There is nothing in all pagan antiquity more celebrated than the Feast of Ceres Eleusina,
The ceremonies of this festival were called, by way of Eminence, the mysteries, from being according to Pausanias, as much above all others, as the gods are above men. The origin and institution is attributed to Ceres herself, who, in the reign of Erechtheus, coming to Eleusis, a small town in .Attica, Greece, in search of her daughter Proserpine, whom Pluto had carried 'away, and finding the country afflicted with famine, invented corn as a remedy for that evil, for which she was rewarded by the inhabitants. She not only taught them the use of corn, but 'instructed them in the principles of probity, charity, civility and humanity, from whence arose mysteries called the Initia. To these first happy lessons fabulous antiquity ascribed the courtesy, politeness and urbanity so remarkable amongst the Athenians. Ceres is commonly represented as holding a sickle in her right hand and in her left, the torch which she lighted at
At her feet are coiled the dragons which drew her chariot; a wreath of wheaten ears confines her golden tresses. She is also represented with a garland of corn upon her head; one hand holding a poppy and in the other a lighted torch. Again she appears as a country woman on the back of an ox, carrying a basket on her left arm, and holding a hoe; and sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by winged horses. It is the object of this ritual to burlesque to some extent these great mysteries, thereby producing amusements where, in ancient times, awe only was the result of the initiations.
Officers and Their Duties..
Zeus - The Chief Character, who has full charge of the ceremony of initiation. He touches the button which puts the whole works into motion, and sees that the machinery runs smoothly from the beginning of the ceremony to the final finish.
Otos and Didos - Are the two winged horses hitched to the chariot which bring in Osiris on his swift run for the money in the first act. They should be strong, burly Centaurs, swift of foot and long on wind.
Ajax and Atlas - The two Conductors, who call time before the candidate is knocked out, but who sees that something is doin' all the while, so the unfortunates will know that they are being initiated into the mysteries.
Io - Is Treasurer, and sees that nothing is left undone, not even the candidate.
Uno - Is the fellow who thinks he knows it all and should be made to do the wagon wheel down two flights of stairs just preceding the initiation. This will intimidate the candidate to such an extent that he will be willing to do anything he is told.
Hitias - Is the herculean individual who wields the spanker, causing a simultaneous explosion of laughter and a blank cartridge, which brings tears to the eyes of the spectator and consternation to the candidate.
Osiris - Is the only person who does not laugh during the entire performance, but he is fully compensated in the long run, especially the one he takes in the chariot drawn by the winged horses.
A pair of coasters.
Two tapes one and one-half inch wide, or an ordinary pair of lines used in driving horses. Have sleigh bells attached if possible.
An ear of corn and bunch of hay.
An old straw hat or lady's oldfashioned poke bonnet.
A linen duster.
A whisp of hay, wheat or oats.
An ordinary wash bowl or tin basin.
A Pallen Spanker, with a box of blank cartridges.
One boxing outfit (consisting of two pairs of boxing gloves).
One smooth plank, 10 feet long, 18 inches wide.
A carpenter's horse.
A small frying pan and a slice of bacon, to be heated over a lamp or gas jet.
One small package to represent a jeweler's box containing watch and chain.
A small phial of water supposed to contain cocaine.
A box of broken glass.
An axe and a block of wood.
Some loose wool or hair.
A bottle with some horrid smelling stuff.
One cake pan, with rubber cord attached.
Preparation of Candidate.
The candidate should be clothed with a pair of old overalls, turned up six inches at the bottom, a long linen duster, an ear of corn, and same should protrude from his pockets. He should be hoodwinked.
His face should be adorned with a set of hayseed whiskers.
Put on an old straw hat or lady's poke bonnet trimmed with hay, grass or garden truck of any kind.
Upon his feet are to be placed a pair of coasters.
In his hands, the lines with sleighbells attached.
These can be made to pass over the shoulders of Otos and Didos, the winged horses; while
Care must be used, as rough handling of candidate with possibility of injury, may spoil all the fun.
In the costume above described OSIRIS is conducted to the door and the ceremony begins.
Zeus takes the station usually occupied by the principal officer of the lodge in which the degree is being worked.
The secretary sits at the desk usually used by the secretary of regular lodge.
Hitias has no station in particular, but must always be on hand when the spanker is to be used.
When all is in readiness the ceremony opens and continues as follows:
ZEUS raps for order. Three heavy raps. All arise.
Zeus: Men of
She it was who invented corn and other cereals to save from starvation those who came with her to Attica in the days of old, in search of her daughter Proserpine, and while there instituted the 'mysteries,' which afterward became so famous.
They included the secrets of life and happiness.
The human race has never ceased to seek for these things which are as necessary to the mind and soul as meat is to the body-for a healthy mind and cheerful disposition engenders a healthy body. This is why we come here in search of these mysteries which go far to make up the sum of human existence.
If any are here present who have not been initiated into them, let them now depart and never again enter the portals of this shrine, unless it be in the golden chariot drawn by the winged horses, Otos and Didos.
Zeus: In order that there be no mistake I will put all present upon their honor. Fabricators will please remain silent. Are you all Worthy Sons of Osiris? You will answer collectively.
All: We are worthy Sons of Osiris. They speak very heavily.
Zeus: So it would seem. None seem to have lost the power of speech. What is the bounden duty of every good 'Son of Osiris?'
All: To do and to die.
Zeus: The answer's good,
'Tis plain to see
That all have taken
The Osiris Degree.
Doris, ascertain if any uninitiated citizen of
Doris: Noble Zeus, there is a person without who looks like one from the rural deestricts of here give name of some town or locality in the country like ‘Jimtown, Goat Hill' etc.
He comes in a gilden chariot drawn by two unruly winged horses even as the goddess Ceres came. He craves entrance that he may be initiated into the great mysteries of the 'Sons of Osiris.’
Zeus: What might be the name of this bold hayseed?
All: O ! Siris! O! Siris !
Zeus: Silence, Athenians. Have you not heard that the winged horses attached to the chariot of Osiris are unruly?
Has the stranger purified himself in the lesser mysteries by bathing in the
Doris: He has been brought hither by
Member: Great Jupiter, Osiris has upset the altar of the gods.
Zeus: Who have we here? Who have we here? Who have we here? Heavily.
Zeus: Has he bathed in the
Atlas: He seems to have had a bath.
Zeus: Who vouches for him?
Uno, some member takes his part: I vouch for the stranger. .
Zeus: And who may you be?
Zeus: Did .anyone ever hear of such impudence being offered to my Royal Highness? Here,
Ajax and Atlas seize Uno and hustle him to the door, and a sound is heard like breaking glass, and something heavy is let fall, like a body striking the pavement below.
Zeus: Is that fresh individual dead?
Zeus: So dieth all who offend the mighty ruler of the gods.
Member: But, Mighty Zeus; the man committed no offense. His name is Uno.
Zeus: So much the better. He deserves death for bearing such a name. But who are you, to question my action?
Member: I am the only survivor of the Battle of Thermopolæ.
Zeus: Headsman, procure the axe at once and remove the survivor's head. This person is the four hundred and sixteenth 'last survivor' of that battle. Member is taken to a headsman's block, a groan is heard, and something heavy dropped to represent head falling.
Zeus: Are there any more here who desire to be sent to the
Osiris: From Attica in
Zeus: Why do you come?
Osiris: To perfect myself in the great mysteries.
Zeus: Have you bathed in the
Osiris: I have bathed.
Zeus: Your appearance belies your words. We will let that pass, but as penance we will be compelled to remove your hirsute adornment. Hitias, bring on the torch and singe this hayseed's whiskers. He should be seated and coasters removed.
Hitias brings a match and some loose hair, burning it under candidate's nose, at the same time removing false beard, or twisting moustache, if any.
Zeus: Now spray him with the frank incense of the gods. A vial or bottle is passed back and forth under his nose containing most anything that smells bad.
Zeus: It is clearly evident from the candidate's expression that he has not undergone the lesser tortures. So it is my will he be put to another test. Until he has climbed
Zeus: Has he who calls himself Osiris made the journey to the Holy Mount?
Atlas: He has made a successful ascent and descent.
Zeus: It is well. Stranger, have you taken part in the Olympian games?
Osiris: I have taken part in many games.
Zeus: You speak feelingly, as if what you say may be the truth. We will now test your prowess. Hitias, bring the discus. An ordinary cake pan, with rubber tube attached, is brought. There is a loop at one end so the tape can be placed around the candidate's neck. He is handed the discus and told to throw it back over his right shoulder with all his strength. His feet will likely slip from under him and the discus will fly back and strike him.
Zeus: Never was a discus more gracefully hurled.
Take notice, Athenians, how it pirouetted in the air and like a boomerang returned to the sender. Truly this man's prowess is wonderful, and since his strength is so great, per chance he may compete with our mighty
Before this test let the altar, which he so ruthlessly overturned, be again set up, and there before it let him bow in humble submission to the god of war, saying: 'God of war, let me strike down my enemies. Conduct the stranger there.'
Candidate is token. before altar and assisted to kneel. Zeus steps in front and says:
Zeus: O ! SIRIS! O! SIRIS! Thou art about to prepare for battle with the Mighty Ajax. Therefore repeat after me these words, bowing humbly three times.
Oh! god of war bows.
Let me strike bows, give him spanker exploding blank cartridge down my enemies.
Be sure to strike him when he bows second time at the point when he says ‘let me strike.’ Reload spanker for future use.
Zeus: Conduct the stranger to the outer chamber and let him be stripped for battle with the Mighty Ajax. Candidate is conducted to ante-room, where he is divested of all but undershirt and trousers.
Zeus: OSIRIS, you have withstood the several trials necessary to entitle you to further advancement, but there yet remains a test which is absolutely necessary to complete your initiation. It may be somewhat painful, though every effort will be made to reduce the torture.
The object of this test is to prevent members of THE SONS OF OSIRIS from every asking the question, 'Is it hot enough for you?' With this warning are you willing to proceed unto the end?
Osiris: I am willing.
Zeus: Brother Athenians, you all bear witness that the stranger, Osiris, is willing to undergo this dreadful torture.
All: We are witnesses.
Zeus: So let it be. Hitias, bring forth the broiler.
Hitias brings an alcohol lamp over which is placed a pan with some grease in, it; also a small piece of bacon.
Zeus: Atlas, you will administer the cocaine to the stranger's right elbow. Atlas pours some cold water out of a bottle upon candidate's elbow.
Now let the torture proceed, and if the stranger bears it bravely he will be worthy of a place among us, and the medal of honor will be bestowed upon him. The oil lamp is lighted and the burning process is gone through with. Candidate is told not to flinch, as the cocaine will prevent his feeling the burn, His elbow is held over the pan and the odor of the bacon will cause hint to flinch, and to think he is really being burned. All the while those around him will make remarks to fit the occasion.
Zeus: Now pour on the soothing oil and bind up the wound. Have no fear, Osiris, for before you depart hence your wound will have been miraculously healed.
Osiris, you have passed through the various ordeals with great courage and fortitude. Before completing the ceremony of THE SONS OF OSIRIS it becomes my pleasant duty to inform you that some of your friends here have prepared a little surprise for you. It is needless to say that first of all it is given in token of the high esteem in which they hold you as a friend and a citizen, and lastly for having honored us with your presence here this evening. I presume it is proper for me to say that this beautiful gift is a gold watch and chain. Upon the seal of the watch is engraved the names of the donor. If party has recently been a public benefactor or done some charitable act, language may be introduced to suit the occasion.
However, it might have been proper for me to have asked the donors whether this little token be given now or after the completion of the ceremony. What say you, Brothers? Some say: Present it now; Finish the ceremony; etc., etc.
Zeus: As there seems to be some difference of opinion, I will put the question to a vote; those in favor of the presentation now will say 'Aye.'
Several say: Aye.
Zeus: Contrary, 'No.'
Nearly all say: No heavily.
Zeus: The 'No's' have it. We will therefore proceed with the ceremony. In concluding the initiation of THE SONS OF OSIRIS it would hardly be complete without including the beautiful ceremony of the Fountain of Joy. We can, of course, but crudely represent it here.
After initiates had passed through all the ordeals imposed upon them and had perfected themselves in all the mysteries, the nervous tension was so great that by way of relaxation the latter days were given up to pleasure.
One can well imagine with what joy they entered upon the Bacchanalian end of the Festivities. There were processions of the populace, who dressed themselves in the most grotesque costumes. Some in skins of goats, bears, lions and different animals, they marched through the streets. The fruit of the vine was largely indulged in and in time abused. So it was, that before again emerging from the darkness of the caverns and temples to the outer world they were led to a natural fountain which bursted from the rocks of the cave and there knelt to drink from a sparkling pool called the Fountain of Joy.
So thoroughly were these Pagans saturated with a religion which held them in its power for hundreds of years that they firmly believed that by drinking from this pool they would have everlasting happiness. · As this was so important a feature of the Eleusian Mysteries, it has seemed proper to thus complete the ceremony of the SONS OF OSIRIS in a similar manner. You have no doubt in days gone by knelt before some pool made in the earth and drank the cold, sparkling water as it bubbled up from the sands below and there refreshed yourself after a tramp through the forest, or some wearying journey.
In a similar manner you will drink from the fount before you. Have basin or wash bowl about half full of water in front of altar of Zeus. As he stoops to drink use the spanker good and hard, causing him doubtless to plunge his face into the water. When this part is finished Zeus will request the candidate to advance before his station, where candidate is given instructions in the grips, signs and passwords.
Zeus: The grand hailing sign is given by extending both fists forward with thumb protruding between the index and second finger, the arms being in position as in driving.
The sign of recognition is given by a motion of right hand as in stroking beard.
In calling a Brother's attention in a public place, 'Osiris' may be called loudly.
The emblem of the Order is shown on the button which I place upon your lapel. It consists of a horse's head with wings and is emblematic of the winged horses which draw the Chariot or Osiris.
The test word is as follows:
First person: 'Are you a Son of Osiris? ,
Second person: 'I have partaken of the Mysteries.’
First person: 'O'
Second person: 'Si.'
First person: 'R-i-s.'
First person: 'Then 'you are from?'
Second person: 'The town … (or any old place).
The grip is given as follows: Grasp the right hand firmly, then loosen hold, letting two fingers extend along wrist above and two below.
This completes the ceremony. I will further say that it is the wish of all that you speedily seek revenge upon some unsuspecting subject for initiation in the 'SONS OF OSIRIS.'
You will now' be permitted to sit among those who have gone before and partake of the pleasures yet in store for you.
If there is no further business adjournment may be in order.