Ritual Center of Greece

Eleusis was one of the most important religious centers of Greece. It was founded, according to the archaeological findings, in 1800 B.C. and is located in the Thriasian Plain near the gulf of Eleusis. The operation of the site lasted for 2.200 years, when, beginning with Theodosius I in 379 A.D. and later by the accord of Theodosius II the ancient cults were definitively banned. In 395 A.D. Alaric reduced the shrine to ruins. Despite this fact, it was preserved in the memory of people, because a multitude of important persons, like Plato, Aristotle, Aristophanes, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Aeschylus, but also Roman emperors like Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian, Sulla and many others were initiated in this sacred site.
What is quite impressive is that this sacred site, 10.000 square meters smaller in surface than the Acropolis of Athens, became so well known. This of course is mainly because of Athens, under the supervision of which it operated since the 8th century B.C. The second reason was the spread of the cult of Eleusis, which constitutes a combination of the Orphic and Cabeiri Mysteries, of Delphi and Samothrace or Lemnos, namely of Apollo and Hephaestus. In the following image, we can observe the geographical connection between Delphi, Eleusis and Lemnos (Volcanoes – Kaveiria).


The Eleusinean mysteries were held in remembrance of Demeter and her daughter Persephone; they were celebrated in Eleusis under Athenian jurisdiction. The Eleusinean mysteries later incorporated the Orphic beliefs, when Dionysus was added. They were the oldest ones and were held from 1800 B.C. until the 4th century A.D. when they were definitively banned.

The Mysteries of the Cabeiri of Lemnos and Samothrace were very important. The Cabeiri were a group of deities of the ancient Greek religion, while in the dictionary of Sudas, Cabeir means Daemon. According to Welcker and Maury, the word Cabeiri is produced by the Greek verb καίω (burn), and are the evil daemons born in the depths of the sea, who expel the flame of their father Hephaestus and destroy the ground. The religion of Hephaestus prevailed in Lemnos (the location of his workshop) and the Cabeiri were considered his children, whom he had with Kabeiro, the daughter of Proteus, who accompanied the chariot of Poseidon.

There is also the opinion, according to Pausanias, that the worship of the Cabeiri  is associated with fire worship, which was introduced by the Thraco-Pelasgians and received by the Achaeans in 2.200 B.C. Apollo is also mentioned as a Cabeiri deity.

Other important Mysteries in Greece were the Hyacinthia Mysteries, which were held in Amyclae, just outside Sparta, in remembrance of Hyacinthus and were celebrated until the end of the Roman era. These Mysteries are of Minoan origin, but they were arrogated by the Dorians when they conquered Laconia in 1104 B.C. It is there that Apollo replaced Hyacinthus and was presented in a common worship. Amyclae was the prehistoric capital of the Lacedaemonians. It is the location of the grave of Hyacintus. Geographically it was built in the southeast of Sparta.


In the above image we observe that if we connect the Cabeiri Mysteries of Samothrace to the Hyacinthia of Sparta, an axis will be formed which will pass from Eleusis, so that these three archaeological sites are on the same straight line, with a length of 364 km and a width of 10km, namely they present a deviation of 3%. This axis can be named “Path of the Mysteries” because it passes through the basic Mystery shrines of the Greek area. The length of 364 km between Samothrace (Cabeiri) and Amyclae (Hyacinthia) is equal to the distance between the Necromanteion and Delos (we shall call this axis “Sacred Path“). Ιt has a width of 5 km, therefore it presents a deviation of only 1,5%.

These two axes are not random because, when projected on the astral dome, they create a system of delineation through fixed geographical points, where the “Sacred Path” is the diameter of the Celestial Sphere (EE’) and this way we can locate the Solstices and Equinoxes of the celestial Sphere. Namely it is a delineation similar to the one used by astronauts, traveling in space, because for the travelers of that time anything that was located beyond the Greek world was unknown space, in the same way we see outer space today. Without this system of delineation there would be no colonies.



The basic building of the shrine of Eleusis was the Telesterion which was square shaped, with a surface of about 2.500 s.m., a work by Ictinus. Because of its shape, pretty much like in the case of the Brauronion of the Acropolis, an axis is formed in the center of the temple which, due to its chthonic character, leads downwards, bearing in mind that the mystics appear to be living in Hades. So the Telesterion had no windows, so it was a dark space, like Hades was considered to be, inside which the initiations took place.
All of the candidate mystics, the number of whom according to Plutarch was large during the Roman period, namely around 3.000 people, headed to the center of the space, where the Palace was located. It was a rectangular building, 14,20×5,60 m., namely a canopy like the one of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where the sacred relics of Demeter were placed, which symbolized her presence in the temple. Entry in this space was forbidden and only the Hierophant was allowed to enter, like it happens nowadays in the Holy Sepulchre.
The Palace had a predetermined position and orientation, on the straight line that connects the Necromanteion with Delos (image X). While the Telesterion changed, on occasion, shape and dimensions, the Palace always remained in its initial position. So at some point in time, a blinding light appeared to be coming from within it, by the same logic that the same thing is happening in the Holy Sepulchre. From darkness (Necromanteion-Death), the initiated was bathed in light (Delos-Life) and that is why the Palace had that particular orientation. We observe therefore, how connected the Orphic cult was with Christianity.

Land of the Dead

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Eleusis
  • Sanctuary of Cabeiri
  • Delphi
  • Necromanteion

5/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of Parnassus, Oiti

Middle May – Middle October


Packing List


Rent A Ride


Brochure (coming soon)

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.


Ritual Center of Greece

Ritual Center of Greece

A lot of people started gathering from the surrounding area for the great celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the month Boedromion (September-October), when the sign of Virgo appeared which symbolized Persephone. The celebration would end when the sign of Libra appeared, which symbolized the decision of Zeus for Persephone to return to the palace of Hades; thus nature deadened.

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

The mystics arrived in a ritual procession and no uninitiated were allowed to cross the courtyard. In Athens Alcibiades and nine more were denounced , for the amputation of the Hermai and for the parody of the Eleusinian mysteries and were called to be tried. Thus Alcibiades , abandoning Nicias and Lamachus in Italy, fled to Sparta of King Agis II. The Athenian court, as I was informed later, sentenced Alcibiades and his accomplices in absentia to death.

After this short tour in the Shrine of Eleusis, I was forced to resume the journey to the Necromanteion under the obtrusive pressure of Hermes. The Messenger of Zeus also had other orders from the father of the gods and men and was in a hurry to take my soul to Hades to be tried.

So, following the course, we passed over Erenia where the grave of Autonoe, the daughter of Cadmus, was located, who had come here from Thebes as soon as she found out about the death of her son Actaeon by the hand of Artemis, because he beheld her naked bathing in a spring. Further along the way we came across Aigosthena, where there is the shrine of the seer Melampus,the son of Amythaon  and Eidomene. Melampus was called this way because when he was born, his mother forgot out of oversight to put his feet in the shade.

Further along the way we flew over the mountain of Cithaeron, which took its name from the king of Plataeae and we saw it on our right. They used to say that Cithaeron advised Zeus , when Hera did not give into his embrace, to construct a female statue and wrap it in an overcoat. Then Cithaeron dispersed that Zeus had kidnapped Plataea, the daughter of Asopus, to make her his wife. The jealous Hera rushed and grabbed the overcoat and saw the statue. Then she laughed and reconciled with the god. So every year in Plataeae they celebrated the marriage of Hera to Zeus.

After a short  while, we found ourselves in mount Helicon, the mountain of medicinal herbs, which was the home of the Muses (Valley of the Muses). Here there was a shrine of Zeus and the spring Hippocrene, which was struck open in the rock of the mountain by the hoof of the winged steed Pegasus. Between Cithaeron and Helicon, to the right in a distance of 17 kilometers from our course and to the northwest of Thebes, in a distance of roughly 6 kilometers, there was the town of Cabeiri. They say that from the army of Xerxes, those who remained with Mardonius and enter the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, out of disrespect and to loot, were driven mad and were killed in the sea and precipices. The wrath of the Cabeiri was unmerciful for the uninitiated and the irreverent.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

Religious Center of Thrace

We have already arrived on the mountain Parnassus, which took its name from the hero of the area, the son of the nymph Kleodora and Kleopompus, through the intervention of the god Poseidon. Parnassus had founded there the Oracle of Pythos, which was later taken over by Apollo.

We found ourselves here during the period when the god Apollo was preparing for his journey to the Hyperboreans, mythical people who lived “beyond the North Wind“. During his absence, his place would be occupied by Dionysus, the celebrations of whom start with the harvest of the vine in the month Metageitnion (August-September); namely during the period, when the constellation of Crater appeared in the sky, which was used for the mixing of wine with water (Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater).


Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Leaving Delphi behind us, we entered the lands of the Locres Ozales and passed over Amfissa, which took its name from the daughter of Macareas, son of Aeolus, who incestuously joined his sister Canace. Then Aeolus threw their child to the dogs and ordered his daughter to commit suicide. But also Macareas killed himself when his passion became known. The first inhabitants of Amfissa were the Cyclopes. During the Peloponnesian War it joined the coalition of Sparta. Its inhabitants perform some mysteries which are said to be about the Cabeiri.
Bellow us was the river Daphnos (Mornus), which took its name from Daphne, a demigod of Sicily, who was son of Hermes and had died at the prime of his youth; that is why the god was quite moved. The cause of his demise was his love for the Nymph Nomea, who never forgave his relationship with the daughter of the king, who deceitfully seduced him, after intoxicating him. Nomea enraged blinded him and the now blind Daphne sang mournful songs, until he fell from a rock and was killed. His father then took him with him to the Heavens.
On our left, bellow Amfissa, lies Mounea, the inhabitants of which offer sacrifices to the meek gods after sunset and eat meat before the sunrise. Moreover on our left, towards the sea, lies Nafpactos which takes its name from some Nymph. There is a shrine of Aphrodite there, where the widows ask the goddess for a second husband. Near the sea the shrine of Poseidon was located and a little further that of Asclepius.
There is the river Evinos which was previously called Lykormas and took the name of the son of Ares, who fell in war trying to capture Idas, who had kidnapped his daughter. That is where Heracles killed the ferryman centaur Nessus who attempted to rape his wife Deianira. Heracles ended his life at the springs of Evinos, on the mountain Oeta near the peak, falling into the fire which Philoctetes had lit for the hero (Pyra of Herakles). The reason was because Heracles, after his victory against Eurytus, asked his wife for a new tunic, to establish a celebration for Zeus. However the tunic worn by the hero was drenched in the blood of Nessus and it afflicted his skin without him being able to take it off. Thus his wife, who had been tricked by Nessus, when she realized what she had done, killed herself and Heracles decided to throw himself into the fire. But a thunder was heard and the hero ascended to the Heavens on a cloud.
Aetolia, up to the river Achelous, is an isolated region, mountainous and with poor roads. Its antediluvian inhabitants were the Pelasgians and the Courites, who were identified as the Dactyl of Crete and the Korybantes, who were the first men born from Gaia. It took its name from the son of Endymion, Aetolus, who fled here from the Peloponnese because he had killed king Apis. The Athenians claimed that this tribe of the Aetolians was barbarous, spoke an incomprehensible language and ate raw meat, but was the largest in population. Despite this, they would create in Thermo the Aetolian Leauge and seize control of Delphi. Thermo is on our left in a distance of 15 kilometers, near lake Trichonida; the location of the temple of Apollo and Artemis. The town was filled with artistic treasures; most of which was a product of looting by the Aetolians, who had reached as far as Dion and Dodoni.
In front of us we can see the raging Acheloous, whom Heracles fought for the sake of Deianira. This river god is an untamed beast, son of chthonic gods, Oceanus and Tethys. Once, enraged because some Nymphs forgot him in their sacrifice near the banks, he suddenly flooded and drove them into the sea, creating the islands of the Echinades.
Further down we entered the land of the Amphilochians, who founded their city near the Gulf of Ambracia. Its name is taken from Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, who was one of the suitors of Helen of Troy, that is why he participated in the campaign. After a while to the right we come across the great Corinthian colony of Ambracia (Arta), which was founded in 625 B.C. by Gorgus, an illegitimate son of the tyrant of Corinth, Cypselus. It takes its name from Ambracia, a daughter of Melaneus, who was a son of Apollo. The town was near the river Aracthus – who was a brother of the firstborn Achelous – whose springs were in Pindos, the great mountain range which includes the Athamanic mountains (Tzoumerka), on the peaks of which the ark of Deucalion landed, in the period of the deluge (the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age). It laid there on an altitude of 2.429 meters, 40 km to our right.
In a while we would reach the Necromanteion, in a sudden rainstorm which made us shiver even more than the course towards the unknown we were about to embark on. Hermes noticed this and, before we entered the entrance to Hades, he tried to encourage us. He is a good god, sweet tempered and we listened with devotion.

What is life, he told us, but a dream that you will relive in another body. If you were good, you will ascend and might even be reborn as a king. So do not shiver and try to understand the cycle of life. Down there you will see many good and evil people, but before all this you will meet your own, whom you loved and departed before you did, waiting for you.

However I have to deliver you to Charon and leave to bring more souls, this is my job. So here, take a drachma and give it to the ferryman to take you across, to the land of the dead.


West Gate of the Mortal

West Gate of the Mortal

Among many others we also passed to the Palace under the gaze of Cerberus, feeling the invisible hand of Hades pushing us. Before we entered the dark tunnel, we took with us the sweet smile of Persephone which gave us courage. It was impossible to forget this slender lady with the long black dress, which fluttered like a wraith, without any air.

Leaving the palace of Persephone in the Necromanteion, we headed for Olympus, greeting the good lady. Persephone had great renown in the space of the chthonic gods, but the celestial gods respected her as well because she was a daughter of Demeter, as an intermediate union of the celestial and chthonic space. Hermes on the other hand, tirelessly made the trip Olympus (Dion), Delphi and Necromanteion, carrying the orders of Zeus.