|7||THE ORPHIC PANTHEON|
|Aether, Chaos and Night||102|
|The Cosmic Egg||103|
|Phanes, Ericapaeus and Metis||107|
|The Children of Heaven and Earth||115|
|The Four Ages||125|
|Vesta, Ceres, Juno||135|
|Diana and Minerva||143|
|Neptune and Pluto||143|
|Vulcan, Venus, Mars||149|
|The Cyclopes and Centimani||151|
|Curetes and Corybantes||152|
|8||ON THE MYSTERIES AND SYMBOLISM|
|'India in Greece' ?||153|
|The Perfections of Virtue||154|
|The Fantasies of Scholarship||155|
|The Lion's Cub||156|
|The Fawn Skin||157|
|Mystica Vannus Iacchi||159|
|The Playthings of Bacchus||160|
|The Orphic Lyre||162|
|9||ORPHIC DISCIPLINE AND PSYCHOLOGY|
|The Inner Discipline||171|
|The Macrocosm and Microcosm||174|
|The Subtle Body||177|
|10||THE DOCTRINE OF REBIRTH|
|The Body is the Prison of the Soul||187|
|The Soul is Punished in the Body||188|
|The Past Births of Pythagoras||189|
|Other Instances of previous lives of “Initiates”||191|
|The Wheel of Life||192|
|Of the Tenet, in the Mysteries||193A|
THE ORPHIC PANTHEON
designated the Supreme Cause, although it is in reality ineffable, Chronus
(Time). This Time, and with it other ineffable Powers, was prior to Heaven,
Uranus (Procl. in Crat., p. 71, Boiss.). The name Chronus closely resembles
the name Cronus (Saturn), remarks Proclus (Ioc. cit., p. 64) suggestively;
and in the same passage he says that ' “God-inspired” words [Oracles]
characterize this divinity [Cronus] as Once Beyond'. This may mean that Chronus
is ideal Unending Duration, and Cronus Time manifested; though this leaves
unexplained the strange term 'Once Beyond', which is found in the Chaldaean
system. The same statements are found elsewhere in Proclus' works (Tim., i.86; Theol.,
i.28, 68; Parm., vii.230).
And Philo (Quod Mund. Incorr., p. 952., b) says: 'There was once a Time when Cosmos was not'. This is called 'Unborn Time, The Aeon', by Timaeus of Locris (p. 97). It is the 'First One, the Supersubstantial, the Ineffable Principle'. It may be compared to the Zervan of the Avesta, the En Suph and Hidden of the Hidden of the Kabalah, the Bythos of the Gnostics, the Unknown Darkness of the Egyptians, and the Parabrahman of the Vedântins.
come Aether and Chaos, Spirit-Matter, the Bound (πέρϛ)
and Infinity (ἀπειρία)
of Plato (Proc., Tim., ii. 117), the [
Page 103] Purusha-Prakriti
of the Sânkhya. Orpheus calls this Aether
the Mighty Whirlpool — πελώριον χάσμα (Simplicius, Ausc.,
iv.123); called Magna Vorago by Syrianus (Metaph., ii.33 a).And
Proclus (Tim., ii.117), speaking of Chaos, says: 'The last Infinity,
by which also Matter (ὔλη)
is circumscribed — is
the Container, the field and plane of ideas. About her is “neither limit,
nor foundation, nor seat, but excessive darkness” '.
This is the Mûlaprakriti...... or Root-Matter of the Vedantins, and
Aether is the so-called first Logos, Aether-Chaos being the second. ' And
dusky Night comprehended and hid all below the Aether; [Orpheus
thus] signifying that Night came first.' (Malela, iv.31; Cedrenus, i.57,
Then comes the Dawn of the First Creation. In the Unaging Time, Chaos, impregnated by the whirling of Aether, formed itself into
Proclus (Parm., vii. 168) calls this Chaos the 'Mist of the Darkness'. It is the first break of the Dawn of Creation, and may be compared to the 'fire-mist' stage in the sensible universe. Thus the author of the Recognitions (X. vii. 316) tells us: 'They who had greater wisdom among the nations proclaim that Chaos was first of all things; in course of the eternity its outer parts became denser and so sides and ends were made, and it assumed the fashion and form of a gigantic egg'. For before this stage, the same writer tells us (c. xxx): 'Orpheus declares that Chaos first existed, eternal, vast, uncreate — it was neither darkness, nor light, nor moist, nor dry, nor hot, nor cold, but all things intermingled'.
Apion (Clement, Homil., VI.iv.671) writes that: 'Orpheus likened Chaos to an egg, in which the primal “elements” were all mingled together....... This egg was generated from the infinitude of primal matter as follows. [The first two [Page 104] principles were] primal matter innate with life, and a certain vortex in perpetual flux and unordered motion — from these there arose an orderly flux and inter blending of essences, and thus from each, that which was most suitable to the production of life flowed to the centre of the universe, while the surrounding spirit was drawn within, as a bubble in water. Thus a spherical receptacle was formed. Then, impregnated in itself by the divine spirit which seized upon it, it revolved itself into manifestation — with the appearance of the periphery of an egg'.
Proclus (Crat., p. 79) mentions this circular motion as follows: 'Orpheus refers to the occult diacosm [primary or intellectual creation] in the words, “the boundless unweariedly revolved in a circle”.' He also refers to it elsewhere (in Euclid, ii.42; Parm., vii.153), and in his Commentary on the Timaeus (iii. 160), he writes: 'The spherical is most closely allied to the all........ This shape, therefore, is the paternal type of the universe, and reveals itself in the occult diacosm itself.'
Simplicius (Aus., i.31, b) writes: 'If he [Plato in Parmenides,]
says that Being closely resembles the circling mass of the sphere, you
should not be surprised, for there is a correspondence between it and the
formation of the first plasm of the mythologist [Orpheus]. For how does
this differ from speaking, as Orpheus does, of the “Silver-shining Egg” ?'
And so Proclus (Tim., i.138) sums up the question of the Egg by reminding us that: 'The Egg was produced by Aether and Chaos, the former establishing it according to limit, and the latter according to infinity. For the former is the rootage of all, whereas the latter has no bounds'.
would be too long to point to the same idea in other religions, whether
Babylonian, Syrian, Persian, [Page
Egyptian (cf. Vishnu Purâna, Wilson, i.39; and Gail's Recherches
sur la Nature du Culte de Bacchus en Grèce, pp. 117,118); it
is sufficient to refer readers to the Hiranyagarbha of the Hindus,
the Resplendent Egg or Germ, which is set forth at length in the Upanishads
It is a most magnificent idea, this Germ of the Universe, and puts the doctrine of the ancients as to cosmogony on a more rigidly scientific basis than even the most advanced scientists of our day have arrived at. And if this shape and this motion are the 'paternal types of the universe' and all therein, how is it possible to imagine that the learned of the ancients were not acquainted with the proper shape and motion of the earth ?
But as the subject is of great interest not only from a cosmogonical standpoint, but also from an anthropogonical point of view, some further information may with advantage be added. This Egg of the Universe, besides having its analogy in the germ-cell whence the human and every other kind of embryo develops, has also its correspondence in the 'auric egg' of man, of which much has been written and little revealed. The colour of this aura in its purest form is opalescent. Therefore we find Damascius (Quaest., 147) quoting a verse of Orpheus in which the Egg is called 'silver-white' ( ἀργύφεον ), that is to say, silver-shining or mother o' pearl; he also calls it, again quoting Orpheus (op. cit., p. 380), the 'Brilliant Vesture' or the 'Cloud' (τον ἀργἣτα χιτὣνα ἢ τὴν νεφέλην ).
and Democritus (Plutarch, Placitt., ll. vi.396) also 'stretch a
circular vesture and membrane round the cosmos'. It is interesting to compare
this idea of a membrane or chorion with a passage in the Vishnu Purâna (I.ii;
Wilson's trans., i.40). Parâshara is describing the Vast Egg, 'which
gradually expanded like a bubble of water' (the very simile used by Apion),
and referring to the contents of the [Page
106] Jagad — yoni
or World-matrix, he says 'Meru was its amnion, and the other mountains
were its chorion' — (Merurulbamabhûttasya
jarâyushcha mahîdharâh — see Fitzedward Hall's
note, loc. cit.). These
two membranes, which play such an important part in embryology, are easily
explained in the world-process, when we remember that Meru is the Olympus
of the Greeks, the Celestial Arch, whereas the 'other mountains' are the
circular ranges, or spheres, which separate the 'oceans' of space from
In this connection also we should remember that the Egg contains the 'Triple God', the 'Dragon-formed'. Without the spermatozoon the ovum would remain unfertilized. But the Dragon-formed will be referred to again later on. In connection with this graphic symbol of an Egg, we must briefly mention the Mixing-Bowl or
This is so called from the Goblet which the Deity orders to be given to the souls to drink from, in order that they may imbibe the intelligence of all things. Proclus (Tim.,V.316) speaks of several of these Crateres: 'Plato in the Philebus hands on the tradition of the Vulcanic Crater [the Cup of Fire] .......... and Orpheus is acquainted with the Cup of Dionysus, and ranges many other such Cups round the Solar Table'. That is to say, that the various spheres were each in their turn Cups containing the essence of the Spheres or Eggs. We may compare this with the Cup of Anacreon and of the Sûfi mystics. For the same idea, and the same term, in the Chaldaean Oracles and the Books of Hermes, see my Simon Magus (p. 56). Proclus (Tim., v.291) identifies this Crater with the Egg and Night, the mother and wife of Phanes. And Plato, in his psychogony, speaks of two mixtures or Crateres; in the one the Deity mixed the All-Soul [Page 107] of Universal Nature, and from the other he ladled out the minds of men (Lobeck, op. cit., 786). And Macrobius (Somn., XI. ii.66) says that: 'Plato speaks of this in the Phaedo, and says that the soul is dragged back into a body, hurried on by new intoxication, desiring to taste a fresh draught of the overflow of matter, whereby it is weighed down and brought back [to earth]. The sidereal Crater of Father Liber [Dionysus, Bacchus] is a symbol of this mystery; and this is what the ancients called the River of Lethe; the Orphics saying that Father Liber was the Material Mind [ νοὓϛ ὑλικοϛ, Indra, Lord of the Senses].'
This shows us that we must continually bear in mind the aphorism 'as above so below', if we would understand the intricacies of the system. There is the Supernal Crater of the Super-sensible World, and the Material Crater of the Sensible World — and others also. The following passages from Proclus' Theology of Plato, however, will throw further light on this interesting subject. Thus the Demiurgus is said to 'constitute the psychical essences in conjunction with the Crater' (V. xxxi) — this in the Sensible World. Again, 'the Crater is the peculiar cause of souls, and is co-arranged with the Demiurgus and filled from him, but fills souls'. Thus the Crater is called the 'fountain of souls', the 'cause of souls' ( c. xxxi). But we must pass on to the God born from the Egg and his associate deities.
Triple God born from the Egg was called Phanes, and also Metis and Ericapaeus,
the three being aspects of one Power.
As Clemens Alexandrinus (Lobeck, p. 478, gives his authority as 'Clemens, p. 672.' – an absolutely useless reference) writes: 'The Egg of Life, having been brought [Page 108] forth from boundless Mother Substance, and kept in motion by this subjective and ever-moving Mother Substance, manifests endless changes. For from within its periphery a male-female living Power [the absolute “Animal”] is ideated ( εὶδοποιεται ), by the foreknowledge of the divine [Father] Spirit [ Aether], which is in it [the Egg], which Power Orpheus calls Phanes ( Φάνητα ), for on its shining forth ( αὺτοὓ φανέντοϛ), the whole universe shone forth by the light of Fire — the most glorious of the elements — brought to perfection in the Moist [Principle — Chaos]. And so the Egg, the first and last [of all things], heated by the living creature within it, breaks; and the enformed [Power] comes forth, as Orpheus says, “when the swollen wide-capacious Egg brake in twain”; and thus the outer membrane [skin, shell, or chorion] contains the diacosmic evolution [ διακόσμησιν ; that is to say, the two diacosms, or in other words, the upper half of the membrane is the container of the intellectual cosmos, and the lower of the sensible cosmos]; but he [Phanes] presides over the Heaven [which lies between], as it were seated on the heights of a mountain range, and in secret shines over the boundless aeon.'
In Hindu mythography this mountain range is figured as circular.
Malela and Cedrenus, in the passage referred to under 'Night', add that Orpheus tells us that: 'Light [Phanes, “Bright Space Son of Dark Space”] having burst through the Aether [the Akashic Egg] illuminated the Earth [the First Earth – or Cosmos]; meaning that this Light was the Light which burst through the highest Aether of all — [ and not the sensible light that we see]. And the names of it Orpheus heard in prophetic vision, and declares them to be Metis, Phanes and Ericapaeus, which by interpretation are Will, Light and Light-giver [or Consciousness, Light, and Life]; [Page 109] adding that these three divine powers of names are the one power and one might of the One God, whom no man sees — and from his power all things are created, both incorporeal principles, and the sun and moon and all the stars.'
This deity is also called Protogonus, the First-born (Lactantius, Inst., I. v. 28), and Proclus (Tim., ii.132.) quotes a verse of Orpheus in which he is named Sweet Love ( Άβρὸϛ Έρωϛ ), son of most beauteous Aether; and the same mystic philosopher (Theol. Plat., III. xx.161) tells us that: 'He is the most brilliant of the Noëtic Powers, the Noëtic Mind, and Radiant Light, which amazes the Noëric Powers and causeseven Father [Zeus, the Demiurge) to wonder'. And Hermias (in Phaedr., p. 141) quotes the lines of Orpheus which describe the brilliancy of the First-born: 'And none could gaze on Phanes with their eyes, save holy Night alone. The others, all, amazed beheld the sudden Light in Space (ἐν αἰθέρι ). Such was the light which streamed from Phanes 'deathless fame'.
As Metis (the Mahat of the Vedântins), Phanes is said to beat the 'far-famed seed of the Gods' (Proc. in Crat., pp. 36, 52.; in Tim., V.303, ii.137; Damascius, p. 346).
Of the three aspects, Phanes is said to be the 'father', Ericapaeus the 'power', and Metis the 'intellect', in Platonic terms (see Damascius, Quaest., p. 380). Damascius (p. 381) further describes this Power as being symbolized by Orpheus as 'a God without a body, with golden wings on his shoulder and having on his sides the heads of bulls, and on his head a monstrous dragon with the likeness of every kind of wildbeast'. This symbolism is more simply given in the same passage as 'a dragon with the heads of a bull and lion and in the midst the face of a God, with wings on the shoulders'.This was the symbol of Pan, the All-Father, the Universal Creative Power or absolute' Animal' — the source of all [Page 110] living creatures. And Proclus (in Tim., iii.130) writes of the same symbol: 'The first God, with Orpheus, bears the heads of many animals, of the ram, the bull, the snake, and bright-eyed lion; he came forth from the Primal Egg, in which the Animal is contained in germ'. And later on (p. 131) he adds: ‘And first of all he was winged'.
I would venture to suggest that this graphic symbol, in one of its meanings, traces evolution from reptile to bird, animal and man. But there are other meanings. For Hermias ( op. cit., p.137) quotes a verse of Orpheus which speaks of Phanes 'gazing in every direction with his four eyes', and 'being carried in every direction by his golden wings', he also rides upon various 'steeds'. This has most probably some connection with soul-powers.
Éliphas Lévi, the French Kabalist, in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (p. 333) gives a most interesting drawing, which may with advantage be compared with the symbol of Phanes. It is a pantacle made out of the two interlaced triangles composed of wings; in the centre is the head of a man, on the left the head of a bull, on the right that of a lion, and above the head of an eagle. Beneath are two other pantacles called respectively the Wheel of Pythagoras and the Wheel of Ezekiel. The figure is also called the 'fourheaded sphinx', and is symbolized in India by the Svastika contained in a circle. These four 'beasts' are said to typify the four elementary kingdoms – earth, air, fire, and water – and much else. They are given by Christian mystics as the symbols of the four Gospels. In brief, they signify the four great creative forces of the cosmos.
But with regard to Phanes, in the Orphic Theogony, these forces are noëtic, and not sensible. For Phanes is the creator of the Gods, and the great-grandfather of Zeus, the creator of the sensible universe. As Lactantius (Inst., I. v.28) says: [Page 111] 'Orpheus tells us that Phanes is the father of all the Gods, for their sake he created the heaven [the intellectual universe] with forethought for his children, in order that they might have a habitation and a common seat — “he founded for the immortals an imperishable mansion”'.
'Now Phanes, as we have already remarked, was also called Love (Erôs). This is that Primal Love or Desire (Kama-Deva) which arose in the All; in the words of the Rig Veda, the 'primal germ of Mine – that which divides entity from non-entity', and which also unites entity with non-entity. This Love is admirably explained by Proclus, in his Commentary on the First Alcibiades of Plato (see Taylor, Myst. Hymns, pp. 117-120, and also his notes on the speech of Diotima in the Banquet of Plato, Works, vol. iv), where he writes as follows: 'The [Chaldaean] Oracles, therefore, speak of Love as binding and residing in all things; and hence, if it connects all things, it also couples us with the government of daemons [cosmic and nature powers]. But Diotima calls Love a “Great Daemon”, because it everywhere fills up themedium between desiring and desirable natures.......... But among the intelligible and occult Gods [the Noëtic Order], it unites intelligible intellect to the first and secret Beauty, by a certain life [the “higher life”] better than Intelligence. Hence [Orpheus] the theologist of the Greeks calls this Love “blind”, for he says of intelligible intellect [Phanes], “in his breast feeding eyeless, rapid Love”. But in instances posterior to intelligibles, it imparts by illumination an indissoluble bond to all things perfected by itself; for a bond is a certain union, but accompanied by much separation. On this account the Oracles are accustomed to call the fire of love a “coupler”; for proceeding from intelligible intellect, it binds all following natures with each other, and with itself [the “love for all that lives and breathes”]. Hence it conjoins all the gods with [Page 112] intelligible Beauty, and daemons with gods; and conjoins us with both gods and daemons. In the gods indeed it has a primary subsistence; in daemons a secondary one; and in partial souls a subsistence through a certain third procession from principles. Again, in the gods it subsists above essence for every genus of gods is super-essential. But in daemons it subsists according to essence; and in souls according to illuminations'.
Phanes is also called the Limit or Boundary, since 'that God who closes the paternal order is said by the wise to be the only deity among the intelligible Gods that has a name; and theurgy ascends as far as this order' (Procl., in Crat., Taylor, op. cit., p. 183). It is curious to notice that the same term, Limit or Boundary, is used in the Gnostic Valentinian System, and in precisely the same sense: 'It is called the Boundary because it shuts off (bounds) the Hysterêma [Sensible World] without from the Plerôma [Super-sensible World]' (Hippolytus, Philosophumena, IV. xxx; see my translation of Pistis-Sophia, in Lucifer, vi.233).
associated with Phanes (intelligible 'Light'), as mother or wife, or daughter,
is Night (intelligible 'Darkness') which may be compared with the Mâyâ or
Avidyâ (root-objectivity), of the Vedântins.
Just as there are three aspects of Phanes, so there are three Nights. Thus Proclus (Tim., ii.137): 'Phanes comes forth alone, the same is sung of as male and generator, and he leads with him the [three] Nights, and the Father mingles [noëtically] with the middle one.' And so Patricius (Discuss.Perip., III. i.293): 'For we know from Olympiodorus that Orpheus evolved all the Gods from one Egg, from which [ proceeded ] first Phanes, then Night, and then the rest.' [ Page 113]
And again Proclus (op. cit., v. 291) tells us that Phanes and Night 'preside over the Noëtic Orders, for they are eternally established in the Adytum [the Vestibule of the Good in the Noëtic Order], as says Orpheus, for he calls their occult Order the Adytum'.
Night, then, is the Mother of the Gods, or, as Orpheus says, 'the Nurse of the Gods is immortal Night' (Proc., in Crat., p. 57). Just as Mâyâ is the consort and power of Mâyi, or Ishvara (the Logos, or ideal Creative Cause) of the Upanishads, and thus all Gods and all men are under her sway, so Phanes hands over his sceptre to his consort Night. As Proclus tells us ( ibid): 'Night receives the sceptre from the willing hands of Phanes — “he placed his far-famed sceptre in the hands of Goddess Night, that she might have queenly honour”.'
To her was given the highest art of divination, for Mâyâ is the creative power of the Deity, the means whereby he 'imagines' the universe, or thinks it into being. Thus she, his spouse, is in the secret of his thoughts, and thus presides over the highest divination. So Hermias (Phaedr., p. 145): 'Orpheus, speaking of Night, tells us that “he [Phanes] gave her the mantic art that never fails, to have and hold in every way”. ' And further back the same writer (p. 144), tells usthat of the three Nights, Orpheus 'ascribes to the first the gift of prophecy, but the middle [Night] he calls humility, and the third, he says, gave birth to righteousness'. These are said to be referred to by Plato when he discourses of Prudence, Understanding (for true understanding is always humble or modest), and Righteousness.
And so in prudence, and understanding, and righteousness, Night (the occult power of Deity) gives birth to the noumenal and phenomenal universes; in the words of Orpheus (Hermias, ibid.): 'And so she brought forth Earth [Page 114] [the phenomenal universe] and wide Heaven [the noumenal], so as to manifest visible from invisible'.
This is most graphically set forth by Proclus in his Commentary on the Timaeus (pp. 63, 96; as given by Taylor, Myst. Hymns, pp. 78, 79): 'The artificer of the universe [ Zeus, the creative aspect of Phanes], prior to his whole fabrication [says Orpheus ], is said to have betaken himself to the Oracle of Night, to have been there filled with divine conceptions, to have received the principles of fabrication, and, if it is lawful so to speak, to have solved all his doubts. Night, too, calls upon the father Zeus to undertake the fabrication of the universe; and Zeus is said by the theologist [Orpheus] to have thus addressed Night:
“O Nurse supreme of all the powers divine,
Immortal Night! how with unconquer'd mind
Must I the source of the Immortals fix ?
And how will all things but as one subsist,
Yet each its nature separate preserve ?”
'To which interrogation the Goddess thus replies:
things receive enclos'd on ev'ry side,
In Aether's wide, ineffable embrace;
Then in the midst of Aether place the Heav'n,
In which let Earth [visible Cosmos] of infinite extent,
The Sea [the Ocean of Space], and Stars the crown of
Heav'n be fixt”.
It is curious to notice that the original for 'Nurse' is Maἳia( Μαα ). In Sanskrit i before another vowel changes into y. The Greek Maia, therefore, bears a most suspicious resemblance to the Sanskrit Maya. But this is philology, the most fallacious of all 'sciences', while Maia, the Nurse of [Page 115] the Gods, is the queen of the mantic art that 'never fails'.
Chief of the children of Night was Heaven (Uranus), the Lord of the Noëtic-noëric Triad in Platonic terminology. As Hermias (op. cit., p. 141) says: 'After the order of the Nights [triple Night] are three orders of divine Powers, Heaven, the Cyclopes, and the Hundred-handed. For first came forth from him [Phanes] Heaven and Earth'. This Earth is the first Sphere of the Sensible World, the true Earth, for we read of 'another earth', our globe. And Heaven has the characteristic of his parent, for we learn from Achilles Tatius (Arat., p. 85): 'The Heaven of Orpheus is meant to be the Boundary and Guard of all.' Taylor (Myst. Hymns, p. 16, n.) quotes the same sentence from Damascius, on First Principles, but gives no reference. And between this divine Earth and divine Heaven there is the first 'marriage'. For as Proclus (in Tim., 293) remarks: ' “Marriage” is peculiar to this order. For he [Orpheus] calls Earth the first bride, and the first marriage, her union with Heaven. For between Phanes and Night there is no “marriage”, they being at-oned in a noëtic union.'
their union arises a strange and curious progeny, the Fates (Parcae),
Hundred-handed (Centimani), and They-who-see-all-round (Cyclopes). As Athenagoras
(xviii. 18, Gall.) writes: 'Heaven uniting with Earth begets the female
[powers] Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos; and the males, the Hundred-handed,
Cottus, Gyges, Briareus; and the Cyclopes Brontes, and Steropes and Argos;
whom he bound and cast into Tartarus, learning that he would be driven
from his kingdom by his children.' [Page 116]
The Fates are the Karmic Powers, which adjust all things according to the causes of prior Universes; while the Centimani and Cyclopes are the Builders, or rather the Overseers or Noëtic Architects, who supervise the Builders of the Sensible Universe. Thus Hermias (p. 141), calls the Cyclopes the 'Builder-handed' ( Τεκτονόχειραϛ – τέκτων meaning a 'builder'). And so these first Builders are fabled by Orpheus (Proc., Tim., ii.100), to be they who 'devised the thunder for Zeus, and fashioned the lightning [the Svastika]; and they it was who taught Vulcan and Minerva all the cunning tasks which Heaven works within' — that is to say, which Heaven works noëtically; whereas Vulcan and Minerva are Builders in the Sensible World.
These were the first progeny of Heaven and Earth, and were cast down to Tartarus, for they worked within all things, and so, as evolution proceeded, permeated every kingdom of nature. But then, without the knowledge of Heaven, Earth brought forth, says Orpheus (Proc., Tim., iii.137), 'seven fair daughters, bright-eyed, pure, and seven princely sons, covered with hair' ; and these are called the 'avengers of their brethren'. And the names of the daughters are Themis and Tethys, Mnemosyne and Thea, Dione and Phoebe, and Rhea; and of the sons, Coeus and Crius, Phorcys and Cronus, Oceanus and Hyperion, and Iapetus (Proc., op. cit., V.295). And these are the Titans.
It is difficult to thread one's way through the legends of the Builders and Titans, and their correspondences, the Curetes and Corybantes, or to find any clear distinctions between Heaven and Saturn and Zeus, in the 'battles fought for space' — dim legends of primary creation and nature-workings, and much else. Let us, however, take the Titans first. [Page 117]
'Our Lady' Earth, enraged at the banishment of her first-born, 'brought forth
virgin youths ( κούρουϛ)
descended from Heaven ( Οὐρανίωναϛ),
to whom, indeed, they give the title of Titans [the Retributors], because they
exacted retribution from starry Heaven' (Orpheus, quoted by Athenagoras, loc,
cit.). But Hesiod (Theog., V.207) says that the name means 'Stretchers'
or 'Strivers' (from τιταίνω ).
But of all the Titans, Night, their mother's mother, the nurse of the Gods, loved Cronus (Saturn) most, for, by her gift of prophecy, she knew he was destined for the kingship of the world, and thus she nursed and tended him, so that he became of all the most subtleminded ( ἀγκυλο - μήτηϛ). And so, led on by their mother, the Titans revolt against Heaven, with the exception of Ocean. That is to say, the spiritual forces break the bonds of their restrainer Heaven, and descend into matter – all except Ocean, who remained as the Ocean of Space within his father's kingdom (Proc., loc. cit., p. 295). And Cronus becomes their leader. Thus Porphyry (De Ant. Nymph., xv.) writes: 'The first of those who set themselves against Heaven is Cronus, and so Cronus receives the powers that descend from Heaven, and Zeus receives those that descend from Cronus.' And so they dismember their father; and from his blood the Giants are born (Etym. M., sub voc.).
And thus Saturn establishes his kingdom. 'Orpheus tells us that Cronus seized on celestial Olympus, and there enthroned reigned over the Titans — but Ocean dwelt in the ineffable waters' (Proc., loc. cit., p. 295).
In the Sensible World, the Giants play the same rôle with regard to Zeus as the Titans with regard to Heaven, as we learn from Proclus in the fragments of his Commentary on the Republic of Plato; who also, after giving a full philosophical [Page 118] explanation of the operations of the Divine Powers, says: 'Is it, therefore, any longer wonderful, if the authors of fables, perceiving such contrariety in the Gods themselves and the first of beings, obscurely signified this to their pupils through battles ?' And again, 'hence fables, concealing the truth, assert that such powers fight and war with each other' (see Taylor's Myst. Hymns, pp. 71, 74). And Proclus (Tim., v. 292., Taylor) writes: 'Of the divine Titannic hebdomads, Ocean both abides and proceeds, uniting himself to his father [Heaven], and not departing from his kingdom. But all the rest of the Titans, rejoicing in progression, are said to have given completion to the will of Earth, but to have assaulted their father, dividing themselves from his kingdom, and proceeding unto another order. Or rather, of all the celestial genera, some alone abide in their principles, as the first two triads'.
Thus far the legend of the Titans with regard to the Gods, or the macrocosm; next follows the fable with regard to the human soul, or the microcosm. The Sacred Rites of Dionysus restored by Orpheus, depended on the following 'arcane narration' (Taylor's Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries [Wilder's edition], pp. 126, 127): 'Dionysus, or Bacchus [Zagreus, the human Soul], while he was yet a boy, was engaged by the Titans, through the stratagems of Juno, in a variety of sports, with which that period of life is so vehemently allured; and among the rest, he was particularly captivated with beholding his image in a mirror [the Astral Light which allures the young soul]; during his admiration of which he was miserably tom in pieces by the Titans [cosmic and elemental powers, which absorb the energy of the soul through its desires for things of sense]; who, not content with this cruelty, first boiled his members [powers] in water [the psychic sphere], and after roasted them by the fire [the [Page 119] spiritual sphere]. But while they were tasting his flesh, thus dressed, Jupiter [the parent-soul], roused by the odour, and perceiving the cruelty of the deed, hurled his thunder at the Titans — [the human soul as it grows in stature turns to its father-soul, and the divine fire (thunder) “converts the Titans to its own essence”] — but committed the members of Bacchus to Apollo, his brother [the solar part of the soul, or “Higher Ego”; Bacchus being the lunar part, or “Lower Ego”] that they might be properly interred [converted by the alchemy of spiritual nature]. And this being performed, Dionysus (whose “heart” during his laceration was snatched away by Pallas [Athena, Minerva]), by a new regeneration [ through a series of reincarnations] again emerged, and being restored to his pristine life and integrity, he afterwards filled up the number of the Gods. [The soul reaches liberation and the man becomes a Jîvan-mukta.] But in the meantime, from the exhalation arising from the ashes of the burning bodies of the Titans, mankind was produced. [This refers to the “transmigration of life-atoms” composing the bodies of men.]
On this passage Taylor (Myst. Hymns, p. 88) summarizes the Commentary of Olympiodorus on the Phaedo of Plato, as follows: 'We are composed from fragments, because through falling into generation, i.e., into the sublunary region, our life has proceeded into the most distant and extreme division; but from Titannic fragments, because the Titans are the ultimate artificers of things, and the most proximate to their fabrications. Of these Titans, Bacchus, or the mundane intellect, is the monad, or proximately exempt producing cause'. Bacchus is said to be the 'spiritual part of the mundane soul' in one aspect, and also the highest of the 'mundane gods' in another, this both macrocosmically and microcosmically. [Page 120]
Now Ficinus (L. IX, Enn., i.83, 89), says that: 'Because men were generated from the Titans, who had been nourished with the body of Dionysus, he [Orpheus], therefore, calls them Dionysiacal, as though some of their members were from the Titans [and came from Dionysus], so that the human body is partly of a Dionysiacal [psychic], and partly of a mundane [physical] nature'. For the smoke from the ashes of the Titans 'became matter', we are told (Mustoxides and Schinas, Anecd., iv.4).
The Platonists called Dionysus 'Our Master' ( τὸν δεσπότην ἡμὣν ) for 'the mind in us is Dionysiacal and the image of Dionysus [the Mundane Soul]' (Proc., Crat., 59, 114, 82).
Dio Chrysostom (Or., xxx. 550) has a curious sentence on this point, when he writes: 'I will tell you something which is neither pleasant nor agreeable. We men are of the blood of the Titans [ Asuras]; and since they are hostile to the Gods [Devas], we also are not friends with the latter, but are ever being punished by them and ever on the watch for punishment to fall on our heads'.
And not only are our animal bodies thus generated, but also the bodies of animals themselves (Ther., v. 7; Acusilaus, Fragm., p. 227; Fabric. ad Sext. c. Gramm., I.xii.272).
The legend therefore, can be interpreted from the macrocosmic and microcosmic standpoint. From the former we see the symbolical drama of the World-Soul being differentiated into individual souls; from the latter the mystical spectacle of the individual soul, divided into many personalities, in the long series of rebirths or palingeneses, through which it threads its path on earth.
As Macrobius says (Somn., I. xii.67): 'By Father Liber [Dionysus] the Orphics seem to understand the Hylic Mind [Mundane Soul, or human soul], which is born from the Impartible [Mind] and is separated into individual minds [ or [Page 121] personalities ]. And so in their Sacred Rites, [Dionysus] is represented to have been torn into separate members, and the pieces buried [in matter], and then again he is resurrected intact.' This Proclus (Tim., i.53) explains as 'a partible progression from the impartible creation'. And Hermias (in Phaedr., p. 87) says: 'This God is the cause of reincarnation ( παλιγγενεσίαϛ ).'
Proclus (Parm., iii.33, Cousin) further tells us that: 'The theologists say the mind [the higher mind, called the “heart” of Bacchus in the fable], in this Dionysiacal dismemberment, was preserved intact by the wisdom of Athena; it was the soul [lower mind] that was first divided, and it was divided sevenfold.'
And Plutarch (On the E. at Delphi, ix; see King's Plutarch's Morals, p. 183), referring to the same legend, writes: 'The wiser sort, cloaking their meaning from the vulgar, call the change into fire, “Apollo”, on account of the reduction to one state ( ἀ “not”, and πολλοὶ, “many”), and also “Phoebus” on account of its freedom from defilement and its purity, but the condition and change of his turning and subdivisioninto airs and water and earth, and the production of animal and plants, they enigmatically term “Exile” and “Dismemberment”. They name him “Dionysus” and “Zagreus” and “Nycteleos” and “Isodi”; they also tell of certain destructions and disappearances and deceases and new births, which are riddles and fables pertaining to the aforesaid transformations; and they sing the dithyrambic song, filled with sufferings, and allusions to some change of state that brought with it wandering about and dispersion.'
Thus the story of Dionysus and the Titans is a dramatic history of the wanderings of the 'Pilgrim-Soul'. And curiously enough we find the story of the resurrection of Dionysus, after his dismemberment by the Titans, compared [Page 122] by the most learned of the Christian Fathers with the resurrection of the Christ. Thus Origen (Contra Celsum., iv. 171, Spenc.), after making the comparison, remarks apologetically and somewhat bitterly: 'Or, forsooth, are the Greeks to be allowed to use such words with regard to the soul and speak in allegorical fashion (τροπολογεἳν ), and we forbidden to do so ?' – thus clearly declaring that the 'resurrection’ was an allegory of the soul, and not historical. And so Damascius (Vit. Isodori, Phot. ccxlii. 526), speaking of the dismemberment and resurrection of Osiris, remarks, 'this should be a mingling with God (θεοκρασία), an all-perfect at-one-ment ( ἔνωσιϛ παντελὴϛ ), a return upwards of our souls to the divine – (ἐπάνοδοϛ τὣν ἡμετέρων ψυχὣν πρὸϛ τὸ θεἳον )’.
But let us return to the elder children of Heaven and Earth, and first give our attention for a brief space to
in his Commentaries on the Cratylus of Plato (Taylor, Myst. Hymns,
pp. 172-178), tells us many things about Cronus. There are six kings, or
rulers holding the sceptre of the Gods, viz., Phanes, Night, Heaven,
Saturn, Jupiter and Bacchus. In this series there is an orderly succession
as far as Heaven, and from Saturn to Bacchus; 'but Saturn alone perfectly
deprives Heaven of the kingdom, and concedes dominion to Jupiter, cutting
and being cut off, as the fable says'. And, therefore, Saturn is said to
have taken the kingdom by violence or insolently, and he is therefore called
the Insolent ( ὑβριστικὸϛ – corresponding
to the Sanskrit Râjasa in this connection). He is also called by
Plato the Great Dianoëtic Power of the Intellectual Universe, and
thus rules over the dianoëtic part of the soul, 'for he produces united
intellection into multitude, and fills himself [Page
with excited intelligibles, whence also he is said to be the leader of
the Titannic race, and the source of all-various separation and diversifying
power — the
division and separation of wholes into parts receives its beginning from
And yet Saturn is an intellectual power and not a builder of sensibles: 'for King Saturn is intellect, and the supplier of all intellectual life; but he is an intelligible exempt from co-ordination with sensibles, immaterial and separate, and converted to himself. He likewise converts his progeny, and after producing them into light, again embosoms and firmly establishes them in himself. For the demiurgus of the universe [Zeus], though he [also] is a divine intellect, yet he orderly arranges sensibles, and provides for subordinate natures. But the mighty Saturn is essentialized in separate intellections, which transcend wholes. “For the fire which is beyond the first [Creative Fire of the Sensible World]”, says the Chaldaean Oracle, “does not incline its power downwards”.
Now the Noëric Order of the Powers consists of Saturn, Rhea, Jupiter, the three Curetes and the separating monad Ocean. But Saturn is the chief of the seven, and, as such, is the Noëtic Power of the Noëric Order. And 'this impartible and imparticipable transcendency of Saturn' is characterized as 'Purity'. Thus it is that Saturn is Lord of the Curetes (the Virgin Youths or Kumâras); and as the Oracle says: 'The intellect of the Father [Saturn] riding on these rulers [Curetes], they become refulgent with the furrows of inflexible and implacable fire'. They are the powers of the Fire-Self or Intellectual Creative Power of the Universe; they are the Flames and the Fires.
So, as the same Oracles tell us, 'from him leap forth the implacable Lightning-bolts, and the comet-nursing Breasts [Page 124] of the all-fiery might of father-born Hecate [Rhea] — and the Mighty Breath beyond the Fiery Poles'.
And with regard to the three Minds, Proclus writes: ' Again, every intellect ( νοὓϛ ) either abides, and is then intelligible [noëtic], as being better than motion; or it is moved, and is then intellectual [noëric]; or it is both, and is then intelligible and at the same time intellectual [noëtic-noëric]. The first of these is Phanes; the second, which is alone moved, is Saturn; and the third, which is both moved and permanent, is Heaven'. So far for Saturn among the Gods, but Saturn is also among men; and certain of the early races of mankind, which follow an orderly progression, like to the genera of the Gods, are said in their turn to be appropriately ruled over by Saturn.Thus Lactantius (I. xiii. I I): 'Orpheus tells us that Saturn also reigned on earth and among men — “Saturn ruled first over men on earth”. And Proclus (Scholium ad Hesiod. Opp. 126): 'Orpheus says that Cronus ruled over the silver race, meaning that, according to the pure [esoteric] sense of the word ( κατὰ τὸν καθαρὸν λόγον), those who lived a “silver life”; just as those who lived according to the [pure] mind are golden'. And again, commenting on V.113, 'Orpheus says that the hair of Cronus was ever black; and Plato (Philebus, 270, D), that men in the Age of Cronus cast aside old age and were ever young'. This explains why the seven Titans are said above to be 'covered with hair'. And also in his Theology of Plato (V. x. 264): 'Freedom from old age is peculiar to this order, as the barbarians [ non-Greeks] and Orpheus say. For the latter says mystically that the hair on Saturn's face was ever black, and never whitened ........ “they lived eternal years, with pure cheeks, and lovely fresh locks, nor were they mingled with the white flower of infirmity”.'
And thus that blessed race lived in the happy days of Father Saturn, in Elysian Fields, and peaceful Paradise,' and all who [Page 125] had the heart to keep their soul from every sin, essayed the Path of Zeus, to Saturn's Tower' (Pindar, Ol., ii. 123); that is to say, they became perfect and ascending to the Gods by the Path, 'which Zeus commands the pious to tread', sat them down in Saturn's Tower (Olympus, Meru) secure from sorrow and ignorance.
And Plutarch (Symp., VIII. iv .2.) says: 'The plane-tree [phoenix] is the longest lived of all trees, as Orpheus somewhere bears witness — “a living being like to the leafy branches of plane trees”.' These were the 'trees' in the 'garden'. In the Purânas and Upanishads, in the books of the Chaldaeans and Jews, of the Egyptians and Gnostics, 'trees” were the glyphs of men, and especially of men perfected.
with regard to these various ages and races, let us pause a moment to add
a few remarks. Nigidius (De Diis, iv) writes: 'Certain divide
the Gods and their orders into periods and ages, and among these Orpheus;
and these ages are first of Saturn, then of Jupiter, next of Neptune,
then of Pluto, and some also, for instance the Magi, speak of the reign
of Apollo.' And Servius ( on Ecl., iv .4) says: 'The Cumaean
Sibyl divides the ages according to the metals; she also tells us which
is to be ascribed to each metal, the last being that of the Sun, meaning
by that the tenth.......S he said also
that when these ages had all run their course they were again renewed'.
This period was called the Great Year (Magnus Annus, or Mahâ-Manvantara
in Sanskrit). And Censorinus (xviii) says: 'The mid-winter of this Great
Year is a destruction by water, but the mid-summer a destruction by fire.'
[magni] anni hiems summa est κατακλυσμόϛ, aestas
This period was said to be marked by the stars apparently [Page 126] returning to the starting points of their respective courses.And Proclus cites an opinion based on Orpheus that the end of the Great Year is marked by 'Cronus squaring the account of the Gods and taking his kingdom again; or in other words, he assumes dominion of that most primaeval darkness, the zodiacal cycles that control the stars' (Lobeck, op. cit., p. 793). And Pliny (VI. xxi) calls it 'that eternal and final night that impends over the world'.
The account of Hesiod (Opp. et Dies, 109-120, 127-142) differs considerably from that of Orpheus, but there are some interesting details that may with advantage be set down here from Decharme's Mythologie de la Grèce Antique (pp. 288-290).
The men of the Golden Age lived exempt from suffering and care, the earth fed them spontaneously; they never grew old, and when death finally came upon them, they fell peacefully asleep. After their death they became the guardians, who 'wrapped in clouds' (Nirmânakâyas) winged their flight over the earth and watched over its inhabitants.
The men of the Silver Age are far inferior to the former. They die in youth, are impious and revilers of the Gods. After death they too become Genii, but evil instead of beneficent, and so they are plunged in subterranean abodes. They are the 'race of sorcerers', they of the Black Path.
The men of the Age of Bronze are strong and violent ; their heart has the 'hardness of steel'.
The fourth period is the Age of Iron; its men are, or rather will be, 'virtuous and just', for the Age of Iron is still in progress. But we must leave this interesting subject and return to Cronus and his wife
to Orphic and Platonic theology, Rhea holds [Page 127] the
middle rank between Cronus and Zeus in the Noëric
Order. 'She is filled from Saturn with an intelligible and prolific power
which she imparts to Jupiter, the Demiurgus of the universe: filling his
essence with a vivific abundance.' (See Taylor, Myst. Hymns, pp.
Plato in Cratylus mystically connects her name (Rhea) with the idea of 'flowing' (from ( ῥέω – 'to flow'), meaning thereby simply 'that fontal power by which she contains in transcendent union the divisible rivers of life'. Rhea, is, therefore, the 'mother of lives', the mystical Eve, the 'mother of all living'.
Proclus (Theol. Plat., Taylor's ed., i. 267) says that according to Orpheus, 'This Goddess, when considered as united to Saturn by the most exalted part of her essence, is called Rhea; but considered as producing Jupiter, and together with Jupiter unfolding the total and partial orders of the Gods [i.e., the powers of the Sensible World], she is called Ceres.' This is a very important distinction to bear in mind.
Now Rhea, as Ceres, in Hymn XIV, is called 'brass-sounding' and 'drum-beating'. This has reference to the mystical results of certain sounds and rhythm, part and parcel of what the Hindus call Mantra vidyâ. I remember reading a curious old French book in the Bibliothèque de la Ville of Clermont-Ferrand, one of the books confiscated from the Minime Monastery of the same town, at the time of the Revolution. This work dealt with the magical properties of music, and described for what especial purposes the various instruments of music were used in the Temple-service of the Jews. Now Iamblichus (De Mysteriis, III. ix) goes into the matter of the so-called Corybantic and Bacchic 'frenzies' produced by musical instruments in the Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus; and in his Life of Pythagoras (xxv) he, further, tells us that: 'The whole Pythagoric school went [Page 128] through a course of musical training, both in harmony and touch ( τὴν λεγομένην ἐξάρτυσιν καὶ συναρμογὰν καὶ ἐπαφὰν ), whereby, by means of appropriate chants, they beneficially converted the dispositions of the soul to contrary emotions.For, before they retired to rest, they purified their minds ( τὰϛ διανοίαϛ) of the [mental, says Quintilian] confusion and noises of the day, by certain songs and peculiar chants, and so prepared for themselves peaceful repose with either few or pleasant dreams. And again, when they rose from sleep, they freed themselves from drowsiness by songs of another character. And sometimes by means of melodies without words they cured certain affections and diseases, and this they said was the real means of “charming”. And it is most probable that the word “charm” (epode) came into general use from them. It was thus, then, that Pythagoras established a most salutary system of regenerating the morals by means of “music” [διὰ τἣϛ μουσικἣϛ — Mantravidyâ].' (Op. cit. Kiessling's text, pp. 245,246; see also Taylor, Famblichus on the Mysteries, 2nd ed., pp. 130, 131, n.)
Music and Mantras, therefore, were used by the Orphics to attract, or call down, the influence of the Mother of the Gods, who at the same time was the 'Store-house of Life', of Divine Nature. Thus Proclus in his Commentary on Euclid (ii) tells us that 'the Pole of the World is called by the Pythagoreans the Seal of Rhea' (Myst. Hymns, p. 63). Now the pole is the conductor of the vital and magnetic forces of the earth-envelope, and is, therefore, appropriately called by this name, as being the seal and signature of the vital forces of Divine Nature, whereby all diseases can be healed and all states of the soul vitalized.
Rhea was also called Brimô by the Phrygians, and her son (Zeus) was called Brimos. This in the macrocosm; in the microcosm Rhea was the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) which gave [Page129] birth to the Human Soul (Manas). Thus Hippolytus, in the Philosophumena (v.6): 'The Phrygians also (he [the writer of the book from which the Church Father took his information] says) called it [the Human Soul] the “Plucked Green Wheat-ear”. And after the Phrygians the Athenians, in their Eleusinian Mysteries, show those who are initiated in silence into the great and marvellous and most perfect mystery of the Epopts [those who “see face to face”], a plucked wheat-ear. Now this wheat-ear is also with the Athenians the Illuminator from the Undelineable [Spiritual Soul, Great Mother, the Soul of Peace (Shânta Âtman) of the Kathopanishad], perfect and great, just as the hierophant also — not emasculated like Attis, but made eunuch with hemlock-juice [somajuice] and divorced from all fleshly generating — in the night, at Eleusis, from beneath many a cloud of fire [doubtless some psychic phenomenon], accomplishing the great and ineffable mysteries, shouts and cries aloud, saying: “Our Lady hath borne a sacred son, Brimô [hath given birth to] Brimos” — that is to say, the strong to the strong. Our Lady (he says) is the spiritual generation, the celestial, the above; and the “strong” he who is born'. That is, the new 'Twice-born', or Initiate who is born from the 'Fountain of Life'. (But see my translation in Lucifer, xiii.47). We next pass to Rhea's royal son and husband, Zeus.
sacred fable tells us that 'when Jupiter was born, his mother Rhea, in order
to deceive Saturn, gave him a stone wrapped in swaddling bands, in the place
of Jupiter, at the same time informing Saturn that what she gave him was
her offspring. Saturn immediately devoured the stone; and Jupiter who was secretly educated,
at length obtained the government of the world'. (Phornutus, see Opusc,.
Mythol., [Page 130] p.
147; see also Taylor, Myst. Hymns, pp. 44, 45.) This
'stone' has been a stumbling-block to all the scholars. Whatever is the
meaning of the 'perfect cube' and 'corner-stone', the same is the meaning
of Jupiter's substitute. Thus Damascius, On First Principles,
writes: 'The ogdoad pertains to Rhea, as being set in motion [remember
the idea of “flowing” contained
in the name] towards everything according to its differentiation, and yet
nevertheless remaining firmly and cubically established.'
Taylor explains this by saying (Ioc. cit.): 'Damascius uses the word “cubically”, because eight is a cubic number. Rhea, therefore, considered as firmly establishing her off-spring Jupiter in Saturn, who exists in unproceeding union, is fabulously said to have given Saturn a stone instead of Jupiter, the stone indicating the firm establishment of Jupiter in Saturn. For all divine progeny, at the same time that they proceed from, abide in their causes. And the “secret“ education of Jupiter indicates his being nurtured in the intelligible [noëtic] order, for this order is denominated by ancient theologists “occult” '.
All this is very obscure. I can only suggest that, as Rhea is the third of the three Supernal Mothers, Night and Earth being the first and second, and that, as the mothers all correspond to duads, according to the numeration of Pythagoras, that, therefore, the cube naturally pertains to Rhea (2 x 2 x 2 = 8). The solid figure the cube is figured by the square in plane geometry , and the square is the symbol of the lower or sensible world, and therefore of its ruler Jupiter, just as the triangle is the glyph of the supersensible world.
Another interesting explanation of this famous 'stone' is that it means the 'discus', that is to say, the Svastika, which is the glyph of the fourfold creative forces of the universe. [Page 131] 'By Zeus he means the discus, on account of the stone swallowed by Cronus instead of Zeus, as Hesiod says in his Theogony, which he stole without acknowledgment and disfigured from the Theogony of Orpheus' (Schol. ad Lyc., 399).
Now Zeus being the creative power of the sensible world, and, therefore, corresponding with the creative soul or mind in man, is said to be closely associated in his creation with Karma, for he builds the universe according to the karmic causes set going by preceding universes, for 'there are many Words on the tongue of the Ineffable', according to one of the gnostic philosophers. Thus Proclus writes (Tim., V.323): 'The Demiurgus [Zeus], as Orpheus says, is nursed by Adrastia [her “from whom none can escape”, from ἀ “not” and διδράσκω “to run”] ; but he marries Necessity, and begets [a daughter] Fate.' For' Adrastia is the one goddess that remains with Night [ the most supernal Mother, the great Grandmother of all ], and her sister is Form .......... for Adrastia is said [mystically] to clash her cymbals before the Cavern of Night. [That is to say, she directs the sound, that sound which “goes out into all worlds”, and by the sound all forms are created.] For back in the Inner Chamber [Adytum] of the Cavern of Night sits Light (Phanes), and in the midst Night, who delivers prophetic judgment to the gods, and at the mouth is Adrastia. Nor is she the same as Justice, for Justice, who is there, is said to be the daughter of Law and Devotion...... And these are said to be the nurses of Zeus in the Cavern of Night.' (Schol. in Plat., p. 64; Hermias, Phaedr., p. 148.)
And so Proclus (Theol. Plat., IV. xvi. 206): 'Adrastia is said by Orpheus to guard the Demiurgus; “with brazen cymbals and sounding drums in her hands” she sends forth sounds so that all the gods may turn to her'.
In the sensible universe, the 'language of the gods' is said to consist of sound and colour'. Sounds and colours attract [Page 132] certain 'elementals' which immediately and mechanically respond to the call.
There is some confusion as to the nurses or guardians of Zeus. For sometimes they are said to be Adrastia, and Eidê (Form) and Dicê(Justice), and then again they are said to be the three Curetes. Thus Proclus ( Theol. Plat., VI. xiii.382): 'The life-producing goddess placed the Curetes first of all as a sure guard, who are said to surround the Demiurgus of wholes, and dance round him, brought into manifestation by Rhea.' And again (op. cit., V. iii. 253): 'Orpheus places the Curetes as guards to Zeus, being three in number; and the religious institutions of the Cretans and the whole Grecian theology refer the pure and undefiled life to this order; for coron [whence Curetes and Corybantes] means nothing else than “pure”.' The nurses and guards are, therefore, apparently six, three male and three female. But we will return to this subject later.
And so Zeus having reached his full stature, Orpheus tells us (Porphyry, Ant. Nymph., xvi), uses honey to ensnare his parent Cronus. And thus Cronus 'fills himself full of the honey and loses his senses, and becoming drunk as though from wine, falls asleep ........ And so he is captured and dismembered, like Heaven (Uranus) was'.
That is to say, that the delights of the sensible world enslave the soul, and so the lord of the senses rules in its stead.
And so Zeus attaining the sovereignty constructs the universe with the help of the powers of Saturn and Night for Night is the great providence of the gods, and dispenser of divine foresight. For 'the gods beneath Zeus are not said to be united with Phanes [the Ideal Cause], but only Zeus, and he by means of the midmost Night [the spouse of Phanes]' (Hermias, op. cit., p. 141).
It is because of this union that Zeus is said to 'swallow' [Page 133] Phanes. For the creative deity and architect of the sensible world must first imbibe the ideal and eternal types of things before he can fashion them forth into sensible shape. Thus Proclus (Tim., iv. 267): 'Orpheus called God the Manifestor ( Φάνητα — Phanes) as manifesting (ἐκφαίνοντα) the noëtic monads, and stored within him the types of all living creatures [ calling him the Absolute Creature or “Animal Itself”], as being the first container of noëtic ideas. And he called him the “Key of the Mind”......... And the Demiurgus [Zeus] is made dependent upon him [Phanes]; and thus Plato said that the latter “looked toward” the Absolute Animal ( αὐτόζωον ); and Orpheus that he “leaped upon him and swallowed him” at the instance of Night.'
And thus the noëtic creation comes in contact with the sensible world; and the Above is embosomed in the Below. And so Proclus (Tim., ii.137), again writes: And 'therefore, Zeus is also called Metis and Absolute Daimon — “One might, one Daimon” was he, great cause of all'. And again (op. cit., iii. 156): 'The Demiurgus contains himself in himself the cause of Love; for Metis is “First Progenitor and All-pleasing Love”: and Pherecydes said that Zeus when he began to create was changed into Love.'
And also again (Parm., iii.22): 'Orpheus says that after swallowing Phanes, all things were generated in Zeus; for all things were manifested primally and unitedly in the former, but secondarily and partibly in the Demiurgus, the cause of the Mundane Order. For in him are the sun and the moon, and the heaven itself and the elements, and “All-pleasing Love”, and all things being simply one, “were massed in the belly of Zeus”.'
And thus Plato (Legg., iv.715, D) writes of Zeus: 'God, as the ancient Scripture [of Orpheus] tells us, possessing the beginning and end and middle of all things, with direct [Page 134] course accomplishes his path, cycling round according to natural law; and Justice ever is with him to seek retribution from those who leave the path of divine law'.
The special idea connected with creation was that of Law, in substantiation of which many passages could be brought forward. The following, however, from Proclus (Tim., ii. 96), is sufficient for the purpose: 'Following the advice of Night he [Zeus] takes to himself an assistant and makes Law sit by his side, as Orpheus also says'.
And thus it is that the visible world is created – this creation being summed up by Proclus (Crat., p. 53) as follows: 'Orpheus hands down the tradition that he [Zeus] created the whole of the celestial creation, and made the sun and moon and all the starry gods, and created the elements below the moon.' And in the same place (p. 51.) the great commentator sums up the two creations, intellectual and sensible, in the words: 'The noëric emanation (διακοσμήσεωϛ ) of the Gods being bounded by the king of the divine orders of wholes [Phanes] , but proceeding by the three Nights and celestial hypostases [the aspects of Uranus] into the Titanic order [of supernal Architects or Builders], which first separated itself from the Fathers [Phanes and Uranus, when Cronus rebelled against Uranus], and then it was that there arose the whole demiurgic order of Gods...... And Zeus before all the other creative powers came into the united power of the whole demiurgic line ......... and was filled with all the powers above himself [ referring to the swallowing of Phanes].'
We next pass to the wives of Zeus. The record is imperfect; but they were most probably three and seven in number. The chief of these is Ceres, mother of Proserpine. [Page 135]
Ceres is the same as Rhea, or in other words both are aspects of one and
the same power. Thus Proclus (Crat., p. 96): 'When Orpheus says
that Demeter [Ceres] is the same as Rhea, he means that when she is above
with Cronus she is Rhea, and it is contrary to her nature to proceed into
but when she evolves ....... she is Demeter.' And again (op. cit.,
p. 85): 'Orpheus says that in one aspect Demeter is the same as the whole life-production,
and in another aspect she is not the same [that is, she belongs to the partible life-production]:
for above she is Rhea, but below with Zeus, Demeter'.
It is exceedingly difficult to distinguish clearly one power from another, when we reach this plane of secondary differentiation. Of the other wives of Zeus, Metis and Themis, Eurynome and Leto, and Hestia (Vesta), it is sufficient to merely mention the names of the first four. Nor can much here be said of Hera, or Juno, and Vesta, for it is necessary to keep this essay within reasonable limits. Proclus (Tim., ii.137), however, tells us that: 'great Zeus was united with Hera; wherefore also she is called [by Orpheus] the sharer in his privileges ( ἰσοτελὴϛ )'. And again (op. cit., v .3 15)he speaks of the emanation of a goddess 'vivifying the whole cosmos, whom Orpheus calls the sharer of equal privileges with the Demiurgus, and joins her to him.The Barbarians [Chaldaeans, etc. ] call this life-endowing source the Soul, which is manifested together with the sources of virtue from the reins of the universal life-giving divinity. But the theologist of the Greeks [Orpheus] calls her Hera'.
And again Proclus (Theol. Plat., i.483, Taylor) tells us that 'Juno is the source of the procreation of the soul. [of man]'. [Page 136] From the same writer's Commentary on the Cratylus, however, we are enabled to pick out the three chief syzygies of Zeus, as the Gnostics would have called them, for he writes that 'The Theology of Hesiod [based on Orpheus] from the monad Rhea produces, according to things that are more excellent in the co-ordination, Vesta [Hestia]; but according to those that are subordinate, Juno; and according to those that subsist between, Ceres' (Myst. Hymns, Taylor, p. 195). That is to say, that the Triad proceeding from Rhea, and conjoined with Zeus, is
Vesta and Juno are distinguished as follows by Proclus (Crat., p.
83): 'Vesta imparts from herself to the Gods an un-inclining permanency
and seat in themselves, and an indissoluble essence. But Juno imparts progression,
and a multiplication into things secondary ......... She [Juno]
generates maternally such things as Jupiter generates paternally. But Vesta
abides in herself, possessing an undefiled virginity
, and being the cause of sameness to all things ...... The orbs
of the planets, likewise, possess the sameness of their revolutions from
her; and the poles and centres are always allotted from her their permanent
Now 'in her mundane allotment', that is on this physical plane, Vesta is the Goddess of the Earth. Thus it is that Philolaus (apud Stobaeum, Eclog. Phys., p. 51) says: 'That there is a fire in the middle at the centre, which is the Vesta [Hearth] of the Universe, the House of Jupiter, the Mother of the Gods, and the basis, coherence, and measure of nature'. All of which puts us in mind of gravity, the god of modern science. And Simplicius in his Commentary on Aristotle's De Caelo (ii) says: 'But those who more genuinely [Page 137] participate of the Pythagorean doctrines say that the fire in the middle is a demiurgic power, nourishing the whole earth from the middle, and exciting whatever it contains of a frigid nature. Hence some call it the Tower of Jupiter, as he [i.e., Aristotle] narrates in his Pythagorics. But others denominate it Guardian of Jupiter, as Aristotle relates in the present treatise. And according to others it is the Throne of Jupiter.They called, however, the earth a star, as being itself an instrument of time; for it is the cause of day and night.' (For the above see Taylor's Myst. Hymns, pp. 155-157.) All of which proves that the Pythagoreans knew of the sphericity of the earth and its revolution on its own axis, and further the real cause of gravity; for if we recollect what has been said above of Rhea, the primal source of life and magnetism, and the pole, the seat of Rhea, it will be easy to understand why Vesta, her eldest daughter, is described by the above mystical names. Microcosmically, again, Vesta is the 'ether in the heart' of the Upanishads, the 'flame' of life; and he who knows the mysteries of Tapas, that practice which calls to its aid the creative, preservative, and regenerative powers of the universe, as Shankarâchârya explains in his Bhâshya on the Mundakopanishad (i), will easily comprehend the importance of Vesta both macrocosmically and microcosmically.
Now Proclus (Crat., see Myst. Hymns, pp. 195-197) tells us that Ceres 'comprehends Vesta and Juno; in her right hand parts Juno, who pours forth the whole order of souls; but in her left hand parts Vesta, who leads forth all the light of virtue ...... For Ceres, our sovereign mistress, not only generates life, but that which gives perfection to life; and this from supernal natures to such as are last; for virtue is the perfection of souls ........ Again, the conjunction of the demiurgic intellect with the vivific causes is triple [Rhea-Ceres, Juno and Proserpine] ; for it is conjoined with the fountains prior [Page 138] to itself [Rhea]; is present with its kindred co-ordinate natures [Juno]; and co-energizes with the orders posterior to itself [Proserpine, daughter of Ceres and Jupiter]. For it is present with the mother prior to itself convertively (ἐπιστρεπτικὣϛ ) with Proserpine posterior to itself providentially (προνοητικὣϛ ); and with Juno co-ordinate to itself with amatory energy ( ἐρασμίωϛ). Hence Jupiter is said to be enamoured of Juno........ And this love indeed is legal, but the other two appear to be illegal. This Goddess [Juno] therefore produces from herself, in conjunction with the demiurgus and father, all the genera of souls, the supermundane [ supercosmic ] and mundane [cosmic ], the celestial and sublunary, the divine, angelic, demoniacal, and partial [? human]....... Through this ineffable union therefore of these divinities, the world participates of intellectual souls. They also give subsistence to intellects who are carried in souls [the soul being the psychic and substantial envelope of the monad, and the intellect the mind], and who together with them give completion to the whole fabrication of things. The series of our sovereign mistress, Juno, beginning from on high, pervades to the last of things; and her allotment in the sublunary region [ on the elemental plane] is the air. For air is a symbol of soul, according to which also soul is called a spirit – (πνεὓμα ); just as fire is an image of intellect, but water of nature, by which the world is nourished ( τἣϛ κοσμοτρόφου φύσεωϛ ), through which all nutriment and increase are produced. But earth is the image of body, through its gross and material nature' .
From which we get the following interesting correspondences with the Vedântic koshas or envelopes.
correspond to the Kâma Rûpa, Prâna, Linga Sharira and
Sharira of the Esoteric Philosophy; this being all in the Sublunary Region.
(For the meaning of 'Nature' see Chapter VI, 'On Nature and Emanation'.)
But let us now leave the Noëric Order and pass on to the Supercosmic.
the three syzygies of Zeus (Ceres, Juno and Proserpine) Proserpine is in
the Supercosmic Order, and following the usual correspondence and analogy,
as Proclus says (ibid.), 'possesses triple powers, and impartibly
and uniformly comprehends three monads of Gods. But she is called Core
( κόρη )
through the purity of her essence, and her undefiled transcendency in her
generations. She also possesses a first, middle, and last empire. And according
to her summit, indeed, she is called Diana by Orpheus; but according to
her middle Proserpine; and according to the extremity of the order Minerva'.
From the union of Core with Zeus in the Supercosmic Order, Bacchus is born. But this Zeus is the Celestial Jupiter who is the invisible ruler over the Inerratic Sphere of the Visible Cosmos, and Core is then said to be the 'connective unity of the three vivific principles', viz., the 'zoogonic triad', Diana-Proserpine-Minerva. Whereas the Core that is conjoined with Pluto or Hades is Core, as Proserpine, her middle aspect.
Now Pluto is 'Subterranean Jupiter', the invisible ruler over the Sublunary Region of the Visible Cosmos. And it is in this connection and aspect that she begets the Furies, for she 'imparts vivification to the last of things', and the Furies are only the elemental correspondences of the supernal Karmic Deities, Adrastia, Necessity and Fate. [Page 140]
'Hence in the Proserpine conjoined with Pluto [i.e., the lower Core], you will find the peculiarities of Hecate and Minerva; but these extremes subsist in her occultly, while the peculiarity of the middle [Proserpine] shines forth, and that which is characteristic of ruling soul, which in the supermundane Core was of a ruling nature, but here subsists according to a mundane peculiarity'.
And Proserpine is said to derive her name mystically 'through separating souls perfectly from bodies, through a conversion to things on high, which is the most fortunate slaughter and death, to such as are worthy of it' (ibid.).
Now the King of the Dead in the ordinary sense is Hades or Pluto. But there was another death — 'a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness'. It was by Core, the pure, the spouse of the 'king of terrors', that the bright side of death was revealed, and so she was pre-eminent in the Mysteries, and the 'Rape of Proserpine' was enacted for the instruction of all neophytes, in a mystical drama ( δρἃμαμυστικὸν — Clemens Alexandrinus, Cohort., I. ii. 12.). In the drama she was symbolically represented as having 'two ordinary eyes, and two in her forehead, with her face at the back of her neck, and horned' (Athenagoras, xx.292) – this signifying spiritual sight, or the possession of the so-called 'third eye', and other spiritual powers. It is interesting to read in the same passage of Athenagoras, that Zeus after dismembering his father and taking the kingdom, pursued his mother Rhea who refused his nuptials. 'But she having assumed a serpent form, he also assumed the same form, and having bound her, with what is called the “Noose of Hercules” ( τῷ καλουμένῳ Ήρακλειωτικῳ ἄμματι ), was joined with her. And the symbol of this transformation is the Rod of Hermes [the Caduceus]. And afterward he violated his daughter Proserpine [ who was born from the above [P 141] mentioned union], she too, assuming a serpentine form'.
Now Hercules is a transformation of the 'Dragon of Wisdom', Phanes, for the 'god is a twisted dragon ( δράκωνἑλικτὸϛ )' — a certain spiral force, called Kundalini (the 'serpentine') among the Hindu mystics, which lies coiled in three and a half coils in man; it is a fiery energy which must be roused before the 'third eye' will open. The Caduceus of Hermes is a symbolical wand, consisting of a male and female serpent twisted round a central wand, which is sometimes also represented as a serpent. In treatises on Yoga, the male force is called the Pingalâ (the sun force), and the female Idâ (the moon force) and the centre tract is denominated Sushumna, whose locus in man is said to be the spinal cord, for the symbolism applies to man as well as to the universe. Here we have another clear proof that the Greater Mysteries dealt with practical psychological instruction, and that their inner secrets pertained to Theurgy and the Yoga-art. These spiral creative, vital and magnetic currents are, in the psychic envelope of man, what the serpentine Phanes is in the World-Egg, which symbol has been already explained.
Now the work that Core performs is that of weaving; she plies her shuttle in 'the roaring loom of time', and weaves out the universe. Thus we read in Proclus (Theol. Plat., VI. ii.371): 'The story of the theologists who handed on to us the tradition of the most holy Mysteries at Eleusis, is that she [Core-Proserpine] remains above in the house of her mother [Ceres], which her mother with her own hands prepared in the inaccessible regions'. And so when she proceeds from her own habitation, she is said (Proclus, Tim., V.307) 'to have left her webs unfinished, and to have been carried off [by Pluto] and married'. And the same writer (Crat., p. 24) tells us that 'she is said to weave the diacosm [Page 142] of life'. And Claudianus (Rapt., i.254) speaks of a goddess weaving a web for her mother, 'and in it she marks out the procession of the element and the paternal seats with her needle, according to the laws whereby her mother Nature has decreed'.
And Diodorus (V.3) tells us that when Proserpine dwelt with her sisters Diana and Minerva, she 'weaved a robe for Zeus'. And we are also told by Sidonius (Carm., XV.354) that Minerva also worked a mantle marvellously interwoven with pictures of the sky and sea, like the robe which Plutarch describes (Vit. Demetrii, xli) as 'the image of the cosmos and heavenly phenomena'. All of which plainly shows us the part played by Core macrocosmically, and also the part enacted by this power in weaving the vital vesture of man.
Now Proclus (Crat., see Taylor, Myst. Hymns, p. 201) quotes a verse of Orpheus which says that Core bore to Zeus 'nine azure-eyed flower-weaving daughters'. These are most probably the Muses, for whom I must refer the reader to Chapter VI, 'The Gods and their Shaktis'. It is interesting to remark that there was a feast in honour of Core-Proserpine, the Anthesphoria, for Proserpine was carried off while 'plucking flowers', that is to say was distracted from her work by the attraction of the senses. Thus the Muses, her daughters, are said to be flower-weaving, for, as shown above, they are the higher side of psychic sensation and emotion, whereas the Sirens are the lower. Perhaps this may with advantage be compared with a phrase of the Fragment from the Book of the Golden Precepts, called 'The Voice of the Silence', rendered into English by H. P. Blavatsky, who in referring to these realms graphically portrays this 'pleasure-ground of sense' as filled with blossoms and 'under every flower a serpent coiled'. [Page 143]
Diana is the Chaldaean Hecate, but her three aspects so closely resemble those of Core that it would take too long to explain the niceties of distinction in this place. Of Minerva, again, much could be said, but it is only necessary here to refer to two of her characteristics, the 'defensive' and 'perfective', thus explaining why she is armed and a warrior goddess, and why she is also the goddess of wisdom, 'For the former characteristic preserves the order of wholes undefiled, and unvanquished by matter, and the latter fills all things with intellectual delight' (Proc. Crat. loc, cit,).
Plato in Timaeus calls her both 'philo-polemic' and 'philo-sophic',
And of the three aspects of Minerva the highest is noëric, the second
supercosmic, and the third liberated, In the first she is with Zeus, in
the second with Core, and in the third 'she perfects and guards the whole
world, and circularly invests it with her powers, as with a veil' (ibid,).
In her guardian capacity she is called Pallas, but in her perfective Minerva.
Now 'Orpheus says that Zeus brought her forth from his head — “shining forth in full panoply, a brazen flower to see ........(Proc. Tim., i. 51).
And in so far as she 'circularly invests the world with her powers', Minerva is the revealer of the 'rhythmical dance' of the celestial bodies (Proc. Crat. p.118), Moreover 'while she remains with the demiurgus [Zeus] she is wisdom, but when she is with the “leading” Gods [the supercosmic demiurgic powers] , she reveals the power of virtue' (Proc. Tim. i, 52).
'Marine Jupiter' (see Chart) is the reflection of Ocean, the 'separating
deity' who remained behind with Father [Page
when Saturn and the others revolted. As already explained so often these
gods have their aspects on every plane. Thus in the sublunary sphere we
are told that 'Heaven terminates, Earth corroborates, and Ocean moves all
generation' (Proc., Tim., v. 298). Here we see the reason why Neptune
is between Zeus and Pluto, a middle and not an extreme. The kingdom of
Neptune extends as far as the sublunary regions, all below that properly
belonging to Hades or Pluto. But there is yet another reflection of Ocean
and his consort Tethys ('who imparts permanency to the natures which are
moved by Ocean') in the sublunary regions themselves, so that 'their last
processions are their divisible allotments about the earth: both those
which are apparent on its surface, and those which under the earth separate
the kingdom of Hades from the dominion of Neptune' (Proc., Crat.;
Taylor, Myst. Hymns, p. 189) – a mysterious
I must leave to the reader to fathom.
It may be of advantage, however, to point out that the Earth was imagined as surrounded on all sides by Ocean, that Heaven was above and Tartarus below. Now of the three, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, 'Jupiter subsists according to being; but Neptune according to power; and Pluto according to intellect. And though all these divinities are the causes of the life of all things, yet one is so essentially, another vitally, and another intellectually...... Neptune is an intellectual demiurgic God, who receives souls descending into generation [ reincarnation]; but Hades is an intellectual demiurgic God, who frees souls from generation.
'For as our whole period receives a triple division, into a life prior to generation [beyond the sphere of reincarnation] which is Jovian, into a life in generation, which is Neptunian, and into a life posterior to generation which is Plutonian; Pluto, who is characterized by intellect, very properly converts [Page 145] [this being the characteristic of intellect] ends to beginnings, effecting a circle without a beginning and without an end, not only in souls, but also in every fabrication of bodies, and in short of all periods; which circle also he perpetually convolves.Thus for instance, he converts the ends to the beginnings of the souls of the stars, and the convolution of souls about generation and the like. [He is Lord of the Cycle of Generation and the Cycle of Necessity, and the Guardian of the “Ring Pass Not”, on every plane.] Whereas Jupiter is the guardian of the life of souls prior to generation' (loc. cit., ibid., pp. 190 -192.).
Socrates in the Cratylus denies that Pluto has anything to do with the wealth of the earth or that Hades is 'invisible, dark and dreadful'. He refers the name of Pluto, as intellect, to the wealth of prudence, and that of Hades to an intellect knowing all things. 'For this God is a sophist [in a goodsense], who, purifying souls after death, frees them from generation. For Hades is not, as some improperly explain it, evil: for neither is death evil; though Hades to some appears to be attended with perturbations [ ἐμπαθῶϛ – of a passional nature, a state of emotion]; but it is invisible [Hades meaning the Unseen] and better than the apparent; such as is everything intelligible. Intellect, therefore, in every triad of beings convolves itself to being and the paternal cause, imitating in its energy the circle' (ibid.).
But indeed the kâmalokic aspect of this Unseen is dreadful for the evil; still Socrates preferred to insist more on the devachanic aspect, and, therefore, Proclus continues: 'Men who are lovers of body badly [erroneously] refer to themselves the passions of the animated nature, and on this account consider death to be dreadful, as being the cause of corruption. The truth, however, is, that it is much better for man to die and live in Hades a life according to nature, since [Page 146] a life in conjunction with body is contrary to nature, and is an impediment to intellectual energy. Hence it is necessary to divest ourselves of the fleshly garments with which we are clothed, as Ulysses did of his ragged vestments, and no longer like a wretched mendicant, together with the indigence of body, put on our rags. For, as the Chaldaean Oracle says, “Things divine cannot be obtained by those whose intellectual eye is directed to body; but those only can arrive at the possession of them who stript of their garments hasten to the summit”, (ibid., p. 193).
so we are finally told that: 'Neptune, when compared with Jupiter [the one],
is said to know many things; but Hades, compared with souls to
whom he imparts knowledge, is said to know all things;
though [in fact] Neptune is more total than Hades' (ibid.).
And thus we bid farewell to the demiurgic triad of the Supercosmic Order, or Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, the Creator, Preserver and Regenerator, or Celestial Jove, Marine Jove and Subterranean Jove.
next pass to Apollo, who is said, conformably to Orpheus, to be in the
Supercosmic Order what Jupiter is in the Noëric Order (Taylor, Myst.
p. 83, n.). This is Apollo as a monad. But just as Jupiter has three reflections
in the Order immediately below him (see Chart of Orphic Theogony), so Apollo
has also his triple reflection in the Liberated Order. (Compare also Chart
of Chaldaean Theogony)
In Hymn XXXIV , Apollo is said to 'fix his roots beyond the starry-eyed darkness'. Now Apollo, the Sun, is something vastly different from the visible orb of day, according to this theology. For this 'starry-eyed darkness' is the sphere [Page 147] of the fixed stars, the region immediately beyond which consists of the ethereal worlds, which according to the Chaldaeans are three. 'For they assert that there are seven corporeal worlds, one empyrean and the first; after this, three ethereal, and then three material worlds, which last consist of the inerratic sphere, the seven planetary spheres and the sublunary regions.' (Taylor, op. cit., p. 78; see also Chart of Chaldaean Theogony, and also Chart of the Muses, supra.)
It is somewhat difficult to make out precisely what these Ethereal Worlds are. The worlds, however, are apparently in triads, just as the Powers are. Thus there seem to be three triads, Heaven, Earth and Sea, each reflecting the other, with an all-containing Aether encompassing all, and thus we get the scale:
Thus we read in Orpheus, quoted by Proclus (Tim., i.96), that the Demiurgus was counselled by Night to 'surround all things with Aether; and in its midst to place the Heaven; and in that, the boundless Earth [Earth Proper, Prima Materia, that which Eugenius Philalethes assures us, on his honour, no man has seen]; and in that, the Sea [Astral Envelope]; and in that all the Stars wherewith Heaven crowns his head'. [Page 148]
'We also learn from Psellus, that according to the Chaldaeans there are two Solar Worlds; one of which is subservient to the ethereal profundity ; the other zonaic, being one of the seven [planetary] spheres' (Taylor, ibid.). From which I deduce that this Upper Solar World belongs to the Azonic or Liberated Order.
And Proclus (Tim., i.264) informs us further, that 'the most mystical of the logia have handed on that the wholeness [monadic essence] of the Sun is in the supercosmic order; for there is the [true ] Solar World, and the totality of light, as the Chaldaean Oracles say'. From which I further deduce that the Sun is a monad and a triad, and a hebdomad, respectively on the supercosmic, liberated and cosmic planes.For by 'wholeness' Proclus means 'the sphere in which the visible orb of the sun is fixed, and which is called a “wholeness”, because it has a perpetual subsistence, and comprehends in itself all the multitude of which it is the cause' (Taylor, ibid.). That is to say, that sphere which gives the solar power to all the stars, which are equally suns with our own sun.
And thus it is that Julian, the Emperor (Orat., v), says: 'The orb of the [true] Sun revolves in the starless [spheres, which transcend the visible stars], much above the inerratic sphere. Hence it is not the middle of the planets, but of the three [ethereal] worlds, according to the telestic hypothesis'.
And so we can understand the meaning of Apollo being 'rooted beyond the starry-eyed darkness'. For in symbology these 'roots' signify his divine origin. The 'heavenly trees' have all their roots upward, and branches below; compare this with the Ashvattha Tree in the Upanishads and Gîtâ. And Proclus (Parmen., vi) finely explains the symbology by writing: [Page 149]
‘As trees by their extremities are firmly established in the earth, and all that pertains to them is through this earthly; after the same manner are divine natures by their extremities rooted in the one, and each of them is a unity and one, through an unconfused union with the one itself.'
But we must leave this interesting subject, and put off the symbology of Apollo's Lyre till a later chapter. With Apollo is closely associated Hermes (Mercury) who is also said to have invented the lyre. But, indeed, we must hasten to bring our Orphic Pantheon to a conclusion, for it has already run into greater length than was intended. Many other names could be introduced, and many interesting side-paths of mythology entered into, but these must be reserved for another occasion. Of Venus, Mars, and Vulcan, however, we must say a few words.
are three main aspects of Venus, one connected with Uranus, the second
with Saturn, and the third with Jupiter. The name of the middle Venus is
Dione. Venus issaid
to be produced from sea-foam, the creative energy of the father being cast
into the sea. And the highest and lowest Venus are said to be 'united with
each other through a similitude of subsistence: for they both proceed from
generative powers; one from that of the connectedly containing power of
Heaven, and the other from Jupiter, the Demiurgus. But the sea signifies
an expanded and circumscribed life; its profundity, the universally extended
progression of such life; and its foam, the greatest purity of nature,
that which is full of prolific light and power, and that which swims upon
all life, and is as it were its highest flower' (Proc., Crat., Taylor,
Myst. Hymns, p. 194).
And Venus is married to Vulcan, who, the theologists say, [Page 150] ‘forges everything' (Proc., Tim., ii.101), that is to say, Vulcan is the formative power, and Venus the vivific.
'Venus, according to her first subsistence, ranks among the supermundane divinities. She is the cause of all the harmony and analogy in the universe, and of the union of form and matter, connecting and comprehending the powers of all the mundane elements' (Taylor, op. cit., p. 113, n. ).
As to Mars, Proclus (Plat. Rep., p. 388) tells us that he is the source of division and motion, separating the contrarieties of the universe, which he also perpetually excites, and immutably preserves in order that the world may be perfect and filled with forms of every kind ....... But he requires the assistance of Venus that he may insert order and harmony into things contrary and discordant'.
Thus we see that, in the Sensible World Vulcan is the Creator, Venus the Preserver, and Mars the Regenerator. And so the myth exhibits Vulcan as the legitimate husband, but Mars as the lover of Venus.
As to Mars, the God of War, this is a vulgar conception; in reality, as says Hermias (Phaedr.), ‘the “slaughter” which is ascribed to Mars signifies a divulsion from matter through rapidly turning from it, and no longer energizing physically, but intellectually. For slaughter, when applied to the Gods, may be said to be an apostasy from secondary natures, just as slaughter in this terrestrial region signifies a privation ofthe present life'.
finally Taylor tells us (op. cit., p. 129, n.) that: ‘Vulcan
is that divine power which presides over the spermatic and physical productive
powers which the universe contains; for whatever Nature [the psycho-physical
forces] accomplishes by verging to bodies, that Vulcan effects in a divine
and exempt manner, by moving Nature, and using her as an instrument in
his own proper fabrication.' [Page
I n order finally to complete the subject, we must add a few more notes on the Constructive and Preservative Powers.
this connection I would refer the reader to what has been already said
of the Titans, and especially of the Cyclopes and Centimani, the Primal
Architects and Guardian Powers. Now Hermias (Phaedr., Taylor, op.
pp. 12.-14) tells us that:
'Theology says that figure is first unfolded into light in these, and that the divinities, the Cyclopes, are the first principles and causes of the figures which subsist everywhere. Hence theology says that they are “manual artificers”. For this triad [Cyclopes] is perfective of figures, “And in their forehead one round eye was fix'd” (Hesiod, Theog., V.145). [This has reference to the “third eye” and the creative force of the power which energizes thereby.]
'In the Parmenides, likewise, Plato, when he speaks of the straight, the circular, and that which is mixed [from both these], obscurely indicates this order. [The “straight” (1), or diameter, or “bound”, is the paternal creative power; the “circular” (ο), or circumference, or “infinity”, is the maternal vitalizing power; and the “mixed” (all numbers) is the resulting universe, or the son.]
'But these Cyclopes, as being the first causes of figures taught Minerva and Vulcan the various species of figures....... For (1) Vulcan is the cause of corporal figures, and of every mundane figure; but (2) Minerva of the psychical and intellectual figure; and (3) the [triple] Cyclopes of divine, and the everywhere existing figure'.
This is the line of the Architects and Builders. But closely united with them is the triad of the Centimani, both triads being in the Noëtic-noëric Order, for as Hermias tells [Page 152] us (ibid.), 'the triad of the Centimani is a guardian nature'.
reflection of this Guardian Triad is found on both the noëric and
supercosmic planes, in the triads (and also hebdomads) respectively of
the Curetes and Corybantes.
The Curetes and Corybantes are frequently confused; they are the Guardians of the Creative Power, while it is yet too weak to defend itself. Therefore they watch over Zeus when a child. Now as the Guardians are closely associated with the Formative Powers, we naturally find the appropriate Minervas associated with both the Curetes and Corybantes, they being armed as she is armed (Proc., Polit., p. 387). These Guardian Powers are also given the dragon-form (Nonnus, vi.123).
So much for the Orphic Pantheon, an apparent chaos of unmeaning verbiage, but on closer inspection, a marvellous procession and return of divine and nature powers, ever revealing similar characteristics in orderly sequence, and affording an example of permutation and combination according to law, that it will be difficult to find paralleled elsewhere. But the most stupendous thought of all is, that all this multiplicity is, after all, One Deity; emanating, evolving, converting and reabsorbing itself; creating and preserving, destroying and regenerating itself; the Self, by itself, knowing itself, and separating from itself, and transcending itself. [Page 153]
On the Mysteries and Symbolism
I HAVE no intention in this chapter to do anything more than touch in a most superficial manner on the general subject of the Mysteries, of which Orpheus is said, traditionally, to have been the founder. The distinction between the various kinds of Mysteries, their history and development, and the nature of their rites and observances, pertain to the very heart of the Grecian theology; but the treatment of this grandiose and marvellously interesting subject must be reserved for greater leisure and opportunity for research than are mine at present. The Eleusinian, Orphic, Bacchic, Samothracian, Phrygian, Egyptian, Chaldaean and other Mysteries all came from a common source. In Greece these rites became in time mostly identified with the name of Bacchus, who was the son of Zeus and Core in the Supercosmic Order. (See Chapter VII, 'Vesta - Ceres - Juno'.)
later times it was believed that the Cult of Bacchus was introduced into
Greece from India. This was owing to the fact that the Greeks in the army
of Alexander the Great, having observed similar rites among the Indians,
came to the erroneous conclusion that the Bacchic Mysteries were introduced
directly from India, and this view was all the more insisted on by the
writers of the time in order to flatter Alexander who was said to have
been worshipped as Bacchus himself by the oriental nations whom he reduced
to his sway.
The truth of the matter is that the Mystic Rites of both [Page 154] the Greeks and Indians, as has been shown above, came from the same archaic source.
The theory that the legend of the conquests of Bacchus in India was nothing more than a bastard mythical adulation of Alexander was first brought forward by Fréret (Mém. de I' Acad., xxiii. 255 ). But Bacchus was far older in Greece than the time of Alexander; for as Gail says (Recherche sur la Nature duCulte de Bacchus, p. 14), 'Bacchus was recognized as a god before the Hellenes had driven out the Pelasgi'.In the same passage the writer proves that the date of the Bacchic rites in Greece must be pushed back at least as far as 1500 B.C.
The general consensus of opinion among the later mythological writers, therefore, that Bacchus was born in India, must be received with the greatest possible caution. The wild comparative Grecian and Hindu mythology and Greek and Sanskrit philology, attempted by such writers as Wilford, Sir William Jones, and Pococke, must also be received with the greatest possible caution; for they all went on the theory of direct borrowing, instead of tracing both lines of descent up to a common source.
Apollodorus (I. iii.2.) tells us that 'Orpheus discovered ( εὓρε ) the Mysteries of Dionysus'. That is to say, that he found them elsewhere and introduced them into Greece; in other words, these Mysteries came from a remote antiquity. And so Lactantius (Instit., i.22.): 'Orpheus was the first to bring the Mysteries of Dionysus into Greece ......... and these Mysteries are called Orphic to our day'. And so also Diodorus (iii.64) and Herodotus (ii).
Mysteries were looked upon as the Perfections of Virtue, the blossoming
of the flower and promise of manhood. Thus Charondas (Stob., xliv.289)
speaks of 'initiation [Page
the greatest and most perfect rite, meaning thereby the flower of perfect
manhood' ( τελεἳσθαι τὴν μεγίστην καἳ τελεωτάτην, ἀνδραγαθίαν μυούμενοϛ .
And thus also they were called 'the efflorescence of virtue' (τὰ ὄργια τἣϛ ἀρετἣϛ) — orgia signifying
'burstings forth' or 'efflorescence'.
These Mystic Rites were guarded in the greatest secrecy and had nothing to do directly with the public worship and sacrifices. The punishment for revealing their secrets was death.
It is interesting to set down here one of the oaths taken by neophytes. It is attributed to Orpheus and cited by Justin (Cohort., XV.78), and Cyril (i.33, A): 'So help me Heaven, work of God, great and wise; so help me the Word ( αὐδὴν ) of the Father which he first spake, when he established the whole universe in his wisdom.' (See also Chron. Alex., p. 47, D, where the same oath is attributed to Hermes Trismegistus).
That these rites were designed for the welfare of mankind and the perfection of the highest virtue is borne out by the note of Taylor (Myst. Hymns, p. 131), who tells us that: 'In the hymn to Apollo, Orpheus, or, as he wrote those hymns for the Mysteries, the initiating priest, prays for the welfare of all mankind.'
The perfection of the highest virtue and the opening of the real spiritual senses constituted the highest degree of the Mysteries; another and most important part of the discipline was the training in the interpretation of myth, symbol, and allegory, the letters of the mystical language in which the secrets of nature and the soul were written, so plainly for the initiated, so obscurely for the general. Without this instruction, the mythical recitals and legends were unintelligible. They were and are still unintelligible. Every interpretation [Page 156] has been attempted, the favourite rendering being the 'sun-myth theory' — interpretations that are more fantastic than the mythical tales themselves. Of these perhaps the most naively grotesque are Faber's Noachian theory, as set forth in his Cabiri, and the strange conceit of Goropius Becanus who, in his Thaumatoscopion Symbolicum, says: 'I therefore assert and proclaim that the Grecian fables contain neither Indian theosophy, nor Hermetic philosophy, nor physics, nor metaphysics, but simply the art of cookery!' All of which he proceeds to demonstrate at great length with a wealth of learned lunacy.
symbols of the Mysteries and the mythical narrations summed up and explained
the workings of occult nature and the powers, faculties and nature of the
human soul. Mere rationalistic speculation, warped theological prejudice,
and the grotesque perversions of diseased philology, are, therefore, all
absolutely incompetent even to understand the nature of the problem they
fondly imagine they have solved.
Let us, therefore, take a few more instances of this symbolical and mythological method.
Alcman, the famous lyric poet of Sparta, tells us (Welcher, Frag. xxv), that Dionysus was fed on lion's milk. Further, Herodotus (V.92.) mentions an oracle which declares, 'an eagle lays her egg on the rocks and gives birth to a lion', and Aristophanes, who frequently ventured to jest concerning the Mysteries, says (Eqq., 1037), 'There is a woman who shall give birth to a lion in Holy Athens'. Compare this with what has been said above concerning the mystical birth at Eleusis, and the Egg and triple-formed God, with the heads of a lion, etc., Dionysus was the perfected candidate, he was fed on lion's milk, the spiritual influx of the higher mind, [Page 157] born from the Egg of the Great Bird, the Cosmic Mother.
In the Mysteries, the Mystae were clad in a fawn skin ( νεβρίϛ), as we are told by Aristophanes (Ran., 1242.). Euripides (Bacch., 138) calls this skin 'the sacred vesture' ( ἱερὸν ἐνδυτὸν νεβρίδα ). The legend runs that when Bacchus cameforth from the thigh of Jupiter, Mercury received him on a fawn skin (Mus. Pia Clem., tom. iv, pI. 19). In Hymn LII Orpheus sings of Bacchus as clothed with fawn skins. Bacchus as conqueror in India is represented with a fawn skin spangled with stars (Nonn., xiv.239). Diodorus (I.ii) calls it an emblem of the heavenly vault. Arrows could not pierce this 'skin', and Nonnus (p. 1252., 8vo ed.) tells us that 'the hills burst asunder touched by the magic skin of Lyaeus' (Comp. Gail, Recherches, pp. 111, 203, and 205). We sometimes also find mention of a leopard or tiger skin. In the Mahâbhârata, the great religious epic of India, directions are given for the practice of Yoga or Theurgy, and among other receipts the aspirant is instructed to lay a deer skin or tiger skin on kusha grass as a seat upon which to practise mystic meditation. From all of which it appears that the fawn skin was not only a symbol, but also of physical service. It appears to have been a symbol of that starry or 'astral' vesture or envelope which is the storehouse of all forces and substances in each man's universe, and which must not be confounded with the so-called 'astral body'. Its physical use was for the purpose of assisting in the concentration of the magnetic aura. It was only apparently when the candidate had reached the first degree of outer initiation that he was clothed with this skin, the verb νεβρίζειν , the technical term for the investiture with the skin, being explained by Photius (Lex.,sub voc. as – ὡϛ τοὓ τελοὓντοϛ τοὺϛ τελουμένουϛ τούτῳ καταζών νυντοϛ ” [Page 158] where the technical word for initiation is twice employed.
candidates also carried in their hands thyrsi or wands, headed with pine-cones,
which were generally covered with ivy. This explains the phrase 'many thyrsus-bearers
there are, but few Bacchi'. The symbology of the thyrsus must betaken
together with that of the Caduceus, the 'Rod of Hermes'.
Clemens Alexandrinus (Cohort., I. ii. 12.) quotes the mystic sentence, 'bull is father of dragon, and dragon of bull; on the height the hidden goad, that gathers the herd together’ (ταὓροϛ δράκοντοϛ καὶ δράκων ταύρου πατήρ, ἐν ὅρει τὸ κρύφιον βουκόλοϛ τὸ κέντρον. ) The hidden or mystic goad is this same thyrsus, the staff of which was made out of the light, pithy stalk of an umbelliferous plant, which was fabled to have contained the 'fire' that Prometheus brought downfrom heaven (Hes, op. 52.,Theog., 567; and also in Aesch., Prom. Vinct., ἐν νάρθηκι κεκρυμένον. Many writers assume that the narthex (fennel stalk) or ferule, and the thyrsus or wand, were two different things, but it seems more probable that the one was part of the other. Moser in his notes on Nonnus (p. 241) tells us that the narthex or ferule was a hollow rod, in which fire could be carried.
Bacchus is said to have used this narthex for the taming of lions, for combat, and for splitting in two the rocks (Nonnus, 1086, 884, 1118).
Now these thyrsi were covered with ivy or vine tendrils. Bacchus, 'god of wine', is covered with vine tendrils and grape bunches, and so are his worshippers. All these symbols have considerably puzzled the commentators, who have wandered off after their vintage festivals and got drunk on the wine of gross materiality. The Sûfis at least could have [Page 159] told them what wine meant, and the Christ, too, in his wonder-working at Cana.
The thyrsus in which the sacred fire is hidden, is in every man, the Sushumnâ Nâdi of the Indian mystic. The narthex is physically the spinal-cord, and the pine-cone at its head is the pineal gland. The ivy and vine leaves and fruits are the Nâdis and Chakras, the nerve ganglia and ramifications. Prometheus has indeed hidden the sacred fire in 'a fennel stalk'. Why do certain Sannyâsis in India carry a seven-knotted bamboo-cane ? But this subject has been sufficiently dealt with elsewhere in modern theosophical literature.
Another of the symbolical instruments was the so-called winnowing-fan, which Virgil (Georg., i.166) names the 'mystic fan of Iacchus'. Servius, in his notes on this passage, and also on Aen., vi.741, tells us that there were three symbolical purifications, viz., by (a) fire, (b) water, and (c) air. These purifications of the soul (Liberi Patris sacra ad purgationem animae pertinebant et sic homines ejus mysteriis purgabantur) were physically symbolized by (a) the burning of resinous gums and sulphur, (b) by ablutions or baptisms, and (c) by fanning (ventilatio).
is curious to notice that in the earlier days of the Church two fans or
flabella were used at the celebration of the Eucharist — a custom
which is still in vogue in the Greek and Armenian Churches. This flabellum
is called by Cyril of Scythopolis in his Life of St. Euthymius (§ 70;
c. A.D. 550) the 'mystic fan' ( μετὰ τἣϛ μυστικῆϛ ῥιπίδοϛ);
while the Euchologion, the most comprehensive Service Book of
the Eastern Church based on the liturgies of Chrysostom and Basil, calls
it the 'holy fan' ( ἄγιον ῥιπίδιον).
The flabellum in ordinary use in the Greek Church represents [Page 160] the head of a Cherub or Seraph surrounded with six wings, and is explained mystically by references to lsaiah vi.2., and Revelation iv.6, 8. Flabella were also made of a single disc of silver and brass surrounded with little bells, recalling somewhat the sistrum of Egypt. So much for the Mystica Vannus Iacchi, the physical symbol of the spiritual (spiritus = ventus divinus) purification.
Bacchic legend tells us that the young god was seized upon by the Titans
while intent on his playthings, and torn in pieces as narrated above. The
symbols of this particular mystery are given by Clemens (Admon.,
p. 11) as a die ( ὰστράγαλοϛ),
a spinning top ( στρόβιλοϛ),
a ball ( σφαἳρα),
apples ( μἣλα ),
a magic wheel (ῥόμβοϛ),
a mirror ( ἕσοπτρον )
and a fleece ( πόκοϛ).
Arnobius (V. xix) gives them from Orpheus as dice (talos), a mirror
(speculum), tops (turbines), winged or flying wheels (volatiles
rotulas), and the apples taken from the Hesperides (sumta ab
The sport (lîlâ) of Vishnu is the building of the universe; the sport of young Bacchus, as a cosmic force, is also the building of the universe; and, as the young soul, is the evolution of vehicles, forms or bodies, in which to reside. Such bodies are built according to the types and designs in the Great Mind, upon which the Builder contemplates.
Proclus (Tim., iii.163) tells us that the theologists understood the mirror as signifying the means whereby all things were fitly arranged here below according to the noëtic types. They say that it was Vulcan who fabricated this mirror for Bacchus, and that Bacchus seeing his own image in its surface, went forth after it. And so he sought his image in matter and went forth with desire, and was confined in matter and became a partible soul, or many [Page 161] personalities, and thus was torn in pieces by the Titans.
Plotinus (Enn., IV .iii), referring to this mirror of Dionysus, says that the souls of men, when they have once seen the image of their true selves, hasten above. That is to say that the soul having become partible must retrace its path to return to its pristine state. And just as it saw its reflection in the sensible world, and went forth after it, so must it now contemplate its type or idea in the supersensible, noëtic or spiritual world, and be joined thereto.
Bastius (ad Gregor., p. 241) explains that the spinning-top has the same symbology as the pine-cone, and that the flying wheel is the same as the discus or thunder-bolt. Both words mean also a vortex or spiral whorl. Mystics say that the forces playing round the pineal gland are of this nature, and are reflections of the great creative forces which fashion 'wheels' or globes in space.
Bastius further tells us (Lobeck, op. cit., p. 700), that in the Mysteries the 'cone' was a small piece of wood of that shape, round which a cord was wound, so that it might be made to spin and give out a 'humming noise’. As the Upanishad has it 'The sun as he moves chants Om'. This 'cone' was also called the 'Heart of Bacchus'.
With regard to dice it is interesting to bear in mind the 'city set four-square' and the 'sacred four' in all its variations, and also to recall the fact that the four great cycles or Yugas of the Hindus are named from the faces of a die (see also concerning the square and cube under 'The Orphic Lyre', infra).
Lydus (De Mensibus, p. 82.) says that the mirror symbolized the sky, and the ball the earth, but the mirror is rather that part of the world-envelope which is sometimes called the 'astral light'.
The golden apples of the Hesperides may very well represent [Page 162] the heart-shaped atom described by seers, and the golden fleece probably symbolized the higher robe of initiation, just as the fawn-skin typified the lower.
Many other symbols could be described, but for the present it will be sufficient to conclude with some remarks on
Orphic Lyre was the seven-stringed lute of Apollo. Among the Greeks the
favourite instruments of music were the tetrachord and heptachord, or the
four – and
seven-stringed lyres. Of their making there are many legends and myths.
The greater antiquity is given to the tetrachord, and Gesner (Orph.,
226, n.) refers to a picture found in the ruins of Herculaneum which represents
the original shape of the lyre
as a triangle.
The seven-stringed lyre is said to have been invented by Orpheus or Pythagoras.
The tetrachord was said by the Pythagoreans to have been built on the type of the four elements, and the heptachord on that of the seven planetary spheres.
Nicomachus the Pythagorean (Theol. Arith., vii.5 I) says: 'There are four elements, and three intervals between them, wherefore Linus the theologer says mystically, “four sources hold all with triple bonds”. For fire and earth are to one another in a geometrical proportion: as earth is to air, so is water to fire, and as fire to air so water to earth'.
These are admirably arranged by Proclus as follows:
|Subtle, Acute||Subtle, Blunt|
|Dense, Blunt||Dense, Blunt|
163] The tetrachord then reproduced the harmonical proportions of the elements,
and was used for certain so-called magical purposes.
The heptachord represented the harmony of the planetary spheres. Pythagoras is said to have had actual knowledgeof this harmony while out of the body. As Simplicius writes (on Aristotle, De Caelo., ii): 'If anyone, like Pythagoras, who is reported to have heard this harmony, should have his terrestrial body exempt from him, and his luminous and celestial vehicle, and the senses which it contains, purified, either through a good allotment [favourable karma, i.e., training in a previous life], or through a perfection arising from sacred operations [theurgy or yoga], such a one will perceive things invisible to others, and will hear things inaudible to others.'
Taylor (Theor. Arith., p. 244, n.; see also Myst. Hymns, p. 82., n.) tells us that according to this psychology 'the soul has three vehicles, one ethereal, another aërial, and the third this terrestrial body. The first, which is luminous and celestial, is connate with the essence of the soul, and in which alone it resides in a state of bliss in the stars [the Kârana Sharîra]. In the second it suffers the punishment of its sins after death [Sûkshma Sharîra]. And from the third it becomes an inhabitant of earth [Sthûla Sharîra]'.
Further in his Introduction to the Timaeus (Plat. Works, ii. 452.), he writes: 'The soul is conjoined with this gross body through two vehicles as mediums, one of which is ethereal and the other aërial, and of these the ethereal vehicle is simple and immaterial, but the aërial simple and material; and this dense earthly body is composite and material'.
The 'soul' here is the monadic sphere of individuality.
As then the tetrachord was attuned to the elemental or sublunary sphere and awoke the corresponding forces and [Page 164] brought them into relation with the gross body, so the heptachord was attuned to the harmony of the planetary spheres and brought the subtle or aërial body into sensible contact with their powers. Now Pythagoras, in his doctrine of theharmony of the spheres, called the interval between the Moon and Earth a tone, between the Moon and Mercury half a tone, between Mercury and Venus also half a tone, from Venus to the Sun a tone and a half, from the Sun to Mars a tone, from Mars to Jupiter half a tone; from Jupiter to Saturn half a tone, from Saturn to the Zodiac or Inerratic Sphere a tone.
Plato, in the Timaeus , following Pythagoras, divides the Soul of the World according to numbers, binds it by analogies and harmonic ratios, inserts in it the primary principles of geometrical figures, the right and circular line, which in motion generate the spirals, and 'intellectually moves the circles which it contains' (Taylor, Theor. Arith., xiv). The motion of the planetary spheres is spiral and appropriately so, says Taylor (Introd. Timaeus , Plat. Works, ii. 446), 'as it is a medium between the right-lined motion of the elements and the circular motion of the inerratic sphere; for a spiral is mixed from the right line and circle'.
Further the seven 'boundaries' of all numbers pre-exist in this Soul, and these are 1,2, 3,4,8,9,27, or 1, 2, 3, 2 ², 2 ³, 3 ², 3 ³.
Of these numbers, 1, 2, 3, are apportioned to the World-Soul itself in its intellectual or spiritual aspect, and signify its abiding in, proceeding from and returning to itself; this with regard to primary natures. But in addition, intermediate or subtle natures are providentially directed in their evolution and involution by the World-Soul, they proceed according to the power of the fourth term (4), 'which possesses generative powers', and return according to that [Page 165] of the fifth (9), 'which reduces them to one'. Finally also solid or gross natures are also providentially directed in their procession according to 8, and in their conversion by 27 (see Taylor, loc. cit., p. 442).
Hence we get the following table:
The central point of stability and abiding is 1; 2 is the number of division and differentiation, of proceeding or evolution; 3 the number of unification, integration, of returning or converting and involution. The above arrangement throws light on what has been pitch darkness to every commentator, and will at once be grasped by any student of the Esoteric Philosophy. The powers or indices of the numbers represent planes, and the numbers themselves the direction of forces. The key to the mysterious Pythagorean numbers lies this way. We should further recollect that as: xº = 1, therefore 2 º = 1 and 3 º = 1. The 1 therefore represents the plane of non-differentiation. The 2 column represents the evolution of vehicle, and the 3 column the development of consciousness.
'as the first numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 27, represented those powers of
the soul by which she abides in, proceeds from, and returns to, herself,
and causes the progression and conversion of the parts of universe — so,
in the second numbers. the sesquitertian, sesquialter, and other ratios
constitute the more particular ornament of the world; and, while they
subsist as wholes themselves, adorn the parts of its parts. (Taylor, ibid..
p. 443). [Page
These secondary numbers are given (p. 440) as:
|2 1||x||3 1||3 1||x||2 1|
|2 3||3 2|
|2 0||x||3 2||3 1||x||2 2|
|2 2||x||3 1||3 2||x||2 1|
|2 4||3 3|
|2 1||x||3 2||3 2||x||2 2|
|2 3||x||3 1||3 3||x||2 1|
|2 5||3 4|
|2 2||x||3 2||3 3||x||2 2|
|2 4||x||3 1||3 4||x||2 1|
These series can of course be continued indefinitely; but Taylor gives only two sets of five terms each. In music these embrace what were called the five symphonies, viz., (I) the diatessaron, or sesquitertian proportion, composed of two tones and a semi-tone; (2) the diapente or sesquialter proportion, composed from three tones and a semi-tone; (3) the diapason or duple proportion, consisting of six tones; (4) the diapason diapente, consisting of nine tones and a semi-tone; and (5) the disdiapason or quadruple proportion, [Page 167] which contains twelve tones. This, in music, pertained to what was called the 'greater system', containing two octaves, the range of the human voice.
proportion, or ratio, is when one number contains another and the half
of it besides, or 3: 2 ; sesquitertian proportion when a number contains
another and a third of it besides as 4: 3; sesquioctave proportion when
a number contains another and an eighth of it besides, as 9: 8.
From an inspection of the above table we find that all the ratios are formed in a perfectly orderly manner, being generated from the seven 'boundaries', as shown in the numeration of the World-Soul given above. These numbers, 1,2,3,4,8, 9 and 27, contain two tetractydes, as follows:
These are the even and the odd tetractydes, for the monad is considered as both odd and even. Now Theon of Smyrna (Math., p. 147, quoted by Taylor, Theor. Arith., p. 186) tells us that: 'The tetractys was not only principally honoured by the Pythagoreans, because all symphonies are found to exist within it, but also because it appears to contain the nature of all things' And thus the famous oath of the Pythagoreans was 'By him who delivered to our soul the tetractys, which contains the fountain and root of everlasting nature.'
these numbers the more perfect ratios of symphonies are found, and in them
a 'tone is comprehended'. The 'tones' of difference between the 'planets'
and 'spheres' mentioned above have here their place.
Taylor further tells us (ibid., p. 187) with regard to the tetractys: 'The monad ( 1) contains the productive principle of a point, but the second numbers 2 and 3 the principle of a side, since they are incomposite, and first are measured by [Page 168] the monad, and naturally measure a right line. The third terms are 4 and 9, which are in power a square superficies, since they are equally equal. And the fourth terms 8 and 27 being equally, equally equal, are in power a cube. Hence from these numbers, and this tetractys, the increase takes place from a point to a solid. For a side follows after a point, a superficies after a side, and a solid after a superficies. In these numbers also, Plato in the Timaeus constitutes the soul.‘But the last of these seven numbers, i.e., 27, is equal to all the numbers that precede it; for 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 8 + 9 = 27. There are, therefore, two tetractydes of numbers, one of which subsists by addition, but the other by multiplication, and they comprehend musical, geometrical, and arithmetical ratios, from which also the harmony of the universe consists'.
From all of which it is plainly evident that the Lyre of Apollo is something vastly different from a mere musical instrument, although indeed the tetrachord and heptachord of the Pythagoreans and Orphics were based on a really scientific knowledge of the harmonies of nature; and that the myths connected with it had nothing to do with an imaginary 'primitive man' producing barbarous music from a few strings and a tortoise - shell.
On the contrary the Lyre of Apollo is the balanced harmony of the spheres of evolving nature, and pertains to the mysteries of divine creation. Further, that as man is the mirror of the universe, he can tune his own nature to that of divine nature, and by such means can become a creator in his turn and a master of the cosmic powers, that mysterious ‘Army of the Voice' which in the Stanzas of Dzyan, are called the 'Spheres, Triangles, Cubes, Lines and Modellers'. But in order to do so, he must follow the Path of Purification and live that Orphic Life of which some details will now be given in the following chapter. [Page 169]
Orphic Discipline and Psychology
IN order to have some slight idea of Orphic morals, we may with advantage set down here one or two details of the Pythagorean discipline, which was of the same nature as that of the Orphic communities. The information is taken to some extent from Maury's Histoire des Religions de la Grèce (iii.367 sq.).
must first give ourselves up entirely to God. When a man prays he should
never ask for any particular benefit, fully convinced that that
will be given which is right and proper,
and according to the wisdom of God and not the subject of his own selfish
desires (Diod. Sic., ix.41 ). By virtue alone does man arrive at
blessedness, and this is the exclusive privilege of a rational being
(Hippodamus, De Felicitate,
ii, Orelli, Opusc. Graecor. Sent. et Moral., ii.284).
In himself, of his own nature, man is neither good nor happy, but he may
become so by the teaching of the true doctrine — (μαθήσιϛ καὶ προνοίαϛ ποτιδέεται,
— Hippo., ibid.). The
most sacred duty is filial piety. 'God showers his blessings on him who
honours and reveres the author of his days' — says Pampelus (De
Orelli, op. cit., ii.345). Ingratitude towards one's parents is
the blackest of all crimes, writes Perictione (ibid., p. 350), who
is supposed to have been the mother of Plato.
The cleanliness and delicacy of all Pythagorean writings were remarkable (Aelian, Hist. Var ., xiv. 19). In all that concerns [Page 170] chastity and marriage their principles are of the utmost purity. Everywhere the great teacher recommends chastity and temperance; but at the same time he directs that the married should first become parents before living a life of absolute celibacy, in order that children might be born under favourable conditions for continuing the holy life and succession of the Sacred Science (Jamblichus, Vit. Pythag., and Hierocl., ap. Stob., Serm., xlv.14). This is exceedingly interesting, for it is precisely the same regulation that is laid down in the Mânava Dharma Shâstra, the great Indian Code. Before a man or woman could give up family duties and devote themselves entirely to the religious life (Vânaprastha Âshrama), they had to become parents and fulfil the duties of the family life (Grihastha Âshrama). Perhaps after all the legend that Pythagoras journeyed to India is not without foundation, for the memory of the great Yavanâchârya still lingers in the land.
Adultery was most sternly condemned (Jamb., ibid.). Moreover the most gentle treatment of the wife by the husband was enjoined, for had he not taken her as his companion 'before the Gods' ? (See Lascaulx, 'Zur Geschichte der Ehe bei den Griechen', in the Mém. de I' Acad. de Bavière, vii.107, sq.)
Marriage was not an animal union, but a spiritual tie. Therefore in her turn, the wife should love her husband even more than herself, and in all things be devoted and obedient. It is further interesting to remark that the finest characters among women with which ancient. Greece presents us were formed in the school of Pythagoras, and the same is true of the men. The authors of antiquity are agreed that this discipline had succeeded in producing the highest examples not only of the purest chastity and sentiment, but also a simplicity of manners, a delicacy, and a taste for [Page 171] serious pursuits which was unparalleled. This is admitted even by Christian writers (see Justin, xx.4).
ladies on entering the school cast aside their finery and dedicated their
jewels to Hera, just as the postulant on taking the veil in the Roman
Catholic Church, offers her adornments to the Virgin.
Among the members of the school the idea of justice directed all their acts, while they observed the strictest tolerance and compassion in their mutual relationships. For justice is the principle of all virtue, as Polus (ap. Stob., Serm., viii, ed. Schow, p. 232.) teaches; 'tis justice which maintains peace and balance in the soul; she is the mother of good order in all communities, makes concord between husband and wife, love between master and servant.
The word of a Pythagorean was also his bond. And finally a man should live so as to be ever ready for death (Hippolytus, Philos., vi).
This was the outer discipline, but for pledged disciples stricter rules were laid down, some of which have been preserved, though mixed with fantastic glosses of writers who were ignorant of what the secret discipline really was.
The disciples were forbidden to frequent crowded places or to bathe in public. They were to drink no wine. In the morning their food consisted of bread and honey; in the evening the meal consisted of vegetables, and some say occasionally of a portion of the flesh of certain specified animals. Before and after each meal there were certain purificatory ceremonies, accompanied by the burning of incense and pouring out of libations. At certain hours there were readings in common. The youngest present read aloud, the oldest presided over the meeting, and in the evening he reminded [Page 172] all of the principal rules of the order. Before retiring to rest, each subjected himself to a searching self-examination. There were also certain physical exercises to be performed.
entering the school, every neophyte added his property to the common fund,
but if he withdrew for any reason, he had it returned to him. The disciples
wore a simple white linen robe confined by a flaxen cord, and never wore
leather. To obtain entrance to the inner discipline it was necessary
to be of an unblemished reputation and of a contented disposition.
There was therefore a period of probation, during which certain purifications
and expiations had to be undergone.
Before a complete knowledge of the innermost rules was obtained, three degrees had to be passed through. For two years the probationer had to listen without opening his mouth, endeavouring his utmost to commit to memory the teachings he received. He was thus called a Hearer (ἀκουστκόϛ) — compare this with the Buddhist first degree Shrâvaka). Thence he passed to the second degree and into the ranks of the Mathematici — (μαθηματικοί ), where the disciple learned the meaning of real geometry and music, and the nature of number, form, colour and sound.
Now what were mathematics originally ? To this important question Proclus gives the following admirable answer: 'The Pythagoreans perceived that the whole of what is called mathesis is reminiscence, [ 'That is, the recovery of lost knowledge, on the hypothesis that the soul is truly immortal, and therefore had an existence prior to that of the present life.' ] not externally inserted in souls, in the same manner as phantasms from sensible objects are impressed in the imagination, nor adventitious like the knowledge resulting from opinion, but excited indeed from things apparent, and inwardly exerted from the reasoning [Page 173] power converted to itself......... Mathesis, therefore, is the reminiscence of the eternal productive principles inherent in the soul: and the mathematical science is on this account the knowledge which contributes to our recollection of these principles' (Taylor, Theor. Arith., pp. xxvi, xxvii).
Finally the student passed into the third degree, and was admitted among the Physici ( φυσικοί ), who were taught the inner nature of things, and the mysteries of cosmogony and true metaphysics. In this degree the condition of silence was no longer imposed and the student could ask questions. It was only to those who had dedicated themselves to the ascetic life that Pythagoras communicated the practical details of the inner teaching; the rest were taught only such general outlines of the system as they were fitted to understand (Proclus, Tim., ii, § 91; Schneider, p. 117; Parmen., v, p. 310) .The esoteric instruction was not written but committed to memory, and consisted of symbols, and enigmatical axioms, which were afterwards explained. The scraps of these teachings which have come down to us are said to have been written at a later date.
full time of probation lasted five years, and women were admitted as well as
The life in common developed a strong feeling of real brotherhood', and if one of the order lost his property, the others shared with him. If a dispute arose, the disputants had to find the means of reconciliation before sunset, practically carrying out the injunction, 'Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.' This strongly reminds us of the Sangha or Order of the Buddha, and leads us all the more to credit the legend that Pythagoras actually met Gautama Shâkya Muni in India. (Compare Pythagoras und die lnder, by Dr. L. v. Schroeder, Leipzig, 1884.) A word from the teacher was sufficient to settle disputed points, and hence arose the [Page174] phrase ipse dixit ( αὔτοϛ ἔφα), 'the Master has said it'. (See also for the Orphic Life, Fraguier, 'Sur la vie Orphique', in Mém. Acad. Paris, V.117.)
whole of Orphic psychology was based on the axiom that man has in him
potentially the sum and substance of the universe. Everything was ensouled,
there was no spot in the universe without life of some kind (πἃν εἳναι σὣμα ἔμψυχον — Philoponus, De
An., i). And again, 'the race of men and gods is one' (Pindar,
who was a Pythagorean, quoted by Clemens, Strom., V.709). Thus
the universe was an 'animal' or thing 'ensouled'. The sun is its heart,
the moon its liver, and
so on (Plutarch, De Fac. Lun., xv).
Thus man was called the microcosm or little world, to distinguish him from the universe or great world. Hence we find man referred to as the 'little animal' ( ζὣον μικρόν – Galen, De Usu Part., iii. 10); the 'little world' (ἄνθρωποϛ βραχὺϛ κόσμοϛ ) – Philo, De Vit. Mos., iii.673, D), or 'little heaven' (Philo, De Mund. Optif, p. 18, E); the 'little diacosm' ( μικρὸν διάκοσμον– Porphyry, Stob., Serm., xxi.185); the 'lesser world' (minorem mundum – Solin., c. v.); and so on. And as man was the Little Universe, so the universe was the Great Man (Philo, Quis Rer. Div. Haer., p. 502, C).
Thus we find Proclus (Tim., i.348) telling us that we must view man as the little universe, 'for he has both a mind and a reason (logos), a divine body and a perishable body, like the universe; in fact his whole constitution bears an analogy with the universe. Thus it is that some assert that his noëric principle corresponds with the inerratic sphere, the contemplative aspect of his reason with Saturn, and the social aspect with Jupiter, while of his irrational principle, the passional nature corresponds with Mars, the expressive with [Page 175] Mercury, the appetitive with the Sun, and the vegetative with the Moon; while his radiant vehicle corresponds with heaven and this mortal body with the elemental (or sublunary) sphere.'
thus have correspondences given with the inerratic and planetary spheres,
though the Sun is a mistake for Venus and its own characteristics
are omitted; hence we get the following table:
|Inerratic Sphere||νοερἒν, the noëric
νοὓς or real mind.
|Saturn, θεωρητικὀν (contemplative)||λόγος
|Jupiter, πολιτικὀν (social)|
|Mars, θνμοειδἒς (passional)||ἅλογος
|Mercury, Φωνητικὀν (expressive)|
|Moon, Φυτικὀν (vegetative)|
three higher characteristics separate man from the animal: the passional
is that part of the soul in which resides courage, spirit, anger
and the like, and is superior to the appetitive, the seat of the
desires and affections; the expressive is connected with the power
of speech and sound, and reminds one of the vâch or 'voice'
of the Upanishads; the vegetative is that connected with the great
principle of the universe called 'nature' ( φύσιϛ)
which has been described above and shown to be identical with the 'astral'
or subtle formative forces or envelope of the world. [Page
The various 'vehicles' (ὀχήματα) will be referred to later on, meantime the following from Macrobius (Somnium, I.xii.63) will throw further light on Proclus: 'The soul (says he) having fallen from the sphere of “fixed stars” and the “Milky Way” into the planetary spheres, develops, during its passage through them, a peculiar phase of motion [or consciousness ] in each, which it will acquire as a permanent possession by due exercise: [thus it develops] in the sphere of Saturn reason and intellect (ratiocinationem et intelligentiam); in that of Jupiter the power of organization (vim agendi); in that of Mars passion (animositatem); in that of the Sun the power of feeling and believing (sentiendi opinandique naturam); in that of Venus the principle of desire (desiderii motum); in the sphere of Mercury, the power of expressing and interpreting sensation (pronunciandi et interpretandi quae sentiat); finally it is exercised in the power of sowing and developing bodies [the powers of generation and conception] on entering the lunar globe'.
Macrobius, moreover, adds the original Greek technical terms, which give us the following table of the characteristics of planetary correspondences:
Saturn: rational (λογικὸν) and contemplative (θεωρητικὸν)
Jupiter: energic or practical (πρακτικὸν)
Mars: passional or courageous (θυμικὸν)
Sun: sensational and imaginative ( αἰσθητικὸν , φανταστικὸν)
Venus: desiderative ( ἐπιθυμητικὸν )
Mercury: interpretive ( ἑρμηνευτικὸν )
Moon: conceptive and generative ( φυτικὸν )
also Taylor's 'Restoration of the Platonic Theology', appended to Proclus
on Euclid, ii.288, n.) Macrobius is supposed to have flourished
at the beginning of the fifth century A.D., and therefore belongs to the
generation prior to Proclus. [Page 177]
This passage of the soul through the planets is sometimes called the Ladder of Mithras (Scala Mithraica), or the Seven-gated Stairs (κλίμαξ ἑπτάπυλοϛ).
Many other analogies are given, as for instance between the planets and the members of the body, the constitution of the body and the elements, etc.. But the most important teaching of the ancient psychology is that relating to the Subtle Body.
the following information I am to some extent indebted to texts cited in
System (iii. 506, sq., ed.1820). Philoponus (Proaem.
de An.) tells us that the rational part of the soul can be separated
from every kind of body, but the irrational part, although it is separable
from the physical body, has another subtle vehicle which is called the
'spirituous body' ( πνευματικὸν σὣμα).
The irrational principle does not owe its existence to the physical body,
for when the soul quits the physical body, the irrational part still retains
the 'spirituous body' as its vehicle and substratum ( ὅχημα καί ὑποκείμενον ),
terms which closely resemble the Vedantic technical expressions Deha and
This 'spirituous body' is composed of the 'elements', but in it is a predominance
of the 'element' 'air', just as in the physical body there is a predominance
of 'earth'. It is therefore often called the aerial body. This
is the body which passes into the invisible world after death. Thus the
same Philoponus writes: 'Our soul, after its exodus from the body, is believed,
or rather is known, to go into the invisible world [Kâma Loka], there
to pay the penalty for the evil of its past life. For providence ( ἡ πρόνοια )
is not only concerned with our being, but also with our well-being. And
therefore a soul that has lapsed into a state contrary to its [true] nature [Page
earth-life] is not neglected, but meets with fitting care. And since error
arose in it on account of the desire for pleasurable sensation, of necessity
it must be purified by pain........ But if the soul is without body it
could not suffer ....... It is absolutely necessary, therefore, that it
should have a kind of body attached to it........ This is the spirituous
body of which we speak, and in it as a ground, as it were, are rooted the
passional and sensational nature of the soul.'
For if the soul were freed from these, it would be freed from generation, and be 'carried up aloft to the higher celestial regions' (Devachan).
then proceeds to explain spectres, phantoms, etc., by means of this subtle
body. He further adds that we should abstain from a foul and gross diet,
for the ancient sages affirm that 'thereby this subtle body is densified
and incrassated, and the soul rendered more sensible to the passions'.
Of the next passage I give Cudworth's version, so that there may be no suspicion of twisting the text to suit any preconceived views.
'They further add, that there is something of a plantal and plastic life ( τἣϛ φυτικἣϛ ζωἣϛ ) also, exercised by the soul, in those spirituous or airy bodies after death; they being nourished too, though not after the same manner, as these gross earthly bodies of ours are here, but by vapours; and that not by parts or organs, but throughout the whole of them (as sponges) [endosmosis and exosmosis], they imbibing everywhere those vapours. For which cause, they who are wise will in this life also take care of using a thinner and dryer diet, that so that spirituous body (which we have also at this present time within our grosser body), may not be clogged and incrassated, but attenuated. Over and above which those ancients made use of catharms, or purgations, [Page 179] to the same end and purpose also: for as this earthly body is washed by water, so is that spirituous body cleansed by cathartic vapours; some of these vapours being nutritive, others purgative. [This explains the symbolical purgations and purifications in the Mysteries. ] Moreover, these ancients further declared concerning this spirituous body, that it was not organized, but did the whole of it, in every part throughout, exercise all functions of sense, the soul hearing and seeing, and perceiving all sensibles, by it everywhere. For which cause Aristotle affirmeth in his Metaphysics that there is properly but one sense, and but one sensory; he, by this one sensory, meaning the spirit, or subtile airy body, in which the sensitive power doth all of it, though the whole, immediately apprehend all variety of sensibles. And if it be demanded, how it comes then to pass, that this spirit appears organized in sepulchres, and most commonly of human form, but sometimes in the form of some other animals ? to this those ancients replied: ‘That their appearing so frequently in human form proceedeth from their being incrassated with evil diet, and then, as it were, stamped upon with the form of the exterior ambient body in which they are, as crystal is formed and coloured like to those things which it is fashioned in, or reflects the image of them; and that their having sometimes other different forms proceedeth from the fantastic power of the soul itself, which can at pleasure transform this spirituous body into any shape: for being airy, when it is condensed and fixed, it becometh visible; and again invisible; and vanishing out of sight, when it is expanded and rarefied'.
ancients further taught that the soul does not act directly upon the muscles,
etc., of the body, but upon the 'animal spirits' which are the 'immediate
instruments of sense and fancy'; and therefore Porphyry tells us
(De Ant. [Page 180] Nymph.,
pp. 257, 259) that 'the blood is the food and nourishment of the
spirit (that is, the subtle body called the animal spirits), and
that this spirit is the vehicle of the soul'.
But besides the physical and subtle bodies, there is yet another kind of body or vestment of a far higher order, 'peculiarly belonging to such souls, — as are purged and cleansed from corporeal affections, lusts and passions'. This brings us to speak of
The augoeides is described by the same Philoponus as follows:
‘The soul continues in its terrestrial body or in its aerial vehicle 'until it has purified itself, and then it is carried aloft and is freed from generation. Then it is that it lays aside its passional and sensuous nature together with the spirituous vehicle. For there is besides this vehicle another which is eternally united with the soul [the Kârana Deha or 'causal body' of the Vedântins], a heavenly body and therefore eternal [manvantaric], which they call the radiant or star-like body ( αὐγοειδὲϛ ἢ ἀστροειδεϛ). For the soul being of a mundane (or cosmic) nature, must necessarily have some allotment which it manages, seeing that it is part of the cosmos. And since it is ever in motion, and must continue in activity, it must always have a body attached to it, which it ever keeps alive. And so they declare that the soul has always [as long as it is in manifestation] a luciform or radiant body.'
And so also Proclus (Tim., p. 290): 'The human soul has an ethereal vehicle (ὅχημα αἰθέριον) attached to it, as Plato tells us, affirming that the creator placed it in a vehicle ( or chariot, ὅχημα). For necessarily every soul before these mortal bodies, uses eternal and rapidly moving vehicles, in that its very essence is motion'. And again (ibid., p. 164): [Page 181] 'While we are on high we have no need of these divided organs, which we now have when descending into generation; but the radiant vehicle alone is sufficient, for it has all the senses united together in it.'
Plato himself in his Epinomis writes of a good man after death:
'I confidently assert, both in jest and in all seriousness, that such a
one (if in death he have worked out his own destiny) will no longer have
many senses as we have now, but will possess a uniform body, and so having
become one from many will obtain happiness'.
Hierocles in his Commentary (pp. 214,215) on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras tells us that the Oracles call this augoeides the 'subtle vehicle' of the soul ( ψυχἣϛ λεπτὸν ὅχημα ). The Oracles referred to are evidently the Chaldaic, and this is borne out by the fact that one of the Oracles still preserved refers to the two subtle vestures of the soul, in their usual enigmatical fashion, as follows: 'Do not soil the spirit nor turn the plane into the solid.' The 'spirit' is evidently the aëry body and the 'plane' ( ἐπίπεδον) the luciform, for as we have learned above from the Pythagorean mathematics, the point generated the line, the line the plane or superficies. and the plane the solid. This is also the opinion of Psellus, who in his Commentary upon the Oracles writes: 'The Chaldaeans clothed the soul in two vestures; the one they called the spirituous, which is woven for it (as it were) out of the sensible body; the other the radiant, subtle and impalpable, which they called the plane'. And this is a very appropriate term, for it signifies that it is not subject to the laws of solid bodies. Hierocles further asserts that this luciform body is the spiritual vehicle of the rational part of the soul, whereas the aëry body is the vehicle of the irrational part; he therefore calls the former the pneumatic ( πνευματικὸν ) and the latter the psychic body ( σὣμα ψυχικὸν) [Page 182] using the same nomenclature as Paul, the Christian (I Cor., xv .44).
Synesius (De lnsomniis, p. 140) calls the augoeides the 'divine body' ( θεσπέσιον σὣμα); and Virgil in his Aeneid (vi) speaks of it as the 'pure ethereal sensory' (purum ...aethereum sensum) and a 'pure fiery breath' (aurai simplicis ignem).
But not only does the soul possess this luciform body after death, but also during life, and thus Suidas (sub voc. αὐγοειδὴϛ) writes: 'The soul possesses a luciform vehicle, which is also called the “starlike” and the “everlasting”. Some say that this radiant body is shut in this physical body, within the head.' And this agrees with Hierocles (p. 214, ed. Needham). that 'the augoeides is in our mortal physical body, inspiring life into the inanimate body, and containing the harmony thereof’ — that is to say, it is the 'causal body' or karmic vesture of the soul, in which its destiny or rather all the seeds of past causation are stored. This is the 'thread-soul' as it is sometimes called, the 'body' that passes over from one incarnation to another.
just as the aërial or subtle body could be purified and separated from
the physical body, so could the luciform or augoeides. These purgations
were of a very high character, and pertained to the telestic art
and theurgy, as the same Hierocles informs us (ibid.). By
this means the purification that takes place for the many after death,
is accomplished by the few here in the body on earth, and they can
separate the luciform vehicle from the lower vehicle, and be conscious
of heavenly things while on earth. Therefore it is that Plato (Phaedo,
p. 378) defines 'philosophy' as 'a continual exercise of dying, — that
is to say, firstly, a moral dying to corporeal lusts and passions,
and secondly, consciously and voluntarily passing through all the
states of consciousness while still alive which the soul must pass
through after death. [Page
Thus there are four classes of virtues: the political or practical, pertaining to the gross body; the purifying, pertaining to the subtle body; the intellectual or spiritual, pertaining to the causal body; and the contemplative, pertaining to the supreme at-one-ment, or Union with God. Thus Porphyry in his Auxiliaries (ii) writes:
'He who energizes according to the practical virtues is a worthy man; but he who energizes according to the purifying (cathartic) virtues is an angelic man, or is also a good demon. He who energizes according to the intellectual virtues alone is a god, but he who energizes according to the paradeigmatic virtues is the father of gods.' (Compare Porphyry the Philosopher to his Wife Marcella, by Miss Alice Zimmern, pp. 40, 41; compare also the opening paragraphs of Marinus' Life of Proclus and Plotinus, En., II.ii, 'On the Virtues'.)
luciform body is the root of individuality (individuitatis principium)
for just as the Egyptians taught that every entity consisted of an 'essence'
and an 'envelope' (see 'The Vestures of the Soul' in my collection of Essays
entitled The World Mystery), so Hierocles (p.120) tells us that
'the rational essence, together with its cognate vehicle, came into existence
from the creator, in such a fashion that it is neither itself body nor
without body; and though it is incorporeal yet its whole nature ( είδοϛ)
is limited by a body'.
He therefore defines the real man (p. 212.) as a rational soul with a cognate immortal body, or envelope (compare with this the symbology of the Orphic Egg, supra), and calls the enlivened physical body the 'image of the man' — (εἴδωλον ἀνθρώπου ). Moreover, he further asserts that the former is true of all other rational beings in the Universe below Deity; and above man. This then is the nature of the daimones (angels), the difference between daimones and men being [Page 184] that the former are 'lapsable into aërial bodies only, and no further; but the latter into terrestrial also'. (Pophyry, De Abstin., ii, § 38.)
Finally Hierocles asserts that this was the genuine doctrine and sacred science of the Pythagoreans and Plato; and Proclus tells us that the line of teaching came originallythrough Orpheus. From the above I think it is abundantly apparent that those who followed the tradition of Orpheus were the sternest of moralists and the most practical of mystics, possessing a true knowledge of the sacred science of the soul, and teaching a psychology that will stand the test of the most searching experiment in our own and in all times. I speak here only of the genuine followers of the science, not of the many impostors and charlatans who preyed upon the refuse flung outside its shrines.
Further information concerning the vehicles of the soul according to the Platonic psychology may be derived from the Commentary of Proclus on the Timaeus (Book v, see Taylor's trans., ii.393, sq., 416 sq., and 436 sq.). The following (pp. 416, 417) is the most important passage.
'Souls in descending, receive from the elements different vehicles, aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial; and thus at last enter into this gross bulk. For how, without a medium, could they proceed into this body from immaterial spirits? Hence before they come into this body they possess the irrational life, and its vehicle, which is prepared from the simple elements, and from these they become invested with tumult [or the genesiurgic body], which is so called as being foreign to the connate vehicle of souls, and as composed of all-various vestments, and causing souls to become heavy.
'The word adhering likewise, manifests the external circumposition of a vehicle of such a kind as that of which he is speaking, and the colligation to the one nature contained [Page 185] in it; after which this last body, consisting of things dissimilar and multiform, is suspended from souls. For how is it possible, that the descent should be [immediately] from a life which governs the whole world, to the most partial form of life? For this particular and indivisible outward man cannot be connected with the universe, but a prior descent into a medium between the two is entirely necessary; which medium is not a certain animal, but the supplier of many lives. For the descent does not directly produce the life of a certain man, but prior to this and prior to the generation of an individual, it produces the life of [universal] man. And as the lapse is from that which is incorporeal into body, and a life with body, according to which the soul lives in conjunction with its celestial vehicle; so from this the descent is into a genesiurgic body, according to which the soul is in generation; and from this into a terrestrial body, according to which it lives with the testaceous body. Hence, before it is surrounded with this last body, it is invested with a body which connects it with all generation. And on this account, it then leaves this body, when it leaves generation. But if this be the case, it then received it, when it came into generation. It came, however, into generation prior to its lapse into this last body. Hence, prior to this last body it received that vehicle, and retains the latter after the dissolution of the former. It lives, therefore, in this vehicle through the whole of the genesiurgic period. On this account Plato calls the adhering tumult, the irrational form of life in this vehicle; and not that which adheres to the soul in each of its incarnations, as being that which circularly infests it from the first. The connascent vehicle [Kârana Sharîra] therefore makes the soul to be mundane [cosmic]; the second vehicle [Sukshma Sharîra] causes it to be a citizen of generation; and the testaceous vehicle [Sthûla Sharîra] makes it to be terrestrial. [Page 186] And as the life of souls is to the whole of generation, and the whole of generation to the world, so are vehicles to each other. With respect to the circumposition also of the vehicles, one is perpetual and always mundane [cosmic]; another is prior to this outward body, and posterior to it; for it is both prior to, and subsists posterior to it, in generation; and a third is then only, when it lives a certain partial life on the earth. Plato, therefore, by using the term adhering, and by suspending the irrational nature from the soul, according to all its lives, distinguishes this irrational nature from this outward body, and the peculiar life of it. But by adding the words externally and afterwards, he distinguishes it from the connascent vehicle in which the Demiurgus made it to descend. Hence, this vehicle which causes the soul to be a citizen of generation, is a medium between both'.
And now it is time to bring this essay to a conclusion. It has been a labour of love undertaken out of gratitude to the ancients, and in memory of the past; and perhaps no more useful subject could be chosen to bring the task to an end than the doctrine of rebirth — a law of nature by virtue of which the ancients and their ideas once more return to leaven the materialization in modern philosophy, science and religion. [Page 187]
THE DOCTRINE OF REBIRTH
with all the adherents of the Mysteries in every land the Orphics believed
Now Plato in the Cratylus gives the following mystical word-play of the term body (σὣμα): 'According to some the body is the sepulchre (σἣμα) of the soul, which they consider as buried in the present life; and also because whatever the soul signifies it signifies by the body; so that on this account it is properly called a sepulchre (σἣμα). [The word σἣμα also connotes the means whereby anything is signified. This reminds us of the Linga Sharîra of the Vedântins — Linga meaning sign, token, etc.] And indeed the followers of Orpheus seem to me to have established this name, principally because the soul suffers in body the punishment of its guilt, and is surrounded with this enclosure that it may preserve the image of a prison.' (Plato's Works, Taylor, V.513.)
The Phrygians in their Mysteries called the soul imprisoned in the body the 'dead'. The writer of the Naasenian School of Gnosticism, quoted by Hippolytus (Philosophumena v .6), tells us: 'The Phrygians also call it the “dead”, inasmuch as it is in a tomb and sepulchre buried in the body. This, he says, is what is written: “Ye are whited sepulchres, filled within with the bones of the dead” [cf. Matth., xxiii. 27] — for the “living man” is not in you. And again: “The 'dead' shall leap forth from the tombs” [cf. Matth., xxvii.52., [Page 188] 53; xi.5; Luke, vii. 22.]. That is to say, from their earthly bodies regenerated spiritual men, not fleshly. For this (he says) is the resurrection which takes place through the Gate of the Heavens, and they who pass not through it all remain dead'.
the above passage of Plato, Taylor adds an interesting note (op. cit.,
from which we learn that Heraclitus, speaking of unembodied souls, says:
'We live their death and we die their life.' And Empedocles, speaking
of 'generation', the equivalent of the Brahmanical and Buddhist Sansâra,
or the wheel of rebirth, writes: 'She makes the “living” pass into the “dead”;
and again, lamenting his imprisonment in the corporeal world, he calls
it an 'unaccustomed realm'.
the Pythagorean Philolaus (cited by Clemens Alex., Strom., iii)
writes: 'The ancient theologists and initiates also testify that the
soul is united with body for the sake of suffering punishment; and that
it is buried in body, as in a sepulchre'. And Pythagoras himself (cited
by the same Clement) assures us that: 'Whatever we see when awake is
death, and when asleep a dream'. Real life is in neither of these states.
And so Taylor in his Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries (Wilder's ed., pp. 8, sq.) shows us that: 'The ancients by Hades signified nothing more than the profound union of the soul with the present body; and consequently, that till the soul separated herself by philosophy from such a ruinous conjunction, she subsisted in Hades even in the present life; her punishment hereafter being nothing more than a continuation of her state upon earth, and a transmigration, as it were, from sleep to sleep, and from dream to dream: and [ Page 189] this, too, was occultly signified by the shows of the lesser mysteries'.
also, referring to Orpheus and his successors, says (in Hortensio, Frag.,
p. 60): 'The ancients, whether they were seers or interpreters of
the divine mind in the tradition of the sacred initiations, seem
to have known the truth, when they affirmed that we were born into
the body to pay the penalty for sins committed in a former life (vita
Augustine also (De Civitate Dei, XXll. xxviii) writes: 'Certain of the gentiles have asserted that in the rebirth of men there is what the Greeks call palingenesis' [ παλιγγενεσίαν — Sansk, Punarjanman].He further adds that 'they taught that there was a conjunction of the same soul and [ ? subtle] body in four hundred and forty years'.
But according to Plato (Phaedo, and Republic, X) the average time that elapsed between two births was a thousand years. Virgil (Aen., vi. 758) gives the same period.
Olympiodorus in his Scholion on Plato's Phaedo (p; 70, c; cf: Gesner, Frag. Orph., p. 510) says that: 'There is an archaic teaching of the Orphic and Pythagorean tradition which brings souls into bodies and takes them out of bodies, and this repeatedly and in a cycle.'
Diogenes Laërtius (Vit. Pythag., viii.14) asserts that 'he
(Pythagoras) was reported to have been the first [of the Greeks, Orpheus
not being a Greek] to teach the doctrine that the soul passing through
the “circle of necessity” (κύκλον ἀνάγκηϛ )
was bound at various times to various living bodies'.
In fact the same writer tells us (viii.4-6) that Pythagoras had given the details of some of his former births to his disciples. [Page 190]
That he had been ( I) in Argonautic times Aethalides, the 'son of Mercury', that is an initiate; that in that birth he had gained the power of retaining his memory through the intermediate state between two lives. This he obtained as a boon from Mercury (his Initiator or Master), who had offered him any power short of immortality (ἀθανασία ) — the supreme initiation.
He next was almost immediately reincarnated in (2) Euphorbus. In that birth he was wounded by Menelaus at the Siege of Troy, and so died. In that life he asserted that he had previously been Aethalides, and further taught the doctrine of reincarnation, and explained the course of the 'soul' after death, and, in his own case, to what species of the vegetable and animal kingdoms it had been temporarily attached — περιεγένετο (or rather in contact with, as far as the alchemical transmutation of the physical body was concerned), and also the post-mortem state (Kâma Loka) both of his own soul and that of others.
He then incarnated in (3) Hermotimus. In this birth he went on a pilgrimage to the famous temple of Apollo at Branchidae — on the Ionian sea-coast, a little south of Miletus — but Ovid (Metamorph., xv) says to the temple of Juno at Argos, and Tertullian (De Anim.) to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and there pointed out the shield which he carried as Euphorbus, and which Menelaus had hung up in the temple as a dedicatory offering. The shield had by that time rusted to pieces, and nothing but the carved ivory face on the boss remained.
his next birth he was (4) Pyrrhus, a Delian fisherman, and still retained
the memory of his past births. Finally he was reincarnated as Pythagoras.
Hieronymus (Apol. ad Rufinum), however, gives another tradition, which recites the births of the great Samian as (1 ) [Page 191] Euphorbus, (2.) Callides, (3) Hermotimus, (4) Pyrrhus, (5) Pythagoras.
Porphyry (Vit. Pythag.) agrees with Laërtius, and Aulus Gellius (IV. xi) adds to Porphyry's list (5) Pyrandrus, (6) Callidas, and (7) Alce, a most beautiful woman of easy virtue. Whereas the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius (Argonautica, i; see Observations of Aegidius Menagius on Diogenes Laërtius, p. 349, Amsterdam ed., 1618) tells us concerning Aethalides that 'the Pythagoreans assert that this Aethalides, his soul being indestructible, lived again in Trojan times as Euphorbus, son of Pantus. Subsequently he was born as Pyrrhus, the Cretan; and afterwards as a certain Elius, whose name is unknown. And finally he became Pythagoras'.
Such seems to have been the mixed report that got abroad from the indiscreet revelations of the disciples of the great teacher. They had better have said all or said nothing.
Philostratus' Life of Apollonius we also find a few references
to the past births of several ancient sages. For instance (I. i), Empedocles
(fifth century B.C. ) declares: 'I was formerly a young girl'. Iarchas,
the 'chief of the Brahmans', tells Apollonius that he was formerly a
great monarch, named Ganga, at a time when the' Aethiopians' ( ?
Atlanteans) occupied India, and that his body in that birth was ten cubits
high. At the same time he pointed out a young Hindu who, he averred,
had formerly been Palamedes in Trojan times, and who knew how to write
without ever having learned the art (III. xx-xxii).
Iarchas (xxiii) then proceeded to tell his Grecian guest that he saw that he (Apollonius) had been in a former birth [Page 192] the captain of an Egyptian vessel. Apollonius replied that, that was true, and added some interesting details.
Julian the Emperor believed that he was a reincarnation of the soul of Alexander the Great.
Finally Marinus (Vit. Procli) tells us that Proclus was persuaded that he had been Nichomachus, the Pythagorean, in a former birth.
The wheel of life, referred to by Pythagoras, is called by Proclus (Tim., i.32.) the 'cycle of generation' ( κύκλοϛ τἣϛ γενέσεωϛ ), Orpheus himself naming it the 'wheel', while Simplicius (De Caelo, ii.91, c) says that it was symbolized by the wheel of Ixion, and adds, 'he was bound by God to the wheel of fate and of generation'. And Proclus (Tim., V.330) writes that: 'There is but one way of escape for the soul from the cycle of generation, namely, to turn itself from its pilgrimage in generation, and to hasten to its spiritual prototype, as Orpheus says, “to cease from the cycle and gain breathing space from evil”.'
Plotinus also (En., I.xii) makes the following emphatic declaration concerning reincarnation: 'It is a universally admitted belief that the soul commits sins, expiates them, undergoes punishment in the invisible world, and passes into new bodies.' He further states (En. IV .ix): 'There are two modes of a soul entering a body; one when the soul being already in a body, undergoes metensomatosis ( μετενσωμάτωσιϛ) that is to say, passes from an aërian or igneous body into a physical body; the other when a soul passes from an incorporeal state into a body of a certain kind'. [Page 193]
in the Mysteries, the doctrine of reincarnation was fully and scientifically
expounded. Thus we find Plutarch (De Esu Carn., Or. i, 7, 240,
T. xiii) declaring that the whole story of Bacchus and his being torn
in pieces by the Titans, and their subsequent destruction by Jupiter,
was 'a sacred narrative concerning reincarnation' ( μὓθοϛ εὶϛ τἠν παλιγ— γενεσίαν)
Again the Rape of Proserpine, which was also one of the dramatic representations of the lesser mysteries, 'signifies the descent of souls' (Sallust, De Diis et Mundo, iv).
As to the popular superstition that it was possible for the soul to reincarnate in an animal, the true teaching of the Mysteries on this point is set forth clearly and plainly by Proclus. It refers to one aspect of the intermediate state of the irrational part of the soul between two births. Therefore we find him writing: 'True reason asserts that the human soul may be lodged in brutes, yet in such a manner, as that it may obtain its own proper life, and that the degraded soul may, as it were, be carried above it and be bound to the baser nature by a propensity and similitude of affection. And that this is the only mode of insinuation we have proved by a multitude of arguments, in our Commentaries on the Phaedrus.' (Proclus, Theol. Plat., Taylor, p. 7, Introd.) For Hermes, expounding the teaching of the Egyptian Mysteries, asserts in unmistakable terms that the human soul can never return to the body of an animal (Corn. of Chalcidius on Timaeus, ed. Fabric., p. 350; but see my Plotinus, pp. 32. sq.).
The presiding deity of rebirth was Hermes, the psychopomp, or leader of souls. Thus Proclus (Comment on First [Page 194] Alcibiades) writes: 'Hermes governs the different herds of souls, and disperses the sleep and oblivion with which they are oppressed. He is likewise the supplier of recollection, the end of which is a genuine intellectual apprehension of divine natures'. This is the 'eternal memory' or 'heart-memory' ; and thus Hermes is appropriately said to have given this boon to Aethalides as narrated above.
Finally Porphyry, in his Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligibles, admirably sets forth the mode of liberation from the cycle of rebirth as follows: 'That which nature binds, nature also dissolves: and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dissolves. Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; but the soul binds herself to the body.Nature, therefore, liberates the body from the soul; but the soul liberates herself from the body........ Hence there is a two-fold death; the one, indeed, universally known, in which the body is liberated from the soul; but the other peculiar to Philosophers [initiates], in which the soul is liberated from the body. Nor does the one entirely follow the other.' This is further explained by Taylor (Myst. Hymns, p. 162., n.) who writes: Though the body, by the death which is universally known, may be loosened from the soul, yet while material passions and affections reside in the soul, the soul will continually verge to another body, and as long as this inclination continues, remain connected with body.
Such is a very bare outline of the great doctrine of rebirth, on which many volumes could be written. I have only attempted to set down a few points, to show what were the views of the genuine philosophers and mystics of the ancient Orphic tradition, and how similar they are to the modem exposition of the tenet. Much more information could be [Page 195] added, but the subject would then have to be treated separately and not as merely subordinate to the general subject of Orphic theology.
My task is done and my small skiff launched. That it is imperfect and unworthy of so precious a burden of ancient treasure, no one is better aware than myself. But such as it is, I commit it to the troubled sea of modern thought, hoping that a favourable current may carry it to some few who can value the freight at its true worth. In the construction of my skiff I have mainly combined the researches of Lobeck, who was a scholar and no mystic, with the writings of Taylor, who was half scholar, half mystic, and cemented all together with some information derived from H.P. Blavatsky, who was a mystic and no scholar. I write as a man convinced that the Mysteries have not gone from the earth, but still exist and have their genuine adherents and initiators; in the fervent hope that some, at least, who read, will not be unmindful of the past, and with the certain knowledge that a few actually possess a full memory of that past which the many have, for a time, forgotten. [Page196]
THE following Bibliography is based upon Hoffmann's, but contains considerable additions.
HOFFMANN (S. F. W.), Lexicon Bibliographicum. Leipzig, 1836, 8.— Bibliographisches Lexicon der Gessammten Litteratur der Griechen. Leipzig, 1845,8.
FABRICIUS J. A.), Bibliotheca Graeca, i. 110 sq. Harless ed., i. 140 sq. ; 4th ed. Hamburg and Leipzig, 1790-1809,4.
1517,8. Orphei Argonautica, Ejusdem Hymni, Orpheus de Lapidibus. Venice. The Aldine text; together with a text of Musaeus. Other editions of this text appeared in 1519 (two, the second with a text of Hesiod — ap. Junt.), 1540 and 1543.
1566, f. Ed. and emend, by Stephanus (H.), in Poetae Graeci Principes Hervici Carminis. Paris. This is the first pure edition by Henri Estienne.
1606, f. With a Latin version and marginal notes by Renatus Perdrierius, an unknown scholar of Paris. In Jac. Lectius, Corpus Poetarum Graecorum. Geneva.
1689, gr. 12. Orphei Argonautica, Hymni et de Lapidibus. Utrecht. Ed. A. C. Eschenbach; with his own notes and emendations on the Argon., those of Estienne on the whole, and the notes of J. Scaliger on the Hymns, and with a Latin translation based on text of Estienne.
1764, 8. Orphei Argonautica, Hymni, Libellus de Lapidibus. Leipzig, 626 pp. Ed. J. M. Gesner (cur. G. C. Hamberger), with critical notes and emendations, and also notes of Estienne and Eschenbach. The first critical text.
1805, gr. 8. Orphica. Leipzig. Ed. G. Hermann; with notes of Estienne, Eschenbach, Gesner and Thyrwhitt. [Page 197]
1818, gr. 12. Orphica. Leipzig. Ed. G. H. Schäfer. For the use of schools and colleges.
1824, 12. Orphica, Procli Hymni, Musaeus, Callimachus. Leipzig (Tauchnitz). Editio stereotypha; also another edition, 1829.
1885, 8. Orphica, Procli Hymni, Hymnici Magici, Hymni in Isim, Aliaque ejusimodi Carmina. Berlin, pp. iii, 320. Recension by E. Abel.
1500, 4. Orphei Argonautica et Hymni. Florence, ap. Juntam. Editio princeps, from a very faulty MS. ; basis of the Aldine text.
1523, 4. Orphei Poetarum Vetustissimi Argonauticῶ
n Opus Graecum. Basle, ap. Cratandrum. With a Latin translation by some unknown author.
1803, 8. Orphei quae vulgo dicuntur Argonautica. Jena. With emendations and commentary by J. G. Schneider.
1781, gr. 8. De Lapidibus. London. Based on Gesner's text, with a Latin translation and notes by T. Thyrwhitt.
1586, 4. Prognostica de Terrae Motibus. Paris. Ed. J. A. Baifius.
1691, 4. Orphei de Terrae Motibus (catalecton secundum insc.bibliothacae Laurentiano Mediceae). Ed. C. C. F. (Schoder).
1722, 4. The same. In Miscellenea Graecorum aliquot Scriptorum Carmina of M. Maittaire. London.
1776, 8. The same. In Brunck's Analecta, iii, p. I, sq.
1795, 8. The same. In Jacob's Anthologia, iii. 222, sq. [Page 198]
1602., 8. Orphei Hymni. Cologne.
1610, 4. 'Orphica Initia-sive Hymni Sacri ad Museum.' Translated into Latin verse by J. J. Scaliger, with notes, in his Opuscula, pp. 155, sq. Paris.
1615,4. Orphei et Ariphronis Hymni in Aesculapium et Sanitatem. Paris. With a Latin metrical version by J. J. Scaliger and F. Morell.
1615, 12 Orphei Hymni. Leyden. From Estienne's edition, with notes and emendations by Scaliger.
1635, sq. 8. 'Tria Carmina de Deo Orpheo Tributa', in Winterton's Poetae Minores. Cambridge.
1722, 4. 'Orphei Hymni in Solem, Musas, Venerem, Hygieam, et Aesculapium.' In Maittaire's Mis. Graec. aliquot Scrip. Carm. London.
1793, 8. 'Tres Hymni, quos non facile Orphicos habebimus.' Ed. and amend, by G. Wakefield, in his Siloa Critica, iv.248, sq. London.
1822., 4. Die Hymnen des Orpheus. Erlangen. With a complete translation into German for the first time by D. K. Ph. Dietsch. The translation follows Hermann's text, and is true and graceful.
1832., 8. 'Orphei Hymnus in Tellurem.' With notes, and illustrated by Latin, German and Swedish verses by L. G. Kosegarten. In Dissertationes Acad., no. xx; edited by T. C. F. Molinke, Lund.
1566, f. 'Orphei Fragmenta.' In Poetae Graeci, ed. by H. Stephanus (Estienne), p. 184.
1568, 8. 'Orphei Fragmenta.' Ed. by Fulvius Ursinus, in his Carmina Ix. llIustrium Faeminarum, pp. 270, sq. Antwerp.
1569-1574-1600, 12.. 'Orphei Fragmenta Aliquot.' With a Latin translation, in Vetustissimorum Authorum Georgica, Bucolica, et Gnomica Poëmata quae supersunt. Geneva. [Page 199]
1573, 8, 'Orphei Carmina, ex Scriptoribus Veteribus Collecta.' In Poesis philosophica, pp. 78-102.. Printed by H. Stephanus; 2nd ed., 1578. Leipzig.
1588, 5. Orphei Carmina Theologica, Graece, ex Justino Martyre et Clemente Alexandrino Collecta. Paris.
1815,8. A collection in Acta philologorum Monaceus, ii.115-156.
182.9, gr. 8. 'Carminum Orphicorum Reliquiae', in Lobeck's Aglaophamus (q.v.).
1555, 8. Orphei Poetae Vetustissimi Opera. Basle. By Renatus Perdrierius of Paris (supra vide). Prose translation.
1519, f. Orphei Argonautica. Translated into very indifferent verse by Leodrisius Cribellius, an Italian. Together with the Argonautica of C. Valerius Flaccus, and a commentary by Pius Bononensis. At the end 'Excussore Hier. Platonico Bonon. Leone X. sedente.'
1523, 8. Orphei Argonautica. By an unknown translator, together with the Argonautica of C. Valerius Flaccus. Venice, Aldine.
1548, 16. The same. Lyon. And also 1724, 4.
1580, 8. Orphei Thracis Argonautica. By Leodrisius Cribellius. ( ?) Milan.
1592., 8. The same. In ltinerarium Totius Orbis, sive Opus Peregrinationum Variarum. Revised by Nic. Reusner, Basle.
1614, 4. Orphei Hymni Sacri, seu lndigitamenta Apollinis, Latonae, Solis. Paris. Translated into Latin verse by J. J. Scaliger. [Page 200]
1576, 4. Orpheus Antiquissimus et Optimus Poeta, Philosophus Trismegistimus de Lapidibus. With notes by M. Hannard. A translation of little worth.
1881,8. Orphei Lithica. Berlin, pp. 198. Together with Damigeron De Lapidibus, by E. Abel.
1860, 8. In Fragmenta Philosophorum Graecorum, i, by F. W. A. Mullach.
1773, Sm. 8. Die Argonauten. Mitau, pp. 100. Prose translation by, K. A. Küttner.
1784,8. Die Argonauten des Orpheus. Basel, pp. 55. By C. C. Tobler.
1806,8. Orpheus der Argonaut. By J. A. Voss.
1787, 8. 'Die Beschreibung der Makrobier Orph. Argon. 1104-1117.' Prose translation by G. A. C. Schemer, in Wiedenburg's Humanitisches Magazin, p. 257.
1793, 8. 'Zwei Stücke aus des Orpheus Argonautenfahrt.' By F. Eck, in his Blumen des Abend- und Morgenlandes. Halle.
1784 -1785, 8. 'Die Hymnen des Orpheus.' By Tobler, in Schweitzerisches Museum, ix.844-854; xii.1132-1138; 1785, i.68-76. A fairly satisfactory translation.
1820, 8. Dreissig Orphische Hymnen. Nüremburg. By D. K. P. Dietsch. A good and elegant translation.
1772,8. 'Die Siebente Hymnen des Orpheus.' By C. G. Anton, in his Treue Uebersetzungen. Leipzig. [Page 201]
1772, 8. 'Hymne des Orpheus an die Juno.' Prose translation by C. D. Hohl, in his Kurzer Winterricht (Chemnitz), pp. 506, sq.
1786,8. 'Hymne an die Nemesis.' By J. G. Herder, in his Abbandl. p. 260. Gotha.
1788, 8. 'Hymne an die Gesundheit.' By H. H. Cludius, in his 'Von den Scholien der Griechen,' in the Bibliothek der alt. Lit. u. K., iii.49.
1785, 8. 'Fragmente aus dem Gedichte Von den Kräften der Steine aus dem Griechischen.' By G. C. Tobler, in the Schweizerisches Museum, xii.1078-1082.
1563,12. 'Versi d' Orfeo' Iddio.' In Concetti da Girolamo Garimberti Raccolti et Tradotti. Venice.
1670. 12. In Liriche Parafrasi, by Fr. A. Cappone Venice.
1773, 12. By Ab. Zanolini, together with a translation of Hesiod. Padua.
1790, 8. By D. Strocchi, in his Versioni. Florence, Reprinted.
1794, 8. In Parnaso di' Poeti Classici, x. Venice.
1874, 8. Gli Argonauti, Poema Orfico. Turin. With prolegomena and notes by E. Ottino.
1755,4. Six Hymns of Orpheus. By William Dodd, together with a version of Callimachus.
1787,8. The Mystical Initiations, or Hymns of Orpheus. London. By Thomas Taylor, with a Preliminary Dissertation on the Life and Theology of Orpheus. In verse. 'Highly esteemed', cf: Critical Review, 1787, June, p. 401, sq. Reprinted 1792 and also 1824. The introduction is to be found in the Classical Journal, lviii.322, 331; lix.81-92. [Page 202]
1869,8. 'Hymnes Orphiques' By Lecomte de Lisle, 83 Hymns in his Hésiode, pp. 87-146, Paris.
Anonymous: 'An Essay on the Oestrum or Enthusiasm of Orpheus.' In European Magazine, 1790, Dec., pp. 409-413. Probably by Taylor.
Barri: In Mém. de I'Acad., xvi.
Beck (C.D.): 'Notitia de Orpheo, Orphicisque et de Scriptis, in quibus Orphica tractantur.' In his Accessionum ad Fabricii Bibliothecam Graecam Spec., I (Leipzig; 182.7, 4), pp. 1-12; Acta. Sem., i.303-335. Leipzig.
Bernhardy (G.): Crundriss d. Criech. Litt., ii.266, sq.
(G. H.): Commentatio de Orpheo Poetarum Graecorum Antiquissimo.
Gottingen; 1824, 4.
— Gesch. d. Hell. Dichtkunst, 187-190.
Bouterweck: 'De Orphicis Decretis.' In 'Commentatio de Primis Phiosophorum Graec. Decretis', in Commentationes Recens. Soc. Gotting., vol. ii. Gottingen; 1811,8.
Brandis: Handbuch der Ceschichte der Griechisch-Römisch. Philosophie, i. 53-72; chaps. xvii, xviii.
(J.): 'De Orpheo'. In his Historia Crit. Philosophia', i.373, sq. ;
— History of Philosophy, by Enfield, vol. i.
Buechsenschuetz (B.): De Hymnis Orphicis Dissertatio; a thesis. Berlin; 1851,8.
Clavier: Histoire des Premiers Temps de la Grèce. Paris; 1822., 8; 3 vols.
Corylander (1): Dissertatio de Orpheo Graecorum Philosopho. London; 1754, 4.
Cox (G. W.): Mythology of the Aryan Nations, ii.239, sq. London; 1870, 8. [Page 203]
Crassus (L.): 'Orpheos Omnia recensuit, deque iis disseruit', in his Istoria de' Poeti Greci et di que ch' en Greca lingua ban poetata, pp. 350, sq.
Cudworth (R.): Intellectual System, I. iv. Collection of Orphic Hymns and doctrine of One God and Trinity. Ed. 1671.
Dieterich (A.): De Hymnis Orphicis Capitula Quinque. Marpurgi Cattorum; 1891, 8; pp. 56.
(C. F.): Origine de tous le Cultes, i. Paris; 1822, 8.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Art. 'Orpheus', 9th ed., 1884.
Eschenbach (A. C.): Epigenes de Poesi Orphica, in Priscas Orphicorum Carminum Memorias Liber Commentarius. Nüremberg; 1702., 4; pp. 200, with index. Very rare even in Germany. Treats of Oromismoi, of the symbols of the Mysteries, on the Crater or Soul of the World, and on the Theogony.
Facius a. F.): Epistola Critica in Aliquot Orphei et Apollonii Rhodii Argonaut. Loca ad Theoph. Christ. Harlesium. Erlangen; 1772., 8. A pamphlet of 16 pp. on various readings in Argonautica.
Foucher: 'Sur Orpheus'. In Mém. de I' Acad. des Inscr., xxxv. 75, sq.
Fraguier (C. F.): 'Sur la Vie Orphique'. In Mém. de l' Acad. des Inscr., V.117, sq.; 8th ed., vii.180, sq; translated into German by Hissmann in Griechische Alterthümer, i. 126, sq.
(N.): Oeuvres Complètes. Paris; 1796, 12.; 20 vols.
– : 'Recherches sur le Culte de Bacchus parmi les Grecs'. In Mém. de I' Acad., xxii.248, 251.
Gail (J. F.): Recherches sur la Nature de Culte de Bacchus en Grèce. Paris; 1821,8.
Gerhard (E.): 'Ueber Orpheus und die Orphiker.' In Mém de l'Acad. de Berlin. Berlin; 1861,4.
Gerlach (J. C. G.): De Hymnis Orphicis Commentatio. Gottingen; 1797,8.
Girard (J.): Le Sentiment Religieux en Grèce, II. iii. iv. Paris; 1869, 8.
Giseke (B.): 'Das Verzeichniss der Werke des Orpheus bei Suidas.' In the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie new series,, new series, viii.70, sq. [Page 204]
Grote: History of Greece, I. i.
Grupp (O.): Die Griech. Culte und Mythen in ihren Beziehungen Zu den Orientalischen Religionen, I, Introduction. Leipzig; 1887,8. Last part treats of Orphic theogonies.
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