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Zestyclose-Advisor71 OP t1_j56zb04 wrote

I have heard similar things happening in the ancient mysteries. Don't quote me, but I think it was Alcibiades who was accused of being part of a conspiracy of exposing the Eleusinian Mysteries.

I have heard (but don't quote me) that a big part of the Greek idea of thrēskeia (θρησκεία) was the idea of ritual purity, and the avoidance of ritual pollution or stain, or miasma (μίασμα). What what I have heard, if you screwed up a ritual, or if an unclean person were to enter in the presence of something considered especially sacred or attuned to the divine, is that there might be an outbreak of some spiritual pollution, that would attract alastores (ἀλάστορες), or vengeful spirits.


KnudsonRegime t1_j575lni wrote

Indeed. The presence of the impure could act like a gateway of sorts and the vengeful spirits/demons could enter the world and cause all sorts of problems. I think it’s supporting evidence of the belief that normal people in general were capable of derailing magic by their mere presence.

Much like someone who has the power of invisibility, but it only works when no one is looking. Which I think is what Palaephatus is getting at.