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NYX - ΝΥΞ

The Mystical Darkness

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Nyx (Gr. Νύξ, ΝΥΞ.  Pronounced: neeks)

Generalities concerning Nyx

Nyx (Gr. Νύξ, ΝΥΞ) is a great deity of mystical Orphism and Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. Nyx is a field of reality, a field in the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος), which cannot be understood. Therefore in mythology, Nyx is called Night. The "darkness" of Night has nothing to do with anything sinister, but, rather, refers to her character as being unknown or hidden. It is generally said of the divine that "there is nothing dark" in the Gods...they are beings of great light...so, we do not use darkness to symbolize them, but Nyx is an exception. In this case, darkness does not symbolize "evil" or delusion, but here darkness simply means "unknown." Similarly, the Goddess Ækáti (Hecate; Gr. Ἑκάτη) is also associated with darkness, and this is often misunderstood to mean evil, but Ækáti, like all the Gods, is a being of great light, her parents are stars...which are actually suns, great bodies of light...she abounds in virtue, and her darkness, like that of Nyx, refers to a field of reality which is unknown or hidden, not evil. Similarly, Nyx is known by the epithet astæroómmatos (asteroömmatus; Gr. ἀστεροόμματος), "with eyes of stars," for there is light within her "darkness" as the evening sky is filled with stars.

Like Phánis (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης), Nyx is not a personal deity; in other words, she has no consciousness. The mythology describes her dwelling as a dark Cave (ἄντρον or σπέος). You cannot see in the dark. The darkness of the Cave of Nyx is symbolic of a field of reality in which the potential of everything exists, but it has yet to manifest. 

Nyx is called the Nurse (τροφός) of the Gods for she holds a significant position in nurturing the Kings. Although there is not a great deal of mythology concerning her reign as one of these Kings, Nyx plays pivotal roles in the mythology of those who follow her.


Nyx and 
Phánis


The First-Born God Phánis produces the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος) from his seat within the Cave of Nyx
[1]  who is described in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony as his daughter [2]. Phánis is he who reveals, like light. Phánis goes into the Cave of Nyx and reveals what pre-exists, thus "creating" or revealing the universe and allowing what is revealed to develop to its potential.


The reign of Nyx

Phánis created a mighty scepter which he gave to Nyx [3] and he bestowed upon her the gift of prophecy [4]


Nyx and Ouranós

Nyx gave the scepter to her son Ouranós (Uranus or Sky; Gr. Οὐρανός[5]Ouranós married Yaia (Gaia or Earth; Gr. Γαῖα), this being the first marriage. Yaia now produced children by Ouranós, the Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes; Gr. Κύκλωπες) and Ækatónkheiræs (Hekatonkheires = "hundred-handed-ones;" Gr. Ἑκατόνχειρες), but they were hated by their father who pushed them deep into the recesses of earth. This act against her children angered Yaia who then secretly gave birth to the Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες). The greatest of the Titans, Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος), was cherished and reared by Nyx [6]Krónos became the leader of the TitánæsYaia pleaded with her sons to conspire against Ouranós, and when he came to lie with her, Krónos and his brothers bound and castrated him [7].


Nyx and Krónos

Krónos now held the generative power and was king along with his sister Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα). Krónos received a prophecy that one of his progeny will usurp him. Thus, to prevent the prophecy coming to fruition, Krónos began swallowing his children, but when mighty Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεὺς) was born, Krónos was deceived with a rock wrapped up like an infant. He swallowed the rock and this caused all the children to be vomited up [8]. As this was taking place, Zefs was rushed to the Cave of Nyx. When he grew in strength he conferred with Nyx as to how to proceed. She instructed him to inebriate Krónos with honey and bind him in the oaken forest [9]. Zefs informed his mother, who is now known as Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ) [10], of the oracles Nyx had given him. She then held a great feast for Krónos and when he became drunk with honey he wandered off into the oaken wood where he was bound and castrated by Zefs, just as Krónos had done to his own father [11].


Nyx and Zefs

Zefs now returned to the Cave of Nyx and sought her advice as to how to proceed [12]. She encouraged him to surround the entire Kózmos in the Aithír (Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) [13]. Zefs swallowed Irikæpaios (Ericapaeus; Gr. Ἠρικεπαῖος) and created all things in the universe anew [14]. Zefs is now the king of the Kózmos forever and he rules in conjunction with his sister Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα) who is his equal [15].

Nyx is the second Vasiléfs

Nyx is a constituent of the evolutionary progression of Aithír (Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) known as the dynasty of the Six Vasileis (Basileis = Kings; Gr. Βασιλεῖς [Βασιλεύς is singular]): Phanis, Nyx, Ouranos, KronosZefs (Zeus), and DionysosAs such, Nyx is one of the most important deities in the pantheon of mystical Orphism and Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. Please visit this page for the mythology of the Six Kings: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

The Orphic Hymn to Nyx 
[16]
 
Night, parent Goddess, source of sweet repose, 
From whom at first both Gods and men arose, 
Hear, blessed Venus, deck'd with starry light, 
In sleep's deep silence dwelling Ebon night! 
Dreams and soft case attend thy dusky train, 
Pleas'd with the length'ned gloom and feastful strain. 
Dissolving anxious care, the friend of Mirth, 
With darkling coursers riding round the earth. 
Goddess of phantoms and of shadowy play, 
Whose drowsy pow'r divides the nat'ral day: 
By Fate's decree you constant send the light 
To deepest hell, remote from mortal sight; 
For dire Necessity which nought withstands, 
Invests the world with adamantine bands. 
Be present, Goddess, to thy suppliant's pray'r, 
Desir'd by all, whom all alike revere, 
Blessed, benevolent, with friendly aid 
Dispell the fears of Twilight's dreadful shade. 

3. Νυκτός, θυμίαμα δαλούς.

Νύκτα θεῶν γενέτειραν ἀείσομαι ἠδὲ καὶ ἀνδρῶν.
Νὺξ γένεσις πάντων, ἣν καὶ Κύπριν καλέσωμεν
κλῦθι, μάκαιρα θεά, κυαναυγής, ἀστεροφεγγής,
ἡσυχίῃι χαίρουσα καὶ ἠρεμίῃι πολυύπνωι,
εὐφροσύνη, τερπνή, φιλοπάννυχε, μῆτερ ὀνείρων,
ληθομέριμν' ἀγαθή τε πόνων ἀνάπαυσιν ἔχουσα,
ὑπνοδότειρα, φίλη πάντων, ἐλάσιππε, νυχαυγής,
ἡμιτελής, χθονία ἠδ' οὐρανία πάλιν αὐτή,
ἐγκυκλία, παίκτειρα διώγμασιν ἠεροφοίτοις,
ἣ φάος ἐκπέμπεις ὑπὸ νέρτερα καὶ πάλι φεύγεις
εἰς Ἀίδην δεινὴ γὰρ ἀνάγκη πάντα κρατύνει.
νῦν δε, μάκαιρα, (καλ)ῶ, πολυόλβιε, πᾶσι ποθεινή,
εὐάντητε, κλύουσα ἱκετηρίδα φωνὴν
ἔλθοις εὐμενέουσα, φόβους δ' ἀπόπε
μπε νυχαυγεῖς.


EPITHETS OF NYX (under construction)

Astæroómmatos - (asteroömmatus; Gr. ἀστεροόμματος, ΑΣΤΕΡΟΟΜΜΑΤΟΣ. Adjective.) Nyx (Νύξ) is the Greek word for "night" and as the night sky is filled with stars, Nyx is said to be star-eyed. Lexicon entry: ἀστεροόμμᾰτος, ον, star-eyed, epith. of night, Orph.H.34.13. (L&S)

Nurse of the Gods - See Trophós.

Trophós - (Gr. τροφός, ΤΡΟΦΟΣ. Noun.) Nyx is called the Nurse (τροφός) of the Gods. Orphic fragment 106:
θεῶν γὰρ τροφὸς ἀμβρσίη Νὺξ λέγεται
For the nurse of the Gods is said to be amvrosial (ambrosial) Nyx (trans. author)


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] 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." (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)

Orphic literature talks about three Nights: Orphic frag. 99. (60) Ἑρμείας Commentary on Πλάτων Φαῖδρος 247d p. 154, 15 Couvr.:

“...the same writer (ed. Ἑρμείας) tells us that of the three Nights, Orpheus 'ascribes to the first the gift of prophecy, but the middle [Night] he calls humility, and the thrid, he says, gave birth to righteousness.' ” (Orpheus by G. R. S. Mead, 1895.)


[2] Orphic frag. 98. (73) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 31a (I 450, 22 Diehl):

ὁ δέ γε Φάνης μόνος τε πρόεισι καὶ ὁ αὐτὸς ἀνυμνεῖται θῆλυς καὶ  γενέτωρ (fr. 81), 
παράγει δὲ τὰς Νύκτας, καὶ τῆι μέσηι σύνεστιν ὡς πατήρ·

αὐτὸς ἑῆς γὰρ παιδὸς ἀφείλετο κούριον ἄνθος.

“(Of Phanes) Himself he robbed his daughter of the flower of her maidenhood.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)

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." (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)
 
[3] 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 (ed. Φάνης) splendid scepter he placed in the hands of the Goddess Night, that she might have the honor of royal sway.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)

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.

“(Of Night) Holding in her hands the scepter of Ericapaeus.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)
 
Orphic frag. 107. (85) De deorum regnis hi loci extant: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς Commentary on Ἀριστοτέλης' μετὰ τὰ φυσικά. N 1091 b 4 (821, 5 Hayd.):

....πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ 'Βασίλευσε περίκλυτος Ἠρικεπαῖος' (fr. 108) φησὶν ἡ ποίησις, μεθ' ὃν Νὺξ 'σκῆπτρον ἔχους' ἐν χερσὶν ἀριπρεπὲς Ἠρικεπαίου (fr. 102) μεθ' ἣν Οὑρανός, 'ὃς πρώτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτα (fr. 111) ---, οὗτοι δὴ διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἄρχοντας μεταβάλλειν τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερον ποιοῦσιν.

“First indeed is the reign of glorious Irikæpaios,' as declared in the poem, with Nyx holding in her hand the brilliant scepter of Irikæpaios, and then Ouranós, the first of the Gods to reign after Nyx." (trans. author)

[4] Orphic frag. 103. (88) Ἑρμείας 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.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)

[5] Orphic frag. 111. (85) Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς Commentary on Ἀριστοτέλης' μετὰ τὰ φυσικά. N 1091 b 4 (821, 19 Hayd.):

ὃς πρῶτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ Νύκτα

“(Of Heaven [ed. Ouranós]) Who first held sway over the Gods after his mother Night (ed. Nyx).” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 138.)

[6] Orphic frag. 129. (99) Πρόκλος Commentary on Ρλάτων Κρατύλος 396b. c p. 62, 3 Pasqu.: 

ἐκ ράντων δὲ Κρόνον Νὺξ ἔτρεφεν ἠδ' ἀτίταλλεν.

"But above all others it was Kronos whom Night (ed. Nyx) reared and cherished." (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton] on p. 139.) 

[7] 58. (41) Athenagoras Pro Christian 20 p.22, 10 Schw.:

Κρόνος μὲν ὡς ἐξέτεμεν τὰ αἰδοῖα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ κατέρριψεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἅρματος καὶ ὡς ἐτεκνοκτόνει καταπίνων τῶν παίδων τοὺς ἄρσενας,

"how Kronos, for instance, mutilated his father, and hurled him down from his chariot, and how he murdered his children, and swallowed the males of them;" (trans. Rev. B. P. Pratten, 1885. Ἀθηναγόρας: A Plea for the Christians, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 2 as found in the 1904 Charles Shribner's Sons edition [New York) p. 138.)

[8] 56b. Rufin. Recognit. X 19 (Ed. Basil. 156, Migne PG 1, 1429) (The authorship of the text Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς or pseudo-Clement, from a Latin translation by Rufinus.):

Sed cum ex uteri imminutione intellexisset pater editum partum, expetebat ad devorandum; tune Rhea lapidem ei offerens magnum, huac genui, inquit. At ille accipiens absorbuit, et lapis devoratus eos quos primo absorbuerat filios, trusit et coegit exire. Primus ergo procedens descendit Orcus, et inferiora, hoc est inferna occupat loca. Secundus utpote illo superior super aquas detruditur, is quem Neptunum vocant. Tertius qui arte matris Rheae superfuit, ab ipsa caprae superpositus in coelum emissus est.

"But when he understood from the lessening of her belly that her child was born, he demanded it, that he might devour it; then Rhea presented him with a large stone, and told him that that was what she had brought forth. And he took it, and swallowed it; and the stone, when it was devoured, pushed and drove forth those sons whom he had formerly swallowed. Therefore Orcus, coming forth first, descended, and occupies the lower, that is, the infernal regions. The second, being above him-he whom they call Neptune, is thrust forth upon the waters. The third, who survived by the artifice of his mother Rhea, she put upon a she-goat and sent into heaven.” (trans. Rev. Thomas Smith, 1867. Anti-Nicene Fathers.)

[9] Orphic frag. 154. (114) Πορφύριος De antro nymphar. 16 p. 67, 21 Nauck

εὖτ' ἂν δή μιν ἴδηαι ὑπὸ δρυσὶν ὑψικόμοισιν ἔργοισιν μεθύοντα μελισσάων ἐριβόμβων, δῆσον

"When stretch'd beneath the lofty oaks you view
Saturn, with honey by the bees produc'd
Sunk in ebriety, fast bind the God." (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1823)

[10] Orphic frag. 145. (106. 128) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Κρατύλος 403e, (90, 28 Pasqu.):

Ῥείη τὸ πρὶν ἐοῦσα, ἐπεὶ Διὸς ἔπλετο μήτηρ, Δημήτηρ γέγονε.

“Aforetime was she Rhea, but when she came to be called mother of Zefs she became Demetra.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 139.)

[11] Orphic frag. 154. (114) Πορφύριος De antro nymphar. 16 p. 67, 21 Nauck:

ὃ καὶ πάσχει ὁ Κρόνος καὶ δεθεὶς ἐκτέμνεται ὡς ὁ Οὐρανός

"This therefore, takes place, and Saturn being bound is emasculated in the same manner as Heaven" (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1823)

[12] 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

“(Zefs speaks) (ed. Good) Mother, highest of the Gods, immortal Night, how am I to establish my proud rule among the Immortals?  How may I have all things one and each one separate? (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 139.)

[13] 165. (122) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος I 28c (I 313, 31 Diehl):

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.

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.” 
 (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 139.)

166. (122) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος I 28c (II 24, 23 Diehl):  

αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν δεσμὸν κρατερὸν περὶ πάντα τανύσσηις σειρὴν χρυσειην ἐξ αἰθέρος ἀρτήσαντα.

“(Night to Zefs) But when Thou shalt stretch a strong bond about all things, fitting a golden chain from the Aither.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 139.)


[14] 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.

“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," (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 140.)

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.

"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.” (Translation as found in Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, 1952; found in the 1993 Princeton Univ. Press edition [Princeton, NJ USA] on p. 140.)

[15] 163. Πρόκλος Commentary on the Τίμαιος 31a (I 450, 20 Diehl):

“But the Demiurgus, who is the great Jupiter (ed. Zefs or Zeus), is conjoined with Juno (ed. Íra or Hera). Hence also, she is said to be of equal rank with him, and proceeds from the same fathers.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820) 

[16] Translated by Thomas Taylor in The Hymns of Orpheus, 1792, pp. 115-116; we are using a facsimile of the original edition, London, England (printed for the author). Taylor numbers this hymn No. 2, but it is more traditionally numbered No. 3.



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 Glossary, 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.
 

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