Where is Baubo now?

The sea­sonal rit­u­als of an­cient god­dess re­li­gions, based on the cy­cles of death and re­birth in Na­ture, of­fer a very dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive from cur­rent pa­tri­ar­chal re­li­gious and sci­en­tific tra­di­tions. The an­cient myths of­fer us sto­ries of eter­nally re­turni

Living Now - - Living With Spirit -

On my first day in Athens I took the bus to Elef­sina, a town about 18 kilo­me­tres north­west of the city. The bus moved slowly with the traf­fic along the an­cient Sa­cred Way where peo­ple once walked in pro­ces­sion to cel­e­brate the Eleusinian Mys­ter­ies. No one really knows what hap­pened in the ini­ti­a­tion rit­u­als based on Perse­phone’s de­scent and re­turn from the Un­der­world, but the rites were cel­e­brated for thou­sands of years and were thought to keep the world in bal­ance.

To­day the Sa­cred Way is sur­rounded by ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, and Elef­sina is a ma­jor in­dus­trial area. Yet I could still imag­ine the sa­cred pro­ces­sion wind­ing from Athens to Eleu­sis: ini­ti­ates swing­ing leafy branches, singing, chant­ing, and shout­ing ob­scen­i­ties in com­mem­o­ra­tion of Baubo, the mys­te­ri­ous Greek god­dess who was bawdy, fun-lov­ing and sex­u­ally lib­er­ated. Baubo – a ‘ daugh­ter’ of the an­cient Mother God­dess, Cy­bele – was cel­e­brated for con­sol­ing Deme­ter with rib­ald jest­ing when the god­dess was mourn­ing the loss of Perse­phone.

The mod­ern and an­cient ex­ist side by side in Greece – a kalei­do­scope of im­ages and im­pres­sions span­ning mil­len­nia. It is easy to as­sume that mod­ern life rep­re­sents the pin­na­cle of civil­i­sa­tion, yet where is Baubo now?

Baubo has been de­graded into over-sex­u­alised im­ages of women and girls. The ob­scen­i­ties that were once shouted in sa­cred play are now di­rected at women as ag­gres­sion,

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