Jan 032016
 

orpheusOrpheus – such was the suffering of separation from the soul of his deceased love that it became magic, magic surpassing the river of sleep, forgetfulness and death which separates the dead from the living.

Orpheus is present always and everywhere where the love of a soul torn away by death is not content with pious and resigned commemoration, but aspires to find and meet the departed one beyond the threshold of death.

Such was Orpheus’ love for Eurydice and such, also, was Gilgamesh’s love for his friend and brother Eabani. And who can say how many human hearts have beaten, beat today, and will beat in the future, in union with that of Orpehus and that of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool

May 072014
 

reflection‘Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor man without the woman in the Lord’*

 

The vision of such a romance has haunted the highest minds for thousands of years. We find it in platonic love, the basis of the singular romance in the myths of the Androgyne man; of Orpheus and Euridice; of Pygmalion and Galatea… This is the aspiration of the human heart, which cries in secrecy because of its great loneliness.

This romance forms the essential aim of esoteric work. Here is that love which will unite man to that being who is unique for him, the Sister-wife, the glory of man, as he will be the glory of God.16 Having entered into the light of Tabor, no longer two, but one drinking at the fount of true Love, the transfigurer: the conqueror of Death.

Love is the Alpha and the Omega of life. All else has only secondary significance.

Man is born with the Alpha. It is the intention of the present work to show the path which leads towards the Omega.

Boris Mouravieff

I Corinthians xi: 11

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

Apr 232011
 

‘Speaks he well and so the ancient
One is mindful now to listen,
‘As the moving words of wisdom
Sow on Earth the Kalki Vishnu.

‘‘Please continue’, thought he mildly,
‘I should know which other Earthling
Might make use of what is given,
Use the soul quite well, be risen.’

‘Hermes needs no more persuasion
Than mere thought from this, the Star-King,
Thus the great magician whispered
More of love, love everlasting.

‘“There’s a soul which doth, your Highness,
Overlay the sound of silence,
One who swayed the final juries
Yet was torn apart by Furies.

‘“One who plucks the deepest heart-string –
Thracian bard of noble standing –
He, who can’t forget his first kiss;
Let him rule the deep, Eleusis?

‘“Mayketh he the sweetest music –
Tames he winds, makes fire of ice –
He should rule with rhyme, not reason,
Seeking, ever, Eurydice.

Apr 232011
 

‘“Down he went, to play for Hades –
God who had the lady hidden –
Eurydice, the lovely maiden,
She, who by the snake was bitten.

‘“Hearing as he strummed so gently,
Sang a Dithyramb, song of heartache,
Hades’ wife wept tears for twenty,
Whilst the God himself shed plenty.

‘“Weeping like a bride, old Hades –
He that might undo the death-spell –
Said to him: “Oh Prince of Poets,
Sweeter is your song than nectar.

‘“Henceforth shall our guide be Eros,
God of love. Your song convinced us
That we should release the lady,
On but one condition, only.

‘“You must not set eyes upon her
‘Til she’s reached the land above us.
Did you, Prince, take care to listen
“Well? Else fail in this, your mission.

Nov 072010
 

The grief-stricken birds, the host of wild creatures, the flinty rocks and the woods that had so often followed his songs, all wept for Orpheus. The trees shed their leaves and, with bared heads, mourned for his loss.

Men say that the rivers too were swollen with their own tears, and naiads and dryads tore their hair, and pulled on black garments, over their fine robes. The poet’s limbs were scattered in different places, but the waters of the Hebrus received his head and lyre.

Wonderful to relate, as they floated down in midstream, the lyre uttered a plaintive melody and the lifeless tongue made a piteous murmur, while the river banks lamented in reply. Carried down to the sea, theyleft their native river, and were washed up on the shore of Lesbos, near Methymna.

Here, as the head lay exposed on that foreign shore, its hair dripping with beads of foam, it was attacked by a savage snake: but Phoebus at last appeared, and checked the snake in the very act of biting, turning its open mouth to stone, and petrifying its gaping jaws.

The ghost of Orpheus passed beneath the earth; he recognised all the places he had seen before and, searching through the fields of the blessed, found his Eurydice, and clasped her in eager arms. There they stroll together, side by side: or sometimes Orpheus follows, while his wife goes before, sometimes he leads the way and looks back, as he can do safely now, at his Eurydice.

Ovid, Orpheus in the Underworld