Glossary of the Eleusinian Mysteries


FOTO: Jastrow who has kindly released to Public Domain. Roman copy of Greek original: Εὐβουλεύς



The Ælefsinian initiation ceremonies and teachings, called the Ælefsínia (Gr. Ἐλευσίνια), were a mighty vehicle that promoted the Progress of the Soul in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. There were numerous terms and names associated with these Mystíria, the majority of which are presented below.

NOTE: A list of abbreviations can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME.

Ádyton - (Gr. Άδυτον, ΆΔΥΤΟΝ) The Ádyton is a sacred room found in a temple to which access is limited to priests and to certain times. The Ádyton would often house the cult-image of the God to whom the temple was dedicated.

Ækáti - (Hekate; Gr. Ἑκάτη) The Goddess Ækáti is associated with the Ælefsínia Mystíria for many reasons. Ækáti heard the voice of Pærsæphóni (Περσεφόνη) as she was being abducted, and helped search for her holding torches, alongside Dimítir. Please visit this page: Ækáti.

Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια, ΕΛΕΥΣΙΝΙΑ ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΑ) Ælefsínia Mystíria are the Mysteries of Dimítir as practiced at the pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Ælefsís in ancient times.

Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς) Ælefsís, modern Ælefsína (Elefsina; Gr. Ελευσίνα), is a locality of Greece, in West Attica, about 11 miles (18 km) north of Athens, where in ancient times the initiations of the Ælefsínia Mystíria took place. The ruins of the sanctuary complex survive into modern times and excavation of the area continues.

Æpimælitǽs - (Epimeletes; Singular is Επιμελητές. Plural is Επιμελείται.) The Æpimælitǽs was an official of the Ælefsínia Mystíria involved with the sacrifices and procession.

Æpopteia - (epopteia; Gr. ἐποπτεία, ΕΠΟΠΤΕΙΑ) Lexicon entry: ἐποπτεία, , highest grade of initiation at the Eleusinian Mysteries. (L&S p. 676, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Æpóptis - (epoptes; Gr. ἐπόπτης, ΕΠΟΠΤΗΣ. Noun.) Lexicon entry: ἐπόπτης, ου, , (ἐπόψομαι) overseer, watcher, esp. of a God; title of Poseidon; of the Sun. 2. simply, spectator. 3. inspector. II. one admitted to the highest grade of the Mysteries. (L&S p. 676, left column, within the entries beginning with ἐποπτεία, edited for simplicity.)

Aftopsía - (autopsia; Gr. αὐτοψία, ΑΥΤΟΨΙΑ) Aftopsía is seeing with one's own eyes the secret and sacred objects forbidden to those who are uninitiated.

- Lexicon entry: αὐτοψία, , seeing with one's own eyes. II. supernatural manifestation, vision; magical operation for the production of such a manifestation.

Agelastos petra - See Ayǽlastos pǽtra.

Agyrmos - See Ayirmós.

Aidis - (Hades; Gr. Ἅιδης) = Ploutôn (Plouton; Gr. Πλούτων).

Aïdônéfs – (Aedoneus; Gr. Ἀϊδωνεὺς, ΑΪΔΩΝΕΥΣ) the name of Ploutôn used in the Homeric hymn to Dimítir.

Anáktoron - (Gr. Ἀνάκτορον, ΑΝΑΚΤΟΡΟΝ) An anáktoron is a palace, particularly the palace of a God. In the case of the sanctuary complex of Ælefsís, the Anáktoron was the holiest area of the great Temple of Dimítir which was the largest temple in all of Greece. It was in the Anáktoron that the Iærá (Hiera; Gr. Ἱερά), the very sacred objects, were kept.

Anathyróöh - (anathyrosis; Gr. ἀναθυρόω, ΑΝΑΘΥΡΟΩ. Etym. ἀνά, "from bottom to top, along" + θύρα, "door," because a stone prepared in this manner looked something like a door-frame.) Anathyróöh is an architectural term which refers to the dressing of stone blocks such that the edges of the outside face are smooth, while the inside face is recessed and left rough, to enable blocks to fit together smoothly with the minimum of work.

Anta - (Latin. Plural is antæ) Anta is a Latin architectural term. The antæ are the pillars or ends of the walls which face the front of the temple, at the left and right ends of the building. In between the antæ is the entrance which is usually just behind two columns; these two columns are enclosed by the antæ, as in the Templum in antis (See parástasin, en.). Sometimes the anta structure was used, not only at the front, but also at the rear of a temple; such a design is called the double-anta. When a temple has the double-anta design, there is no entrance in the rear, but entry is accessible only from one side.Anthæstirióhn - (Anthesterion; Gr. Ἀνθεστηριών, ΑΝΘΕΣΤΗΡΙΩΝ) Anthæstirióhn is the eighth month of the ancient Attic(Athenian) calendar (February/March) during which the Lesser Mysteries (Gr. Μικρά Ελευσίνια) took place.

Anthesterion - See Anthæstirióhn.

Apostolí of Triptólæmos, The - (Gr. Ἀποστολή, ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΗ) The Apostolí of Triptólæmos is his mission to teach mankind the cultivation of cereals. He was taught this by Queen Dimítir and given a magnificent winged chariot drawn by dragons to disseminate this knowledge throughout the world.

Archon Basileus - See Árkhohn Vasiléfs.

Archon Eponymos - See Árkhohn Æpóhnymos.

Árkhohn Æpóhnymos - (Archon Eponymos; Gr. Ἄρχων Ἐπώνυμος, ΑΡΧΩΝ ΕΠΩΝΥΜΟΣ) The Árkhohn Æpóhnymos was the official in the polis (Gr. πόλις) of Athínai (Athens; Gr. Ἀθῆναι) who gave his name to the year in which he held office. Árkhohn means "magistrate" or "official;" Æpóhnymos means, in this context, "name-giver."

Árkhohn Vasiléfs - (Archon Basileus; Gr. Ἄρχων Βασιλεύς, ΑΡΧΩΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ. Etymology: Árkhohn means "magistrate" or "official;" Vasiléfs means "king.") The Árkhohn Vasiléfs was the chief magistrate or supervisor in charge of religious matters (but not the religious content) in the polis (Gr. πόλις) of Athínai (Athens; Gr. Ἀθῆναι), something like the chief priest of the city in charge of the traditional ceremonies.

Aryballos - See Arývallos.

Arývallos (aryballos; Gr. ἀρύβαλλος, ΑΡΥΒΑΛΛΟΣ) An arývallos is a small, typically globular oil-vessel.Ayǽlastos pǽtra - (Agelastos petra; Gr. Ἀγέλαστος πέτρα, ΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΟΣ ΠΕΤΡΑ) The Ayǽlastos pǽtra, literally the "laughless rock" or Stone of Sorrow, is to be found within the Mikrá Propýlaia, a place where the Goddess Dimítir sat and rested while in great grief in the search for her beloved daughter Pærsæphóni. Iámvi (Iambi; Gr. Ιάμβη), the serving maid (or Vafvó [Baubo; Gr. Βαυβώ]), felt pity for Dimítir and, by acting ridiculous, made the Goddess laugh.

Ayirmós - (Agyrmos; Gr. Ἀγυρμός, ΑΓΥΡΜΟΣ) Ayirmós ("gathering") was the first day of the Lesser Mysteries, 19 Voïdromióhn (Boedromion; Gr. Βοηδρομιών).

Bacchos - See Vákkhos.

Baubo - See Vafvó.

Bebeloi - See Vǽvili

Boedromion - See Voïdromióhn.

Bothros - See Vóthros.

Bucranium - See Voukránion.

Callichoron Phrear - See Kallíkhohron Phrǽar.

Callidice - See Kallidíki.

Callithoe - See Kallithói.

Celeus, King - See Kælæós, King.

Cella - See Naós.

Cephisus - See Kiphisós.

Chthonic Deities - See Khthonic Deities.

Cleisidice - See Kleisidíki.

Dadouchos - See Dadoukhos.

Dadoukhos - (Dadouchos; Gr. Δαδούχος, ΔΑΔΟΥΧΟΣ. Feminine is Dadoukhousa; Gr. Δᾳδουχοῦσα) The Dadoukhos was the torch-bearing priest who was second in rank to the Iærophántis. The office was held first by the Kírykæs. (source: Eleusis by Carl Kerényi, 1967, p. 23) but later handed over or shared with the Lykomídai. (source: Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries by George E. Mylonas, 1961, pp. 234-235)

Deiknýmæna - (Deiknymena; Gr. Δεικνύμενα, ΔΕΙΚΝΥΜΕΝΑ) Deiknýmæna are the things revealed to the initiates of the Mysteries. In the Mysteries, we have the Deiknýmæna (things shown), Dróhmæna (things performed), and Lægómæna (things explained).

Demeter - See Dimítir.

Demo - See Dimóh.

Demophon - See Dimophón.

Diateikhisma of Ælefsís (Diateichisma; Gr. Διατείχισμα, ΔΙΑΤΕΙΧΙΣΜΑ) The Diateikhisma of Ælefsís was the protective wall which separated the Tælæstírion of Dimítir from the rest of the sanctuary complex.

Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ) The Goddess Dimítir, along with her daughter Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη) and Ploutohn (Plouton; Gr. Πλούτων), are the principal deities of the Ælefsínia Mystíria. Please visit this page: Dimítir.

Dimóh (Demo; Gr. Δημώ) Dimóh was a daughter of King Kælæós of Ælefsís. (Homeric Hymn to Dimítir 105-109)

- Dimóh is a name of the Goddess Dimítir (Suidas, s. v. Demô).

Dimophón - (Demophon; Gr. Δημοφῶν) Dimophón was the child and son of King Kælæós and Queen Mætáneira. Dimítir, disguised as an old woman called Dôsó (Doso; Gr. Δωσώ), agreed to care for the infant when she was taken in to the royal family home. Dimítir loved the child and in gratitude for the family's kindness, decided to make him immortal by burning off his mortality in the family hearth. When Mætáneira discovered her child in the flames, she screamed out, angering the Goddess, and now Dimítir revealed her true identity to the family.

Diocles - See Dioklís.

Dioklís (Diocles; Gr. Διοκλῆς) Dioklís was of the first generation of priests of the Ælefsínia Mystíria. He was taught the rites and Mysteries by Dimítir, along with King Kælæós, Triptólæmos, Polýxeinos, and Éfmolpos.

Dólikhos – (Dolichus; Gr. Δόλιχος, ΔΟΛΙΧΟΣ) a prince of Ælefsís.

Dôsó (Doso; Gr. Δωσώ) – alias used by Dimítir as she entered the city of Ælefsís.

Drágma - (Gr. Δράγμα, ΔΡΑΓΜΑ. Plural: δράγματα) Drágma is a handful; esp. as many stalks of corn as the reaper can grasp in his left hand (L&S).

Dróhmæna - (Dromena; Gr. Δρώμενα, ΔΡΩΜΕΝΑ. δρώμενον is singular. A form of the verb δράω [see below]; δράω is the etymological root of the English word drama.) Dróhmæna are those things which are performed, i.e. as, perhaps a play, in the Mysteries. In the Mysteries, we have the Deiknýmæna (things shown), Dróhmæna (things performed), and Lægómæna (things explained).

- Lexicon entry: δράω (A), Aeol. 3pl. δραῖσι, subj. δρῶ, δρᾷς, δρᾷ, opt. δρῴην, Ep. δρώοιμι; παρα-δρώωσι: impf. ἔδρων: fut. δράσω: aor. I ἔδρᾱσα, Ion. ἔδρησα: pf. δέδρᾱκα:—Pass., aor. I ἐδράσθην, δρασθείς: pf. δέδρᾱμαι (δεδρασμένων is f. l. in Id.3.54):—do, accomplish, esp. do some great thing, good or bad. 2. of things: so, generally, to be active. II. offer sacrifice or perform mystical rites, δ. τὰ ἱερά. (L&S p. 449, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Dromena - See Dróhmæna.

Dysáflis - (Dysaulus or Dysaules; Gr. Δυσαύλης) According to Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας) [1.14.3], Dysáflis was the father of Efvouléfs and Triptólæmos, but just before this quotation he says that Triptólæmos was the son of not Dysáflis, but, rather, King Kælæós [1.14.2]. Pafsanías also says in 2.14.1 that Dysáflis was the brother of King Kælæós. It is in this same section that he reports a tradition that Dysáflis had been expelled from Ælefsís by Íohn (Ion; Gr. Ἴων) and had established the Mysteries in Phleious (Phlius; Gr. Φλειοῦς) near Kórinthos (Corinth; Gr. Κόρινθος).

Dysaules - See Dysáflis.

Efthyntiría - (euthynteria; Gr. εὐθυντηρία, ΕΥΘΥΝΤΗΡΙΑ) The efthyntiría is an architectural term referring to the uppermost course of a foundation upon which sits the (usually) three-step platform called the kræpidóma.

Eleusinian Mysteries - See Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Eleusis - See Ælefsís.

Epimeletes - See Æpimælitǽs.

Epopteia - See Æpopteia.

Epoptis - See Æpóptis.

Euboleus - See Evvouléfs.

Eumolpidae - See Evmolpídai.

Eumolpus - See Évmolpos.

Euthynteria - See Efthyntiría.

Evmolpídai (Eumolpidae; Gr. Εὐμολπίδαι) The Evmolpídai were the descendants of Évmolpos through his second son, Kíryx (Keryx; Gr. Κήρυξ), and one of the two hereditary families of priests who presided over the Ælefsínia Mystíria. The other family was called the Kírykæs (Kerykes; Gr. Κήρυκες).

Évmolpos - (Eumolpus; Gr. Εύμολπος, ΕΥΜΟΛΠΟΣ. His name means 'sweetly singing.') According to Apollódohros (Apollodorus; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος) in Βιβλιοθήκη 3.15, Évmolpos was the son of Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν) and Khióni (Chione; Gr. Χιόνη). In fear of the wrath of her father, Khióni concealed this affair and threw Évmolpos into the sea. Poseidóhn rescued the boy and put him into the care of his daughter Vænthæsikými (Benthesikyme; Gr. Βενθεσικύμη). When Évmolpos was of age, he was given one of the daughters of Vænthæsikými to be his wife, but he tried to impose himself on her sister. For this, he was exiled and went to Tæyirios (Tegyrios; Gr. Τεγυριος), the Thracian king, who married off one of his daughters to Évmolpos' son Ísmaros (Ismarus; Gr. Ίσμαρος). But Évmolpos was discovered in a conspiracy against the king and he fled to Ælefsís where he was well received. Later, when Ísmaros died, King Tæyirios summoned Évmolpos to return; they were reconciled and Évmolpos succeeded to the kingship. Later, war broke out between Ælefsís and Athens. Évmolpos came to the aid of Ælefsís with a large force of Thracians, but he was killed in battle by Ærækhthéfs (Erechtheus; Gr. Ἐρεχθεύς). The Athenians won the battle but left control of the Mysteries to the Ælefsinians.

Regarding the war between the Athenians and the Ælefsinians, Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας) tells a different story:

"When the Eleusinians fought with the Athenians, Erechtheus, king of the Athenians, was killed, as was also Immaradus, son of Eumolpus. These were the terms on which they concluded the war: the Eleusinians were to have in dependent control of the Mysteries, but in all things else were to be subject to the Athenians. The ministers of the Two Goddesses were Eumolpus and the daughters of Celeus, whom Pamphos and Homer agree in naming Diogenia, Pammerope, and the third Saesara. Eumolpus was survived by Ceryx, the younger of his sons whom the Ceryces themselves say was a son of Aglaurus, daughter of Cecrops, and of Hermes, not of Eumolpus." (Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις 1.38.3, trans. W.H.S. Jones, 1918 in Pausanias: Description of Greece, Vol. 1. We are using the 1961 edition published by Loeb-Heinemann [London, England] and Harvard [Cambridge, MA USA], where this quotation may be found on pp. 203-205.)

Hyginus reports a different motive on the part of Évmolpos for his fighting the Athenians:

"Erechtheus son of Pandion had four daughters who made a pact that if any one of them died, the rest would commit suicide. At the time, Eumolpus son of Neptune came to besiege Athens because he said that the land of Attica belonged to his father. Eumolpus and his army were defeated, and he was put to death by the Athenians. So that Erechtheus would not rejoice over his son's death, Neptune demanded that one of his daughters be sacrificed to him. And so, when his daughter Chthonia was sacrificed, the rest made good on their promise and committed suicide. As for Erechtheus himself, he was struck down by Jupiter's thunderbolt at Neptune's request." (Hyginus Fabulae 46 Erechtheus, trans. R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, 2007, in the volume entitled Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae, Hackett Publishing [Indianapolis/Cambridge], where this quotation may be found on p. 114.)

The war between the Athenians and the Ælefsinians resulted in a partnership between the two cities. The Mysteries of Ælefsís and the secrecy connected with them were protected by Athenian law and the sanctuary and its practices became a Pan-Hellenic treasure for all the Greeks and in later periods, throughout the Græco-Roman world.

Like many stories in the mythology, we have conflicting accounts, but in any case, while Évmolpos was yet dwelling in Ælefsís, he had become one of the first priests, possibly the first Iærophántis, of the great Mysteries. After his death, the two hereditary priestly families of the Ælefsínia Mystíria, the Kírykæs and the Evmolpídai, passed down through his blood, by means of his son, Kíryx (Keryx; Gr. Κήρυξ).And it is also said the Évmolpos is the father of Mousaios (Musaeus; Gr. Μουσαῖος), who is also connected with the Ælefsínia Mystíria:

"For Musæus was born among the Athenians, and Linus among the Thebans; and they say that the former, who was the son of Eumolpus, was the first person who taught the system of the genealogy of the Gods, and who invented the spheres; and that he taught that all things originated in one thing, and when dissolved returned to that same thing; and that he died at Phalerum, and that this epitaph was inscribed on his tomb ---

Phalerum's soil beneath this tomb contains

Musæus dead, Eumolpus' darling son.

And it is from the father of Musaeus that the family called Eumolpidae among the Athenians derive their name." (Dioyǽnis Laǽrtios Βίοι καὶ γνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων Book 1 Introduction 3, trans. C. D. Yonge, 1853, in the volume entitled The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius, London: Henry G. Bohn, York St., Covent Garden, where this quotation may be found on p. 6.)

Evvouléfs - (Euboleus; Gr. Εὐβουλεύς. His name means 'prudent' or 'of good counsel.' Proposed etym. βῶλος, "clump of earth.") It is difficult to discern exactly who is Evvouléfs for in some literature he seems to be a mortal or a Semi-God, where in other literature his name is used to identify various Gods or Heroes. There is a tradition concerning his origin in Kriti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη) and another giving his origin at Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς).

- The historian Diódohros (Διόδωρος) in Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορική at 5.76.3 calls (the Cretan) Evvouléfs the son of Dimítir (Gr. Δημήτηρ) and that he is the father of Kármi (Carme; Gr. Κάρμη). Kármi (a grain-harvest δαίμων) bore Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) the daughter Vritómartis (Britomartis; Gr. Βριτόμαρτις or Δίκτυννα), making Evvouléfs the grandfather of Vritómartis. Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας), in Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις at 2.30.3 says essentially the same, but adds that the father of the Cretan Evvouléfs was Karmánohr (Carmanor; Gr. Καρμάνωρ), the harvest Demi-God and consort of Dimítir who had purified Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) after he slew the Python.

- The Ælefsinian Evvouléfs, as related by Pafsanías in Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις at 1.14.2, is son of Trokhílos (Gr. Τροχίλος) and a woman of Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς); his brother is Triptólæmos (Triptolemus; Gr. Τριπτόλεμος). Nonetheless, Pafsanías relates another tradition (1.14.3) that in verses attributed to Orphéfs (which he questions), Evvouléfs and Triptólæmos were the sons of Dysávlis (Dysaules; Gr. Δυσαύλης).

- Orphic hymn 30 at line six identifies Evvouléfs with Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος).

- Orphic hymn 18 at line twelve identifies Evvouléfs with Ploutohn (Pluto; Gr. Πλούτων)

- In Orphic Hymn 42 Mísa (Mises; Gr. Μίσα) he is equated to Diónysos.

Hades - See Aidis.

Hecate - See Ækáti.

Helios - See Ílios.

Heroön - See Iróön.

Hiera - See Iærá.

Hiera Hodos - See Iærá Odós.

Hierophant - See Iærophántis.

Hierophantia - See Iærophantía.

Iacchagogos - See Iakkhagohgóhs.

Iacchus - See Iakkhos.

Iærá - (Hiera; Gr. Ἱερά, ἹΕΡΆ) Iærá are the sacred objects stored in Kistai.

Iærá Odós - (Hiera Hodos or Sacred Way; Gr. Ιερά Οδός, ΙΕΡΑ ΟΔΟΣ) The Iærá Odós, the Sacred Way, is the road from Athens to Ælefsís beginning at Kærameikós (Kerameikos; Gr. Κεραμεικός), the ancient Athenian cemetery, which was traversed by the participants of the Ælefsínia in a solemn procession called the Pompí, on 19th Voϊdromióhn (Boedromion; Gr. Βοηδρομιών).

Iærá Sykí - (Hiera Syke; Gr. 'Ιερά Συκῆ, ΙΕΡΑ ΣΥΚΗ) The Iærá Sykí was a sacred fig tree associated with the Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Iærokíryx (Hierokeryx; Gr. Ἱεροκῆρυξ, ΙΕΡΟΚΗΡΥΞ) The Iærokíryx is a herald or attendant at a sacrifice, in this case, the herald of the Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Iæróhnymos (Hieronymos; Gr. Ἱερώνυμος, ΙΕΡΩΝΥΜΟΣ) The Iærophántis (Hierophant) was Iæróhnymos, i.e. of hallowed name, meaning that his name could not be uttered.

Iærophantía - (Hierophantia; Gr. Ἱεροφαντία, ΙΕΡΟΦΑΝΤΙΑ) The Iærophantía is the office of the high priesthood at Ælefsís.

Iærophántis - (Hierophant; Gr. Ίεροφάντης, ΙΕΡΟΦΑΝΤΗΣ. Etymology: τα ιερά - "the holy" + φαίνω - "to show.") The Iærophántis was the high priest of the Ælefsínia.

- Lexicon entry: one who teaches rites of sacrifice and worship; of the initiating priest at Eleusis (Roman: pontifex, of the pontifex maximus); of the Jewish High Priest; later, mystical expounder. (L&S p.823 as a sub-division of ἱεροϕαντ-έω)

Iakkhagohgóhs - (Iakchagogos or Iacchagogos; Gr. Ἰακχαγωγός, ΙΑΚΧΑΓΩΓΟΣ) The Iakkhagohgóhs was the priest who accompanied the statue of Iakkhos in a great procession from Athens to Ælefsís.

Iákkhos - (Iacchus or Iacchos; Gr. Ἴακχος. Iákkhos is a poetic and mystical appellation of Bacchus (LD p. 874, left column) Iákkhos is depicted as a young man carrying torches, leading the Pompí, the sacred procession; he is the personification of the joy and ecstasy of the rites.

Iambi - See Iámvi.

Iámvi - (Iambi; Gr. Ιάμβη = Βαυβώ) - Iámvi was the serving maid who felt pity for Dimítir in her sorrow for the loss of her daughter, and, by acting ridiculous, made the Goddess laugh.

Ikheion - (echeion; Gr. ἠχεῖον, ΗΧΕΙΟΝ) The ikheion was a huge gong, sounding much like thunder, used at the instant of the calling of the Kóri. The instrument was also used in the theater.

Ílios (Helios; Gr. Ἥλιος) Ílios, the Sun, witnessed the abduction of Pærsæphóni by Ploutohn and revealed this fact to her mother Dimítir and Ækáti. Please visit this page: Ílios.

Iróön (Heroön; Gr. Ἡρῷον, ΗΡΩΟΝ) The Iróön is a shrine of a Írohs (Hero; Gr. Ἥρως), a demi-God.

Isódomos - (Gr. ἰσόδομος, ΙΣΟΔΟΜΟΣ) Lexicon entry: of walls, built in equal courses. (L&S) Isodomic masonry consists of layers of uniform blocks of stone.

Kælæós, King - (Celeus; Gr. Κελεός. The word kælæós means 'woodpecker.') Kælæós was king of Ælefsís, husband of Mætáneira, and, according to the Homeric hymn to Dimítir, the father of the following daughters (lines 105-109): Dimóh (Demo; Gr. Δημώ), Kallidíki (Callidice; Gr. Καλλιδίκη), Kallithói (Callithoe; Gr. Καλλιθόη), and Kleisidíki (Cleisidice; Gr. Κλεισιδίκη). Dimítir, after her daughter had been restored to her, taught King Kælæós, along with Triptólæmos, Dioklís, Polýxeinos, and Éfmolpos her rites and Mystíria. These were the first priests of the Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Kærnophoría - (Kernophoria; Gr. Κερνοϕορία, ΚΕΡΝΟΦΟΡΙΑ) The Kærnophoría, a ritual of the Ælefsínia, is believed to have featured dancing women with kǽrni atop their heads, ablaze with candles or lamps.

Kǽrnos (kernos; Gr. κέρνος, ΚΕΡΝΟΣ. Plural is kǽrni [kernoi; Gr. κέρνοι]) - The kǽrnos is a special offering vessel associated with Mystíria, especially the Ælefsínia. Please visit this page: KERNOS-ΚΈΡΝΟΣ.

Kálathos - (Gr. Κάλαθος, ΚΑΛΑΘΟΣ) Kálathos is another name for basket and is sometimes used to refer to the Kísti. See Kísti.

Kallidíki - (Callidice; Gr. Καλλιδίκη) Kallidíki was a daughter of King Kælæós of Ælefsís. (Homeric Hymn to Dimítir 105-109)

Kallíkhohron Phrǽar - (Callichoron Phrear; Gr. Καλλίχωρον Φρέαρ, ΚΑΛΛΙΧΩΡΟΝ ΦΡΕΑΡ) The Kallíkhohron Phrǽar, literally the Well of Beautiful Dances, is the circular well whereby Dimítir sat and mourned the loss of her daughter Pærsæphóni. Here the initiates performed dances. This place is called the Kallíkhohron in the Homeric Hymn to Dimítir, line 273.

Kallithói - (Callithoe; Gr. Καλλιθόη) Kallithói was the eldest daughter of King Kælæós of Ælefsís. (Homeric Hymn to Dimítir 105-109)

Karmánohr - (Carmanor; Gr. Καρμάνωρ) Karmánohr is the father of (the Cretan) Evvouléfs (Euboleus; Gr. Εὐβουλεύς). Karmánohr is the harvest demi-God and consort of Dimítir who purified Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) after he slew the Python. (Source: Παυσανίας Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις 2.30.3.)

Kármi - (Carme; Gr. Κάρμη) Kármi is found in the mythology of Kriti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη), a demi-Goddess of the harvest. She is the daughter of (the Cretan) Evvouléfs (Euboleus; Gr. Εὐβουλεύ). Kármi is a consort of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) whose union produced Vritómartis (Britomartis; Gr. Βριτόμαρτις or Δίκτυννα). (Source: Διόδωρος Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορική 5.76.3.).

Káthodos - (Cathodos; Gr. κάθοδος, ΚΑΘΟΔΟΣ) Lexicon entry: κάθοδος, Ion. κάτοδος, , descent, esp. of Demeter; represented in mysteries; and so of a procession: generally, going down; way down; of planets,declination. 2. ἡ κ. ἡ ἐπὶ θάλασσαν, = κατάβασις. 3. journey down the Nile. II. coming back, return; esp. of an exile to his country. III. cycle, recurrence. (L&S p. 855, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Kernophoria - See Kærnophoría.

Kernos - See Kǽrnos.

Kerykes - See Kírykæs.

Khthonic Deities - (Chthonic; from the Gr. χθών, which means "earth.") Khthonic Deities are deities of the earth, the earthy deities, many of which are associated with the Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Kiphisós - (Cephissus; Gr. Κηφισός, ΚΗΦΙΣΟΣ) The Kiphisós is a river of Athens that must be traversed by means of a bridge as the pilgrims of initiation approach the sanctuary complex for the Ælefsínia along the Sacred Way. The Kiphisós represents the river at the entrance to the kingdom of Aidis (Hades; Gr. Ἅιδης), thus symbolic of death, which is the mark of mortal beings.

Kírykæs (Kerykes; Gr. Κήρυκες, from κήρυκας meaning 'herald') The Kírykæs were the descendants of Éfmolpos through his second son, Kíryx (Keryx; Gr. Κήρυξ), and one of the two hereditary families of priests who presided over the Ælefsínia Mystíria. The other family was called the Efmolpídai (Eumolpidae; Gr. Εὐμολπίδαι).

Kíryx - (keryx; Gr. κῆρυξ, ΚΗΡΥΞ) Lexicon entry: κῆρυξ, ῡκος, , Aeol. κᾶρυξ [] :—but κήρῡκος, ου, , EM775.26: (κηρύσσω):— herald, pursuivant: generally, public messenger, envoy, of Hermes, as being messengers between nations at war: used interchangeably with ἀπόστολος; functioning as μάγειροι at festivals. b. as fem. 2. crier, who made proclamation and kept order in assemblies, etc.; at Eleusis. 3. auctioneer. 4. generally, messenger, herald; of the cock; of writing; of Homer. II. trumpet-shell, e.g. Triton nodiferum, and smaller species. (L&S p. 949, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Kiste - See Kísti.

Kísti - (Kiste; Gr. Κίστη, ΚΙΣΤΗ. Plural: Κίσται, ΚΙΣΤΑΙ) Kísti means basket, such as the basket which contains the sacred Toys of Dionysos. A Kísti is a container, Kístai are containers which carry the Iærá (Hiera; Gr. Ἱερά), the sacred objects of Mystíria (Κίστα Μυστικά). See also Kálathos.

Kistophóri - (kistophoroi; Gr. κιστοφόροι, ΚΙΣΤΟΦΟΡΟΙ) The kistophóri are the women who hold the Kístai Mystikai (Κίσται Μυστικαί), i.e. the sacred baskets.

Kleisidíki - (Cleisidice; Gr. Κλεισιδίκη) Kleisidíki was a daughter of King Kælæós of Ælefsís. (Homeric Hymn to Dimítir 105-109)

Koiranos - (Gr. Κοίρανος, ΚΟΙΡΑΝΟΣ) Koiranos is a ruler, commander, a lord. This is the term used in the Homeric hymn to Dimítir to refer to King Kælæós. He is a ruler over other kings or Vasilies (Βασιλεῖς, plural of Βασιλεύς [Vasiléfs]), the ruler over the original priests of Ælefsís: Triptólæmos, Éfmolpos, and Dioklís, who are the Κοιρανίδαι, the 'sons' or members of the ruling house, of the Ælefsínia Mystíria.

Konx ómpax! - (Gr. κόγξ· ὄμπαξ) "Konx ómpax!" is the salutation of dismissal after the Ælefsinian initiation. The meaning of the words is obscure but it likely meant something like, "It is done! Keep silence!"

Kórî – (Core; Gr. Κόρη, ΚΟΡΗ) “The Daughter” = Περσεφόνη.

Kosmetes - See Kozmitís.

Kozmitís - (Kosmetes; Gr. Κοσμητής, ΚΟΣΜΗΗΣ) The Kozmitís was the magistrate in charge of the Ǽphivi (Epheboi; Gr. Έφηβοι), the young men of Athens, dressed in armor, who, in the great Pompí, acted as the escort of the Iærá.

Kotylíski - (Gr. κοτυλίσκοι, ΚΟΤΥΛΙΣΚΟΙ) Kotylíski are the little bowls that are affixed to a kǽrnos in which offerings or lamps are placed.

Kræpidóma - (crepidoma; Gr. κρεπιδόμα, ΚΡΕΠΙΔΟΜΑ) The kræpidóma is an architectural term referring to the platform consisting of (usually) three steps which lay on top of the efthyntiría, the uppermost part of the foundation. The superstructure of the building then sits on top of the kræpidóma.

Kykæóhn - (Kykeon; Gr. Κυκεών, ΚΥΚΕΩΝ) Kykæóhn is a beverage made water, barley, and herbs, a common refreshment of the ancient Greek peasants. But in regards to the Mystíria, Kykæóhn is the sacred drink of the Ælefsinian Mysteries, for in the Homeric hymn To Dimítir (206-211), Mætáneira (Metaneira; Gr. Μετάνειρα) offers the Goddess wine, which she refuses, but she accepts this grain-beverage flavored with mint. The initiates of the Ælefsínia partake of Kykæóhn in honor of this.

1/2 cup hulled barley

4 cups water

fresh mint


Place the barley and the water in a sauce-pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a half hour. Strain and discard the solid barley (or use for something else) and reserve the liquid.

Place the mint leaves in a mortar and pestle and lightly bruise the leaves. Add the leaves to the hot barley-water and mix together. Allow to steep several minutes until sufficiently minty. Add honey to taste and serve hot or chilled.

Kykeon - See Kykæóhn.

Lægómæna - (Legomena; Gr. Λεγόμενα, ΛΕΓΟΜΕΝΑ. Etym. from λέγω, "to say.") Lægómæna are ritual words, the things which are explained in the Mysteries. In the Mysteries, we have the Deiknýmæna (things shown), Dróhmæna (things performed), and Lægómæna (things explained).

Loutrophóros (Gr. Λουτροφόρος, ΛΟΥΤΡΟΦΟΡΟΣ) A Loutrophóros is an ornate pottery vessel used to fetch spring water for bathing (or other uses), usually for wedding or funeral rituals.

Lykomídai - (Lycomidae; Gr. Λυκομίδαι, ΛΥΚΟΜΙΔΑΙ) The Lykomídai were a priestly family of Athens involved with the cult of Dimítir and a form of the Mystíria. The Lykomídai had a sanctuary in Phlýa (Gr. Φλύα) where they conducted initiations. At some point, the Lykomídai took on the role of the Dadoukhos at Ælefsís, either wholly or in part.

Mægála Ælefsínia - (Megala Eleusinia; Gr. Μεγάλα Ελευσίνια, ΜΕΓΑΛΑ ΕΛΕΥΣΙΝΙΑ) The Mægála Ælefsínia were the Greater Ælefsinian Mysteries celebrated during the ancient Attic (Athenian) month of Voϊdromióhn (Boedromion; Gr. Βοηδρομιών, Sept.-Oct.).

Mægála Propýlaia - (Megala Propylaia; Gr. Μεγάλα Προπύλαια, ΜΕΓΑΛΑ ΠΡΟΠΥΛΑΙΑ) The Mægála Propýlaia were the Greater Gates of the Ælefsinian Mysteries.

Mætáneira (Metaneira; Gr. Μετάνειρα) Mætáneira was the queen of Ælefsís, the wife of King Kælæós, and the mother of Dimophón (Dimophon or Dimophoon; Gr. Δημοφῶν). When Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ), approached the family of King Kælæós, she disguised herself as an old woman and called herself Dóhsoh (Doso; Gr. Δώσω). Mætáneira offered her wine, but the Goddess refused it, but then Mætáneira offered her Kykæóhn (Kykeon; Gr. Κυκεών), a minty barley beverage, which Dimítir accepted. Mætáneira asked if she would come into the family and care for her son Dimophón.

Megala Eleusinia - See Mægála Ælefsínia.

Megala Propylaia - See Mægála Propýlaia.

Micra Eleusinia - See Mikrá Ælefsínia.

Micra Propylaia - See Mikrá Propýlaia.

Mikrá Ælefsínia - (Gr. Μικρά Ελευσίνια, ΜΙΚΡΑ ΕΛΕΥΣΙΝΙΑ) The Mikrá Ælefsínia were the Lesser Ælefsinian Mysteriescelebrated during the ancient Attic (Athenian) month of Anthæstirióhn (Anthesterion, Feb.-March), approximately six months before the Mægála Propýlaia.

Mikrá Propýlaia - (Gr. Μικρά Προπύλαια, ΜΙΚΡΑ ΠΡΟΠΥΛΑΙΑ) The Mikrá Propýlaia were the Lesser Gates of the Ælefsinian Mysteries.

Mystagohgós - (Mystagogos; Gr. Μυσταγωγός, ΜΥΣΤΑΓΩΓΟΣ) The Mystagohgós was someone who had received all the levels of initiation and who examined the potential initiate to determine if this individual was fit to receive the Mysteries. This procedure was known as Sýstasis (Gr. Σύστασις) by which the Mystagohgós had the ability to look into the soul of the potential initiate.

Mysteries, The - See Mystíria.

Mystes - See Mýstis.

Mystíria - (The Mysteries; Gr. Μυστήρια, ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΑ, from μύω, "to close, be shut," of the eyes) Mystíria are sacred teachings, rites, and initiations to hasten the development of arætí (arete; Gr. ἀρετή). Mystíria are the deepest essence and practices of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos). Please visit this page: Mystíria-Μυστήρια.

Mýstis - (Mystes; Gr. Μὐστης, ΜΥΣΤΗΣ) The Mýstis is the one initiated into Mystíria. Plural = Mýstai (Gr. Μὐσται, ΜΥΣΤΑΙ)

Naós (Gr. Ναός, ΝΑΟΣ. Latin is Cella) The Naós is a room, the innermost and sacred area of the temple, which contains the Ágalma (Image or statue; Gr. Άγαλμα) of a God. At Ælefsís, this would be the Tælæstírion of Dimítir. See also Sikós.

Pælanós (Gr. Πελανός, ΠΕΛΑΝΟΣ) Pælanós was a special cake offered to the Gods before the initiation at the Ælefsínia Mystíria. It was made of wheat, grown in the sacred Rárion pædíon (Rharian plain; Gr. Ράριον πεδίον), mixed with barley.

Pærsæphóni - (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη) Pærsæphóni is the daughter of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), who, along with her mother Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ) and Ploutohn, (Plouton; Gr. Πλούτων), are the principal deities of the Ælefsínia Mystíria. Please visit this page: Pærsæphóni.

Panspærmía - (Gr. πανσπερμία, ΠΑΝΣΠΕΡΜΙΑ) Panspærmía is a religious offering containing a mixture of all seeds.

Párædros (Gr. Πάρεδρος, ΠΑΡΕΔΡΟΣ) Párædros means sitting beside, therefore an assistant or assessor who helped the Árkhohn Vasiléfs.

Parástasin, en - (Templum in antis; Gr. ἐν παράστασιν, ΕΝ ΠΑΡΑΣΤΑΣΙΝ) En parástasin, the Templum in antis (Latin), is the simplest form of temple. It is a rectangular structure having its entrance on one of the small sides. The walls to the left and right of the entrance extended in front of an entryway, which was behind two columns. The entryway admitted one to an inner chamber where would be placed an Ágalma (statue) of a God or Goddess, access to which was granted only to purified priests.Persephone - See Pærsæphóni.

Ploutohn - (Plouton; Gr. Πλούτων) Ploutohn, along with Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη) and her mother Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ), are the principal deities of the Ælefsínia Mystíria. Please visit this page: Ploutohn.

Pluto - See Ploutohn.

Polýxeinos - (Polyxeinus; Gr. Πολύξεινος, ΠΟΛΥΞΕΙΝΟΣ. “The very hospitable one.”) one of the first priests at Ælefsís.

Pompí - (Pompe; Gr. Πομπή, ΠΟΜΠΗ) The Pompí is the sacred procession of priests and initiates who walk the Sacred Way to Ælefsís for the Ælefsínia.

Prórrissis - (Prorrhesis; Gr. Πρόρρησις, ΠΡΟΡΡΗΣΙΣ) Prórrissis is a proclamation, in this case, the proclamation at the commencement of the Ælefsínia Mystíria, inviting the pure of heart to partake in the initiation.

Pyrphorǽoh - (pyrphoreo; Gr. πυρφορέω, ΠΥΡΦΟΡΕΩ. Verb.) Lexicon entry: πυρφορέω, to be a torch-bearer. b. esp. to be a πυρφόρος or bearer of sacred fire. 2. carry fire. II. set on fire. (L&S p. 1559, right column, edited for simplicity) Cf. Pyrphóros.

Pyrphóros - (Gr. Πυρφόρος, ΠΥΡΦΟΡΟΣ. Adjective.) The Pyrphóros is the bearer of the sacred fire.

- Lexicon entry: πυρφόρος (parox.), ον, fire-bearing, esp. of lightning. II. in special senses, epith. of several divinities, as of Zeus in reference to his lightnings, of Demeter, prob. in reference to the torches used by her worshippers; similarly of Demeter and Persephone; of Eros. 2. bearer of sacred fire in the worship of Asclepius; of the Syrian Goddess. (L&S p. 1559, right column, within the entries beginning with πυρφορέω, edited for simplicity)

Rísis mystikí - (rhesis mystike; Gr. ῥῆσις μυστική, ΡΗΣΙΣ ΜΥΣΤΙΚΗ) The rísis mystikí is a mystic incantation such as the cry, "Ýǣ! Kýǣ!" invoked by the high priest. (Source: Eleusis by Carl Kerényi, 1967. Princeton Univ. Press [Princeton, NJ USA], p. 141.)

Sikós - (Gr. Σηκός, ΣΗΚΟΣ) The Sikós is a sacred area in a temple dedicated to a Írohs (Hero; Gr. Ἥρως) but the term can also apply to a God, making it the equivalent of a Naós or Cella (Latin). In the case of the Ælefsínia Mystíria, it is the great hall of the Tælæstírion of Dimítir.

Stæræovátis - (Stereobate; Gr. Στερεοβάτης, ΣΤΕΡΕΟΒΑΤΗΣ) The Stæræovátis is the substructure of a temple, the underground foundation consisting of layers of squared blocks.

Stereobate - See Stæræovátis.

Stróphion - (Gr. Στρόφιον, ΣΤΡΟΦΙΟΝ) The Stróphion is a special headband worn by priests; in the case of the Ælefsínia Mystíria, the headband worn by Dadoukhos.

Sýnthima - (Synthema; Gr. Σύνθημα, ΣΥΝΘΗΜΑ) The Sýnthima is the password, indicating that the initiate has been properly prepared for initiation into the Mystíria, possibly, in the Ælefsínia Mystíria, accompanied by the tasting of a sacred food kept in the Kísti or handling of some sacred object from the Kísti. It has been proposed that this sacred object was either a phallus or a representation of the kteis (Gr. κτεις), the female genitals, a highly contested idea. (See Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries by George E. Mylonas, 1961 & 1969, bottom of p. 295-300, for ideas on the subject.)

Sýstasis - (Gr. Σύστασις, ΣΥΣΤΑΣΙΣ) Sýstasis was the procedure whereby the Mystagohgós looked into the soul of an individual to determine his fitness to receive the Mystíria.

Tælæstírion of Dimítir - (Telesterion; Gr. Τελεστήριον, ΤΕΛΕΣΤΗΡΙΟΝ. The etymological root of Tælæstírion is tǽlos [telos; Gr. τέλος], meaning, in this context, the goal, the achievement of the goal.) The Tælæstírion was the great hall used for the Greater Mystíria at Ælefsís that could hold 3000 initiates. It was the sacred heart of sanctuary complex having twelve parts or levels representing the actions of the Twelve Olympians on the soul.

Tælætí - (Telete; Gr. Τελετή, ΤΕΛΕΤΗ; Plural: Τελεταί. Etym. from τελέω, to bring to fulfillment or perfection.) Tælætí is a religious rite; Tælætai are religious rites (plural), in particular, initiation and participation in Mystiria.

Tælætás - (Teletas; Gr. Τελετάς, ΤΕΛΕΤΑΣ) Tælætás are "all they who belong to Dionysos." in PLond.1821.262 (L&S)

Tælætís - (Teletes; Gr. Τελετής, ΤΕΛΕΤΗΣ) = Tælætís = Iærophántis, priest Max.Tyr.10.5, Cels. ap. Origenes Cels.8.48,Procl. in Ti. 1.51 D. (L&S)

- initiated person. Cleanth.Stoic.1.123 (cj., v. τελετής). (L&S)

Tǽmænos - (Gr. Τέμενος, ΤΕΜΕΝΟΣ) In reference to the religion, Tǽmænos is defined as in definition (II.) below. Lexicon entry: τέμενος —a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, esp. to kings and chiefs. II. a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a God, precinct; in it stood the temple or shrine. III. temple. (L&S, edited for simplicity.

Telesterion of Demeter - See Tælæstírion of Dimítir.

Teletas - See Tælætás.

Telete - See Tælætí.

Teletes - See Tælætís.

Templum in antis - See parástasin, en.

Triptólæmos (Triptolemus; Gr. Τριπτόλεμος, "he who pounds the husks") There are conflicting stories regarding the parentage of Triptólæmos. The long Homeric hymn to Dimítir mentions him, but does not give his lineage. Apollódohros (Apollodoros; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος), the mythographer, says that he is the elder son of Mætáneira, queen of Ælefsís (Βιβλιοθήκη 1.32), but he also proposes other parents. Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας), in his Description of Greece (Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις 1.14.3), mentions that there were then extant verses of Mousaios (Gr. Μουσαῖος) which said that he is the son of Ohkæanós (Ocean; Gr. Ὠκεανός) and Yi (Earth or Ge; Gr. Γῆ), and yet he notes that in other Orphic literature that Triptólæmos is said to be the son of Dysáflis (Dysaulus; Gr. Δυσαύλης). Triptólæmos was a resident of Ælefsís and when Dimítir arrived, despondent for her daughter, he treated her kindly. After the return of Pærsæphóni, Dimítir gave him a winged chariot drawn by serpents and taught him the art of agriculture, which he spread throughout the world. Triptólæmos is regarded as a major deity of the Ælefsínia Mystíria. He is said by Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Ρλάτων) to be one of those who judge the mortals after they die (Ἀπολογία 41a).

Vǽvili - (Bebeloi; Gr. βέβηλοι, ΒΕΒΗΛΟΙ) The Vǽvili are the profane or uninitiated. The rituals of the Mysteries open with the exhortation, θύρας δ' έπίθεσθε βέβηλοι, "let the profane shut their doors."

Vavvó - (Baubo; Gr. Βαυβώ = Ιάμβη). Vavvó was the serving maid who felt pity for Dimítir in her sorrow for the loss of her daughter, and, by acting ridiculous, made the Goddess laugh.

Vákkhos - (Bacchos; Gr. βάκχος, ΒΑΚΧΟΣ) A vákkhos, in this case, as concerns the ritual implements of the Mystíria,

is a wand carried by those who have been initiated into the cult of Ælefsínia made of branches of myrtle tied with wool chord at regular intervals. Voïdromióhn - (Boedromion; Gr. Βοηδρομιών, ΒΟΗΔΡΟΜΙΩΝ) Voϊdromióhn is the third month of the ancient Attic(Athenian) calendar (September-October) during which the Greater Mysteries (Gr. Μεγάλα Ελευσίνια) were celebrated.

Vóthros - (Bothros; Βόθρος, ΒΟΘΡΟΣ) The Vóthros was a trench built into the temple into which libations could be made.

Voukránion - (bucranium; Gr. βουκράνιον, ΒΟΥΚΡΑΝΙΟΝ. Plural is βουκράνια.) Voukránion literally means ox-head. The voukránion is an architectural design ornament, displaying ox-heads, or sometimes ox skulls, often garlanded, from the practice of garlanding oxen for sacrifice.

Ÿæ! Kýæ! - (Ue! Kue!; Gr. Ύε! Κύε!, ΥΕ! ΚΥΕ! Pronunciation: EE-ay, KEE-ay) According to Athínaios (Athenaeus; Gr. Ἀθήναιος) in Δειπνοσοφισταί (The Learned Banqueters) 11.496a, Ÿæ! Kýæ! is an exclamation made on the last day of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια), the meaning of which is uncertain. Ÿæ is a verb calling out: "rain!" Kýæ (κύε) is a form of κυέω, meaning "to bring forth" or "conceive." This exclamation was pronounced while two libations to the dead were made; earthenware vessels were turned over (as is customary in libations to the dead), one to the east and one to the west. Athínaios states that a ritual formula was spoken, not specifically mentioning these two words, but it has been surmised by some scholars that this was the formula as it would seem that the libations were made near a well where the two words are inscribed.

Ys - (us; Gr. ὗς, ΥΣ. Pronounced: ees.) Ys is the ancient Greek word for pig. The pig was viewed as an erotic animal and, therefore, it is the Mystical symbol of Ǽrohs (Eros; Gr. Ἔρως), and, for this reason the pig was sacrificed during the Mystíria of Ælefsís.

For a list of more general terms concerning the Mysteries, please visit this page:

Glossary of Hellenic Mystery Religion

For more information on the Eleusinian Mysteries, please visit this page:

Eleusinian Mysteries

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

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