The garment was a symbol of Isis. A person with garments on was a dead one. But also an initiated, because it is also a symbol for knowledge. The mystic cyst (an ancient coffin or burial chamber made from stone or a hollowed tree) was also a symbol for the initiated, inside which there was the sacred writing. In the same way the secret doctrines lead in the beginning to errors and horrors and subsequently to splendors and peace.
In “De Isis et Osiris”, Plutarch is not ashamed to reveal that when Typhon, Isis’ enemy, disperses and breaks the sacred writing, the goddess picks up the pieces and reassembles them to return them to those who are started at the divine science, that’s to say the knowledge of the first and supreme and intelligible, who the goddess urges us to seek, saying it is like what is by her and with her. Isis shows divine things to those who are called Ierafori and Ierosostoli (bearers of holy things and clothes of the sacred stole); and these things are the ones that they bring in their soul, as in a basket. So for isis followers, who are dead, being enveloped in the sacred robe it is a symbol that the sacred writing is with them, and with it they walk. Curious expression: the Isis’ followers who were dead, on that path they walk. Like Dante’s verse “a man who is dead and goes on the ground.” It is written in fact that the mystic cist was a symbol of the initiate, in which cist the sacred writing was collected, and it contained profound theological doctrines, and that had to be understood in its deepest, and devoid of the superstitious meaning. Also Synesius speaks of such writing: “the soul having bowed down, said the script, got worse and went into the nether and gloomy region.” Vecchione says about this, “the words of Synesius show us that that spirit represented, with the never ending story of a “vagazione” (wandering about, is my translation), the various conditions of the soul.” Rossetti adds, it was my duty to let you know of this sacred writing, of course now it’s up to you to discern the true doctrine from superstition. As Cicero said, when the nature of the gods disappears, there appears the nature of things.
Plutarch adds it was taught to initiates that Osiris was the god who reigned over the dead and that this god was not different from Pluto. The priests of the popular cults taught, however, that Osiris and Pluto are deities so different as to be opposed. In the cults of the initiates it was taught that Osiris and Pluto were the same thing, the sun. So during six months it is up on the surface – it is Osiris; during six months it is in the depth of the earth – it is Pluto. In the two equinoctial points Pluto assaults Osiris. When these two points enclose the summer, Osiris triumphs. The victory and the battle lasts six months. The Sun becomes the god of the sky in the upper six months and the god of the underworld in the six month down. As Cicero said, when the nature of the gods disappears, there appears the nature of things.
If Persephone must stay six months on the surface with her mother and six months down there with Pluto, like a grain of wheat, it is because she ate the pomegranate grains. Ascalaphus tells us that the goddess Persephone ate seven grains of pomegranate in the night gardens and then turned into a night bird. The mother of Persephone, Demeter-Ceres is the goddess who teaches agriculture through Triptolemus. In Rome, the sacred rite of Ceres is accomplished with processions in the fields, from which the ambarvalia parties, from ambire-aspire arva. The Perpetuity of the years became Anna Perenna, Ceres close friend. The seven grains of pomegranate symbolize the seven degrees of wisdom. Three contemplative and four active (my note: see Trivius and Quatrivius, sciences and arts).
Synesius, in a booklet about baldness, says that under the progress of the wheat plants was concealed the progress of the mind. Synesius again says that the mind is a gift from the gods (Book of Dreams). He also says that the hyle in receiving that which is divine is not ready to welcome it in everything, but getting the pictures and the seeds, wrapped around and will endeavor until the image comes to perfection. Aiming at these things, Eleusis celebrates Anacalipterie (festivals of the unveiled Demeter). But the mind is the most divine of the seeds coming from above, and has its own room in the head, and its fruit is the mind accompanied by Hyle, such as wheat that gets rid of the superfluous; almost as if time had been van, fan, and divest itself of all the nature frivolities. Under hyle one has to understand the crude and formless nature, or the corporeal and inert part. The Greeks call hyle the raw material of things, while Latins called it simply matter, but we know that the raw material is ineffable and non-corporeal (my note: the Mercurius of alchemists). Latins confuse it with the raw material. Servius says that the wheat cleaned by the sieve represents the purification of the soul, as the task of the mind is to purify the soul.
Chapter Three. On the philosophical sects derived from sacerdotal ones.
“There was time when notions of physical processes, things and mental states were embodied in deities, and all the psychological, sentimental and sexual intercourses among the latter were conceived just to disguise the former. There was also time when high priests could lead two levels of rituals: the more theatrical ones for the common people (the exoteric one), the less apparent for scholar ones, the esoteric one. But a day arrived when only the first kind of rites were allowed and the second were banned”.
Not only the sacerdotal schools used to veil the truths they taught, but also the philosophical ones did the same: Socrates was known to hid with parable what he didn’t dare to teach openly; Plato, his pupil, wrapped even the most simple theories in a fabric of complicated allegories; no one can ignore how arcane was the sect established by Pythagoras. The same Aristotle, as witnessed by some of his followers, divided his books in internal and external. Even Orpheus was said to have established two kinds of religion – one for the learned, and another for the common people, – and the way these two different cults did meet in the external rituals. Lactantius, in his “De falsa religione”, said that Orpheus did know the supreme God and named him Protogonos or (Phanes)”. Hence the necessity the common people to never get in touch with the truth. The Orphic school often intermingled with the Pythagorean and the Platonic, and turned the multiple manifestations of the same entity in a myriad of deities. The most effective and fecund source of Polytheism was indeed the Orphic school. For instance, in the orphic system, Phanes is the first of the gods and Bacchus the sixth; but Phanes and Bacchus are the same god, according to Diodorus. We can have a clearer example in Jupiter, Apollo and Volcano’s father. Jupiter is the primary fire in abstract, generator of the following two; Apollo is the real fire in the sky, i.e. the Sun, Volcano/Hephaestus is the fire of combustion. Bacchus is sometimes confused with Apollo, but represents the Sun fecundating quality. Osiris did include all of them. But then we know that Osiris and Serapis were two manifestations of the same entity, and Serapis was often confused with Pluto. Plutarch tells us that to the Mysteries initiated was taught that Osiris was the deity ruling the nether world, like Pluto. The same Plutarch adds that some were upset by the news, as they had been grown up in the certitude of Pluto as the origin of evil and Osiris origin of the good. What a contradiction! In the common/external religion it was taught that Osiris assaults Pluto and wins him over. In the initiated/internal religion Osiris merges with Pluto.
Osiris in nothing else than the Sun, that’s to say the light that throws light on everything. When the Sun is under the horizon, everything is darkened. So, according to his position, the Sun becomes Osiris or Pluto, the god of the sky or the nether world. Hence the battle is daily or yearly. When the day defeats the night, Osiris defeats Pluto. Between the two equinoctial points, during the winter, Pluto defeats Osiris.
Chapter Four. On the Eleusinian Mysteries.