initiated into them once in one's lifetime. They were a single, transformative experience, not a practice. 

In terms of reading, you might want to take a look at T. Taylor's Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, as well as the anthology The Ancient Mysteries: a Sourcebook by Marvin Meyer. 

The contemporary Orphic mystery religion is a legitimate, traceable lineage. As far as we are aware, among only Antique Western esoteric religions, aside from Christianity, with living lines (alongside Esoteric Judaism [Kabbalah], the almost forgotten Mandaean Gnostic religion, and possibly Hermetism [although its lineages are, at best, indirect]). 

Classical writers wrote, in comparing Orphism with what was taught at the ceremonies at Eleusis, that the Orphics' teaching overlapped with them, and did not conflict with them – although it is fairly clear that there are elements of Orphism unique to it that were not shared with the cult at Eleusis. In other words, Orphism and the Eleusinian cult were in general theological agreement, but were not the 'same' religion – think a Venn-Diagram type thing.

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-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Callisto on Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:48 pm

Erodius wrote:I am aware – there is a modern New Age group that labels one of its get-togethers as a kind of revived Eleusinian Mysteries. The actual relationship, however, is pretty much just wishful thinking; neither the organization nor their activities have much of any connection to the historical cult at Eleusis.
*shudder* I had heard of one in the early '00s but assumed that would fail quickly, though it's probably another group equally misguided (though probably well meaning).

Erodius wrote:In short, no, the Eleusinian Mysteries were inextricably tied to the sanctuaries of Eleusis (you could not be initiated anywhere else – people traveled from all around the Empire to Eleusis), and the penalty against divulging the secrets (the consequence was the death penalty) made it so that they were never divulged in any real detail in the nearly two thousand year period in which they ran. 

One also did not 'practice' them. One was initiated into them once in one's lifetime. They were a single, transformative experience, not a practice. 
^This. (just merited being repeated.)

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Valencia2014 on Thu May 28, 2015 6:17 am

Erodius wrote:
AgathonZante wrote:I am interested in practicing the Eleusinian Mysteries, but the only source I have been able to find on it is a New Age one that clearly has some of the Theology wrong, so there's no telling what else is inaccurate. Are there are other sources that are considered credible in the Hellenic community?

I am aware – there is a modern New Age group that labels one of its get-togethers as a kind of revived Eleusinian Mysteries. The actual relationship, however, is pretty much just wishful thinking; neither the organization nor their activities have much of any connection to the historical cult at Eleusis.

In short, no, the Eleusinian Mysteries were inextricably tied to the sanctuaries of Eleusis (you could not be initiated anywhere else – people traveled from all around the Empire to Eleusis), and the penalty against divulging the secrets (the consequence was the death penalty) made it so that they were never divulged in any real detail in the nearly two thousand year period in which they ran. 

One also did not 'practice' them. One was initiated into them once in one's lifetime. They were a single, transformative experience, not a practice. 

In terms of reading, you might want to take a look at T. Taylor's Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, as well as the anthology The Ancient Mysteries: a Sourcebook by Marvin Meyer. 

The contemporary Orphic mystery religion is a legitimate, traceable lineage. As far as we are aware, among only Antique Western esoteric religions, aside from Christianity, with living lines (alongside Esoteric Judaism [Kabbalah], the almost forgotten Mandaean Gnostic religion, and possibly Hermetism [although its lineages are, at best, indirect]). 

Classical writers wrote, in comparing Orphism with what was taught at the ceremonies at Eleusis, that the Orphics' teaching overlapped with them, and did not conflict with them – although it is fairly clear that there are elements of Orphism unique to it that were not shared with the cult at Eleusis. In other words, Orphism and the Eleusinian cult were in general theological agreement, but were not the 'same' religion – think a Venn-Diagram type thing.

Are those the only surviving Mystery religions from the Greco-Roman world?

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Erodius on Sun May 31, 2015 7:59 pm

Valencia2014 wrote:
Are those the only surviving Mystery religions from the Greco-Roman world?


That arose in the Graeco-Roman world and have any kind of an extant, coherent presence, yes.

1. the Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental churches
2. esoteric Judaism
3. traditional Greek Orphism
4. arguably, the tiny Mandaean religion of Iraq
5. Hermetism (sort of – there has been a pretty continuous existence of some sort of Hermetism from its origins in Late Antiquity on through to the present. However, modern 'Hermetic' groups have often chaotic lines of ancestry, and plenty are only tangentially Hermetic in their actual belief and practice. A great many are simply contemporary ceremonial magic groups of Hermetic inspiration). It is also arguable whether or not Hermetism is a Mystery religion in the Classical sense, or instead simply an esoteric ideology.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Valencia2014 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:36 pm

Erodius wrote:
Valencia2014 wrote:
Are those the only surviving Mystery religions from the Greco-Roman world?


That arose in the Graeco-Roman world and have any kind of an extant, coherent presence, yes.

1. the Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental churches
2. esoteric Judaism
3. traditional Greek Orphism
4. arguably, the tiny Mandaean religion of Iraq
5. Hermetism (sort of – there has been a pretty continuous existence of some sort of Hermetism from its origins in Late Antiquity on through to the present. However, modern 'Hermetic' groups have often chaotic lines of ancestry, and plenty are only tangentially Hermetic in their actual belief and practice. A great many are simply contemporary ceremonial magic groups of Hermetic inspiration). It is also arguable whether or not Hermetism is a Mystery religion in the Classical sense, or instead simply an esoteric ideology.

Yeah that is what I don't understand about Hermetism is it a philosophy like Platonism or is it an actual mystery school with it's own practices? Indeed you are right I have mostly just encountered "magick" groups whenever I try to find out more about Hermetism; it would be amazing if there were Hermetic groups whose lines can be traced back to Egypt.

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Valencia2014 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:42 pm

It is also good to know that the Christian establishment wasn't that effective at getting rid of these precious gems or else we would just be stuck with Christianity(not entirely bad, it is a mystery school after all but it does piss me off how they pretend like they are unique and not like other mystery religions) or some bland reconstructed religion.

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:28 pm

Valencia2014 wrote:
Erodius wrote:
Valencia2014 wrote:
Are those the only surviving Mystery religions from the Greco-Roman world?


That arose in the Graeco-Roman world and have any kind of an extant, coherent presence, yes.

1. the Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental churches
2. esoteric Judaism
3. traditional Greek Orphism
4. arguably, the tiny Mandaean religion of Iraq
5. Hermetism (sort of – there has been a pretty continuous existence of some sort of Hermetism from its origins in Late Antiquity on through to the present. However, modern 'Hermetic' groups have often chaotic lines of ancestry, and plenty are only tangentially Hermetic in their actual belief and practice. A great many are simply contemporary ceremonial magic groups of Hermetic inspiration). It is also arguable whether or not Hermetism is a Mystery religion in the Classical sense, or instead simply an esoteric ideology.

Yeah that is what I don't understand about Hermetism is it a philosophy like Platonism or is it an actual mystery school with it's own practices? Indeed you are right I have mostly just encountered "magick" groups whenever I try to find out more about Hermetism; it would be amazing if there were Hermetic groups whose lines can be traced back to Egypt.

Hermeticism is a religious system that has at it's foundation the Neoplatonic philosophical system, however, the manifestation of the Hermeticism's outward practice (the rituals, etc) draw from a Western esoteric point of view.

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Valencia2014 on Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:42 pm

Aktaion wrote:
Valencia2014 wrote:
Erodius wrote:
Valencia2014 wrote:
Are those the only surviving Mystery religions from the Greco-Roman world?


That arose in the Graeco-Roman world and have any kind of an extant, coherent presence, yes.

1. the Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental churches
2. esoteric Judaism
3. traditional Greek Orphism
4. arguably, the tiny Mandaean religion of Iraq
5. Hermetism (sort of – there has been a pretty continuous existence of some sort of Hermetism from its origins in Late Antiquity on through to the present. However, modern 'Hermetic' groups have often chaotic lines of ancestry, and plenty are only tangentially Hermetic in their actual belief and practice. A great many are simply contemporary ceremonial magic groups of Hermetic inspiration). It is also arguable whether or not Hermetism is a Mystery religion in the Classical sense, or instead simply an esoteric ideology.

Yeah that is what I don't understand about Hermetism is it a philosophy like Platonism or is it an actual mystery school with it's own practices? Indeed you are right I have mostly just encountered "magick" groups whenever I try to find out more about Hermetism; it would be amazing if there were Hermetic groups whose lines can be traced back to Egypt.

Hermeticism is a religious system that has at it's foundation the Neoplatonic philosophical system, however, the manifestation of the Hermeticism's outward practice (the rituals, etc) draw from a Western esoteric point of view.

So it is wholly Hellenistic; it has Egyptian theological and philosophical influences but for the most part it is a Hellenistic religion.

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:23 am

Valencia2014 wrote:So it is wholly Hellenistic; it has Egyptian theological and philosophical influences but for the most part it is a Hellenistic religion.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it is wholly Hellenic. It is a religious system that draws from both Egyptian and Hellenic systems of thought and theology, however, as Erodius has said, it's lineage is obscure and broken in many places. Also, modern Hermeticism uses a lot of Renaissance-era ideas on ceremonial magic. Their philosophy and theology has strong roots in Hellas, but also in Egypt, and their outward practice, their thriskeia, would be, more or less, similar to the generic neopagan ritual frameworks of today, which are grounded in the ceremonial magic ideas of the Renaissance. There's nothing wrong with that, just for sake of accuracy. For the most part, it is in general agreement with the Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, but other than that, it's kinda it's own thing. A coherent fusion of different schools of thought and practice.

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Re: The Eleusinian Mysteries?

Post  Out of Phlegethon on Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:12 pm

Personally I think Hermetism died in the West and survived in the Middle-east via Persian spiritualities.  Possibly the last of Western Hermetists were the Rosicrucians, who themselves went East a long time ago, if my memory serves me correctly.  

All of your contemporary self-described Hermetic orders are pretenders to the throne.  Though there are some of them that aren't New Agey and actually go straight to the sources on alchemy, Renaissance esoterism and what have you...
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