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 122011
 

Let us consider the domain of forgetting and remembering – the memory.

Memory is magic, in the subjective domain, which effects the evocation of things from the past. It renders past things present. Just as a sorcerer or necromancer evokes the spirits of the dead by making them appear, so does the memory evoke things of the past and make them appear to our inner mental vision.

The present remembrance is the result of the magical operation in the subjective domain, where one has succeeded in evoking from the black void of forgetfulness a living image from the past.

A living image from the past….imprint? symbol? copy? phantom? It is all of these at once. It is an imprint in so far as it makes use f my imagination to represent a reality which goes beyond its imaginary representation; it is a copy in so far as it only aims at reproducing the original from the past; it is a phantom in so far as it is an apparition from the black abyss of forgetfulness and in so far as it recalls to life the past in making it present to my inner vision.

What is the force at work in the subjective magical operation of remembering? There are four types of memory that one experiences: mechanical or automatic memory, logical memory, moral memory and vertical or revelatory memory.

Vertical or revelatory memory is not a memory of the past in the sense of the horizontal line: today, yesterday, the day before, but rather in the sense of the vertical line: here, higher, still higher. It is a ‘memory’ which does not link the present to the past on the plane of physical, psychic and intellectual life, but which links the plane of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness.

It is the faculty of the lower self to reproduce the experience and knowledge of the higher self or, if you like, the faculty of the higher self to imprint its experience and knowledge upon the consciousness of the lower self. It is the link between the higher eye and the lower eye, which renders us authentically religious and wise, and immune to the assaults of sceptism, materialism and determinism.

It is also this which is the source of certainty, not only of God and the spiritual world with its hierarchical entities but also of the immortality of our being and reincarnation, wherever it is a matter of reincarnation. “Dawn is the friend of the muses” and similar proverbs relate to the benefits of vertical memory form which one benefits in the morning, after the return of consiousness from the plane of “natural ecstasy” or sleep.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XIII, Death

Apr 232011
 

“Hope!” the birds sing as you enter
Into space. The sidereal turning
Back reveals undying memories,
Log-book of a life-times’ journeys.

Starlight is the love inflection –
Four plus one, the whole quintessence –
Flame, Air, Water, Earth, Reflection,
Quantum leaps in five directions.

Twelve the signs that mark the time-piece,
Zodiacal months and sections.
Fiery Water, Earth-Air, star suite.
‘Now behold the Ram,’ says Hermes.

Vernal sun – the fiery Aries’
Golden fleece – lights Pallas, mighty,
Guardian over Argive heroes;
Asteroid of winged Niké.

This the key to hidden gateways –
Look beyond to see the secret –
Clio fixed for all the greats’ days.
Thalia the Muse, the Grace says:

Apr 232011
 

‘Artemis, with bow and quiver,
Stands aloft on Mount Olympus,
As the doe and hind, in silence,
Jump the clear and Star-lit river.

‘Swift they run. Like magic carpets
Are the green and silver forests.
Watch the bears – and bees with honey –
As the Goddess hits her target.

‘“Bravo, Sister!” beams Apollo –
Gazing at the sea below them –
“Never did you miss with arrow!”
Sinks the form of bold Orion”.

‘Lord Apollo watches, silent,
As the virgin’s beau drifts skyward.
Watches as the only question
O’er her virtue learns his lesson.

‘By a cedar stands she grieving,
Bows her head in shame, a-weeping,
Cries upon the smelted moon beams,
Chastens, then, her ruthless sibling.

‘“King of priests, my Lord Apollo,
‘Reasons for his death ring hollow.
While the muses – nine that love thee –
Contemplate their selves, you’d fool me!”

Laughs the god: “Your love’s a martyr,”
Facing fear the charging Taurus,
“Tempted by the Atlas daughters,
Girls who shine on lucid waters.”

Apr 232011
 

‘Draws she near to bold Orion
Hoping, thus, to soothe his temper.
Points to one, the oldest Satyr,
He the muses loved to ride on.

‘“Bold Orion, please concede
That Crotus here – who lived and breathed –
Stands there now with arrows poised
To guard your captivated form.

‘“See as well the scales of justice,
Those with which the Lord Anubis
Weighed the souls of those departed,
Measured who should meet Osiris.

“Know thee not the queen of starlight
Calls to time: ‘Stand still, be halted’?
So shall she perform the black rite,
Bring to life the king through deep night?

‘Now Apollo speaks: “Your wisdom
Shines upon a hidden meaning;
You have placed him here with reason
On the font of deeper dreaming!

‘“Might he not recall the last life
When the stars by which you’ve bound him,
Shone upon Egyptian Pharaohs,
Helped them walk the sacred night, free?

“Queen of Egypt’s floodlit delta –
Isis – now returns, defensive.
Sirius picks up the pieces,
‘Fore the dawn can stun his senses –

Jan 292011
 

Beyond the three types of memory – mechanical, logical and moral – there is still the kind of memory that we have designated as “vertical or revelatory memory.”

It is not a memory of the past in the sense of the horizontal line: today, yesterday, the day before, etc, but rather in the sense of the vertical line: here, higher, still higher, etc. It is a “memory” which does not link the present to the past on the plane of physical, psychic and intellectual life, but which links the plane of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than ordinary consciousness.

It is the faculty of the “lower self” to reproduce the experience and knowledge of the “higher self” or, if you like, the faculty of the “higher self” to imprint its experience and knowledge upon the consciousenss of the “lower self”. It is the link between the “higher eye” and the “lower eye”, which renders us authentically religious and wise, and immune to the assaults of sceptism, materialism and determinism.

It is this also which is the source of certainty not only of God and the spiritual world with its hierarchical entities but also of the immortality of our being and reincarnation, wherever it is a matter of reincarnation. “Dawn is the friend of the muses” and similar popular proverbs, such as “the morning hour has gold in its mouth” or “morning is wiser than the evening”, relate to the benefits of vertical memory from which one benefits in the morning, after the return of consciousness from the plane of “natural ecstasy” or sleep.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIII, Death

Aug 122010
 

Tonight, of all nights, Perseus borrows the winged sandals of Hermes, diamond sword of Hephaestus  and magical helmet of Hades.

Medusa will be slain and Pegasus born.

What a hero it is – with the help of a goddess – that makes possible for a gift such as this to be given to the Muses!

Jun 082010
 

Commanding queen, who lead to sacred light

The intellect refin’d from Error’s night;

And to mankind each holy rite disclose,

For mystic knowledge from your nature flows….

Come, venerable, various pow’rs divine,

With fav’ring aspect on your mystics shine;

Bring glorious, ardent, lovely, fam’d desire,

And warm my bosom with your sacred fire.

Orphic Hymn to The Muse

Mar 212010
 

Vizati

Vernal sun – the fiery Aries’
Golden fleece – lights Pallas, mighty,
Guardian over Argive heroes;
Asteroid of winged Niké.

This the key to hidden gateways –
Look beyond to see the secret –
Clio fixed for all the greats’ days.
Thalia the Muse, the Grace says:

‘Artemis, with bow and quiver,
Stands aloft on Mount Olympus,
As the doe and hind, in silence,
Jump the clear and Star-lit river.

‘Swift they run, like magic carpets,
Through the green and silver forests,
Past the bears and bees with honey
As the Goddess hits her target.

‘“Bravo, Sister!” beams Apollo –
Gazing at the sea below them –
“Never did you miss with arrow!”
Sinks the form of bold Orion”.

‘Lord Apollo watches, silent,
As the virgin’s beau drifts skyward.
Watches as the only question
O’er her virtue learns his lesson.

‘By a cedar stands she grieving,
Bows her head in shame, a-weeping,
Cries upon the smelted moon beams,
Chastens, then, her ruthless sibling.

‘“King of priests, my Lord Apollo,
‘Reasons for his death ring hollow.
While the muses – nine that love thee –
Contemplate their selves, you’d fool me!”

Laughs the god: “Your love’s a martyr,”
Facing fear the charging Taurus,
“Tempted by the Atlas daughters,
Girls who shine on lucid waters.”