The Mysteries of Demeter: Rebirth of the Pagan Way

Overview

Jennifer Reif has created a practical manual for experiencing the Rites and Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Her presentation depicts Demeter as the many-faceted Great Mother who gives birth to all life; Persephone is the light-giving and loving force that helps transform Plouton and the spirits of the Underworld. This book sings the song of the transcendent power of love and eternal renewal in the cycle of life and death. Reif provides a good deal of historical information to lay the ground for the Demetrian...
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Overview

Jennifer Reif has created a practical manual for experiencing the Rites and Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Her presentation depicts Demeter as the many-faceted Great Mother who gives birth to all life; Persephone is the light-giving and loving force that helps transform Plouton and the spirits of the Underworld. This book sings the song of the transcendent power of love and eternal renewal in the cycle of life and death. Reif provides a good deal of historical information to lay the ground for the Demetrian Wheel of the Year. Like the Wheel of the Year in Celtic Wicca, Demetrian Paganism contains a cycle of seasonal rituals. The Holy Mother and Daughter are the focus, and lead us into the center of the Mysteries. The Mysteries of Demeter tell us that Earth and all life are sacred. In this lovely book, Reif clearly describes the rituals and provides sacred prayers, chants, and recipes for sacred food. She even gives guidance for establishing a Temple of Demeter and Persephone, whether you are worshiping alone or with a group, and includes information on ritual garments, oil lamps and other ritual accouterments. As the penultimate offering to the Great Mother and a practice of Demetrian spirituality, Reif teaches you how to raise and harvest grain. Through the myth and rituals of Demetrian Paganism, the beauty of self-divinity rises within the soul. In this striking presentation of power and beauty, Demeter's ancient festivals and mysteries are available to us once again.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578631339
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Edition description: 1 HARDCOVR
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Reif is the author of four published books: Mysteries of Demeter, Rebirth of the Pagan Way, Morgan Le Fay's Books of Spells and Wiccan Rites, Aphrodite's Riddle: A Novel of Goddess Worship in Ancient Greece and she co-authored The Magical Crone Celebrating the Wisdom of Later Life. She has also published an album of original songs, Mysteries of Earth). An artist, poet and musician, Reif has studied the relationships between nature, ancient cultures and their mythologies for decades. She taught classes in cross-cultural mythology in the Los Angeles area for many years, developing a special interest in the Divine Feminine and Greek mythology. She spent ten years researching and writing the ground breaking nonfiction work Mysteries of Demeter: Rebirth of the Pagan Way.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    Excellent Book on Demeter and Persephone

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    An Excellent Book on the Demetrian Mysteries

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2003

    Good book, but afraid to confront the darker aspects

    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).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2000

    Amazing Book.!.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2000

    Wonderful book on Demeter & pagan rituals!

    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!

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