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PHÝSIS - NATURE - ΦΥΣΙΣ
FOTO: Miniature statue of the God Pan  in the possession of the author. Unfortunately, the signature cannot be reliably read but possibly: P. Fairby or P. Fiourby.

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(UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

PHÝSIS (Gr. φύσις, ΦΥΣΙΣ.  Pronounced: FEE-sees.) [Latin: Natura]  Phýsis is Nature.  

Phýsis is divine and it thought by Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) and others to have a teleologic nature, that is, that it tends toward an elevated end. Phýsis is sometimes depicted as a Goddess, sometimes as a God. Pan (Gr. Πάν) can be thought of as Phýsis. His name means all, everything.  Pan is the entire realized potential of the Primordial State, the entire realized potential of what Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) calls the Unutterable Principle.

Phýsis is also discussed extensively in the philosophies of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), being a major topic of the pre-Socratics, who are known as Physikí (Gr. Φυσικοί), the physicists.


Lexicon entry for Phýsisφύσις  origin; freq. of persons, birth.  2. growth
II. the natural form or constitution of a person or thing as the result of growth: hence, 1. nature, constitution2. outward form, appearance3. Medic., constitution, temperamentb. natural place or position of a bone or joint. 4. of the mind, one's nature, force of natural powers, i.e. give rein to your natural propensities. b. instinct in animals, etc. 5.  freq. in periphrases, καὶ γὰρ ἂν πέτρου φύσιν σύ γ' ὀργάνειας, i.e. would'st provoke a stone. 
III. the regular order of nature
IV. in Philosophy: 1. nature as an originating power , the principle of growth in the universe, Cleanth. Stoic.1.126; as Stoic t.t., the inner fire which causes preservation and growth in plants and animals, defined as πῦρ τεχνικὸν ὁδῷ βαδίζον εἰς γένεσιν, Stoic.1.44, cf. 35, al., S.E.M.9.81Nature, personified. 2. elementary substance3. concrete, the creation, 'Nature'4. Pythag. name for two
V. as a concrete term, creature, freq. in collect. sense,  mankind;  in contemptuous sense, αἱ τοιαῦται φ. such creatures as these.  b. of plants or material substances
VI. kind, sort, speciesnatural group or class of plants.  
VII. sex, θῆλυς φῦσα (prob. for οὖσα) κοὐκ ἀνδρὸς φύσιν S.Tr.1062, cf. OC445Th.2.45Pl.Lg.770d944d: hence,  2. the characteristic of sex, = αἰδοῖον, : esp. of the female organ,  of the testes.  (L&S p.1964, right column)


Commentary on the Orphic hymn to Phýsis by Thomas Taylor (The Hymns of Orpheus by Thomas Taylor 1792, London England, printed for the author, pp. 126-129)

Nature, according to the theologists, as related by Proclus (ed. Próklos; Gr. Πρόκλος), in Tim. [4A, Thomas Taylor Series vol. XV, p. 20; see below], is the last of the demiurgic causes of this sensible world, and the boundary of the latitude of incorporeal essences: and is full of reasons and powers, by which she governs the universe, every where connecting parts with their wholes. Hence  Nature is represented in this Hymn as turning the still traces of her feet with a swift whirling. For since she is the last of the demiurgic causes, her operations aptly symbolize with the traces of feet. Now the reason why the epithets of much-mechanic, all-artist, connecting, all-wife, providence, &c. are given to nature, which evince her agreement with Minerva (ed. Athiná/Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ), is because that Goddess, according to the Orphic theology, fabricated the variegated veil of nature, from that wisdom and virtue of which she is the presiding divinity. And Proclus informs us, that she connects all the parts of the universe together: containing in herself intellectual life, by which she illuminates the whole, and unifying powers by which she superintends all the opposing natures of the world. Nature, therefore, from her connecting, and unifying power, and from her plenitude of seminal reasons, has an evident agreement with Minerva, whose divine arts according to the Orphic theology, reduce whatever in the universe is discordant and different, into union and consent.

Again, agreeable to this theology, primary natures impart their gifts to such as are secondary by an abundant illumination, and effects are established in the causes from which they proceed: so that in the obscure language of Heraclitus, all things are one, and one all things. Hence Nature though the last of the demiurgic causes, is with perfect conformity to this symbolical Theology, said to be both communicable and incommunicable; without a father and at the same time the father of her own being. For considered as full of operative reasons, she is communicable to every sensible nature: but considered as the representative of divine unity, she is incommunicable. And in like manner as symbolising with the first cause, she is both without any origin, and at the same time the source of her own essence.

Ver. 12.] Finite and infinite, &c. Philolaus (ed. Philólaos; Gr. Φιλόλαος) according to Demetrius (in Laert. Ed. Dimítrios Phaliréfs; Gr. Δημήτριος Φαληρεύς) published a discourse concerning Nature, of which this is the beginning: 

φύσις δὲ ἐν τῳ κόσμῳ αῤμόχθη ἑξ ἀϖειρηον τε καὶ ὅλ κόσμος καὶ τὰ ἑν αυτῳ πάντα.

phýsis dæ æn toh kósmoh armókhthi æx ápeirion tæ kai ol kósmos kai ta æn aftóh pánta.

i. e. "Nature, and the whole world, and whatever it contains, are aptly connected together from infinites and finites."

Ver. 33.] By thee the world, &c. Since the world has an extended and composite essence, and is on this account continually separated from itself, it can alone be connected by a certain indivisible virtue infused from the divine unity. Again, since from a natural appetite, it is ever orderly moved towards good, the nature of such an appetite and motion must originate from a divine intellect and goodness. But since, from its material imperfection, it cannot receive the whole of divine infinity at once, but in a manner accommodated to its temporal nature: it can only derive it gradually and partially, as it were by drops, in a momentary succession. So that the corporeal world is in a continual state of flowing and formation, but never possesses real being; and is like the image of a lofty tree seen in a rapid torrent, which has the appearance of a tree without the reality; and which seems to endure perpetually the same, yet is continually renewed by the continual renovation of the stream.


Orphic Hymn TO NATURE  [Phýsis] 

The Fumigation from Aromatics.

Nature, all parent, ancient, and divine,

O Much-mechanic mother, art is thine;

Heav'nly, abundant, venerable queen,

In ev'ry part of thy dominions seen.

Untam'd, all-taming, ever splendid light,  5

All ruling, honor'd, and supremly bright.

Immortal, first-born, ever still the same,

Nocturnal, starry, shining, glorious dame.

Thy feet's still traces in a circling course,

By thee are turn'd, with unremitting force.  10

Pure ornament of all the pow'rs divine,

Finite and infinite alike you shine;

To all things common and in all things known,

Yet incommunicable and alone.

Without a father of thy wond'rous frame,  15

Thyself the father whence thy essence came.

All-flourishing, connecting, mingling soul,

Leader and ruler of this mighty whole.

Life-bearer, all-sustaining, various nam'd,

And for commanding grace and beauty fam'd.  20

Justice, supreme in might, whose general sway

The waters of the restless deep obey.

Ætherial, earthly, for the pious glad,

Sweet to the good, but bitter to the bad.

All-wife, all bounteous, provident, divine,  25

A rich increase of nutriment is thine;

Father of all, great nurse, and mother kind,

Abundant, blessed, all-spermatic mind:

Mature, impetuous, from whose fertile seeds

And plastic hand, this changing scene proceeds.  30

All-parent pow'r, to mortal eyes unseen,

Eternal, moving, all-sagacious queen.

By thee the world, whose parts in rapid flow,

Like swift descending streams, no respite know,

On an eternal hinge, with steady course  35

Is whirl'd, with matchless, unremitting force.

Thron'd on a circling car, thy mighty hand

Holds and directs, the reins of wide command.

Various thy essence, honor'd, and the best,

Of judgement too, the general end and test.  40

Intrepid, fatal, all-subduing dame,

Life-everlasting, Parca, breathing flame.

Immortal, Providence, the world is thine,

And thou art all things, architect divine.

O blessed Goddess, hear thy suppliant's pray'r,  45

And make my future life, thy constant care;

Give plenteous seasons, and sufficient wealth,

And crown my days with lasting, peace and health.

 

10. Φύσεως, θυμίαμα ρώματα

Ὦ Φύσι, παμμήτειρα θεά, πολυμήχανε μῆτερ,
οὐρανίη, πρέσβειρα, πολύκτιτε δαῖμον, ἄνασσα,
πανδαμάτωρ, ἀδάμαστε, κυβερνήτειρα, παναυγής,
παντοκράτειρα, τετιμεν' ἀεὶ, πανυπέρτατε δαῖμον,
ἄφθιτε, πρωτογένεια, παλαίφατε, κυδιάνειρα,
ἐννυχίη, πολύπειρε, σελασφόρε, δεινοκαθέκτε,
ἄψοφον ἀστραγάλοισι ποδῶν ἴχνος εἱλίσσουσα,
ἁγνή, κοσμήτειρα θεῶν ἀτελής τε τελευτή,
κοινὴ μὲν πάντεσσιν, ἀκοινώνητε δὲ μούνη,
αὐτοπάτωρ, ἀπάτωρ, ἄρσην, πολύμητι, μεγίστη,
εὐάνθής, πλοκίη, φιλίη, πολύμικτε, δαῆμον,
ἡγεμόνη, κράντειρα, φερέσβιε, παντρόφε κούρη,
αὐτάρκεια, Δίκη, Χαρίτων πολυώνυμε πειθώ,
αἰθερίη, χθονίη καὶ εἰναλίη μεδέουσα,
πικρὰ μέν φαύλοισι, γλυκεῖα δὲ πειθομένοισιν,
πάνσοφε, πανδώτειρα, κομίστρια, παμβασίλεια,
αὐξιτρόφος, πίειρα πεπαινομένων τε λύτειρα.
πάντων μὲν σὺ πατήρ, μήτηρ, τροφὸς ἠδὲ τιθηνός,
ὠκυλόχεια, μάκαιρα, πολύσπορος, ὡριὰς ὁρμή,
παντοτεχνές, πλάστειρα, πολύκτιτε, πότνιε δαῖμον,
ἀιδίη, κινησιφόρος, πολύπειρε, περίφρων,
ἀενάῳ στροφάλιγγι θοὸν ῥύμα δινεύουσα,
πάνρυτε, κυκλοτερής, ἀλλοτριομορφοδίαιτε,
εὔθρονε, τιμήεσσα, μόνη τὸ κριθὲν τελέουσα,
σκηπτούχοῦσ' ἐφύπερθε, βαρυβρεμέτειρα, κρατίστη,
ἄτρομε, πανδαμάτειρα, πεπρωμένη, αἶσα, πυρίπνους,
ἀίδιος ζωὴ ἠδ' ἀθανάτη τε πρόνοια,
πάντα σὺ ἔσσι, ἄνασσα, σὺ γὰρ μούνη τάδε τεύχεις.
ἀλλά, θεά, λίτομαί σε σὺν εὐόλβοισιν ἐν ὥραις
εἰρήνην ὑγίειαν ἄγειν, αὔξησιν ἁπάντων.


from Próklos' Commentary on the Tímaios (Timæus; Gr. Τίμαιος) of Plátohn (Plato) [1] :

"Nature, therefore, is the last of the causes which fabricate this corporeal-formed and sensible essence. She is also the boundary of the extent of incorporeal essences, and is full of reasons and powers through which she directs and governs mundane beings. And she is a Goddess indeed, in consequence of being deified, but she has not immediately the subsistence of a deity. For we call divine bodies Gods, as being statues of Gods. But she governs the whole world by her powers, containing the heavens indeed in the summit of herself, but ruling over generation through the heavens; and every where weaving together partial natures with wholes. Being however such, she proceeds from the vivific Goddess [Rhea] [For according to the Chaldaean oracle] "Immense Nature is suspended from the back of the Goddess;" [2] from whom all life is derived, both that which is intellectual, and that which is inseparable from the subjects of its government. Hence, being suspended from thence, she pervades without impediment through, and inspires all things; so that through her, the most inanimate beings participate of a certain soul, and such things as are corruptible, remain perpetually in the world, being held together by the causes of forms which she contains.

For again the Oracle says, "Unwearied Nature rules over the worlds and works, and draws downward, that Heaven may run an eternal course," etc. [3] So that if some one of those who assert that there are three demiurgi, is willing to refer them to these principles, viz. to the demiurgic intellect, to soul, and to total nature [or to nature considered as a whole,] he will speak rightly, through the causes which have been already enumerated. [4]  But he will speak erroneously, if he supposes that there are three other demiurgi of the universe, beyond soul. For the Demiurgus (ed. Dimiourgόs; Gr. Δημιουργός) of wholes is one, but more partial powers, distribute his whole fabrication into parts. We must not therefore admit such an assertion, whether it be Amelius (ed. Amǽlios; Gr. Ἀμέλιος, 3rd century CE Neoplatonist philosopher) or Theodorus [ed. Theódohros of Asinaios; Gr. Θεόδωρος δ Ασιναίος, student of Porphyry (ed. Porphýrios; Gr. Πορφύριος)] [5]  who wishes to make this arrangement; but we must be careful to remain in Platonic and Orphic hypotheses.

Moreover, those who call nature demiurgic art, if indeed they mean the nature which abides in the Demiurgus, they do not speak rightly; but their assertion is right, if they mean the nature which proceeds from him. For we must conceive that art is triple, one kind subsisting in the artist, in unproceeding union; another, proceeding indeed, but being converted to him; and a third being that which has now proceeded from the artist, and subsists in another thing. The art therefore, which is in the Demiurgus, abides in him, and is himself, according to which the sensible world is denominated the work of the artificer, and the work of the artificer of the fiery world. [6]  But the intellectual soul is art indeed, yet art which at the same time both abides and proceeds. And nature is art which proceeds alone; on which account also it is said to be the organ of the Gods, not destitute of life, nor alone alter-motive, but having in a certain respect the self-motive, through the ability of energizing from itself. For the organs of the Gods are essentialized in efficacious reasons, are vital, and concur with the energies of the Gods.


EPITHETS OF PHÝSIS  (under construction)

Ohkylókheia - (okulocheia; Gr. ὠκυλόχεια, ΩΚΥΛΟΧΕΙΑ. Etym. ὠκύς "quick" + λοχία "child-birth.") Lexicon entry: ὠκῠλόχειαgiving a quick birth, of Artemis, Orphic hymn 36.8Orph. H.2.4, 36.8; of Φύσις, ib.10.19. (L&S)


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.

 

NOTES:

[1] PróklosCommentary on the Tímaios (Timæus; Gr. Τίμαιος) of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων), Book I, 4C-D; trans. Thomas Taylor 1820; found here in the 2006 Prometheus Trust edition (Antony Rowe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, England), Thomas Taylor Series Vol. XV, p. 20-21.

[2] Fr. 54

[3] Fr. 70; & Orph. fr. 2968, Lobeck, Aglaophemus, 225.

[4] Theol. Plat. V, 14.

[5] Tim. 42d.

[6] Chald. Oracl. fr. 32.



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.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org 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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