Images of the Divine Child

[aras-image:3Ja.071,b,6,,,Figure 28 Demeter and Persephone with Youth.]

The association of Dionysus with Iakchos in the Eleusinian Mysteries preserved his relation to fire and light. "In Athens the procession in which a statue of the torch-bearing Iakchos was borne was held at the end of the opora; it ushered in the Great Mysteries of Eleusis, in which, at the time of the harvest, a Divine Child was born in the underworld. The loudly invoked Iakchos was the 'light-bringing star of the nocturnal mysteries'."10
Kerényi continues by saying that the familiar classical form of Greek religion, the world-order of Zeus, shows the youth more often than the infant as the manifestation of the Divine Child. This is seen in a low relief of Demeter and Kore with Triptolemus (Figure 28). When Triptolemus is equated with the spring wheat, the agricultural origins of the three images seem obvious, for when spring returns to earth, the new wheat sprouts. In Mayan mythology the ideal of masculine beauty is Yum Kaax, the young corn god.11 Christ teaching in the temple as a twelve year old child also refers to this tradition. A 15th century Renaissance painting by Butinone shows the young Christ standing of a spiraled dais lecturing the elders.