The Gods and Goddesses of Greece, and the Greek Creation Saga Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 5 - Comparisons of the Mystery Religions PERSEPHONE/ PROSERPINE: A Sun Deity The Lesser Mysteries Celebrated annually in the spring at the town of Agrae The initiate was stripped and made to stand on animal skins, and then wear animal skins to represent the animal nature. Then s/he watched a "play" or performance of the story of Persephone. She was the goddess of the dream world, which ironically is also the realm of enlightenment. Symbolism: The Psyche/Soul  >>> gets caught in the sensuality of the material world, represented by the pomegranate. (A pomegranate looks much like an apple on the outside, and may be similar to Eve’s apple.) The ceremony took nine days, representing the nine month gestation period of human beings. DEMETER/CERES A Titan goddess of corn/grain The Greater Mysteries Every five years in the fall at Eleusis The initiate had to confront his fears in dark passageways under the temple. If s/he overcame fear, s/he came out into a lighted temple with a beautiful white statue of the goddess. She was given a white robe to wear. Symbolism: The Divine (Demeter, the Great Goddess) will search for her beloved child, the soul. She carried two torches, representing intuition and reason, to aid in her search. The soul of the human is essentially a spiritual thing, and its true home is in the higher spiritual worlds, free from material form. DIONYSUS/BACCHUS A Sun Deity god of the vine/wine A much later celebration. It took place annually at the harvest of grapes in the fall. (It may be another example of a male deity taking over from the female.) The initiate watched a performance of the story of Dionysus. The actor playing the god came out on a cart; his body was painted red, like the color of the grapes. Satyrs or half men/half goats, accompanied him; their sexual joking gave rise to the performance of comedy. Symbolism: The Rational Soul >>> gets caught in irrational materialism. Dionysus was the other side of Apollo; but even within himself he brought both truth ("In vino veritas") and irrationality (drunkenness). Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily