Sep 062018
 

Find the well by the lake of memory. Guardians protect the cold water. Tell them…
Orphic Fragment

I am standing in the centre of a great rectangular hall with my head held high and my long, bright hair wound into an elaborate arrangement that is held in place by a gleaming diadem. My white linen robe is bound with pure gold and I am still as a statue, with one eye fixed upon the future as the other observes what is past.
The air is cool beneath the temple roof. The only sounds that can be heard are an occasional bleating of goats and the distant murmuring of servants as they make ready for the Spring Council, which is to be held here in three and a half days. I have already swept clean the marble floor and it shines like the full moon of Amalios. Early-morning sunrays flood the hallowed space, infusing every atom. Narrow gaps between the thick, rounded pillars reveal sections of a motionless scene, silent as if time had ceased.
Happy are the men who enter this house and ask of me, “What do you see?” The wisest make the best of the answer they are given but others seek more, seldom to any avail, for there is a way that we do things at this place – here at the navel of the world – where the future is inscribed on lead.
I stand within the fourth Apollonian Temple to have been built here, which has undergone extensive repair works following the War that almost destroyed it.
The first Temple was much smaller than the present building and constructed from branches of Thessaly’s sacred laurel trees; the next was created by bees of wax and feathers, designed to bridge the gap between Earth and the underworld. Bees make the journey to and from Hades as a matter of course and the secrets they retrieve are for the golden ears of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, keeper of the moon.
The third temple was a great bronze edifice which stood for many years before the heat of the Sun God melted it back into the Earth, and the fourth was built before I took up my office. The fifth shall not be put on its foundations before I have left for the Elysium Fields.
It is on the seventh day of each month that the future lives of men are unveiled and they come from all parts of the Earth to know what the fates have in store for them. This is except for during the winter months, when twice-born Dionysus returns and natural chaos reigns in place of Apollo’s measured reason.
When frost is on the ground and the sheaves of wheat have frozen back into the Earth – when the great white star of Maia appears on the horizon – then it is that nine wild maenads will herald the arrival of Dionysus. His body is buried close to where I am standing and during his season our dedications are made for the following year’s harvest, while we pray that the sun God will return, his golden youth resurrected anew.
When I am satisfied that the purification rituals have been performed correctly and the Temple is perfectly clean I walk towards the entrance of the great hall. It is elaborately decorated with all manner of votives – burnished golden shields, statues, cauldrons, tripods and bows – from all four corners of the Earth. Counted amongst them are the ensigns and symbols of every noble family that is known to this world.
I instinctively look up before leaving Apollo’s house, to above the entrance where a thousand garlands of laurel create fragrant canopies beneath the ceiling and pay host to the songbirds that sing his praises. The sweetest voice I ever heard belongs to the nightingale, who reveals to those with ears to hear the innermost longing of the psyche. A pure, shrill note breaks the silence and escapes into Echo’s lonely realm. When daybreak comes I shall return.

May 202013
 

TammuzNot only are there seven planets, but these must have had their representations on Earth in the seven holy ‘fortresses’ of the seven ‘white’ Kings of Atlantis. In the Secret of the West, Merezhkovsky says:

‘Atlantis perished, but its gods were saved. There are seven of them: The Cretan Adonis-Adonai, the Egyptian Osiris, the Babylonian Tammuz, the Hittite Attis, the Iranian Mithra, the Hellenic Dionysus, and the ancient Mexican Quetzalcoatl. They all show one face, like brother-twins. The swastika is on their brow: it is possible to say that these are the ‘baptised’ gods.

‘There are seven of them like the seven colours of the post-Deluge rainbow: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the Earth.”

‘They are more than twins, they are each others’ doubles, so that if you know one you know them all; they mix in one another, like the colours of the rainbow, behind which is one sun.’

So, if the poem, the Spoils of Annwn refers also to post-diluvian history (as an experience of initiation) it is still correct to say that ‘only seven’ return; because, in Atlantis, only the seven god-accepted sanctuaries and their Mystery-wisdom survived, and those under the ‘Lords of the Dark Face’, the black magical Kings, perished. The offspring of these seven Mystery schools, devoted to planetary wisdom, are to be found – historically – scattered all over the world of the ‘second humanity’.

Eleanor C Merry, The Flaming Door

Oct 102012
 

As for Orpheus’ head: after being attacked by a jealous Lemnian serpent (which Apollo at once changed into a stone) it was laid to rest in a cave at Antissa, sacred to Dionysus.

There it prophesised day and night until Apollo, finding that his oracles at Delphi, Gryneium and Clarus where deserted, came and stood over the head crying: ‘Cease from interference in my business; I have borne long enough with you and your singing!’ Thereupon the head fell silent.

Orpheus’ lyre had likewise drifted to Lesbos and been laid up in a temple of Apollo, at whose intercession, and that of the Muses, the Lyre was placed in Heaven as a constellation.

Some gave a wholly different account of how Orpheus died: they say that Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt for divulging divine secrets. He had, indeed, instituted the Mysteries of Apollo in Thrace; those of Hecate in Aegina; and those of Subterrene Demeter at Sparta.

Orpheus’ singing head recalls that of the decapitated Alder-god Bran which, according to the Mabinogion, sang sweetly on the rock at Harlech in North Wales; a fable, perhaps, of the funerary pipes made from alder-bark. Thus the name Orpheus, if it stands for ophruoeis, ‘on the river bank’, may be a title of Bran’s Greek counterpart, Phoroneus, or Cronus, and refer to the alders ‘growing on the banks of’ the Peneius and other rivers.

The name of Orpheus’ father, Oeagrus (‘of the wold sorb’ apple’), points to the same cult, since the sorb-apple (French = alisier) and the alder (Spanish = aliso) both bear the name of the pre-Hellenic River-goddess Halys, or Alys, or Elis, Queen of the Elysian Islands, where Phoroneus, Cronus and Orpheus went after death. Aornum is Avernus, an Italic variant of the Celtic Avalon (‘apple-tree island’)

Orpheus is said by Diodorus of Siculus to have used the old thirteen-consonant alphabet; and the legend is that he made the trees move and charmed wild beasts apparently refers to its sequence of seasonal trees and symbolic animals. As sacred king he was struck by a thunderbolt – that is, killed with a double-axe – in an oak grove at the summer solstice, and then dismembered by the Maenads of the bull cult, like Zagreus’ or of the stag cult, like Actaeon; the Maenads, in fact, represented the Muses.

In Classical Greece the practice of tattooing was confined to Thracians, and in a vase-painting of Orpheus’ murder a Maenad has a small stag tattooed on her forearm. This Orpheus did not come in conflict with the cult of Dionysus; he was Dionysus, and he played the rude alderpipe, not the civilised lyre. Thus Proclus writes: ‘Orpheus,  because he was the principal in the Dionysian rites, is said to have suffered the same fate as the god’ and Apollodorus credits him with having invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.

The Greek Myths, Robert Graves

 

Nov 202011
 

Standing on the outskirt of the forest, Hermes whispered a message to his light‐headed, wine‐brining friend: “Zeus’s twice‐born son, your time shall surely come. You bear the living vine; on you the sun shall shine”.

The wolf by Apollo’s side pricked up its ears and whined. “And what of me, Father, bringer of the cosmic light, voice of all reason and destroyer of dark night?”

Zeus raised an eyebrow. “How soon, I wonder, my great golden child, ’til you think yourself greater, even, than I?”

It was then that his deer‐daughter put a restraining hand on her brother’s shoulder and entreated him in an urgent voice. “Bait him not, beloved brother; the chariot of the sun shall be struck down by lightening and the silver moon shall die of grief! Then you would see that our licentious youth shall sober in a second and sit upon thy gilded chariot!”

“Ay, sister of the moon, with his hairy hand upon my priceless goblet, while his sluts strum tuneless ditties upon my incomparable turtleshell lyre!”

Dionysus raised his cup to them in a toast: “You have my blessing brother, I think not to steer the chariot of the sun, nor to take your hallowed place in heaven…I’d rather have a bit of fun! You’ll have to watch the lyre, though, methinks the sound of music shall do much to make our mystery.”

Sep 152011
 

Imagining Orpheus is a different matter. Most people can recall two things about him: that he was a musician, and that he went down to the Underworld to fetch his wife Eurydice. His story is the archetypal myth of the power of music.

With the lyre that was the gift from Apollo, Orpheus could move everything in creation, from stones, trees, and beasts, through humans, to daimonic and even divine beings (whom we might call angels and gods).

Armed only with his songs, he charmed the denizens of Hades and persuaded Pluto and Persephone to let him take Eurydice back.

Orpheus was a prince of Thrace, the land to the north of Greece. His mother was Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. Some say his father was Apollo, and certainly Orpheus stands under the patronage of that god. Apollo also had northern connections, either coming from Hyperborea (the land beyond the north wind), or else visiting that far northern land after his birth on the island of Delos.

Where was Hyperborea? As it was said to contain a circular temple to the sun, some have identified it with Britain, and its temple with Stonehenge, a monument far older than any in Greece.

Stonehenge, and the people who constructed it, were Apollonian in the sense of being dedicated to the sun, to astronomy, mathematics and music. A number of modern researchers have penetrated beyond the limitations of academic prehistory to reveal, through intuition, the bases of this ancient science.

John Mitchell, the pioneer in this regard, has reconstructed the diagrams and dimensions that seem to lie at the basis of megalithic design. Jean Richar has shown that there is an imaginary zodiac whose twelvefold symbolism links mythology with the geography of the Aegean area. Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller have traced a plethora of Apollonian sites in geometrical alignment, all the way from Ireland to Palestine.

Mitchell, in addition, has traced the myth of ‘perpetual choirs’ maintained at ancient sanctuaries for the purpose of what he calls ‘enchanting the landscape’. If one is attentive to such findings, it is clear that there was a high and orderly civilisation well established by the third millennium BC, of which the archaeologists know almost nothing.

This enchantment of the landscape is exactly what Orpehus is reputed to have done with his music, casting a benign spell over nature and bringing peace among men. As part of his mission, he reformed the cult of Dionysus and tried to persuade his followers to give up their blood sacrifices. In place of Dionysian orgies, Orpheus founded the first Mysteries of Greece. The purpose of these, as far as we can tell, was to transmit some kind of direct knowledge that was helpful in facing the prospect of death.

Orpheus’s journey to the Underworld to fetch Eurydice should be understood in the context of the Mysteries. In the earliest versions of the myth, he did succeed in restoring her to life.

Joscelyn Godwin, The Golden Thread, The Orphic Mysteries

Jul 212011
 

Once I was asked when he – Dionysus – first came here.

Who can say! I should laugh at such a question, for what is time? There are only hours of sun, seasons and days marked by the passage of the moon. Most severely have I been warned by the priests to never fall under the sway of time, because that would bring death to all prophecy.

Daily I am reminded that time is of no consequence, as fate unfolds precisely as the gods command it to and ‘when’ this occurs is immaterial, the potential for all action being present in every moment.

We are concerned here with what is infinite. “For this reason”, Timocrates informed me – quite pompously, in fact – when I questioned him on the matter, “the League has taken it upon itself to regulate all of the calendars throughout the civilised world in order to subjugate for perpetuity the menace of time at the centre of the Earth.”

For the sake of the initial inquiry, however, it was sufficient to say to say that Dionysus comes at first sighting of the Pleiades, accompanied always by Euterpe, whose hypnotic sounds will soar over Parnassus from flutes poised like spears of moonlight on the muse’s lips. What happens then, who can say? It is one of the mysteries we cannot share easily, for like dark and endless dreaming, memories of those days are like mist in the fire of morning.

Apr 232011
 

‘There’s no answer to his queries,
Dionysus’ brains are weary.
Cares he not for Neptune’s offspring,
Wants he just to hear the girls sing.

‘Watches he the virgins wander –
Through the fire-dance, travel onward,
Filled with wine and honeyed nectar –
Through the magic realms of psyche.

‘There the nymph, sweet Ariadne
Forces him to drown his sorrow,
Charms him nightly with her beauty;
Drinks he like there’s no tomorrow.

‘Groans the wine God: “New man, stop,
And hush the hound, you’ll turn the hops!
Mere immortal, you will end this.
Once for all now, comprehend it:

‘”Here, tonight, the true initiates
Drink new wine. The growing mystery
Share I then, but none could hear it;
Thanks to you, the maids grew teary.

‘As did Phoebus’ wan Priestess,
Voice of heaven, whom truth begets.
Hold your peace now, stand in silence.”
Thus did end the hunter’s license.

Apr 232011
 

‘Hermes lifts a shield that’s priceless –
Bids it cast a charmed reflection –
Thus does spy the Lord, Osiris,
Youth itself, complete perfection.

‘He that rescued Dionysus
From the flames which killed Semele,
He the Gods, as one, depend on,
Spoke he, thus, to shape the darkness:

‘“King and priest of Egypt, ruler
Of the world, who’s robed in dulia,
Might I beg thee now to listen;
Lord, let time reveal its vision?

‘“See yourself – the face that’s handsome –
Lit by all the stars of heaven?
Take thee now, the horn of plenty,
That which you requested lately.

Hypnotising as the waters
From the clear and crystal palace
Of the Fairy queen and mermaids,
Is the looking glass. The Star gazed.

‘“Drink, my Lord, relive a journey
Govern dreams, see truth in Karma.
Know thee well that life eternal
Is the law and that is Dharma.”

Apr 232011
 

‘Then her great, beloved brother
Smiled a little, charmed sweet Isis.
‘Sister, bride, my only lover,
Let this not be made a crisis’.

‘‘Let the depths of Dionysus
Hidden stay; and so his mystery
Shall become a sign of our love
So he shall preserve our History.

‘‘All who preach the resurrection,
All who speak of life, eternal,
All who walk in love’s reflection,
They shall keep the faith, diurnal.

‘‘Orpheus shall keep with thee
A vision of the deepest mystery.
As we’ll share the vine shall Bacchus
Pass the knowledge down through history.’

Looking through the space for Hermes,

Author of a timeless vision,

King of Egypt clicks his fingers,

ummons then a great revision:

‘‘Thoth the Ancient – Time Atomic –
Step beyond the cloak of Hades.
You have made a greater promise;
Once, upon a time, you made it.

‘Show me now the emerald shining
Deep within your mind – your greatness –
Show my wife the sacred Ibis,
Let us all forget our lateness.’

Hermes gives himself a second
And a third, so time is taken –
Rather than make haste, unreckoned –
Pauses while the epochs waken.

Jun 082010
 

It is on the seventh day of each month that the future lives of men are unveiled, when they come from all parts of the Earth to know what the fates have in store for them. This is except for during the winter months, when twice-born Dionysus returns and natural chaos reigns in place of Apollo’s measured reason.

When frost is on the ground and the sheaves of wheat have frozen back into the Earth – when the great, bright star of Maia appears on the horizon – then it is that the maenads of Dionysus herald the arrival of their lord.

The body of Dionysus is buried at this place and during his season they devote their dedications to the following year’s harvest, whilst praying that the sun God will return and the golden youth be resurrected.

She walks towards the entrance of the great hall.

It is elaborately decorated with all manner of votives – burnished shields, statues, cauldrons, tripods and bows – from all four corners of the Earth. Counted amongst them are the ensigns and symbols of every noble house that is known to this world.

A thousand garlands of laurel create fragrant canopies beneath the ceiling and pay host to the songbirds that sing Apollo’s praises. The sweetest voice that can be heard belongs to the nightingale, which reveals to those who listen the innermost longing of the psyche.

A pure, shrill note breaks the silence and escapes into Echo’s lonely realm as twilight descends.