THE SACRED WAY

While riding a motorcycle through Athens with my friend Loukas, he stopped to show me the start of the Sacred Way; the road taken by a procession of initiates (and others) from the Sacred Gate in the potters’ quarter of Athens (the Kerameikos) to Eleusis over 20 km away.

Eleusis is famous for the Eleusinian Mysteries, which will be my next video to be posted here & on my obscure YouTube channel. The actual procession to Eleusis began on the 5th day after priestesses of Demeter, and Persephone arrived in Athens with baskets filled with sacred objects called the hiera.

Four days of events in Athens then began, including animal sacrifice in Classical Greece, and sacred offerings of fruits, berries, and grains (which I believe long predate sacrifices). Cults of Hygieia, and Asclepius joined the events on the fourth day, and the procession itself began on the fifth day; the 19th day of Boedromion.

As part of the Attic calendar, the month of Boedromion would have been in early Fall (September/October). The actual start of initiation for those looking to become part of the cult of Demeter began in the Spring (probably the month of Mounichion (our April/May); possibly as early as Elaphebolion (March/April).

As can be seen in the video, much of the Sacred Way out of Athens has been remarkably preserved, despite the urban sprawl. I was told that there are still those who walk the route (as much as is possible) each spring.

I would like to do that myself one day. But on this particular trip, I opted for a motorcycle!