“ XXXIX. TO CERES [DEMETER ELEUSINIA]The Fumigation from Storax.O Universal mother, Ceres [Deo] fam’d august, the source of wealth, and various nam’d:
Great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joy’st in peace, to nourish corn is thine:
Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing, are thy constant care;
Who dwell’st in Eleusina’s seats retir’d, lovely, delightful queen, by all desir’d.
Nurse of all mortals, whose benignant mind, first ploughing oxen to the yoke confin’d;
And gave to men, what nature’s wants require, with plenteous means of bliss which all desire.
In verdure flourishing in honor bright, assessor of great Bacchus [Bromios], bearing light:
Rejoicing in the reapers sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find.
Prolific, venerable, Nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Proserpine [Koure]:
A car with dragons yok’d, ’tis thine to guide, and orgies singing round thy throne to ride:
Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine and fruits of lovely green.
Bright Goddess, come, with Summer’s rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling Peace;
Come, with fair Concord and imperial Health, and join with these a needful store of wealth.”
I know that I am intending to get the Athanassakis book on the Orphic Hymns in the near future (as soon as my budget will allow) and had not intended to do any commentary on the hymns themselves, but the hymn to Demeter of Eleusis contains some of the few bits of information that we have on the Mysteries. More is found here for those who are interested.
There are modern attempts to recreate the Mysteries but nothing that has become formalized. This means that for the time being we must create them for ourselves. For me, I plan to begin with a day of purification and fasting from meat (as this was a festival which was probably related to the agricultural cycle) followed by a period of contemplating what Demeter and Persephone mean to me — including some personal studies of the Homeric hymns to Demeter (one of which is too long to include in a short blog entry, unlike the Orphic one) and trying to figure out how it fits in with the modern day. As the first day of the Eleusinia ta Megala also happens to correspond with the Celtic/Wiccan festival of Mabon this year it is a serendipitous way for my family to connect the northern Gods with the Hellenic ones and find ways to co-celebrate. HOWEVER, I plan on continuing to celebrate the Eleusinia for the entire 7 days and conclude with an attempt through meditation to achieve some of what the ancient celebrants did with their vision of Persephone.
I do not know if I will ever live to see the day when the Mysteries are publicly celebrated again. I pledge to the Two Goddesses that I will try to reignite the sacred fires again.