Written by Hypatia
For Coven Life
Who was Orpheus?
In the ancient world of Hellenism, Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, psycho pomp, dream Iatromantis (shaman) and prophet who was later associated with the Orphic Mysteries .
His Oracular abilities were translated through his music and poetry, mesmerizing all animate and inanimate beings on this planet and beyond. People, animals, plants, water bodies, rocks, mountains all succumbed to his lullabies produced through his poetry and music. Some of the most beautiful hymns ever created and still used to this day during various Pagan Ceremonies dedicated to the God’s were written by Orpheus. These hymns were also later used in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
There are many versions translated of the Orphic Hymns. As I have been reading Hymns of Orpheus by Thomas Taylor I will include this version.
This hymn is dedicated to the Goddess Nyx (Night).
Each Hymn is performed with a specific fumigation. In other words the burning of. In this case it is the burning of torches. Other Hymns may request the burning or certain resins, spices, herbs, all in the honor and dedication to the Gods.
(The Fumigation with Torches- We can also use candles)
“NIGHT, parent goddess, source of sweet repose,
From whom at first both Gods and men arose,
Hear, blessed Venus, deck’d with starry light,
In sleep’s deep silence dwelling Ebon night!
Dreams and soft case attend thy dusky train,
Pleas’d with the length’ned gloom and feaftful strain.
Dissolving anxious care, the friend of Mirth,
With darkling coursers riding round the earth.
Goddess of phantoms and of shadowy play,
Whose drowsy pow’r divides the nat’ral day:
By Fate’s decree you constant send the light
To deepest hell, remote from mortal sight
For dire Necessity which nought withstands,
Invests the world with adamantine bands.
Be present, Goddess, to thy suppliant’s pray’r,
Desir’d by all, whom all alike revere,
Blessed, benevolent, with friendly aid
Dispell the fears of Twilight’s dreadful shade.”
So who was the Goddess NYX?
She was the Greek primordial Goddess of the Night.
Nyx is the wife of Chaos and is known by many names, Grandmother Spider, Dawn, Kuan Yin, Earth Mother, Gaia…….
Hers sons where Oneiros (dream), Hypnos (sleep) and Thanatos (death). They are siblings for a reason as they are all one and the same.
It is said that every night we sleep we fall into an ethereal death. This is the land of the ‘Dream Shaman’ a place where the Iatromantis goes to heal and be healed and to commune with the spirit world. This was practiced thought the Orphic and the Eleusinian mysteries.
I have explained the significance of dreaming further in a recent post I did about ‘The dream world of a Witch’.
In the Hymn above, Orpheus compares Venus with Nyx. Venus therefore in the sensible world is the same as Nyx (Night) in the intelligible.
Orpheus also mentions the ‘Fates’ known as Moirai. These are 3 and are known as Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. They were the weaving Goddesses that assigned individual destinies to mortals at birth.
Another Goddess he mentions is Necessity that was known as Ananke
Ananke or Necessity was responsible for splitting the Primordial Egg to create the order of the Universe. This is known as the Orphic Egg
I will try and do further posts of various Orphic Hymns and explain a little bit about each.
I encourage you to use these Hymns during your dedications, they truly are a wonderful way to honor the energies of the Gods.