41. Μητρὸς Ἀνταίας, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
To the Antagonized Mother
Divine medium: aromatics
Ἀνταία βασίλεια, θεά, πολυώνυμε μῆτερ
Antagonized Basileia, Goddess of many names, Mother of
ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν ἠδὲ θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων,
Immortal deities and mortal humans,
ἥ ποτε μαστεύουσα πολυπλάγκτωι ἐν ἀνίηι
When searching numerous convoluted directions in grievous distress,
νηστείαν κατέπαυσας Ἐλευσῖνος ἐν γυάλοισιν
Fasting and alone, you paused in Eleusis’ valley,
ἦλθές τ' εἰς Ἀίδην πρὸς ἀγαυὴν Περσεφόνειαν
Then came before Aidon to august Persephone,
ἁγνὸν παῖδα Δυσαύλου ὁδηγητῆρα λαβοῦσα,
The pure child of Dysaulos taken as your guide,
μηνυτῆρ' ἁγίων λέκτρων χθονίου Διὸς ἁγνοῦ,
Revealing the sacred subterranean marriage-bed of holy Dios.
Εὔβουλον τέξασα θεὸν θνητῆς ἀπ' ἀνάγκης.
Good counseling child-bearer of deities and mortals by Necessity,
ἀλλά, θεά, λίτομαί σε, πολυλλίστη βασίλεια,
Goddess, humbly and often entreated, Basileia,
ἐλθεῖν εὐάντητον ἐπ' εὐιέρωι σέο μύστηι.
Come, reflect with favor upon your consecrated initiates.
The Goddess Demeter was antagonized by her daughter’s kidnapping and refused to allow new life to grow on earth until her daughter was returned to her. Demeter is the “directing (Δ) + central (ή) + Mother (μητερ)” who determines whether or not plant life will grow. Her daughter, also known as Kore (κόρη)—the “korn” Goddess, is a metaphor for the seed that disappears beneath the earth in death in the fall, re-emerging in the spring as new life. Notably, almost all ancient Greek words that mean plant “seed” begin with the letter κ. The Eleusinian Mysteries drew a correlation between the death and rebirth of plant and human life.
Basileia means Queen, literally the “basis (βάσις)” or “seat” of rule.
Eleusis (Ἐλευσίς) is a famous city on the Rarian Plain, home to the Eleusinian Mysteries of the Mother and Daughter. “Eleusis” is derived from the root word “liberate/set free.” The Goddess Eleusia is synonymous with Eileithyia, the Goddess of parturition/childbirth. The Mysteries of Eleusis elucidate the path to a good life and a glorious afterlife.
Aidon (Ἀίδην) is the immortal God of the afterlife, also known as Hades or Plouton.
Persephone, Demeter’s daughter (Kore), is the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and springtime rebirth.
Dysaulos means inhospitable, unhappy, desolate. Dysaulos’ son led Demeter to her daughter, a metaphor for how Demeter’s desolation eventually gave birth to Euboleus (Good Counsel) and Triptolemus (Three Cities or Three Ptolemies). One of Demeter’s epithets is “Lawgiver.” The Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt had close ties with the Hellenic world and shared cultural, economic, and religious collaboration, including the great Library at Alexandria. A suburb of Egyptian Alexandria was called Eleusis. The Egyptian Goddess Isis is identified with Demeter by some scholars as being one and the same. It is possible that the name “Triptolemus” is a metaphor for the longstanding Ptolemaic dynasty which derived its wealth and cultural dominance from a highly developed system of agriculture and commerce.
Pausanias writes that "…those [verses] ascribed to Orpheus…say that Eubouleus and Triptolemus were sons of Dysaules, and that because they gave Demeter information about her daughter the sowing of seed was her reward to them.” (Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 14. 3, trans. Jones) Ancient Greek names in literature are not just names, but also descriptions.
Here, “Dios” refers to Plouton/Aidon/Hades, the immortal God of the afterlife who abducted Persephone to be his bride. In other instances, “Dios” refers to other divinities, literally the “directing (Δ) + divine (ι) + one (ὸς).” “Dia (Δῖα)” refers to divine Goddesses, with the word ending in “transcendant (α).” Deeo (Δηώ) and Deeous (Δηοῦς) refer to the Goddess Demeter. “Dios” is often reflexively (and not always accurately) translated as “Zeus.”
Ananke (Αναγκη) is the immortal Goddess of what is necessary, of what is required, inevitable, unavoidable, compulsory, unconquerable, involuntary, literally “transcendant (Α) + prevailing (ν) + enclosure/noose/hook/anchor (αγκη).”
A mystees (μύστης) is one initiated in the Mysteries.