The September new moon places asteroid Persephone at 8 degrees Capricorn conjunct the MC, and asteroid Bacchus, or Eleutherois (“the liberator”) conjunct the Sun at 6-degree Libra.
Today (23rd September) in ancient Greece marks the end of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, a death and resurrection initiation reenacting the story of Persephone’s descent into Hades. Before the initiates, or the mystai, could enter the sacred temple (Telesterion), they would recite, “I have fasted, I have drunk the kykeon, I have taken from the kiste (“box”) and after working it have put it back in the calathus (“open basket”).
After witnessing and embodying the mysteries, and sworn to secrecy, the initiates returned home to continue their daily lives. Having undergone profound transformation – a meeting with the chaotic and the divine – and facing, if not actual death, then certainly ego death, they are now liberated from fear and limited conditioning…they have met the gods.
Situations or people who may have suppressed, controlled or intimidated them previously are now cast aside as non-threatening pale comparisons of the true power and inner light that now possesses them.
As with many of the ancients gods who are often different expressions of the same energy, Hades and Dionysus may be viewed as one in the same according to Heraclitus.
Horned god figures such as Bacchus and Dionysus can lead us on a wild descent into the non-rational, chthonic and ecstatic states, for a confrontation with the divine in its most terrible aspects. The purpose of these experiences is to release trapped libido, to shirk off false conditioning and to find and own our true power.
It is not an easy journey and there is always the danger of no return. As with all initiation it is a confrontation, if not with death, then certainly the terrifying, the non-rational and the mad aspects of the unconscious. Many are lost by the wayside or fail to grasp the bitter gift of such dismantling experiences choosing to remain instead victimized and controlled.
The gods have become diseases says Carl Jung. If the gods are ignored or suppressed or we do not answer their call to initiation and renewal, we get sick. Liminal gods like Dionysus and Persephone who move between the underworld and the rational world offer the opportunity of death and rebirth.
The descent is annihilation but only of the old outmoded and limited parts of ourselves that the wild gods insist we sacrifice.
The next Canterbury Moon Lodge explores how as modern women we may be confronted by the terrible and wild power of the liminal gods in the repressed aspects of ourselves bursting through rational conditioning and initiating encounters in the world that while strip us to the bone, ultimately strengthens us and offers redemption.