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PHANES - PHÁNIS - ΦΑΝΗΣ

 


Sketch based on the famous sculpture of the God from antiquity. Created by the author who releases it to the Public Domain.


Prohtogónos, Who Gives Light

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Phánis - (Fanis or Phanes; Gr. Φάνης, ΦΑΝΗΣ. Pronounced: FAH-nees.) 


Phánis is "a divinity in the Orphic System, representing the first principle of life
[1]," He is called Firstborn, the Prohtogónos (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτογόνος), and the son of Aithír (Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) [2]. He is the primeval God of procreation in the Orphic Theogony. Phánis is an impersonal God, a great force of Aithír which both conceals and reveals all the forms that exist in the natural world. As such, Phánis is one of the most important deities of all Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion.


Etymology 


The etymology of the name derives from the verb ϕαίνω which is defined:


bring to light, cause to appear, in physical sense, b. make known, reveal, disclose. c. show. B. come to light, appear [3].

Hence, Phánis is he who reveals.


"The derivation of the name from ϕαινω is universal in ancient authorities. He is called Phánis because he first shone forth--appeared in a blaze of light--or alternatively because he makes visible, gives light to, the rest of creation. He is sometimes called light itself..." [4]

There are many other related words, such as ϕᾱνός defined as:


light, bright, brightness [5].

Phánis is the enlightening Aithír.


Kozmology and the First-Born

The primordial state of the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος) is called Unutterable or Ineffable, consisting of material: Earth and Water
[6]. From this primeval situation, Khrónos (Chronus = Unageing Time; Gr. Χρόνος) united with Anángki (Ananke = Necessity; Gr. Ἀνάγκη) [7]. Khrónos then gave birth to unbounded Kháos (Chaos; Gr. Χάος), moist Aithír, and misty Ǽrævos (Erebos = Darkness; Gr. Ἔρεβος) [8]. From Aithír, Khrónos created an egg from which Phánis, the First-born of the Gods (Prohtogónos), was born: Phánis, the creator of all [2].

In addition to the name Phánis, he is also called Diónysos, Irikæpaios (Ericapaeus; Gr. Ἠρικεπαῖος), Ǽrohs (Eros; Gr. Ἔρως), Mítis (Metis; Gr. Μῆτις), Prohtogónos (First-Born)
[9], Zefs (Zeus, Gr. Ζεύς), and Pan (Gr. Πᾶν) [10]. Phánis made the imperishable house of the Immortals [11]. He revealed the sun, the earth, and the moon [12]. He gave his scepter, the Kirýkeion (= the Caduceus [Lat.]; Gr. Κηρύκειον) which unites the three worlds and emanates prophecy, to Nyx (Night, the unexpressed forms; Gr. Νύξ) [13], who gave birth to Yaia (Gaia; Gr. Γαῖα = Yi or Ge; Gr. Γῆ) and Ouranós (Uranus; Gr. Οὐρανός) [14].

"The Triple God born from the Egg was called Phanis, and also Metis and Ericapæus, the three being aspects of one Power." [15]

"Of the three aspects, Phanis is said to be the 'father', Ericapæus the 'power', and Metis the 'intellect', in Platonic terms (see Δαμάσκιος Quæst. p. 380)." [16]

The Orphic hymn to Phánis calls him Prohtogónos. This name means "First-Born" or "First-Begotten." The hymn also remarks that it is Phánis "from whom the race of Gods and mortals springs
[17]." He is called Antavyís (Antauges; Gr. Ἀνταυγής) in the poem, "he who reflects the Light."


Iconography

In iconography, Phánis is depicted as marvelously beautiful, emitting great light.


"With four eyes looking this way and that [18]. With golden wings moving this way and that [19]. Uttering the voice of a bull and of a glaring lion." [20]

He is also described marvelously in the Orphic hymn dedicated to the God:

Prohtogónos [21]
 
O Mighty first-begotten, hear my pray'r,
Two-fold, egg-born, and wand'ring thro' the air,
Bull-roarer, glorying in thy golden wings,
From whom the race of Gods and mortals springs.
Ericapæus, celebrated pow'r,
Ineffable, occult, all shining flow'r.
From eyes obscure thou wip'st the gloom of night,
All-spreading splendour, pure and holy light;
Hence Phanes call'd, the glory of the sky,
On waving pinions thro' the world you fly.
Priapus, dark-ey'd splendour, thee I sing,
Genial, all-prudent, ever-blessed king,
With joyful aspect on our rights divine
And holy sacrifice (Telite) propitious shine.

Thomas Taylor comments on the hymn [22]:

"Phanes, or Protogonus, who subsists at the extremity of the intelligible triad, and is therefore νοῦς νοητός, or intelligible intellect, and the exemplar of the universe, is denominated by Plato (ed. Platohn; Gr. Πλάτων) in the Timæus (Τίμαιος) τό αὐτοζῷον, animal itself, as being the primordial cause of all animal life, and was symbolically represented by Orpheus as adorned with the heads of a ram, a bull, a serpent, and a lion. But Jupiter (ed. Zefs), or the Demiurgus (ed. Dimiourgós; Gr. Δημιουργός) of the universe, is in the intellectual what Phanes is in the intelligible order of Gods; and hence he is said by Orpheus to have absorbed Phanes prior to his fabrication of the world; the Theologist (ed. Orphéfs) indicating by this his participation of all the primary paradigmatic causes of things which subsist in Phanes. As Porphyry, therefore, in his treatise De Antro Nympharum, informs us, 'that the Persian deity Mithra, as well as the bull, is the Demiurgus and lord of generation,' the reason is obvious why Protogonus is called in this hymn bull-roarer, the roaring signifying the procession of ideas to the formation of the world. And this is conformable to what is asserted respecting ideas in the Chaldæan Oracles, viz.


Νοῦς πατρός ἐρροίζησε νοήσας ἀκμάδι βουλή Παμμορϕοῦς ἰδέας

"The intellect of the father made a crashing noise, understanding with unwearied counsel omniform ideas." 

...for the crashing noise indicates the same thing as the roaring of Protogonus."

Phánis is the first Vasiléfs

Phánis is the first constituent of the evolutionary progression of Aithír known as the dynasty of the Six Vasileis (Basileis = Kings; Gr. Βασιλεῖς [Βασιλεύς is singular]): Phánis, Nyx, Ouranós, Krónos, Zefs, and Diónysos. From Phánis comes Nyx, then Ouranós, Krónos, and Zefs. Zefs enters the Cave (Ántron, Gr. Ἄντρον) of Nyx, "swallows" (utilizes, controls) Phánis
[23], and creates the universe anew:

And then Zefs went to the Sacred Cave and asked, “Good Mother, supreme of all the Gods, immortal Nyx, how am I to proceed? How can I inaugurate my rule with the immortal Gods [24]? How can I keep all things as one yet separate?” And blessed (μάκαιρα) Nyx, gleaming with the blue of dawn (κυαναυγής), answered him saying,

“Surround everything in the Aithír …the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the stars… and bind them all with a golden aithirial chain.” [25]

Thus mighty Zefs engulfed and swallowed Irikæpaios, (ed. Phánis) employing all of his power, and drew everything that existed into the hollow of his belly. And now all things in Zefs were created anew, the sky, the sea, the earth, and all the blessed and immortal Gods and Goddesses, all that was then and all that will be, all mingled in the belly of Zefs. [26]


Phánis and the Generations of Man

Phánis rules over the first generation: the Golden Age. [27]


Please visit this page for the mythology of the Six Kings: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony. This is the most important page on the entire website.


The Orphic Hymn to Prohtogónos (Phánis) suggests an offering of myrrh to the God


The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.



EPITHETS (under construction)

Antavyís - (Antauges; Gr. Ἀνταυγής, ΑΝΤΑΥΓΗΣAntavyís is a epithet of Phanis meaning he who reflects lightsparklingAntavyís is also an epithet of Ælios (Ἥλιος), the Sun.
- Lexicon entry: ἀνταυγής, ές, reflecting lightsparkling: pr. n. Ἀνταύγης, of the sun, Orph.Fr.237.  (L&S p.150 right column, within the entries beginning ἀνταυγ-άζω)

Prohtógonos - (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτόγονος, ΠΡΩΤΟΓΟΝΟΣ. Adjective.) Lexicon entry: πρωτόγονος, ον, also η, ον Paus.1.31.4:—first-born, firstling; φοῖνιξ π. first-born, first-created; of a child. 2. of rank, π. οἶκοι high-born houses. 3. epith. of Gods, Dam.Pr.123 bis; so Πρωτογόνη, , name of Persephone, Paus. l.c. II. parox. πρωτογόνος, , bringing forth first. (L&S p. 1545, left column, within the entries beginning with πρωτόᾰλος from the previous page, edited for simplicity.)



NOTES:

[1] Greek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, 1843; found here in the 1996 Clarendon Press edition (Oxford, England) on p. 1915.

[2] Orphic frag. 73. (57) Lactantius, Institutiones Divinae I, 5, 4-6 p. 13, 13 Brandt.

πρωτόγονος Φαέθων περιμήϰεος Αἰθέρος υἱός
 
"First-born Phaethon, son of towering Aithír." (trans. by the author)

Orphic frag. 85. (61) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 31a (I 451, 6 Diehl):

δαίμονα σεμνόν, Μῆτιν φέροντα θεών κλυτόν, ὅν τε Φάνητα πρωτόγονον μάκαρες κάλεον κατά μακρόν Ὄλυμπον

"Revered Goddess, Mítis (Μῆτις) bearer of the glorious Gods, whom was called Phánis the Firstborn (Πρωτογόνος) by the Happy Ones (Μάκαρες) above in the High Heaven (Ὄλυμπος)." 
(trans. by the author)

[3] Ibid. Greek-English Lexicon, p. 1912, left column, edited for simplicity.

[4] Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 96. 

[5] Ibid. Greek-English Lexicon, p. 1915, left column, edited for simplicity.

[6] Orphic fragment 54. (36) Δαμάσκιος ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν (First Princ.) 123 bis (I 317, 15 Rue.):

Ἡ δὲ κατὰ τὸν Ἱερώνυμον φερομένη καὶ ῾Ελλάνικον [᾿Ορφικὴ θεολογία], εἴπερ μὴ καὶ ὁ
αὐτός ἐστιν, οὕτως ἔχει· ὕδωρ ἦν, φησίν, ἐξ ἀρχῆς καὶ ὕλη, ἐξ ἧς ἐπάγη ἡ γῆ,
δύο ταύτας ἀρχὰς ὑποτιθέμενος πρῶτον, ὕδωρ καὶ γῆν, ταύτην
μὲν ὡς φύσει σκεδαστήν, ἐκεῖνο δὲ ὡς ταύτης κολλητικόν τε καὶ συνεκτικόν, τὴν δὲ μίαν πρὸ
τῶν δυεῖν ἄρρητον ἀφίησιν· αὐτὸ γὰρ τὸ μηδὲ φάναι περὶ αὐτῆς ἐδείκνυται
αὐτῆς τὴν ἀπόρρητον φύσιν. τὴν δὲ τρίτην ἀρχὴν μετὰ τὰς δύο γεννηθῆναι μὲν 
ἐκ τούτων, ὕδατός φημι καὶ γῆς, δράκοντα δὲ εἶναι κεφαλὰς ἔχοντα
προσπεφυκυίας ταύρου καὶ λέοντος, ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοῦ πρόσωπον, ἔχειν δὲ καὶ
ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων πτερά, ὠνομάσθαι δὲ Χρόνον ἀγήραον καὶ Ἡραλῆα τὸν αὐτόν·
συνεῖναι δὲ αὐτῷ τὴν Ἀνάγκην, φύσιν οὖσαν τὴν αὐτὴν καὶ Ἀδράστειαν,
δισώματον διωργυιωμένην ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ, τῶν περάτων αὐτοῦ
ἐφαπτομένην. ταύτην οἶμαι λέγεσθαι τὴν τρίτην ἀρχὴν κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν
ἑστῶσαν, πλὴν ὅτι ἀρσενόθηλυν αὐτὴν ὑπεστήσατο πρὸς ἔνδειξιν τῆς πάντων
γεννητικῆς αἰτίας. καὶ ὑπολαμβάνω τὴν ἐν ταῖς ῥαψῳδίαις θεολογίαν ἀφεῖσαν
τὰς δύο πρώτας ἀρχὰς μετὰ τῆς μιᾶς πρὸ τῶν δυεῖν τῆς σιγῇ παραδοθείσης
ἀπὸ τῆς τρίτης μετὰ τὰς δύο ταύτης ἐνστήσασθαι τὴν ἀρχὴν, ὡς πρώτης ῥητόν
τι ἐχούσης καὶ σύμμετρον πρὸς ἀνθρώπων ἀκοάς. οὗτος γὰρ ἦν ὁ πολυτίμητος
ἐν ἐκείνῃ Χρόνος ἀγήραος καὶ Αἰθέρος καὶ Χάους πατήρ· ἀμέλει καὶ κατὰ
ταύτην ὁ Χρόνος οὗτος ὁ δράκων γεννᾶται τριπλῆν γονήν, Αἰθέρα φησὶ
νοτερὸν καὶ Χάος ἄπειρον, καὶ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις Ἔρεβος ὀμιχλῶδες. τὴν
δευτέραν ταύτην τριάδα ἀνάλογον τῇ πρώτῃ παραδίδωσι, δυναμικὴν οὖσαν,
ὡς ἐκείνην πατρικήν· διὸ καὶ τὸ τρίτον αὐτῆς Ἔρεβος ἐστιν ὀμιχλῶδες, καὶ τὸ
πατρικόν τε καὶ ἄκρον Αἰθήρ, οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλὰ νοτερός, τὸ δὲ μέσν αὐτόθεν
Χάος ἄπειρον. ἀλλὰ μὴν ἐν τούτοις, ὡς λέγει, ὁ Χρόνος ᾠὸν ἐγέννησεν, τοῦ
Χρόνου ποιοῦσα γέννημα καὶ αὕτη ἡ παράδοσις, καὶ ἐν τούτοις τικτόμενον, ὅτι
καὶ ἀπὸ τούτων ἡ τρίτη πρόεισι νοητὴ τριάς. τίς οὖν αὕτη ἐστί ; τὸ ᾠόν· ἡ δυὰς
τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ φύσεων, ἄρρενος καὶ θηλείας, καὶ τῶν ἐν μέσῳ παντοίων
σπερμάτων τὸ πλῆθος· καὶ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις θεὸν δισώματον, πτέρυγας ἐπὶ
τῶν ὤμων ἔχοντα χρυσᾶς, ὃς ἐν μὲν ταῖς λαγόσι προσπεφυκυίας εἶχε ταύρων
κεφαλάς, ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς κεφαλῆς δράκοντα πελώριον παντοδαπαῖς μορφαῖς
θηρίων ἰνδαλλόμενον. τοῦτον μὲν οὖν ὡς νοῦν τῆς τριάδος ὑποληπτέον, τὰ δὲ
μέσα γένη τά τε πολλὰ καὶ τὰ δύο τὴν δύναμιν, αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ ᾠὸν ἀρχὴν πατρικὴν
τῆς τρίτης τριάδος. ταύτης δὲ τῆς τρίτης τριάδος τὸν τρίτον θεὸν καὶ ἥδε ἡ
θεολογία πρωτόγονον ἀνυμνεῖ καὶ Δία καλεῖ πάντων διατάκτορα καὶ ὅλου τοῦ
κόσμου, διὸ καὶ Πᾶνα καλεῖσθαι. τοσαῦτα καὶ αὕτη περὶ τῶν νοητῶν ἀρχῶν ἡ
γενεαλογία παρίστησιν.

Partial translation:

"Originally there was water, he (Orpheus) says, and mud, from which the earth solidified: he posits these two as first principles, water and earth...The one before the two, however, he leaves unexpressed, his very silence being an intimation of its ineffable nature."  

(As translated in The Orphic Poems by M.L. West, 1983; quoted here from the edition published by Clarendon Press [Oxford, England], Special edition for Sandpiper Books Ltd 1998, p. 178.)

[7] "The third principle after the two was engendered by these--earth and water, that is--and was a serpent (δρἀκων) with extra heads growing upon it of a bull and a lion, and a God's countenance in the middle; it had wings upon its shoulders, and it name was Unaging Time (Chronos) and also Heracles. United with it was Ananke, being of the same nature, or Adrastea, incorporeal, her arms extended throughout the universe and touching its extremities. I think this stands for the third principle, occupying the place of essence, only he made it bisexual to symbolize the universal generative cause. And I assume  that the theology in the Rhapsodies discarded the two first principles (together with the one before the two, that was left unspoken), and began from this third principle after the two, because this was the first that was expressible and acceptable to human ears." (Translation of Δαμάσκιος Orph. Fr. 54 continued from quote in the above citation 6,  Ibid. M.L. West, p. 178)

[8] "...this Time, the serpent, has offspring, three in number: moist Æther (I quote), unbounded Chaos, and as a third, misty Darkness (Erebos)." (Translation of Δαμάσκιος Orph. Fr. 54 continued from the quoted translation in the above two citations 6 and 7, Ibid. M.L. West, p. 178)

Orphic frag. 66 (52) Πρόκλος commentary on the Πολιτεία (Republic) II 138:

Αἰθέρα μὲν Χρόνος οὗτος ἀγήραος, ἀφθιτόμητις γείνατο καὶ μέγα χάσμα πελώριον ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα καὶ μικρὸν ὕστερον fr. 72

"Of this Chronos, the ageless one, whose counsels never perish, was born Æther and a great yawning gulf on this side and on that: and there was no limit to it, no bottom nor foundation. (All things were in confusion) Throughout the misty darkness." (trans. Ibid. Guthrie, p. 137)  

[9] Ibid. Guthrie,  p. 80

[10] "...Time generated an egg--this tradition too making it generated by Time, and born 'among' these because it is from these that the third Intelligible triad is produced. What is this triad, then? The egg; the dyad of the two natures inside it (male and female), and the plurality of the various seeds between; and thirdly an incorporeal God with golden wings on his shoulders, bulls' heads growing upon his flanks, and on his head a monstrous serpent, presenting the appearance of all kinds of animal forms...And the third God of this triad this theology too celebrates as Firstborn, and it calls him Zeus the orderer of all and ( ) of the whole world, wherefore he is also called Pan." (Translation of Δαμάσκιος Orph. Fr. 54 continued from citations 6, 7, and 8, Ibid. M.L. West, pp. 178-179)

In Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 12-15 it is told a little differently:

αρχαίου μέν πρώτα χάους αμέγαρτον ανάγκην
καί Κρόνον ός ελόχευσεν απειρεσίοισιν υφ' ολκοίς
Αιθέρα καί διφυή περιωπέα κυδρόν Ερωτα
Νυκτός αειγνήτης πατέρα κλυτόν: όν ρα Φάνητα

"Firstly, ancient Khaos’ stern Ananke, and Khronos (Time), who bred within his boundless coils Aither  and two-sexed, two-faced, glorious Eros, ever-born Nyx’s  father, whom latter men call Phanes, for he first was manifested." (Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά 12-15, trans. West; Greek Epic C4th to C6th CE)

[11] Orphic frag. 89. Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones I: 

ἔκτισεν ἀθανάτις δόμον ἄφθιτον.

"He built for the Immortals an imperishable house." (translation as found in Guthrie, p. 138)

[12] Below translations to English as found in Guthrie, p. 138:

Orphic frag. 91. (81) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 32b (II 48, 15 Diehl): 

μήσατο τʹ ἄλλην γαίαν ἀπείριτον, ἥν τε σελήνην ἀθάνατοι κλήιζουσιν, ἐπιχθόνιοι δέ τε μήνην, ἣ πόλλ' οὔρεʹ ἔχει, πόλλ' ἄστεα, πολλὰ μέλεθρα.

"And he devised another world, immense, which the Immortals call Selene and the inhabitants of Earth (ed. call) Mene (both words mean Moon) a world which has many mountains, many cities, many mansions. That it (the moon)  may turn in a month as much as the sun in a year."  

Orphic frag. 94. (77) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 22e (I 123, 2 Diehl):

διώρισε δ' ἀνθρώποισι χωρὶς ἀπ' ἀθανάτων ναίειν ἕδος, ἧι μέσος ἄξων ἠελίου τρέπεται ποτινεύμενος οὔτε τι λίην ψυχρὸς ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς οὔτ' ἔμπυρος, ἀλλὰ μεσηγύς.

"He appointed for mortals a seat to inhabit apart from the Immortals, where the path of the sun in the middle turns back upon itself, neither too cold above the head nor fiery hot, but betwixt the two." 

Orphic frag. 95. (83) Πρόκλος Commentary on the ίμαιος 21d (I 94, 13 Diehl):

οὕτω γὰρ καὶ παρʹ Ὀρφεῖ τὰ τῆς φύσεως ἔργα κλυτὰ προσαγορεύεται· καὶ φύσεως κλυτὰ ἔργα μένει καὶ ἀπείριτος αἰών.

"And the honourable works of nature are steadfast and boundless eternity." 

Orphic frag. 96. (79) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 41c (III 227, 31 Diehl):

τοῦτον (sc. Ἥλιον) γάρ ἐπέστησε τοῖς ὅλοις ὁ δημιουγός (sc. Φάνις) καὶ φύλακ' αὐτὸν ἔτευξε κέλευσέ τε πᾶσιν ἀνάσσειν, ὥς φησιν Ὀ.

"And he made him (the sun) guardian and bade him have lordship over all."

Orphic frag. 97. (84) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος (I 312, 5 Diehl)  

ταῦτα ρατὴρ ποίησε κατὰ σπέος (cave) ἠεροειδές.

"These things the Father made in the misty darkness of the cave." 

[13] Below translations to English as found in Guthrie, p. 138.

Orphic frag. 101. (86) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Κρατύλος 396b (54, 21 Pasqu.):

σκῆπτρον δ' ἀριδείκετον εἷο χέρεσσιν θῆκε θεᾶς Νυκτὸς ἑκούσης ὑποδέχεται τὴν ἐπικράτειαν τῶν ὅλων.

"His splendid sceptre he placed in the hands of the Goddess Night, that she might have the honour of royal sway."  

Orphic frag. 102. (87) Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς in Ἀριστοτέλης τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά N 4 p. 1091 b 4 (821, 19 Hayd.):

μεθ' ὃν (sc. Ἠρικεπαῖον fr. 107) Νύξ· σκῆπτρον ἔχουσ' ἐν χερσὶν ἀριπρεπὲς Ἠρικεπαίου.

"Holding in her hands the noble sceptre of Erikepaios." 

Orphic frag. 103. (88) Ἑρμείας in his Commentary on Πλάτων Φαῖδρος 247c (p. 147, 20 Couvr.):

μαντοσύνην δ' οἱ δῶκεν ἔχειν ἀψευδέα πάντηι. καὶ αὕτη λέγεται μαντεύειν τοῖς θεοῖς.

"He granted to her (Night) to have the gift of prophecy wholly true." 

[14] Orphic frag. 109. (89) Ἑρμείας in his Commentary on Πλάτων Φαῖδρος 247d (154, 23 Couvr.):

ἣ δὲ πάλιν Γαῖάν τε καὶ Οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔτικτε·
δεῖξέν τ' ἐξ ἀφανῶν φανεροὺς οἵ τ' εἰσὶ γενέθλην.

"She (Night) in her turn bore Gaia and broad Ouranos..." (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 138)
"...making manifest both the unseen and the visible that come from that generation." (trans. author)

[15] Orpheus by G.R.S. Mead, 1895-6; found here in the 1965 Barnes & Noble edition (New York, USA) p. 107.

[16] Ibid. Mead, p.109. 

[17] Orphéfs (Orpheus) Hymn VI To Prohtogónos (numbered V in the original 1792 Taylor translation), line 4; trans. Thomas Taylor 1792; found here in Hymns and Initiations, 2003, Prometheus Trust (Somerset, UK), Thomas Taylor Series Vol. V, p. 36

[18] Orphic frag. 76. (64) Ἑρμείας in his Commentary on Πλάτων Φαῖδρος 246e (138, 11 Couvr.):

τετράσιν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ὁρώμενος ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.

"with four eyes looking this way and that." (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 137.)

[19] Orphic frag. 78. (65) Ἑρμείας in his Commentary on Πλάτων Φαῖδρος 246e (142, 13 Couvr.):

χρυσείαις πτερύγεσσι φορεύμενος ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.

“With golden wings moving this way and that.” (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 137.)

[20] Orphic frag. 79. (63) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 30c-d (I 427, 20 Diehl): 

βρίμας ταυρείους ἀφιεὶ(ς) χαροποῦ τε λέοντος

“Uttering the voice of a bull and of a glaring lion.” (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 137.)

[21] Orphéfs (Orpheus) Hymn 6 To Prohtogónos (numbered 5 in the original 1792 Taylor translation); trans. Thomas Taylor 1792; found here in Hymns and Initiations, 2003, Prometheus Trust (Somerset, UK), Thomas Taylor Series Vol. V, p. 36.

[22] Ibid. Taylor pp. 36-37.

[23] One of the names of Phánis is Mítis (Metis; Gr. Μῆτις); in the Θεογονία of Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) 886-891, Zefs swallows Mítis before she was about to give birth to Goddess Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ). In the Orphic Rhapsodies, after Zefs swallows Phánis (frag. 167), and following the mighty Rhapsodic hymn to Zefs (frag. 168), the text immediately talks of Athiná (beginning at frag. 174 and continuing through 178), described as the one who accomplishes her father's will (frag. 177), that is, of course, if you accept this chronology of the fragments.

[24] Orphic frag. 164. (117) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος B prooem (I 206, 26 Diehl): 

μαῖα, θεῶν ὑπάτη, Νὺξ ἄμβροτε, πῶς, τάδε φράζε, πῶς χρή μ' ἀθανάτων ἀρχὴν κρατερόφρονα θέσθαι; καὶ ἀκούει παρ' αὐτῆς

“(Zeus speaks) (ed. Good) Mother, highest of the Gods, immortal Night, how am I to establish my proud rule among the Immortals?” (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 139.)

[25] Orphic frag. 165. (122) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος I 28c (I 313, 31 Diehl):

τὰ τοίνυν ὅλα περιέχων ὁ Ζεὺς καὶ πάντα μοναδικῶς καὶ | νοερῶς κατὰ τούτους τους χρησμοὺς τῆς Νυκτὸς ὑφίστησι πάντα τὰ ἐγκόσμια, θεούς τε καὶ τὰς μοίρας τοῦ παντός. λέγει γοῦν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ Νὺξ ἐρωτήσαντα·

πῶς δέ μοι ἕν τε τὰ πάντ' ἔσται καὶ χωρίς ἕκαστον; αἰθέρι πάντα πέριξ ἀφάτωι λάβε, τῶι δ' ἐνὶ μέσσωι οὐρανόν, ἐν δέ τε γαῖαν ἀπείριτον, ἐν δὲ θάλασσαν, ἐν δὲ τὰ τείρεα πάντα τά τ' οὐρανὸς ἐστεφάνωται.

“(Zeus speaks to Night) How may I have all things one and each one separate?

Surround all things with the ineffable Aether, and in the midst of that set the heaven, and in the midst the boundless earth, in the midst the sea, and in the midst all the constellations with which the heaven is crowned.” (as found partially translated in Guthrie, p. 139.)

[26] Orphic frag. 167. (120. 121) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος I 29a (I 324, 14 Diehl):

ὣς τότε πρωτογόνειο χαδὼν μένος Ἠρικεπαίου 
τῶν πάντων δέμας εἶχεν ἑῆι ἐνὶ γαστέρι κοίληι, 
μεῖξε δ' ἑοῖς μελέεσσι θεοῦ δύναμίν τε καὶ ἀλκήν, 
τοὔνεκα σὺν τῶι πάντα Διὸς πάλιν ἐντὸς ἐτύχθη. 

Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 28c (I 312, 26 Diehl):

αἰθέρος εὐρείης ἠδ' οὐρανοῦ άγλαὸν ὕψος,
πόντου τ' ἀτρυγέτου γαίης τ' ἐρικυδέος ἕδρη,
Ὠκεανός τε μέγας καὶ νείατα Τάρταρα γαίης
καὶ ποταμοὶ καὶ πόντος ἀπείριτος ἄλλα τε πάντα
πάντες τ' ἀθάνατοι μάκαρες θεοί ἠδὲ θέαιναι,
ὅσσα τ' ἔην γεγαῶτα καὶ ὕστερον ὁππός' ἔμελλεν,
                                                                    (v. fr. 169)
ἐνγένετο, Ζηνὸς δ' ἐνὶ γαστέρι σύρρα πεφύκει.

“Thus then engulfing the might of Erikepaios, the Firstborn, he held the body of all things in the hollow of his own belly; and he mingled with his own limbs the power and strength of the God. Therefore together with him all things in Zefs were created anew, the shining height of the broad Aither and the sky, the seat of the unharvested sea and the noble earth, great Ocean and the lowest depths beneath the earth, and rivers and the boundless sea and all else, all immortal and blessed Gods and Goddesses, all that was then in being and all that was to come to pass, all was there, and mingled like streams in the belly of Zefs.” (as found translated in Guthrie, p. 140.)

[27] Orphic frag. 140. Πρόκλος Commentary on Rempubl. II 74, 26 Kr.


ὁ μὲν θεολόγος Ὀ. τρία γένη παραδέδωκεν ἀνθρώπων· πρώτιστον τὸ χρυσούν, ὅπερ ὑποστῆσαι τὸν Φάνητά φησιν· δεύτερον τὸ ἀργυροῦν, οὗ φησιν ἄρχαι τὸν μέγιστον Κρόνον· τρίτον τὸ Τιτανικόν, ὅ φησιν ἐκ τῶν Τιτανικών μελῶν τὸν Δία συστήσασθαι

"Whereas the Theologian Orphéfs conveys that there are three generations of men: the very first a Golden age said to be of Phánis; the second Silver brought forth by mighty Krónos; the third is the Titanic age formed of the Titanic limbs of Zefs." (trans. author)

Unlike this Orphic idea, Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) and others describe the ages of man differently. Plátohn calls the reign of Krónos and Rǽa a golden age as can be found in Πολιτικός 268e-272c. Cf. Ἡσίοδος Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι 109-201.


"When a human is born, Phánis cries; when a God is born, Phánis laughs"


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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