a ceres of mysteries (part 1)

This article is a creative endeavour.

Its aim?

Enjoyment, healthy speculation
& an enquiry into …

cereal murder.

The myth of Demeter & Persephone is one of the most perplexing of all Greek myths

The myth in brief:

While out admiring flowers, a young girl/woman (Persephone) is raped / abducted …

… by her uncle Hades/Pluto
(god of underworld).

Her grief-stricken mother Demeter, searches for her daughter while ignoring her role as goddess of fertility / the harvest …

 – thus the earth begins to die.

Zeus, king of the gods (also Persephone’s father & accessory to the abduction), intervenes & a deal is struck whereby Persephone returns …

… to spend part of every year
with her mother
& the rest of the time
she lives in the underworld as …

 … queen of the dead.

In ancient times the story was interpreted as an agricultural allegory … However, this allegorical interpretation does not correspond with the facts of Greek agriculture … probably we should reject the allegorical approach & search for other ways to understand the myth”  Classical Myth ~Barry B. Powell

Many moons ago, I was introduced to the Eleusinian Mysteries by Devin from My Favorite Monsters:

“The Eleusinian Mysteries,
held annually in honor of …

Demeter

&

Persephone,
were the most sacred and revered of all the ritual celebrations
of ancient Greece … the true nature of the Mysteries remains
shrouded in uncertainty
because … [to] violate that
oath of secrecy
was
a

capital offense

It was the name of the room that these mysteries took place in that initiated the play that follows because;

Telesterion sounded so much like ‘television‘ & Eleusinian so much like ‘illusion‘. …

Let’s see what happens
when we mix them together.

Ancient writers unanimously indicate that something was seen in the great telesterion …

… or initiation hall within the sanctuary … The experience was a vision … What was witnessed there was no play by actors,
but phasmata, … 

… ghostly apparitions …

The Greeks were sophisticated about drama and it is highly unlikely that they could have been duped by some kind of theatrical trick, especially since it is people as intelligent as the poet Pindar and the tragedian Sophocles who have testified to the …

overwhelming value
of what was seen at Eleusis.

There were physical symptoms, moreover, that accompanied the vision … Then there came the vision, a sight amidst an aura of brilliant light that suddenly flickered through the darkened chamber  …

… Eyes had never before seen the like
the experience itself was incommunicable …
The division between earth and sky melted …

… into a pillar of light

Let’s see what the critical Ebertian’s of the day had to say:

Within this hall, the mystics were
made to experience the most …

bloodcurdling sensations of horror
and the most enthusiastic

ecstasy of joy”  ~ Aristeides

I came out of the mystery hall
feeling like …

a stranger to myself”  ~ Sopatos

In the most sacred Mysteries before the
scene of the mystic visions…

… there is terror infused
over the minds of the initiated
 ~ Proclus

dread … and desire
for this …

… mystical telos”  ~ Aeschylus

…all of these terrible things, …

panic and shivering
and sweat
”   ~ Plutarch

They cause sympathy of the souls with the ritual in a way that is unintelligible to us, and divine, so that some of the initiands are stricken with panic being filled with divine awe; others assimilate themselves to the holy symbols, …

… leave their own identity, become at home with the gods, and experience divine possession.”   ~ Proclus

Demeter may have a lot more prominence in the Western world than is currently acknowledged.  I’m not vouching for the following quotes but they do add seasoning to our dish du jour:

The Goddess of Liberty was known in antiquity to the Greeks …

… as Demeter and the Romans as Ceres

She is represented by the symbols of 
corn, scepter …

… and torch

Ceres/Demeter was a favorite of colonial Masons perhaps because the Greek Mystery school tradition centered around her torch lit search of the underworld. The torch bearing goddess Ceres  ...

… was adopted as a symbol of freedom by the Freemasons of France, whence came this mythic gift to America

Ceres rules the nation’s soul, she is the torch bearing statue of Liberty, the mother goddess who descends into the underworld in search of her daughter …

… Ceres with her torch has special rulership of New York City. As the Goddess Gaia, Ceres ultimately has rulership of the world

Now that’s a big claim to make … or is it?

She was the only one of the Greek goddesses who was involved on a day-to-day basis in the lives of the common folk

She taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing so they could …

… end their nomadic existence.
As such, Demeter was also the goddess of planned society

Civilisation & all the controls benefits it confers can only be enforced awarded when the people stay put.

Might we be forgiven for wondering if
a/the major reason
for the creation of any civilisation
lies in it being a fertile breeding ground
for religion / gods?

Certainly a major outcome of staying put appears to the development of elaborate methods of worship.

If the West is a
cult of Demeter,
then just where might we expect to find
Eleusis?

… hmmmm

Led upward by the God of ghosts and dreams
Who laid thee at Eleusis, …

…  dazed and dumb

Demeter presented Triptolemus with her chariot drawn by winged dragons, and, giving him some grains of … 

corn, desired him to journey through the world, teaching mankind…

Embodiments of the goddess Liberty in the United States of America include Colombia, …

… which is yet another personification of the goddess Liberty

If Hollywood is a modern Eleusis, we should certainly expect to find ‘tales-ofPersephones‘ being dragged / lured down into other worlds …

Dorothy awakens to find the house being carried away by the tornado. After it falls back to earth, she opens the door …

… and finds herself alone in a strange village

There have been suggestions that drugs were used to create the visions at Eleusis, but Demeter is not what you’d call psycho active: 

It seems probable that the Great Mother Goddess, who bore the names Rhea and Demeter, brought the poppy with her from her Cretan cult to Eleusis

For the Greeks, Demeter was still a poppy goddess,
Bearing sheaves and poppies in both hands. — Idyll vii.157

[Demeter] bears a sheaf of wheat-ears in one hand and a lighted torch in the other. The wheat-ears are not unfrequently replaced by a bunch…

… of poppies, with which her brows are also (judy) garlanded,
though sometimes she merely wears a simple riband in her hair

The Eleusinian Mysteries seems to have been an external affair, rather than embodied experience – the audience was shown things:

Most scholars believe …  that the Mysteries comprised three main components, known as the deiknymena (“things shown“), the legomena (“things said“), and the dromena (“things done“) …

… The dramatic intensity of this pageant, heightened (in all probability) by music and chanted invocations of the gods, would surely have created an awe-inspiring spectacle

Oopsr … perhaps I was a little hasty when I claimed that Demeter was not Psycho active:

“The crane, in particular, was considered to be the herald of Demeter

Sacred to her [Demeter] are livestock and agricultural products, poppy, narcissus and the crane

Just in case you’ve never been formerly introduced, meet Marion Crane.

Marion is like Persephone of Greek mythology, who is abducted temporarily from the world of living. The myth does not sustain with Marion, who dies hopelessly in her room at the Bates Motel. The room is wallpapered with floral print like Persephone’s flowers …

Actually I’m quite ok with saying that the myth ‘does sustain’ – when looked at from a larger angle. Marion may be dragged down to the underworld for eternity, but her alter ego Janet Leigh, keeps coming back.

Two years after her last shower, she returns to put the wind up Sopatos:

I came out of the mystery hall feeling like a stranger to myself

Because the murder of Marion Crane is pivotal to the Eleusian Mysteries that we’ve been conned into calling entertainment, we shall linger here a little while longer, especially considering:

… the poppy goddess is perhaps a representation of the goddess as the bringer of sleep or death

Marion Crane: [nervously] Yes. Uh… I didn’t intend to sleep so long. I almost had an accident last night, from sleepiness. So I decided to pull over.

Highway Patrol officer: You slept here all night?

Marion Crane: Yes. As I said, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Highway Patrol officer: There are plenty of motels in this area. You should’ve… I mean, just to be safe.

Marion Crane: I didn’t intend to sleep all night! I just pulled over

Hmmm … let’s play Demeter’s …

theme tune.

Papaver rhoeas (common names include corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, … is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy, a native of Europe, is notable as … a symbol of fallen soldiers

Psycho was shot on a tight budget … beginning on …

November 11, 1959
and
ending on February 1, 1960

Imbolc … is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on 1 or 2 February

An old Scottish rhyme tells us that this is the time when Bride emerges from the Earth, just as in the … Eleusinian mysteries, the goddess Persephone came out of the underworld and Spring returned once more

The making of the Corn Maiden is another important aspect of Imbolc

Both the leads, Perkins and Leigh, were given freedom to interpret their roles and improvise as long as it did not involve moving the camera. An example of Perkins’s improvisation is Norman’s habit of munching on candy corn

In playing with anagrams of Marion Crane’s name, one phrase stood out:

Marion Crane = “In a corn mare

Believe it or not, that’s not as weird as it first sounds:

Another aspect of Demeter, was known as the Aganippe “the Mare who destroys mercifully“, a black winged horse worshiped by certain cults

In our friendly, incestuous court of Greek gods it should come as no surprise that Demeter was lusted after by her brother Poseidon.  To escape him she changed into a mare. Poseidon, using the male fortitude reserved for lust-satiation found her, transformed himself into a stallion …

… & jumped on board.

Outraged by Poseidon, Demeter was literally furious (Demeter Erinys) at the assault, but washed away her anger in the River Ladon… “In her alliance with Poseidon,” Karl Kerenyi noted, “she was Earth, who bears plants and beasts, and could therefore assume the shape of an ear of corn or a mare.”

SOMETIMES the corn-spirit appears in the shape of a horse or mare … when the corn bends before the wind, they say, “There runs the Horse.” … In Hertfordshire, at the end of the reaping … The last blades of corn left standing on the field are tied together and called the Mare. ~The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion

Sorry did you think Psycho was entertainment?

The murder of Janet Leigh’s character in the shower is the film’s pivotal scene and one of the best known scenes in cinema history … The scene “runs 3 minutes and includes 50 cuts” … The combination of the close shots with their short duration makes the sequence feel more subjective … an example of the technique Hitchcock described as “transferring the menace from the screen into the mind of the audience.”

It was not.

The shower scene in which Marion is killed is considered one of the most …

… stunning and horrifying scenes of all time
The scene is highly unique, as
the camera becomes the knife

Psycho was a full on Eleusinian Mystery crafted by a …

grand master
of suspense:

Leigh and Hitchcock fully discussed what the scene meant:

Marion had decided to go back to Phoenix, come clean, and take the consequence, so when she stepped into the bathtub it was as if she were stepping into the baptismal waters. The spray beating down on her was purifying the corruption from her mind, purging the evil from her soul. She was like a virgin again, tranquil, at peace

Act ii: Enter Hades.

Psycho has been called “the first psychoanalytical thriller. The sex and violence in the film were unlike anything previously seen in a mainstream film. “[T]he shower scene is both feared and desired,” wrote French film critic Serge Kaganski. “Hitchcock may be scaring his female viewers out of their wits, but he is turning his male viewers into potential rapists, since Janet Leigh has been turning men on ever since she appeared in her brassiere in the first scene

More to follow …

April 10, 2012. Uncategorized.

15 Comments

  1. motherbarbarian replied:

    Fascinating connections you are making. I am looking forward to seeing where this is going next. Well done!

  2. zenrebok replied:

    Masterfully done!
    Its disturbing to observe the number of occult rites going on daily, under the guise of entertainment. If folks only knew, but then, that’s not the game is it?
    Great work as usual, and so deep, it leaves the Titanic paddling in the shallows.
    Cheers Alex!

  3. Dennis replied:

    Nice story I love the way you bring things to light. Dennis

  4. Shane replied:

    Brilliant and thought-provoking as always, Alex. :)

    I’d like to add that opium is a product of poppies, so there you have another “psycho” reference. And I thought that this little bit of trivia was worth noting, too- that the scattering of {poppy] seeds over graves is encouraged, to help the deceased sleep more soundly.

    Hope you’re well. :)

  5. Michael Skaggs replied:

    That was one “strange” journey…the inter connectivity is pretty “spell binding” is it not?

    Brilliant! Cheer.

  6. Sinead replied:

    Wow Alex. So many connections made in this post. I need to re read a few times to really absorb all of it (and will have more to comment on) Just wanted to relay to you how much this post helped me connect certain dots. you’re on fire!!!

  7. Eleleth replied:

    This is brilliant on every level. The movie screen (where the voices of the dead are heard) is the Monolith is the Monomyth. Yet the gulf between the observer and the observed is illusory: Persephone is the Soul, having succumbed to the bondage of Fate and the Elements.

    See: Judy (Garland?) as the Green Girl in Hitchcock’s Vertigo as well.

    This has been my Persephone story lately.

    • alex robinson replied:

      Cheers motherbarbarian!

      Thanking you Fitzy, & you are right, it is no game at all.

      For those who like to read thro’ the comments for extra juicy tidbits here is a link to Fitzy’s excellent new article at Great Minds of Today

      http://greatmindsoftoday.com/2012/04/09/hook-line-nails-splinters/

      Thanks Dennis

      Cheers Shane, thanks for that snippet, I was not aware they sprinkled the seeds o’er the dead – makes me think of all the dead of WWI lying under the fields of poppies.

      I’m well in a mad kind of way – hope you are too :)

      very best to you

      Gracias Michael
      very best to you my dear

      Hi Sinead
      Now you’ve got me curious about which dots you’ve connected – mysteries are so damned intriguing :)

      very best to you my friend

      Cheers & great sync-up Eleleth

      I actually have some notes here about Lovely Bones that I was considering using in the second part – partly because of the obvious Persephone connection as you note, but also because of the type of field she is pulled down in – a corn field.

      very best to you

  8. alex replied:

    i’m also looking forward to the next one! what if they really had such things as cinemas? it’s not totally impossible!

    psycho is considered to be a good movie but as with so many things, i disagree. i find it disturbing. i generally find hitchcock hard to watch.

    what i just saw today in a video with dr. wolf dieter storl, a german ethnobotanist and modern shaman (i think there is english info available about his work, there must be!), is that he said that “corn” is often mis-translated. corn in the sense of maize comes from south america. the greeks had corn in the sense of wheat. but you can make tasty things out of that too, which you can eat while you’re enchanted.

    another synchronicity that i was just watching that and now i read your article!

  9. tom cuddy replied:

    A co-worker from Austria said that to make the baby sleep, they would put the seeds of the poppy in with the milk while everyone worked in the fields. Poppy is grown worldwide, and is used in bread and when sugar is added makes a filling in bread and pastry. So says my friend. My grandmother brought the tradition of poppy seed with her from Germany.

    And as for corn, the midwest has been “corned to death”. All that land turned into a monoculture, a wasteland. What a shame. In addition, corns grow on feet from wearing shoes. Cure; remove shoes and regain earthly connection.

    Hitchcock was not a nice man. He was in the business of scaring people to sleep.

    You covered a vast distance on this journey. Thanks.

  10. Eleleth replied:

    “He who is not able, by the exercise of his reason, to define the idea of the good, separating it from all other objects, and piercing, as in a battle, through every kind of argument; endeavoring to confute, not according to opinion, but according to essence, and proceeding through all these dialectical energies with an unshaken reason;—he who can not accomplish this, would you not say, that he neither knows the good itself, nor anything which is properly denominated good? And would you not assert that such a one, when he apprehends any certain image of reality, apprehends it rather through the medium of opinion than of science; that in the present life he is sunk in sleep, and conversant with the delusion of dreams; and that before he is roused to a vigilant state he will descend to Hades, and be overwhelmed with a sleep perfectly profound.” (Plato, Republic)

  11. tom cuddy replied:

    Addendum: Further regarding poppy seed cake. Consider the lemon poppy seed cake and how the acidic lemon is juxtaposed with poppy. Could the acid be there to liberate the oils from the seed. Don’t mean to turn this into a cooking show, however, therein may lie meaning and reasoning about origins in our botanical history. Funny how the poppy has been blended into our past. I never noticed this before.

  12. alex robinson replied:

    Cheers alex,
    I’ve never watched psycho, knew it would not be good for me – tho’ I recently contemplated trying one of his thrillers – your words of wisdom about finding Hitchcock ‘hard to watch’ made me rethink – why on earth would I waste my time on someone who mastered mind-fuckery?

    I had fun contemplating the Greeks watching movies :)

    very best to you

    Great points tom
    Masonic tradition dictates the importance of ‘corn’er stones.
    In North by Northwest with the famous crop dusting scene – “Thornhill flees to the cover of a cornfield”

    China was brought down by the poppy. Millions of fools from the Wars of the Worlds slumber beneath them.

    Funny thing you know, poppies have long been my favourite flower – maybe because they take the most marvellous vibrant stand against the elements altho they are so papery fragile.
    Thanks for your extended thoughts – I like your mixing of food with myth.
    very best to you

    Wow that has a fascinating finale Eleleth, if hell be not brimstone but coma, some seriously interesting thoughts begin to arise.

    very best to you

  13. Biggi replied:

    Alex,
    very interesting writing. I listened to your interview on talkshoe – call – 42 min. Episode 30 from May 1st. Wonderful show and great explanation!
    Danke schoen

  14. alex robinson replied:

    Thank you Biggi.
    There was an extra archive part too (green room). Glad you enjoyed :]
    Hugs

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