But Mama, Where Do Baby Mysteries Come From?

(By popular demand.)

Mysticism is hard in reconstructions. It’s the first thing we lose to the historical record. (Well, that and what ordinary non-elites do. So what am I chasing? Mysticism and ordinary people. I am so boned.) A lot of reconstructionists are kind of opposed to the idea of doing the mysteries, just because they are so deeply lost, and because the prospect of doing something holy wrong is profoundly alarming.

The moderate school on this, to which I tend to subscribe, is that the Powers brought the mysteries to people in ancient times, and if They want us to have mysteries now, They’ll do it again. If They don’t, not worrying about it.

But that’s always the problem. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a veil.

It doesn’t have to be much. A hint of something, the sudden edge of illumination, a sudden awareness of depth and profundity, a —

— and have you ever fallen in love?

Hell, have you ever fallen in profound lust?

That tantalising hint of a touch, that inviting smile, that suggestive come-hither look, and then there is the choice: follow, or regret. Because it is impossible to ever, ever forget. It will haunt dreams. It will lurk on the edges of awareness. It will consume your life – it will either smoulder forever as a thing unchosen, a loss, a permanent case of spiritual blue balls, or it will be pursued, found, experienced, and work its transformational power.

That’s what it is to find a mystery.

It’s a genuine pain in the ass. (*shakes a fist at the Mighty Ass-Painer*)

The thing about Mysteries is of course that you can learn all kinds of things about a Mystery. And if it’s something rooted in ancient Stuff, you’ll keep stumbling across things that read as if they could have been a reference to the Mystery when you read about ancient Stuff, whether or not the Mystery was actually there back then. It makes sense, after all; ya probably got that hot sexy tantalising glimpse of the Mystery through being familiar enough with that material that one day, just the right angle and ….

You can build a whole giant edifice of stuff around that mystery (and its related mysteries) entirely out of those ancient scraps, in fact, if you have enough scraps. And probably, if you’re chasing it down, you do so, building rituals, meditations, structures of practice, all in the hope of ensnaring it in just the right net of understandings so that you can actually experience it.

You might even build up – perhaps from those scraps, or from bits of understanding how initiatory rituals are built around the world, or from other things – a sense of how you might do it. Perhaps you have some training from a modern mystery tradition to shore up your sense of practicality, or friends who can help with that end of things.

And in the end …

… well, in the end, you have to do it.

Or not.


5 thoughts on “But Mama, Where Do Baby Mysteries Come From?

  1. veggiewolf says:

    Reblogged this on Fluid Morality and commented:
    This. Seriously
    *joins in fist shaking*

  2. Camylleon says:

    Classic…”But that’s always the problem. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a veil.”

    In fact, the whole post is classic, but that’s my favorite line. Thank you.

  3. Bastemhet says:

    Sometimes I feel like the priest caste was a Super Cool Club that thousands of years later I´m still not cool enough to join.

    • kiya_nicoll says:

      It’s like I always say about this kind of thing – Mystery religion is just not fucking worth the effort, unless it’s the Mystery you need.

  4. […] enculturation than where they may want to be going. I’ve written about the question of the unrecoverability of ancient Mystery religion. I wrote, a bit whimsically, on the difference between ‘reconstructed’ worldviews and […]

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