Apologies for the VERY long wait, and thanks for being so patient with me! I've completed the Kore spread, like we discussed, and I was just gobsmacked by how much the theme of "learning" jumped out at me when I was doing the reading / typing up my analysis afterwards, so apologies if I belabor the point a bit. Here we go!
1. The Offering: Queen of Swords (honest, astute, forthright, witty, experienced)
In the first stage of the journey to Eleusis, would-be initiates seeking to meet Demeter and Kore bore an offering, something they had to give up in sacrifice. In the context of this reading, I believe that it's about letting go of the Persona of the Queen of Swords. The Queen of Swords is the kind of person who already knows everything there is to know; she is a teacher, not a student. You can see in my deck how she holds herself in a guarded, defensive stance
. In order to be receptive to the knowledge that Kore imparts, she needs to let her guard down and be open to new ideas (rather than ripping them to shreds). As the Buddhists say, you can't add water to an already-full cup.
2. The Procession: 9 of Pentacles (discipline, self-reliance, and pursuing refinement)
The Procession card represents what separates your journey to Eleusis from your day-to-day activity. Particularly, the 9 of Pentacles signifies that at this time you need to show restraint and self-control. As the Queen of Swords suggests, you need to be open to new ideas at this time, even if they may seriously challenge you. I wonder if this is advising you not to dismiss things out of hand just as a gut reaction or because they make you feel uncomfortable, but when Kore shows you new knowledge to consider them seriously and ask yourself why you feel the way you do, and to consider new ideas seriously.
3. The Torch: Ace of Swords (mental force, fortitude, justice, truth)
The Torch lights your way and guides you in your journey. Here, the Torch is the Ace of Swords, which is the purest representation of the intellect, truth, reason, and justice. It makes sense to me that since this reading has strong themes about learning and knowledge that you would get "earlier" representations of the Swords suit. In this case, it's a reminder to let go of what you think you know and believe (remember the Queen's defensive stance) and instead be guided by your curiosity, your purest impulse to know and to learn, and to speak only your heart's truth.
4. The Kykeon: Page of Swords (using your mind, being truthful, just, and brave)
The Kykeon is the barley drink that pilgrims to Eleusis imbibed; it shows you something that you take into yourself to replace that which you offered up to Kore. Here, we see yet another card from the Swords suit that precedes the Queen. The Page of Swords I typically associate with children or those who are young at heart, who are perpetual learners and are always asking more questions ("Why? Why? Why?"). Unlike adults (like the Queen), they are unemcumbered by biases or ideologies or fixed ways of thinking; their minds are fluid, adaptive, and malleable (in the best way). It's that attitude that you will need to understand what Kore has to teach you.
5. The Basket: King of Pentacles (enterprising, adept, reliable, supporting, steady)
As you journey to Eleusis, guided by torchlight, you carry something in a basket, something that is unique to you that you take with you to encounter Kore. As such, I don't really know what this signifies, since this card will most likely mean a lot more to you than I can tell you, although I will say that the King of Pentacles can either represent a person in your life (a mature, older person who represents all the best qualities of Earth -- not necessarily a man) or encourage you to do as he does and let yourself be inspired by him. (check out the Shadowscapes King of Pentacles
for more inspiration).
6. Things Said: Hierophant (education, belief system, conformity)
We know little about what happened during the actual rituals in Eleusis (initiates were sworn to secrecy and kept their vows well), but we do know that the rituals took 3 phases: Things Said, Things Seen, and Things Done. In the first phase, Things Said reflects a communication that is part of the mysteries of the Goddess. The original creator of theis spread said that if the Hierophant card were to appear, it was to be interpreted in the best possible light (the Hierophant was a priest in Kore's mysteries), as opposed to its rather negative modern associations with hierarchy, rigidly formalized religion, etc. Again, the strong emphasis on learning is evident here: the Hierophant is the ultimate teacher. I wonder if this is a sign from Kore to really listen to what the Hierophant (who is an authority of society who socializes each of us) says, or perhaps even multiple Hierophants (as is the case in our society now). Ask questions, think, and listen.
7. Things Seen: 4 of Swords (rest, contemplation, quiet preparation).
This card represents an experience that is a part of the mysteries, and often indicates how others have played the role of the goddess to you. Here, the 4 of Swords indicates a quiet moment of peace and stillness. In the suit of Swords, I would say it's the "listening" card, the one that urges you to step back and gain perspective. The active nature of the Swords suit would encourage action, slicing and dicing, cut first and ask questions later. This one urges you to think before you speak. Has something like this happened to you recently where you took a moment of rest and that helped a lot?
8. Things Done: 10 of Cups (joy, peace, serenity, family)
This card is meant to inspire you to find ways that you can play the role of the goddess towards others. The 10 of Cups is a wonderful omen of joy and peace, and I imagine that once the Queen of Swords lets her guard down, she can experience bliss and serenity, and in turn pass it on to others. Look for ways to realize joy and to create peace.
9. The Stalk of Grain: Hermit (introspective, searching, guidance, solitude)
Upon leaving Eleusis, initiates bore a stalk of grain with them -- Kore's symbol of new life and rebirth from the Underworld. It is said that when initiates returned from the Underworld, they no longer had any fear of death. Here, your stalk of grain is your unique lesson in this situation that you take back with you from your encounter with the Goddess. As the Hermit, I think this yet another card that emphasizes learning and knowledge. In contrast with the Queen of Swords' somewhat more aggressive attitude, the Hermit is quiet and pensive, an eternal learner who can freely give and receive guidance, and this is what Kore means to teach you.
Phew! I hope that all made more sense to you than it did to me, especially since so many of the symbols are likely to be much more meaningful to you than anything I can see. Hope that helps, and let me know if you have more questions.