Our email in-boxes were hopping with instructions, reminders, lists of objects to bring to the training, bibliography of background reading etc… Apprehension! Should we try to get out of it? No! We’ll dive right in. 

Early on a Monday morning, we are greeted by a smiling and open face. We are led to a sunny and comfortable room and told to relax and enjoy the trip! The same smiling face, in a calm and soothing voice, asks us in a very subtle manner to leave all our worries behind, take a deep breath, open wide all our senses, and then she blindfolds us!

A warm and strong hand grabs our arms and leads us to another world. A universe of the senses. She stays right beside us all through the journey, guiding us in a firm but soft voice that keeps the fear of the unknown at bay. The voice leads us through pedestrian streets, back alleys, ancient temples, interacting with other people – as we gather from the voices around us – but strangely enough, we feel comfortable and safe. As we all stroll, still blind, past the harbour towards the Old Olive Mill, our guide helps us become acquainted with our fellow initiates, while at the same time describing to us our surroundings. Finally, through the Sacred Road, we arrive at the Sanctuary of Eleusis, and we gather in front of the cave where Pluton saw Persephone gathering crocuses and narcissi and took her home with him to Ades (or Hades, as it is sometimes known). 

The entrance to the underworld is a whole new beginning, a natural cave that leads to another world. This is a portal that, together with our guiding soft voice and strong leading hand, opens our way to a new journey. We are asked to perform short acts in cooperation with our fellow initiates, to improvise and recite a short poem, to select a phenomenon and set up a short interpretation talk or walk on the spot! Apprehension is the first sentiment that arises, but the steady hand of our guide chases it immediately away. Her soothing, calm and firm voice helps us relax and enjoy the initiation trip. 

Are you wondering what actually happened during the initiation trip?
We learn to personalise the past through wholesome stories, presented with precision and fuelled by passion. We learn to develop targeted programmes illuminated technologically, that provoke humanity and reveal the unseen. As professionals full of spark, we learn the art of showing the joy and beauty of man’s relationship to heritage, through our writing.

We receive an offering of paths towards deeper meaning through the transformation of phenomena into experiences. The initiation rites evoke in us associations and emotions that in turn provoke a deeper resonance than we have ever felt before. The process strengthens our commitment to promote further respect for all heritage.  

We have now become mysts! (those who have been initiated into the Mysteries)
We have entered a whole new world! Accompanied by new friends who share our dreams, aspirations and values, who complete our sentences, having already guessed and evolved our thoughts. A new cycle of our lives begins here!

Rawan N. Rabadi, is a Visual Artist from Jordan, currently completing her MA in Conservation. You can get in touch with her at: rabadi_rawan@yahoo.com

Maria T. Fotias, is an Archaeologist from Greece, working at the Hellenic Public Employment Service, currently through the second year of her PhD research. You can get in touch with her at: maria.fotias@gmail.com

To cite this article: 
Rabadi, Rawan and Fotias, Maria (2018) ‘Revelations in Elefsina!’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2018, 14-15. 

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