Cronus m. Rhea Hestia Hades Poseidon Demeter Hera Zeus Demeter was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and is one of the three goddesses of the first Olympian generation
She is the goddess of the ripe grain, vegetation, agriculture, and the Eleusinian mysteries, and Persephone’s mother
One of the most common myths involving Demeter is the abduction of her daughter, Persephone, by Hades and the drought she placed on the Earth until Persephone was returned to her
Once Persephone was returned to Demeter, she brought fertility back to the Earth.
In another myth, Poseidon once pursued Demeter, in her archaic form as a mare-goddess. She resisted Poseidon, but she could not disguise her divinity among other horses. Poseidon became a stallion and forced himself upon her. She bore a daughter and a horse named Arion.
One of the greatest gifts which Ceres gave people were cereal, the cultivation of which made man different from wild animals
Demeter's emblem is the poppy, a bright red flower that grows among the barley
The second gift Ceres gave the people were her Mysteries, which give the people higher hopes in this life and the afterlife.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries Demeter was searching for her daughter Persephone. Having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus of Eleusis, and his wife Metaneira
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make their son Demophoön a god, by coating and anointing him with Ambrosia, breathing gently upon him while holding him in her arms, and making him immortal by burning his mortal spirit away in the family hearth every night.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries Demophoön flourished like a god and would have become immortal, if unfortunate Metaneira had not seen what was happening – she didn’t understand the rituals and thought a stranger was trying to burn her child in the fire
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, King Celeus is said to have been one of the first people to learn the secret rites and mysteries of Demeter’s cult, along with Triptolemus, Celeus' son, who had learned agriculture from Demeter and spread it to all of Greece. The Departure of Triptolemus, Attic red-firure cup
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The belief behind practicing the mysteries is that if we are nourished like the child by Demeter’s truth and become initiated into her mysteries, we also will find redemption, immortality, and joy
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret, as initiation was believed to unite the worshipper with the gods and included promises of divine power and rewards in the afterlife.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The cult of Demeter was a special kind of religion, not the general prerogative of everyone but open only to initiates. Initiates were sworn to absolute secrecy and faced dire punishments if they revealed the secret rites The religion was not restricted to men; women, children, and even slaves could participate
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries There were two stages: the Lesser Mysteries (preliminary steps to initiation), and the Greater Mysteries (full initiation into the cult)
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The Lesser Mysteries were held in Athens, usually once a year in early Spring. Ceremonies focused upon ritual purification, involving sacrifices, prayer, fasting, and cleansing by water.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The Greater Mysteries were held annually during September and October. The formal celebration lasted eight days. The Greater Mysteries included days of prayer, cleansing in the sea, sacrifices, chanting, and a procession to the sanctuary of Demeter in Eleusis and finally a return to Athens on the 9th day.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries The cult of Ceres at Rome was the counterpart to the Eleusinian cult of Demeter in Greece.
Temple of Ceres The temple on the Aventine hill in Rome was dedicated to Ceres, and the ritual of worship in her temple was stylistically Greek, even the prayers were spoken in Greek.
Temple of Ceres The Aventine Triad is the term for the joint cult of the Roman deities Ceres, Liber and Libera. The represent, respectively, Demeter, Dionysus, and Persephone. The cult was established ca. 493 BC on or near the Aventine Hill in Rome