Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 10, No 2 (2008)

Re-crafting the Past: The Complex Relationship between Myth and Ritual in the Contemporary Pagan Reshaping of Eleusis

Maria Beatrice Bittarello

Abstract


Modern Pagans belonging to different traditions re-craft the Eleusinian mysteries and the myth of Demeter and Persephone on the Web. The author suggests that there may exist, in contemporary Paganism, a close, nuanced, and complex relationship between mythical narrative and rituals— in other words, between symbolic system (myth, gods, symbols), and embodied knowledge (gained through ritual and personal life experience). In the paper, such close relationship is uncovered by exploring how the myth of Demeter and the initiation at Eleusis are presented by the ancient sources, how recent academic and literary studies have reshaped them, and how the myth and the ritual are re-told and talked about on contemporary Pagan websites.

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