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

Jun 072015
 

sapta-rishiThe spiritual history of Christianity is the history of successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history of the magic of love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever – thanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life (“Ego sum resurrectio et vita” – John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.

Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The  magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life. The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded….’

All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – “I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life” (John, vi, 38 – 40) – will be accomplished.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice

 

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

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

 

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

May 282011
 

The consort I invoke of Jove divine,

Source of the holy, sweetly-speaking Nine;

Free from th’ oblivion of the fallen mind,

By whom the soul with intellect is join’d:

Reason’s increase, and thought to thee belong,

All-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong:

‘Tis thine, to waken from lethargic rest

All thoughts deposited within the breast;

And nought neglecting, vigorous to excite

The mental eye from dark oblivion’s night.

Come, blessed power, thy mystic’s mem’ry wake

To holy rites, and Lethe’s fetters break.

The Initiations of Orpheus, to Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory

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 192010
 

Our threefold knowledge (mystical-gnostic-magical) of the world has dedicated itself through the course of the centuries to the glory of the Holy Trinity, just as the threefold knowledge of divine revelation through the Holy Scripture (the Old Testament, New Testament and the Apocalypse) does.

Are we not called, we theologians of the world, and you, theologians of the Holy Scripture, to watch at the same altar and to fulfill the same task of not letting the lamp illumined to the glory of God be extinguished in the world?

Is it not our common duty to provide for it, to provide the holy oil of human endeavour so that its flame is never extinguished, so that it always bears witness to God by the very fact of its existence, and so that it continues to burn from century to century?

*

The spiritual history of Christianity is the history of the successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history  of the magic love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever – thanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life. (Ego sum resurrectio et vita, John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.

Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they  have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life.

The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded…’

All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life (John vi, 38-40) will be accomplished.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice