"Beautiful indeed is the mystery given us by the blessed gods:
death is for mortals no longer an evil, but a blessing."
Inscription found at Eleusis
"Blessed is he who has seen these things
before he goes beneath the earth;
for he understands the end of mortal life,
and the beginning (of a new life) given of God."
Pindar Fragment 102
"For among the many excellent and indeed divine institutions
which your Athens has brought forth and contributed to human life,
none, in my opinion, is better than those mysteries.
For by their means we have been brought out
of our barbarous and savage mode of life
and educated and refined to a state of civilization;
and as the rites are called "initiations,"
so in very truth we have learned from them the beginnings of life,
and have gained the power not only to live happily,
but also to die with a better hope."
Cicero Laws II, xiv, 36
"Amen, amen, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat
falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
Jesus in Gospel According to John 12:24
"What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body which is to be,
but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
But God gives it a body as he has chosen,
and to each kind of seed its own body."
Paul I Corinthians 15:36:38
"The thought here ... shows the connection
between decay and resurrection.
Fruit must decay before new seed can develop....
Here too the fundamental trend of the Book of Changes is expressed:
the light principle is represented as invincible
because in its sinking it creates new life,
as does a grain of wheat when it sinks into the earth."
I Ching (Wilhelm-Baynes translation p. 500)
"But all souls do not easily recall the things of the other world;
they may have seen them for a short time only,
or they may have been unfortunate in their earthly lot,
and, having had their hearts turned to injustice
through some corrupting influence,
they may have lost the memory
of the holy things which once they saw.
Few only retain an adequate remembrance of them;
and they when they see here any image of that other world,
are rapt in amazement;
but they are ignorant of what this rapture means,
because they do not clearly perceive.
For there is no light of justice or temperance
or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls
in the earthly copies of them:
they are seen through a glass dimly;
and there are few who, going to the images,
seen in them the realities, and these only with difficulty.
There was a time when with the rest of the happy band
they saw beauty shining in brightness,---
we philosophers following in the train of Zeus,
others in company with other gods;
and then we saw the beatific vision
and were initiated into a mystery
which may be truly called most blessed,
celebrated by us in our state of innocence,
before we had any experience of evils to come,
when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions
innocent and simple and calm and happy,
which we saw shining in pure light,
pure ourselves and not yet enshrined in that living tomb
which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned in the body,
like an oyster in his shell."
Socrates in Plato Phaedrus 250
"There we must ascend again towards the good,
desired of every soul.
Anyone who has seen this, knows what I intend
when I say it is beautiful.
Even the desire of it is to be desired as a good.
To attain it is for those who will take the upward path,
who will set all their forces towards it,
who will divest themselves of all
that we have put on in our descent:---
so, to those who approach the Holy Celebrations of the Mysteries,
there are appointed purifications
and the laying aside of the garments worn before,
and the entry in nakedness---
until, passing on the upward way,
all that is other than the God,
each in the solitude of oneself
shall see that solitary-dwelling existence,
the apart, the unmingled, the pure,
that from which all things depend,
for which all look and live and act and know,
the source of life and of intellection and of being."
Plotinus First Ennead VI, 7
Hippolytus wrote down the account of the Eleusinian Mysteries told to him by a Naasene.
The Phrygians, however assert, he says, that he is likewise "a green ear of corn reaped." And after the Phrygians, the Athenians, while initiating people into the Eleusinian rites, likewise display to those who are being admitted to the highest grade at these mysteries, the might, and marvelous, and most perfect secret suitable for one initiated into the highest mystic truths: (I allude to) an ear of corn in silence reaped. But this ear of corn is also (considered) among the Athenians to constitute the perfect enormous illumination (that has descended) from the unportrayable one, just as the Hierophant himself (declares); not, indeed, emasculated like Attis, but made a eunuch by means of hemlock, and despising all carnal generation. (Now) by night in Eleusis, beneath a huge fire, (the Celebrant,) enacting the great and secret mysteries, vociferates and cries aloud, saying, "August Brimo has brought forth a consecrated son, Brimus;" that is, a potent (mother has been delivered of) a potent child. But revered, he says, is the generation that is spiritual, heavenly, from above, and potent is he that is so born. For the mystery is called "Eleusin" and "Anactorium." "Eleusin," because, he says, we who are spiritual come flowing down from Adam above; for the word "eleusesthai" is, he says, of the same import with the expression "to come." But "Anactorium" is of the same import with the expression "to ascend upward." This, he says, is what they affirm who have been initiated in the mysteries of the Eleusinians. It is, however, a regulation of law, that those who have been admitted into the lesser should again be initiated into the Great Mysteries. For greater destinies obtain greater portions. But the inferior mysteries, he says are those of Proserpine below; in regard of which mysteries, and the path which leads there, which is wide and spacious, and conducts those that are perishing to Proserpine, the poet likewise says: -
"But under her a fearful path extends,
Hollow, miry, yet best guide to
Highly-honored Aphrodite's lovely grove."
These, he says, are the inferior mysteries those appertaining to carnal generation. Now, those men who are initiated into these inferior (mysteries) ought to pause, and (then) be admitted into the great (and) heavenly (ones). For they, he says, who obtain their shares (in this mystery), receive greater portions. For this, he says, is the gate of heaven; and this a house of God, where the Good Deity dwells alone. And into this (gate), he says, no unclean person shall enter, nor one that is natural or carnal; but it is reserved for the spiritual only.(Hippolytus The Refutation of All Heresies V, 3)