Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

04 August 2010


I'm not much of a card player,
but that's not to say I haven't been one
in my past. My problem these days
is that I know no one who likes
to play.

If I had some player friends, I'd try this game:

 (from neweleusis )

Eleusis gives players the
to make up rules and impose them
on other players.
Players watch the cards,
seeking to determine the pattern
The object is to guess the rule.  Those who think they can
declare themselves
but then test the rule for awhile
to see if it works.

I like the idea of this game
because this is how
I approach life.

Am I a prophet?
Probably not,
unless prophets are folks
who look closely
and read the clues.
 (from istotemdias)

What I do know
is that I like to solve puzzles.
Especially big puzzles
that the world gives me
to solve.

I rediscovered an intriguing puzzle
on my trip to Greece, which is also called
But it proceeded the card game.

is a site, some 20 km west
of Athens.
Today it is nestled amidst fields
of oil refineries,
but in ancient times,
it was a destination on a holy pilgrimage
that traveled from
Athens to Eleusis
once a year.

The pilgrimage honored the goddess
and her daughter
(aka: Kore)
At the heart of the ceremony was a
ritual ceremony, the contents of which remain a mystery

This secret was so important
that initiates were threatened
with death
if they told what they witnessed there.  Great men like
suffered brushes with death
for revealing too much
of the secret.

All we know today is that the mystery
had something to do
with the meaning of life
and death.

Now if that isn't intriguing, I don't know what is.

A fellow by the name of Edward A. Beach
has written a very nice online article about
Eleusis, so I won't tell the entire story here,
since he does it so well,

But the essence of the story is
a century's old mystery,
a puzzle whose solution
has been lost
both to the months and minds
of the ancient dead
and to the censoring spirit
of the Early Church,
for they caused the ultimate destruction
 of this incredible site

CLUE #1:
Those who were
initiated experienced
an eight day fast before the ritual.
This included a communion
at which they consumed kykeon:
"Meal and water mixed with fresh
pennyroyal mint leaves. . . ."

The grain in the drink is the symbol
of Persephone who -- according to myth --
dies, goes under the ground, than comes
back to life again.

The drink - kykeon -
may have contained a hallucinogenic
which was derived from
the extract of grain.

Kykeon might well have been one powerful
hallucinogenic, containing both the extract of
grain, and the fermentation of wine.
A communion of bread and wine pales next to that.
For sure.

CLUE #2:
The mysterious ceremony at Eleusis
in some way
brought the initiate
in direct contact with a semblance
of the experience of
life, death
and resurrection.

Notably the ancient
was of a Goddess --
the Goddess of the harvest
and of earth itself -
Demeter --
and of her attempts to reclaim
the life of her daughter
Persephone -
who had been stolen
by Hades and taken
into Hell.  She is restored with a bargain,
more or less,
a deal with the devil to always return
to Hades
during the winter months, than
in spring.

CLUE #3:
Dr. Beach even goes so far
as to suggest a trinity
played a key role,
in the figures adored at Eleusis:
Demeter (the mother: aka creator)
Persephone (the daughter)
Dionysus (the god of wine, sex, celebration
and theatre!)

Dionysus - the god of Eros.
In Classical Rhetoric, Eros would refer to the erotic appeal,
which is just as powerful as the other appeals -
Logos (the logical appeal)
Ethos (the ethical appeal)
Pathos (the emotional appeal)
as we know him today,
belittled Eros as a strong appeal,
favoring the other three
(another trinity)

Dionysus, the Erotic,
may have played an essential role
at Eleusis.   Keep in mind,
that the Bacchanal
is closely associated
with Dionysus.

Dionysus  is also the god of theatre
and representation.
It makes perfect sense to me that he
had to be
present if the goal was to reproduce
a reality only truly accessible
to the non-human.

(from Hestia)

CLUE #4:
and pigs.
The sacrifice made at Eleusis
was a pig
because the pig
signified plenty.

Pigs -
the animal forbidden
by two of the monotheistic,
Abramic religions
were the sacred sacrament
at the ceremony at Eleusis.

that creature which we now know
is a close relative to humans

~ ~ ~
How does one end such an entry?
There is no end;
only mystery,
and a puzzle that far outshines
card game.
If you've read my other entries,
you can probably see
why it intrigues me.

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