Adeste fidelis: Come ( be present), faithfulAdeste fidelis
Corpus Christi: the body of Christ

infidelity: lacking faith
incorporate: to make into one body of...

Eleusinian Mysteries and Demeter

Eleusis: a town situated west of Athens, became the most important religious center of the pagan world during its time. According to the old belief and relates in the Homeric Hymn, Demeter (goddess of agriculture) stopped to rest at Eleusis during her quest for her daughter, Persephone, who was kidnaped by Hades.Demeter wandered the earth, searching for Perseponne. While she was traveliing, she came to Eleusis.
Taking the form of an old woman , Demeter sits down to rest near a well, where she is approached by the daughters of King Celeus, who have come to fetch water. They treat the disguised goddess sympathetically, and invite her to come to the Palace, since their mother needs a nanny for their young brother. Offered hospitality, Demeter refuses wine, but accepts a drink called kykeion (barley water with pennyroyal). Queen METANEIRA is impressed with the `woman' and gives her employment. Demeter anoints the baby Demophon every evening with ambrosia, and puts the baby in the fire of the hearth to burn away its mortality. But one evening Metaneira spies on Demeter and interrupts the rite. Demeter drops the child in surprise, resumes her divine form, and rebukes Metaneira for interfering with divine secrets which would have made the baby immortal. But Demeter does promise to teach her sacred rituals to the Eleusinians.

Demeter ordered a temple and altar to be built in her honor. After the joyful reunion of the goddess with the missing Persephone, she instructed the leaders of Eleusis in how to perform her rites. The cult, then, is believed to have been taught directly by Demeter herself.
Demeter with her daughter by her side.
Demeter with her daughter by her side.

Parts of the Rite

It is known that different levels of initiation took place in the cult, and that 3 categories of events existed: the dromena (the things which were enacted), the deiknumena (the things which were shown), the logomena (the things which were explained). The Eleusinian mysteries was broken down into two parts, happening at different times of the year: the 'Lesser mysteries', a preliminary initiation involving purification which would have taken place in the spring at Agrae (a suburb of Athens), and the 'Greater mysteries' in Eleusis, which would have taken place during the Autumn, in late September, for those who had been purified in the previous rite. The participants would have spent a number of days in Athens preparing for this second part of the cult.

A central part of the rite involved the drinking of a sacramental barley and mint beverage called 'kykeon'. It is suggested that the 'kykeon' might have been infused with the fungus ergot and possibly mixed with other hallucinogenic which would, then, produce a strong psychedelic experience, helping with the transformation of the initiates. After drinking the 'kykeon', the initiates entered the Telesterion, which resembled an underground theater, where the secret part of the ritual took place. Historians believe that this part of the rite was a symbolic re-enactment of the death and rebirth of Persephone.

View over the excavation site towards Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf.
View over the excavation site towards Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf.

Speculators on meanings

The meaning of the festivities is believed to revolve around the symbolic representation of Demeter's search for Persephone. A well accepted theory is that Demeter and Persephone symbolize life, death, and even immortality; that they gave the initiate confidence to face death and a promise of bliss in the dark domain of Hades. Whatever happened in the Telesterion, those who entered in would come out the next morning radically changed.

2. deus ex machina: god out of a machine; a theatrical device; any artificial or improbable device used to resolve the difficulties of a plot.
An unskilled writer may resort to a deus ex machina like a flood or an earthquake or a rich aunt whom no one knew about to end a story that has become too long or complicated.

dramatis personae: the characters of the drama

machination:a scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end
Many a student has fallen prey to the machinations of their peers who encourage them to cheat.

personify: to be the embodiment of
Mrs. Marsh is kindness personified.
bacchus carravaggio.jpg
Dionysus/Bacchus: the god of wine, theater and revelry...woohoo! He is the rock star of the pantheon and a bit of a foreign god, having come from the East, which the Greeks and the Romans viewed with suspicion.
ek+stasis+ to stand outside one's self ( ecstasy)
Ways to accomplish this state:
dance exotic enviroment
All of which were involved in the worship of Dionysus, which was an attempt to commune with the god.

Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus, appears to be a god who has two distinct origins. On the one hand, Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature, who is also the patron god of the Greek stage. On the other hand, Dionysus also represents the outstanding features of mystery religions, such as those practiced at Eleusis: ecstasy, personal delivery from the daily world through physical or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites. Scholars have long suspected that the god known as Dionysus is in fact a fusion of a local Greek nature god, and another more potent god imported rather late in Greek pre-history from Phrygia (the central area of modern day Turkey) or Thrace.

According to one myth, Dionysus is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman, Semele (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes). Semele is killed by Zeus' lightning bolts while Dionysus is still in her womb. Dionysus is rescued and undergoes a second birth from Zeus after developing in his thigh. Zeus then gives the infant to some nymphs to be raised. In another version, one with more explicit religious overtones, Dionysus, also referred to as Zagreus in this account, is the son of Zeus and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Hera gets the Titans to lure the infant with toys, and then they rip him to shreds eating everything but Zagreus' heart, which is saved by either Athena, Rhea, or Demeter. Zeus remakes his son from the heart and implants him in Semele who bears a new Dionysus Zagreus. Hence, as in the earlier account, Dionysus is called "twice born." The latter account formed a part of the Orphic religion's religious mythology.
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.htmlDionysus being born...ouch, but not as bad as an actual birth.Bacchus CaravaggioBacchus Michealangelo ( he must have been the busiest man ever)


aqua vitae: the water of life ( liquor)

absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat: He who argues with a drunk fights with someone who is absent; there is no point at all in arguing with a drunk person

vital: necessary for life; Water is vital.

inebriated: drunk
Speaking of inebriation....That is one heck of a party.
The Youth of Bacchus/ Bourguereau

Bacchae/Maenads: female worshippers of Bacchus who participate in Bacchanalials, the wild, mystical and frenzied worship of Bacchus/Dionysus ; there is also a play by the ancient Greek playwrite, Euripedes called the Bacchae:

"The last play by Euripides, written in exile in Macedonia and produced posthumously in Athens in 405 BC. This one-act tragedy isEuripides's most frequently revived play, mainly because of the psychological intensity with which it presents the conflict between Dionysus (Bacchus),god of ecstasy, wine, and fertility, and the puritanical King Pentheus.

When Dionysus brings his cult to Thebes, Pentheus (penthosi n Greek means 'sorrow') spurns the god and imprisons his abandoned female followers, declaring "in all matters, self-control resides in our own natures". The god then appears in human form to lure the king to the rites where, disguised as a woman, Pentheus secretly watches the orgiastic rituals. In a blood frenzy, the Bacchae mistake the king for a lion cub and rip him apart with their hands, by his own mother who parades her son's head in triumph. This play is often taken as a parable about the dangers of repression."

krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras
nunc est bibendum: now is the time for drinking; the beginning line of the poem by Horace about Octavian's defeat of Cleopatra. She killed herself by allowing an asp to bite her.
Bibamus, moriendum est: let us drink, because we must die (Seneca) Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die (Shakespeare)
imbibe: to drink ( alcohol)
moribund: dying
A moribund plant, or a moribund career

So, back to our fun friend,Dionysus/Bacchus ariadne
Although Dionysus does not seem like the marrying kind, what with the Bacchae and the revelry, neverthless, he did have a wife, a woman named Ariadne. Ariadne had been abandoned on the island of Knaxos by the hero, Theseus, who may have been a hero, but was also a big, selfish jerk. Theseus had gone to the island of Crete upon which Ariadne lived with her father, King Minos, to kill the Minotaur, a horrible monster who was half-man,half bull
The Minotaur lived in a labryinth and Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of string to lead himself out. In doing so, she betrayed her father, and was compelled to flee with Theseus, who had professed to love her, but her was incapable of loving anyone but himself. So, he left her on the island of Knaxos. She was devasted and afraid and crying, when along comes Dionysus flying in the sky in his chariot. He sees her, he stops. She tells him her tale of betrayal and abandonment, and he marries her.So, here Ariadne helps Theseus survive killing the Minotaur"Here Ariadne is sleeping, while Theseus sails away without her ( what a nub)."Oh Dionysus, thank Zeus you're here""Dry your tears, my love"And she did, and they lived happily ever after. And Theseus' life took a turn for the worse ( karma is a....).
ariadne and theseus.jpgTheseus and Ariadne

ariadnewaterhouse.jpgAriadne on Knaxos

Ariadne.jpgDry your tears my love!


tempus fugit: time flies ( well really, it says "flees" but no one ever translates it that way). ticktocticktocticktoc...the race has already begun and it is later than you think
tempus fugit.jpg

tabula rasa : a blank slate

contemporary: existing at the same time...contemporary furniture ( i.e of the era in which you are living)...or Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were contemporaries
temporary: for the time being; not permanent

And, we sadly bid adieu to our beloved Bacchus, and look to our last Olympian Hermes/Mercury

Hermes, the herald of the Olympian gods, is the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades. Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. Most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods.

Being the herald (messenger of the gods), it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the Underworld, which is known as a psychopomp. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals. Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin). It was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached. The clothes he donned were usually that of a traveler, or that of a workman or shepherd. Other symbols of Hermes are the roo, tortoise and purse or pouch.


Atlas was one of the Titans. In the revolt of the Titans against the gods of the Olympic, Atlas stormed the heavens and Zeus punished him for this deed by condemning him to forever bear the heavens upon his shoulders. Hence his name, which means "bearer" or "endurer".

atlas.jpg atlas-1a.jpg


in vacuo: in a vacuum; in emptiness...It is a mistake to make a decision in vacuo (i.e without knowing all the facts)

in medias res: in the middle of things; it's a literary device...an author starts the story in the middle, in the midst of the action,and tell the beginning in flashbacks, or as a memory, or someone telling it to someone else...

vacuous: empty; like a vaccum. All too often our politicians offer us vacuous promises in lieu of actual leadership.vacs.jpg

mediate: to get in the middle in order to settle a conflict . The parties involved in the lawsuit have agreed to mediation in order to avoid an expensive and prolonged battle in court.

Hermes did have children. Most notably, Pan and Hermaphroditus.
The Greek god of shepherds and flocks. He is a son of the god Hermes. He was depicted as a satyr with a reed pipe ( the pan pipe), a shepherd's crook and a branch of pine or crown of pine needles. He had a wrinkled face with a very prominent chin. On his forehead were two horns and his body was hairy. He was a swift runner and climbed rocks with ease. Pan belonged to the retinue of Dionysus.
Pan was also a god of fertility, unbridled male sexuality and carnal desire. He chased nymphs through the forests and mountains in the shape of a goat. Pan was not very liked by the other Greek gods.
pan and syrinx.jpg

Pan and Syrinx

Syrinx was an Arcadian river-nymph who was pursued by Pan. To escape him she fled into the waters of her river where she pleaded the gods for help, and they changed her into a reed. Disappointed, Pan cut the reed into pieces of gradually decreasing lengths, fastened them together with wax and thus produced the shepherd's flute, or "pipes of Pan", upon which he plays.
pan and syrinx.jpg


genius loci " the guardian spirit of the place"

homo sapiens: "thinking man"; a human being

sapient: wise

hermaphrodite: a plant or animal with both male and female reproductive organs; one of Mrs. Marsh's sister's high school boyfriends ( kidding...maybe)

Hermaphroditus: a son of Hermes and Aphrodite;
Hermaphroditus was raised by nymphs in Phrygia. He was remarkably handsome. One day, he was walking by a lake when the nymph of the lake fell in love with him. She made advances which the young man rebuffed. Hermaphroditus was attracted by the clear water, undressed himself and jumped into the lake. The nymph, Salmacis, saw him and embraced him, but he tried to get away. Salmacis prayed to the gods that they should never be separated, the gods granted this wish and fused them into one body. Hermaphroditus thereupon asked the gods that anybody who bathed in this lake should lose his virility, which was also granted.Get off me, Woman!

amor omnia vincit: love conquers all

amantes sunt amentes: lovers are crazy

amorous : full of love
invincible: not able to be conquered

So, now we have come back to Aprhodite/Venus. As we have already discussed, she is the goddess of love and beauty, and a fertility goddess associated with sex and procreation. She was born from the castration of Uranus ( who could forget THAT story?). She was the wife of Hephaestus/ Vulcan and the lover of Are/Mars with whom she shared an equally passionate temperament). So...what else?
Well, she had followers and lovers and children in addition to the ones we have already discussed...so, let's return to her, and discuss her role in the myth of Narcissus and Echo:

( this is the version of the myth found in Thomas Bulfinch's Mythology)
Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the woods and hills, where she devoted herself to woodland sports. She was a favourite of Diana, and attended her in the chase. But Echo had one failing; she was fond of talking, and whether in chat or argument, would have the last word. One day Juno was seeking her husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs made their escape. When Juno discovered it, she passed sentence upon Echo in these words: "You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose you are so fond of- reply. You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first."

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She loved him and followed his footsteps. O how she longed to address him in the softest accents, and win him to converse! but it was not in her power. She waited with impatience for him to speak first, and had her answer ready. One day the youth, being separated from his companions, shouted aloud, "Who's here?" Echo replied, "Here." Narcissus looked around, but seeing no one, called out, "Come." Echo answered, "Come." As no one came, Narcissus called again, "Why do you shun me?" Echo asked the same question. "Let us join one another," said the youth. The maid answered with all her heart in the same words, and hastened to the spot, ready to throw her arms about his neck. He started back, exclaiming, "Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!" "Have me," said she; but it was all in vain. He left her, and she went to hide her blushes in the recesses of the woods. From that time forth she lived in caves and among mountain cliffs. Her form faded with grief, till at last all her flesh shrank away. Her bones were changed into rocks and there was nothing left of her but her voice. With that she is still ready to reply to any one who calls her, and keeps up her old habit of having the last word.

Narcissus's cruelty in this case was not the only instance. He shunned all the rest of the nymphs, as he had done poor Echo. One day a maiden who had in vain endeavored to attract him uttered a prayer that he might some time or other feel what it was to love and meet no return of affection. The avenging goddess. Venus/Aphrodite, heard and granted the prayer.

There was a clear fountain, with water like silver, to which the shepherds never drove their flocks, nor the mountain goats resorted, nor any of the beasts of the forests; neither was it defaced with fallen leaves or branches; but the grass grew fresh around it, and the rocks sheltered it from the sun. Hither came one day the youth, fatigued with hunting, heated and thirsty. He stooped down to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he thought it was some beautiful water-spirit living in the fountain. He stood gazing with admiration at those bright eyes, those locks curled like the locks of Bacchus or Apollo, the rounded cheeks, the ivory neck, the parted lips, and the glow of health and exercise over all. He fell in love with himself. He brought his lips near to take a kiss; he plunged his arms in to embrace the beloved object. It fled at the touch, but returned again after a moment and renewed the fascination. He could not tear himself away; he lost all thought of food or rest. while he hovered over the brink of the fountain gazing upon his own image. He talked with the supposed spirit: "Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckonings with the like." His tears fell into the water and disturbed the image. As he saw it depart, he exclaimed, "Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you, if I may not touch you." With this, and much more of the same kind, he cherished the flame that consumed him, so that by degrees be lost his colour, his vigour, and the beauty which formerly had so charmed the nymph Echo.
narcissus-flower-03.jpgNarcissus flowerecho and Narcissus.jpgJohn Waterhouse

let me take a selfie.jpg

"But first let me take a Selfie" - Narcissus

1/12/2015...tempus fugit

odi et amo:" I hate and I love" ( Catullus)

Odi et amo

Si vis amari, ama – “If you wish to be loved, love.”(Seneca)

odious: hateful
paramour( par +amare): a ( usually illicit) lover; one who loves you equally

The myth of Pygmalion and Galatea

Pygmalion was a very talented sculptor in ancient Greece who loved his work, and would spend hours carving beautiful ivory statues, immersing himself in his art. One day, he chose a large, beautiful piece of ivory, and worked diligently at it, chiseling and hammering until he finished. It was a statue of a beautiful lady. Pygmalion thought it was so beautiful, he clothed the figure, gave it jewels, and named it Galatea (sleeping love). Pygmalion went to the temple of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love and beauty to pray for a wife just like the statue in his home.

When Aphrodite heard him, she went to the home of he sculptor to see what all the fuss was about. She was delighted when she saw Galatea. She thought it looked a lot like herself, so she brought it to life. When the sculptor returned home, he found Galatea alive, and threw himself at her feet. Galatea smiled down at him. They soon got married, and Pygmalion didn't forget to thank Aphrodite for his good fortune. He and Galatea brought gifts to her altar as long as they lived. Aphrodite blessed them with happiness and love in return.

pyg and gal.jpg

Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, Vésoul 1824–1904 Paris)


Credula res amor est - Love is a credulous thing (Ovid)

Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam - If a man is in love with a frog, he will think that his frog is Diana herself.

Love is blind, my young friends, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is a reality of the human heart and it always has been.

credulous: full of believing; easy lied to
reputation : what people think about someone or something

Aphrodite had two mortal lovers: Adonis and Anchises neither affair ended well. First we will talk about Adonis.
Oh please don't go, we'll eat you up, we love you so...but Adonis said "NO!"

Venus and Adonis/Titian
Note the flowers...anemomes.

venus and adonis titian.jpg
The classic version of this myth is by Ovid. KINYRAS (the son of Paphos), had a daughter named MYRRHA, the mother of Adonis, who fell in love with her father. The faithful nurse of guilty Myrrha prevented her from committing suicide by convincing her to satisfy her passion. So Myrrha carried on an incestuous relationship with her father, who was unaware of her identity. When Cinyras found out, he pursued his daughter, who fled from his rage. In answer to her prayers, Myrrha was turned into a myrrh tree. She had become pregnant by her father and from the tree was born ADONIS , who became a most handsome youth and keen hunter.
Aphrodite fell desperately in love with Adonis and warned him of the dangers of the hunt, but to no avail. While he was hunting a wild boar, it buried its deep tusk into his groin and Adonis died in the arms of a grief-stricken Aphrodite.
wild boar.jpg
The goddess ordained that from his blood a flower, the anemone, should arise. Here is allegorized the important recurrent theme of the Great Mother and her lover, who dies as vegetation dies and comes back to life again.

adonis john waterhouse.jpg

death of Adonis.jpg

venus mourning adonis.jpg

venus and adonis 1.jpg venus and adonis2.jpg

FYI: a really good looking man is often referred to as being "an Adonis" i.e. someone so good looking they are worthy of Venus' affection and attention

arma virumque cano: I sing of arms and a man;
opening line of the Aeneid, an epic poem ala the Iliad and The Odyssey, by Vergil, telling about the struggle of the Trojan warrior, Aeneas, to find Italy
sum pius Aeneas: I am pious Aeneas

piety: religious devotion
armory: a place to store weapons

Anchises: lover of Venus; father of Aeneas
The gods were complaining to Jupiter that Venus was using her pwoers to distract and humiliate them, and mocking them for it, so he decided to humiliate her by making her fall desperately in love with a mortal. This was the handsome Anchises, king of the Dardinians, grandson of Illus. One night when Anchises lay asleep in his herdsman’s hut on Trojan MountIda, Venus visited him in the guise of a Phyrgian princess, clad in a dazzlingly robe, and lay with him while bees buzzed drowsily about them. When they parted at dawn, she revealed her identity and made him promise not to tell anyone that she had slept with him. Anchises was horrified to learn that he had uncovered the nakedness of a goddess, and begged her to spare his life. She assured him that he had nothing to fear, and that their son, Aeneus, would be famous.
Venus and Anchises

But he could not keep his yap shut, and he did blab it all over town, so Venus threw a at him, and hit him in a place where she could rest assured he would never be telling this kind of tale again. It also made him not be able to walk.so:
1) if you want to play, you've got to pay
2) be discreet, and shut your yap.

From this union was born Aeneas, the Trojan warrior and founder of Italy. He led a band of refugees out of Troy, through the Mediterranean, finally to Italy.Aeneas fleeing Troy.Aeneas_fleeing.png