Introduction: or, Why this book does not exist

  • Frances Gray
Part of the Women in Society book series


Once, you could be reborn. You became one with the goddess Demeter mourning her daughter Persephone, snatched away to hell for half the year, and you rejoiced with her in the symbolic birth of a holy child, the sight of whom blessed you into eternal life. So secret was this rite that even now we know only the ceremonies which led up to it. The initiates shed all distinctions of sex and status as they washed in the sea, the source of life, and dressed themselves in garments which were ever afterwards holy. They sacrificed pigs, symbols of both decay and fertility. They walked as if in mourning towards a fire so bright it could be seen from miles away, and as their walk drew to an end they crossed a bridge symbolic of the transition from sorrow to joy. On this bridge they encountered the rites known as the gephyrismoi: dirty jokes, songs and dances performed by a woman.


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Copyright information

© Frances Gray 1994

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  • Frances Gray

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