Moloch and the Minotaur: Eleusinian vs Qliphothic Mysteries

In this article, I’m going to argue the point that Hecate and Moloch were integral divinities in the Eleusinian Mysteries. While this is certainly a big claim to make, you’ll be surprised as to how obvious the conclusions I’ll be drawing really are. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the conclusions I’ll be drawing have already been proposed by scholars on the subject. My primary source is my years of study into Hecate, Moloch, Qliphothic Demonology, the Goetia, the Draconian Tradition, Necromancy, the Qliphoth, and Hermeticism and Arabic Cosmology as described by the Order of the Nine Angles. Meanwhile, my primary sources for the subjects of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Poseidon, and the Minotaur are the Wikipedia articles regarding them.

Moloch’s appearance is near identical to the appearance imputed to the Minotaur [Bulls of Minos] in Greek mythology. Greek myth never depicted a species of “minotaurs,” but rather always depicted the Minotaur as a singular entity. The Minotaur, who was sometimes called Asterion [Star], is generally held to be the son of the Cretan Bull, who was also sometimes called Asterion.

The Cretan Bull, also called the Marathonian Bull, was an emissary and messenger of Poseidon. Bulls were sacred to Poseidon– alongside Mars and Apollo, he was one of the only three deities it was appropriate to sacrifice bulls to. Poseidon sent the Marathonian/Cretan Bull to King Minos of Crete as a sign of support with the expectation that Minos would sacrifice it to him. Minos kept the bull instead of sacrificing it in fulfillment of his promises to Poseidon, so Poseidon caused Minos’s wife to fall in love with the Cretan Bull. Thus the Minotaur was born of the Marathonian Bull and a human woman. Poseidon passed his rage onto the Cretan Bull, who acted it out by going on a destructive rampage. You’re probably familiar with the rest of this myth, the one where a labyrinth is built to trap the Minotaur in.

Another version of the myth depicts the Cretan Bull as a form assumed by Zeus to impregnate the Queen of Crete. Asterion I, the King of Crete, raised Zeus’s children as stepfather, which children consisted of two gods of the underworld, another afterlife deity (a psychopompic “judge” figure), and the Minotaur, known as Asterion II and Asterius. In examining the Minoan Queen’s other sons by Zeus, it would be illogical to conclude that Asterion II the Minotaur was not himself a god, and a chthonic one at that. Here, Minos is the son of Asterion I and therefore the sibling of Asterius the Minotaur.

According to Wikipedia, “Some mythologists regard the Minotaur as a solar personification and a Minoan adapatation of the Baal-Moloch of the Phoenicians. The slaying of the Minotaur by Theseus in that case indicates the breaking of Athenian tributary relations with the Minoan Crete.”

Prior to this breaking of tributary relations, Crete was the foremost political and cultural potency in the Aegean Sea, and scholars speculate that the Athenian tribute to Crete would have included humans provided for sacrifice to the Minotaur should it have really had a cult there. It was an Athenian hero who killed the Minotaur in the labyrinth myth, specifically in order to liberate Crete from the obligation to placate the Minotaur via human sacrifice.

The Wikipedia article goes on to relate some mythologists’ attribution of Cretan rituals of human sacrifice and the use of a brass bull to burn people alive in to the cult of the Minotaur. Moloch, being a sun god, was recorded in the Bible as accepting child sacrifices via burning within a statue of his likeness. According to Dictionairre Infernal by Collin D’Plancy, the statue was made of brass and had seven different kinds of cabinets for seven different kinds of sacrifice, the seventh of which was a human child. In the labyrinth myth, the Minotaur can only be placated by the human sacrifice of seven males and seven females.

The valley of Tophet wherein Moloch was worshiped (supposedly via the brass statue) became the archetype behind the Abrahamic conception of Hell, and as we said, the Asterion II must necessarily be a chthonian deity. According to Dictionairre Infernal, Moloch was related to Mithras specifically because the seven cabinets of his statue apparently corresponded to Mithras’s seven mysterious chambers. In Qliphothic demonology, Moloch rules the realm of Thaumiel, which realm lies within “the Seventh Hell.” The Minotaur appeared in Dante’s Inferno as the ruler of the Seventh Circle of Hell, being that of Violence (Moloch was a god of war). Here, the Minotaur was the “gatekeeper for the entire seventh circle” who “seems to represent the entire zone of Violence” according to Wikipedia.

Cretan fifth-century coins always depicted one of two entities. The first of these two was Karme, “a female Cretan spirit who assisted the grain harvest of Demeter’s Cretan predecessor” according to Wikipedia. We will accept that the Cretan precursor to Demeter is indeed the same entity as Demeter herself because Demeter is said to be the mother of Proserpina’s predecessor. While Proserpina is held to be the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Proserpina’s precursor was said to have been fathered by Poseidon instead. Interestingly enough, the only coins which did not display Karme displayed the Minotaur.

Quoting Wikipedia, “According to Jeremy McInerney, the iconography of the bull permeates Minoan culture. The cult of the bull was also prominent in southwestern Anatolia. Bernard Clive Dietrich notes that the most important animal in the Neolithic shrines at Çatalhöyük was the bull. The bull was a chthonic animal associated with fertility and vegetation. It figured in cave cults connected with rites for the dead.

“The palace at Knossos displays a number of murals depicting young men and women vaulting over a bull. While scholars are divided as to whether or not this reflects an actual practice, Barry B. Powell suggests it may have contributed to the story of the young Athenians sent to the Minotaur. McInerney observes that the story of Pasiphaë and the Cretan Bull were not written until after Crete had come under Greek control. Emma Stafford notes that the story of the Cretan Bull does not appear before the Hellenistic period and suggests the connection between Crete and Athens is the result of the development of the myth of the Theseus cycle in late sixth century Athens.

The iconography of Cretan coinage solidifies the speculation about a Cretan cult to Asterion II, but it bears other significant implications as well. Demeter and her daughter, Proserpina (Kore/Persephone),  were the primary divinities of the Eleusinian Mysteries which predated the gods of Olympus. The Mycenean Greek tablets which delineate the Eleusinian Mysteries describe “two mistresses and the king” which scholars believe most likely refers to Demeter, Proserpina, and Poseidon. Poseidon was the consort of Demeter, and the Minotaur was more or less his offspring. Since the only coins which do not depict the Minotaur depict another divinity related to this trio, it seems unlikely for the Minotaur not to have been divine himself.

As we have said, there were only three Greek deities whom bull sacrifice was acceptable to, which means there were only a few deities to whom the bull iconography could exhibit veneration of. Of these three, the only one relevant enough to the Eleusinian Mysteries is Poseidon. The Mycenean Greek reference to the “two mistresses and the king” was found in Knossus, which is where the Cretan coins depicting Karme and the Minotaur were minted.

The Eleusinian Mysteries are believed by some scholars to be a continuation of the tradition of a Minoan cult, which is interesting, because the name “Minotaur” simply translates to “Bull of Minos.” Remember that it is Minoan culture which was saturated with bull imagery and which Asterion I, the Minotaur’s stepfather, ruled as king in myth.

The namesake for the Minoan civilization of Crete is held to be the son of the Cretan Bull and the stepson of Asterion I. It was Minos who inherited the throne and it was his wife who constructed the labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur as she was advised to do by the oracles. Once Asterius the Minotaur was in the labyrinth, it was Minos who ordered the offering of annual human sacrifices therein. We know that the myth of the labyrinth depicts a biased view of the Minotaur, who appears as the antagonist because of how he was reviled in Athens. Etruscan iconography hearkens to a more beneficent view of the Minotaur lost to time, so it is likely that, should a cult of Asterius have really existed, this labyrinth was some manner of temple. After all, the labyrinth is said to have been made in Knossos, the same place where coinage depicting Moloch alongside a beloved divinity was minted. The later re-imagining of the Minotaur’s labyrinth as a trap out of contempt for its inhabitant would mirror the infernal implications later attributed to the valley wherein Moloch was worshiped.

So, if coinage hearkening to the worship of Asterius was minted in Knossos, and a temple dedicated to the Minotaur was also located in Knossos, and the Mycenean writings describing the Eleusinian mysteries were found in Knossos could the Minotaur have been a part of the Eleusinian Mysteries?

Let’s examine the EM’s primary divinities. Demeter was a chthonic earth mother and fertility goddess, and Proserpina later became a goddess of the underworld– Hecate only became associated with the underworld when she decided to accompany Proserpina to it to keep her company. Poseidon was considered the god of the underworld prior to becoming the ruler of the ocean (it’s the same way with Neptune). The EM also included the veneration of Sabazius, Proserpina’s son with Zeus, was a chthonic deity largely related to snakes in iconography.

Knowing this, let’s agree that the Cretan Bull is more related to Poseidon than Zeus– the bull is far more native to Poseidon’s person than Zeus’s. Bulls and the EM as a whole were deeply chthonic in nature, where Zeus was not. The Mycenean literature describing the EM spends far more time discussing Poseidon than Zeus, and the myths of Proserpina integral to the EM depict her as Poseidon’s daughter in opposition to the later depictions of Zeus siring her. Now, we can say that, since Karme is an emissary of Demeter local to Knossos, Asterius is probably an emissary of Poseidon local to Knossos– nothing else would make sense.

The Eleusinian Mysteries focus on the concept of self-deification in pursuit of immortality. While the concept of immortality did not exist in the EM at their inception, their original adherents did believe they would be gaining a better place in the underworld. Proserpina’s ascent from the Underworld to rejoin her mother Demeter is seen as analogous to humankind’s pursuit of self-deification whereby we are redeemed from our mortality. The Greek word used to refer to Persephone’s rebirth-through-ascent is transliterated as anados or anodos and translated as “ascent.” The word anados is used by the Order of the Nine Angles specifically to refer to the use of planet-based alchemical initiations in pursuit of immortality because of the Corpus Hermeticum’s use of the word in the same way.

Three separate authors adhering to a black magickal paradigm called the Draconian Tradition have adopted Demeter, Poseidon, and Proserpina as divinities appropriate to the DT’s sinistral alchemy. Since Qliphothic magick is integral to the Draconian Tradition, and since the three primary divinities of the Eleusinian Mysteries are each considered suitable for the DT based on their individual merits, maybe a Qliphothic deity like Moloch could be appropriate for the Eleusinian Mysteries?

Well, the Eleusinian Mysteries were said to have originated as an agrarian cult, and Moloch was a god of fertility. Poseidon is one of the EM’s primary deities, and the Qlipha Moloch rules is attributed to Neptune. Since the Qliphoth is the only tree which has a Neptunian sphere (the Sephiroth and Tree of Wyrd do not), this is pretty significant. Infants were initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries by being passed over the fire of the hearth, and many scholars have struggled to argue the unpopular position that the sacrifice of fires to Moloch were actually child-purification rituals.

Let’s step outside of the Qliphoth for a moment. The pursuit of self-perfection through the process of sequential planetary initiations predates Judao-Mysticism and therefore predates the Sephiroth. The Semitic conception of ten emanations, nine being related to planets and one being related to the Mobile Primum, was inspired by a predated by a different schema. Prior conceptions of planet-affiliated spheres of emanation only posited seven planetary spheres, beyond which seven lay a sphere equivalent to the Qabbalistic sphere of the Mobile Primum. The seven planetary emanations appear in Pre-Islamic alchemical cosmology in the same order as they do in Hermeticism, ranging from Qamar [Sphere of the Moon] to Zuhal [Sphere of Saturn]. The sphere equivalent to that of the Mobile Primum was known as Al-Kawatib Al-Thaubitah [Realm of the Heavenly Fixed Stars], which would, on the Qliphoth, be equivalent to Thaumiel, ruled by Moloch (as well as Satan) and attributed to Neptune (as well as Pluto).

Since Moloch is attributed to Al-Kawatib Al-Thaubitah, could this explain how he could attain a stellar title like Asterius? There’s no other explanation for the name that I’m aware of. A didrachm at Knossos depicted the Minotaur’s labyrinth on one side and the Minotaur on the other, standing surrounded by a semicircle of stars, possibly signifying Asterius’s presiding over the penultimate emanation and the attainment of divinity. The name “Asterion II” would thus be significant, in that the Qliphothic equivalent to the Realm of Heavenly Fixed Stars is the realm of dual divinity.

So if Moloch rules the final initiation in Qliphothic esoterism, what was the last rite of the EM’s esotericism? Quoting Wikipedia, “As to the climax of the Mysteries, there are two modern theories. Some hold that the priests were the ones to reveal the visions of the holy night, consisting of a fire that represented the possibility of life after death, and various sacred objects. Others hold this explanation to be insufficient to account for the power and longevity of the Mysteries, and that the experiences must have been internal and mediated by a powerful psychoactive ingredient contained in the kykeon drink.”

Since Moloch is the God of Fire, the penultimate rite of the EM is thus in line with his nature. The only opposition to this exists because some scholars do not think such a ritual would leave much of an impression on the celebrants– a conclusion based on Atheism. Other initiatory rites in the EM include bathing in the river Phaleron, kykeon-induced hallucinations, honoring the dead, the sacrifice of piglets and bulls (chthonic animals), and all-night-long feasts.

We have previously stated that “Minotaur” translates as “Bull of Minos,” but what does the name “Minos” mean? Minos translates to “King” just like Moloch translates to “King.” Quite the coincidence. This suggests that Minotaur might actually translate to “Ruling/Regal Bull.”

Quoting Wikipedia, “According to A. B. Cook, Minos and Minotaur are only different forms of the same personage, representing the sun-god of the Cretans, who depicted the sun as a bull.”

The ruins of Minos’s palace were found in Knossos, the same part of Crete where the coins depicting Asterius were minted. It would make a lot of sense for the coins exchanged in Knossos to depict its ruler rather than a reviled abomination. Imparting the Cretan king’s moniker “Asterion” to the Minotaur would also make a lot more sense if the Minotaur was his successor. No labyrinth has been discovered in Crete, but the odd layout of Minos’s palace has led some scholars to argue that it was the inspiration behind the labyrinth myth. The earliest myths depicting Minos as the stepson of Asterion I purported that Minos was the only one of the three non-Minotaur children to become a god after death, specifically the ruler of the shades of the dead (no wonder I relate him to Poseidon). As you know, later myths depict Minos as well as his two non-Minotaur children are elevated to deities, with no explanation given as to what happened to the Minotaur when it died. Minos is said to have imprisoned the inventor who built the labyrinth at his behest (?) and to have pursued him after he escaped. The Sicilian king who gives the inventor refuge is the one who murders Minos. Where early myths about Minos depict him as a kind and beneficent king, Athenian myth depicts him as a tyrant, callously forcing the Athenians to afford sacrificial victims for the Minotaur.

The Cult of Eileithyia is one source of information about the EM, wherein Eileithyia was worshiped as the mother of the divine child. Poseidon was related to the Cult of Eileithyia, and Eileithyia herself was later absorbed by Hecate. Since Hecate’s human son, a monarch, was sacrificed to her and attained immortality and divinity in doing so, she would fit into the EM perfectly– the birth of the divine child is incredibly significant to the EM. (Hecate’s ascended son appears in the Goetia as Murmur). Hecate is very significant in the Draconian Tradition as well as in multiple paradigms of Satanism, and she is held to be a Qliphothic Initiator. Eileithyia and Hecate are the only lunar goddesses to carry two torches in signification of moonlight, and there are two crescent moons depicted on the fifth-century coins minted in Knossos. The Cult of Eileithyia practiced its ceremonies in the cave of Amnisos, which cave was part of the Minoan Civilization, serving as the port to Knossos.

Eileithyia was not considered chthonic, so if she were indeed an aspect of Hecate, her significance to the EM would make more sense. If Eileithyia isn’t Hecate, she would be the only significant divinity of EM not relevant to the Draconian Tradition. Furthermore, since Hecate and Poseidon both protected ships from storms, their worship side by side in a port makes a lot of sense. We are arguing here that the goddess named Eileithyia is the same entity as the one later venerated by the name Hecate, not that the Cult of Eileithyia was at all familiar with Hecate.

Eileithyia did come to be held as an aspect of Hecate, and one of Hecate’s title is Limenoskopos [Overseer of the Harbor]. Hecate’s epithet Einodia Thygater Demetros [Daughter of Demeter] also makes it sensible for her to be significant in EM, especially when venerated alongside Poseidon, Demeter’s consort. The precursor to Proserpina we mentioned earlier was named Despoina, which name is a title of Hecate as well. Proserpina and Hecate share the name Pyrophoitos, meaning “fire-walker,” which name is clearly significant to the EM.

Hecate is strongly held to be a goddess of the ocean. Her moniker Polyplokamos [Of Many Tentacles] likens her to Poseidon, the god of sea monsters. While some myths purport that Poseidon created horses by raping Demeter, others purport that he created the horse by willing fornication with Medusa. According to The Goddess Hecate by Ronan, Medusa is, in fact, a recorded name used in reference to Hecate, as are various synonyms for Medusa (Drakaina, Karko, Gorgo, Lamia, etc.). Hecate is often depicted adorned with serpents, similar to Proserpina’s son Sabazius who is worshiped in EM by adorning oneself with snakes to signify attainment. Poseidon and Hecate are both said to take the forms of horses, both ride in chariots, bulls are strongly related to both of them, and they are both rulers of the underworld. Several of Hecate’s titles and epithets describe her as a nymph or dryad. Titles of her like Tauromorphos [Bull-Formed], Astrodia [Star-Walker], and Athanatos [Immortal Flame] appear to relate her to the Minotaur. Hecate has forms and epithets depicting her as a giant and a draconic entity, and giants and dragons are said to be the inhabitants of Thaumiel.

The Ninnion Tablet’s depiction of the Eleusinian Mysteries displays Proserpina, Demeter, and Iacchus lead a procession of initiates. According to Wikipedia, accompanying the procession is “an unknown female (probably a priestess of Demeter) sat nearby on the kiste, holding a scepter and a vessel filled with kykeon.” Since Hecate helped Demeter search for Proserpina, dwells alongside Proserpina in Hades, and was venerated alongside Poseidon by a prominent EM cult, this unidentified female was most likely Hecate (in her aspect as Eileithyia).

The argument I am making is that Hecate and Moloch, who are both highly significant in Qliphothic sorcery, were primary deities of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and that the anados of the EM could have been Qliphothic in nature, just as authorities on the Simon Necronomicon claim that its gate-walkings are Qliphothic in nature. Since Hecate already has a divine child who is considered demonic and attributed in part to the Sun, it is very well likely that Moloch, as Asterius the Minotaur and Minos alike, could have been viewed by the adherents to the EM as the divine child of Hecate. Since Moloch is a god of the sea related to the sphere of Neptune and manifesting as an animal sacred to Poseidon, it is possible that Minos was viewed as the offspring of Poseidon and Hecate-Eileithyia. Moloch is vampiric, just like Hecate and her son Murmur.

-V.K. Jehannum

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5 thoughts on “Moloch and the Minotaur: Eleusinian vs Qliphothic Mysteries

  1. My interpretations of the Minotaur’s names as related to various spiritual concepts follow the example set by S. Conolly in her interpretation of the title “Lord of the Flies” as esoterically meaning “Lord of All that Flies” in reference to Meteorology.

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  2. Update: I am aware of the existence of Zeus Chthonios, but this aspect of Zeus was entirely specific to the two or three parochial cults which venerated it/them. The reason I use the word “them” is that these parochial cults were generally giving offerings to “local Zeuses.” There are two reasons I have for tentatively claiming that these Chthonic Zeuses were not actually Zeus: (i) many local cults dedicated to Greek heroes, such as the cult of “Zeus Agamemnon”, were unsure of whether or not their patron was Zeus, and (ii) some aspects of Zeus which were chthonic were just identifications of pre-existent entities with Zeus (e.g. Meilichios). Either way, the few chthonic “Zeuses” which existed were venerated within the parameters stereotypically native to chthonic cults such as those to Demeter and Proserpina. Ergo, these chthonic Zeus cults adhered to religious traditions foreign to Zeus-worship in veneration of an entity who is most likely not Zeus.

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  3. The following is a comment left on my Moloch article by Von Sangetall:

    The Minotaur is an important mythic figure in the Acéphalic Weltanschauung. In an article on art and the Minotaur I found the following which corresponds with Bataille’s mysticism: the bulk represents “the natural forces of the universe, of creativity, fertility and regeneration, existentially unconcerned with moral issues. The bull (“a bull’s form disguised the god”) is the principle fecundity; the Minotaur (‘deluded bull”) devouring youths in his pentagon-labyrinth is the perversion of god and man.” The Minotaur as perversion of god and man. He is the antidote to self-deification which I notice in lots of magickal practices. God is an empty place where the Acausal forces roam and to enter these realms one must behead oneself. The Labyrinth, the unconscious, is the place where one meets the Monster one actually is. Atavism, primordial antinomian self-sacrifice.

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  4. learn deep wisdom from them. You seem to be completely engaged on the left hand path. Would you suggest a mentor or a srep by step progtam to take away any part of me that impedes my transformation anew.

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