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        Eleusian Mysteries: (Elysian, Eleusinian)

It is an ironic testimony to the loyalty of the initiates that there is little, if any agreement, on exactly what the inner meaning of the Eleusian mysteries was.

The Elysian fields were written by the Greeks as existing in the ‘underworld’ and were said to be the final resting place for the souls of the worthy, but the truth is that the actual meaning of the mysteries themselves has been lost to us.

Virgil wrote mysteriously that '...the region has a sun and stars of its own...' and connects them with the sibyls to the underworld through Aeneas quest to find his dead father, and we are reminded by Bulfinch (5), that Homer believed that the Elysian plain existed physically 'on the western margins of the earth, by the stream of ocean', and that the Elysium of Hesiod was on the 'Fortunate islands' or the 'Isles of the blessed' in the western ocean, which became the longitude used by both Marinus of Tyre and Plato as the Meridian for their world maps.  

 

   The Origin of the Mysteries:

According to Diodorus Siculus, the Cretans professed that they received the 'mysteries' from the Egyptians, and that they passed them on to the Greeks. Eleusia (Eleusis) was the home of the earth-mother Demeter, but she has older origins that can be seen in the Egyptian mythologies. Diodorus siculus also wrote that the mysteries of Isis were the same as those of Demeter and that the mysteries of Osiris were the same as Dionysus.

Herodotus also mentioned that Osiris was named Dionysus by the Greeks (4), and in fact, there are several convincing enough parallels between the Roman (Demeter and Dionysus), Greek (Ceres, Bacchus), Egyptian (Isis and Osiris), and Babylonian (Tammuz and Ishtar) mythologies to consider them as having all originated from a common ancestral myth.

In all these myths, the male character is variously referred to as having more than one family connection to the female character, (i.e. Osiris was the son of Isis, at the same time as being her husband and Father), but more importantly, we also see that all these deities have inherently similar qualities, namely that they are associated with agriculture, the advent of civilisation, serpents and perhaps most importantly, the underworld...(qualities we have seen as being common to the oracle centres of ancient Greece).

In Greece, Demeter's great festival was called the Eleusina and was celebrated at Eleusis, which was chosen as a site following Demeter’s search for her lost daughter Persephone who was taken by Pluto to Hades (the underworld). The distraught earth goddess eventually retired to Eleusia, where she became the nurse to the kings sons and, in strikingly similarity to the myth of Isis (who thrust the son of the king of Byblos into a fire, during her search for Osiris), Demeter places one of the kings sons Demophon, into a fire in order to make him immortal. However, the screams of his mother break the spell and he perishes. In this myth, Demeter compensates the parents by giving their other son Triptolemus seeds, the art of agriculture, and a chariot with winged dragons. Pausanias wrote that she instructed Triptolemus and his father in the performance of her ‘rites and mysteries’ (4). Eventually, Persephone is released for one third of each year, while having to spend the rest in the underworld (analogous to a seed of corn).

 

 

   The Eleusian Mysteries and the Oracle Centres:

As well as the traditional association between Oracle centres the Eleusian mysteries, it is perhaps curious that the centre of the Eleusian mysteries themselves - Eleusis, appears to have been geodetically located, in accordance with the same system of 360° as seen in Egypt, the Middle east and Europe. In the Greek myth we see that Demeter makes an apparently random stop at Eleusis, and are given no further clues to explain her decision. However, it is particularly noteworthy in relation to this that Santillana (6), records Eleusis as having had a well-spring in it covered by a navel-stone, as suggested by Cornford, who says that “one of these phreata (=wells) in Eleusis was closed at its mouth by the agelastos petra,” i.e. the laughter-less rock; and that Demeter was agelastos because of the loss of Persophone. He adds that the place-name was understood by the Greeks as “Advent”, a word used in the New Testament in reference to the ‘advent of Christ’ (26). The same theme as seen to be repeated in the mythology of Mecca and other earth-navels.  

(More about Navel-Stones)

Eleuse Alaise: Xavier Guichard

Xavier Guichard. Eleuse Alaise.Livvio Stecchini demonstrated a clear connection between the location of Oracle centres and a knowledge of longitude and latitude.(7) The similarity between the myths and traditions of the oracle centres and the Eleusian mysteries implies that they too should show evidence of specific placement of Eleusian sites, and that is exactly what we find through the work of the famous French detective Xavier Guichard who remains relatively unnoticed today regardless of (or due to), his astonishing claims regarding the level of prehistoric geometric abilities. Guichard claimed to have discovered two prehistoric 'rose des vents' covering France and extending into other parts of Europe, based on 24 landscape alignments (corridors of incidence), all orientated so as to pass through a common centre-point (called Alaise). Secondly, he identified three European 'root' names; Burgos, Antium, and Alaise, which he believed (similar to his UK counterpart, Alfred Watkins) had different meanings. He suggested that the 'Alesian' 'rose des vents', were associated with ancient mineral sources but more controversially, that the 'Alesian' locations had been placed according to their longitude and latitude.

(More about the geodetic placement of oracle centres)

Guichard also claimed to have found evidence of a separate 'solstice rose des vents' at Alesia, based on solar observations, creating a valuable connection between prehistoric geometry and astronomy, and from which it may still be possible to date such a formation.  He concluded that he had uncovered the vestiges of what had been called the 'Eleusian mysteries' by the Greeks. It is perhaps just a coincidence that both Stecchini and Guichard (supported by Manias), independently concluded that the true secret of the mysteries involved the application of longitude in relation to the placement of ancient and sacred sites.

Eleusis - (38° 00’ N, 18° 00’ E)    Alaise - (47° 00' N. 5° 58' E)

A separation between sites of 9° Latitude and (almost exactly) 6° Longitude.

As well as the astronomical 'Rose-des-Vents' Guichard realised that his research had, in his own words;

'revealed the existence of geodesic lines that converge on the 'alesia' of Alaise, and of other alignments that appear on modern maps...These alignments belong to a geodetic system completely different from those that make up the line that converge into two 'rose des vents'. And it is only through satisfying their existence out of necessity that the lines which cross through Alaise were analyzed in the first place'. (1)

He continues...

'These new lines are those that run parallel and perpendicular to the Equator, their trace reproduced therefore, on a map as latitudes and longitudes...'

Click here for enlarged image.

Strange as it may seem now, supporting evidence for Guichard's theory of France holding the key to the 'mysteries' can still be seen in the official centre of the French capital Paris, which was suggested (by J. Michell) to have been named Par-Isis, in relation to an ancient temple of Isis (at Versaille), and where the 'Champs-Elysées' which literally translated means 'Elysian-fields', can be seen to point directly in line with the midsummer sunrise at 52° . We will see later that this particular orientation is shared by other French sites such as at Versailles cathedral and Mont St. Michel, also both orientated along the azimuth of the mid-summer sun, but at an angle of 26°.  The importance of the 52nd latitude can be seen in the location of the 'Great Decagon' in England, which unites both Glastonbury, Stonehenge and Avebury (along with several other significant sites), was centered at Whiteleaved Oak (52˚ 01' 20" N)

(More about the Great decagon)  ۞  (More about Xavier Guichard)

 

An Independent study of Guichard's original data (Click here to view), confirms the accuracy of his report. It is noticeable however that that there is a fundamental difference between Stecchini's Oracle centres and Guichard's Alaise locations in that the 'Alaisian' sites are all situated on exact lines of latitude and are therefore all separated by multiples of complete degrees (i.e. 1°, 2°, 3°..), while the oracle centers still being separated by exact degrees, are situated at latitudes of X° +30' (i.e. 1° 30', 2° 30', 3° 30'), although both are still based on a global division of 360°.

At almost exactly the same time as Xavier Guichard was researching the ‘Alaise’ alignments in France, Alfred Watkins was independently in the process of uncovering the network of ley-lines that covers the UK. Watkins originally named his alignments 'ley' lines because of the frequency of place-names containing 'ley' (A 'ley' or 'lea' is variously translated as a clearing or glade). The similarities in place-names is of interest as there is no suggestion that the two men had any idea of each others existence, and both men provide good reasons for naming their findings as they did. This reinforces the suggestion by Guichard that a system of placement once existed that stretched across Europe (and one which shows evidence of a common unit of measurement - as later suggested by Prof. A. Thom). The relevance of both Thom and Watkins work is considered in more detail in the next section.

(Prehistoric British Geodesy)  ۞ (Prehistoric Egyptian Geodesy)

 

In conclusion then, we can see in ancient Greece a tradition of placing oracle centres and other prominent sacred sites according to the same geometric principles as the Egyptians displayed before them. The research by Manias and Guichard suggests that latitude was calculable at this time but not as a common knowledge and such abilities are not seen again in Europe until around 1600 AD (except perhaps in the Piri-reis map and associated Portolano's). Although mythology cannot be regarded as proof absolute, there is a strong suggestion that the Eleusian mysteries were connected both to the oracle centres and to a primitive form of earth-mother worship, which included several ‘mysteries’, including the apparent ability to calculate longitude and latitude as evidenced by the location of Eleusis, the home of the mysteries themselves. Several earlier cultures offer themselves as potential ‘donors’ of this information, both through similarities in earth-mother mythologies and the placement of associated sacred sites according to geometric principles, as evidenced by the pre-Hellenic Greeks, Cretans (Minoans), Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and finally by the megalithic Europeans, as realised by Guichard, Watkins and Thom.

(More about the World-Grid)  ۞  (More about Prehistoric Geometry)

 

 

   The Eleusian Mysteries and Psychoactive Drugs:

'Some scholars believe that the power of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from the kykeon's functioning as a psychedelic agent. (20) Barley may be parasitized by the fungus ergot, which contains the psychoactive alkaloids lysergic acid amide (LSA), a precursor to LSD and ergonovine. It is possible that a psychoactive potion was created using known methods of the day. The initiates, sensitized by their fast and prepared by preceding ceremonies, may have been propelled by the effects of a powerful psychoactive potion into revelatory mind states with profound spiritual and intellectual ramifications'. (20)

'While modern scholars have presented evidence supporting their view that a potion was drunk as part of the ceremony, the exact composition of that agent remains controversial. Modern preparations of kykeon using ergot-parasitized barley have yielded inconclusive results, although Shulgin and Shulgin describe both ergonovine and LSA to be known to produce LSD-like effects. (22) Terence McKenna argued that the mysteries were focused around a variety of Psilocybin mushrooms, and various other entheogenic plants, such as Amanita muscaria mushrooms, have also been suggested but at present no consensus has been reached. (24) The size of the event may rule out Amanita or Psilocybe mushrooms as active ingredient, since it is unlikely that there would have been enough wild mushrooms for all participants. However a recent hypothesis suggests that Psilocybe cultivation technology was not unknown in ancient Egypt, (25) from which it could easily have spread to Greece'.

'Another theory is that the kykeon was an Ayahuasca analog involving Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala), a shrub which grows throughout the Mediterranean and also functions as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The most likely candidate for the DMT containing plant, of which there are many in nature, would be a species of Acacia. (26) Other scholars however, noting the lack of any solid evidence and stressing the collective rather than individual character of initiation into the Mysteries, regard entheogenic theories with pointed skepticism'. (27)

(More about the role of drugs in prehistory)

 

(Geodesy)

(The Oracle Centres)

(Eleusis Alesia - French Original)

(Ancient Greece Homepage)

References:

1). Xavier Guichard. Eleuse Alaise.
4). D. A. Mackenzie, Crete and Prehellenic. 1995. Senate Books.
5). Thomas Bulfinch. The Golden age of Myth and Legend. 1993. Wordsworth.
6). Georgio de Santillana Et al, Hamlets Mill. 1977. Godine Books.
7). R. Temple. The Sirius mystery. 1997. St. Martins Press.
20). Wasson, R. Gordon, Ruck, Carl, Hofmann, A., The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978.
22). Shulgin & Shulgin. Tihkal. Transform Press, 1997.
24). T. McKenna. Food of the Gods: Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. Bantam, January 1993.
25). Stephen R. Berlant. "The entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns and the esoteric underpinnings of Egyptian religion" (pdf). Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
26). Metzner, Ralph. "The Reunification of the Sacred and the natural". Eleusis Volume VIII, 1997. pp. 3-13
27). Burkert, op.cit. Ch.4
 

 

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