Based on decades of research and publications, I dare say that the Eleusinian mysteries in Attica, ancient Greece, were ingeniously designed to counteract the hereditary disorders of the human psyche and to minimize its harmful effects. This incredible mystery cult lasted about a thousand years, until it was banned by the intolerant Roman emperor Theodosius I in 392 AD. Everybody except the murderers and the barbarians, that is to say, you had to speak Greek to take part in the cult. In the 400s BC the participation cost 15 drachmas. The event became a mystery partly because participants had to make a promise not to reveal its contents to outsiders. Violation was punishable by death. The word “mystery” is said to have arisen from this ban on “mouth shut”.
»Demeter revealed her sacred rites
to the kings who give justice, to Triptolemos,
horse-driving Diokles, powerful Eumolpos,
and leader Kaleos, teaching her Mysteries to them all,
sacred things not to be transgressed, asked about,
or uttered: great awe of the gods stops the voice.
Blest are earth-bound mortals who have seen these rites,
but the uninitiate, who has no share in them,
never has the same log when dead in the misty darkness.»
Although the rites of the mystery were secret, the effects were quite evident. The people returned from Eleusis happy and blissful, and their fear of death had vanished. According to one tombstone, the mysteries showed that death was not evil but something good. The effects are the same as those experienced by psychedelics in the treatment of mental illness in recent years. Evidence of the significant power of psychedelics is constantly being published. The evidence is not only scientific reports but also people’s own stories in which they openly praise the care. These are indeed easy to believe.
But why don’t the facts convince politicians? I suppose, first and foremost, that LSD is not the answer only to those diagnosed with mental problems, but also to people who are suffering from the busy and stressful life caused by the global economy. There are people who fear that psychoactive substances will become more common and affect people’s attitudes first, then the economy, and eventually lead to lasting resistance to those in power. As early as the 1960s, it was realised that the greatest risk of the proliferation of psychedelics was precisely political. In the United States, the possession of LSD was banned in 1968, and its effect resulted in The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. The decision was not really based on any health policy. Although the 60’s LSD evangelist and counterculture icon Timothy Leary may be considered naive and attention seeking, he may still have been farsighted that LSD should be available to everyone. That’s what the Greeks had done for more than a thousand years! They would hardly have done it if it had become a problem (except for the Roman authorities). In addition, the Kykeon drink offered in the Eleusinian mysteries is believed to have originated from ergot (which is a fungal disease of rye) the ergotamine of which is also made into LSD.