Eighth and final day
"Eleusinia ... The eighth day was called Epidaurion Hemera, because once Aesculapius, at his return from Epidaurus to Athens, was initiated by the repetition of the lesser mysteries. It became customary, therefore, to celebrate them a second time upon this, that such as had not hitherto been initiated might be lawfully admitted."
The Eleusinian mysteries, ancient Greece
The time of the full moon during the Greek month of Boedromion marked the beginning of the Eleusinian mysteries, which began with a procession to Eleusis, a small town about twenty-two kilometres north-west of Athens, where the ceremonies were celebrated. Held annually in honour of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone (aka Kore), these were the most sacred and revered of all the ritual celebrations of ancient Greece.
Drinking of the kykeon (a mix of barley and pennyroyal) was an “act of religious remembrance” involving “an observance of an act of the Goddess” (Mylonas, George E, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries). Some scholars argue that the Eleusinian mysteries took place because the kykeon might have contained barley which, like many other grains when aged, can contain the fungus ergot which contains LSA, a precursor to LSD.
The Greater Mysteries took place in Boedromion (September) and lasted nine days. In the Hellenistic age (300-150 BCE), the cult was taken over and run by the state, with two aristocratic families (the Eumolpidae and Kerykes) from Eleusis officiating. The ceremony began in Athens; participants purified themselves by bathing in the sea, and also sacrificed a piglet.
The eighth and final day was called the Second Initiation, with the rites taking place in caves and in the Telesterion, designed by Ictinos in the 5th Century BCE, which was an initiation hall capable of holding thousands of worshippers. There the initiates were shown Demeter’s hiera (sacred relics) that were housed in the interior chamber known as the Anaktoron (Palace), while the priestesses revealed their oracles of the holy night (probably via a fire that represented the possibility of life after death). This was the most arcane part of the Eleusinian Mysteries, with those who had been initiated forbidden ever to speak of the events that had taken place in the Telesterion.
Demeter (‘barley mother’ – her name is purely Greek, meaning ‘spelt mother’, spelt being a hardy variety of wheat.) was the Greek goddess of agriculture, health, birth and marriage. She was associated with the Roman goddess Ceres; also, she was the daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and therefore the sister of Zeus. Her priestesses were addressed with the title Melissa.
The daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone (‘she who destroys the light’) (also Kore, ‘maiden;’ Roman equivalent: Proserpina) became the goddess of the underworld when Hades abducted her from the Earth and brought her into the underworld.
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*Ø* Blogmanac | Medetrinalia, ancient Rome
A day for the Roman goddess of medicines: offerings of fruit were made to Meditrina. In Roman mythology, she was the goddess of medicines, goddess of health, longevity and wine. Festivals in her honour were also celebrated on October 3 and October 11.
Meditrina roughly equates with the Greek goddess Jaso, but differed from Medetrina’s sister Hygieia (they, and Panacea, were daughters of Asclepius and Salus) in that while the Greek goddess preserved good health, Meditrina’s role was to restore it.
“In the month of October [is] the Meditrinalia, 'Festival of Meditrina' ... on this day it was the practice to pour an offering of old and new wine ... and to taste of the same, for the purpose of being healed; which many are accustomed to do even now, when they say: ‘Wine new and old I drink, of illness new and old I'm cured’.”
(Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 21)