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Observations placeholder

Joannes Stobaeus' account of the Mysteries



Type of Spiritual Experience


Joannes Stobaeus (Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Στοβαῖος; 5th-century CE), from Stobi in Macedonia, was the compiler of a valuable series of extracts from Greek authors. The work was originally divided into two volumes containing two books each. The two volumes became separated in the manuscript tradition, and the first volume became known as the Extracts (Eclogues) and the second volume became known as the Anthology (Florilegium).

Modern editions now refer to both volumes as the Anthology. The Anthology contains extracts from hundreds of writers, especially poets, historians, orators, philosophers and physicians. The subjects covered range from natural philosophy, dialectics, and ethics, to politics, economics, and maxims of practical wisdom. The work preserves fragments of many authors and works who otherwise might be unknown today.

And he did us an enormous favour, because in amongst these preserved writings is this account from an Initiate into the Mysteries

A description of the experience

Paul Brunton - A search in Secret Egypt

..... the most frightful test was when, in the more advanced degree, the Initiate had to face appalling creatures of the nether world during a time when he was made temporarily clairvoyant. 

The following passage was preserved by Stobaeus from an ancient record, and confirms the experience of all other initiates.  The ancient papyri picture the candidate being led to this stage by Anubis, Jackal-headed god, Master of the  Mysteries:  it is Anubis who conducts him across the threshold of the unseen world, into the presence of terrifying apparitions.

 "The mind is affected and agitated in death just as it is in initiation into the Grand Mysteries; the first stage is nothing but errors and uncertainties, labourings, wanderings and darkness. And now, arrived on the verge of death and initiation,
everything wears a dreadful aspect; it is all horrors, trembling and affrightment. But this scene once over, a miraculous and divine Light displays itself . . perfect and initiated they are free, crowned, triumphant, they walk in the regions of the blessed."

The knowledge taught in these schools of initiation was passed down directly from the primitive revelation of the truth to the first civilizations, and it had to be protected so as to retain its purity. Thus, one may understand why these secrets were carefully concealed and jealously guarded from the profane.
The condition into which the initiate-candidate was plunged must not be confused with ordinary sleep. It was a trance state which freed his conscious self; it was a magical sleep wherein he remained paradoxically awake, but to another world.

The source of the experience

Mysteries, the

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps