Theseus’ father was Aegeus and Aethra , daughter of the king of Troezen, was his mother. Despite having already been wedded twice, Aegeus could not have a successor. For this reason, he asked for an oracle from the sacred precinct of Apollo at Delphi. The Delphic Sibyl, gave him the following oracle. : “Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin, until you have reached Athens.”
1. On the way to Athens, his first trial was to confront the notorious brigand Periphetes, Hephaestus’ son, who was active in Arahneo mountain, near Epidaurus. There, Periphetes waited in ambush for passers-by to kill them with a large metal club that is why he was also called Korynitis. (the «κορύνη» means club in ancient Greek.) After Theseus killed Periphetes he took the club with him.
The "mysteries" had to do with events and officiating at dark caves and temples in deep secrecy There allegorical representations were held in the myth of a deity who usually died and was reborn, symbolizing the soul `s fate after death, but at the same time the unity connecting all beings.
The initiatory process aimed at examining the conscience, so that the actual position of man in the universe and the self in its entirety can be understood . A universe being destroyed (dying) and created (resurrected) perpetually. The one that was achieved by an “extraordinary and ecstatic experience of transition" from the material to the spiritual domain, strengthened by abolition of the strongest human fear, death.
The experiential initiatory death experience corresponding to the cycle time of death and rebirth, enhanced the primordial tradition believed that everything in the world as interconnected parts of a single homogeneous substance with quality and composition (Ancient beliefs encountered today, the findings of quantum physics). This process exceeded everyday cognition, which is why he needed special tools: symbols, pictures, non-public reason. The symbolic "initiatory Death" at such a level is the gate, the passage from matter to spirit the matrix of all beings.
Initially in primitive societies through initiation young men and women becoming adults ,were admitted to the tribe.. Through the ritual of initiation the young members of the tribe coming of age, underwent an initiatory ceremony to accept the morals, customs and traditions of the local community where they belonged and consequently their mutual acceptance by the community. The young people were required for some time to stay away from home , to get inured through a rigorous style of life. This was intended to eliminate child ignorance and initiate to knowledge, learning to face hardships and survive in adverse conditions. The initiates were called through the sacred rites to accept the sacred and inviolable laws and rules of the race, and having proved its worth , “die" to be "reborn" as an equal and adult member of the tribe.
Each ritual transition according to Arnold van Gennep was characterized by three stages. First is the stage of "separation",during which the individual distances him/herself from where he/she belonged or the identity the person had then. Then the person enters the process of "transition" from the previous stage of life to the new one. Eventually the person is in the third stage of "integration" or "accession", during which he/she becomes a member of a new way of life. So the person goes from something old, to something intermediate and finally to something new.
Man as an infant unconsciously passes three initiatory steps preparing him to join for the first time the hard external environment. Originally he is forced to leave the darkness and the safety of the mother's uterus (referring to darkness and the caves of initiatory ceremonies), then struggle and strive to acclimate to the new harsh outdoor conditions. The shock is terrible, (tests of initiatory rites) he does not wish to exit from the womb of "bliss", but finally obeying the call of nature and destination, taking the last fluids from the lungs, breathing air, tasting for the first time the milk from the breast of his mother. He belongs to a family to a country, to humanity...
This is the first involuntary ritual transition, defined and organized by its very nature. This way somehow, the arduous journey of life begins for all of us.
The Theseus challenges could be considered as "initiatory stages" the hero goes through on his way to "Divinity". The labors of Theseus are nine. The initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries lasted for nine days, as number nine symbolizes the closing of a cycle and the beginning of another. Something that the next number, the tenth, reveals too as it consists of the unit and the zero. Let us consider the labors one by one.