The Revelation
The Revelation

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Panel 6
Panel 7

TThe Moment Before the Revealing of the Revelation

The winged figure in the act of flagellation likely indicates its use to create an altered state of mind. Ritual flagellation can make the skin sensitive, so that the softest impact can eventually feel very intense. 
 Participants will pass from ignorance to knowledge, particularly sexual knowledge in the case of youth. For this the initiand must die and be reborn as a new person who must move past their narcissism and take up their role as a contributing member of the community. [panel 6]

The initiate is about to have the symbol of male energy revealed from under a cloth where it is hidden.

The liknon, is a winnowing basket  representing the cradle in which the baby Dionysos was protected from Hera's anger.  The basket will be filled with cakes in the form of male genital organs or phallos.  Male energy symbolized by the phallus was found in many shrines throughout Pompeii. 

C.J. Jung felt that the unconscious is also a source of health and vitality rather than simply pathological forces. However, Jung also felt that the unconscious holds the potential for evil as well as good. Through initiation the individual is given the insight to harness these forces within.

In this central scene, located opposite the entrance. Dionysus and Ariadne are presiding  over the scene with the his erect thyrsus is balanced against the whipping stick of the prominent demonic female figure. She stands close to the liknon basket, wearing a short cloth around her loins and high boots. The demon flagellates the young initiate in the next panel.
The Agony and Ecstasy
The Greeks explained that if one wishes to share in the joy of the deity, one first has to suffer with her as well.

Fresco from the Villa of the Mysteries

[Panel7] In the same frame the initiand learns life is about the joyful participation in life's sorrows, tempered by the knowledge that her tribe or  will assist her in a blessed afterlife. Nearly naked, the bride moves from the pain of the whip across her back to swirling in a dance while clashing cymbals above her head.  She represents now the joyful aspect of the afterlife. In the background a woman  holds a thyrsus erect.

Sacred dances were  part of the Greek Mysteries and considered a way to channel the ancestors and dieties. 

ILLUMINATION: The Goal of Initiation
The 'peak' of the initiation experience is that of death/rebirth, and subsequent 'illumination'. Illumination is the much-desired goal for which many cultures have  employed and developed different psycho technologies. Illumination has also been linked with the use of LSD & similar drugs. While it can occur seemingly spontaneously, to people who have no knowledge or expectation of it these people are often concerned with their spiritual life. What characterizes an experience of illumination? Nona Coxhead, a researcher into "Bliss states" lists some of the prevalent factors as:
  1. unity—a fading of the self-other divide
  2. transcendence of space & time as barriers to experience
  3. positive sensations
  4. a sense of the numinous
  5. a sense of certitude—the "realness" of the experience
  6. paradoxical insights
  7. transience—the experience does not last
  8. resultant change in attitude and behavior
This initiation contains all the key elements;  symbolic death, sacred marriage, and rebirth, and at the climax the candidate is infused with the presence of the god or, to use the Greek term, becomes "enthused." In all initiation rituals the fate of the initiand is radically altered by a ceremony in which they are purified,  instructed, and they see and hear sacred things. The have been changed by becoming "transparent to the transcendent." They are now assured their place in the thiasos, joyful in the certainty of their salvation. [panel 7]

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