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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why Sacred Drama?


Why enact the Sacred Dramas from the Lesser Mysteries?
I give you here a compilation of my own thoughts and information
found on the net and in books on this sacred ancient spiritual practise.

Rebirth requires descent; this is one of the mysteries. The ascent to another way of being, the ascent of transformation, cannot occur without disintegration, without the process of breaking down completely -- being pulverized really, physically, emotionally, spiritually. If the container of self is not smashed, the vision cannot enter. The vision is the flash of light that re-organizes the self. Afterwards, if one is fortunate and graced by the generosity of the gods -- one reconstitutes, or is reconstituted, according to the laws and principles of a new life, a new dimension, a new world, a new universe.

Descent takes place in our ordinary lives through sickness, ill health,
addictions, insomnia, frustration of goals and ideals, repeated failure
to manifest your goals, the loss of a loved one, through betrayal
and abandonment.  Re-enacting the sacred drama leads to a deeper
understanding and wisdom of the trials and tribulations of
daily life and its abduction into the Underworld.

     What distinguishes any Mystery religion, is that it is based upon mysteries. Its rites and practices take us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth or the underworld where we examine a series of unanswerable and awesome questions and, are, accordingly, altered by this willingness to enter and be worked upon by the elemental forces that live in the domain of the unknown and unknowable. This is not descending into chaos, though it feels chaotic when we are there. It is entering into domains that cannot be understood in the ways we generally seek and convey understanding. It is entering into worlds that operate by different laws altogether. Integrity is required and so we must be reconstituted; this is the way of transformation.

Enacting the Mystery of the Rape of Kore and the return of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.

     But even more than this was at stake when the Mysteries were practiced. When the mystes offered themselves up to the rite of initiation, the gods, as they do everywhere when carefully and consciously evoked, came forth and made themselves known. Persephone was said to have appeared. This was the epiphany. How that occurred we do not exactly know, for participants were prohibited to speak about it on pain of death, and also, the experience was ineffable, meaning it is impossible to put such an experiences into words.

   Kore is pulled down into the underworld. Ultimately, she loses her innocence, gains a name and a Presence. The name is Persephone, Queen of Hades.

     This is what is not told in the myth: How did this transformation take place? What actually occurred during those three months in Hades when the innocent nameless one took on the Presence of the Goddess? What are the details of descent, deconstruction, and reconstitution? What do physicists imagine happens to someone who speeds through the worm hole from one dimension or universe to another? What happened to Christ in the three days before the resurrection? Where is the map of initiation that we must follow to shattering and breakdown before we are sufficiently transformed to emerge elsewhere? What is the process through which we are altered so that we can go through the door to the next world?
 but that it was our intent to, simultaneously, recapitulate the ordeal of the Mysteries, retell the story of Persephone, and, to perform our own individual stories of descent and vision. We had the task of creating the vision, the flash of light from out of the dark earth of ourselves so that for an instant, for a the moment of epiphany, we would each see and became, the arrhetos koura, the "ineffable maiden," the dark Queen.

     It is inevitable as we re-enter the myth and the rituals, the moments of being dragged down, held captive, struggling for release and finally bursting forth in flames, the intense concentration of our particular individual agonies and ordeals, the disintegration and reconstitution that we each individually experienced, that we would become both "Brimo the queen of the dead giving birth in fire" and her mighty son, Brimos, and so, emerge like Dionysus, who is also central to these Mysteries, reborn, twice born.

     That is we were new born and we were ancient. To fully negotiate the domain of Persephone, to carry the wisdom and insight of the underworld, to be able to live according to the dark vision of Hades is to be as old as it is possible to be. Yet to be suddenly reconstituted in this new plane is to be reborn, and to be reborn is to be new and innocent; it cannot be any other way.

At this point in the Mysteries, one begins the long climb back to the earthy realm of the Mother, of Demeter, carrying the old wisdom like a great fire, or a small seed that will be planted again. But the one who carries such insight and vision into Demeter’s world, can neither be the Kore, the innocent one, nor Persephone of Hades. And though the Eleusinian Mysteries are the rites of Demeter, the earth goddess does not, herself, descend into the underworld. There is only one who incorporates all the worlds at once: She is Hekate, the goddess of child birth and death, the old one who, it is said, led Persephone out of Hades and who, from then on, never left her side, following her in the endless cycle of descent and rebirth. Hekate, the old one, who is by her nature constituted around the Kore as a seed within herself. Hekate who mediates between and contains all the worlds at once. Hekate, the Three in One, the Triple Goddess incarnate. The constantly shifting dynamic, the co-existence and co-extension of all the realms, is Hekate’s esoteric and embodied domain.

One way or another each kore went through his or her own individual disintegration, and then after the vision, after epiphany, returned, but transformed, to his or her own individual and parallel universe, as Persephone had returned to the earth realm of Demeter transformed – reborn

We may appear to be the same afterwards and we will not have words for it no matter how hard we try, but we will no longer be who we once were. When we are together with citizens of the new world into which we have been born, we recognize this among ourselves. We speak another language. We see what we have not seen before. We enter into dialogue with the spirits of this other world. This is the way and means of initiation. To enter into the mysteries is to be initiated. And to be initiated is to be able to walk in an other dimension.

       It was said that those who once enacted the Mysteries would gain their immortal souls in this world and in the next. To gain a soul is to gain the ability to walk in two worlds, to be admitted to that other dimension inhabited by the gods. The only way across is the arduous and mysterious path of dying to what one was and is so that one can be reborn.