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MNIMOSÝNI - ΜΝΗΜΟΣΥΝΗ

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Mnimosýni (Mnemosyne; Gr. Mνημοσύνη, ΜΝΗΜΟΣΥΝΗ)
Pronunciation: mnee-moh-SEE'-nee 

Mnimosýni is the Goddess of RemembranceMemoryShe is an extremely important deity in all of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, and especially in the Mystíria (the Mysteries; Gr. Μυστήρια), as it is she who opens the key to former lives. Mnimosýni is the mother of the Mousai (Muses; Gr. Μοῦσαι, plural), and, therefore, is the source of all the arts and sciences and poetry. 



Mnimosýni is daughter of Yi (Earth or Ge; Gr. Γῆ) and Ouranós (Uranus; Gr. Οὐρανός): 

"... she (Gaia; ed. Earth or Yi) lay with Ouranos and bore deep-whirling Okeanos (ed. Gr. Ὠκεανός), and Koios (ed. Gr. Κοῖος) and Krios (ed. Gr. Κρεῖος) and Hyperion (ed. Ὑπερίων) and Iapetos (ed. Ἰαπετός), and Theia (ed. Gr. Θεία) and Rhea (ed. Gr. Ῥέα) and Themis (ed. Gr. Θέμις) and Mnemosyne." (Isíodos [Hesiod; Gr.  ἩσίοδοςThæogonía [Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία], 132-135, trans. Richard S. Caldwell, 1987, Focus Classical Library [Newburyport, MA] pp. 35-36) 



Mnimosýni is the mother of the Mousai (Muses; Gr. Μοῦσαι): 

"Then he (ed. Zefs [=Zeus]; Gr. Ζεύς) loved fair-haired Mnemosyne, who bore the nine Muses with golden headbands, whose delight is banquets and the pleasure of song." (Ibid. Caldwell, p. 78) 



Mnimosýni is the Goddess of Remembrance: 

"Sohkratis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης): I would have you imagine, then, that there exists in the mind of man a block of wax, which is of different sizes in different men; harder, moister, and having more or less of purity in one than another, and in some of an intermediate quality. ..... Let us say that this table is a gift of Memory (ed. Mnimosyni), the mother of the Muses; and that when we wish to remember anything which we have seen, or heard, or thought in our own minds, we hold the wax to the perceptions and thoughts, and in that material receive the impression of them as from the seal of a ring; and that we remember and know what is imprinted as long as the image lasts; but when the image is effaced, or cannot be taken, then we forget and do not know." 

(Plátohn [Plato; Gr. ΠλάτωνThæaititos [Theaetetus; Gr. Θεαίτητος], 191c-d, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892, found in the 1937 Random House [New York] edition of The Dialogues of Plato, Vol. Two, on p. 195) 


Mnimosýni is the key to deliverance after death:

"Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a Well-spring
And by the side thereof standing a white cypress. 
To this Well-spring approach not near. 
But thou shalt find another by the Lake of Memory, 
Cold water flowing forth, and there are Guardians before it. 
Say: 'I am a child of Earth and of Starry Heaven; 
But my race is of Heaven. This ye know yourselves. 
And lo, I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly 
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.' 
And of themselves they will give thee to drink from the holy Well-spring, 
And thereafter among the other Heroes thou shalt have lordship..."

(Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) Golden Tablet, this translation found in Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison, 1903;  found in the 1991 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA], pp. 659-660.)


Sohkrátis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης) exhorts us to Recollect:


After demonstrating that the servant of Mǽnohn (ed. Meno; Gr. Μένων) appeared to already understand simple geometry, by only being asked questions, Sohkrátis proposes to Mǽnohn that knowledge is actually recollection:

Sohkrátis: "But if he always possessed this knowledge he would always have known; or if he has acquired the knowledge he could not have acquired it in this life, unless he has been taught geometry; for he may be made to do the same with all geometry and every other branch of knowledge. Now, has any one ever taught him all this? You must know about him, if, as you say, he was born and bred in your house.

Mǽnohn: And I am certain that no one ever did teach him.

Sohkrátis: And yet he has the knowledge?

Mǽnohn: The fact, Socrates, is undeniable.

Sohkrátis: But if he did not acquire the knowledge in this life, then he must have had and learned it at some other time?

Mǽnohn: Clearly he must.

Sohkrátis: Which must have been the time when he was not a man?

Mǽnohn: Yes.

Sohkrátis: And if there have been always true thoughts in him, both at the time when he was and was not a man, which only need to be awakened into knowledge by putting questions to him, his soul must have always possessed this knowledge, for he always either was or was not a man?

Mǽnohn: Obviously.

Sohkrátis: And if the truth of all things always existed in the soul, then the soul is immortal. Wherefore be of good cheer, and try to recollect what you do not know, or rather what you do not remember."

(
Plátohn [Plato; Gr. Πλάτων
Mǽnohn [Meno; Gr. Μένων] 85d-86b, trans. Benjamin Jowett 1892; found here in The Dialogues of Plato Vol. 1, 1937, Random House [New York], on p. 366)


Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) on consciousness, memory, and recollection:

Sohkrátis: "And the union or communion of soul and body in one feeling and motion would be properly called consciousness?

Próhtarkhos: (Protarchus; Gr. Πρώταρχος): Most. true.

Sohkrátis: Then now we know the meaning of the word?

Próhtarkhos: Yes.

Sohkrátis: And memory may, I think, be rightly described as the preservation of consciousness?

Próhtarkhos: Right.

Sohkrátis: But do we not distinguish memory from recollection?

Próhtarkhos: I think so.

Sohkrátis: And do we not mean by recollection the power which the soul has of recovering, when by herself, some feeling which she experienced when in company with the body?

Próhtarkhos: Certainly.

Sohkrátis: And when she recovers of herself the lost recollection of some consciousness or knowledge, the recovery is termed recollection and reminiscence?

Próhtarkhos: Very true."

(Plátohn [Plato; Gr. Πλάτων] Phílivos [Philebus; Gr. Φίληβος] 34a-c, trans. Benjamin Jowett 1892; found here in The Dialogues of Plato Vol. 2, 1937, Random House [New York], on p. 367)


The Orphic Hymn to the Mnimosýni

77. Mnimosýni

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.

*  'Memory (says Plotinus [En. IV, iii, 28, TTS vol. III]) leads to the object of memory.' (ἄγεϊ γάρ η μνήμη πρός τό υνημονεύτον) But the object of memory to the soul is intellect, and the forms or ideas it contains, to which the soul tends through reminiscence; so that the Goddess of Memory is very properly said by Orpheus to conjoin the soul with intellect."

(Orphic Hymn 77 Mnimosyni, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792; found here in Hymns and Initiations: The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus, The Prometheus Trust [England by Antony Rowe, Chippenham, Wiltshire], Vol. V of the TTS; p. 145)

77. Μνημοσύνης, θυμίαμα λίβανον.

Μνημοσύνην καλέω, Ζηνὸς σύλλεκτρον, ἄνασσαν,
ἣ Μούσας τέκνωσ’ ἱεράς, ὁσίας, λιγυφώνους,
ἐκτὸς ἐοῦσα κακῆς λήθης βλαψίφρονος αἰεί,
πάντα νόον συνέχουσα βροτῶν ψυχαῖσι σύνοικον,
εὐδύνατον κρατερὸν θνητῶν αὔξουσα λογισμόν,
ἡδυτάτη, φιλάγρυπνος ὑπομνήσκουσά τε πάντα,
ὧν ἂν ἕκαστος ἀεὶ στέρνοις γνώμην κατάθηται,
οὔτι παρεκβαίνουσ’, ἐπεγείρουσα φρένα πᾶσιν.
ἀλλά, μάκαιρα θεά, μύσταις μνήμην ἐπέγειρε
εὐιέρου τελετῆς, λήθην δ’ ἀπὸ τῶν δ’ ἀπόπεμπε.




The Orphic Hymn to Mnimosýni suggests an offering of frankincense to the Goddess.


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.



GLOSSARY OF MNIMOSÝNI (under construction
)
N
OTE: A list of abbreviations can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME.

Mnáma - (Gr. μνᾶμα, ΜΝΑΜΑ) Lexicon entry: μνᾶμα, μναμεῖον, μναμοσύνα, Dor. for μνημ-. (L&S p. 1138, right column)

Mnamóna
- (Gr. Μναμόνα, ΜΝΑΜΟΝΑ) Lexicon entry: Μναμόνα, = Μνημοσύνη, Ar.Lys.1248. (L&S p. 1138, right column)

Mnamosýna - (Gr. Μνᾱμοσύνα, ΜΝΑΜΟΣΥΝΑ) Dorian and Aeolic for Mνημοσύνη. Cf. Mnimosýni.

Mneiai - (Mneiae; Gr. Μνείᾳ, ΜΝΕΙΑΙ) The Mneiai are the Remembrances, i.e., the nine Olympian Mousai.

Mnímænos - (mnemenos; Gr. μνήμενος, ΜΝΗΜΕΝΟΣ) Lexicon entry: μνήμενος, remembering, Od.15.400, as cited by Arist.Rh.1370b5. (L&S p. 1139, left column)

Mními - (mneme; Gr. μνήμη, ΜΝΗΜΗ) Lexicon entry: μνήμη, Dor. μνάμα, (μνάομαιremembrancememory of a person or thing. 2. memory as a power of the mind. 3. memorialrecordII. mentionnotice of a thing. III. μνήμη βασίλειος the imperial cabinet or archivesIV. = μνῆμαtomb. (L&S p. 1139, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Mnimóh
- (Mnemo; Gr. Μνημώ, ΜΝΗΜΩ) Lexicon entry: Μνημώ, οῦς, , = Μνημοσύνη, Orph.Fr.203. (L&S p. 1139, right column)

Mnimosýni - (Mnemosyne; Gr. Mνημοσύνη, ΜΝΗΜΟΣΥΝΗ) Lexicon Entry: μνημοσύνη, Dorian and Aeolic μνᾱμοσύνα, ἡ, remembrance, memory. 2. as a proper noun: Mnemosyne, mother of the Muses (L&S p. 1139, edited for simplicity.)

Mousomítohr - (Gr. Μουσομήτωρ, ΜΟΥΣΟΜΗΤΩΡ) Mousomítohr is an epithet of Mnimosýni, meaning the mother of the Mousai and all arts.
- Lexicon entry: μουσομήτωρ, ορος, ἡ, the mother of Muses and all arts, epith. of Memory. (L&S p. 1149, edited for simplicity.)




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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