Sunday, September 1, 2013

Celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries

Celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries 
by Waverly Fitzgerald

I love Waverly Fitzgerald's little booklet School of the Seasons and use it in my lesson material for Oakmist. Here is a piece Waverly wrote for the Harvest. It is a wonderful way to develop your OWN myth and celebration of the season.

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The writer, Deena Metzger, who has led two re-enactments of the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, writes that mystery religions (including early Christianity which overlapped with the Eleusinian Mysteries), teach individuals how to enter a mythic story, live it out and be transformed. 

She has outlined the nine stations of the Eleusinian Mysteries as

I am abducted [to Hades].
I am separated [from the mother].
I am grieving [for the daughter].
I am in the dark.
I am barren.
I embrace death.
I am fertile.
I am reunited [with different parts of myself]. There is light.

I know that this myth was a powerful beacon for me when I was grieving for my 14-year- old daughter who was going through her own Underworld journey of depression, rage and threats of suicide. I understood that despite my belief that I should protect her from the darkness, I could not go into the Underworld with her but had to stay above, with torches lit, demanding her return. Demeter in one version of the myth says that she will not conduct business as usual until her daughter is returned to her and this was also my vow. (In fact, I was fired from my job during this time, a pretty concrete realization of the events of the myth.) In the end, my daughter did emerge from the darkness and our relationship shifted in a positive way.

1.     Meditate on the stories of Demeter and Persephone. You can find several versions. Robert Graves in The Greek Myths tells the stories of Demeter preserved in Greek literature and elaborates on them with his own unique Goddess-oriented interpretation.

2.     Develop your own mythic drama, based on the version of the myth which has the most power for you in your life. Act it out alone or with friends. You can make this as elaborate or as simple as you like.

3.     Consider the nine stations of the myth listed by Deena Metzger. Have you lived this myth in your life? Write about it, perhaps focusing on a different station every day. You might want to make your own Stations, as Catholics do for the Stations of the Cross, by designating a place in your home or outside which represents each station of the Mystery and spending time there.

Rose Petal Wine
3 quarts rose petals
1 gallon water
3 lbs sugar
1⁄2 oz baker's yeast or 1 pkg wine yeast 2 lemons

Pour 1⁄2 gallon of boiling water over the petals in a crock; cover well and leave for 48 hours, stirring often. Boil half the sugar in a quart of water for 2 minutes and when this is cool, add to the petal mixture and ferment for 3 days. Strain and wring out well and return the liquid to the crock and let it ferment for another 10 days. Pour the liquid into a gallon jar, leaving as much of the sediment behind as you can. Boil the rest of the sugar and water and when cool, add to the rest together with the juice of the lemons. Cover again or use a fermentation lock and leave till all fermentation has ceased.


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