Orphic Hymn 1 (author unknown; date perhaps ca. 200-250 CE)
I call upon Hecate of the roads, crossroads-guardian, lovely one, She who belongs to heaven, earth, and sea, she of the saffron mantle, Tomb-haunter, who shares in Bacchic revels with the souls of the dead, Perses’ daughter, lover of solitude, she who delights in deer, Nocturnal goddess, fond of dogs, irresistible queen, Attended by beasts’ roars, ungirded one, she whose appearance no man can withstand, Bull-herder, mistress who holds the key to all the universe, Leader and nymph, child-rearer and mountain-dweller– I entreat the maiden to attend our holy rites With ever-joyful spirit, showing good-will to the oxherd.
Hear me, Mighty, Illustrious Graces, Daughters of Eunomia, Thalia fair, Bright Aglaia, and Joyful Euphrosyne,
All-Lovely Mothers of Mirth,
Pure and Abundant pleasure is Yours,
Forever flourishing and beautiful,
Desired by mortals and delightful to mankind,
Come and bless Your mystics with Your bounty.
Orphic Hymn 16 to Hera (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
“O royal Hera, of majestic mien, aerial-formed, divine, Zeus’ blessed queen, throned in the bosom of cerulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care. The cooling gales they power alone inspires, which nourish life, which every life desires. Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone, producing all things, mortal life is known: all natures share thy temperament divine, and universal sway alone is thine, with sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar when shook by thee. Come, blessed Goddess, famed almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.”
Γαῖα θεά, μῆτερ μακάρων, θνητῶν τ’ ἀνθρώπων,
πάντροφε, πανδώτειρα, τελεσφόρε, παντολέτειρα,
αὐξιθαλής, φερέκαρπε, καλαῖς ὥρῃσι βρύουσα·
ἕδρανον ἀθανάτου κόσμου, πολυποίκιλε κούρη,
ἣ λοχίαις ὠδῖσι κύεις καρπὸν πολυειδῆ·
ἀϊδίη, πολύσεπτε, βαθύστερν’, ὀλβιόμοιρε,
ἡδυπνόοις χαίρουσα χλόαις, πολυάνθεμε δαῖμον·
ὀμβροχαρής, περὶ τὴν κόσμος πολυδαίδαλος ἄστρων
εἱλεῖται φύσει ἀενάῳ καὶ ῥεύμασι δεινοῖς.
ἀλλά, μάκαιρα θεὰ, καρποὺς αὔξοις πολυγηθεῖς,
εὐμενὲς ἦτορ ἔχουσα, σὺν ὀλβίοισιν ἐν ὥραις.
O Earth god, mother of the blessed, and of humans doomed to death,
nourisher of all, all-giver, bringer of endings, all-destroyer,
bloom-grower, fruit-bearer, brimming with fair seasons;
foundation of the deathless cosmos, o polychrome maiden,
you who with labor pangs produce fruit of many kinds;
everlasting, greatly revered, deep-breasted, fortunate of fate,
rejoicing in sweet-breathing foliage, o many-blossomed divinity;
delighting in rain, around whom the rich-wrought cosmos revolves
with the ever-flowing form and fearsome currents of the stars.
Still, o blessed god, may you strengthen joyful crops,
keeping a kindly heart, accompanied by fortunate seasons.
Νύκτα θεῶν γενέτειραν ἀείσομαι ἠδὲ καὶ ἀνδρῶν.
Νὺξ γένεσις πάντων, ἣν καὶ Κύπριν καλέσωμεν
κλῦθι, μάκαιρα θεά, κυαναυγής, ἀστεροφεγγής,
ἡσυχίῃι χαίρουσα καὶ ἠρεμίῃι πολυύπνωι,
εὐφροσύνη, τερπνή, φιλοπάννυχε, μῆτερ ὀνείρων,
ληθομέριμν’ ἀγαθή τε πόνων ἀνάπαυσιν ἔχουσα,
ὑπνοδότειρα, φίλη πάντων, ἐλάσιππε, νυχαυγής,
ἡμιτελής, χθονία ἠδ’ οὐρανία πάλιν αὐτή,
ἐγκυκλία, παίκτειρα διώγμασιν ἠεροφοίτοις,
ἣ φάος ἐκπέμπεις ὑπὸ νέρτερα καὶ πάλι φεύγεις
εἰς Ἀίδην δεινὴ γὰρ ἀνάγκη πάντα κρατύνει.
νῦν δε, μάκαιρα, (καλ)ῶ, πολυόλβιε, πᾶσι ποθεινή,
εὐάντητε, κλύουσα ἱκετηρίδα φωνὴν
ἔλθοις εὐμενέουσα, φόβους δ’ ἀπόπεμπε νυχαυγεῖς.
Of Night, mother of gods and men, I sing;
o Night, originator of all, whom we also call Cypris,*
hear me, blessed goddess, dark-gleaming, blazing with stars,
rejoicing in stillness and slumberous repose,
merry and delightful, friend of night-long fests, mother of dreams,
gentle bringer of forgetfulness from cares and surcease from suffering,
o sleep-giver, friend of all, driver of horses, glittering in darkness,
half complete, chthonic and sublime in turn,
circling, playful in sky-wandering chases,
you who send the light beneath infernal realms and flee back
to Hades, for mighty Necessity rules over all;
but now, o blessed one, I call you; greatly fortunate, longed for by all,
gracious, hearing the suppliant’s voice,
may you come, kindly, and banish fears which gleam in the dark.
Orphic Hymn to Nyx (3)
*Philopannyx (she who loves the whole night) was a cult title of Aphrodite.
Persephone, blessed daughter of great Zeus, sole offspring
of Demeter, come and accept this gracious sacrifice.
Much honored spouse of Plouton, discreet and life-giving,
you command the gates of Hades in the bowels of the earth,
lovely-tressed Praxidike, pure bloom of Deo,
mother of the Erinyes, queen of the nether world,
secretly sired by Zeus in clandestine union.
Mother of loud-roaring, many-shaped Eobouleus,
radiant and luminous playmate of the Seasons,
revered and almighty, maiden rich in fruits,
brilliant and horned, only-beloved of mortals,
in spring you take your joy in the meadow of breezes,
you show your holy figure in branches teeming with grass-green fruits,
in autumn you were made a kidnapper’s bride.
You alone are life and death to toiling mortals,
O Persephone, you nourish all, always, and kill them, too.
Hearken, O blessed Goddess, send forth the fruits of the earth
as you blossom in peace, and in gentle-handed health
bring a blessed life and a splendid old age to him who is sailing
to your realm, O queen, and to mighty Plouton’s kingdom.
Ὠκεανοῦ καλέω νύμφην, γλαυκώπιδα Τηθύν,
κυανόπεπλον ἄνασσαν, εὔτροχα κυμαίνουσαν,
αὔραις ἡδυπνόοισι πατασσομένην περὶ γαῖαν,
θραύουσ’ αἰγιαλοῖσι πέτρηισί τε κύματα μακρά,
εὐδίνοις ἁπαλοῖσι γαληνιόωσα δρόμοισι,
ναυσὶν ἀγαλλομένη, θηροτρόφε, ὑγροκέλευθε,
μήτηρ μὲν Κύπριδος, μήτηρ νεφέων ἐρεβεννῶν
καὶ πάσης πηγῆς νυμφῶν νασμοῖσι βρυούσης·
κλῦθί μου, ὦ πολύσεμνε, καὶ εὐμενέουσ’ ἐπαρήγοις,
εὐθυδρόμοις οὖρον ναυσὶν πέμπουσα, μάκαιρα.
I call on Ocean’s bride, gleaming-eyed Tethys,
o queen veiled in deepest blue, rising in fine-wheeled waves,
dashed round the earth by sweet-breathing breezes,
breaking high waves on shore and stone,
growing calm with smooth and tender tides,
glorying in ships, o nourisher of beasts, o flood-pathed,
mother of Kypris, mother of abyss-dark clouds,
and of every font teeming with the streams of nymphs;
hear me, o richly-revered, and graciously come to my aid,
sending a fair wind for straight-sailing ships, o blessed one.
A/N I hope this is what you had in mind. I didn’t include the words, though.
Pairing: analogical (Anxiety/Logic, can be seen as platonic, one-sided or romantic)
Word Count: 560
Virgil watches the rain and Logan may be a little enraptured by it all.
Virgil. An unusual name belonging to an unusual person.
Logan studies the side who appears lost in his own world.
Virgil’s staring out the window wearing the earphones Patton had gifted him
last Christmas – and Logan remembers with a cringe that he and Roman had failed
to give him anything worthy of such a man. The rain splashes against the pane
and Virgil’s fingers twitch as if he wants to trace the trails of each
The wind howls outside and shakes the trees, but Virgil
doesn’t flinch. Instead, he lets a smile tug at his lips and Logan doesn’t miss
the way he discretely slips one of the muffs off his ear in order to better
hear the dancing of the rain. Under his breath, so quietly that Logan’s not
sure if he’s imagining it, he starts humming a familiar tune.
The logical side tilts his head, eyebrows furrowed as he
tries to place it. Then Virgil’s lip part and the soft humming transforms into
“It’s raining, it’s pouring,
the old man is snoring”
Logan allows himself to grin as Virge continues, utterly
lost in his own universe. The sight is oddly peaceful, and for some strange
reason, Logan is tempted to draw closer, if only to better hear the words
etched into his mind since childhood.
“He bumped his head
and went to bed and couldn’t get up in the morning.”
Unable to resist, Logan stands and makes his way over, his
footsteps soft enough that Virgil doesn’t realise he’d moved at all until he
sits down beside him.
“That nursery rhyme is surprisingly depressing when you
think about it, isn’t it?” Logan comments, facing the glass and its
ever-changing pattern of raindrops.
Virgil lets out a snort. “You know, many are. I guess when
you’re a kid you don’t really think about that, though.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He doesn’t bother to go into explanation
as to why that is; he’s not even compelled to at all, for once. He lets them
settle into a comfortable silence, broken only by the soft pitter-patter
outside. After a few minutes, a warm weight falls onto his shoulder, and Logan
blinks down at Virgil.
The man doesn’t move, oh-so-enthralled by the swirling grey
sky, and it’s as if Virgil doesn’t even realise he’s leaning on him. Logan
bites his tongue to suppress a smile in favour of enjoying this rare moment of
relaxation. He intends to join the gaze outside – he really does – but he finds
himself enchanted by Virgil’s own fascination with such a common weather event.
He looks so at peace, and there’s a certain softness to it
all that makes Logan want to stay like this forever. Even if he wanted to, he
can’t possibly tear his eyes away as he takes in the steady rise and fall of
Virgil’s shoulders and the freckles dusting his face, occasionally joined by
the shadow of the drops on the glass in a cosmic dot-to-dot.
Logan doesn’t understand how one person can sit so still
when watching something that occurs somewhere in the world every day, but then
again, he’s never really understood much when it comes to Virgil. Instead, he
allows himself to be whirled into the complexity and beauty that makes Virge so
Adult Home Study for Hellenic and Roman Polytheists
How do we know what we know about the gods? Much of our knowledge comes from mythology: ancient tales about the gods, fantastic creatures, heroes, and mortals.
There is another meaning of the word “myth”: “widely held, but false, ideas or beliefs,” and all too many of the readily available sources of information about mythology fit that definition. A vast majority of the general population discovers Greek and Roman mythology from motion pictures, video games, and general texts like D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. A few more have read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and Apuleius’ Golden Ass.
Yet more scholarly, in-depth resources are available to polytheists who want to learn about mythology. The fields of history, archaeology, anthropology, religion, literary criticism, art history and psychology all look at mythology from different perspectives.
History examines how the myths were composed, who told or wrote them, and what people said about them.
Archaeology identifies mythological motifs found on objects and structures, and tries to determine their meaning to those who viewed and used them.
Anthropology seeks to understand the cultural reasons for the creation and transmission of myths, and the relation of myth to rituals such as rites of passage such as the transition to adulthood, marriage, and death.
Religion regards myths as sacred stories that explain the creation of the universe, and teach moral truths, and seeks to understand the relationship between mythology, belief, and ritual.
Literary criticism investigates the sources of myths, the oral art of storytelling, motifs and themes, the composition of texts, style, meaning, and comparison of different versions.
Art history focuses on images from mythology throughout history, the religious and symbolic meanings, and artistic techniques.
Psychology delves into the myths as archetypes and symbols, expressions of the collective unconscious, or as a symbolic language to help individuals find meaning and negotiate challenges.
You’ll notice there’s some overlap between these fields. And you should remember that scholars don’t talk to people outside their fields as much as they should.
Many people are initially drawn to the gods after viewing a work of art or reading a story. Some of us have an experience in nature, or in an altered state of consciousness. Becoming aware of a deity is known as an ephipany or personal gnosis, a subjective perception or experience of the presence of the divine. It can be a feeling that a place is sacred, a sense that there is a greater power than ourselves in the universe, or a realization that a higher power has brought about a particular situation.
So, how we know what we know about the gods is…complicated. To really know something, one must regard it from different angles, and take time to understand it. Taken altogether, it’s fairly obvious that each of us necessarily has a different interpretation of mythology, depending on our personal study and experiences.
Unfortunately, many Hellenic and Roman and polytheists have only read the basic mythology titles listed above in their study of the gods. A few more have read books on devotional practice, but most of us haven’t gone much further in our studies. And, because the sources we’ve read just scratch the surface of available knowledge about the gods, our understanding is so superficial that many of us lack the vocabulary to describe our beliefs, and may even harbor misconceptions about one or more gods that harms our relationship with them. Not only does this impede our spiritual progress, but it makes it difficult to talk about our religion to another person. “I worship the gods of the ancient Greeks,” really tells them nothing, except that one is a polytheist.
Since you’re reading this, I assume your religion is an important part of your life, and, if so, your understanding of it deserves to be developed to the best of your ability. I realize not everyone is interested in or has the temperament for research, and that books can be expensive and difficult to obtain. However, most libraries have sections on the fields above, quite a lot of solid information is available online, and it can be done in easy-to-digest bites.
Here are some ideas for study that can help to enrich your understanding and interpretation of mythology:
Read about a Mystery cult, a hero cult, the cult of the nymphs, the Roman Imperial cult or the deified personifications of the virtues in ancient Greece and Rome.
Visit a museum and learn about the archaeology of the regions in which your deities were historically worshiped.
Learn the names and significant events of the different time periods in the ancient Mediterranean. How did agriculture, literacy, mathematics and theater affect society and religion?
Mark the locations of temples dedicated to one of your deities on a map. Are they focused in one area, or are they widespread? What conclusions can you make based on this information?
Read the Orphic hymn(s) about a deity to whom you feel little connection, and read a list of their epithets and cult titles. Think about whether the deity seems more approachable, or just as inaccessible.
Study a work of mythological art. What does it tell you about the meaning of the subject in the era in which it was created?
Read an article on Hellenic or Roman mythology from the viewpoint of of a modern monotheistic or polytheistic religion.
Learn a bit about C.G. Jung’s psychological theories and use of mythic symbols, or Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.
Choose a favorite myth and see how many different versions you can find. Are the versions from different times, different places? Do they have similar or different meanings?
Learn some of the terms used by scholars to describe key concepts in the study of religion. Which of the concepts applies to your own beliefs and practice?
Prepare a meal from an ancient recipe using ingredients that were available in antiquity.
Find out what the ancient philosophers and critics thought about an epic poem or drama.
Select an art or skill favored by one of your gods, study it, and try applying in your own life. For instance, you could dedicate a study of strategy in honor of Minerva and apply one of the techniques to help win a game, or learn a little about weaving to make a wall hanging to honor Athena.
Choose an ancient war. What issue(s) led to conflict? How was it resolved? What were the chief deities of each side? Did religion, omens, or religious rites play any part in the warfare? Were there heroes of the war? Were legends told about them? Were they given offerings such as a monument or hero-shrine?
The more one studies, the more one can deepen their relationship with their deities, the more clearly one may be able to explain their religion to others, and the better equipped one may become to counter criticism of their beliefs.
With awed reverence, I call upon the pure and sacred Stars, The spirits of Celestial Realms, and daughters of Night.
In whirling circles of eternal fires, the source of life, You have poured your light out upon the darkness, To make a path the Fates have shown unto the Wise, In Seven kingdoms run you with wandering flames, unwearied diamond truth forever piercing the Stygian veil, Hail joyful, dazzling, and ever wakeful fires, And on my desires shine with high regard, These sacred rites attend, and end our works devoted to your praise.
Orphic Hymn VI “To The Stars”
1 & 2 Opening the Ways and Gatekeeper Invocation: Paar, Diana. 2004 - via: adf.org by Sassafras Grove, ADF