Full Spectrum Living
The mysteries of eleusis
The slogan that I use on my hypnosis web-site is, “What inside…What outside…Consider the Whole.” I suggest to my hypnotherapy clients that they practise melting their artificial boundaries and alienating dichotomies. I offer them a safe setting and trusting relationship in which to do so without undue fear of hurting themselves. Many people in our society are culturally disconnected and are misusing and abusing cigarettes, food, drugs, sex, relationships and many other addictions in order to give themselves temporary but unsatisfying relief from their isolation from others and the world around them. I suggest to them the concept of “full spectrum living” in which they are able to freely express each of their basic emotions in a meaningful, mature and functional manner. I highlight the importance of experiencing, rather than just talking about or observing their feelings and emotions.
In our modern, materialistic, scientific, and commercialized culture, a duality has been created which separates humans from nature, subject from object, and creator from creation. Religion magnifies this separation by implying that only specially blessed people, such as priests, saints, etc., can fully experience holiness and spiritual enlightenment. I suggest to each of my clients in hypnotherapy that they are fully capable of “re-membering” their whole Self connected up across all the so-called dualities including the life and death “chasm” itself. The mother of all fears is the fear of death. Fear paralyzes a person’s ability to freely and fluidly express the whole spectrum of their emotions.
I call myself a psyche-logist, rather than a psychologist, because the word “psyche” in ancient Greek means “the Soul” and the modern day “certified psychologist” deals only with mental illness, mental dysfunction and aberrant behaviour, and NOT with a person’s Soul. In my practice and, in fact, in my whole life, I am involved and interacting only in a “Soulful”, spiritual, culturally and environmentally connected way. In a sense, I act as a coach for my clients by encouraging them to be continuously and completely honest with their feelings and courageous enough to access, accept, assimilate and articulate their emotions. I am a modern day “shaman” in that I do not experience myself as clinically separate from my clients. I dance with them through the choreography of their emotions.
Many ancient Greeks and, in particular, a large proportion of the citizens of Athens, incorporated full spectrum living into their lives by attending secret, spiritual ceremonies at the Temple at Eleusis which was about 22 kilometers from Athens. From about 1600 BC until about 400 AD most of the great philosophers and writers of Greece like Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Sophocles, Homer, etc. partook in the pilgrimage along the Sacred Way to spend nine continuous days celebrating the Mysteries of Eleusis. St. Paul visited Eleusis around 100 AD when he was designing the Christian Church. He almost certainly included the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter, Persephone and Dionysus, in disguised form, in the Christian liturgy after that time. The sacred, spiritual rituals of the Eleusinian Mysteries were displaced by the institutionalized dogma of the Christian Church. The Temple of Eleusis was later one of the many spiritual sites destroyed by the Christian Emperor Theodosius.
The Eleusinian pilgrims were led in sacred procession along the Sacred Way by a priestess who represented Demeter, the goddess of fertility. Along the route, which was symbolic of the descent into the underworld or the dark side of humanity, the pilgrims were ritually harassed and insulted by masked men. At the ceremonies at the Temple of Eleusis, there were ritual immersions in the Mediterranean, sacred dancing and the drinking of sacred potions of diluted wine (related to Dionysus and the fruit of the vine) mixed with an “entheogen” made from fermented barley that enhanced mystical and prophetic visions by the participants. The Lesser Mysteries took place every spring in March (related to Persephone and re-birth), and were the initiation ceremony to identify the people who were capable of progressing on to the Greater Mysteries, which took place every fifth fall in September (related to Demeter and fertility and the harvest). The main purpose of these celebrations was to enable the initiants to transcend their own fear of death. The celebrants experienced for themselves that death was not simply an end, but also a beginning. Unlike St. Paul’s message, according to which only Christ experiences an earthly resurrection, each of the many hundreds of thousands of Eleusinian celebrants experienced a personal, earthly resurrection.
It is no wonder that Greek civilization flourished and that a zenith of human cultural achievement was reached at that time and in that region of the world!
In the book, “The Road to Eleusis”, by Wasson, Hofmann and Ruck, Albert Hofmann suggests that Eleusis-like centers could manifest themselves today to unite and strengthen the many spiritual currents of our time. In fact, such groups do exist today in various places in the world.
In my hypnotherapy practice, I embody many of the rituals and principles that were experienced and enacted during the Eleusinian Mysteries. I frequently offer post-hypnotic suggestions to my clients about assimilating their dark side and dis-identifying with their persona. Their persona is their career role or their distorted self-image of their personality. I strongly suggest that they “finish their business” with their mother and father. This entails radically accepting their parents exactly the way they are, even if they are incorrigible or obnoxious. I also strongly suggest and encourage them to be radically honest and courageous about their feelings. I recommend that they look at their fears as messengers and I invite them to receive the message by becoming “friends with their fears”. I re-mind them that dis-honesty is not just by commission, which is called lying. It can also be by omission. At the emotional level, when one is dealing only with one’s self, and not with others, dis-honesty by omission can be just as destructive as lying to oneself.
One powerful image that my clients find extremely valuable is as follows:
a. Shine your Light as bright as you can.
b. Be assiduous in not attracting the forces of darkness.
c. And then, if you have enough Light left over, shine it in dark corners.
I also suggest to my clients in post-hypnotic suggestion that they “follow their Light” each moment when they are back in their regular daily life and particularly when they are dealing with a very difficult emotional situation. Analogously, the Greater Mystery at Eleusis, which was performed mostly in a dark sanctuary called the Telesterion, ended with the roof opening up and a flood of Light illuminating the “graduating” celebrants.