Loving and losing: existential lessons in the Eleusinian myth and Mysteries
- Presented by: Angelique Vagopoulou
- Synopsis: Separation and unity, love and loss are central themes in the Eleusinian drama of the daughter's abduction and the mother's revenge. Death and life, loss and reunion are constantly, relentlessly negotiated by Demeter and Persephone through suffering. The ancient/eternal myth becomes the ''tableau vivant'' of all passions, nature's patterns,human emotions. How is the tension of opposites between loving and losing resolved in the myth?
The myth of Demeter and Persephone formed the theme of one of the longest standing mysteries in the history of the ancient world, the Eleusinian Mysteries. Demeter sets on a quest to find her daughter Persephone who having been abducted by Hades, the god of the dead, is violently taken to the underworld.
In this sacred narrative, separation and unity, death and life, dark and light are constantly and relentlessly negotiated through suffering: the daughter screams and resists, the mother grieves and revenges. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, written in the 7th century B.C. challenges us to look at love and loss as two sides of the same coin. Loss and grief, return and reunion as they are movingly described in passionate verses in the narrative, gradually build into an incredible clash of opposites.
The tension of opposites in the heart of the goddess - merciless and threatening as it is- calls for a restructuring of all existential givens, a reinvention of Persephone’s own being, a reorganisation of all known resources in the face of the impossible. Eternally alternating, loss and love rather than tear Persephone apart, end up danced by her in a cosmic, mystical rhythmic dance in full alignment with nature herself. Persephone through loving and losing offers us a unique existential paradigm as well as a detailed, encoded, step by step map in a journey of transformation of consciousness.