Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Religion is Revelation:
all the Wonders of the Planets striking
all your Only Mind.

Guard the Mysteries:
Constantly reveal Them!

~Lew Welch in Earth Prayers from Around the World, edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon

Various forms of Paganism are sometimes described as "mystery religions" or are taught at "mystery schools." Wikipedia says that:

The mystery cults offered a niche for the preservation of archaic religious ritual, and there is reason to assume that they were very conservative. The Eleusian Mysteries persisted for more than a millennium, more likely close to two millennia, during which period the ritual of public religion changed significantly, from the archaic cult of the Bronze to Early Iron Age to the Hero cult of Hellenistic civilization and again to the imperial cult of the Roman era, while the ritual performances of the mysteries for all we know remained unchanged. . . . "They were singularly persistent. The mysteries at Eleusis near Athens lasted for a thousand years; and there is reason to believe that they changed little during that long period." For this reason, what glimpses we do have of the older Greek mysteries have been taken as reflecting certain archaic aspects of common Indo-European religion, with parallels in Indo-Iranian religion in particular.

The mystery cults of Greco-Roman antiquity include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, the Orphic Mysteries and the Mithraic Mysteries.

I consider there to be two great Mysteries that are central to my practice, although they are not Mysteries in the sense of being kept secret from those who are not initiated. The first is described in the Charge of the Goddess:

And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.

The second is the Mystery that so many mystics have tried to describe or discuss and that, at its mysterious heart, really cannot be discussed, but only experienced. It is the Mystery that, when we manage to wipe away from our eyes what one speaker described as the "enchantment of forgetfullness," we realize that everything is everything. It's all, to paraphrase J. D. Salinger, just Goddess pouring Goddess into Goddess. Or, as Alexander Pope explained:

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
An Essay on Man [sic], 1734

What mysteries are at the core of your practice?

Picture found here.

1 comment:

pluky said...

By inclination, I'm quite the busy-minded rationalist. Over time, despite the Cartesian "I think, therefore I am", I've found though the best way to know "I am" is to "not think".