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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Goddess Demeter and Eleusian Mysteries

DEMETER, (Roman Ceres) one of the great divinities of the Greeks. Demeter was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and sister of Hestia, Hera, Aides, Poseidon, and Zeus. Like the other children of Cronus she was devoured by her father, but he gave her forth again after taking the emetic which Metis had given him. (Hesiod. Theog. 452, &c.; Apollod. i. 2. § 1.)

Demeter was the goddess of the earth (Eurip. Bacch. 276), and more especially of the earth as producing fruit, and consequently of agriculture, whence human food or bread is called by Homer Il. xiii. 322) the gift of Demeter.

By her brother Zeus, Demeter became the mother of Persephone (Proserpina) and Dionysus (Hesiod. Theoq. 912; Diod. iii. 62), and by Poseidon of Despoena and the horse Arion. (Apollod. iii. 6. § 8; Paus. viii. 37. § 6.) The most prominent part in the myth of Demeter is the rape of her daughter Persephone by Pluto (Hades), and this story not only suggests the main idea embodied in Demeter, but also directs our attention to the principal seats of her worship.

Hesiod, Theogony 912 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Also he [Zeus] came to the bed of all-nourishing Demeter, and she bare white-armed Persephone whom Aidoneus carried off from her mother; but wise Zeus gave her to him."

Homer, Iliad 14. 326 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Zeus naming his finest loves:] I loved the queen Demeter of the lovely tresses."

In the Orphic myths Demeter and Zeus were mated in the form of serpents.

Demeter and Metanira. Detail of the belly of an Apulian red-figure hydria, ca. 340 BC.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 77 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Demeter bore this horse [Areion] to Poseidon, after having sex with him in the likeness of an Erinys."

 Demeter stands holding sheafs of wheat in one hand, and a fruiting cornucopia in the other. She is crowned with a wreath of fruit.

 Demeter (or  Tykhe) with turrent crown, plough-shaft, and a corncopia (horn of plenty) brimming with fruit.

Rubens, The Statue of Ceres

 Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"A car with Drakones yoked ‘tis thine [Demeter's] to guide, and, orgies singing, round thy throne to ride."

 Ovid, Fasti 4. 495 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"There is a cave, rough-formed of corroded pumice [on Mt Aitna in Sicily], a place neither man nor beast may enter [being sacred to Demeter]. When she [Demeter in search of Persephone] comes here, she brides and hitches Serpents to her chariot, and roams the sea, dry."

 Triptolemos departs in a winged, serpent-drawn chariot. Demeter and Persephone holding Eleusinian torches and sheafs of wheat farewell him. ca 490 - 480 BC

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 48 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"Then for nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands [in search of her daughter Persephone]."

Demeter was worshiped throughout Greece under the title of Thesmophoros (Law-Giver) and was regarded as the goddess who instructed mankind in law.
Demeter. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BCE.

 Statue  of Proserpina von Dominikus Auliczek (1778) im Schlosspark Nymphenburg, München


Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 472 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"Then she [Demeter at Eleusis after the return of Persephone from Hades] went, and to the kings who deal justice, Triptolemos and Diokles, the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpos and Keleos, leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her Mysteries, to Triptolemos and Polyxeinos and Diokles also, - awful mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiated and who has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead, down in the darkness and gloom."

 Eleusinian relief in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 25 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Virgin [constellation Virgo] . . . Others call her Fortune [Tykhe] - others, Ceres [Demeter], and they dispute the more about her because her head is dimly seen."
The constellation Virgo was represented holding a sheaf of grain in her hand centred on the star Spica.
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 22 :
"[Constellation Gemini, the Twins:] Others have called them Triptolemus, whom we mentioned before, and Iasion, beloved of Ceres [Demeter] - both carried to the stars."

Veronese,  Venice, Hercules, and Ceres 

 Rubens, Ceres and Two Nymphs


I) WHEAT (Greek "pyros")

II) POPPY (Greek "mekon")
The poppy was sacred to Demeter as it is a flower commonly found growing amongst the grain of the wheat-fields.
Callimachus, Hymn 6 to Demeter 42 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Nikippe, whom the city had appointed to be her [Demeter's] public priestess, and in her hand she grasped her fillets and her poppy, and from her shoulder hung her key [the temple key of the priestess]."

III) BARLEY & MINT (Greek "krithe" & "minthe")
Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 205 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"Then Metaneira [Queen of Eleusis] filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her [Demeter]; but she refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give her to drink. And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the goddess as she bade. So the great queen Deo received it to observe the sacrament."

 Demeter holding a cornucopia (horn of plenty) brimming with fruit.  Imperial Roman

 Jacob Jordaens,  Offering to Ceres, Goddess of Harvest


I) SERPENT (Greek "drakon")

II) SWINE (Greek "hus")
Pigs were offered as a sacrifice to Demeter to ensure crop fertility. They were connected with the goddess in a myth of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

III) TURTLE-DOVE (Greek "trygon")
Aelian, On Animals 10. 33 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"White Turtle-doves are often to be seen. These, they say, are sacred to Aphrodite and Demeter."

IV) RED MULLET (Greek "")
Aelian, On Animals 9. 51 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"At Eleusis it [the Red Mullet] is held in honour by the initiated, and of this honour two accounts are given. Some say, it is because it gives birth three times in a year; others, because it eats the Sea-Hare, which is deadly to man."

V) GECKO (Greek "askalabos")
The gecko, which made its home under rocks, was like its cousin the serpent, held as sacred to the earth-goddess Demeter.

Alma Tadema Lawrence, On the Road to the Temple of Ceres

 Hendrik Goltzius, Venus between Ceres and Bacchus

 Hendrik Goltzius, Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze
Veronese, Bacchus and Ceres 

Raphael Venus, Ceres and Juno


Apollodorus in the following passage summarizes the contents of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (quoted here in the following section).
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 29-33 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Pluto [Hades] fell in love with Persephone, and with Zeus' help secretly kidnapped her. Demeter roamed the earth over in search of her, by day and by night with torches. When she learned from the Hermionians that Pluto [Hades] had kidnapped her, enraged at the gods she left the sky, and in the likeness of a woman made her way to Eleusis. She first sat upon the rock that has come to be called Agelasttos after her, beside the well called Kallikhoron. Then she went to the house of Keleus, the current ruler of the Eleusinian. After the woman inside invited her to sit with them, one old granny named Iambe joked with the goddess and got her to smile. For this reason they say that the women at the Thesmophoria joke and jest.

Metaneira, the wife of Keleus, had a baby, which was given to Demeter to nurse. Wishing to make it immortal, she would set the baby in the fire at night and remove its mortal flesh. But because Demophon (the baby's name) grew so wondrously each day, Metaneira kept an eye on him, and when she spied him being buried in the fire she screamed. The child was thereupon destroyed by the fire, and the goddess revealed her true identity.

For Triptolemos, the elder of Metaneira's sons, Demeter prepared a chariot of winged Drakones, and she gave him wheat, which he scattered all over the populated earth as he was carried along through the sky. Panyasis says that Triptolemos was the son of Eleusis, which is why Demeter came to him; but Pherekydes says that he was born of Oceanus and Ge.
When Zeus commanded Pluto to send Kore [Persephone] back up, Pluto gave her a pomegranate seed to eat, as assurance that she would not remain long with her mother. With no foreknowledge of the outcome of her act, she consumed it. Ascalaphus/Askalaphos, the son of Akheron and Gorgyra, bore witness against her, in punishment for which Demeter pinned him down with a heavy rock in Hades' realm. But Persephone was obliged to spend a third of each year with Pluto, and the remainder of the year among the gods."

 Abduction of Proserpine on a Unicorn Albrecht Dürer

 Joseph Heintz ,  The Rape of Proserpina 

PERSEPHONE  (Roman  Proserpina)  was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. She was also the goddess of spring growth, who was worshiped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries. This agricultural-based cult promised its initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.

 Evelyn de Morgan - Demeter Mourning for Persephone

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter cont. :
"But golden-haired (xanthe) Demeter sat there [in her new-built temple in Eleusis] apart from all the blessed gods and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter. Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed sprout, for rich-crowned (eustephanos) Demeter kept it hid. In the fields the oxen drew many a curved plough in vain, and much white barley was cast upon the land without avail. So she would have destroyed the whole race of man with cruel famine and have robbed them who dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices, had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart. First he sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired (eukomos) Demeter, lovely in form. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding dark-cloaked (kyanopeplos) Demeter in her temple, spake to her and uttered winged words: ‘Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass unobeyed.’
Thus said Iris imploring her. But Demeter's heart was not moved. Then again the father sent forth all the blessed and eternal gods besides: and they came, one after the other, and kept calling her and offering many very beautiful gifts and whatever right she might be pleased to choose among the deathless gods. Yet no one was able to persuade her mind and will, so wrath was she in her heart; but she stubbornly rejected all their words: for she vowed that she would never set foot on fragrant Olympus nor let fruit spring out of the ground, until she beheld with her eyes her own fair-faced daughter.

The Nymphs known as Sirens were transformed into bird-shaped monsters by Demeter. Some say this metamorphosis was a curse, a punishment for refusing to help in the search for Persephone, others a blessing, helping them in the search for their beloved mistress.
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 892 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"One time they [the Sirens] had been handmaids to Demeter's gallant Daughter [Persephone], before she was married, and sung to her in chorus. But now, half human and half bird in form, they spent their time watching for ships from a height that overlooked their excellent harbor."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 141 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The Sirens, daughter of the River Achelous and the Muse Melpomene, wandering away after the rape of Proserpina [Persephone], came to the land of Apollo, and there were made flying creatures by the will of Ceres [Demeter] because they had not brought help to her daughter. It was predicted that they would live only until someone who heard their singing would pass by."

Odysseus and the Sirens.  ca. 480-470 BC

 Proserpina's comrades are turned into sirens. Mythologischer Bildatlas, 1885
To view sirens click here

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 33 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Zeus commanded Pluto [Hades] to send Core [Persephone] back up [to Demeter], Pluto gave her a pomegranate seed to eat, as assurance that she would not remain long with her mother. With no foreknowledge of the outcome of her act, she consumed it. Ascalaphus the son of Akheron and Gorgyra, bore witness against her, in punishment for which Demeter pinned him down with a heavy rock in Hades’ realm [probably in the form of a lizard, askalabos]."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 9 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Io upon finding her stolen son Epaphos returned to Aigyptos (Egypt) and:] she dedicated an image to Demeter, called Isis by the Aigyptioi (Egyptians), as also they called Io herself."

Herodotus, Histories 2. 156 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"Apollo and Artemis [the Egyptian gods Horus and Bubastis] were they [the Egyptians] say children of Dionysus [Egyptian Osiris] and Isis, and Leto was made their nurse and preserver; in Egyptian, Apollo is Horus, Demeter [is] Isis, Artemis [is] Bubastis."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 218 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"I addressed this prayer to the supremely powerful goddess [Isis]: ‘Queen of heaven, at one time you appear in the guise of Ceres [Demeter].’"

In ancient Greek religion, an orgion  was an ecstatic form of worship characteristic of some mystery cults. The orgion is in particular a cult ceremony of Dionysus, celebrated widely in Arcadia, featuring "unrestrained" masked dances by torchlight and animal sacrifice by means of random slashing that evoked the god's own rending and suffering at the hands of the Titans. The orgia that explained the role of the Titans in Dionysus's dismemberment were said to have been composed by Onomacritus. Greek art and literature, as well as some patristic texts, indicate that the orgia involved snake handling.
Orgia may have been earlier manifestations of cult than the formal mysteries, as suggested by the violently ecstatic rites described in myth as celebrated by Attis in honor of Cybele and reflected in the willing self-castration of her priests the Galli in the historical period. The orgia of both Dionysian worship and the cult of Cybele aim at breaking down barriers between the celebrants and the divinity through a state of mystic exaltation.

Mystery etymology
early 14c., in a theological sense, "religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth," from Anglo-Fr. *misterie (O.Fr. mistere), from L. mysterium, from Gk. mysterion (usually in pl. mysteria) "secret rite or doctrine," from mystes "one who has been initiated," from myein "to close, shut," perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites). The Greek word was used in Septuagint for "secret counsel of God," translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, "a hidden or secret thing," is from late 14c. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s. Meaning "detective story" first recorded in English 1908.

 Detail of Eleusis and Eniatos. Demeter the goddess of grain is depicted as the Queen of the Eleusinian Mysteries, with a four-headed Eleusinian torch in her hand. Her son Ploutos, here labelled Eniatos (Year), holds a cornucopia (horn of plenty) in his hand. ca 350 - 340 BC

Eleusinian Mysteries, - the mysteries celebrated in ancient Greece , at Eleusis , near Athens, associated with the cult of Demeter , her daughter, Persephone , and Dionysus . According to tradition, had them start Eumolpos.
The mysteries were celebrated for 2000 years, from about the fifteenth century BC to 391 AD officially (are banned by Emperor Theodosius ), then secretly.
To participate in the rites enough to speak Greek and be able to ritual purity. Initiation could attain each: regardless of social status (free and slave), gender or origin. The possibility of obtaining initiation was not associated with compliance with a particular way of life. The exact secret mysteries apparently none of the insiders did not disclose.
Source: Wikipedia

The Eleusinian Mysteries, Athenian religious festival, was held in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter, her name is purely Greek, meaning "spelt mother" (spelt is a hardy variety of wheat.) The cult held this important festival at the town of Eleusis, 15 miles northwest of Athens, in the heart of the wheat and barley growing region.

The ceremony began in Athens, and all those participating purified themselves by bathing in the sea, they also sacrificed a piglet. All sacred and secret objects that were to be used in the ceremonies were kept in the Eleusinian (a temple located at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens). These objects had been brought from Eleusis some days prior to the start of the celebration. It was from the Kerameikos (the ancient cemetery of Athens) that the great procession of initiates started. The "Mysteries" were given this name (in Greek musteriai, from mustes, ("an initiate"). As the procession proceeded on route to Eleusis the participants would, at a certain place, shout obscenities. This was a re-enactment of an old mythical woman called "Iambe" who was said to have made Demeter smile, at a time when she was full of sorrow for the loss of her daughter Persephone. Also during the procession their would be shouts of Iakch' o Iakche, which was related to an equivocal deity, referring to "Iacchus" who was identified with Dionysus, but in some versions said to be the son of Persephone or Demeter.

When the procession reached Eleusis they would rest and make ready for the next day, which was a day of fasting (Demeter did this when in mourning for Persephone). Once this part of the ceremony was over, the initiates drank a special brew of barley water mixed with penny-royal called, kykeon (a creeping mint cultivated for its supposed medicinal properties). The climax of the ceremony took place in the "Telesterion" (initiation hall). During the 5th century BCE, "Ictinos" designed a huge hall which would hold several thousand people. In this hall, the secret and sacred objects were shown to the initiated, and also the priestesses would reveal the vision of the holy night, which is thought to have been a fire symbolizing life after death. These rituals were kept secret, shown only to the initiated, and it was totally forbidden to speak of them publicly.

Votive plaque depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries

 The Eleusinian Mysteries
      The Eleusinian Mysteries are probably some of the best kept secrets in Greek ritualistic mythology. The mysteries were founded by Demeter, who created the order as a remembrance of her lost daughter. The sacred attendants to these mysteries included:
  • the Hierophant
  • the Priestess of Demeter
  • the Herald, and
  • the Torch-Bearer (representing Demeter's wanderings about the earth)
The Mysteries are divided into two sections:
The first are the Lesser Mysteries. These are done in preparation for the Greater Mysteries:
The purification of water and its subsequent use in sacrificing a pig
The purification by fire and air, while seated on a ram's silvery fleece
The second are the Greater Mysteries. These are held once a year in September and October
Only people who have sworn an oath to the order are allowed to attend due to its secrecy
The festival lasts nine days, during which, all parties must fast
The people involved go through a series of rituals which include, fasting, breaking the fast with barley-water, traveling from Athens to Eleusis and back again, and revealing sacred objects and reciting secret hymns in the temple of Demeter at Eleusis

Some scholars believe that the power of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from the kykeon's functioning as a psychedelic agent; this was argued most extensively in The Road to Eleusis, by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck. Barley may be parasitized by the fungus ergot, which contains LSA, a precursor to LSD

The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most celebrated of all the sacred orgies, and were called, by way of eminence, The Mysteries. Although exhibiting apparently the features of an Eastern origin, they were evidently copied from the rites of Isis-in—Egypt, an idea of which, more or less correct, may be found in The Metamorphoses of Apuleius and The Epicurean by Thomas Moore. Every act, rite, and person engaged in them was symbolical ; and the individual revealing them was put to death without mercy. So also was any uninitiated person who happened to be present. Persons of all ages and both sexes were initiated; and neglect in this respect, as in the case of Socrates, was regarded as impious and atheistical. It was required of all candidates that they should be first admitted at the Mikra or Lesser Mysteries_of Agrae, by a process of fasting; j^Xet^Jmrifijution, after which they were styled mystce, or initiates. A year later, they might enter the higher degree. In this they learned the aporrheta, or secret meaning of the rites, and were thenceforth denominated ephori, or epopttz. To some of the interior mysteries, however, only a very select number obtained admission. From these were taken all the ministers of the holy rites. The Hierophant who presided was bound to celibacy, and required to devote his entire life to his sacred office. He had three assistants,—the torchbearer, the kerux or crier, and the minister at the altar. There were also a basileus or king, who was an archon of Athens, four curators, elected by suffrage, and ten to offer sacrifices. The sacred Orgies were celebrated on every fifth year; and began on the 15th of the month Boedromian or September. The first day was styled the agurmos or assembly, because the worshippers then convened. The second was the day of purification, called also alade mystai, from the proclamation : " To the sea, initiated ones !

" The third day was the day of sacrifices ; for which purpose were offered a mullet and barley from a field in Eleusis.  The officiating persons were forbidden to taste of either ; the offering was for Achtheia (the sorrowing one, Demeter) alone. On the fourth day was a solemn procession. The kalathos or sacred basket was borne, followed by women, cistce or chests in which were sesamum, carded wool, salt, pomegranates, poppies, — also thyrsi, a serpent, boughs of ivy, cakes, etc. The fifth day was denominated the day of torches. In the evening were torchlight processions and much tumult. The sixth was a great occasion. The statue of Iacchus, the son of Zeus and Demeter, was brought from Athens, by the Iacchogoroi, all crowned with myrtle. In the way was heard only an uproar of singing and the beating of brazen kettles, as the votaries danced and ran along. The image was borne " through the sacred Gate, along the sacred way, halting by the sacred fig-tree (all sacred, mark you, from Eleusinian associations), where the procession rests, and then moves on to the bridge over the Cephissus, where again it rests, and where the expression of the wildest grief gives place to the trifling farce,—even as Demeter, in the midst of hergrief, smiled at the levity of Iambe in the palace of Celeus. Through the ' mystical entrance ' we enter FJeu sis.. On the seventh day, games are celebrated; and to the victor is given a measure of barley,—as it were a gift direct from the hand of the goddess. The eighth is sacred to ^Esculapius, the Divine Physician, who heals all diseases ; and in the evening is performed the initiatory ritual. " Let us enter the mystic temple and be initiated, —though it must be supposed that, a year ago, we were initiated into the Lesser Mysteries at Agrae. We must have been mystce. (vailed), before we can become epoptcz (seers) ; in plain English, we must have shut our eyes to all else before we can behold the Mysteries. Crowned with myrtle, we enter with the other initiates into the vestibule of the temple, blind as yet, but the Hierophant within will soon open our eyes.
 " But first,—for here we must do nothing rashly, —first we must wash in this holy water ; for it is with pure hands and a pure heart that we are bidden to enter the most sacred enclosure [jj.v gtikoS ar]- mo?, mustikos sekos\ Then, led into the presence of the Hierophant,* he reads to us, from a book of stone , things which we must not divulge on pain of death. Let it suffice that they fit the place and the occasion ; and though you might laugh at them, if they were spoken outside,still you seem very far from that mood now, as you hear the words of the old man (for old he always was), and look upon the revealed symbols. And very far, indeed, are you from ridicule, when Demeter seals, by her own peculiar utterance and signals, by vivid coruscations of light, and cloud piled upon cloud, all that we have seen and heard from her sacred priest ; and then, finally, the light of a serene wonder fills the temple, and we see the pure fields of Elysium, and hear the chorus of the Blessed ; then, not merely by external seeming or philosophic  interpretation, but in real fact, does the Hierophant become the Creator [drjjxiovpyoZ, demiourgos\ and Revealer of all things ; the Sun is but his torchbearer, the Moon his attendant at the altar, and Hermes his mystic herald* But the final word has been uttered * Conx Om pax.'The rite is consummated, and we are epopta forever !

'Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light is a publication by British occultist Aleister Crowley, first published in 1907. The name Konx Om Pax is a phrase purportedly used in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Its companion is Khabs Am Pekht, which in the Egyptian language means roughly "Light in extension" or "Light rushing out in a single ray", is used in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn's Vernal and Autumnal Equinox ceremonies.
The front cover image, portraying the title "Konx Om Pax" in stretched letters, is said to have been designed by Crowley while smokinghashish.

 Hecate stands between the enthroned goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, holding a pair of burning torches in her hands. Iakkhos holds one upturned and one downturned torch.

TRIPTOLEMUS was a demi-god of the Eleusinian mysteries who presided over the sowing of grain-seed and the milling of wheat. His name means "He who Pounds the Husks."
In myth, Triptolemos was one of the Eleusinian princes who kindly received Demeter when she came mourning the loss of her daughter Persephone. The young goddess was eventually returned to her from the Underworld, and Demeter in her munificence, instructed Triptolemus in the art of agriculture, and gave him a winged chariot drawn by serpents so that he might travel the world spreading her gift. He did so, but when he came to the cold northern land of the Scythian, king Lynkos slew one of the dragons and drove him away. Deventer intervened--transforming the king into a lynx, and denying the Scythian agriculture.

Triptolemus departs in a winged, serpent-drawn chariot. Demeter and Persephone holding Eleusinian torches and sheaf of wheat farewell him. ca 490 - 480 BC

 Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 470 ff :
" [After the return of Persephone, Demeter built her temple at Eleusis:] Then she went, and to the lords [or Eleusis] who deal justice, Triptolemus and Diocles , the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpos and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus and Polyxeinos and Diocles also,--awful mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiated and who has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead, down in the darkness and gloom."

 Triptolemus departs in a winged, serpent-drawn chariot. Demeter and Persephone farewell him. ca 470 - 460 BC 

 Medea avenges herself on Jason by slaying her own children upon the altar, and destroying Kreon and Glauke by fire in the palace (not shown). Triptolemus arrives on the scene with a flying, serpent-drawn chariot to assist Medea in her escape. ca 330 - 310 BC