Eleusinian Mysteries

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The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were a series of initiations held every year in honor of the Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Based at the city of Eleusis (from which the name Eleusinian is derived), they are the "most famous of the secret religious rites of Ancient Greece." Scholars have proposed that the power of the Eleusinian Mysteries came also from drinking a psychedelic potion called kykeon.[1]

The mysteries represented the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother Demeter by Hades, the god of the underworld, in a cycle comprised of three phases; the descent (loss), the search, and the ascent. The main theme was the ascent (άνοδος) of Persephone to the mortal realm and her reunion with her mother. Those who participated in these mysteries were sworn to secrecy, and initiates were promised a reward in the afterlife. It was a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spread to Rome. Similar religious rites appear in the agricultural societies of the Near East and in Minoan Crete.

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