Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": DEATH AND INITIATION IN THE MYSTERIES


(Plutarch, 'On the Soul')

The soul [at the point of death] has the same experience are being initiated into great mysteries. . . . At first one wearily hurries to and fro, and journeys with suspicion dark as one uninitiated: then come all the terrors be initiation, shuddering, trembling, sweating, amazement: then one is struck with a marvellous light, one is received into pure regions and meadows, with voices and dances and the majesty of holy sounds and shapes: among these he who has fulfilled initiation wanders free, and released and bearing his crown joins in the divine communion, and consorts with pure and holy men, beholding those who live here uninitiated, an uncleansed horde, trodden under foot of him and huddled together in mud and fog, abiding in their miseries through fear of death and mistrust of the blessings there.


Plutarch, On the Soul, quoted in Stobaeus, IV, as translated by George E. Mylonas, in his Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 246-65

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