Dissertation Eleusinian Bacchic Mysteries

Dissertation Eleusinian Bacchic Mysteries-31
When Persephone returned to the surface, Demeter became joyful and cared for the earth again.In the central foundation document of the mystery, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter line 415, Persephone is said to stay in Hades during winter and return in the spring of the year: "This was the day [of Persephone's return], at the very beginning of bountiful springtime." This fits with the Mediterranean change of seasons.The people looking both to the sky and the earth shouted in a magical rhyme "rain and conceive".

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Finally, by consulting Zeus, Demeter reunited with her daughter and the earth returned to its former verdure and prosperity: the first spring.

Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return Persephone.

However, it was a rule of the Fates that whoever consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there.

Before Persephone was released to Hermes, who had been sent to retrieve her, Hades tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds, (either six or four according to the telling) which forced her to return to the underworld for some months each year.

For the initiated, the rebirth of Persephone symbolized the eternity of life which flows from generation to generation, and they believed that they would have a reward in the afterlife.

There are many paintings and pieces of pottery that depict various aspects of the Mysteries.

Similar religious rites appear in the agricultural societies of Near East and in Minoan Crete.

The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret and consistently preserved from antiquity.

As every Mediterranean farmer knows, nature from November to February is, basically, dormant.

Persephone's rebirth is symbolic of the rebirth of all plant life and the symbol of eternity of life that flows from the generations that spring from each other.

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