Cult-like and embroiled in secrecy, the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece remain a site of fascination and speculation, even today.
These autumnal and springtime rituals followed the myth of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, whose daughter Persephone, was taken by Hades to the underworld. In protest, Demeter inflicted a drought, starving the people of the earth until Zeus allowed Persephone to return, and Demeter returned earth to its former prosperity. The rites celebrate the bounty of springtime, with Persephone’s rebirth as a symbolic rebirth of earth’s prosperity.
The Road to Eleusis explores the roles of psychoactive substances in the rites and ceremonies of the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece. In this edition, a mycologist, a chemist, and a classicist come together to explain the once controversial theory that psychedelics enhanced the religious feeling for participants during these rituals.
Reviews on The Road To Elusis:
“…one of the two best kept secrets in history, and this book is the most successful attempt I know to unlock it. … [A] historical tour de force.”
–Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions