shopify analytics ecommerce ÁDOHNIS AND THE ADÓHNIA
19th century bronze copy of an ancient original from Pompeii, called variously Ádohnis (Adonis), ApóllohnDiónysos, and Narcissus. Foto 
by the author who releases it to the Public Domain.

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Ádohnis, the Name:
Ádohnis (Adonis; Gr. Ἄδωνις, ΑΔΩΝΙΣ. Pronounced: AH-thoh-nees. (the dǽlta [delta; Gr. δέλτα] is pronounced like the soft th in the; not like the hard th in theory)

It has been argued that the cult of Ádohnis has Semitic origins, in particular, Phoenician origin. It has been said that the etymology of the name itself derives from the Hebrew ādōn meaning 'Lord." Despite the persistence of such ideas, according to the Etymological Dictionary of Greek:

"... no cult connected with this name is known in the Semitic world, nor a myth parallel to that in Greece."  [1]

This would seem to contradict the mythology, which attributes the parentage of Ádohnis to a Semitic princess.

The Mythology of Ádohnis:

The story of Ádohnis is a great expression of hope and meaning in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion.

There are conflicting stories concerning the parentage and life of Ádohnis, but perhaps the most familiar mythology is as follows:
Ádohnis (according to Πανυάσις as noted in Ἀπολλόδωρος Βιβλιοθήκη) was the son of Theias (Gr. Θείας), king of the Assyrians, whose daughter was Smýrna (Gr. Σμύρνα). This daughter, so it is said, was possessed of a lust for her father because of the anger of Aphrodíti (Aphrodite; Gr. Ἀφροδίτη), for Smýrna did not give Aphrodíti cultus. Smýrna deceived her father and slept with him for twelve nights. When Theias discovered with whom he slept, he became enraged and grasped his sword intending to kill her. Smýrna prayed to the Gods, who rescued Smýrna by transforming her into the smýrna (myrrh) tree as she fled her murderous father. 

But now the tree Smýrna was pregnant, and after the necessary months, her trunk split open and she gave birth to a beautiful boy: Ádohnis. When Aphrodíti beheld the boy, the Goddess was so enamored of him that she kept him away from all eyes and placed him in a chest which she left with Pærsæphóni (Persephone or Proserpina; Gr. Περσεφόνη) for safe-keeping. But curiosity possessed Pærsæphóni and she opened the chest to discover beautiful Ádohnis. Pærsæphóni fell deeply in love with Ádohnis. Aphrodíti and Pærsæphóni quarreled over the boy. Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) intervened, giving Ádohnis for four months of each year to each Goddess and the last four months for Ádohnis to be by himself. Nonetheless, Ádohnis chose to spend his own four months with Aphrodíti for a total of eight months every year.
One day, while Ádohnis was hunting, he was killed by a boar. (All this story, up to this point, can be found in Apollódohros' Library
[2] ) Some say that the boar was actually Áris (Ares; Gr. Άρης), some say Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) [3], or even Diónysos (Gr. Διόνυσος) [4]. Upon hearing of the death of her beloved, Aphrodíti sprinkled nectar into his blood, and from the blood of Ádohnis arose flowers.

The mythology of Ádohnis represents the “death” of summer at the onset of winter when Ádohnis goes to Pærsæphóni, and its “rebirth” at the beginning of spring when Ádohnis returns to Aphrodíti. Simultaneously, the story has deeper meaning; it is a tale of the deification of a mortal being. When a God kills a mortal, the mortal always becomes a God. 

The Adóhnia Festival

The Adóhnia (Adonia; Gr. Ἀδώνια) is a great festival of Ádohnis and a great festival of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἐλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. The Adóhnia is celebrated on or near the Orthodox Christian festival of Easter, which conceals the ancient holiday.

The Adóhnia has layers of meanings:

1. The Adóhnia celebrates the return of spring. Hence, it is customary to include spring flowers with the offerings.

2. The Adóhnia commemorates death of the mortal Ádohnis and his re-birth as a God. By extension, the Adóhnia festival celebrates the deification of all mortals who become Gods and the potential of deification of all souls in the natural world.

3. The Mystical meaning of the Adóhnia is that it honors the mighty center of enormously powerful Gods of the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος) who are responsible for all deification, who produce the myriad Gods of all the many galaxies in the entire universe. This great center of Gods is represented in the ritual with the recitation of the Orphic hymn to the Mother of the Gods (No. 27 Mítir Thæóhn; Gr. Μήτηρ Θεῶν). We honor deification because it is the fulfillment of the providence of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). With great compassion for his children, Zefs has conceived Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) who by his Mysteries frees us from the sorrowful circle of births (κύκλος γενέσεως); this freeing is Ækthǽohsis (Ektheosis; Gr. Ἐκθέωσις), the deification of the soul. (Please visit this page: The Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony. See The Sixth King.)

The Adóhnia in the Southern Hemisphere

The Adóhnia festival for the southern hemisphere presents a dilemma for which we can only improvise; the problem is that in the southern hemisphere it is not spring. So that we can all celebrate together, people in both hemispheres may celebrate the mystical meaning of the festival at the time of the Christian Easter-holiday. Those in the southern hemisphere may have another festival for Ádohnis at the appropriate time of year to honor the meaning concerning the return of spring.

PLEASE NOTE: Ritual in our tradition is not permitted to be displayed in a public place, such as this website. If you have a sincere desire to learn more, please write:


The Fumigation from Aromatics.

Much-nam'd, and best of dæmons, hear my pray'r,
The desert-loving [6], deck'd with tender hair;
Joy to diffuse, by all desir'd is thine,
Much form'd, Eubulus; aliment divine:
Female and Male, all-charming to the sight,
Adonis ever flourishing and bright;
At stated periods doom'd to set and rise,
With splendid lamp, the glory of the skies.
Two-horn'd and lovely, reverenc'd with tears,
Of beauteous form, adorn'd with copious hairs.
Rejoicing in the chace, all-graceful pow'r,
Sweet plant of Venus, Love's delightful flow'r:
Descended from the secret bed divine,
Of lovely-hair'd, infernal Proserpine.
'Tis thine to sink in Tartarus profound,
And shine again thro' heav'ns illustrious round,
With beauteous temp'ral orb restor'd to sight;
Come, with earth's fruits, and in these flames delight.

56. Ἀδώνιδος, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα

Κλῦθί μου εὐχομένου, πολυώνυμε, δαῖμον ἄριστε,
ἁβροκόμη, φιλέρημε, βρύων ὠιδαῖσι ποθειναῖς,
Εὐβουλεῦ, πολύμορφε, τροφεῦ πάντων ἀρίδηλε,
κούρη καὶ κόρε, σὺ πᾶσιν θάλος αἰέν, Ἄδωνι,
σβεννύμενε λάμπων τε καλαῖς ἐν κυκλάσιν ὥραις,
αὐξιθαλής, δίκερως, πολυήρατε, δακρυότιμε,
ἀγλαόμορφε, κυναγεσίοις χαίρων, βαθυχαῖτα,
ἱμερόνους, Κύπριδος γλυκερὸν θάλος, ἔρνος Ἔρωτος,
Φερσεφόνης ἐρασιπλοκάμου λέκτροισι λοχευθεῖς,
ὃς ποτὲ μὲν ναίεις ὑπὸ Τάρταρον ἠερόεντα,
ἠδὲ πάλιν πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἄγεις δέμας ὡριόκαρπον·
ἐλθέ, μάκαρ, μύσταισι φέρων καρποὺς ἀπὸ γαίης

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.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods


[1] Etymological Dictionary of Greek (EDGI) by Robert Beekes, Vol. 1, 2010, Brill (Leiden and Boston; one of the Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series), p. 23.

Apollódohros Library 3.183 Ádohnis, as numbered in R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma's translation; or as numbered in J.G. Frazier's translation: Book III. xiv. 4.

[3] Serv. ad Virg. Ecl. x. 18; Ptolem. Hephaest. i. p. 306, ed. Gale (as cited by William Smith DGRBM).

[4] Phanocles ap. Plut. Sumpos. iv. 5. (as cited by William Smith DGRBM).

[5] Orphic Hymn 56. To 
Ádohnis as found in The Hymns of Orpheus, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792; we are using a facsimile of the original London, England edition, pp. 187-188. In the 1792 publication, the hymn was numbered 55, but this was changed to 56 in a later edition (Prometheus Trust 1994 and 2003 TTS V in the book entitled Hymns and Initiations), made to correspond with the numbering found in Greek editions.

[6] Originally spelled in this 1792 translation: desart-loving.

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, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς). 

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this, you will find fascinating stories. 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 often 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.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:


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