Juno Covella - September


Goddesses of the Calendar Month:

Hathor, Athyr
Pomona, Goddess of Fruit and Fruit-trees


Indian: RADHA, Avatar of Lakshmi. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “September 1st: Radha and Krishna. Love. Cheerfulness. Divine Union through shared love”.


Jewish: ST. ANNE AND THE VIRGIN MARY. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “September 8th. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (with Octave) ... Preface of the B.V.M. Et te in Nativitate”. (Church of England Cal.) “September 8th. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Note: In Coptic and other lives of the Virgin (see Apocr. New. Test. p. 87) Mary was born on the 15th of Hathor.

(The Book of James, or Protevangelium, V. 2) “And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said unto the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A female. And Anna said: My soul is magnified this day ... and she gave suck to the child and called her name Mary.”

(The Legend of Joachim and Anna, cited by Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna, p. 139) “There was a man of Nazareth, whose name was Joachim and he had for his wife a woman of Bethlehem,whose name was Anna …

“And when her time was come, Anna brought forth a daughter ... and she called the name of her child Mary, which in Hebrew is Miriam”.
(Ashe, The Virgin, p. 200) “Mary’s birth or ‘Nativity’ [was] added to the calendar between 650 and 700”.

(Bridgett, Our Lady’s Dowry, p. 228) “an account of our Lady’s Feasts: The Nativity. The fourth feast celebrated by the Anglo-Saxons was that of our Lady’s Nativity ... One of poems of St. Aldhelm, who wrote in the seventh century in England, distinctly states that the feast of the dedication of the church built by the Princess Bugge was the Nativity of our Lady:
‘Istam nempe them qua templi festa corruscant
Nativitate sua sacravit Virgo Maria’.

“The festival is also mentioned by Venerable Bede, who died in 735. Butler gives us authorities which prove its celebration in Rome in the sixth century ... in the ninth and tenth centuries it was celebrated in many places with great pomp, and ranked as one of the principal festivals of the Church. Pope Innocent IV in 1243 ... ordered that an octave should be kept of our Lady’s Nativity”.

(Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna, p. 146) on the Nativity as represented by painters: “The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin ... It is sometimes treated apart as a separate scene; and a series of pictures dedicated to the honour of the Virgin, and comprising only a few of the most eventful scenes in her history, generally begins with her Nativity. The primitive treatment is Greek, and, though varied in the details and the sentiment, it has never deviated much from the original motif.

“St. Anna reclines on a couch covered with drapery, and a pillow under her head; two handmaids sustain her; a third fans her, or presents refreshments; more in front a group of women are busied about the new-born child. It has been the custom, I know not on what authority, to introduce neighbours and friends who come to congratulate ... The whole scene thus treated is sure to come home to the bosom of the observer ...

“2. There is both dignity and simplicity in the fresco by Taddeo Gaddi (Florence, Baroncelli Chapel). St. Anna is sitting up in bed; an attendant pours water over her hands. In front, two women are affectionately occupied with the child, a lovely infant with a glory round its head. Three other attendants are at the foot of the bed”.


Greek: ASCLEPIGENIA, (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 9. Asclepigenia, Eleusinian priestess”.


THE QUEENS OF EGYPT. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 11. King and Queen initiates of Ancient Egypt”.


Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “September 12. The Most Holy Name of Mary … Preface of B. V. M. Et te in festivitate”.

(Ashe, The Virgin, p. 201) This feast is included among those allocated to the Virgin Mary by the Carmelite Order.


Egyptian: The Ceremony of Lighting the Fire. (Maspero, Dawn of Civil. p. 322). “The night of the 17th Thot - which, according to our computation, would be the night of the 16th to the 17th - was, as may be seen from the Great Inscription of Siut (1. 36, et seq.), appointed for the ceremony of ‘lighting the fire’ before the statues of the dead and of the gods. As at the ‘Feast of Lamps’ mentioned by Herodotus (ii, 62) the religious ceremony was accompanied by a general illumination which lasted all the night; the object of this, probably, was to facilitate the visit which the souls of the dead were supposed to pay at this time to the family residence”.
Roman: JUNO and MINERVA; The Lectisternium, in honour of the three Capitoline Deities. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Lectisternium. A festival of Greek origin, first ordered by the Sibylline books in 399 (before this era) ... From the commencement of the 3rd century a banquet was regularly given to the three Capitoline Divinities, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, on every 13th of November, in conjunction with the plebeian games. Under the Empire the celebration was on the 13th of September, and was associated with the Roman games. From 196 (before this era) it was provided by the College of Epulones. The images of the three deities were decked with curls, anointed, and tricked out with colours. Jupiter was placed reclining on a cushion, with a goddess on each side of him seated on a chair; and the divinities were invited to a banquet, in which the whole senate participated”.

(Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “September 13. On this day, in the temple of Minerva of Rome, the copper shields were assigned by the magistrate each year.”

VENUS. (Montfaucon, Antiq. Suppl. p. 413) “On great Festivals, when they exhibited the Lectisternia, and used to place God and Goddess on one Couch or Bed, they always put Mars and Venus together.


Egyptian: Ceremony of Lighting the Fire. See under September 13th.


Italian: CATHERINE OF GENOA. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 15. Catherine of Genoa, mystic ... born 23 March 1447”.


German: ST. HILDEGARDE. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 17. Hildegarde, German mystic”. Born in 1099.


General: THE DIVINE TRINITY; Feast of Divine Life. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Mala 17. (September 21), Feast of Divine Life”. (The Coming Age, No. 16) “Divine Life. This central festival of the Mysteries of Life Cycle celebrates the essence of life, the abundant outpouring of the Spirit, Who creates and sustains all that is. It is a festival devoted to the Divine Trinity, upon whom all existence is entirely dependent; to the Mother, creator of all things in their pure and perfect Essences; to the Daughter, Whose sacrifice poured life anew into the fallen and disintegrating world; and most especially to the Dark Mother, Absolute Deity, the unknown, unknowable Ground of all Being, Whose very nature is life itself.

“The celebration of the festival includes the decoration of shrine and altar with the fruits of the season. The apple, representing the golden apples of Avala, the western paradise, is the central symbol of the feast. Apples, cycler and seedcake are the traditional festival foods”.


Autumnal Equinox. Sun enters Libra (tropical).

Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, First Day. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... This festival (i.e. the Greater) was observed in the month Boedromion or September, and continued nine days from the 15th to the 23rd”. (Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 8) According to this author’s reckoning the 15th of Boedromion is taken as corresponding to September 23rd or 24th.

Julian, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods, 173A) “I was saying that we ought not to suppose that the ancients appointed the season of the rites irrationally, but rather as far as possible with plausible and true grounds of reason; and indeed a proof of this is that the goddess herself chose as her province the cycle of the equinox. For the most holy and secret Mysteries of Deo and the Maiden (Kor
é) are celebrated when the sun is in the sign of Libra, and this is quite natural”. (Commentary by Cave Wright) “The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone: the Lesser were celebrated in February, the Greater in September”.
(Lempriere, Dict., Eleusinia) “A year after the initiation of the less mysteries they ... were admitted in the greater”. (id.) “Persons of both sexes and all ages were admitted at this solemnity, and it was looked upon as [a] heinous crime to neglect this ... The initiated were under the more particular care of the deities, and therefore their life was supposed to be attended with more happiness and real security than other men. This benefit was not only granted during life, but it extended beyond the grave”. (Enc. Brit. 1810 ed.) “Eleusinia ... The Athenians were solicitous to secure these advantages to their children, by having them initiated as soon as was allowed.”

(Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinian … They were carried from Eleusis to Rome in the age of Adrian, where they were observed with the same ceremonies as before, though perhaps with more freedom”. (Enc. Brit. 1810 ed. Mysteries) on the Eleusinian Mysteries: “At last ... the gate became wider, and crowds of people, of all nations, kindreds and languages, provided their character was fair and unreproachable, rushed in by it”.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 12) on the Mysteries of Eleusis in the latter half of the 4th century of this era: “They were thought to ‘hold the entire human race together. (Zosimus, Historia Nova, IV. 33)’ not only because people continued, no doubt, to come from every corner of the earth to be initiated, as they had in the days of the Emperor Hadrian, but also because the Mysteries touched on something that was common to all men. They were connected not only with Athenian and Greek existence but with human existence in general. And Praetextatus (i.e. on his successful appeal to Valentinian, Emperor from 364 - 375) clearly states just this: bios, life, he declared, would be ‘unlivable’ (abiotos) for the Greeks if the celebration were to cease”.

(Enc. Brit. 1810 ed., Mysteries) “Some days before the commencement of the festival, the praecones, or public criers, invited all the initiated, and all pretenders to that honour, to attend the festival, with clean hands and a pure heart”.

(Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinian ... The first day of the celebration was called agormos, assembly, as it might be said that the worshippers first met together”. (Butterworth, on Clem. Alex. p. 383) “On the 15th [Boedromion] a gathering was held of candidates for initation. Certain instructions were then given by mystagogues (introducers or guides) as to the various acts and formulas, a knowledge of which was necessary in the course of the initiation”. (Enc. Brit. 1810 ed., Mysteries) “On the evening of the 15th day of the month called Boedromion the initiations commenced ... On this day there was a solemn cavalcade of Athenian matrons from Athens to Eleusis, in carriages drawn by oxen. In this procession the ladies used to rally one another in pretty loose terms, in imitation, we suppose, of the Isiac procession described by Herodotus ... The most remarkable object in this procession was the Mundus Cereris, contained in a small coffer or basket. This was carried by a select company of Athenian matrons, who, from their office, were styled Camphorae. In this coffer were lodged the comb of Ceres, her mirror, a serpentine figure, some wheat and barley ... The procession ended at the temple, where this sacred charge was deposited with the greatest solemnity”.

(Miriam Simos, Spiral Dance, p. 88) “Kore Chant: Spring and Fall Equinox (Fall) ... “All seeds she deeply buries, She weaves the thread of seasons …”

Roman: JULIA DRUSILLA, PANTHEA. (Balsdon, O.C.D.) “Drusilla, Julia (born probably in 16 of this era) … “Her name, like her sisters’, was compulsorily included in vows and oaths after the succession of her brother Gaius ... She was named as Gaius’ heir during his illness ... she was consecrated as Panthea, probably on the anniversary of Augustus’ birthday”. Note: Augustus was born on September 23, 63 before this era.

Celtic: Alban Elfed. See Under March 21st.

General: THE WITCHES, Lesser Sabbat. See under February 1st.

Finnish: MIELIKKI. (Catherine Koppana, Ms.) “Mielikki is a Finnish Artemis, and protects animals ... The name Mielikki has variations: Mimerkki, Mieulutar, Mielus. Mielus means ‘friendly’. The word ‘Mieli’ means ‘mind’ even ‘intelligence’. She is resonantly described as ‘Aulae sylvestris mater familias atque domina’.

“Mielikki is mentioned throughout the Finnish Epic ‘Kalevala’; her feast-day is September 23rd, when the forests begin to turn to gold”.

Samothracian: AXIOKERSA. (Regardie, The Golden Dawn, Vol. 11. p. 108) “AXIOKERSA, the Third Kabir spake to Kasmillos the Candidate and said: ‘I am the Sun in Equinox,’ initiating Summer or heralding Winter - mild and genial in operation, giving forth or withdrawing the vital heat of life’.”

Greek: CARPO. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 23. Karpo, Goddess of Autumn”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “September 23rd: Karpo, Goddess of Autumn. Love of Natural Beauty.”

Irish: CARMAN. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “September 23rd:, Carman, goddess of poetry.”


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Second Day. (Liddell and Scott, Lex.) “halade, (hals) to or into the sea ... halade mystai, name of the second day of the Eleusinian mysteries, the 16th of Boëdromion, Polyaenus, 3.11, 2”.

(Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... The second day was called halade mystai, to the sea, you that are initiated because they were commanded to purify themselves by bathing in the sea”. (Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 60) “on the 16th day of Boëdromion ... the cry rang out: ‘Initiates into the sea!’ As they had bathed in the Ilissos before the myesis, now they bathed in the sea between which and the goddess of Eleusis there were certain secret bonds, described perhaps in very ancient sacred legends ... The common purification in the sea seems, however, to have been a relatively late institution ... as we see in an Eleusinian relief - one of the goddesses herself sprinkled the man whom she chose for initiation: Triptolemos or another Eleusinian hero. All this was no secret”. Note: (Tertullian, cited by Larson, Rel. of Occident, p. 183) “ ‘Washing is the channel through which they are initiated into the sacred rites of Isis or Mithras; ... at the ... Eleusinia they are baptized’ to achieve ‘regeneration and the remission of their sins. (On Baptism V)”.

(Enc. Brit. 1810 ed., Mysteries) on the Eleusinian Mysteries: “The candidates for initiation bathed themselves in holy water, and put on new clothes, all of linen ... From the ceremony of bathing they were denominated hydrani; and this again was a kind of baptismal ablution. Whether the phrases of washing away sin ... putting off the old man with his deeds, putting on a robe of rightousness … the words mystery, perfect, perfection, which occur so frequently in the New Testament ... are borrowed from the Pagan mysteries, or from usage current among the Jews, we leave to our more learned readers to determine”.

(Mosheim, Eccl. Hist., Vol. 1. p. 173) “among the Greeks and the people of the East, nothing was held more sacred than what were called the Mysteries. This circumstance led the Christians, in order to impart dignity to their religion, to say, that they also had similar mysteries, or certain holy rites, concealed from the vulgar; and they not only applied the terms used in the pagan mysteries to the Christian institutions, particularly baptism and the [Last] supper; but they gradually introduced also the rites which were designated by those terms. This practice originated in Eastern provinces; and thence, after the times of Adrian, who first introduced the Grecian mysteries among the Latins (note by Soames: ‘Spartianus, Hadrian, c. 13. p. 15. ed. Obrechti. Spartian speaks only of the Eleusinian Mysteries, into which Adrian was initiated at Athens’), it spread among the Christians of the West. A large part, therefore, of the Christian observances and institutions, even in this century (i.e., the 2nd), had the aspect of pagan mysteries”.


Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Third Day. (Lempriere, Dict., Eleusinia) On the third day offerings are made, “also barley from a field of Eleusis”.


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINE; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Fourth Day. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... On the fourth day they made a solemn procession, in which the kalathion, holy basket of Ceres, was carried about in a consecrated cart, while on every side the people shouted Chaire Déméter, ‘Hail Ceres!’ After these followed women, called kisophoroi, who carried baskets, in which were sesamum, carded wool, grains of salt, a serpent, pomegranates, reeds, ivy boughs, certain cakes, etc.”

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 61) “The mystai are said to have stayed at home on the 18th ... a libation was offered to Dionysos and to the other gods ... However, it was a feast having to do with wine, from which Demeter abstained during her period of mourning. Herein the mystai imitated her when they did not leave their homes. It was probably on this day that the kykeon was made ready”.
General: (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 26th. Day of Duties of home, parents and State”.


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Fifth Day, Evening of the Holy Night. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... The fifth (day] was called Hé ton lampadó
n hémera, the torch day, because on the following night the people ran about with torches in their hands. It was usual to dedicate torches to Ceres, and contend which should offer the biggest in commemoration of the travels of the goddess, and of her lighting a torch in the flames of Mount Aetna”.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 62) “Then came the 19th of Boedromion, the first day of the festival which was called Mysteria, The Mysteries, for everything else was mere preparation, and other mysteries were not the true Mysteries, which were now about to begin. This day had the special name of agyrmos (Hesychios), ‘gathering’. In the morning the procession of mystai assembled, began to move, left the city by way of the potters’ quarter and the Sacred Gate, and marched along the Sacred Road to Eleusius, where it arrived in the evening.

For the Holy Night see under September 28th.


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; BAUBO, GE THEMIS, HECATE and IAMBE. Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Sixth Day, The Holy Night. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... The sixth [day] was called Iacchos, from Iacchus ... who accompanied his mother in search of Proserpine, with a torch in his hand. From that circumstance his statue had a torch in its hand, and was carried in solemn procession from the Ceramics to Eleusis ... In the way nothing was heard but singing and the noise of brazen kettles, as the votaries danced along. The way through which they issued from the city was called Hiera hodos, the sacred way, the resting place Hiera syké, from the fig tree which grew in the neighbourhood. They also stopped on a bridge over the Cephisus, where they derided those that passed by. After they had passed this bridge they entered Eleusis by a place called mystiké eisodos, the mystical entrance”.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 62) “By the Greek reckoning the next day, the 20th of Boëdromion, began with the evening of the holy night … We do not know precisely what sort of sacred objects had been brought from Eleusis to Athens five days before but only that after crossing the Athenian border those bearing them had stopped by the hiera syké, the sacred fig tree. But as we shall soon see, the choice of the site probably had to do with these objects. They were kept for a time in the Eleusinion of Athens, and carried back to Eleusis in the procession. The priestesses bore them on their heads in baskets. Statues of these basket bearers flanked the inside of the gate leading into the sacred precinct. We should know still less but for the discovery of a painting, the gift of a certain Niinnion, representing the procession and more than that; the idea of the procession.

“It was impossible to keep secret certain of the elements characteristic of the procession: the myrtle boughs in the hair and in the hands of the mystai, the cry ‘lakchos’ ...

“In Niinnion’s painting, lakchos and the goddess Hecate, both bearing torches, lead the initiates - men and women - towards the great Goddesses of Eleusis. In dark clothing and bearing pilgrims’ staffs like the simplest of wanderers, the mystai follow in the traces of the grieving goddesses. White garments were first introduced into the festival in 168 (of this era). Probably this was due to the influence of the Egyptian mysteries, the cult of Isis, of which such white garments were characteristic. But already in the classical period the garments worn on the occasion of the myesis were held in high esteem. They were dedicated to the goddesses or kept as swaddling clothes for the new generation, although they were the simplest sort of dress, that worn by beggars and wayfarers.. Apart from the myrtle the mystai are identified as such by two other signs: the women bear kykeon vessels carefully bound to their heads, and in the hands of the men we recognize the little pitcher which Herakles, Hermes, and the gods of Agrai held in their hands.

“It was a kind of procession of spirits, cloaked in a veil of secrecy, which became more and more dense as the mystai approached Eleusis ... On the bridge the procession was awaited by mockery and strange games, the gephyrismoi, or ‘bridge jests’. According to one report they were performed by a woman, a hetaira ... In Aristophanes a comic old woman boasts of having figured at the bridge, in a cart (Plutus 1014). She was playing the role of Iambe, or rather of Baubo, who with her jokes and lewd gestures moved Demeter to laughter (note: see below, Clement of Alexandria). This episode served to relieve the mourning of the mystai. It was the moment to drink of the kykeon which the women had brought along on their heads …

“A second watercourse, which is today still in evidence, the salty Rheitoi, was also crossed by a bridge ... Here, in all probability, the mystai had to identify themselves with the words that have come down to us as their password and sign of recognition, or synthema. They are a summary of everything the initiated had to do before being admitted to the epopteia. In the form that has come down to us, only what was no secret is stated clearly: ‘I have fasted, drunk the kykeon, taken things out of the big basket and, after performing a rite, put them in the little basket, whence I put them back in the big basket’.

“The word that I have translated as ‘little basket’ is kalathos, while the ‘big basket’ is kiste, the cista mystica. The ‘rite’ refers to the myesis … The kalathos may have belonged to the Kore ... the cista mystica on which Demeter is sitting [is that] from which the unnamed mysterious something is taken to be put into the little basket and to which it is returned”.

(Clement of Alexandria, Protrept. 22. 19) on the Eleusinian Mysteries as celebrated in
Alexandria at about the end of the 2nd century of this era: “Demeter, wandering through Eleusis, which is a part of Attica, in search of her daughter the Maiden (Kore) ... sits down at a well in deep distress. This display of grief is forbidden, up to the present day, to those who are initiated, lest the worshippers should seem to imitate the goddess in her sorrow ... Baubo, having received Demeter as a guest, offers her a draught of wine and meal. She declines to take it, being unwilling to drink on account of her mourning. Baubo is deeply hurt ... and thereupon uncovers her secret parts and exhibits them to the goddess. Demeter is pleased at the sight, and now at last receives the draught, delighted with the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians. These are also the subjects of Orpheus poems. I will quote you the very lines of Orpheus, in order that you may have the originator of the mysteries as a witness:

“ ‘This said, she drew aside her robes, and showed
Her body all unveiled; child Iacchus was there,
And laughing, plunged his hand below her breasts.
Then smiled the goddess, in her heart she smiled,
And drank the draught from out the glancing cup’.

“And the formula of the Eleusinian mysteries is as follows: ‘I fasted; I drank the draught
(kykeon); I took from the chest: (kiste); having done my task, (note by Butterworth: ‘Lobeck suggested “having tasted”, which meaning can be obtained by a slight change in the Greek’), I placed in the basket (kalathos), and from the basket into the chest’ …

“Consider, too, the contents of the mystic chests ... Are they not sesame cakes, pyramid and spherical cakes, cakes with many navels, also balls of salt and a serpent ... Are they not also pomegranates, fig branches, fennel stalks, ivy leaves, round cakes and poppies? These are their holy things. In addition, there are the ineffable symbols of Ge Themis, marjoram, a lamp, a sword, and, a woman’s comb (kteis), which is a euphemistic expression used in the mysteries for a woman’s secret parts”.

The Nocturnal Rites, The Holy Night.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 75) “Through the Gateways and the Courtyard … We seem to be able to follow the procession through this passage-way. Holding a torch in each hand, the Dadouchos, the second priest of the impending great rite, must at nightfall have lighted the way for the procession on its ascending path”.

(id. p. 79) “Though part of the procession is depicted on the remains of a pedestal ... we possess no representations of the whole procession that might have shown us all the priestly dignitaries at its head: the Hierophant, the Dadouchos, the priestesses, and the Hierokerykes, or Mystery heralds, who preceded the rest. But it is certain that they all took part in the procession and that the holy night had already begun when they reached the dancing ground outside the walls of the sacred precinct ...

“The painter of Niinnion’s votive tablet (about 400 before this era) put two torches in the hands … of Hekate, the leader of the women initiates, for whom this is nothing surprising … On Niinnion’s tablet Demeter receives the arriving mystai near the omphalos. In radiant colour, she is sitting on a rock, the agelastos petra … Beside her a soft seat is prepared for her daughter, who, painted in dark colours, sits enthroned in the background: the true queen of the underworld. On the ground in front of the white hemisphere lie two bundles of myrtle, which have been laid down by the mystai, and some sacrificial cakes such as those depicted on the brackets of the kistophoroi

(id. p. 82) “On the Threshold of the Telesterion. The mystai streamed towards the Telesterion (i.e. the temple of initiation) ... The building bore a roof with a peak which could be opened to serve as a kind of chimney. In the holy night of the 19th of Boëdromion great fire and smoke burst forth from it, breaking as it were, the secrecy of the Mysteries ...

“The content of the epopteia (i.e. ‘seeing’; the Beatific vision) is named in a papyrus fragment with a few lines from an oration of Hadrian’s time. The words are put into the mouth of Herakles, in a situation that the author had no need to invent.  He drew on the Eleusinian tradition ... the last words of the fragment: ‘(I have beheld) the fire, whence (... and) I have seen the Kore’.”(id. p. 88), “In the Telesterion. The entire procession did not enter the Telesterion in order to see. For it consisted of mystai of the Lesser Mysteries and possibly of epoptai, who had already ‘seen’ Eleusis. It was not forbidden to participate several times in the epopteia … Starting in the early morning, they reached the threshold of the sanctuary in the darkness. But they were not yet at their goal. ‘Until thou hast reached the Anaktoron’, says the orator Maximos of Tyre, xxix 3), ‘thou has not been initiated’. The word anaktoron, ‘palace’, also applied, but only in an extended sense, to the whole building which received the mystai. Within it was a small edifice which originally bore this name and which is the important archaeological discovery with which we must concern ourselves if we are to form a picture of Kore’s epiphany in the Mysteries”.

(id. p. 90) “It has been possible to determine precisely the situation and orientation of the throne on which the Hierophant sat or in front of which he stood, when, like the Bishop of the Christian liturgy, he officiated at the ceremony. The nature of his office is expressed in his title: strictly speaking, hierophantes means not he who ‘shows the holy things’ that would have been called hierodeiktes in Greek - but ‘he who makes them appear’, phainei. His throne, to the right of the single door of the little anaktoron, was turned towards it. There can be no doubt that what he ‘made to appear’ came from there. On the other three sides the throne was screened off: no other impression must distract the Hierophant in his concentration on the awaited epiphany ...

“The smaller edifice with its secrets must have been opened at a word from the Hierophant. A great light burst forth, a fire blazed up; but it is certain that this was not yet the ineffable, holy thing that was to appear. Many authors speak of this fire”.

(id. p. 94) “The queen of the underworld would be called ... At Eleusis, it must have been the Hierophant who intoned the call for Kore. He beat the echeion, the instrument with the voice of thunder. The epopteia began; ineffable things were seen. A vision of the underworld goddess may be derived from the papyrus fragment (Milan Papyrus No. 20, line 31). If an unintelligible passage in Sopatros’ text has been properly corrected, a figure - schema ti - rose above the ground. (note on p. 202): Charles Lenormant suggests ... ‘une figure qui s ’élève audessus du plancher’. It seems most likely that this emendation is correct. According to Plutarch, the initiates undergo a complete transformation: they act as it is fitting to act in the presence of a deity. If we now reread the last words of the quotation, it becomes evident that Plutarch also had in mind the epiphany of a deity”.

(Mircea Eliade, Rites of Initiation, p. 110) on the Eleusinian Mysteries: “it is by virtue of this nearness of the Goddesses, and finally of their presence, that the initiate (mystes) will have the unforgettable experience of initiation”.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 95) The Eleusinian version of the Visio Beatifica … There is undeniable evidence that the epopteia conferred happiness. Unquestionably beatitudo, the telos attained in the Telesterion, was engendered at once, hic et nunc. But it left room for elpis, hope and anticipation”. (id. p. 97) on the votive stele of Eukrates: “Over the inscription are two eyes ... Above … is the head of a goddess surrounded by red rays. The rays suggest the light in which the goddess appeared ... These testimonies show indirectly that the great vision, the visio beatifica of Eleusis, was seen with open, corporeal eyes ... Persephone was the object of vision.” (id. p. 101) “The fire of Persephone in the Telesterion” was only a curtain of fire and outwardly, for the world, an announcement of the beatific event that had taken place within”.

For the Epiphany of Kore at Alexandria, see under January 6th.

(Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 94) “In a second phase - how much later we do not know - the Hierophant, silent amid profound silence, displayed a mown ear of grain”. (Hippolytus, Refutatio, V8, 39, cited by Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 202) “The Athenians when initiating (people) into the Eleusinian (Mysteries) show to those who have been made epopts the mighty and wonderful and most perfect mystery for an epopt there - a mown ear of corn -in silence”. (Butterworth, on Clem. Alex. Protrept, p. 385) on the Eleusinian Mysteries: “The following list will give some idea of the ceremonies … The exposition of an ear of corn, a symbol of Demeter”. (Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 147) “This duality - the scission of the Mother into ‘mother and daughter’ opened up a vision of the feminine source of life ... just as the ear of grain had opened up a vision into the ‘abyss of the seed’.” (Larson, Rel. of Occident, p. 68) “the initiates are shown ‘an ear of corn in silence reaped’, which was the mystic Eucharist”. Note: Barley, water and mint (pennyroyal) are the ingredients of the kykeon, carried by the women, and drunk on the way to Eleusis (see above).

The showing of the ear of corn may in fact be a symbolic representation of the display of Baubo to Demeter, regarded by Clement of Alexandria as the secret of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The close association between the grains of certain cereals and the vulva is shown in the Japanese scriptures. Here the Food-Goddess Ogetsu-Hime (Uke-Mochi) produces food from different parts of her body. Thus (The Kojiki, 1.18.4) “in her genitals ... Wheat”, and the variant reading (Dale Saunders in Myth. of Ancient World, Japan, p. 437) “genitals - barley”. (Durdin-Robertson, Idols, Images and Symbols, China and Japan, p. 42) “This association [in the Kojiki] between barley and wheat and the Goddess’s genitals would suggest a recognition of their physical similarity, the grains of both these cereals having a longitudinal division resembling the vulva.” Thus the “vision into the “abyss of the seed” would also be the “vision of the feminine source of  life”.

Another symbolic action of a similar nature appears also to have been performed. (Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 106) “ ‘By touching a reproduction of a womb, the initiate evidently gained certainty of being reborn from the womb of the Earth Mother and so becoming her very own child (Kern, Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enc. XVI Col. 1249; after A. Korte)’. The assumption which - if justified - would in one opinion give the Mysteries a sublime ... content is as follows: A replica of a womb was contained in the cista mystica, and with it the action mentioned in the synthema was undertaken”. (id. p. 206) “The supposed testimony as to the womb - Theodoretos, Graecarum affectionum curatio, VII, 11 … - is couched in very general terms”.

(Neumann, The Great Mother, p. 324) on the Eleusinian Mysteries: “in the mysteries the male was enabled, through the experience of the creatively transforming and rebearing power of the Great Mother, to experience himself as her son”. (Hargrave Jennings cited by Durdin-Robertson, Init. and Myst., p. 25) “According to Theodoret, Arnobius and Clemens of Alexandria, the Yoni of the Hindus was the sole object of veneration in the Mysteries of Eleusis (Demosthenes, On the Crown)”.

Among the accounts describing the effects of the epopteia is the following: (Enc. Brit. 1810 ed., Mysteries) on the things seen at the Eleusinian Mysteries: “The sight of those appearances was called the Autopsia or ‘the real presence’; hence these rites were sometimes called Epoptica”. (id.) “The Epoptai having ... heard and seen everything requisite, taken upon them the vows and engagements above narrated, and, in a word having shown themselves good soldiers of Ceres and Proserpine, were now declared perfect men … They were not only perfect but regenerated men. They were now crowned with laurel ... and dismissed with the two barbarous words Konx, ompax, of which perhaps the hierophants themselves did not comprehend the import. They had been introduced by the first Egyptian missionaries, and remained in the Sacra after their signification was lost”.


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Seventh Day. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinian ... On the seventh day were sports, in which the victors were rewarded with a measure of barley, as that grain had been first sown at Eleusis”.

General: St. Michael and All Angels. (Church of England Cal. and Church of Ireland Cal.) “September 29th. S. Michael and All Angels”. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “September 29th. Archons and Archangels”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “Archangel Michael and All Angels. Awareness of the realm of the Sidhe, Devis and Devas, elemental spirits and all Orders of Angels”.


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; Roman: CERES and PROSERPINA; The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Eighth Day. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinian ... The eighth day was called Epidaurió
n Hémera, because once Aesculapius, at his return from Epidaurus to Athens, was initiated by the repetition of the lesser mysteries. It became customary, therefore, to celebrate them a second time upon this, that such as had not hitherto been initiated might be lawfully admitted”.

Roman: MEDITRINA; The Meditrinalia. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Meditrina, the goddess of medicines, whose festivals, called Meditrinalia, were celebrated at Rome the last day of September when they made offerings of fruits, Varro de L.L.5, C. 3.” See also under October 3rd.

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