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OTE: A list of abbreviations can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME.

Mæristí Ousía - (Meristi Ousia; Gr. Μεριστή Οὐσία. Ety. from mærís [Gr. μερίς], "part, portion." L&S p. 1104, left column.) The Mæristí Ousía is the divisible kozmogonic substance: Earth or Yi.

 - (Maenads; Gr. Μαινάδες, ΜΑΙΝΑΔΕΣ) Mainádæs are the ecstatic female followers of 

Mathimatikós - (mathematicus; Gr. μαθηματικός, ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΙΚΟΣ. Noun [also adjective] Plural: μαθηματικοί.
) The mathimatikí are advanced Pythagoreans of the doctrine of numbersThey were seen in contrast to the akouzmatikí (Gr. ἀκουσματικοί), those students of Pythagóras whose interest was centered on the secret mystical teachings.

Meilinóï - (Melinoe; Gr. Μειλῐνόη) Meilinóï is a Goddess honored in Orphic Hymn 71. She is presented as the offspring of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη) which would make her sister to 
Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεύς, who was sacrificed by the Titans and whose heart was saved and born again as Diónysos from the leg of Zefs). All that can be said of Meilinóï can be discovered in her hymn, as this, other than a few scattered inscriptions, is the only text from antiquity concerning her which survives:

"I call, Melinoe, saffron-veil'd, terrene,
Who from infernal Pluto's sacred queen,
Mixt with Saturnian Jupiter, arose,
Near where Cocytos’ mournful river flows;
When, under Plouton’s semblance, Zeus divine
Deceived with guileful arts dark Proserphone.
Hence, partly black thy limbs and partly white,
From Pluton dark, from Jove ethereal bright
Thy colour'd members, men by night inspire
When seen in specter'd forms, with terrors dire;
Now darkly visible, involved in night,
Perspicuous now they meet the fearful sight.
Terrestrial queen, expel wherever found
The soul’s mad fears to earth’s remotest bound;
With holy aspect on our incense shine,
And bless thy mystics, and the rites divine."

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792; we are using a facsimile of the original edition where this quotation may be found on p. 202.)

Metragyrtes - See Mitrayírtis.

Mimallónæs - (Mimallones; Gr. Μιμαλλόνες, ΜΙΜΑΛΛΟΝΕΣ) Mimallónæs is the Macedonian name for Mainádæs, the ecstatic female devotees of Diónysos.

itrayírtis - (metragyrtes; Gr. μητραγύρτης, ΜΗΤΡΑΓΥΡΤΗΣ. Plural is μητραγύρται. Noun.) Mitrayírtai were wandering priestly beggars (of Κυβέλη, i.e. Cybele) in the Classical period who performed rituals for a fee and promised deliverance from past crimes committed. They were grouped together with the Orphæotælæstai, who behaved the same. See Orphæotælæstai.

Mousaios - (Musaeus; Gr. Μουσαῖος, ΜΟΥΣΑΙΟΣ) Mousaios is a figure who lived in such antiquity that the details of his life are cloaked in mystery. The literature attributed to Orphéfs usually opens addressing Mousaios, and tradition has it that he was his closest student, and like his teacher, he was a great thæológos (theologian; Gr. θεολόγος). It is even said that Mousaios was Orphéfs' son and that he was the Iærophántis (Hierophant; Gr. Ίεροφάντης) of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) during the life of Iraklís (Hercules; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς), in the age of Heroes (Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης Βιβλιοθήκη ἱστορική 4.25.1). Yet there is another tradition which declares him the son of Évmolpos (Eumolpus; Gr. Εύμολπος) and the first to teach the genealogy of the Gods (Διογένης Λαέρτιος Βίοι Prologue 3.) Mousaios is said to have written a number of mystic compositions (Χρησμοί [oracles], Ὑποθήκαια [instructions], Ἐξάκεσεις νόσων [thorough cure for illness], Θεογονία, Τιτανογραφία [history of the Titans], Σφαίρας [sphere], a poem about Dimítir and others) but none have survived except in fragments.

Musaeus - See Mousaios.

yǽoh - (myeo; Gr. μυέω, ΜΥΕΩ. Verb.) Lexicon entry: μῠέω, (μύω, q. v.) initiate into the Mysteries:—more freq. in Pass., to be initiated, ὁ βουλόμενος μυεῖται: c. acc. cogn., to be initiated in a thing, τὰ μυστήρια μυεῦνται. II. generally, teach, instruct. (L&S p. 1150, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Mýisis - (myesis; Gr. μύησις, ΜΥΗΣΙΣ. Noun. Etym. μύω, "close, be shut.") Lexicon entry: μύησις [], εως, , initiation. (L&S p. 1150, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Mystagohyǽoh - (mystagogeo; Gr. μυστᾰγωγέω, ΜΥΣΤΑΓΩΓΕΩ. Verb.) initiatec. acc. pers. 2. celebrate sacred ritesII. metaph., act as a guide or cicerone (ed. guide, sight-seer). (L&S p. 1156)

Mystagohyía - (mystagogia; Gr. μυστᾰγωγία, ΜΥΣΤΑΓΩΓΙΑ. Noun.) 
 initiation into the MysteriesII. mystical doctrineIII. divine worship. 
(L&S p. 1156)

Mystagohgós - (mystagogos; Gr. μυστᾰγωγός, ΜΥΣΤΑΓΩΓΟΣ. Noun.) όν, (μύστης, ἄγω), introducing or initiating into Mysteries. 2. generally, teacher, guide. 3. in Sicily, = περιηγητής, cicerone (ed. guide, sight-seer), esp. at temples. (L&S p. 1156, left column, within the entries beginning with μυστᾰγωγέω, edited for simplicity.)

Mystárkhis - (mustarches; Gr. μυστάρχης, ΜΥΣΤΑΡΧΗΣ)chief of Μύσται (ed. chief of the Mystai, i.e. those initiated). (L&S p. 1156)

Mystikós - (mysticus; Gr. μυστικός, ΜΥΣΤΙΚΟΣ)  connected with the Mysteries, the Mysteries,  mystical doctrine.  (L&S p. 1156)

Mystilasía - (mustelasia; Gr. μυστηλᾰσία, ΜΥΣΤΗΛΑΣΙΑ) driving of initiates(L&S p. 1156)

Mystípolos - (mustipolus; Gr. μυστίπολος, ΜΥΣΤΙΠΟΛΟΣ) Lexicon entry: μυστῐπολος, ον, (μύστης, τελέω) solemnizing mysteries, performing a mystic rite. (L&S p. 1156, right column, within the entries beginning with μυστιπόλευτος, edited for simplicity.)

Mystíria - (Musteria; Gr. Μυστήρια, ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΑ. plural. From μύω, "to closebe shut," of the eyesMystíria are the Mysteries.

Mystiriasmós - (musteriasmos; Gr. μυστηριασμός, ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΑΣΜΟΣ) ὁ, initiation, Eust.1854.46, al. (L&S p. 1156) 

Mystirikós - (mustericus; Gr. μυστηρικός, ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΚΟΣ) ήόνof or for Mysteries(L&S p. 1156, edited for simplicity.)

Mystírion - (musterion; Gr. μυστήριον, ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΟΝ) τό, (μύστηςμυέωMystery or secret rite (ed. Orgy): mostly in pl. (plural = Mysteritá, Μυστηριτ; Orgies), τὰ μ. the Mysteries2. mystic implements and ornaments3. metaph., generally, mystery, secret4. secret revealed by God, i.e. religious or mystical truth(L&S p. 1156)

Mýstis - (mystes; Gr. μὐστης, ΜΥΣΤΗΣΜύσται is plural. Noun.) Lexicon entry: μὐστηςου, (μυέω) one initiated. 2. a name of Dionysus; of Apollo, Artemis. (L&S p. 1156, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Mystodókos - (mustodocus; Gr. μυστοδόκος, ΜΥΣΤΟΔΟΚΟΣ) receiving the Mysteries or the initiated. (L&S p. 1156)

Mythíria - (mytheria; Gr. μυθήρια, ΜΥΘΗΡΙΑ) Lexicon entry: μῡθήρια, τά, traditions, a word coined to explain μυστήρια, EM595.48. (L&S p. 1151, left column at the top of the page within the entries beginning on the previous page with μυθαρεύομαι.) 

Næophántis - (neophantes; Gr. νεοφάντης, ΝΕΟΦΑΝΤΗΣ) Lexicon entry: νεοφάντης, ου, newly initiated, μύστης Orph.H.4.9. (L&S p. 1170, left column, within the entries beginning with νεοΰφαντος, edited for simplicity.)

Nǽvris - (nebris; Gr. νεβρίς, ΝΕΒΡΙΣ. Etym. νεβρός, fawn, the young of a deer.) Lexicon entry: νεβρίς, , gen. ίδος [] (lyr.; late ῖδος):—fawnskin, esp. as the dress of Dionysus and the Bacchae. (L&S p. 1164, right column, within the entries beginning with νεβρίζω, edited for simplicity.)

Nebris - See Nǽvris.

Nympholipsía - (Gr. Νυμφοληψία, ΝΥΜΦΟΛΗΨΙΑ) Nympholipsía is the experience of Ǽrohs (Eros or Attraction; Gr. Ἔρως) from the Gods when encountered by a male. This experience is not the same as the erotic love between ordinary humans. Cf. Æphivolipsía.

Ohmophayía - (Omophagia; Gr. Ὠμοφαγία, ΩΝΟΦΑΓΙΑ) Ohmophayía is communion with the God. The term refers to the eating of raw flesh by the Mainádæs (Maenads; Gr. Μαινάδες) in the rites of Diónysos. The ohmopháyion (omophagion; Gr. ὠμοφάgιον), a living animal, was sacrificed by means of sparagmós (Gr. σπαραγμός), 'ripping apart,' in imitation of Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεὐς) being torn apart by the Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες). The raw flesh was then eaten in communion with the God, producing an experience known as Ohmophayía. Ohmophayía is not literal; it is symbolic of the opening of the centers of the soul. In ancient times there were instances where so-called Vakkhic practitioners actually killed and ate raw animals in the way described, but even in these ancient instances, such practitioners had misunderstood. Similarly, the association of wine with Diónysos was used as an excuse for drunkenness; in reality, the intoxicating quality of wine is symbolic of the intoxicating quality of the Aithír (Aether or Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς).

Omophagia - See Ohmophayía.

Onomákritos - (Onomacritus; Gr. Ὀνομάκριτος, ΟΝΟΜΑΚΡΙΤΟΣ) Onomákritos (520-485 BCE) was a khrismológos (χρησμολόγος, compiler of oracles) and diathǽtis (διαθέτης, arranger) of the works of Mousaios, the student or son of Orphéfs. He performed this task under the Peisistratídai (Πεισιστρατίδαι, the house of the Athenian tyrant Πεισίστρατος) but when it was discovered that he had interwoven some of his own compositions into the compilation of oracles, Ípparkhos (Hipparchus; Gr. Ἵππαρχος) banished him from Athens. Onomákritos and the Peisistratídai were eventually reconciled when the family was expelled from Athens. He supplied oracles to the Persian king Xerxes which may have played a role in convincing Xerxes to invade Greece. Onomákritos seems to have been a type of priest and his forgeries were likely not created with bad intentions, but since his work is lost, the content is uncertain. Pafsanías states (Παυσανίας 8.37.5) that Onomákritos is responsible for the mythology whereby the Titánæs are depicted in an unfavorable light, as the author of Zagréfs' sufferings, that is, of course, if the myth of Zagréfs and the Titánæs is taken literally.

Oöyænís - (Oögenes; Gr. ᾨογενής, ΩΙΟΓΕΝΗΣ) Oöyænís is an epithet of Prohtogónos (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτογόνος) meaning born of an egg. (Orphic Hymn 6 Prohtogónos line 2)

Ophíohn - (Ophion; Gr. Ὀφίων, ΟΦΙΩΝ. Etym. from ὄφις "serpent.") The Titan God Ophíohn is found in the little Orphic thæogonía (theogony; Gr. θεογονία) in the Argonaftiká (Argonautica; Gr. Ἀργοναυτικά) of Apollóhnios Ródios (Apollonius of Rhodes; Gr. Απολλώνιος Ρόδιος). Ophíohn is described as the first to rule Ólympos (Olympus; Gr. Όλυμπος), ruling jointly with Evrynómi (Eurynome; Gr. Εὐρυνόμη), the daughter of Okæanós (Ocean; Gr. Ὠκεανός). Ophíohn is also found in the writing of Phærækýdis (Pherekydes; Gr. Φερεκύδης), and, as in Apollóhnios, he is defeated by Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος).

Ophionéfs - (Ophioneus; Gr. Ὀφιονεύς, ΟΦΙΟΝΕΥΣ) = Ophíohn. See 

Orgy - See Óryia.

Orphæotælæstai - (Orpheotelestai; Gr. Ὀρφεοτελεσταί,ΟΡΦΕΟΤΕΛΕΣΤΑΙ) Orphæotælæstai are practitioners or initiators of Orphic rites. Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Ρλάτων) and others speak derisively about some of these as being fraudulent teachers who took advantage of the superstitions of the ignorant, asking money for rituals which would assure the patsy of a better afterlife. (Πλάτων Πολιτεία [The Republic] 364b)

Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς, ΟΡΦΕΥΣ) Orphéfs is considered as the founder of all Mystíria. 

Orphiká - (Orphica; Gr. Ορφικά, ΟΡΦΙΚΑ. Adjective.) The term Orphiká refers to all of the rites and, in particular, the literature associated with and usually attributed to Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 

Orphikí - (Orphikoi; Gr. Ορφικοί, ΟΡΦΙΚΟΙ. Adjective.Orphikí is an adjective meaning Orphic.

Orphikí Ýmni - (Gr. Ορφικοί Ύμνοι, ΟΡΦΙΚΟΙ ΥΜΝΟΙ) The Orphikí Ýmni are the Orphic Hymns, a collection of eighty-seven hymns to the Gods which have been used in the Mystical rituals of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion.

Orphismós - (Gr. Ορφισμός, ΟΡΦΙΣΜΟΣ) Orphismós is the term used to refer to the Orphic Mystíria or, simply, the teachings attributed to Orphéfs.

Óryia - (orgia or orgy; Gr. ὄργια, ΟΡΓΙΑ. Etym. from ἔργον "work." Noun, plural of ὄργιον [see below L&S 2]) Lexicon entry: ὄργιαίωντάsecret ritessecret worship, practised by the initiated, a post-Hom. word; used of the worship of Demeter at Eleusis; of the rites of the Cabeiri and Demeter Achaia; of Orpheus; of Eumolpus; of Cybele: most freq. of the rites of Dionysus. II. generally, ritessacrifices2. metaph., mysteries, without reference to religion—The sg. ὄργιον is rare. (L&S p. 1246, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Oryiasmós - (orgiasmos; Gr. ὀργιασμός, ΟΡΓΙΑΣΜΟΣ. Noun.) Lexicon entry: ὀργιασμός, , celebrating of ὄργια. (L&S p. 1246, right column extending from the left, within the entries beginning with ὄργια, edited for simplicity.)

Oryiastís - (orgiastes; Gr. ὀργιαστής, ΟΡΓΙΑΣΤΗΣ. Noun.) Lexicon entry: ὀργιαστής, οῦ, , one who celebrates ὄργια:—fem. ὀργιαστίς. (L&S p. 1246, right column extending from the left, within the entries beginning with ὄργια, edited for simplicity.)

Oryiázoh - (orgiazo; Gr. ὀργιάζω, ΟΡΓΙΑΖΩ. Verb.) Lexicon entry: ὀργιάζω, celebrate ὄργια, pay ritual service to a God or Goddess. II. c. acc., honour or worship with ὄργια. 2. ὀ. τινά initiate into ὄργια. (L&S p. 1246, left column, within the entries beginning with ὄργια, edited for simplicity.)

Oryiophántis - (orgiophantes; Gr. ὀργιοφάντης, ΟΡΓΙΟΦΑΝΤΗΣ) Lexicon entry: ὀργιοφάντης, ου, priest, one who initiates others into orgies. (L&S p. 1246, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Ousía - (Gr. οὐσίἁ, ΟΥΣΙΑOusía is the ancient Greek word for substancemattermaterial.
Lexicon entry for ousíaοὐσίαII. stable beingimmutable reality2. substanceessence3. true nature of that which is a member of a kind. 4. the possession of such a nature, substantiality5. in the concrete, the primary real, the substratum underlying all change and process in nature. Etc(L&S p. 1274, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Pærí pnévma - (peripneuma; Gr. περί πνεύμα, ΠΕΡΙ ΠΝΕΥΜΑ. That which is περί "around" the soul.) The pærí pnévma is the Aithir (Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) and all the khitóhns (garments) which surround the soul. Within the pærí pnévma are the archives of everything that has occurred to that soul.

Palingænæsía (Palingenesía; Gr. Παλιγγενεσία, ΠΑΛΙΓΓΕΝΕΣΊΑrebirth, the transmigration of the soulreincarnation. Often in philosophy, the word mætæmpsýkhohsis (metempsychosis) is used, but Palingænæsía is the more ancient term (source:  Greek Philosophical Terms by F.E. Peters, 1967,  p. 151; not a direct quote).

Pantǽleia - (Panteleia; Gr. Παντέλεια, ΠΑΝΤΕΛΕΙΑ) Pantǽleia is the Pythagorean name for the number ten. (L&S p. 1300. Cf. Trietirikí Pantǽleia)

Paraisavázoh - (paraisabazo; Gr. παραισαβάζω, ΠΑΡΑΙΣΑΒΑΖΩ) Lexicon entry: παραισᾰβάζω, poet. for Παρασαβάζειν, to be inspired by Sabazius, i.e. Dionysus. (L&S p. 1310, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Pærimáktria - (perimactria; Gr. περιμάκτρια, ΠΕΡΙΜΑΚΤΡΙΑ) pærimáktria was a priestess associated by the common people with Orphismós in ancient times, although the identification is dubious. The pærimáktria used magic for purification. An γραῦς (old woman) pærimáktria usually refers to a witch.

Persinus - See Pythagóras.

Phánis - (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης, ΦΑΝΗΣ. Etym. ϕαίνω, "make known" "reveal"Phánis, according to Orphic kozmogony, is the Protogónos (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτογόνος), the First-Born of the Gods. His name means "I reveal" and with this ability, he makes obvious the potential of the universe, a type of creation from pre-existent matter. Please visit this page: Phánis.

Physiká - (Physica; Gr. Φυσικά, ΦΥΣΙΚΑ) Physiká was an Orphic text attributed to both Onomákritos (Onomacritus; Gr. Ὀνομάκριτος) and Vrontínos (Brontinus; Gr. Βροντῖνος). The book (not extant) discussed how the soul, after having been carried by the winds, is breathed into or inhaled by the body. These winds or their guardians are called Tritopátoræs (Tritopatores; Gr. Τριτοπάτορες), and their action may be connected with the transmigration of the soul. (source: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Culture Vol. 2, William Smith, 1891. We are using the 2008 edition, I. B. Tauris [London-New York], see p. 299.)

Protogónos - (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτογόνος, ΠΡΩΤΟΓΟΝΟΣ) In the Orphic kozmogony, Protogónos is the First-Born of the Gods, Phánis (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης).

Psykhí - (psyche; Gr. ψυχή, ΨΥΧΗ) Psykhí is life, the soul.
- Lexicon entry: ψῡχή, , life.; of life in animals. 2. metaph. of things dear as life. II. in Hom., departed spirit, ghost; in swoons it leaves the body; so in later writers (seldom in Trag.). III. the immaterial and immortal soul. IV. the conscious self or personality as centre of emotions, desires, and affections. 2. of various aspects of the self. 3. of the emotional self. 4. of the moral and intellectual self. 5. of animals. 6. of inanimate things. V. Philosophical uses: 1. In the early physicists, of the primary substance, the source of life and consciousness. 2. the spirit of the universe. 3. In Pl. the immaterial principle of movement and life; its presence is requisite for thought; the tripartite division of ψ.; of the scala naturae; in the Neo-Platonists characterized by discursive thinking; related to νοῦς as image to archetype; present in entirety in every part; animal and vegetable bodies possess. VI. butterfly or moth. VII. Psyche, in the allegory of Psyche and Eros, Apul.Metam. (See ancient speculations on the derivation, Pl.Cra.399d-400a, An.405b29, Chrysipp.Stoic.2.222; Hom. usage gives little support to the derivation from ψύχω 'blow, breathe'; τὸν δὲ λίπε ψ. Il.5.696 means 'his spirit left his body', and so λειποψυχέω means 'swoon', not 'become breathless'; ἀπὸ δὲ ψ. ἐκάπυσσε Il.22.467 means 'she gasped out her spirit', viz. 'swooned'; the resemblance of ἄμπνυτο 'recovered consciousness' to ἀμπνέω 'recover breath' is deceptive, v. ἄμπνυτο, ἔμπνυτο: when concrete the Homeric ψ. is rather warm blood than breath, cf. Il.14.518, 16.505, where the ψ. escapes through a wound.) (L&S p. 2026, right column, within the entries beginning ψυχάζω, edited for simplicity.)

Psykhogonía - (psychogonia; Gr. ψυχογονία, ΨΥΧΟΓΟΝΙΑ) Lexicon entry: ψῡχογονία, , the generation of the soul, Plu.2.415e, al., Herm. in Phdr.p.128A. (in reference to Plato's Timaeus [ed. beginning at 34c]). (L&S p. 2028, left column)

Pythagóras - (Gr. Πυθαγόρας) Pythagóras of Sámos (Gr. Σάμος) is regarded as Orphic because many of his ideas, such as reincarnation and the belief in the soul, are typical of Orphismós. Pythagóras not only influenced Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Ρλάτων), who held similar views, but also many Pythagoreans before Plato are seen as in the Orphic tradition, the following being an incomplete list:

Arignóhti (Arginote; Gr. Ἀριγνώτη) who wrote works concerning the Mystíria of Dimítir and Diónysos.

Kǽrkops (Cercops; Gr. Κέρκωψ) who wrote an Orphic work entitled Κατάβασις εἰς Αἵδου (The Descent to Hades) which is also ascribed to Pródikos (Prodicus; Gr. Πρόδικος).

Pæsínos (Persinus; Gr. Περσῖνος) who wrote an Orphic work entitled Σωτηρῐ́ᾱς Ορφικά.

Vrontínos (Brontinus; Gr. Βροντῖνος) who wrote an Orphic work entitled Φυσικά.

Zóhpyros (Zopyrus; Gr. Ζώπυρος) of Irákleia (Heraclea; Gr. Ἡράκλεια) who may have composed some Orphic poems himself and who worked with Onomákritos (Onomacritus; Gr. Ὀνομάκριτος), the compiler of the oracles of Mousaios.

Rhapsodies, Orphic - (Sacred Logos in Twenty-Four Rhapsodies; Gr. Ιερός Λόγος σε 24 Ραψωδίες) The Orphic Rhapsodies, which now only exist in fragments, seem to have been generally accepted as the "orthodox" thæogonía (theogony; Gr. θεογονία). Please visit this page: The Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

Savai - (sabai; Gr. σαβαῖ, ΣΑΒΑΙ) Lexicon entry: σᾰβαῖ, a Bacchanalian cry, like εὐαίεὐοEup.84. (L&S p. 1579, right column.)

Savázoh - (Sabazo; Gr. Σᾰβάζω, ΖΑΒΑΖΩ) = εὐάζω. (L&S p. 1579, right column, edited for simplicity.) Lexicon entry: εὐάζω, cry εὐαί, in honour of Bacchus. (L&S, p. 705, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Scepter of Phánis - See Kirýkeion.

Síma - (Sema; Gr. σῆμα, ΣΗΜΑ) Lexicon entry: σῆμα, Dor. σᾶμα: ατος, τό:— sign, mark, token. 1. sign from heaven, omen, portent. 2. generally, sign to do or begin something; esp. watchword; battle-sign, signal. 3. sign by which a grave is known, mound, cairn, barrow. 4. mark to show the cast of a quoit or javelin. 5. token by which any one's identity or commission was certified, of written characters or symbols; mark, token; so, device or bearing on a shield, by which a warrior is known; of the seal set on a box; mark made by an illiterate person. 6. constellation, mostly in pl., heavenly bodies. (L&S p. 1592, right column, edited for simplicity.)
- "...for, according to some, it (ed. the body) is the sepulchre of the soul, which they consider buried at present; and because whatever the soul signifies, it signifies by the body; so that on this account it is properly called σῆμα, a sepulchre. And indeed the followers of Orpheus appear to me to have established this name, principally because the soul suffers in body the punishment of its guilt, and is surrounded with this enclosure that it may preserve the image of a prison. They are of opinion, therefore, that the body should retain this appellation, σῶμα, till the soul has absolved the punishment which is her due, and that no other letter ought to be added to the name." (Plátohn Κρατύλος 400c, trans. Thomas Taylor 1804, found here in the 1996 Prometheus Trust edition entitled The Works of Plato Vol. V, Vol. XIII of The Thomas Taylor Series [Somerset UK], where this quotation may be found on p. 481.)

Sparagmós (Gr. σπαραγμός, ΣΠΑΡΑΓΜΟΣ) Sparagmós refers to the tearing open the centers of the soul, resulting in Ohmophayía, union with the God.
- Lexicon entry: σπαραγμός, ὁ, tearing, rending, mangling. II. convulsion, spasm. (L&S p. 1624, left column, within the definitions beginning with σπάραγμα, edited for simplicity.)

Sphrayís - (sphragis; Gr. σφραγίς, ΣΦΡΑΓΙΣ. Noun.) Sphrayís is a seal. The phrases found at the beginning of Orphic texts, "Begone! you who are sinful. Close your doors! you who are profane," are a type of seal or sphrayís , protecting the text from profane eyes.

Symbola - See Sýmvola.

Sýmvola - (Symbola; Gr. Σύμβολα, ΣΥΜΒΟΛΑ) Sýmvola in the Mysteries are signs or tokens such as the Toys of Diónysos.

Synækhís Ousía - (Syneches Ousia; Gr. Συνεχής Οὐσία) The Synækhís Ousía is the continuous kozmogonic substance: Water-Fire-Aithír.
- Lexicon entry: συνεχής, holding together: I. of Space, continuous. II. of Time, continuous, unintermitting. III. of persons, constant, persevering. (L&S p. 1714, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Sýnthima - (Synthema; Gr. Σύνθημα, ΣΥΝΘΗΜΑ) The sýnthima is the password, indicating that the initiate has been properly prepared for initiation into the Mystíria.

Syrianós - (Syrianus; Gr. Συριανός, ΣΥΡΙΑΝΟΣ) Syrianós (died 437 CE) was head of the Platonic school in Athens after Ploutarchos of Athens (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος, not the writer of biographies). He was the teacher of mighty Próklos (Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος). Amongst other works, Syrianós wrote a treatise on Orphéfs and another harmonizing the ideas of the Platonic and Pythagorean philosophers with Orphismós, but both of these works are lost.

Sýstasis - (sustasis; Gr. σύστασις, ΣΥΣΤΑΣΙΣ) Sýstasis is contact with a God; the term is often associated with the Neoplatonic practice of thæouryía (theurgy; Gr. θεουργία).
- Lexicon entry: σύστᾰσις, εως, , (συνίστημι) bringing together, introduction, recommendation; care, guardianship. 2. communication between a man and a God. (L&S p. 1734, right column, first two definitions only, edited for simplicity.)

Tælæsphoría - (telesphoria; Gr. τελεσφορία, ΤΕΛΕΣΦΟΡΙΑ. Etym. τέλος, "fruition" + φορά, "gestation.") Tælæsphoría is initiation in the Mysteries. (L&S p. 1771, left column)

Tælæstír - (telester; Gr. τελεστήρ, ΤΕΛΕΣΤΗΡ. Etym. τέλος "fruition" + τηρέω "to guard." τελεστήρῆρος, = τελεστής) A tælæstír is an initiating priest. Cf. Tælæstís.

Tælæstírion - (telesterion; Gr. τελεστήριον, ΤΕΛΕΣΤΗΡΙΟΝ) A Tælæstírion is a place of initiation. (L&S p. 1770, right column)

Tælæstís - (telestes; Gr. τελεστής, ΤΕΛΕΣΤΗΣ = Τελετής) A Tælæstís can refer to either an initiator (priest) or the one who has been initiated (Cf. Mýstis). (L&S p. 1770, right column)

Tælætai - (Teletae; Gr. Τελεταί, ΤΕΛΕΤΑΙ) Tælætai is a lost Orphic text composed by Onomákritos (Onomacritus; Gr. Ὀνομάκριτος) in which some (Shuster) believe included the first presentation of the Zagréfs mythology. (source: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Culture Vol. 2, William Smith, 1891. We are using the 2008 edition, I. B. Tauris [London-New York], p. 299.)

Tælætárkhis - (Teletarches; Gr. Τελετάρχης, ΤΕΛΕΤΑΡΧΗΣTælætárkhis is (ed. Ὀρφεύς) the founder of Mysteries. (L&S p. 1771, left column)

Tælætás - (teletas; Gr. τελετάς, ΤΕΛΕΤΑΣ. Plural is τελεταί.Tælætás are 'all they that belong to Dionysus.' (L&S p. 1771, right column, within the definitions of τελετής)

Tælætí - (telete; Gr. τελετή, ΤΕΛΕΤΗ. Plural is τελεταί.), (τελέω), rite, esp. initiation in the mysteries, pl., mystic rites practised at initiation2.  pl., theological doctrines3. making magically potentII. a festival accompanied by mystic rites, mostly in pl. III. a priesthood or sacred office(L&S p. 1771, left column, edited for simplicity.)
- The word tælætí is usually used, as described above, to designate a rite, but the word may also be used to refer to a religious text.

Tælætís - (teletes; Gr. τελετής, ΤΕΛΕΤΗΣ = Τελεστής) See Tælæstís.

Thæoloyía - (theologia; Gr. θεολογία, ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ) Lexicon entry: θεολογία, , science of things divine; title of an Orphic work, Dam.Pr.124: in pl., Arist.Mete.353a35. II. oration in praise of a God. 2. incantation, invocation of a God. (L&S p. 790, right column, within the entries beginning with θεολογεῖον, edited for simplicity.)

Thæourgós - (theurgos; Gr. θεουργός, ΘΕΟΥΡΓΟΣ) The thæourgós is any individual who conducts ritual. The word means divine worker and ritual (thæouryía) is the divine work of the worship of the Gods. The cosmic Thæourgós is the Dimiourgós.
- Lexicon entry: θεουργός, , divine worker, of the Δημιουργός. II. performer of sacramental rites. (L&S p. 792, left column, within the entries beginning θεουργία, edited for simplicity.)

Thæouryía - Please visit this page: Theurgy in Hellenismos.

Thiaseia - (Gr. θιασεία, ΘΙΑΣΕΙΑ) Lexicon entry: θῐᾰσεία, , Bacchic revel. (L&S p. 801, left column at the bottom amongst the entries beginning with θιασαρχέω, edited for simplicity.)

Thiasévoh - (thiaseuo; Gr. θιασεύω, ΘΙΑΣΕΥΩ. Verb.) Lexicon entry: θῐᾰσεύω, initiate into the θίασος. II. celebrate Bacchic rite. (L&S p. 801, right column at the top from left column amongst the entries beginning with θιασαρχέω, edited for simplicity.) Cf. Thíasos.

Thiasóhtis - (Thiasotes; Gr. θιασώτης, ΘΙΑΣΩΤΗΣ) Lexicon entry: θῐᾰσώτης, ου, ὁ, member of a θίασος. 2. c. gen., θιασῶται τοῦ θεοῦ τούτου (sc. Ἔρωτος) worshippers of Love. 3. of Bacchus, leader of θίασοι. 4. generally, follower, disciple. (L&S p. 801, right column at the top from left column amongst the entries beginning with θιασαρχέω, edited for simplicity.)

Thíasos - (Gr. θίασος, ΘΙΑΣΟΣ. Plural is θίασοι.) Lexicon entry: θῐᾰσος (proparox.), , Bacchic revel, rout. 2. religious guild, confraternity. II. generally, company, troop, used by Trag. in lyr. III. feast, banquet. (L&S p. 801, right column at top of page within the entries beginning from the left column starting with θιασαρχέω, edited for simplicity.)

Thronismós - (Gr. θρονισμός, ΘΡΟΝΙΣΜΟΣ. Noun.) Thronismós is an enthronement in which the candidate for initiation is ceremoniously seated for purification.

Thrónohsis - (thronosis; Gr. θρόνωσις, ΘΡΟΝΩΣΙΣ) Lexicon entry: θρόνωσις, εως, ,= θρονισμός, enthronement of the newly initiated, at the mysteries of the Corybantes. (L&S p. 807, left column, edited for simplicity.

Thyipolía - (thuepolia; Gr. θυηπολία, ΘΥΗΠΟΛΙΑ. Pronounced: thee-ee-poh-LEE-ah) Lexicon entry: θῠηπολία, Ion. -ιη, , sacrificing: generally, mystic rites, Orph.A.470. (L&S p. 808, right column, within the entries beginning with θυηπολέω, edited for simplicity.)

oys of Dionysos - Please visit this page: The Toys of Diónysos

Triætirikí Pantǽleia - (Trieterike Panteleia; Gr. Τριετηρικὴ Παντέλεια, ΤΡΙΕΤΗΡΙΚΗ ΠΑΝΤΕΛΕΙΑ) Triætirikí Pantǽleia is the consummation of the Great Mysteries. (L&S p. 1300, left column within the definitions beginning Παντέλεια.)

Triagmós - (Gr. Τριαγμὸς, ΤΡΙΑΓΜΟΣ) Triagmós is a mystical text (not extant) on the number three by the Pythagorean tragedian and philosopher Íohn (Ion; Gr. Ἴων) or Æpiyǽnis (Epigenes; Gr. Έπιγένης). (source: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Culture Vol. 2, William Smith, 1891. We are using the 2008 edition, I. B. Tauris [London-New York], see p. 299.)

Tritopátoræs - (Tritopatores; Gr. Τριτοπάτορες, ΤΡΙΤΟΠΑΤΟΡΕΣ. Plural of Τριτοπάτωρ. Τριτοπατέρες, a very similar word, means simply "ancestors.") The Tritopátoræs are wind or Aithír-daimonæs (daemons; Gr. δαίμονες), the great ancestors who carry the soul between lives and blow it into a new body. See Physiká.
- Lexicon entry: Τριτοπάτωρ [], ορος, , great-grandfather. II. Τριτοπάτορες, οἱ, divinities worshipped at Athens, to whom prayers were offered ὑπὲρ γενέσεως παίδων (v. Τριτογενής 11); wind-daemons acc. to Demon 2, cf. Orph.Fr.318: sg., Τριτοπάτωρ Πυρρακιδῶν prob. the mythical ancestor of the P., Durrbach Choix d' inscrr. de Délos No.7 (v/iv B. C.) (L&S p. 1823, right column, within the entries beginning with Τριτοπατέρες, edited for simplicity.)

ǽdi - (Bedu; Gr. βέδυ, ΒΕΔΥ = Ἀήρ) Vǽdi is the mystic water (or misty air) of the Nymphs. (Orphic Frag. 219 Kern)

Vǽvili - (Bebeloi; Gr. βέβηλοι, ΒΕΒΗΛΟΙ. Adjective pl. and verb.) Vǽvili is an adjective or verb referring to the profane or uninitiated. The rituals of the Mysteries open with the exhortation, θύρας δ' έπίθεσθε βέβηλοι, "Shut your doors, you who are profane!" Cf. Vǽvilos.

Vǽvilos - (bebelos; Gr. βέβηλος, ΒΕΒΗΛΟΣ. Adjective sg.) Vǽvilos is an adjective or verb referring to the profane or uninitiated. The rituals of the Mysteries open with the exhortation, θύρας δ' έπίθεσθε βέβηλοι, "Shut your doors, you who are profane!" Cf. Vǽvili.

Vakkhéfmata - (Baccheumata; Gr. Βακχεύματα, ΒΑΚΧΕΥΜΑΤΑ. Plural.Vakkhéfmata are Vakkhic revelries.

Voukolǽoh - (boukoleo; Gr. βουκολέω, ΒΟΥΚΟΛΕΩ. Verb.) Voukolǽoh is the act of serving, worshiping Savázios (Sabazios; Gr. Σαβάζιος), who is Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος).
- Lexicon entry: βουκολέω, tend cattle. 2. of persons, βουκολεῖς Σαβάζιον you tend, serve him (with allusion to his tauriform worship). (L&S p. 324, left column, within the entries beginning with βουκολεῖον, edited for simplicity.)

Voukolos - (boukolos; Gr. βούκολος, ΒΟΥΚΟΛΟΣ. Plural is βούκολοι.) Lexicon entry: βούκολος, , tending kine. II. worshipper of Dionysos in bull-form. 2. β. τοῦ Ὀσορᾶπι devotee of Sarapis. (L&S p. 324, right column continued from the left, within the entries beginning with βουκολεῖον, edited for simplicity.)

Water-Fire-Aithír are all Synækhís Ousíacontinuous substance (in contrast to Earth, the Mæristí Ousía or divisible substance). In Orphic literature, Water-Fire-Aithír are usually simply called Water (Ýdohr; Gr. Ὕδωρ). See Ýdohr.

Ÿæ! Kýæ! - (Ue! Kue!; Gr. Ύε! Κύε!, ΥΕ! ΚΥΕ! Pronunciation: EE-ay, KEE-ay) According to Athínaios (Athenaeus; Gr. Ἀθήναιος) in Δειπνοσοφισταί (The Learned Banqueters) 11.496a, Ÿæ! Kýæ! is an exclamation made on the last day of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια), the meaning of which is uncertain. Ÿæ is a verb calling out: "rain!" Kýæ (κύε) is a form of κυέω, meaning "to bring forth" or "conceive." This exclamation was pronounced while two libations to the dead were made; earthenware vessels were turned over (as is customary in libations to the dead), one to the east and one to the west. Athínaios states that a ritual formula was spoken, not specifically mentioning these two words, but it has been surmised by some scholars that this was the formula as it would seem that the libations were made near a well where the two words are inscribed.

Ýdohr - (Hydor; Gr. Ὕδωρ, ΥΔΩΡÝdohr is WaterWater is a God, characterized as male, formative, represented by Zefs (Zeus; Gr.Ζεύς). Ýdohr is one of the two basic material kozmogonic substances. Ýdohr is the Synækhís Ousía, the continuous substance. The other kozmogonic substance is Earth. Ýdohr is active; Earth is receptive. Ýdohr is continuous; Earth is divisible. Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) calls these two substances the One (Monad) and the Other. In Orphic literature, the word Water usually represents all three types of Synækhís SubstanceWater-Fire-Aithír. See Earth. See Water-Fire-Aithír.

Yípsos - (gypsos or gypsum; Gr. γύψος, ΓΥΨΟΣ. Pronounced YEEPS-os) Yípsos is chalk or gypsum. The Titánæs smeared their faces with chalk before presenting the Toys to Diónysos. It is believed that initiates were smeared in this way symbolically as a type of purification.

Zopyrus - See Pythagóras.

For a list of terms specifically associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries, please visit this page:

Glossary of the Eleusinian Mysteries

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 


, 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.

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: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek        


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