Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The "Closed" Character of the Mysteries

“The word mystery (mysterion in Greek) derives from the Greek verb myein, ‘to close,’ referring to the closing of the lips or the eyes. This ‘closed’ character of the mysteries may be interpreted in two ways. First of all, an initiate, or mystes (plural, mystai) into the mysterion was required to keep his or her lips closed and not divulge the secret that was revealed at the private ceremony. Vows of silence were meant to ensure that the initiate would keep the holy secret from being revealed to outsiders. . . . A second way to interpret the ‘closed’ nature of the mysteries relates to the closing and the opening of the eyes. Closed eyes brought darkness to the prospective initiate both literally and metaphorically, and the opening of the eyes was an act of enlightenment.” —Marvin W. Meyer, The Ancient Mysteries (1987)

[This is an excerpt from our dictionary of magic words.]

[Our frequent updates on magic words and symbols are now at the Spotted in the Wild blog.]

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