Kykeon (Gr. κυκεών - kykeōn, from κυκάω, "to stir, to mix") was an Ancient Greek drink of various descriptions. Some were made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. Others were made with wine and grated cheese. It is widely believed that kykeon usually refers to a psychoactive compounded brew, as in the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries. A kykeon was used at the climax of the Eleusinian Mysteries to break a sacred fast, but it is also mentioned as a favourite drink of Greek peasants.
Kykeon is mentioned in Homeric texts: the Iliad describes it as consisting of Pramnian wine, barley, and grated goat's cheese (XI, 638–641). In the Odyssey, Circe adds some honey and pours her magic potion into it (X, 234). In The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 210, the goddess refuses red wine but accepts kykeon made from water, barley and pennyroyal.
It was supposed to have digestive properties. Hermes recommends it in Aristophanes' Peace (v. 712) to the hero who ate too much dry fruit and nuts. Aristocrats shunned it as a peasant drink. Theophrastus depicts in his Characters (IV, 2–3) a peasant who goes to the Ecclesia drunk with kykeon.
In an attempt to solve the mystery of how so many people over the span of two millennia could have consistently experienced revelatory states during the culminating ceremony of the Eleusinian Mysteries, it has been posited that the barley used in the Eleusinian kykeon was parasitized by ergot, and that the psychoactive properties of that fungus triggered the intense experiences alluded to by the participants at Eleusis.
For more on the possibilities of kykeon's psychoactive properties, see entheogenic theories of the mysteries.
Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality for most, reflecting agricultural hardship, but a great diversity of ingredients was known, and wealthy Greeks were known to celebrate with elaborate meals and feasts. The cuisine was founded on the "Mediterranean triad" of cereals, olives, and grapes, which had many uses and great commercial value, but other ingredients were as important, if not more so, to the average diet: most notably legumes. Research suggests that the agricultural system of Ancient Greece could not have succeeded without the cultivation of legumes.Modern knowledge of ancient Greek cuisine and eating habits is derived from textual, archeological, and artistic evidence.Apple of Discord
An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord (Greek: μῆλον τῆς Ἔριδος) which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris (Gr. Ἔρις, "Strife") tossed in the midst of the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis as a prize of beauty, thus sparking a vanity-fueled dispute among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War (for the complete story, see The Judgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" is used to signify the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute.Ardor (album)
Ardor is the second album by ethereal wave band Love Spirals Downwards. It was originally released in 1994 on the U.S. record label Projekt Records; a remastered version, with extra tracks, was released in 2007.Ascalabus
Ascalabus, in Greek mythology, was a son of Misme. When Demeter, on her wanderings in search of her daughter Persephone, came to Misme in Attica, the goddess was received kindly, and being exhausted and thirsty, Misme gave her something to drink (a kykeon). As the goddess emptied the vessel at one draught, Ascalabus laughed at her, and ordered a whole cask to be brought. Demeter, indignant at the boy's conduct, sprinkled the few remaining drops from her vessel upon him and thereby changed him into a lizard. The tale is preserved in Antoninus Liberalis' Metamorphoses, which cites Nicander's lost Heteroeumena. The tale is also told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, though Ascalabus and his mother go unnamed: "presumably... to avoid confusion with Ascalaphus".Barley water
Barley water is a traditional drink consumed in various parts of the world. It is made by boiling barley grains in water, then (usually) straining to remove the grains, and possibly adding other ingredients, for example sugar.Cornucopia
In classical antiquity, the cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae), also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts.Dragon's teeth (mythology)
In Greek myth, dragon's teeth feature prominently in the legends of the Phoenician prince Cadmus and in Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In each case, the dragons are real and breathe fire. Their teeth, once planted, would grow into fully armed warriors.
Cadmus, the bringer of literacy and civilization, killed the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares. The goddess Athena told him to sow the teeth, from which sprang a group of ferocious warriors called the spartoi. He threw a precious jewel into the midst of the warriors, who turned on each other in an attempt to seize the stone for themselves. The five survivors joined with Cadmus to found the city of Thebes.The classical legends of Cadmus and Jason have given rise to the phrase "to sow dragon's teeth." This is used as a metaphor to refer to doing something that has the effect of fomenting disputes.Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. They are the "most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece". Their basis was an old agrarian cult, and there is some evidence that they were derived from the religious practices of the Mycenean period. The mysteries represented the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother Demeter by the king of the underworld Hades, in a cycle with three phases: the descent (loss), the search, and the ascent, with the main theme being the ascent (άνοδος) of Persephone and the reunion with her mother. It was a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spread to Rome. Similar religious rites appear in the agricultural societies of Near East and in Minoan Crete.
The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret and consistently preserved from antiquity. For the initiated, the rebirth of Persephone symbolized the eternity of life which flows from generation to generation, and they believed that they would have a reward in the afterlife. There are many paintings and pieces of pottery that depict various aspects of the Mysteries. Since the Mysteries involved visions and conjuring of an afterlife, some scholars believe that the power and longevity of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a consistent set of rites, ceremonies and experiences that spanned two millennia, came from psychedelic drugs. The name of the town, Eleusís, seems to be Pre-Greek and it is probably a counterpart with Elysium and the goddess Eileithyia.Ethnomycology
Ethnomycology is the study of the historical uses and sociological impact of fungi and can be considered a subfield of ethnobotany or ethnobiology. Although in theory the term includes fungi used for such purposes as tinder, medicine (medicinal mushrooms) and food (including yeast), it is often used in the context of the study of psychoactive mushrooms such as psilocybin mushrooms, the Amanita muscaria mushroom, and the ergot fungus.
American banker Robert Gordon Wasson pioneered interest in this field of study in the late 1950s, when he and his wife became the first Westerners on record allowed to participate in a mushroom velada, held by the Mazatec curandera María Sabina. The biologist Richard Evans Schultes is also considered an ethnomycological pioneer. Later researchers in the field include Terence McKenna, Albert Hofmann, Ralph Metzner, Carl Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples, Giorgio Samorini, Keewaydinoquay Peschel, John Marco Allegro, Clark Heinrich, Jonathan Ott, and Paul Stamets.
Besides mycological determination in the field, ethnomycology depends to a large extent on anthropology and philology. One of the major debates among ethnomycologists is Wasson's theory that the Soma mentioned in the Rigveda of the Indo-Aryans was the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Following his example similar attempts have been made to identify psychoactive mushroom usage in many other (mostly) ancient cultures, with varying degrees of credibility. Another much written about topic is the content of the Kykeon, the sacrament used during the Eleusinian mysteries in ancient Greece between approximately 1500 BCE and 396 CE. Although not an ethnomycologist as such, philologist John Allegro has made an important contribution suggesting, in a book controversial enough to have his academic career destroyed, that Amanita muscaria was not only consumed as a sacrament but was the main focus of worship in the more esoteric sects of Sumerian religion, Judaism and early Christianity. Clark Heinrich claims that Amanita muscaria use in Europe was not completely wiped out by Orthodox Christianity but continued to be used (either consumed or merely symbolically) by individuals and small groups such as medieval Holy Grail myth makers, alchemists and Renaissance artists.While Wasson views historical mushroom use primarily as a facilitator for the shamanic or spiritual experiences core to these rites and traditions, McKenna takes this further, positing that the ingestion of psilocybin was perhaps primary in the formation of language and culture and identifying psychedelic mushrooms as the original "Tree of Knowledge". There is indeed some research supporting the theory that psilocybin ingestion temporarily increases neurochemical activity in the language centers of the brain, indicating a need for more research into the uses of psychoactive plants and fungi in human history.The 1990s saw a surge in the recreational use of psilocybin mushrooms due to a combination of a psychedelic revival in the rave culture, improved and simplified cultivation techniques, and the distribution of both the mushrooms themselves and information about them via the Internet. This "mushrooming of mushroom use" has also caused an increased popularization of ethnomycology itself as there are many websites and Internet forums where mushroom references in Christmas and fairy tale symbolism are discussed. It remains open to interpretation what effect this popularization has on ethnomycology in the academic world, where the lack of verifiable evidence has kept its theories with their often far-reaching implications shrouded in controversy.Hecamede
In the Iliad, Hecamede (Ancient Greek: Ἑκαμήδη), daughter of Arsinoos, was captured from the isle of Tenedos and given as captive to King Nestor. Described as "skilled as a goddess", "fair" and "proud", Hecamede was not a concubine but a serving woman. In her most prolonged mention, she serves Nestor and Machaon Pramnian wine, a medicinal drink.Lysergol
Lysergol is an alkaloid of the ergoline family that occurs as a minor constituent in some species of fungi (most within Claviceps), and in the morning glory family of plants (Convolvulaceae), including the hallucinogenic seeds of Rivea corymbosa (ololiuhqui), Argyreia nervosa (Hawaiian baby woodrose) and Ipomoea violacea. Lysergol is not a controlled substance in the USA. Its possession and sale is also legal under the U.S. Federal Analog Act because it does not have a known pharmacological action or a precursor relationship to LSD, which is a controlled substance. However, lysergol is an intermediate in the manufacture of some ergoloid medicines (e.g., nicergoline).
Lysergol can be synthesised using a tandem reaction to construct the piperidine skeleton and a rhodium-catalyzed [3 + 2] annulation in the late-stage indole formation.Minthe
In Greek mythology, Minthe (also Menthe, Mintha or Mentha; Greek: Μίνθη or Μένθη) was a naiad associated with the river Cocytus.Necklace of Harmonia
The Necklace of Harmonia was a fabled object in Greek mythology that, according to legend, brought great misfortune to all of its wearers or owners, who were primarily queens and princesses of the ill-fated House of Thebes.Nestor (mythology)
Nestor of Gerenia (Ancient Greek: Νέστωρ Γερήνιος, Nestōr Gerēnios) was the wise King of Pylos described in Homer's Odyssey.Excavations from 1939 revealed his palace, and excavations have recently resumed at the site.Rhyton (band)
Rhyton is an American experimental psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn, New York.Temporal (Love Spirals Downwards album)
Temporal is a collection of music by ethereal wave band Love Spirals Downwards. It was released in 2000 on the US record label Projekt Records. It includes several previously unreleased songs.Thyrsus
A thyrsus or thyrsos (Ancient Greek: θύρσος) was a wand or staff of giant fennel (Ferula communis) covered with ivy vines and leaves, sometimes wound with taeniae and topped with a pine cone or by a bunch of vine-leaves and grapes or ivy-leaves and berries.Turbina corymbosa
Turbina corymbosa, syn. Rivea corymbosa, is a species of morning glory, native throughout Latin America from Mexico as far south as Peru and widely naturalised elsewhere. Its common names include Christmasvine, Christmaspops, and snakeplant.Winnowing Oar
The Winnowing Oar (athereloigos - Greek ἀθηρηλοιγός) is an object that appears in Books XI and XXIII of Homer's Odyssey. In the epic, Odysseus is instructed by Tiresias to take an oar from his ship and to walk inland until he finds a "land that knows nothing of the sea", where the oar would be mistaken for a winnowing fan. At this point, he is to offer a sacrifice to Poseidon, and then at last his journeys would be over.
|Classical religious forms|
and sacred mysteries
|Rites and practices|
|Modern offshoot religions|
|Modern popular culture|