• Mystery

(Greek mysterion, from myein, "to shut", "to close".)

This term signifies in general that which is unknowable, or valuable knowledge that is kept secret. In pagan antiquity the word mystery was used to designate certain esoteric doctrines, such as Pythagoreanism, or certain ceremonies that were performed in private or whose meaning was known only to the initiated, e.g., the Eleusinian rites, Phallic worship. In the language of the early Christians the mysteries were those religious teachings that were carefully guarded from the knowledge of the profane (see DISCIPLINE OF THE SECRET).