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About the Author:
Jennifer Reif, artist, poet, and musician, has studied the relationships between nature, ancient cultures and their mythologies since 1983. In 1986 she began teaching classes on the Wiccan religion and founded the Elkgrove Circle in Los Angeles. She served the Los Angeles Pagan community through her business Memosyne Arts and Studies, has taught classes through Long Beach WomanSpirit and the Pallas Society. She also foundee the Temple of Demeter and its newsletter Mystica. In 1992 she released an album of original Goddess-Pagan songs called Mysteries of Earth, distributed by Serpentine Music. She lives in Venice, California.
Posted March 28, 2008
If you're looking for Demeter mythos rituals then this is the book for you. Its got lots of background info including separate chapters on Demeter and Persephone. Persephone isn't the 'abductee' that prior versions see her as, she's got a much more powerful role here. The rituals, representing the Mediterranean seasons, beautifully capture this myth. They contain lots of prayers and invocations. I like the combination of the Sacred Marriage between Persephone and Plouton, with the Sacred Mother-Daughter Relationship, that all revolve around the seasons. It made me get much more deeply into the complex archetypes of Demeter and Persephone. There are lots of prayers such as prayers to Demeter in her various aspects: Panagia, Chloaia, Thesmophoros, Chthonia, Dea Mystica, and Evalosia. This is a really unique and excellent book, particularly if you are interested in inquiring into the Greek Mysteries.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2003
With a wealth of background information, Reif presents a reconstruction of the yearly seasonal festivals of Demeter and Persephone of Eleusis, Greece. In the realm of Pagan books this is a wonderful area of exploration, very different from Wicca, yet still very Pagan. Sublime esoteric meanings of each of the Holy Days of the Greek Wheel of the Year are given, along with complete and easy to use liturgy for the rites. The poetic aspects of the rites are lovely and a pleasure to not only read, but to perform. The Greater and Lesser Mysteries (also reconstructions) are brilliantly done, and to date I and several friends have performed the Lesser Mysteries which were powerful, and very moving and uplifting for the soul. The Appendices are also very interesting, and include summaries of many ancient writers who wrote varying tales of Demeter and Persephone: Homer, Clement of Alexandria, Ovid, Apollodorus and Callimachus. Its amazing to see how differently these ancient authors view this subject. Just a note, the reviewer below who has a complaint about this work not containing any dark aspects totally missed the Dark Demeter element (Demeter Melaina) that is woven into the barren part of the yearly cycle. There is even a Holy Day to bring her out of this dark state (called 'Stenia.') It seems to me that the reviewer is simply complaining that the myth is told without a rape. However, Persephone does have a fearful descent to the Underworld. The chapter on Persephone brilliantly explains why the author made this choice in her retelling of the myth. Highly recommended for those who love Goddess Religion, Mystery Religions, Earth-based Religions, and Greco-Roman Studies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2003
Jennifer Reif's book is chocked full of lore useful to anyone who wants to recreate a mysteries of Demeter, such as information on ancient holidays/festivals, the myth of Demeter and Persephone, epithets of the goddesses, known activities from the ancient mysteries, etc. More, her rituals in the book are complete, ready for use, and well thought out. However, it seems that Ms. Reif is reluctant to confront the darker aspects of the Demeter's worship, altering core myths to "soften the story" for a modern audience that may find the idea the goddess' abduction unappealing. Rather than telling the story of Persephone/Kore being abducted by Hades as per ancient myth, she instead has the goddess falling in love with him and then tries to pass it off as ancient myth. A more honest approach on Ms. Reif's part would have been preferable, where she could have told the story as the ancients would have told it, and then explained why she prefers to approach the myth from an updated and perhaps "softened" perspective. Other darker aspects of the ancient myths and ritual are similarly neglected. Despite this weakness, "The Mysteries of Demeter" is still a worthy addition to the library of any modern pagan seeking to reconstruct the ancient mysteries of Eleusis, though the book serves best as a well organized guidebook to constructing the mysteries that should be used in conjunction with more accurate sources on the ancient mysteries (i.e. Kerenyi, Taylor, Meyer, etc).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2000
This book is a heartfelt inspiration, backed up by solid research. The author provides such colorful and useful details about the sanctuary at Eleusis that I felt as though I was really there. The recreation of the myth is beautifully done, and the rites really bring to life the rituals of Demeter and Persephone of Eleusis. A great resource.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2000
A complete book of pagan rites, history, mythology, and more. I was completely immersed in the world of Demeter and her rites while reading this book. Few other books I've read on paganism are as well-researched as this one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.