Posts Tagged With: Eleusinian Mysteries

History of Shamanism

History of Shamanism

 

Shamanistic practices are thought to predate all organized religions, and certainly date back to the neolithic period. Aspects of shamanism are encountered in later, organized religions, generally in their mystic and symbolic practices. Greek paganism was influenced by shamanism, as reflected in the stories of Tantalus, Prometheus, Medea, Calypso among others, as well as in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and other mysteries. Some of the shamanic practices of the Greek religion were later adopted into the Roman religion.

There is a strong shamanistic influence in the Bšn religion of central Asia, and in Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism became popular with shamanic peoples such as the Tibetans, Mongols and Manchu beginning with the eighth century. Forms of shamanistic ritual combined with Tibetan Buddhism became institutionalized as the state religion under the Chinese Yuan dynasty and Qing dynasty. One common element of shamanism and Buddhism is the attainment of spiritual realization, at times mediated by entheogenic (psychedelic) substances.

The shamanic practices of many cultures were virtually wiped out with the spread of Christianity. In Europe, starting around 400 CE, the Christian church was instrumental in the collapse of the Greek and Roman religions. Temples were systematically destroyed and key ceremonies were outlawed. Beginning with the middle ages and continuing into the Renaissance, remnants of European shamanism were wiped out by campaigns against witches. These campaigns were often orchestrated by the Catholic Inquisition.

The repression of shamanism continued as Christian influence spread with Spanish colonization. In the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Catholic priests followed in the footsteps of the Conquistadors and were instrumental in the destruction of the local traditions, denouncing practitioners as “devil worshippers” and having them executed. In North America, the English Puritans conducted periodic campaigns against individuals perceived as witches. More recently, attacks on shamanic practitioners have been carried out at the hands of Christian missionaries to third world countries. As recently as the nineteen seventies, historic petroglyphs were being defaced by missionaries in the Amazon.

It has been postulated that modern state campaigns against the use of psychedelic substances are the offshoot of previous religious campaigns against shamanism.Today, shamanism, once universal, survives primarily among indigenous peoples. Shamanic practice continues today in the tundras, jungles, deserts, and other rural areas, and also in cities, towns, suburbs and shantytowns all over the world. This is especially widespread in Africa as well as South America, where “mestizo shamanism” is widespread.

Many recent efforts have been made trying to link shamanic practice and knowledge with Western, scientific beliefs. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby has proposed that shamans take their consciousness down to the molecular level, working with DNA and viruses that they see as the twin serpents or malicious “darts”. The holomovement theory proposed by David Bohm is often seen as an approach to create a scientific foundation for concepts such as parallel worlds and alternative ways to traverse time and space.

 

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Our Deity for December 30th – Hecate, Goddess of the Witches

Today’s Deity – Hecate ~ Goddess of the Witches

Hecate is a powerful goddess representing the aspects of the Triple Goddess: goddess of fertility and plenty; goddess of the moon; and goddess of the night and the underworld, which led to her evolving as the patroness of magic and Witchcraft. She mixed fertility with death to be used as earth power. She has been called supreme, both in heaven and hell. It is believed that even Zeus called on her whenever he wished to grant something to someone. Hecate is portrayed as the most powerful – who could give aplenty or destroy totally. She is said to have the power to bestow on or withhold from mortals any gifts she chose. All the secret powers of Nature were at her command. She had control over birth, life, and death. Because of her power in the three areas of nature, heaven and earth she was represented as a triple form.

She is most known as an underworld goddess; the Goddess of the Dark of the Moon, the nights that there is no moon and the world above is as dark as the world below. She was the overseer of the world of the dead. At night she traveled roaming the earth accompanied by her dogs, Hermes, and dead souls. Some say she sent demons from the lower world at night and that she causes nightmares and insanity, and was called “the Nameless One.”

Aspects and Imagery

  • She is “The goddess that troubles the reason of men.”
  • The Greeks called her “The Hag of the Dead”
  • She is also called “the most lovely one” a title of the moon.
  • The owl is her messenger, and the willow is her tree.
  • Rides a chariot pulled by dragons.
  • Depicted wearing a gleaming headdress of stars.
  • She was connected to the goddess Artemis, Diana, and Persephone.
  • Closely associated with Eleusinian Mysteries.

Festivals and Celebrations

  • On the Greek isle of Aegina a festival was held every year in her honor. Mystery rites were held in her behalf.
  • On August 13 in Greece at the House of Storms and Fertility. It was held to aid in keeping the harvest storms from destroying the harvest.
  • Hallowmas held on October 31 to honor Hecate at a time when the veil between the world was the thinnest.
  • In Italy by the lake of Avernus, there was a scared dark grove of Hecate. In private worship to her followers were offered Hecates suppers. The leftovers were placed outdoors as offerings to this goddess and her hounds.

Sacred to Hecate

  • Key, torch, cauldron, dogs, owls, wild animals

Attributes

  • Poppy, animals dog, willow, star

Misc

  • Medea was a priestess of Hecate. In some accounts she is actually Hecate’s daughter.
  • The appearance of black howling dogs at night meant that Hecate was near, and their barking announced her approach. “If the dogs are traveling at night, it means Hecate is about.”
  • She is only visible to dogs.
  • Her name was called at night at the cross-roads of cities.
  • She is said to live near the tombs of the victims of murder.

The above article is a compliation of materials from the sources listed below:

Sibylline Order

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Calendar of the Moon for September 19th

Calendar of the Moon

19 Muin/Boedromion

Greater Mysteries Day 5: Processional

Colors: Gold and black
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of black and gold set a single white candle to burn, with incense of myrrh, wreaths and bundles of myrtle, a dish of grains, beans, and peas, crossed spears, and a torch. Before the altar lay the Kistai, the round box of holy objects.
Offerings: Oneself, as an initiate.
Daily Meal: Fasting until Mesembria of the next day.

Mysteries Invocation V

Greetings, travelers and initiates
On this our road of life.
As the ancients walked the road to Eleusis,
So we will walk our own road in procession,
In memory of they who faced the dark before us.

(One who has been chosen to bear the torch of Iakkhos steps forward and cries: “Iakkhe! I am your guide!” The folk all shout back, “Iakkhe! Then another who is chosen to bear the cords of Crocus comes forth and ties strands of yellow saffron-dyed wool about the right wrist and left ankle of each of the folk present, saying, “Be guarded from all evil on your journey.” Then another who has been chosen to bear the myrtle of the Mustai comes forth, and places wreaths of myrtle on the heads of all present, and places bundles of myrtle in their arms. All then process forth around the boundaries of the property, or even down the road and back, if it is appropriate. When they return to the altar room, a masked man stands before them, saying:)

Greetings, fools who pass into the darkness!
Do you think that what you do will mean anything?
Who do you think you are, prancing around like the ancients?
Do you honestly think that you can know what they felt?
Do you think that by doing this ritual, you will come to know what they knew?
No, you are all pretentious fools. You will learn nothing.
You will wander about, congratulate yourselves, and miss the point.

(Iakkhos steps forward and says, “We walk the road, and we have faith in the Gods, and it is enough. If we are fools, so be it; may the Gods have mercy and bless us in our open hearts.” All cry out after him, “May the Gods bless us!” The grains are poured as a libation to Demeter. The procession is continued until after Arktos, in the dark, by torchlight, this time ending in silence and meditation for an hour around a single torch on the altar.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Moon for June 8th

8 Huath/Thargelion

Thargelia Day II: Festival of the First Fruits

Color: Green

Element: Earth

Altar: Upon a green cloth lay five stones of different colors, an urn of white wine, and a basket of the first produce of the year.

Offerings: The first fruits from the garden, some of which should be shared with outsiders.

Daily Meal: Vegan. Barley. Figs. Dates.

Demeter’s Thargelia Invocation

The road to which our feet are set
Is in a harvest way,
For to the fair-robed Demeter
Our comrades bring today
The first fruits of their harvesting
She on the threshing place
Great store of barley grain outpoured
For guardian of Her Grace.
O great earth-bound Demeter
Whose daughter is the spring,
Whose hands bring forth the golden grain,
These gifts to you we bring:
Our hands, our hearts, our bellies
Once empty and now filled,
The greening of the garden,
The flour of the mill,
We thank you for our sustenance
The bounty of field and hill,
Your touch upon the barren land
Will make it more fertile still.

Chant:
Demeter Demeter Mother of the Grain
Fruit of the Harvest come with the rain

(The produce is brought forward to the altar and laid in baskets, one at a time, kneeling. Afterwards it is shared with others brought in from outside, for generosity begets abundance. The wine is poured out as a libation for Demeter.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Chant To Hecate for Justice

The chant below brings swift justice to those who treat you unfairly. Take caution in using it, though, especially if you have also behaved inappropriately. Hecate’s justice knows no bounds. She sees to it that all involved get precisely what they deserve.

Hecate, Dark One, hear my plea.

Bring justice now I ask of Thee!

Right the wrongs that have been done,

Avenge me now, oh Mighty One.

Turn misfortune back to those

Who cause my problems and my woes.

And heap upon them karmic debt

Lest they all too soon forget

Their wrongful actions, words, and deeds

Don’t let them get away scot-free.

Bring them forth from where they hide.

Bring swift justice–wield your knife.

Hasten, Dark One; hear my plea–

Do what it is I ask of Thee.

 

Everyday Magic

Dorothy Morrison

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