The Esoteric Mystery Traditions of the Pre-Christian Era arose in every time-period and significant culture across the ancient world. These Sacred Mystery traditions were established all over the old world being the high Spiritual teachings in some very significant Civilizations that included: Babylon to Egypt, from Rome to India, and from Persia to Ireland. No matter the civilization or the era, you witness a myriad of Mystery Traditions forming the foundation of a spiritual and social medium. These Mystery Schools originated in the prehistorical civilizations dating from the antediluvian (pre-flood) epoch becoming only historically apparent within the Ancient Indo-Aryan & pre-dynastic Egyptian Orders, and successively surviving the major cataclysms and chaos of the post-flood world. The Adepts of the Mysteries preserved the primordial initiatory knowledge all the way into Renaissance Rosicrucianism, before fully reemerging within Eastern Theosophy and the Western Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in late 19th century.
These Spiritual Orders, with their sacred mystery teachings, were established for the express reason of illustrating and elucidating the ornate Esoteric Principles of the Cosmic Order to those rare individuals endowed with a profoundly open mind, deep sense of moral integrity, an insatiable yearning for higher truths, and a singular capacity for the intellectual rigor involved. The Adepts and Hierophants of these Schools would initiate the neophyte aspirants into the cavernous depths of arcane philosophical concepts regarding the occult facets of the natural world, human consciousness, the nature of spirit, psychic phenomena, altered states of psyche, and pervading Natural Cosmic Laws.
The Ancient Mysteries of Mithra were most associated with a depiction of the Holy divinity slaying a bull with a dagger or knife. In those ancient mysteries, Mithra was the mediator between the Zoroastrian cosmic principles of good and evil, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. The Mithraic Mysteries and its exoteric religion was widely disseminated throughout the Roman Empire with numerous adherents coming from the Roman Soldiers.
At its height during the 4th century AD, Mithraism was one of the most significant Religions in Rome and second only to Christianity right before its destruction by the Anti-Pagan sentiments erupting in the latter part of this Century under the auspices of Christian Emperors.
The Ancient Mysteries of Odin, or the Odinic Mysteries, were largely symbolized by the emblematic representation of the World Tree, Yggdrasil. According to these ancient mysteries, there existed a Supreme, Invisible Creator of all manifested phenomena in the Universe called the All-Father. The Deity Odin, the One-Eyed God, presided over Nature as his Prime Divine Regent.
The Odinic Tree was a symbolic representation of the nine realms in the Cosmic Super-Structure with our human realm, Midgard, being placed directly in the middle of the World Tree. The Odinic Mysteries essentially revolved around the god Odin, the trials he underwent in his quest for ultimate understanding, and the knowledge of the cosmos.
The Ancient Mysteries of Orpheus were symbolically represented by the serpent encircled around the Cosmic or World egg, and allegedly dated its origin all the way back to Orpheus himself, though the Cosmic Egg is likely Older than the Orphic Mysteries. In the Orphic Tradition, Orpheus was regarded as the greatest poet and musician of his age having mastered the Musical Lyre. The story went that Apollo himself taught the adolescent Orpheus the high art and supreme skill of music.
It has also been stated that Orpheus' musical aptitude was so great that it exhibited a capacity to charm animals and even entice trees to dance. Orpheus journeyed with legendary Jason on his Argonautic Expedition being a major member of the expedition. However, the tradition involved the tragic story of Orpheus losing his beloved wife upon his eventual return home and subsequently wandering endlessly across the land in an inconsolable state until eventually he was ripped apart by the numerous women he had spurned over the years. The esoteric interpretation of the Orphic tragedy was really a sophisticated allegory involving the secrets of the spiritual nature of humanity itself.
The Ancient Mysteries of the Bacchic and Dionysian School was most perennially represented by the Face of the boyish God Bacchus and the grotesque story of his dismemberment by a group of giants. Dionysus was the youngest of the Greek Olympian Hierarchy and the God of wine, parties, and hedonistic indulgence.
These ancient mysteries were prolifically followed by adherents throughout the ancient world. The Dionysian rites were often associated with abundant wine and sexual intercourse but within his tragic allegorical dismemberment was a hidden meaning which involved a deeper esoteric interpretation, the cosmic ensoulment of mankind into materiality.
The Ancient Mysteries of the Egyptian school were most pertinently enshrined by the Deity Thoth and the Esoteric concept of an all-pervasive, universal mind of the God Atun. There has been much stipulation around the notion of the seven hermetic principles originating with this Egyptian school of spiritual esotericism. Some regard the Hermetica, the Corpus Hermeticum, as its spiritual foundation.
These hermetic writings on the ancient mysteries of Egypt often are referenced by an enlightening narrative in which the Sage Hermes Trismegistus encounters the God Atun in a vision. In this holy vision, Atun reveals to Hermes the Seven Natural Laws of the Cosmos and Mankind's relationship to the Divine.
The Ancient Mysteries of the legendary Atlantis was principally concerned with the sacred origin story of their great civilization coming into existence, the wonders achieved by its people, and it's tragic, consequential Fall into moral decay. This resulted in its inevitable destruction due to such karmic repercussions by a massive earthquake and subsequent super flood which sank it into the Ocean Depths. The patron Deity of this Grand Culture and Mystery School was the Sea Deity Poseidon, brother of Zeus and son of Cronus, God of Time.
The fall of this once Magnificent Civilization, its ancient holy mysteries, and profound Occult Knowledge, are partly historical and partly allegorical which are esoterically represented as an interpretation of man's seven divine principles, our ultimate ensoulment into physicality, and our holy journey to fully regain our inherent divine nature.
The Ancient Mystery Tradition of Isis involves lifting her Veil. This tradition was to be understood as the inception point for a deeply buried wisdom predicated on the understanding of the natural world in which we reside as a species. To lift this Veil was to catch a glimpse of the Organic Light, the Wisdom Goddess Sophia herself, Aeonic Mother of The Anthropos.
However, traditionally these ancient mysteries revolved around the God Osiris and the Goddess Isis. The sacred narrative associated with these Egyptian Deities revolved around the Lord God Osiris becoming tricked by his evil brother Set who murdered him, and subsequently dismembered his body scattering the parts around the world. Consequently, his Queen Isis sought to find and retrieve these parts to fully resurrect and revive her beloved. However, this story esoterically interpreted symbolized the seven stages of human materialization and subsequent rise out of matter after tapping into all seven divine principles.
The Ancient Mysteries of Ishtar, pronounced Easter, were of Babylonian origin and involved the sacred narrative of Ishtar and her husband Tammuz. In this Ancient Mystery Tradition, Tammuz is deceived and subsequently ensnared then murdered by his brother. The goddess Ishtar reacts to his savage death and betrayal by initiating a sacred quest to revive her lost Husband by seeking his soul.
She embarks on a perilous journey in an attempt to resurrect him by diving through the seven realms of the underworld to retrieve his soul and bring it back to the world of life. This Allegory is a representation of the many levels the spirit traverses in its journey into materiality and subsequent involution back into spiritual understanding.
The Ancient Mysteries of Adonis are representative of the solar deity and his tragic death. The name Adonis or Adoni means "Lord" and was a designation applied to the Sun. The Ancient Mysteries of Adonis were one of many allegorical representations of the Solar Myth and Dying God Myth. These sacred mysteries were celebrated annually in numerous parts of Egypt, Phoenicia, and Byblos.
This was also one of the many Dying-God myths perpetuated in the ancient world to express certain Zodiacal concepts that are exhibited by the natural flow of time and cycles of the Solar Orb. It allegorically depicted the regeneration of the natural world through its cyclical journey through the celestial spheres leading to our four seasons, equinoxes, and solstices.
The Ancient Mysteries of the Persian Fire Mystic Zoroaster was one of the most highly regarded throughout antiquity, with his essential doctrines of Cosmic Polarity being disseminated widely and with adherents arising within numerous ancient cultures. Zoroastrianism involved the teaching of mysteries utilizing esoteric symbols which were diagrammatic representations of the inherent Duality contained within the manifested Universe, as a Natural Law.
This Eternal Duality of the Universal superstructure was represented by the cosmic polarity of antagonistic forces. There was one of good and one of evil, which manifested as diametrically opposing Deities of great cosmic energies. The benevolent God was called Ahura Mazda and the nefarious, personification of Evil was called Ahriman.
The Ancient Mysteries of the Druids were concerned with the Laws of Nature, healing through energetically charged amulets and magnetism, the instruction of the people of both Britain and Gaul, and the reincarnation and immortality of man's spirit.
The ancient mysteries of the druids involved a council of 12 which enacted and disseminated these esoteric rites to their initiates and the exoteric rites to their common people within Celtic Culture. Their understanding of Natural Laws, magnetism, psychology, altered states of consciousness, and use of sacred teacher plants was profound, revelatory, and insightful.
The Ancient Mysteries of Cabiri were traditionally held in the city of Samothrace revolving around the Myth of the Dying-God. The major God was referred to as Kashmala who was subsequently murdered by his four brothers.
Furthermore, in this Ancient Mystery Tradition, it has also been stipulated that the annual rite and ceremonial act of cutting down the pine-tree (Christmas tree) arose from this mystery school. It was associated with the celebration of this Deity's death, though this has apparently been forgotten or deliberately ignored by ancient and modern Christianity, who believe it stems from their Religion.
The Ancient Mysteries of Eleusis were Greek, essentially being a mystery school devoted to higher learning, seasonal initiation, ecological rapport, and sacred reverence to the Magna Mater, the Great Mother. This Ancient Mystery Tradition was perhaps the most prolific and widely respected of all the Esoteric Mystery Schools in Antiquity. A great many ancient philosophers became initiated into this profound school of thought including both Pythagoras and Plato.
There were several phases of initiation and sequential rites held during only certain seasonal time frames, such as during solstices or equinoxes. The Eleusinian Mysteries were reputed to include the imbibing of psychedelic agents to assist with the elevation of consciousness during the rites for full initiation.
When the Ancient Mystery Tradition of the Persians migrated into Southern Europe, it became absorbed into the Latin mind quickly especially among the Roman soldiers, and the cult grew even more rapidly during the Roman wars of conquest as it was carried to nearly every part of Europe by these soldiers. So popular did the cult of Mithras become that even one Emperor became initiated into the Order. According to Alexander Wilders, Mithras was the Zend title for the sun, and he dwelled inside the luminous orb. The Mithraic mysteries were conceptually structured as a divine binary, which manifested as a Deity with both a feminine and masculine aspect, though not itself androgynous. As Mithras, he is the lord of the Sun, powerful and luminous, and the most majestic of the Yazatas (Izads, or Genii, of the Sun). As Mithra, this god represented the divine feminine principle with the mundane universe recognized as her symbol. Mithra symbolically represents Nature, a receptive, terrestrial, and bountiful energy beneath the glorious solar orb. The Mithraic cult is a simplified version of the more complex teachings of Zoroastrianism.
According to the disciples of Zarathustra, there coexisted two divine, polarized principles within the eternal cosmic superstructure. The first divine principle was Ahura-Mazda, or Ormazd, who was the archetypal Spirit of Good and a positive energy. Ormazd's opposite, the second of these eternal divine principles, was the being called Ahriman, who was also a beautiful and pure spirit that eventually entered into rebellion opposing Ormazd, stemming from his jealousy of Ormazd's creative powers. However, Ahriman's rebellion did not manifest until Ormazd generated light because subsequent to this occurrence, Ahriman wasn't even aware of Ormazd's existence. Consequently, once his intense envy drove him into open revolt against Ormazd, Ahriman transformed into the Archetypal Spirit of Evil and generated an individuated host of destructive entities to assault Ormazd and his creations.
Once Ormazd manifested the terrestrial and material realm, Ahriman descended down into its grosser elemental structures. Thereafter, whenever Ormazd generated a good action, Ahriman reciprocated by incepting a principle of negativity, of evil, within its framework. Ahriman's ultimate defiance occurred when Ormazd generated Humanity, whereby he incarnated and inserted his essence into man's lower nature. He effectuated this paradigm in order to create diametrically opposing forces within every personality, and subsequently forcing mankind into an internal struggle with the Spirits of Good and Evil vying for control. This manifested a paradigm in which for 3000 years Ormazd ruled over the celestial worlds exhibiting light and goodness, and for the next 3000 years as well Ormazd ruled man with integrity and wisdom. However, after this last period, the power of Ahriman began, and the battle for the soul of mankind raged for the next 3000 years.
During the fourth period of 3000 years, the power of Ahriman will be destroyed, Good will once again reign supreme in the world, evil and death will be vanquished, and ultimately the Spirit of Evil will humbly bow before the throne of the prime generator Ormazd. However, while Ormazd and Ahriman battle to be the dominating influence over the human spirit and Nature, Mithras, the God of prime Intelligence, stands as the essential mediator between the two dueling cosmic principles. A number of authors have commented on the similarities between Mithras and Mercury because both act as the divine mediating intelligence among quarrelling Gods. As the chemical Mercury acts as a solvent between substances (according to alchemists), thus Mithras acts as the harmonizing force and agent between the two waring cosmic polarities.
Additionally, it has been observed that numerous points of ideological cross-fertilization and conceptual congruence exist between Theological Christianity and the Cult of Mithras. One of the possible explanations for this similitude is that it occurred due to the Persian invasion of Italy during the first century after Christ which resulted in the early history of both cults becoming closely intertwined. The Encyclopedia Britannica makes the following statements concerning the Mithraic and Christian Traditions, "The fraternal and democratic spirit of both the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with light and the sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration, the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot, and the drawing of water from the rock" which represents an unavoidable interpenetration of narrative concepts and motifs.
The Encyclopedia further states, "Both Mithraism and Christianity similarly use the bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and the 25th of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis on abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgement, the resurrection of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe-- these are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity."
The rites of Mithras were generally enacted within the recesses of caves. Porphyry, in his Caves of the Nymphs, states that Zarathustra was the first to consecrate a cave to the reverence and worship of God. This was very likely due to the widely held spiritual concept of caverns symbolizing the Earth, the lower realm of darkness. John P. Lundy, in his Monumental Christianity, describes the cave of Mithras as follows: "But this cave was adorned with the signs of the Zodiac, Cancer and Capricorn. the summer and winter solstices were chiefly conspicuous, as the gates of the souls descending into this life or passing out of it in their ascent to the Gods; Cancer being the gate of descent, and Capricorn of ascent. These are the two avenues of the immortals passing up and down from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth".
The initiation into the rites of Mithras, just like initiations into most other ancient mystery schools of spiritual philosophy, consisted of three important degrees of self-transformation. The spiritual foundation for these degrees consisted of self-purification, the building up of the latent intellectual powers, and lastly a mastery over man's animal nature and base impulses. In the first degree, the neophyte was given a crown upon the point of a sword and esoterically instructed in the mysteries of Mithra's hidden power. The neophyte was essentially taught that the golden crown symbolized his own spiritual nature, which had to be objectified and unfolded before he could properly glorify Mithras. The God Mithras represented the neophyte's soul standing as the mediator between Ormazd, his spiritual essence, and Ahriman, his base animal nature.
Accordingly, during the second degree of initiation, the neophyte was provided the armor of intelligence and purity. Once so armored, the neophyte was sent into the subterranean pits of darkness to battle his own lust, passion, and degeneracy. During the third degree of initiation, the neophyte was provided a cape, upon which were woven with the signs of the Zodiac and astronomical emblems, and once his initiation was finished, he became proclaimed as one who had risen from death. The initiatory climax involved the neophyte's spiritual instruction regarding the most sacred and secret teachings of the Persian mystics, subsequently transforming him into a full member of the Order.
The neophytes that accomplished this feat were titled Lions and marked upon their foreheads with an Egyptian cross, the sacred Tau. Mithras himself was traditionally depicted with the head of a Lion and two pairs of angelic wings. Furthermore, throughout the entire ritual were repeated references to the birth of Mithras as the Sun God, his sacrifice for mankind, his death that men could attain eternal life, and finally, his resurrection and redemption of mankind by intercession before the Throne of Ormazd.
Even though the Mithraic cult was never quite able to achieve the philosophical heights and doctrinal successes of Zoroaster, Mithraism still had an enormous impact on Western Civilization, with its spiritual philosophy being widely disseminated across the ancient world and at one time nearly converting all of Europe to its doctrines. Rome, in her numerous sociocultural interactions, inoculated many nations with its religious doctrines and principles resulting in Mithraic cultural aspects arising within their future religious institutions. Moreover, the reference to the "Lion" and the "Grip of the Lion's Paw" in the Master Mason's degree exhibits strongly a tinge of Mithraism. It has been speculated that it may have originated from the Mithraic cult. A ladder of seven rungs also appears in Mithraic initiation rites leading to speculation that this septenary ladder originally existed as a seven stepped pyramid, according to Faber.
It is also possible that the seven stepped Ladder within Freemasonry derived its origins from the cult of Mithras. Women were never permitted to enter the Order of Mithras, but their male children were allowed to become initiates long before reaching maturity. The refusal to allow women within the Masonic Order is possibly predicated upon the esoteric reason in the secret instruction of Mithraism. The cult is just one of many pertinent examples of secret societies whose legends are essentially symbolic representations of the sun and its path across the houses of the Zodiac. Mithras, ascending from a rock or stone, is just the sun ascending over the horizon, or out of the horizon, at the vernal equinox.
However, one man, John O'Neill, has disputed the theory that Mithras represented the solar deity. He states in The Night of the Gods, "The Avestan Mithra, the yazata of light, has 10,000 eyes, high, with full knowledge (perethuvaedayana), strong, sleepless and ever awake (jaghaurvaunghem).' The supreme god Ahura Mazda also has one Eye, or else it is said that 'with his eyes, the sun, moon and stars, he sees everything.' The theory that Mithra was originally a title of the supreme heavens-god-- putting the sun out of court-- is the only one that answers all requirements. It will be evident that here we have origins in abundance for the Freemason's Eye and 'its nunquam dormio'".
The Odinic Mysteries' initial founding is wrapped in obscurity being uncertain. Some historians have placed it during the first century before Christ while others have placed it during the first century after Christ. According to one 33rd degree Freemason, Robert Macoy, the historical Odin, originally named Sigge, was the chief of an Asiatic tribe called the Aser which had emigrated from the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains into northern Europe. This historical Odin Sigge journeyed northwesterly from the Black Sea to Russia, over which, according to tradition, he placed one of his sons as ruler, as he supposedly also did over the Saxons and the Franks.
He then Advanced through Cimbria to Denmark, which acknowledged his fifth son Skiold as its sovereign, and then crossed over to Sweden, where Gylf ruled, who subsequently paid homage to the wonderful stranger and became initiated into his mysteries. Sigge eventually established himself as master and ruler, built Sigtuna as the capital of his empire, promulgated a new code of laws, and established his sacred mysteries. Sigge assumed the name of Odin, founded the priesthood of the twelve Drottars (Druids?), who then established his secret worship, administered his justice, and as his prophets revealed the future. The secret rites of these mysteries involved the celebration of Balder's death (referred to as the beautiful and lovely) and symbolically represented the grief of the Gods as well as men upon his death, and lastly heralded his resurrection back into the World of Life.
After his death, the historical Odin was apotheosized, his identity being conflated with the mythical God of Wisdom Odin which was the religious cult he had disseminated. The twelve Drottars, presiding over the Odinic Mysteries, were the symbolic personification of the twelve holy, ineffable names of Odin. The rites and ceremonies of Odin were similar to those of the Greeks, Persians, and Brahmins, after whom they had been conceptually patterned. Furthermore, the twelve Drottars were emblematic of the 12 zodiacal signs. These twelve Drottars were the custodians of the arts and sciences which became subsequently revealed to the initiates of this Mystery school who successfully passed through their rigorous trials. Ultimately, the Odinic Mysteries were destroyed by the Christians, and yet the primary causal factor in their downfall was the inevitable corruption of its priesthood.
The essential basis of the Ancient Mysteries of Odin was a Sacred Drama depicted as the following: The Supreme, invisible Creator of all things was titled the All-Father. His divine representative in nature was Odin, the one-eyed god. Odin was raised to the dignified position of Supreme Deity. The All-Father's representative generated the Universe out of the body of Ymir, a Hoarfrost Giant. Ymir was manifested from the clouds of mist that descended from Ginnungagap, the great rift in chaos into which the primordial frost and flame giants had thrown their ice and fire. The three gods Odin, Vili, and Ve slew Ymir and from his flesh created the World. From Ymir's numerous parts the differentiated aspects of Nature were manifested.
Once Odin created order, he fashioned a splendid palace, called Asgard, which was subsequently constructed upon the top of a mountain where the twelve Aesir (gods) dwelt together, far above the limited material realm of a mortal mankind. Vallhalla also existed upon this mountain being the place for those slain in battle. Those who resided there had died heroically, and thus battled and celebrated continuously with feasts every day, every night their wounds were healed, and the boars they had eaten renewed themselves for further consumption the following day. Balder the Beautiful, the beloved son of Odin and considered the Scandinavian Christ, was essentially a peaceful God, disinclined to be warlike.
Balder was a kindly, beautiful spirit who brought joy and peace to the hearts of the Gods, with all loving him except for one deity. This Singular God who so hated Balder was Loki (an adopted son of Odin) considered the Nordic personification of Evil, and he subsequently manipulated the God Hoth (the blind god of fate) to shoot Balder with a mistletoe arrow. The repercussions of Balder's death caused joy and light to evaporate from the lives of the gods. Saddened and Heartbroken, the deities assembled to conceive a plan for Balder's subsequent resurrection into the spirit of eternal life and youth. The result was the founding of the Mysteries.
The Mysteries of Odin were practiced inside underground crypts and caves, with the subterranean chambers being nine in number representing the Nine Worlds of the Mysteries. When an aspiring esoteric candidate was seeking initiatory admittance, he was assigned the task of raising Balder from death, yet unbeknownst to the aspiring initiate he was playing the part of Balder. He would refer to himself as a wanderer with the caves he traversed being symbolic motifs for the worlds and celestial spheres of Nature. The priestly adepts initiating the aspiring neophyte were emblematic of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.
The three supreme initiators (the Sublime, the Equal to the Sublime, and the Highest) were analogous to the Worshipful Master and the Junior and Senior Wardens in a Masonic lodge. After wandering for hours through the complex passageways, the initiate was brought into the presence of a statue of Balder, the prototype of all initiates into the Mysteries. The figure stood in the center-point of a great apartment roofed with shields and in the midst of the chamber was a plant with seven blossoms symbolizing the seven planets.
In this chamber, the aspiring neophyte took his oath of secrecy and piety upon the bare blade of a sword. He then would drink the sanctified mead from a bowl made of a human skull and, having traversed through trials and tribulations meant to deter his path to wisdom, he was ultimately allowed to unveil the Mystery of Odin, the personified essence of Wisdom. He was then presented, in Balder's name, the sacred ring of the order, hailed as a man reborn, and it was stated of him that he had died and been reborn again without passing through the gates of death.
Orpheus, the Thracian bard and great initiator of the Greeks, ceased to be a mere mortal man becoming celebrated as a divinity several centuries before the Christian era. Orpheus was allegedly regarded as the creator and founder of the Grecian mythological system which he utilized as a medium for the dissemination of his philosophical doctrines, yet the true origin of his philosophy remains obscured. It has been stated that Orpheus became an initiate of the Egyptian Mystery Tradition and from this School was able to access an immense degree of knowledge regarding the esoteric disciplines of magic, astrology, sorcery, and medicine. In addition to his Egyptian Initiation, Orpheus was also apparently inducted into a Samothracian Esoteric School that instructed him about the Mysteries of Cabiri which would have enormously contributed to his knowledge of music and medicine.
The romance of Orpheus and Eurydice is one among many tragic tales within Greek Mythology and this particular tragedy constituted the primary conceptual motif within the Orphic Rites and Rituals. The Orphic Mythos is as follows: Eurydice, Orpheus' beloved, attempted to escape the unwanted advances of a villainous character who sought to seduce her, and as she ran from him, a poisonous snake stung her on the heel with its venom leading to her tragic death. Consequently, a mourning Orpheus journeyed into the very depths of the underworld in an attempt to rescue his beloved's soul. His intense love for Eurydice, his deep grief over her death, and his stirring beautiful music so charmed the gods Pluto and Persephone that they subsequently agreed to let Eurydice return to the world of life, if only Orpheus could lead her back to the realm of Life without ever turning back to confirm she was indeed following him. Unfortunately, so intense was Orpheus' fear of her straying from his side he became incapable of resisting the urge to look, and tragically in a cry of anguish, Eurydice was swept back into the Underworld.
As a consequence of his great failure, Orpheus wandered the Earth for years in a disconsolate state of unremitting grief until he was killed. There have been numerous conflicting accounts of Orpheus' death. Some state he was killed by a bolt of lightning while others portray a version of Orpheus's death as, having failed to rescue his beloved Eurydice from death, he committed suicide from an inconsolable grief. However, the traditionally accepted version of Orpheus' death involves his body being torn limb from limb by various Ciconian women whose advances he had previously spurned. In Plato's more esoteric account, he states that, due to his fate at the hands of women, the spirit of Orpheus, inevitably destined to reincarnate upon the material plane, instead chose to reincarnate within the body of a Swan rather than be born again in the body of a woman.
Orpheus has long been regarded as the divine patron of music. It has been said that upon his seven-stringed lyre, Orpheus performed harmonies of such high perfection that even the Gods themselves became so moved as to proclaim his musical prowess as the greatest in the world. Upon touching his instrument's strings, the birds and beasts flocked to hear him play, and when he traversed through the forests his enchanting melodies stirred even the most ancient of trees to subsequently withdraw their roots from the Earth to follow him. Orpheus is one of countless mortals who have sacrificed themselves so humanity may receive the wisdom of the Gods. Furthermore, by encoding his musical harmonies with esoteric symbolism, Orpheus unveiled the divine mysteries to an ignorant mankind. Some authors stated that though the Gods highly admired Orpheus, they also greatly feared his actions would engineer their kingdom's overthrow by an enlightened humanity, and therefore the Gods ultimately, yet reluctantly encouraged his final destruction.
As time passed, the historical Orpheus became confounded with the doctrines he represented, ultimately becoming a symbolic representative for the Grecian School of Ancient Wisdom. This being so, Orpheus eventually became acclaimed to be the Sun of Apollo, the divine and perfect truth, and Calliope, the Muse of Harmony & Rhythm. Put in another light, Orpheus was the secret doctrine as revealed through music. Eurydice symbolized mankind's death from the serpent's sting, representing false knowledge, and became a humanity imprisoned within a lesser world of ignorance.
In this allegory, Orpheus symbolizes theological knowledge, which won Eurydice from the lord of the Underworld but failed to successfully resurrect her due to falsely estimating and distrusting the intrinsic spiritual knowledge within the human spirit. The Ciconian women who tore Orpheus limb from limb, symbolically represent the various contentious and warring theological factions which ultimately destroy the body of Truth. Consequently, these discordant theologies are incapable of attaining Truth because their chaotic shouts drown out the harmony produced from Orpheus' magical lyre.
The head of Orpheus symbolically represents the esoteric doctrines of the Orphic Mysteries which continuously live and speak even though his body (the order) has been destroyed. The lyre of Orpheus is the secret teaching, the seven strings of the lyre are the seven divine truths which exist as master keys that open the doors to the universal knowledge. The myriad of differentiated stories depicting Orpheus' tragic demise, symbolically express the numerous methodologies utilized in the destruction of the secret teachings, thus meaning that the sacred wisdom can die in various ways simultaneously. The allegory of Orpheus' incarnation into the body of a white swan signifies that the spiritual truths he promulgated will never die out, with this sacred knowledge being the inheritance of enlightened initiates for all future Ages. The swan is the symbol of initiation into the Mysteries, as well as being a symbol for the divine power and progenitor of the world.
The ancient Bacchic and Dionysian mysteries constituted a body of ceremonies, rituals, and rites founded and focused on the allegorical narrative in which the young Bacchus is literally ripped apart by the Titans. This macabre feat was accomplished by these gigantic Titans through utilizing a mirror to manipulate Bachhus into becoming enamored with his own reflection. Upon his dismemberment, the Titans took Bachhus' body parts, boiled them within a vat of water, and then subsequently roasted them over a fire. After this ghastly episode, the hero Pallas sought and then recovered Bachhus' heart and through rescuing his heart, the god Bacchus became capable of resurrecting himself in all his former divine glory.
Jupiter, the Demiurge, having witnessed this heinous crime, hurled bolts of lightning subsequently slaying the murderous Titans and destroying them in a holy fire. Out of the Titan's ashes, who had previously devoured numerous pieces of Bacchus, and from the murdered god's residual blood, the human race was manifested. Consequently, the life of mortal man was purported to contain a piece of the Bacchic life. It is from this reasoning that the Ancient Mystery Traditions, including the Grecian Tradition, starkly warned against the act of taking one's own life.
Bacchus symbolically represents the rational soul of the lower world. He is the supreme leader of the Titans, who are the artificers of the mundane spheres. It has been said that the disciples of Pythagoras referred to Bachhus as the Titanic Monad. Consequently, Bacchus represents the omni-inclusive concept of the Titanic Sphere and the Titans, called the gods of the fragments, who act as the stimulating agents through which the universal essence becomes manifested into the template of spiritual fragmentation. Therefore, the Dionysian state of consciousness symbolizes the unification of our rational soul into a state of self-knowledge and awareness, and the Titanic state of consciousness signifies the differentiated aspects of the rational soul which permeate all of creation, suffering the loss of a conscious awareness regarding its own inherent primal one-ness.
The mirrored reflection Bacchus gazed upon, and the principal causal factor in his fall is the great temporal Ocean of Illusions, the lower material planes fashioned by the Titanic demigods. Dionysus, the symbol of the rational soul, having peered into his own image's reflection, accepts this reflective simulacrum as a likeness to himself subsequently ensouling the mirrored image. The esoteric meaning of this metaphor is that the rational spirit ensouls its own reflection, the irrational material universe. By ensouling the irrational image, it infuses within it an attraction, an urge to become like its source, the rational image. Furthermore, the ancient Magi stated that man cannot know the gods through logic and reason alone, but instead must comprehend them through understanding their presence within his own spiritual essence.
Once Bacchus peered into the mirror and subsequently followed his divine reflection into Matter, the rational soul of the world became differentiated and then diffused throughout the lower spheres by the Titans being its essential nature; however, the heart and source of it, they could not scatter. The boiling of Bachhus' body parts by the Titans is symbolic of the immersion of Spirit into the material universe, representing the incorporation of the Bacchic principle into material form. The roasting of Bachhus' bodily fragments symbolically represents man's ultimate spiritual ascension back out of gross physicality.
Upon Jupiter, the father of Bacchus and the Cosmic Demiurges, witnessing the Titans hopelessly involving the rational, divine idea inside the lower planes through differentiating its essence into the elementary components, destroyed the Titans so that the divine idea might not be completely lost and partially preserved. From the ashes of the slain Titans, he generated humanity, whose reason and purpose for existence was the preservation and eventual release of the Bacchic spiritual essence, or rational soul, from its material encapsulation within the Titanic Matrix.
Jupiter, being the Demiurge and Architect of the phenomenal, material universe, is considered the third archetypal entity within the Creative Triad and the Lord of Death, for death only exists within the lower planes over which he presides as Divine Regent. Consequently, disintegration must occur for a reintegration and reconstitution to manifest upon a higher scale of form and intelligence. Jupiter's thunderbolts are emblematic of his disintegrative power and accordingly reveals the true purpose of death, which is to rescue the rational soul from the devouring power of an irrational nature.
Man is a composite entity with a lesser nature constructed of the Titanic fragments and his higher sacred nature constituted from the eternal flesh (life) of the divine Bacchus. Therefore, man is endowed with a capacity for exhibiting either a Titanic (irrational) or a Bacchic (rational) existence. The Titans of Hesiod, who were also twelve in number, were likely Astro theological analogies for the 12 celestial houses of the Zodiac, whereas the murderous Titans were symbols for the zodiacal powers becoming corrupted through diffusion into and involvement with the material planes of reality. Thus, Bacchus represents an emblematic schematic of the Sun differentiated into the signs of the zodiac from whose bodily fragments the Universe is generated.
When the earthly archetypes were fashioned out of the fragmentary elements of his body, the sense of oneness became lost, and a sense of individuated atomization was established. The heart of Bacchus was lifted out of the four elements, symbolizing his dismembered body, and then infused into the Ether. The heart of Bacchus represents the eternal focal point of the rational soul. Consequently, the Bacchic Mysteries were established for the singular purpose of disentangling the rational soul from its irrational Titanic nature. This spiritual disentanglement was the process of lifting the ensnared soul out of its state of individuation and returning it to a spiritual unity. When all the rational parts were reaggregated from across the world, they coalesce into its former primordial divine state and Bacchus is resurrected.
Manly P. Hall records The Atlantean mythological story as reported by Plato in the Critia's and may be summarized. According to the Antediluvian Mysteries of Atlantis, during the first primordial epochs, the Gods carved up the world among themselves, differentiating it into spheres of influence presided over by a respective Archetypal Deity. Each constituted a specific divinity of his own allotment, establishing therein temples devoted to his worship and reverence, further consecrating an ordained priesthood, and systematically institutionalizing methods of ritualistic sacrifice to the presiding divinity. The God Poseidon was ordained as Lord over the seas and the Island continent of Atlantis was his sovereign domain. In the midst of this Atlantean Island stood a mountain which constituted a home for three primitive, earth-born human beings: Evenor, his wife Leucipe, and their only daughter Cleto.
Cleto was such a magnificent beauty, so magnificent that the Lord Poseidon was enamored by it, that eventually she was ensnared by Lord Poseidon after her parents died, subsequently begetting Him five pairs of male children. Consequentially, Poseidon decided to divide the ten Atlantean Islands among his ten semi-divine children, with his eldest son Atlas, becoming proclaimed High Lord and ruling over his brothers, the other nine kings. The Lord of the Oceans saw fit to name this grand Island Atlantis, with its encircling sea, in honor of his first son Atlas. Poseidon constructed the Atlantean Island according to an archetypal template designed as a diagrammatic dodecahedron of geospheres with zones of land and water alternating back and forth in concentric circles.
Atlas' bloodline and lineage were the rulers of Atlantis, and through shrewd governance and a highly industrious people, and they built the Atlantean civilization into a cultural masterpiece of unsurpassed dignity and magnificence. The natural resources of Atlantis were nearly without limit comprised with an abundance of precious metals for mining, many wild animals for domestication and husbandry, rare flowers able to be converted into wondrous perfumes, and a special metallurgical composite of white, black, and red stones smelted into the unique metal Orichalcum utilized in the construction of sophisticated public infrastructure and elaborate palaces. The staggering Atlantean feats of architectural engineering included the extensive construction of canals & bridges which united the inner-outer circles of land & sea resulting in a widespread commercial expansion between the ten kingdoms.
One of the most magnificent and sophisticated architectural achievements by the Atlanteans was the erection of a uniquely majestic citadel. It was the cultural centrepiece and encompassed within its protective aegis all of their palaces, temples, and public buildings, while its middle point was surrounded by a wall of gold and contained a sanctuary specifically dedicated to their patron gods, Cleto and Poseidon. The first ten princes of the Island country were born here and each year their descendants brought offerings to honor and commemorate them. In the beautiful Atlantean groves and gardens were contained luxurious, soothing hot and cold springs. There was also a myriad of sacred temples dedicated to other deities, training grounds and arenas allocated for the exercise of both men and animals, extensive public baths, and even a magnificent racecourse for horse riders.
At numerous vantage points on the ten Islands were military fortifications, and at the splendid harbor traversed vessels from all the diversified maritime nations included in the Atlantean culture. The part of the Island facing the misty sea was rendered into a lofty and precipitous overlook with the central city encompassed by a great plain which was itself sheltered by a grand Mountain range, renowned for its enormous scale and sheer beauty. This bountiful plain yielded two crops biannually, it was watered by the winter rains and during the summer through utilizing extensively erected irrigation canals, also used for transportation between zones. The plain was divided into numerous sections and during wartime, each section generated its own personal supply of military men and chariots.
Even though the ten Atlantean governmental structures engaged in a generalized collaborative synergy, they diverged on their policies regarding military hierarchy and strategic battle requirements. The ten kings of Atlantis exercised a total control in overseeing their respective kingdoms, yet their mutually cooperative and intersecting relationships were governed by a primal code of honor that had been engraved upon a column of Orichalcum at the Sacred Temple of Poseidon by the original ten Atlantean Kings of Old. During intervals of five or six years, a sacred pilgrimage to this holy temple was initiated and its alternating timescale pertained to conferring an equal respect to both the even and odd numbers. Utilizing the appropriate sacrificial offerings, it was at this holy temple that every Atlantean king renewed his oaths of loyalty before the sacred inscriptions. The kings would adorn azure robes and sit in judgement at this sacred place. At dawn the kings issued their sentences transcribing them upon a golden tablet and subsequently dropped them along with their robes as memorials.
The Ten Atlantean Kings instituted a mutually legalistic binary code of ethics which bound the ten rulers to: never raise arms in force against each other and should any of the Ten be attacked by either a foreign power or an Atlantean King, they would rise to defend and aid any of their number. Additionally, in responding to highly momentous cultural events or the outbreak of War, the direct descendants of Atlas alone were endowed with the sovereign authority to make decisions. Furthermore, no Atlantean King had the sovereign right to issue sentences over the life or death of his kinsmen, without the majority of the other Ten King's consenting to such an executive action.
Plato's concluding narrative description states that it was this great Atlantean Empire that declared war upon and attacked the Hellenic States, and yet this event only occurred after the Atlantean kings were diverted from their initial path of wisdom and virtue becoming corrupted by their dark, insatiable lust for power, influence, and glory. Consequently, inundated by false ambition, the Atlantean Kings gathered and jointly embarked upon an endeavor to conquer the entire globe. Zeus, upon witnessing the scale of Atlantean degeneracy and wickedness, decided to annihilate them with violent cataclysms of earthquakes and floods, and thus in a single day and night of ceaseless, torrential rain, the entirety of the Atlantean military as a singular unit descended into the bowels of the earth. Correspondingly, the real geographical Island of Atlantis also sank beneath the Ocean waves, leaving only the Azores Islands to signify that it had existed at all.
The story of Atlantis should not be solely considered as historical legend but rather as both an allegorical and historical event, one that is ripe with an esoteric and symbolic meaning for humanity. Origen, Iamblichus, Syrianus, and numerous others felt that the Legendary rise and fall of Atlantis, as a narrative, veiled deeply philosophical and spiritual mysteries, of highly esoteric significance. Plato's Atlantis, if esoterically interpreted, symbolizes the three-fold nature of both man's physical body and the cosmic archetypal superstructure. The 10 semi-divine Atlantean Kings (Rulers) are emblematic symbols representing the Sacred Tetractys of Pythagoras as well as the 10 within 1 kabbalistic spheres of emanation, which are manifested (or born) as five pairs of opposites or archetypal polarities (Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages). The numbers 1 through 10 rule and generate all of creation, and the 10 numbered spheres or dots, in turn, are under the sovereignty of the MONAD, or the ONE, the Eldest Primordial and First Cause among them all.
With the Divine Trident of the Sea God Poseidon, these Atlantean Kings held Absolute dominion over the seven small and three great islands along with the people that, in the aggregate, comprise Atlantis. Philosophically, the ten islands esoterically symbolize Adam Kadmon in Kabbalah (the Archetypal Man & the Macrocosmic Universe as a Composite Glyph) and also the holy Triune Powers of the Supreme Divinity (the ONE & Absolute FIRST CAUSE) with the seven regents (7 Lower Kabbalistic Spheres) who bow before His eternal throne.
If Atlantis constitutes the archetypal sphere, then its immersion signifies the descent of the rational, organized, and spiritual consciousness into the illusionary, temporal, and material planes of irrationality, immorality, and ignorance (Manly P. Hall). Both the sinking of Atlantis and the Biblical fall of Man symbolize the unconscious path of spiritual involution into materiality, the prerequisite cosmic arc to the subsequent conscious evolution of this divine monadic essence out of Gross Matter, along the ascending arc of cyclical unfoldment into a re-spiritualization upon a higher scale before its "Fall".
The Grand City of the Golden Gates, Capital of Atlantis, became preserved among religious traditions as the City of The Gods or The Holy City. It is the archetype for the New Jerusalem Model. According to Manly P. Hall, nearly all of the grand Spiritual Cosmologies and their Myths, which form the foundation and substratum of the world's numerous sacred books, were founded upon the Mysteries contained with the Atlantean Esoteric Tradition.
The Sacred Esoteric Mysteries of Tammuz and Ishtar is certainly one of the most ancient renderings of what has been routinely titled the "Dying-God" Mythos. According to Manly P. Hall, Tammuz, the Esoteric God of the Sun, was depicted and perceived as an Agricultural Deity, the Spirit of Ecology, and therefore, due to the absence of a deeper understanding, the Babylonians were reluctant to position Tammuz very high among the first deities they honored. Originally Tammuz was described as just one of the Guardians of the Underworld. Similar to the numerous savior gods before and after him, Tammuz was regarded as the "Shepard" or " the lord of the shepherd seat". However, he did occupy the majestic position as the Son and Husband of the goddess Ishtar, the Babylonian Mother-Goddess of the Assyrians. Accordingly, Ishtar herself was one of the most widely respected and venerated goddesses of both the Assyrian and Babylonian pantheons. Moreover, Ishtar became easily associated, identified, and amalgamated with the goddesses Ashtaroth, Astarte, and Aphrodite respectively.
The tale of Ishtar's descent into the underworld to find the presumed sacred elixir which was the only thing that could possibly restore Tammuz to life is generally accepted as the key to the rites and rituals of her ancient mysteries. Tammuz's annual festival poignantly occurred right before the summer solstice; his death transpired during the mid-summer month heralding his name and, in his honor, extensive and elaborate mourning ceremonies were enacted. The manner of his death remains mysteriously obscure, but it has been asserted that Ishtar, his wife, could possibly have been a major conspirator in his premature demise. Tammuz's ultimate Resurrection constituted an occasion for enormous rejoicing and celebration with the Sun God being proclaimed as a "redeemer" of his people.
Upon celestial wings did the goddess Ishtar, the daughter of Sin (the Lunar Orb & Moon), descend to the ghostly gates of Death and the Underworld. Referred to as the "place of no return", this dark, subterranean realm was under the dominion of Irkalla, God of the Underworld. It was a plane without any available light or nourishment, being comprised of simple dust and mud, the only substances possible as either food or drink. The House of the God Irkalla contained an ominous and eerie door ceaselessly protected by Irkalla's keepers, entities entirely covered with birdlike feathers.
Ishtar demands to be permitted to pass through the gates and threatens destruction of the doorposts, strike of the hinges, and raise the dead in retaliation. The keepers of the gates instructed Ishtar to be patient while they secured permission to enter from the Irkalla's Queen. They further admonished Ishtar by conveying that most likely she would only be allowed admittance along similar lines of such inquiries as every other individual seeking passage.
Upon receiving permission, Ishtar descended through the seven gates leading into the cavernous depths of the Underworld realm. At each gate's interval, a sacred item of Ishtar's personage was subsequently removed from her in order for continued passage through the septenary gates. At the first gate, Ishtar's magnificent crown was taken from her brow, at the second gate her earrings are removed, at the third gate her necklace is taken, at the fourth gate the ornaments upon her breasts are removed, at the fifth gate her girdle is removed, at the sixth gate the bracelets upon both her hands and feet are taken, and finally at the seventh gate the cloak enshrouding Ishtar's body is removed.
At each and every gate Ishtar demurs and reproaches the removal process as each subsequent piece of her magnificent attire is confiscated from her person. Consequently, Irkalla's keepers once again admonish Ishtar to understand this difficult trial and hoary experience is one that all individuals must undergo, goddess or not, who descend into the gloomy underworld realm of the dead. Upon finally beholding Ishtar, the Queen of Irkalla ultimately becomes so intensely enraged that she magically afflicts the Goddess Ishtar with every manner of disease conceivable subsequent to imprisoning her within the deepest recesses of the Underworld.
As a result of Ishtar's imprisonment and confinement in the Underworld, the upper world descends into total chaos and mayhem stemming from the pertinent fact that she remains the divinely energetic spirit presiding over fertility itself. Consequently, the repercussions of Ishtar's subsequent captivity and extended internment produce a form of energetic ecological inertia forestalling the ripening of people's crops and the maturation of all vibrant life forms on the Earth. Interestingly, when compared, this mythological allegory exhibits very strong parallels to the Greek Myth of the Goddess Persephone, which also depicted the imprisonment of the Fertility Goddess by Hades resulting in extremely similar consequences for Earth's ecological growth cycles. Once the other gods noticed and realized the catastrophic situation manifesting from the disharmony of the entire natural world, they dispatched a divine emissary to the underworld demanding her immediate release in no uncertain terms from Irkalla's Spiteful Queen.
Once compliance was forcibly imposed upon Irkalla's jealous queen of the underworld, she begrudgingly acquiesces and relents by pouring the waters of life over Ishtar. As a result of receiving the sacred waters of Life, Ishtar is cured of her myriad of infirmities magically invoked upon her person which subsequently enable Ishtar to finally retrace her harrowing path, ascending in stepwise fashion back through the septenary gates. Moreover, at each gate's interval Ishtar reacquires her numerous pieces of sacred apparel previously confiscated as requisites from her prior passage. However, it must be importantly highlighted that there exists not a single record, in any texts, of Ishtar ever acquiring or retaining the sacred waters of Life which would have empowered her to thereby resurrect Tammuz from his untimely, sudden, and obscure death.
Consequentially, the sacred Babylonian Myth of Ishtar's descent and ascent through the septenary layers, or gateways, of the Underworld corresponds to an esoteric, diagrammatic symbolism for the Human Spirit's (the Monad's) involution and descent (Biblical Fall) through the seven archetypal worlds, or the seven sacred planetary spheres, until ultimately becoming encased in gross Matter and ensouled within a physical form, one inherently deprived of spiritual perception, thus is Hades interpreted. The queen presiding over the material form inundates it with all types of "diseases", sadness, and misery which corresponds esoterically and symbolically to man's higher consciousness residing in captivity. Furthermore, the sacred waters of Life, corresponding to the Secret Doctrine, are symbolic of the infliction of ignorance being cured by the spirit's subsequent evolutionary ascent out of materiality through spiritual reconnection with the primordial, divine source of reality. Thus, a reawakening of its 7 innate divine principles occurs as it reascends through the 7 sacred celestial spheres.
The ancient Adonian Mysteries, concerning the god Adonis or Adoni, were widely enacted and celebrated throughout the nations of Egypt, Byblos, and Phoenicia. As referenced above, the name and title Adoni translates into the word "Lord" being a sacred designation and symbolic name for the celestial Sun. The sacred Adonian mythos involved the mother of Adonis, called Smyrna, who became transformed into a tree by the gods. Eventually, after the passage of time, the bark of the tree erupted and opened up to reveal the infant Savior God, who subsequently sprung forth. In at least one version of Adonian Mythos, a wild boar splits open the bark of the maternal tree with its tusks thereupon freeing the encased god Adonis.
It is quite notable that Adonis was born at midnight on December the 24th and subsequent to the event of his unexpected death, a Mystery rite was founded that produced the salvation of his people. In the Judaic month of Tammuz, another name for Adonis, the god was gored to death by a wild boar sent by the god Ares (Mars). Furthermore, there existed a ceremony titled the Adoniasmos that consisted of lamentations regarding the early death of this murdered Solar Deity.
In the biblical book of Ezekiel, was written passages depicting women weeping for the god Tammuz (Adonis) at the north gate of the Lord's house in Jerusalem. "He tells us that Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Lord, was shaded by a grove of that still lesser Syrian Lord, Adonis, and that where the infant Jesus had wept, the lover of Venus was bewailed." Moreover, the effigy of a wild boar was said to have been draped over a Jerusalem gate in honor of Adonis as well as celebrating his rituals in a grotto related to the Nativity of Bethlehem. Manly P. Hall asserts that Adonis, as the "gored" (or "god") man, is one of the keys to Sir Francis Bacon's reference to the "wild boar" in his cryptic symbolism.
At his inception and original iteration, the God Adonis was depicted as an androgynous deity symbolically representative of the solar powers during the winter which were destroyed by the evil principle of cold, and thus the boar. Subsequently, after the passage of three days (months) in a tomb, he rose again on the 25th day of March in holy triumph and thereupon his priests and disciples proclaimed his resurrection by stating, "He is risen". Furthermore, the God Adonis was conceived from a Myrrh tree; Myrrh, considered the symbolic representation of death due to its connection with the embalming process, was also consequentially one of the three Magian gifts brought to the manger of the baby Jesus, who was also initially perceived as a solar deity.
In the Adonian mystery rites and ceremonies, the aspiring neophyte traversed through the symbolic death of the god Adonis, and upon being "raised" by the priests, became subsequently initiated and spiritually transformed through their newly redemptive, blessed state acquired by experiencing the suffering of Adonis. In nearly every written accounting of this sacred narrative, it was originally thought, due to a consistent association with the growth and maturation of fruits and flowers, that Adonis was actually a deity of sacred ecology and vegetation.
In a Phrygian religious and philosophical school thought, one primarily concerned with the life and premature death of another Savior-God known as Atis, many considered this story to be synonymous with the God Adonis. Apparently, this deity Atis was also portrayed as being conceived at midnight on December 24th and generally had two versions of his death recounted: one tale depicted Atis being gored to death in a very similar manner to the death in the Adonic mysteries; and the second version of Atis' premature death, the Sun God emasculated himself beneath a pine tree and consequently died as a result.
After Atis' death, his body was carried to a cave by the Great Mother Cybele, subsequently residing here throughout the ages in a magical stasis incapable of decay. Consequentially, the modern world became indebted to these mysteries and ceremonies of Atis for the Christmas Tree Symbolism still used by many. Atis infused the tree with his immortal, divine nature and his Mother Cybele took the newly endowed tree with her when removing his body. Accordingly, the God Atis resided for three days in a tomb, and then subsequently arose to live again on a date correlating with Easter morning, and thus overcoming death by Resurrection, he did the same for all who were initiated into his Mysteries.
Lastly, the Mysteries of Atis involved the eating of a sacramental meal during which the aspiring neophyte consumed this meal from a drum and drank from a cymbal. Following this, once they were baptized by the blood of a bull, the aspiring initiate was fed entirely on milk symbolically representing that the initiate remained philosophically infantile, having been recently conceived and manifested from the sphere of gross materiality. There seems to be a potential connection between the proposed lacteal diet of Atis initiates and St. Paul's allusion to the food for spiritual babes.
The esoteric key and interpretation of the rituals of Atis are possibly offered by the writings of Sallust. The Great Mother Cybelle symbolizes the animating forces of the cosmos, while the God Atis symbolizes the spiritual principles of the intellect lying suspended between the divine and animal spheres. Correspondingly, Mother Cybele, from a sense of love for Atis, provided him with a starry hat, symbolizing the celestial powers, and yet Atis (humanity), having fallen in love with a nymph (symbolic of the lesser animalistic tendencies), eventually surrendered his divine principles and powers to acquire her, and thus lost his divine potencies. Thus, according to Manly P. Hall, it becomes evident that Atis symbolizes divine human consciousness with his Mysteries primarily representing the path for regaining the starry hat and therefore spiritual regeneration of those divine capacities.
The Ancient Tradition of the Druidic Order, their esoteric school, and its sacred mysteries bore an uncanny resemblance to the Bacchic, Eleusinian, and Osirian-Isis Mysteries of both Greece and Egypt with numerous ceremonial, philosophical, and ritual similarities. Regardless of its structural parallels to other mystery schools, there has long been a large degree of speculation about the secret wisdom these Druidic depts claimed to possess. Accordingly, these Druids were considered to be both priests and physicians simultaneously capable of curing individuals utilizing magnetism, occult rituals, and talismanic magical evocation using their fluidic influence as a base, according to Eliphas Levi.
Additionally, these Druidic Adepts utilized universally the efficacious remedies of both mistletoe and serpent's eggs as a consequence of these substances attracting the astral light to the individual in a unique manner. Furthermore, the Druids acquired a fundamental comprehension and knowledge of the medicinal use of natural herbs and their alchemical properties. the Druidic Adepts were also endowed with a deep perception Natural and Cosmic Law. Their sacred and esoteric mystery teachings are apparently embodied and almost entirely similar to the esoteric mysteries veiled beneath the allegories of Blue Lodge Masonry, according to Manly P. Hall, from which the majority of this information has been drawn.
Their secret teachings were never written down being passed on orally to especially instructed candidates. The nearness of the British Isles to the lost Atlantis could account for the sun worship that played an integral part in the rites and rituals of Druidism. According to Artemidorus, Ceres and Persephone were worshiped on an island close to Britain with rituals and ceremonial rites that were similar to those of Samothrace. There is little dispute on the fact that the Druidic Pantheon includes many of the Greek and Roman gods. It is nearly certain that the Mysteries of the Druids were not indigenous to Britain or Gaul but had been transferred to there from one of the more ancient civilizations.
The Druidic Order was structurally differentiated into three distinct degrees of initiates. The lowest of these three initiatory degrees constituted that of the Ovates (Ovydd). This level was simply considered an honorary degree which required no specific or special purification or preparatory training to join its ranks. The Ovates dressed in green, the symbolic color for learning within Druidism, and these individuals were typically expected to have a firm knowledge regarding medicine, astronomy, poetry, and occasionally music.
Furthermore, these lesser initiates of the Ovate rank were individuals sanctioned and entitled to admission within the Druidic Order due to their natural excellence, higher knowledge, and sociocultural understanding of life's many problems.
The secondary initiatory degree comprised the Bardic Orders (Beirdd). These Bardic Initiates were entitled to wear robes of a sky-blue hue which symbolically represented both harmony and truth and were subsequently assigned the arduous task of memorizing the twenty thousand verses of the Druidic sacred poetry. Moreover, these Bards often were entrusted with another similarly significant task, that of instructing and vetting aspiring initiates and candidates seeking admittance into the Druidic Mysteries. Accordingly, the Neophytes of the Druidic Orders wore striped robes of blue, green, and white, because these were the three sacred colors of the Order.
The third initiatory degree constituted of the Druid Adepts (Derwyddon) and their specific sacred charge was the administration of the spiritual and religious needs of their people. However, to even reach this illustrious high rank, the aspiring neophyte had to first attain the rank of a Bard Braint. Upon reaching this rank, the Druids were dressed in white robes, symbolic of their purity, symbolized the sacred Sun. In order to reach such a prestigious initiatory rank as Arch-Druid, the spiritual head of the organization, it became incumbent on a priest to pass through six successive degrees of the Druidic Order and their arduous trials.
Some authors speculate that such a position was entirely hereditary, yet others considered it to be more likely that it was decided democratically through a form of democratic selection. The Arch-Druid was chosen for his exquisite virtue, moral integrity, and high knowledge of Natural Laws and entrusted with this sacred rank by the most learned adepts of the highest degreed Druids within the Order. According to James Gardner, there typically were two Arch-Druids in Britain with one residing on the Isle of Anglesea and the other one on the isle of Man. These sacred Druidic dignitaries typically bore golden scepters and were crowned with wreaths of oak leaves symbolizing their high authority. The younger members of the order were shaved and humbly dressed, but the older members bore long gray beards and dressed in stately golden robes with holy ornamentation.
The educational learning systems of the British Druids were considered superior to that of their Druidic brothers on the Continent, and thus many of the Gallic youths were sent to the Colleges in Britain for philosophical education and esoteric training. According to Eliphas Levi, the Druids lived in strict abstinence, preserved the deepest secrecy, and only admitted new initiates after long periods of probation. Many of the Druids resided in buildings very similar to the monasteries of the modern world and were organized into groups like the ascetics of the Far East. Celibacy was not a requirement of the Druidic Order, but few ever married with many choosing to retire from the world instead to live, pray, and meditate in caves, stone houses, or tiny shacks built deep in the forest, only emerging occasionally to perform religious activities.
According to James Freeman Clarke, in his book the Ten Great Religions, he states the following about the beliefs of the Druids, "The Druids Believed in three worlds and in transmigration from one to the other: In a world above this, in which happiness predominated; a world below, of misery; and this present state. This transmigration was to punish and reward and also to purify the soul. In the present world, said they, Good and Evil are so exactly balanced that man has the utmost freedom and is able to choose or reject either. The Welsh Triad tell us there are three objects of metempsychosis: to collect into the soul the properties of all being, to acquire a knowledge of all things, and to get power to conquer evil. There are also, they say, three kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the name of each thing, of its cause, and its influence. There are three things which continually grow less: darkness, falsehood, and death. There are three which constantly increase: light, life, and truth."
As in many of these Mystery Traditions, the instruction and teachings of the Druids were diffused into two specific sections. The mundane and basic section, a moral code, was typically taught to all the people, while the profound, esoteric doctrine was entrusted only to the initiated priests. For one to be admitted to the Order, an aspiring neophyte was inherently required to be of a good family and also to be of high moral character. The most sacred and profound secrets of the Druidic Order were never provided to a neophyte unless he had been tempted in numerous ways and his strength of character extremely tried.
The Druidic Order educated the people of Britain and Gaul about the immortality of the soul and instructed them in the principles regarding transmigration and also reincarnation. Essentially they taught that what one borrowed in one life, they promised to pay it back in the next future reincarnated life. Furthermore, the Druidic Adepts taught in a form of purgatorial afterlife process where they would essentially be purged of their karmic sins, subsequently completing the process and journeying on to the bliss of unity with the gods. The Druidic Order also taught that all men would be eventually saved through spiritually ascension and regeneration, and yet also taught that some individuals would have to return cyclically upon this terrestrial plane trying numerous times to adequately learn the karmic and moral lessons of human life as well as successfully master their base, animal desires and thus overcome their lower nature.
Before an aspiring initiate could be entrusted with the Druids' secret doctrines, he would be bound with a vow of secrecy with these doctrines only being imparted to the neophyte in the depths of a forest or in the darkness of caves. In these dark, sacred places, far from men, the initiate was educated about the formation of the cosmos, the personalities of the deities, the laws of Nature, the secrets of occult medicine, the secrets of the celestial orbs, and also the basics of magic and sorcery. The Druids had a plethora of feast days. The new and full moon and the sixth day of the moon were sacred periods.
Furthermore, many designate the sacred days for Druidic initiation occurring during significant celestial timeframes subsequently highlighting the two solstices and the two equinoxes as the preeminent dates for such initiations to have been held. Consequently, at dawn on the 25th of December, the birth of the Sun God was routinely celebrated. Moreover, some have stated that the secret doctrines of the Druidic Order bear obvious similarities, influences, and allusions to numerous aspects of the Pythagorean esoteric philosophy.
Additionally, the Druidic Order contained a version of the sacred feminine Madonna, or Virgin Mother, who held a child in her arms that was highly sacred within their mysteries. Another conceptual similarity between the two mystery traditions was that their Sun God was subsequently resurrected around the same yearly timeframe corresponding to the spring equinox during which modern Christianity celebrates Easter. Furthermore, both the cross and the serpent were sacred symbols to the Druidic Order fashioning their cross by cutting of all the branches of an oak tree and then attaching a branch to the main trunk patterning it into the letter T.
Thus, the Oaken Cross became emblematic of their superior God. The Druidic Order also engaged in the practice of reverently worshiping the sun, moon, and stars, with the Moon receiving special veneration. The Druids are also thought to have worshiped Mercury under the similitude of a stone cube, and they also revered and sacredly acknowledged the myriad of Nature spirits (fairies, gnomes, and undines), which comprised many tiny, magical creatures of the vast forests and rivers subsequently providing these entities with numerous, regular offerings as a form of respect and mutual reciprocity for their magical aid.
Ine describing the Druidic Order, Charles Heckthorn, in his book The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries, states, "Their temples wherein the sacred fire was preserved were generally situate on eminences and in dense groves of oak, and assumed various forms-- circular, because a circle was the emblem of the universe; oval, in allusion to the mundane egg, from which issued, according to the traditions of many nations, the universe, or, according to others, our first parents; serpentine, because a serpent was the symbol of Hu, the Druidic Osiris; cruciform, because a cross is an emblem of regeneration; or winged, to represent the motion of the Divine Spirit. their chief deities were reducible to two, a male and a female, the great father and mother, Hu and Ceridwen, distinguished by the same characteristics as belong to Osiris and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or any other supreme god and goddess representing the two principles of all Being."
In conclusion, though there existed three uniquely ranked degrees within the Druidic Mysteries, a very few aspiring neophytes were endowed with a capacity to successfully attain the holiest and highest initiations. However, if an individual achieved the final degree, this special initiate was subsequently buried within a coffin and after three days were "born again" rising transformed and infused with a higher state of superconscious existence, emblematic of the Sun God's death and resurrection. One of their more dangerous, trying, and highly important tests for separating the individuals with a potential for higher mysteries from those without such capacities, consisted of sending aspiring neophytes out to sea in an open boat instructing them to exercise certain occult powers to survive the ensuing storms in this initiatory trial.
Unfortunately, while many individuals were attempting to successfully complete this enormously arduous and very dangerous task in this trial, they subsequently perished in the storms, losing their lives. Taliesin, an ancient scholar, that passed through these Mysteries, portrays the initiation of the open boat test in Faber's book Pagan Idolatry. The very few that proved themselves capable of completing this third, final degree were said to have been "born again" and were subsequently imbued with higher knowledge and instructed in the secret, hidden truths of reality and nature preserved since antiquity by the Druidic Orders and their Predecessors of the Esoteric Mysteries.
The Cabirian Mysteries of Samothrace were renowned for their deep philosophy, arcane practices, and high secrecy across the ancient world, being surpassed in widespread reverence by only the Sacred Eleusinian Mysteries. The Greek Historian Herodotus proclaimed that the Samothracian Mystery School acquired their spiritual and arcane doctrines, especially those concerning the God Mercury, from the obscure Pelasgians. Unfortunately, very little is known with certainty regarding the sacred esoteric mysteries contained within the holy Cabirian rituals and rites, being almost entirely veiled in the most profound secrecy.
Some individuals have postulated that the Cabirian Gods consisted of seven divine beings which were referred to as "The Seven Spirits of Fire before the Throne of Saturn". While Others held that Divine Cabiri were considered the seven sacred wanderers and were symbolic representations of the seven holy planets. Though the Samothracian Mysteries are generally associated with a vast quantity of deities, the sacred Cabirian mystery ceremonies and ritualistic dramas are centered upon the four brothers.
Accordingly, the sacred Cabirian drama unfolds with the First three brothers, Aschieros, Achiochersus, and Achiochersa violently descending upon and subsequently murdering the fourth brother, called Kashmala (or Cadmillus). Interestingly, the ancient writer Dionysidorus correlates the murderous brothers with specific Grecian Deities: with Aschieros as Demeter, Achiochersus as Pluto, Achiochersa as Persephone, and the murdered brother Kashmala with the God, Hermes.
Furthermore, the Samothracian Mysteries were involved in the worship of the gods Atis and Cybele, one of many sacred allegories depicting the "Myth of the Dying God". The Cabirian Mysteries were further correlated and traced to an early type of pine tree worship, since this particular tree, being inherently sacred to the god Atis, was said to have been initially trimmed into the archetypal form of a cross and subsequently cut down in Attis' honor due to the murdered god's body being discovered at its foot.
The Mysteries of Cabiri were structurally differentiated into three degrees of initiation. Accordingly, the first initiatory degree involved the ritual celebrating of Kashmala's tragic death at the hands of his three brothers. The second initiatory degree consisted of discovering Attis' mutilated body and the subsequent aggregation of its numerous parts after intense labor to find it. The third initiatory degree was generally comprised of people rejoicing and expressing their supreme happiness because Atis is resurrected and consequently effectuates the salvation of the world. The Cabirian Temple of Samothrace was said to contain statuary consisting of numerous strange and eerie deities. These statues depicted a myriad of disturbingly misshapen beings which has subsequently been interpreted esoterically as symbolizing the sacred elemental powers within Nature, as well as possibly representing the Bacchic Titans.
Also of significance was the notable fact that children were capable of being initiated into the Cabirian Mysteries and were even accorded a level of respect equal to the initiated adults. Furthermore, any criminals who were successful in reaching the temple grounds subsequently became safe and protected from any further pursuit by forces of the Law. Additionally, the Cabirian mystery ceremonies were concerned with the nature of navigation, and thus, the Dioscuri navigation Gods, Castor and Pollux, were among those divines promulgated and revered by Cabirian Mystery Initiates.
The sacred Allegory of the Dying-God myth, which involved the Self-murdered god by the not-self, was extremely pervasive and widely diffused throughout the entirety of mystical traditions across all cultures. According to Manly P. Hall, the mythos of the dying-God is the esoteric key to both universal and individual redemption, but it is also the key to spiritual regeneration. He States, "those who do not comprehend the true nature of this supreme allegory are not privileged to consider themselves either wise or truly religious."
Also According to Manly P. Hall, a curious aspect of the dying-God myth was the concept regarding that of the Hanged Man. The more prominent and significant elucidation of this strange conceptual symbolism was found within the Odinic rites whereby Odin hangs himself for nine nights from the branches of the World Tree and subsequently, on the same occasion, pierces his own side with the sacred spear. The result of Odin's magnanimous sacrifice, while he hung suspended above the depths of Niflheim, was Odin's capacity to attain through deep meditation the holy runes or sacred alphabets later utilized to preserve his people's historical records. Consequently, a derivative stemming from this mysterious experience, involves the God Odin occasionally being portrayed seated upon a gallows tree and therefore becoming proclaimed as the patron deity of all those who have died by the noose.
According to Manly P. Hall, the Hanged-Man can be esoterically symbolized as the human spirit being suspended from heaven by a single thread. Thus, Wisdom, and not death, is the sacred reward for such an altruistically voluntary sacrifice during which the human spirit, suspended over the world of illusions, meditating on its unreality, is subsequently rewarded with spiritual Self-realization, an eternal accomplishment.
The most revered and influential Ancient Mystery Tradition was the Eleusinian Mysteries. In the Sacred Eleusinian Mystery Tradition, the initiatory hierarchy of adepts held the tradition's initiatory rituals, sacred celebrations, and their holy rites every five years in the city of Eleusis, in honor of the Goddess Ceres (Sophia, Demeter, Rhea, & Isis) and her daughter, Persephone. The initiates of this school were heralded across Greece for the beauty of their philosophy, high moral character, profound insight into reality's mysteries, and understanding of Natural Cosmic Law, demonstrating such a high degree of calibre within the course of their daily life. The Eleusinian Mysteries are traditionally considered to have been established by the individual Eumolpus roughly 1400 years before the birth of Christ. According to some historical and philosophical researchers, it is thanks to the Platonic system of philosophy and their initiates, that the Eleusinian philosophical principles, conceptual structures, and initiatory ritualism have been preserved on into the modern world.
The esoteric rituals, rites, and ceremonies of Eleusis, infused with their hierophants'' mystical interpretations of Nature's most fundamentally sacred secrets, long overshadowed the numerous civilizations of their Era subsequently integrating into their conceptual esoteric framework any significantly profound knowledge possessed by the lesser-known mystery schools, organizations, and smaller initiatory traditions thereby incorporating these insights into the structures of the Eleusinian Tradition.
Furthermore, ample reasons exist to postulate the notion that all of the seemingly, so-called secret esoteric mystery schools of antiquity existed as merely derivatives and off-shoots of One Holistic Philosophical Tree of Esoteric Initiatory Knowledge that, with its roots firmly established in the highest heavenly plane and its numerous branches penetrating into the terrestrial Earth realm, it is, like the spirit of man, an invisible, omnipresent causal superstructure of the concretized vehicles that give it sacred expression. Accordingly, the Eleusinian Mysteries would constitute the central esoteric nexus and directing spiritual influence (highest plane) that interpenetrates and oversees the myriad of lesser spiritual derivatives (other Mystery Schools) and semi-esoteric religious traditions in other contemporary ancient civilization's sociocultural milieus.
Consequently, the ancient Mysteries were essentially the spiritual avenues through which the one primal philosophical light was promulgated along with its spiritual insights, firm grasp of Natural Laws, and esoteric knowledge and understanding of the unseen planes of existence. Their adepts, initiates, and Hierophants were generally masterfully endowed with highly potent spiritual, moral, and intellectual capacities for sacred knowledge and were the perfected fruit of the divine esoteric tree of heavenly mysteries, that bore witness to the material plane's veiled, occulted causal source of Light and Truth.
The rituals and rites of Eleusis were differentiated and structurally divided into two initiatory levels or degrees of knowledge: these were initiation into the Lesser Mysteries and initiation into the Greater Mysteries. According to James Gardner, the Lesser Mysteries rituals, rites, and initiations occurred around the beginning of Spring on March 21 (the Vernal Equinox) within the town of Agorae. The Greater Mysteries' deeper esoteric rituals, rites, and initiations transpired around the beginning of Fall on September 21-22 (the Autumnal Equinox) in the Greek city of Eleusis. It is believed that the initiations into the Lesser Mysteries were held annually while the higher initiations into the Greater Mysteries were held only every five years.
The esoteric rites and rituals of the Eleusinian Mysteries were sophisticated, arduous, highly intricate, and extremely involved for the aspiring neophytes and potential initiates. Furthermore, for an individual to actually comprehend and understand their esoteric mystery knowledge, with its highly complex symbolism, required an in-depth study of Greek Mythology in its entirety, with its mythological narratives distilled into deeper symbolic interpretations, analyzed within the light of spiritual philosophy, and comprehended within an esoteric conceptual framework by using the secret, occult keys to penetrate into their deeper spiritual meaning regarding cosmic reality. The Lesser Mysteries were dedicated to Persephone, and according to Thomas Taylor and his book the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, "The Lesser Mysteries were designed by the ancient theologists, their founders, to signify occultly the condition of the unpurified soul invested with an earthy body and enveloped in a material and physical nature."
The allegorical legend and esoteric narrative utilized during initiation into the Lesser Mysteries by an aspiring neophyte was the Greek mythological story regarding the abduction of the fertility goddess Persephone, the daughter of Ceres, by the God Hades', Lord of the Underworld. Accordingly, while the beautiful and enchanting goddess Persephone is distracted picking flowers in a lush, scenic meadow, the earth suddenly and abruptly splits open into a yawning chasm out of which emerges, from the depths of his realm, the gloomy God of the Underworld Hades sitting astride his magnificent chariot. Hades had become so enamored and enchanted with Persephone's great beauty that he rode off to capture the Goddess, subsequently capturing Ceres' daughter in his arms, and stealing her away as she screams and struggles to free herself. Hades took the gorgeous goddess of Spring down into his subterranean palace and essentially forces Persephone to become his Dark Queen and divine consort.
Conspicuously, the likelihood that a large number of the average initiates would perceive and comprehend completely the philosophical, metaphysical, and totally esoteric symbolism with its allegorically spiritual template was, apparently, highly improbable and incredibly remote, because the general majority of the Lesser Mysteries' initiates, contemplating its allegorical interpretation, simply believed it represented the Earth's cyclical, successive passing of the four seasons.
Consequently, it is not altogether surprising that garnering any measurably accurate and satisfactory historical testimony or accounting of the esoteric psychospiritual process, its magical rituals, or its hidden knowledge revealed within the Eleusinian Mysteries is utterly impossible as initiates became subsequently bound, upon final initiation, to the most profound and sacred oaths of secrecy, to absolutely never reveal or demystify the occult, esoteric secrets of initiation to the profane masses. The initial rites of initiation involved the aspiring neophyte being placed upon animal skins specifically sanctified for this sacred purpose and thereupon vowed that death would utterly silence & seal his lips before betraying the sacred truths divulged to him upon final initiation.
However, through indirect channels, some secrets have been conveyed and partially demystified over the ages. According to Esoteric Scholar Manly P. Hall, some of these teachings are the following: "The soul of man, often called Psyche, and in the Mysteries of Eleusis symbolized by Persephone, is at its essence a spiritual thing. Its true home is in the higher realms of existence, where, freed from the enslavement of the material form and material concepts, it is said to be truly alive and self-expressive. The Human, or physical, nature of man, according to this doctrine, is a tomb, a quagmire, a false and impermanent thing, the origin of all misery and suffering. Plato describes the body as the sepulcher of the soul; and by this he means not only the human form but also the human nature".
Also according to Manly. P. Hall, the gloom and depression of the Lesser Mysteries was symbolic of the agony pertaining to the spiritual soul being incapable of expressing its divine nature due to its already having agreed upon certain necessary limitations and unavoidable illusions manifested throughout the structural blueprint of the planes comprising our material human world. The primary significance for and underlying spiritual theme of the Eleusinian Mysteries was that man is neither better nor wiser upon death than during life. More importantly, if man did not ceaselessly seek to truly, fundamentally rise above his ignorance & animalistic impulses during this present life and the ensuing reincarnations upon the material plane, the individual is, at his death, forced to eternally wander cyclically repeating the same mistakes previously witnessed during his many lives, until attaining the necessary karmic wisdom.
If the individual remains incapable of mastering as well as overcoming the materialistic desires and possessive impulses of the physical plane, he inevitably carries these with him on journeying into the afterlife's invisible planes, where, arising out of an inability to satiate these baser tendencies, he will continually reside in unending suffering due to such material desires remaining unsatisfied, representing a form a purgatory.
According to Eleusinian philosophic thought, birth into physical existence was death in the fullest sense of the word, and the only real or true birth was that of the spiritual soul of mankind ascending out of the womb of his own material nature. "The soul is dead that slumbers," so says Longfellow, and with this poignant statement he strikes the heart of the Eleusinian Mystery concept. Just as Narcissus, gazing at himself in the water (symbolically used by the ancients to express the transitory, illusionary, material universe) lost his life trying to embrace his reflection, so mankind, peering into the mirror of Nature and accepting as his true self the ridiculous clay he sees reflected back at him, will lose the opportunity offered by the physical life to unfold his eternal, invisible self.
Transmigration and reincarnation were taught in these Mysteries, yet they were expressed in an unusual manner. It was thought that at midnight the invisible realms were nearest to the terrestrial sphere and that souls coming into to physical existence slipped in during the midnight hour, and for this express reason the Eleusinian rituals and rites were only enacted at midnight. It was also believed that some of those sleeping spirits that had failed to gain access to their divine, higher nature during their life on earth and who now wandered around in the invisible realms, encompassed in a deep darkness of their own making, would sporadically slip though at this hour and would assume the form of various creatures and animals.
Furthermore, the esoteric adepts of the Eleusinian Mysteries emphatically, poignantly highlighting, to both aspiring neophytes and those already initiated, that committing suicide was considered inherently evil, being essentially the greatest sacrilege within the mystery teachings of antiquity, and continuously reiterated the deeply profound karmic significance incurred upon any individual that performed the crime of suicide, one so serious that they wouldn't & couldn't speak about it at great length. Moreover, the Initiated Adepts and presiding Hierophants unequivocally warned and admonished their initiates, disciples, and neophytes that a great and terrible sorrow would descend upon All who decided to take their own life.
Some scholars believe that it was this concept, which in essence, constituted the revealed esoteric secret provided during a neophyte's initiation into the Lesser Mysteries. Since this degree of initiation was largely founded upon the myriad of sorrows experienced by the individuals who failed to act in the best of interest of their philosophic opportunities during life, the numerous chambers of initiation were enacted underground being filled by visceral illustrations as well as imagery depicting the Horrors imposed by Pluto for such failures, and thus were enacted through complex ritualistic dramas elucidating the karmic repercussions.
Upon successfully traversing through the arduously difficult passages, with their myriad of trials and dangers, the neophyte was awarded the honorific title of Mystes, with this term Mystes representing one who had seen through the veil, only seeing through clouded vision. Furthermore, it signified that the initiate had penetrated the veil of illusions, which subsequently would be ripped away upon attaining initiation into the higher degrees of the Greater Mysteries.
The Greater Mysteries (into which the initiate was allowed admittance only upon successfully completing all of the trials and ordeals of the Lesser Mysteries, and not always then) were considered to be sacred to the Goddess Ceres, Persephone's divine Mother, and represented her subsequent journey through the material world (underworld) on a quest to rescue her stolen daughter. Ceres carried two torches, intuition and reason, to aid her during the search for the lost child Persephone (symbolizing the soul's journey). Accordingly, Ceres discovered her daughter Persephone not far from the city of Eleusis, and out of extreme gratitude Ceres decided to instruct and educate the people residing there in the cultivation of corn, a plant sacred to her, and subsequently established the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Afterwards, Ceres appeared before the God Pluto subsequently imploring and pleading him to allow her daughter Persephone to return home. Initially, the God of the Underworld adamantly refused to sanction due to Persephone having already eaten of the pomegranate, the fruit of mortality. Ultimately, Pluto compromised making an agreement with Ceres which essentially permitted Persephone to reside in the upper world one half of the year if she would subsequently return to him to live in darkness for the remaining half of the year. The Greeks believed that Persephone was a sacred manifestation of the solar energy, symbolizing that during winter months she lived under the earth with Pluto (the solar orb retracting its life-giving rays during winter), but that during the ensuing summer months of the year the solar orb returned along with the goddess of fertility and agricultural vitality, bringing with her (the sun) a spring-like spiritual regeneration of life.
Thomas Taylor describes the secret doctrines of the Greater Mysteries in the following statement: "The Greater Mysteries obscurely intimated, by mystic and splendid vision, the felicity of the soul both here and hereafter when purified from the defilement of a material nature, and constantly elevated to the realities of intellectual (spiritual) vision." Just as the Lesser Mysteries spoke of the prenatal epoch of man when the consciousness in nine days (embryologically, representing the nine months of pregnancy) went down into the world of illusion subsequently donning its material sheath in the veil of unreality, so the Greater Mysteries symbolized the principles of spiritual regeneration whereby it was revealed to initiates not only the most basic but also the most direct and complete methodology for extricating their higher spiritual principles from enslavement of terrestrial, material ignorance.
Additionally, the nine days of initiation were symbolic of the nine celestial spheres descended through by the human spirit during the process of ensoulment within an earthly, dense physical form. The secret esoteric practices and training exercises for spiritual regeneration and enhancement provided to initiates of the highest degrees are unfortunately unknown, yet there remain numerous reasons to believe these occult exercises were in many respects quite similar to the Brahminic Mysteries, since it is well known that the Eleusinian rituals and ceremonies were concluded with the Sanskrit words "Konx Om Pax" which certainly provides a significant clue to their esoteric nature.
Another significant clue for deciphering these mysterious methodologies, involves the allegorical references to the two six-month periods one during which Persephone must remain with Pluto, while the second six-month period refers to the time she may revisit the higher world, and therefore these binary durational periods may offer material for deep spiritual consideration, so states esoteric scholar Manly P. Hall in the Secret Teachings of All Ages, which provides enormous quantities of esoteric material and exceedingly detailed analysis of such mystery symbolism.
It is entirely possible, even highly probable, that the Eleusinian's Mysteries with its extremely knowledgeable Hierophants came to the significant realization that the soul left the body during the sleep or that this feat was at least a possibility through a rigorous, persistent, and special occult methodology of psychic training which these ancient occultists likely could provide initiates of their Greater Mysteries. Thus, Persephone would remain as Pluto's queen during the waking hours yet would reascend into the spiritual worlds during the unavoidably cyclical periods of sleep and rest, equating to essentially Astral Projection into the non-physical planes of existence.
Subsequently, the initiate was educated on how to intercede with Hades to allow Persephone (the neophyte's soul) to reascend out of the abyss, equating to his material nature, and journey back into the light of spiritual wisdom and understanding. Consequently, when the initiate liberated himself from the material constraints of his "clay" physical sheath and inevitable crystallization of his higher spiritual principles, the initiate was thereupon freed not only during the period of this present life but subsequently for the rest of eternity. Forever thereafter was the initiated high adept fully divested of all the lower bodies or principles which upon death expired and those left constituting his divine vehicles for subsequent manifestation and expression for residing within the highest spiritual planes of existence.
Upon an initiate's spiritual journey, the aspiring neophyte would enter into chambers of increasingly greater magnificence in order to adequately portray symbolically, to the initiate, the conceptual framework involved during his spiritual ascent out of the lower planes of dense, gross Matter into the higher non-physical planes of spiritual bliss. At nadir and climax of his spiritual path, the initiate entered into a vaulted, green chamber, in the center of which stood a majestically illuminated statue of the Goddess Ceres, and it was here, in the presence of the hierophant surrounded by priests wearing the ornate robes of their Order, that he was instructed and conveyed the highest and most sacred of the mysteries contained within the Secret Esoteric School of Eleusis.
Upon its initiatory conclusion and subsequent culminating ceremonies, the "reborn" initiate became proclaimed as an Epoptes, symbolizing one who has witnessed and beheld directly the Mysteries of the Divine Godhead. For this reason, was initiation also termed autopsy. The newly proclaimed Epoptes was subsequently provided with several special, deeply sacred books of wisdom & knowledge, very probably written in a form of esoterically encoded cipher, along with several stone tablets upon which were engraved secret instructions for him alone.
John A. Weisse, in his book on Freemasonry called The Obelisk, describes the officiating personages of the Eleusinian Mysteries as comprising a male and female hierophant who directed the initiations; a male and a female torchbearer; a male herald; a male and female altar attendant as well as many other minor officials. Weisse further states that according to the ancient philosopher Porphyry, the Eleusinian Hierophant symbolizes Plato's presiding cosmic architect the Demiurgeous, the ONE Creator of the Universe; the torchbearer, symbolizes the Celestial Orb of the Sun; the altar man, symbolizes the Moon; the herald, symbolizes Hermes & Mercury; and the other minor officials, symbolize the remaining minor celestial objects, the countless Stars of the night sky.
Furthermore, the records indicate and allude to quite strange, apparently supernatural phenomena which manifested from the psychic energies released during the occult rituals. Moreover, a number of previously initiated individuals claim to have personally witnessed such strange Occult phenomena including manifestations of the actual living Gods themselves, as unbelievable as it sounds, who can say except a True Occult Master. Regardless, whether or not this resulted from an energetic overflow of religious ecstasy or really was the superphysical cooperation of several astral-etheric spiritual entities manifested due to the initiatory energies and emanations of occult powers derived from the visible occult magicians, needless to say, entirely remains a complete Mystery and unresolvable.
Notably, both women and also children were allowed admittance into the Sacred Eleusinian Mysteries, being stated that at one point there existed literally thousands of Eleusinian Initiates. However, due to the fact that this vast host was likely unprepared and lacked the necessary enhanced spiritual capacities for receiving the highest spiritual and esoteric doctrines, inevitably a philosophical split occurred between the initiatory types and subsequently they split the mysteries into two hermetically sealed sections of doctrinal initiation and restructured the Eleusinian Mysteries according to this new line of demarcation, in essence unequivocally restricting the higher mysteries to only a select few individual initiates, ones endowed with the greatest intellectual capacity for understanding such abstract occult knowledge. Consequently, the higher esoteric teachings were provided to only a very limited number of initiates, who due to a superior intellect and mental fortitude, those who exhibited an ability for comprehensively grasping the underlying, philosophically deeper spiritual concepts.
Unquestionably, many esoteric scholars are in agreement that the Eleusinian Mysteries were founded upon as well as grounded in the great eternal truths of the Cosmos, and which can be attested to by the enormous scale of veneration and deeply pervasive respect these Mysteries received from the greatest philosophical minds and esoteric prodigies of antiquity, including Plato, Pythagoras, Cicero, some Gnostics, and Iamblichus. The garments donned by full adept initiates during their final initiatory ceremonies and rituals were subsequently preserved for decades thereafter being considered as radiating magical energies and considered, certainly by the initiate who had worn it, an almost entirely sacred piece of attire, to be used only within an atmosphere of spiritual activity and religious ceremonial rituals.
Just as the soul can have no covering save wisdom and virtue, so the initiate, being as yet without true esoteric knowledge, was introduced and admitted into the Mysteries unclothed and naked. Accordingly, the aspiring neophyte was initially provided with only an animal skin, but upon an aspiring neophyte's successful initiation into higher degrees, one of greater rank as a degreed initiate, this individual was subsequently provided with consecrated robes, symbolizing the philosophical teachings & knowledge acquired by the new initiate of the Order. In the course of an initiation, the neophyte aspirant proceeded through two gates, pregnant with esoteric symbolism.
The first of these two Gates descended into the Earthen caverns of the lower worlds symbolizing allegorically his involution, ensoulment, and physical birth into spiritual ignorance & illusion. Correspondingly, the second of these two initiatory Gates ascended up into an obscure room brilliantly illuminated by numerous pre-lit unseen lamps, one which depicted or possibly contained the Goddess Ceres in statuary form, which represented allegorically the higher dimensional planes, symbolic of Light and Truth's celestial as well as divine abode. Strabo states that the great temple of Eleusis would hold between twenty and thirty thousand people. The caves dedicated to Zoroaster also had these two doors, symbolizing the paths of birth and death.
The following paragraph from Porphyry gives a reasonably adequate conception of the Eleusinian mystery symbolism: " God being a luminous principle, residing in the midst of the most subtle fire, he remains forever invisible to the eyes of those who do not elevate themselves above material life: on this account, the sight of transparent bodies, such as crystal, Parian marble, and even ivory, recalls the idea of divine light; as the sight of fold excites an idea of its purity, for gold cannot be sullied. Some have thought by a black stone was signified the invisibility of the divine essence. To express supreme reason, the Divinity was represented under the human form-- and beautiful, for God is the source of beauty; of different ages, and in various attitudes, sitting or upright; of one or the other sex, as a virgin or a young man, a husband or a bride, that all the shades and gradations might be marked.
Everything luminous was subsequently attributed to the gods; the sphere, and all that is spherical, to the universe, to the sun and the moon-- sometimes to Fortune and Hope. The circle, and all circular figures, to eternity-- to the celestial movements, to the circles and zones of the heavens. The section of circles, to the phases of the moon; and the pyramids and obelisks, to the igneous principle, and through that to the gods of Heaven. A cone expresses the sun; a cylinder the earth; the phallus and triangle (a symbol of the matrix) designate generation."