A Month of Devotional Thought — Demeter, Day 12

Today’s topic is the Cult centers and other places of Demeter’s worship. Although there is possible evidence of a Demeter-like Goddess during the Minoan period, there is not enough of it to establish any form of major cult center on the island of Crete where, in fact, there seems to be little evidence of major worship even during the Classical period.

This is not to say that Demeter was not worshipped at all on the island where the remains of the Minoan civilization is most concentrated as Her cultus extended across the northern Mediterranean and Aegean seas and has even been recorded in Roman Britain under the name of Ceres.

The most well-known of Demeter’s ancient sanctuaries, is probably Eleusis — home of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries and home to many of the other festivals I discussed in the previous entry. Demeter had lesser known mystery centers in several of the other city-states of southern Greece such as Laconia and Arcadia, but there seem to have been no other places where her Mysteries were celebrated than in Greece itself which is different that other Gods who had either Oracular or Mystery sanctuaries or cults in other parts of the Mediterranean basin.

This being said, as Demeter is the Goddess who is best known as a goddess of Growing things, it could be inferred that both in the ancient world and in the modern world, any farm or garden (even an indoor one) could be considered to be a place of Demeter’s worship. This is something that we in the modern era can take consolation in if we live in an urban environment. Community gardens or the Botanic Gardens of our cities, are always places we can go to commune with Demeter and remember the cycles of her worship.

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