In the same Rome the dangerous “magic of crops” were banned, but all roman historians were forbidden to bring to us what these rituals were about.
Demeter-Ceres was linked to the world of immortality not only through her daughter Persephone, but because of the strange process she submitted the infant Demophoon. In Eleusis, at the house of king Celeus and queen Metaneira: “Demeter was put in charge of bringing up the infant Demophoon. She gave him nothing to eat, but instead breathed softly on him, anointed him with ambrosia and at night hid him in the fire, like a burning coal, in order to destroy all that was mortal in him. Thus, to the amazement of his parents, the child grew like a god. Intrigued by this prodigy Metaneira spied on the nurse and caught her just as she was placing the little boy in the middle of the flames. Metaneira screamed with terror. Incensed, the goddess withdrew Demophoon from the fire and put him on the ground. ‘Had it not been for your imprudence,’ she said to his mother, This should have put this child forever beyond the reach of old age and death; but now it is no longer possible for me to shelter him from death.’ Then she appeared before the wife of Celeus in her divine form. She revealed her name and ordered that a temple be erected for her in Eleusis where the initiated should celebrate her mysteries. Then she went forth from the palace.
Before departing, however, she wished to show her gratitude to her hosts; she gave Triptolemus, Celeus’ oldest son, the first grain of corn, and taught him the art of harnessing oxen to the plough and how to sow the soil with grain from which would spring fair harvests. She gave him as well a winged chariot harnessed with dragons, and bade him travel the world spreading the benefits of agriculture among all men (5)”. Other myths reported of Demeter instead trying to lead Triptolemus to immortality. But it is clear enough that this fire was our Secret Fire/Mercurius extracted from raw matter and which is usually used by alchemists to extract a Soul from a metal. Keep notice of the ploughing techniques Demeter taught to Triptolemus.
As for the “cultivation” and “collection” of wheat, as food of resurrection, the celtic gods were celebrated with rites in which cauldrons and bread were strictly connected. Karidven, for example, was the goddess of death and life. Strangely enough, in this very order (6). Pay attention to this ancient attribute, since that’s what Alchemy is about.
Obviously bread and crops are just symbols. Probably they were chosen because of the archaic custom to regard them as symbols of knowledge at general. But before seeing how the vicissitudes of a grain of wheat takes the leading role in the Eleusinian Mysteries (7), we will encounter Persephone and Dionysus, other Demeter’s personifications. Still it would be more appropriate to define them as other aspects of the Anima Mundi. Or Soul of the world. Or alchemical first matter.
To finish a quote from Silesius: “the bread of the Lord is like the Philosophers Stone, it turns you into gold if you first got dissolved (8)”.
- See Dionysus, Universal Dissolvent and Kykeon , Pompeii Mysteries Villa: a Gentle Flowing with Mystica Vannus ;
- See also Thesaurus Hermeticum & the Pythagorean River;
- See also Blaise de Vigenère & the Sacrifice of Salt;
- In Italy Demeter was celebrated under the name of Ceres, from “cerealis” giving origin to the word cereal;
- Taken from “New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology”, 1959 by The Hamlyn Publishing Group;
- See also The Dangerous Journey inside the Gundestrup Cauldron;
- See also Rossetti and the Mystery of Platonic Love, part 1 ;
- See also Basilius Valentinus, Salt, Azoth or Philosophers Gold?;