In offering to the public a new edition of Mr. Thomas Taylor s admirable treatise upon the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, it is proper to insert a few words of explanation. These observances once represented the spiritual life of Greece, and were considered for two thousand years and more the appointed means for regeneration through an interior union with the Divine Essence. However absurd, or even offensive they may seem to us, we should therefore hesitate long before we venture to lay desecrating hands on what others have esteemed holy. We can learn a valuable lesson in this regard from the Grecian and Roman writers, who had learned to treat the popular religious rites with mirth, but always considered the Eleusinian Mysteries with the deepest reverence. Everyact, rite, and person engaged in them was symbolical ;and the individual revealing them was put to death without mercy. So also was any uninitiated person who happened to be present. Persons of all ages and both sexes were initiated; and neglect in this respect, as in the case of Socrates, was regarded as impious and atheistical. It was required of all candidates that they should be first admitted at the Mikra or Lesser Mysteries of Agrae, by a process of fasting called purification, after which they were styled mystce, or initiates. A year later, they might enter the higher degree.
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