Aug 26, 2006

Rapid Rhetoric: ELEUSINIAN

This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

Eleusinian - adj. pertaining to Eleusis, a town in ancient Greece, and its religious mysteries of initiation in honor of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

The Eleusinian Mysteries were annual initiation ceremonies for the cults of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. The Mysteries celebrated the return of Persephone, which was also believed to herald the return of plants and of life to the earth in spring.

Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times these were held to be of greatest importance, and these myths and mysteries later spread to Rome. The Roman equivalent is found in the goddess Ceres, from whom we get our word "cereal."

The rites, cultic worships, and beliefs expressed during the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept secret, and initiation rites supposedly united the worshipper with God. Faithful adherents were promised divine power and rewards in the afterlife.

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