Well, isn’t this a symbolic coincidence??? The upcoming Phoenix, Arizona Birther Fest, or as I like to call it, The Birther Cotillion, takes place on September 22, 2012 – – – the Autumn Equinox. This is the day when the periods of daylight and darkness are equal. From this point on, the days would grow shorter and shorter until the Winter Solstice.
This day had great symbolic meaning to the ancients. Wiki says:
The holiday of Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 20–23. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.
There were different ceremonies to celebrate this special time of the year including building a really big Wicker Man:
Lucan, Julius Caesar, and Strabo wrote about a giant “wicker man” that was burned at harvest-time with victims locked inside. In or around Shakespeare’s day, illustrated books popularized the wicker-man; e.g. the Britannia Antiqua of 1676 (Fig. 2a; Curran 2000, 237), and farmers still burned small straw figures at harvest. ).
Thomas Tryon used the term above, Harvest Home, as the name of his 1973 book. The mythology there was based on The Eleusinian Mysteries, the rites of which also took place during the time of the Autumn Equinox.
The celebration of the Mysteries at Eleusis was an elaborate affair which took place over a period of nine days in the month of Boedromion (late September). For each day, there was a prescribed series of ritual actions that initiates were expected to follow in the proper order (Parke 53-72; Simon 24-35).
One day prior to the festival proper, a large crowd of participants would gather in Eleusis and proceed with much pomp to the sanctuary of Demeter in the Athenian agora. On the following day, 15 Boedromion, the actual festival would begin with a formal declaration in the agora announcing the event and inviting initiates to take part. From 16 to 18 Boedromion, the initiates would descend singly to the sea, each bearing a suckling piglet for purification and sacrifice.
On the fifth day of the festival (19 Boedromion) the celebrants would proceed in formal procession from Athens back to Eleusis, bearing the sacred hiera as well as a statue of the boy-god Iacchos. The latter deity, who personified the shouts of exultation that the participants would periodically emit, was identified at least as far back as the days of Sophokles with Dionysos (cf. Antigone, vv. 1115 ff.). This identificiation constitutes prima facie evidence of a very significant connection between the Dionysian and Eleusinian Mysteries.
The climax of the ceremony took place in the “Telesterion” (initiation hall). During the 5th century BCE, “Ictinos” designed a huge hall which would hold several thousand people. In this hall, the secret and sacred objects were shown to the initiated, and also the priestesses would reveal the vision of the holy night, which is thought to have been a fire symbolizing life after death. These rituals were kept secret, shown only to the initiated, and it was totally forbidden to speak of them publicly.
Thomas Tryon went ahead and made the jump between the deities, and while I will not do SPOILERS on the book, this jump introduced the Maenads into the Eleusinian Mystery Mix. This is significant because, as Wiki says:
In Greek mythology, maenads (Greek: μαινάδες, mainádes) were the female followers of Dionysus (Bacchus in the Roman pantheon), the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god’s retinue. Their name literally translates as “raving ones”. Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear to pieces animals — and, at least in myth, sometimes men and children — devouring the raw flesh.
What all this suggests, is that celebrations during the Autumn Equinox can get a little out of hand. Rabid mobs and drunken orgies. Killing small animals. Secret ceremonies. Crazy, maniacal women. Sacred fire rituals. (Burning crosses maybe???) And, Human Sacrifices seem to keep popping up. With Birthers not exactly being well known for their common sense and impulse control, I would be very suspicious if somebody asked me to be one of the guests of honor at this particular shindig.
Sooo, the moral question is, should anybody warn Pat Boone???
Note 1: The Image. This is from the 1973 movie, The Wicker Man.
Note 2. The Eleusinian Mysteries. Here is more of the above, with the source link:
Among the most disputed issues in the scholarship is the question whether or not the rites held in honor of Demeter and Persephone also included significant connections with, or references to, other important deities and cults.
Possible Connections of Demeter/Persephone with Other Deities
The prime example of an explicit, though esoteric, connection between the goddesses of Eleusis and a deity from another cultic tradition would be the ritual association between Demeter and Dionysos from at least the fourth century BCE onward . The evidence in this case is fairly strong. It is known that these two deities were honored in Athens and elsewhere as “paredroi” [partner deities] (Pausanias 9.8.1; 9.22.5; 9.24.1); less certain is whether this partnership status had any deeper significance. Pindar (5th century BCE) spoke of Dionysos as the god “of the flowing locks who is enthroned beside Demeter” (Isthmian OdesVII, lines 3-5).
The Orphics, who were widely influential and had their own Mystery celebrations, identified Dionysos-Zagreus as the son of Persephone and Zeus (Kerényi, 145, 148; Mylonas, 309). The Romans recognized a triad consisting of Ceres, Liber, and Libera, where Ceres corresponded to Demeter, Liber to Dionysos, and Libera to Persephone (Kerényi, 148). Stephanos Byzantios (6th century CE) recorded that the rituals in honor of Persephone were performed “in imitation of Dionysian happenings” (“Agra” 14). There is also a considerable amount of iconographical evidence, including pictures on ancient Greek vases from Attica and Apulia, testifying to a prominent Dionysian presence at Eleusis (Schmidt 162-65; Zuntz 407-11).
Note 4. Straw Men. This is a sight and word-play reference to the Straw Man Logical Fallacy, about which Wiki says:
A straw man, known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
The origins of the term are unclear. The usage of the term in rhetoric suggests a human figure made of straw which is easily knocked down or destroyed, such as a military training dummy, scarecrow, or effigy.The rhetorical technique is sometimes called an Aunt Sally in the UK, with reference to a traditional fairground game in which objects are thrown at a fixed target. One common folk etymology is that it refers to men who stood outside courthouses with a straw in their shoe in order to indicate their willingness to be a false witness.
Straw man arguments often arise in public debates such as a (hypothetical) prohibition debate:
Person A: We should liberalize the laws on beer.
Person B: No, any society with unrestricted access to intoxicants loses its work ethic and goes only for immediate gratification.
The proposal was to relax laws on beer. Person B has exaggerated this to a position harder to defend, i.e., “unrestricted access to intoxicants”. It is a logical fallacy because Person A never made that claim. This example is also a slippery slope fallacy.
A Birther specific example would be:
Person A: Obama was born in the United States, and his parents citizenship doesn’t matter. He is a natual born citizen.
Person B(irther): OMG!!! You’re saying Osama Bin Laden could have a kid born here and he could be president one day??? You are nutz!!!
Note 5. The Links. All the above links are rather long, but they are fascinating reads. For those who don’t know anything about the upcoming The Birther Cotillion, see here: