The Sacred Sex and Death Rites of the Ancient Mystery Groves

The Sacred Sex and Death Rites of the Ancient Mystery Groves


In most of the civilised world, at least as far back as 5,000 years ago, there were women shamans or priestesses who represented the godhead in sacred sex rites and, in ancient Greece, they were known as hierodules.

A hierodule would have skills similar to the shaman in that she could journey, in trance, into other dimensions, and merge with her spirit lover  there.  Part of the hierodule’s role was to spend the night with a newly crowned king or queen, and while embodying her spirit lover, she would transfer the Sovereignty of the Land to the royal personage in sexual initiation.

The Sovereignty of the Land could only be passed on through this sort of inter-dimensional intercourse, and it was a sacred contract that most civilisations honoured until relatively recently. You will find it referred to in alchemical texts as the Divine Marriage, the Alchemical Marriage or the Hieros Gamos.

The latest evidence we can find for the Hieros Gamos is in the teachings of the Mystery Groves – which were a great flowering of Gnostic knowledge and spiritual initiation held in Mediterranean and Mesopotamian countries during the Neolithic period. The Mysteries of Eleusis in Greece were the last to survive, and it’s from these that we’ve gleaned the most information about what actually went on.



Passion plays

It’s here that we begin to discover the real meaning of the term “passion plays”, because it is sexual passion which ignites the alchemical operation of the Divine Marriage.  The passion plays were centred on the goddess Demeter who, in myths, is found wandering the Earth in grief after her daughter, Persephone, is abducted into the Underworld by Hades. The sexual seed was represented by wheat and, at the culmination of the rituals, the hierodule would make love with the high priest, or hierophant.

Demeter and Persephone

Demeter and Persephone celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries. On the left Demeter, wearing the peplos and holding a scepter in her left hand, presents Triptolemus with sheafs of wheat, for him to give them to humanity. On the right Persephone, wearing the chiton and a cloak and holding a torch, blesses Triptolemus with her left hand. Votive relief. 5th-century BC relief. National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Image source: Wikipedia

Because of the focus on the wheat in the dramatic performances, and the theme of the land remaining barren until Persephone re-emerges in the Spring, some commentators believe that the purpose of fertility rites was to placate the gods in order to get a good harvest and increased yields of cattle. But fertility rites existed long before the agricultural period – perhaps even going back to the Aurignacian era, 45,000 years ago - and so it is obvious that there was a much more profound purpose behind these sacred passion plays than merely material abundance on the Earthly plane.

However, by the last few centuries before the Christian Era, that may have been how the sacred Mysteries were viewed by the masses, who were never given the proper initiation, and so didn’t understand the purpose of the rites. They attended a sort of Mysteries Lite, the Lesser Mysteries, which were held on the Spring Equinox each year, while the Greater Mysteries, at which spiritual initiation took place, was on the Autumn Equinox and only for a select few.

The Lesser Mysteries would end with a water baptism, while the Greater Mysteries climaxed with a fire initiation.

At the Lesser Mysteries, the teachings were given in the form of allegorical stories in which the true meanings were hidden. All of this was to prepare those few who were going forward to the Greater Mysteries, where the inner meanings of the stories would be revealed and the fire initiation would take place.

In other words, it was only at the Greater Mysteries that the initiates were shown that these plays were allegories which had a dual purpose – as both spiritual and astronomical/astrological teaching stories that were a precursor to spiritual initiation. But the students of the Greater Mysteries were also under pain of death never to reveal anything of what they had been taught or seen.

The ancient ruins of Eleusis

The ancient ruins of Eleusis, Greece, where the Greater Mysteries took place. Image source: Wikimedia.

According to Lewis Spence, in The Mysteries of Egypt.

.... the whole purpose of the Mysteries was to attain fellowship or unity with the Divine here and hereafter. This is not achieved by mere doctrine, but by the exercise of the Higher Magic. The outward form of this Magic was expressed by ritual, in actual allegory. It was emblematic, symbolical, for the good reason that in emblem and symbolism and dramatic rite reside the only available human means for outwardly expressing the inward desire for at-one-ment with deity.

...these are after all merely the enacted impulses of the inward thought and belief. The ancient men who established these rites were well aware that a striking and dramatic rehearsal of the process of achieving unity, a material and symbolic representation of what is actually a psychical process, could not but assist it by bringing the mental and bodily parts of man into magical and rhythmic response with this psychic part and thus with the upward movement as whole.

What Lewis Spence is describing are the dramas which were staged at the Lesser Mysteries, and to help people remember the names and qualities of all the various spirits or gods who were portrayed in the plays, their images were moulded into models or statues and their likenesses painted on to pottery.

Mysteries of Eleusis depicted on pottery

Mysteries of Eleusis depicted on pottery, 4 th century BC. Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon, France - Hydrie. Image source: Wikimedia

One of these plays featured a sun god who died and then rose again from the dead three days later, just as the Sun ‘died’, or reached the nadir of its course on its yearly cycle during the winter solstice, and then begins its journey north again three days later.

But because only those few that were deemed ready, were chosen from the crowds at the Lesser Mysteries for the Greater Mysteries, many left the Lesser Mysteries thinking that they’d been revealed the full teachings and that there had been a real person who died and rose again three days later.

The fire initiation and la petit mort

When we look at what initiates have managed to say about the Greater rites, while still keeping their heads, it’s clear that the Lesser rites teachings were allegories for a much deeper spiritual teaching which led to an initiation. 

Cicero said of the Greater rites that they not only taught man how to live, but also how to die. No wonder the French call the orgasm la petit mort . Sex and death are very close together in that they are both initiations into another portal. What men are not receiving through sacred sex magic, they seek for in promiscuity, rape, violence and war... due to a yearning for that portal... and the Masters of War know it.

Plutarch wrote about his initiation:

When a man dies he is like those who are initiated into the Mysteries. Our whole life is a journey by torturous ways without outlet. At the moment of quitting it come terrors, shuddering fear, amazement. Then a light that moves to meet you, pure meadows that receive you, songs and dances and holy apparitions.

Apuleius wrote in The Golden Ass :

I approached the confines of Death, and, having trodden on the threshold of Proserpina, returned, having been carried through all the elements, to the depths of midnight I saw the sun glittering with a splendid light, together with the infernal and supernal gods, and to these divinities approaching, I paid the tribute of devout adoration.

Votive plaque depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries

Votive plaque depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries. National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Image source: Wikimedia.

The Christian Church now only gives the water initiation to the masses, in the form of the baptism, as if their congregations were attendees of the Lesser Mysteries; if the Church ever does give a fire initiation, the rank and file of this religion never get to hear about it. But shreds of what once was practised are visible in the New Testament, if you know what to look for.

In Luke 3:16, we find John the Baptist talking about the water and fire initiation.

....I indeed baptise you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

There’s also the anecdote about Saul/Paul of Tarsus being hit by a blaze of the Holy Ghost’s fire, causing him to fall off his horse. Then there’s the story about the disciples all being gathered in the Upper Room ...

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. “ Acts 2:2-3

These sacred sex rites finally fell out of favour after the Mystery Groves and libraries were destroyed on the orders of the 4 th century Roman Emperor Theodosius.

The violent domination and warring of all three Abrahamic religions has been better served ever since by mass ignorance about the existence of the portal of sex and death.

This article was extracted from The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar: Shamanic sexual healing and sex magic, by Ishtar Babilu Dingir, available from Amazon.

Featured image: Henryk Siemiradzki. Phryne in Eleusus (1889). Image source: Wikipedia

By Ishtar Babilu Dingir


Every other generation, every person who dared to write about the history of something or wrote of a current event tried his or her best to write the exact truth. That truth, hidden perhaps for 5,000 years, might be the hidden link to a huge truth the entire world needs to know. Since the 1950's and then raging into the 1960's writers, even archeologists and historians have taken to mindless "flights of fancy" saying and writing whatever comes into their minds.

I write this because; 1. Enough truth lies in mystery sex cults to be interesting to anybody - it does not have to be "flowered up" to the hilt with every "New Age" creation the writer can conjur.

2. Omitting truth which is what flowery oratory amounts to, gives the next generation a huge gap in the historical record. We are better off to read something written in the 1800's thru the 1940's and up to around 1950 and then forget it!

Sadly, great technology such as robots that can peek into pyramids, sonar, etc., these things could help solidify the historical record. I am bound to say sadly, the "hysterical record" - because it is full of frustrated women's ideas of what sex could have been, should have been and might have been had Berkeley been a better University, or trips to Lebanon provided anybody with a real "out-of-body experience".

I'm angry at these people. Having left their good sense somewhere in the past, they write tripe, senseless garbage. Wading through it for a tidbit here and there of possible truth requires the knowledge and depth of a PhD - earned, however back in the 1860's for God himself knows that no PhD received since 1960 has any merit to it, any meat to it or any worth to it.

Your articles come close to real truth and for that I thank you. This one is horrible; however.

"Out of box ideas" in this case wouldn't be needed if the early church fathers and Roman Emperors didn't kill all those who practiced the subject written about here and destroy most remaining writings by them as well. No supporting rational? Why don't you petition the Vatican to release all of it's files so we wouldn't need someone like Ishtar Babilu Dingir to theorize on these matters.

I noticed that, too. I just figured these were written by a number of people, cut & pasted. Explains the choppiness, to some degree, though even cut & paste should move along better than they do!

I'm beginning to wonder whether article writers are given any sort of Manual of Style. This article leaps between such varied points under a broad title relating to sex and death/ fertility with no real sense of flow or even a coherent sense of doing the title justice. The author seemed to forget or lose interest in those "sacred groves". 

There is also a bad habit forming amongst contributors who have a book to peddle. If you are showcasing a book with "out of the box" ideas, this should be the place for you. However, if you spend the space you have, trying to get as many of these crammed in as possible, without the exegesis to back it up, it all ends up looking a bit krankish. I've always kept up with my degree and qualifications in Christian theology and been interested in patristics. So when I come across the stuff relating to baptism and the quotes from Acts, and simply have to assume the author is relating these to the sex/initiation/fertility/death motif running through the text, I end up frowning at the screen: why is there no supporting rationale? What has brought about the idea that this is linked to sex/etc? And finally bibliography? Bibliography? Bibliography?


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