Although spirits by definition are mysterious and the word mystery is sometimes used as a synonym for spirit, some spirits are described as having Mysteries. What does this mean?
While some knowledge is accessible and available to all, some spiritual traditions reserve certain rituals, information, and secrets for initiates. Spiritual traditions that place emphasis on information being reserved for initiates are known as Mystery traditions.
Often they center on one or more spirits: the spiritual traditions are described as being that spirit’s Mysteries.
For over two thousand years, ancient Greece’s most famous religious festival was held annually in the town of Eleusis, not far from Athens.
The festival honored the Greek grain goddess Demeter. Rituals and ceremonies were secret, with knowledge reserved for initiates: the festival is thus referred to as the Eleusinian Mysteries or Demeter’s Mysteries.
Invariably, with Mysteries, information is passed orally from initiate to initiate.
By definition, Mysteries were not written down lest they fall into the hands of the uninitiated and cease to be mysteries. When a Mystery religion was suppressed or when a generation of its leaders was killed, chains of transmission were irrevocably broken. In the context of the twenty-first century, this means that we don’t know exactly what happened during Adonis or Demeter’s rituals. We can assemble the pieces together as best we can; we can initiate new or similar forms of veneration, but we cannot know for sure exactly what occurred during these Mysteries.