MYSTERY RITUAL AT ...VILLA...OF...THE... MYSTERIES...Part...III
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 2:27:21 PM
Go to PART I | PART II
What Really Happened Here Is A Mystery , Only They Know The Truth.
the Nurse in Scene VIII
the INITIATE (first image) in Scene VIII
the second woman in Scene VIII
the INITIATE (second image) in Scene VIII
EROS (first image) in Scene IX
the Attendant in Scene IX
the INITIATE in Scene IX
EROS (second image) in Scene IX
Scene VII - VIII : the PASSION
Notice the complete abandonment to agony on the face of THE INITIATE and the lash across her back. She is consoled by a woman identified as a nurse.
Scene VII - the divine bliss
This is a winged divinity. Her raised hand is rejecting or warding off something. She is looking to the left and is prepared to strike with a whip.Scene VIII - the RESURRECTION
The two themes of this scene are torture and transfiguration , the evocative climax of the rite. To the right a nude woman clashes celebratory cymbals and another woman is about to give to the initiate a thyrsus , symbolizing the successful completion of the rite.
In this scene a winged figure is flogging or preparing to flog the initiate while another naked figure dances. Various theories are advanced for the meaning of the scene ; a feminist version says it depicts the subservient and downtrodden state of ancient womanhood and that its very depiction is a rebellion against this state ; a realist interpretation is that candidates for initiation were actually flogged during the ritual. The dancing figure is described as the initiate celebrating (or anticipating) her freedom from Ignorance. The swirling cloth over the shoulder of the dancer is an artistic attribute of a Dionysian ecstatic or entranced Bacchante.
Scene VIII - the RESURRECTION
THE AGONY AND ECSTASY
The Greeks explained that if one wishes to share in the joy of the deity , one first has to suffer with her as well.
In this scene the initiand learns life is about the joyful participation in life's sorrows , tempered by the knowledge that her tribe or will assist her in a blessed afterlife. Nearly naked , the bride moves from the pain of the whip across her back to swirling in a dance while clashing cymbals above her head. She represents now the joyful aspect of the afterlife. In the background a woman holds a thyrsus erect.
Sacred dances were part of the Greek Mysteries and considered a way to channel the ancestors and dieties.
The Goal Of Initiation
The " peak " of the initiation experience is that of death / rebirth , and subsequent " illumination. " Illumination is the much - desired goal for which many cultures have employed and developed different psycho technologies. Illumination has also been linked with the use of LSD & similar drugs. While it can occur seemingly spontaneously , to people who have no knowledge or expectation of it these people are often concerned with their spiritual life.
This initiation contains all the key elements ; symbolic death , sacred marriage , and rebirth , and at the climax the candidate is infused with the presence of the god or , to use the Greek term , becomes " enthused. " In all initiation rituals the fate of the initiand is radically altered by a ceremony in which they are purified , instructed , and they see and hear sacred things. They have been changed by becoming " transparent to the transcendent. " They are now assured their place in the thiasos , joyful in the certainty of their salvation.
" BLISS STATES "
What characterizes an experience of illumination ?
These are some of the prevalent factors.
- unity - a fading of the self - other divide
- transcendence of space & time as barriers to experience
- positive sensations
- a sense of the numinous
- a sense of certitude - the " realness " of the experience
- paradoxical insights
- transience - the experience does not last
- resultant change in attitude and behaviour
Scene IX - DRESSING the initiate for the wedding , mystic with god
Ephugon Kakon , Heuron Ameinon :
I HAVE FLED THE WORSE AND FOUND THE BETTER.
(A saying spoken at both initiations and weddings)
" Three things distinguish living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are : the ability to sense and learn new ways , the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love over time. "
Scene IX - i
This scene represents an event after the completion of the ritual drama. The transformed initiate or bride prepares , with the help of an attendant , for marriage. A young Eros figure holds a mirror which reflects the image of the bride. Both the bride and her reflected image stare out inquiringly at the viewer , the observers.
The initiate has experienced the mystery of connection to a power greater than themselves. She is now ready for her next great initiation ceremony , that of marriage.
Here you see the initiate as a seated bride dressing her hair as an angel exults. She cannot be certain of her fate but she remains assured that she has completed the necessary steps to become a full adult contributing member of the tribe.
Scene IX - ii
EROS , a son of Chronos or Saturn , god of Love , is the final figure in the narrative.
Scene I - the Dominance
NOTICE THAT SHE DOES WEAR A RING ON HER FINGER.
If she is the same female who began the dramatic ritual as a headstrong girl , she has certainly matured psychologically.
The last to first scene consists of a seated woman with a veiled head , who represents a successful transition from girlhood to matronhood.
Initiation into the Dionysiac secret society (or " thiasos ") may have been incorporation into an actual living community , which is nevertheless also a community of the next world. It secures the fate of the initiate in this world and the next : when compared with the unforgettable experience of his initiation , the physical death of the initiate hardly counts as a transition at all.
VIRGIN , MOTHER & CRONE
Myth and Mystery of the Triple Goddess
The three final scenes , a woman dressing her hair as a bride , a matron or mother watching approvingly and love - god Eros also assenting , complete the cycle.
The Virgin , responsible for herself ; Mother , the nurturing woman in the fullness of life ; and Crone , the wise , old healing woman.
The goddess triad represents three distinct phrases of a woman's life which correspond with the three phases of the moon (waxing , full and waning). Virgin representing the strong , self - defined goddess. Mother representing the nurturing goddess as source of all nourishment , and the Crone representing the goddess of death and transformation. The archetype allows the initiate to embraces her role as the god of life in all phases of existence , from birth through death to rebirth.
Creator , Preserver , and Destroyer from the earliest ages , the concept of the Great Goddess was a trinity and the model for all subsequent trinities , female , male or mixed. From the Brahmans who evolved a male trinity of Brahma , Vishnu , and Shiva to play these parts to Christianity's Holy Trinity of father , son and holy ghost the powerful men in charge have tended to replace the feminine with the masculine. Even androgynous Dionysus himself , as a life - death - rebirth deity reflects this tendency.
The shift back from the relentless patriarchal takeover of this powerful female archetype by innumerable traditions during the last two great ages remains as one of the more significant thresholds to cross for the 21st century to mark the beginning of a new great age.
There are few written records about mystery religions and initiation rites. Any iconographic interpretation is bound to be flawed. Nevertheless , an interpretation is offered. See if you agree or disagree. And in the end , the only thing we are left is still the wonderful frescoes , ... and the MYSTERY.