“An ancient initiate once said that the living are ruled by the dead. Only those conversant with the Eleusian concept of life could understand that statement. It means that the majority of people are not ruled by their living spirits but by their senseless (hence dead) animal personalities. … It was believed that at midnight the invisible worlds were closest to the Terrestrial sphere and that souls coming into material existence slipped in during the midnight hour. For this reason, many of the Eleusinian ceremonies were performed at midnight. Some of those sleeping spirits who had failed to awaken their higher natures during the earth life and who now floated around in the invisible worlds, surrounded by a darkness of their own making, occasionally slipped through at this hour and assumed the forms of various creatures.” ~Manly P. Hall
Ruled by the Dead
Mr. Hall provided an exceptionally short answer to the question of why the Eleusinians said the living are ruled by the dead. Lets elaborate.
First, it is true that most people are ruled by their primitive animal personality, not their spiritual higher self. This is generally not their fault. We come into this world with that primitive self fully conscious, but the spiritual self dormant. The spirit cannot rule while it lies dormant. And few people even try to awaken it. Largely, that is because the powers that be don’t want it awakened. Governments and dark spirits can control the sleeping ones better than those few who awaken. For that reason, they make all effort to stop anyone from engaging in a spiritual awakening process.
Secondly, we are often ruled by the dead because we let our thinking and behavior be controlled by the beliefs of our ancestors. We do have to learn from our parents, of course, but when we teach our young we must be sure to let them know what is definite truth and what is simply opinions and beliefs passed down from generation to generation with little or no proof.
I don’t think the Eleusinians really believed that the spirit world was closer to the material world at midnight than at other times. If they were truly Gnostic, they would have known that the power of God comes from light, not darkness. Second, they would have known that time is meaningless in the realm of spirits and souls.
I think they may have told nosy people that the souls were closer at midnight just to throw them off. Remember, these schools were very secretive about their teachings. On the other hand, few of these schools were perfect. There may have had some false teachings in this one.
It is true that mystery schools held some ceremonies at night, often at midnight. This was most often done simply to hide them from snooping eyes. Another reason may have been that the advanced student had to learn that gazing at the spiritual sun no longer required looking at the physical sun in the daytime. New students have to do that. But the advanced student knows that the spiritual sun shines on everyone twenty-four hours a day. So a midnight ceremony may have helped reveal that truth to the student who was ready for it.