O - An Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism
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.
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ABBREVIATIONS: A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE
Ο, ο (OMICRON) - The Greek letter OMICRON sounds like the long o in go or flow, never like the o in top or pop. The OMICRON sounds exactly the same as the OMEGA (Ω, ω); to distinguish between the two letters, in transliteration, this website is using the single o for the OMICRON, and oh for the OMEGA. See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.
Ω, ω (OMEGA) - The Greek letter OMEGA sounds like the long o in go or flow, never like the o in top or pop. The OMEGA sounds exactly the same as the OMICRON (Ο, ο); to distinguish between the two letters, in transliteration, this website is using the single o for the OMICRON, and oh for the OMEGA. See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.
Oeagros or Oeagrus - See Iagros.
Ogygius - (Gr) surname of Apollo, one of his names in Attica, originally called Ogygia. (CM p.23)
Ohmophagia - (Gr. ὠμοφαγία, ὨΝΟΦΑΓΊΑ; eating raw flesh: L&S p.2034 left column, within the definitions beginning with ὠμοφαγέω) Ohmophagia is communion with the God. The term refers to the eating of raw flesh by the Mainathæs (Maenads; Gr. Μαινάδες) in the rites of Dionysos-Zagreos. A living animal (ohmophagion; Gr. ὠμοφάγιον) was sacrificed by means of sparagmos (Gr. σπαραγμός), 'ripping apart', in imitation of Zagrefs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεὐς) being torn apart by the Titanæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες). The raw flesh was then eaten in communion with the God, producing an experience known as Ohmophagia. Ohmophagia 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, but even in these ancient instances, such practitioners had misunderstood-. Similarly, the association of wine with Dionysos was used as an excuse for drunkenness; in reality, the intoxicating quality of wine is symbolic of the intoxicating quality of the Aithir (Aether or Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς).
oikos - See ikos.
oinochoe - See inokho-i.
oizys - See izys.
Okeanides - the three-thousand nymphs whose domain is fresh water and all its sources (streams, clouds, etc.).
Okeanos (Oceanus) - the Titan God of river which encircles the Earth, Oceanus.
olotis - (Gr. ὁλότης, ὉΛΌΤΗΣ) Olotis is "Wholeness. A whole which has a perpetual subsistence, and which comprehends in itself all the multitude of which it is the cause." (TTS XV p. 10)
Olympian Gods, the (the Dodekatheon) - the Twelve Olympian Gods: Zeus-Hera, Hermes-Athena, Apollon-Artemis, Ares-Aphrodite, Hephaestus-Hestia, and Poseidon-Demeter. Contrary to common belief, Dionysos is not one of the Olympians; his position is supremely important, but different.
Olympianism - Dodekatheism or Olympianism refers specifically to the worship the Twelve Olympian Gods as supreme while implying, as well, the worship of the entire pantheon of Gods surrounding them. See Hellenismos
The study of Omiros is critical to an understanding of the Hellenic tradition; indeed, all of Western civilization owes a great debt to these writings. Omiros is ubiquitous. These books have been criticized, saying, for instance, that whoever wrote them had a political agenda. For those in contemporary times who practice Hellenismos, the ancient Greek religion, some feel that the anthropomorphic depiction of deity in the poems of Omiros leads to distorted views concerning the Gods, a view apparently held by Platohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) as expressed in Politeia (The Republic; Gr. Πολιτεία) and elsewhere. Nonetheless, Omiros' poems are immensely important if for nothing other than their influence. Much of all Hellenic mythology refers to events before and after those described and referred to by Omiros, making the poems something of a center. One cannot be literate in the Classical tradition or even in the Western literary tradition, without familiarity of these texts.
So much literature from antiquity has reference to Omiros. The index to the Moralia (actual Greek title is Ithika; Gr. Ἠθικά) of Plutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος) in the Loeb edition has more than eleven dense pages of references to Omiros. In comparison, there are not even three pages for Isiothos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος). In the 1937 Random House edition of Jowett's The Dialogue's of Plato, a page and a half in the index to Omiros. We could continue with the writings of Pafsanias (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας) and so forth, but why go on as it is obvious:Omiros is everywhere in ancient literature. And beyond antiquity, there is likely no other literature from this period that continues to influence the Western world and beyond so deeply as does Omiros. This background is critical as a foundation to understanding Hellenic religion. Once that foundation has been made, then the many questions that the poems of Omiros inspires can be, one-by-one, answered, providing an excellent vehicle to assist someone new to Hellenismos to learn this religion.
omonia or omonoia - (Gr. ομόνοια, ΟΜΌΝΟΙΑ) 1) Omonia is oneness of mind, unanimity, concord, 2) personified (L&S p.1226)
omonoia - See omonia.
Omophagia - See Ohmophagia.
Onceates - surname of Apollo, from the town Oncestus. (CM p.23)
One, the - The One is the Primordial Mixture, before the emergence of the two cosmogonic substances, Earth and Water, before the evolution of Zeus and Hera. Visit this page: Mystic Materialism.
Oneiroi - Dreams
onomatothæsia - (Gr. ὀνομᾰτοθεσία, ὈΝΟΜᾸΤΟΘΕΣΊΑ) Onomatothæsia is changing one's name or being given a Hellenic name, for religious purpose. It is not uncommon for those who worship the Gods but are not ethnic Hellenes to either adopt or be given a Hellenic name. For infants born in Greece, in those families who worship the Gods, such a child is sometimes given two names, one for daily secular use, the other for the Gods.
Lexicon entry: ὀνομᾰτο-θεσία, ἡ, the giving a name, nomenclature, Eust.39.23. (L&S p.1233, right column, within the entries beginning with ὀνομᾰτο-γρᾰφία)
opinion, belief, and faith - See pistis; see doxa. .
oræxis or orexis - (Gr. ὄρεξις, ὌΡΕΞΙΣ) desire, craving, striving, appetite, yearning. Oræxis is not the same as Eros (attraction). Aristotle (see Pæri Psikhis, Latin: De Anima 431-433) portrays oræxis as a function of the soul, the capacity to pursue an object of desire; it is that which pushes the soul into motion.
Lexicon entry: ὄρεξις, εως, ἡ, (ὀρέγω) general word for all kinds of appetency, conation, including ἐπιθυμία, θυμός, βούλησις, Arist.de An.414b2, cf. 433a13, al., Stoic.3.40, Epicur.Fr.202, Metrod.Herc.831.16,Phld. Mus.p.78 K. ; opp. φυγή, Arist.de An.431a12 ; opp. ἔκκλισις, Arr. Epict.1.4.1, M.Ant.8.7. 1. c. gen. objecti, longing or yearning after a thing, desire for it, Democr.219, Pl.Def.414b, Arist.EN1119b7, de An.414b6, al.: more rarely, ὄ. ἐπί τι Plu.2.48c ; περί τι Democr. 72. 2. abs., propension, appetency, ὄ. βουλευτική Arist.EN1113a11 ; ὄ. διανοητική ib.1139b5 ; [ἐπιθυμίαι τινὲς] εὐδιάχυτον τὴν ὄ. ἔχουσιν Epicur.Sent.26. (L&S p.1247, right column)
Orchestes - (Gr) Apollo the dancer. (CM p.23)
Orgy - The Orgy is a secret rite in the Mysteries, such as the cult of Dionysos. Another word for Orgies is Mysterita (Gr. Μυστηριτἁ, singular: Μυστηριον). The word was perverted by Christians into the derogatory meaning found in dictionaries today. In reality, even a simple ritual is a type of orgy.Ὠρείθυια] 1) Orithyia is a mountain-nymph and the daughter of Erechtheus (king of Athens) and Praxithea. She has two Goddess sisters, Pandrosos (All Dewy) and Herse (Dew). Having strayed beyond the river Ilissus, she was abducted by Boreas, by whom she had the following offspring: Kleopatra and Khione (snow), and the winged men Zetes (Zethus) and Calais, these brothers known as the Boreads and became Argonauts.
The name Orithyia means "she who rages from the mountain." She is a Goddess and has dominion over mountain winds.
3) According to the mythographer, Antoninus Liberalis, there was an Oread nymph in Phoenicia on Mount Lebanon who was called Orithyia. She was the mother of Theos (by Baal, i.e. Belos), who was the father of Smyna, who was the mother of Adonis.
Oropæus - surname of Apollo, from his oracle at Oropus, a city of Eubœa. (CM p.23)
Orpheus - Please visit this page: Orpheus.
Orphic Hymns - Please visit our page on: ORPHIC HYMNS - ὈΡΦΙΚΟῚ ὝΜΝΟΙ
Orphic Rhapsodies - There appears to have existed a group of twenty-four Orphic rhapsodiai (parts or lays) viewed as the Orphic theogony, according to the Neoplatonist Damaskios (O.F. 60). The Neoplatonists believed that Orpheus himself wrote these poems and they are thought of as particularly 'orthodox'. The poems have come down to us only in fragmentary form and are found as quotations in Neoplatonic literature, much being found in Proclus. To read the complete extant fragments, visit this page: ORPHIC RHAPSODIES - ΙΕΡΌΣ ΛΌΓΟΣ ΣΕ 24 ΡΑΨΩΔΊΕΣ. You will find additional information on this page as well: Orphic Cosmogony and Theogony.orthodoxy and orthopraxy - Orthodoxy (Greek: ορθοδοξία, orthodoxia) is defined as correct belief. Orthopraxy (Greek: ὀρθοπραξις, orthopraxis) is defined as correct action, activity, or practice. Some say that Hellenic religion is more concerned with religious practice, rather than particular beliefs. This view is not accepted as complete and accurate in the opinion of this website. If a religion is primarily concerned only with correct practice, using ordinary logic one can see that such a religion is based on a shell, a façade. It is what is concealed behind the outside that must be important, the very heart of it, for there to be intrinsic value in a tradition. If there is nothing beyond the façade, just what do you have?
The pursuit of philosophy in Hellenismos IS the practice and is vastly more important than ritual observances. Truth is the issue and, therefore, the Hellenic philosophical journey is not a matter of adopting a credo of beliefs or rituals. In our tradition, ritual is a symbol; it is a symbol of what we believe. How you come to believe or not believe is the heart: logic, experience, questioning pre-conceptions; this way of life challenges the attitude of blindly following prescriptions. Belief, or more accurately, conviction, is critical in Hellenismos. Any person can do a ritual or follow various observances. But conviction cannot be put on like clothing; it must be achieved. Hellenismos is not exclusivistic because it recognizes that the development of conviction, or wisdom, is evolutionary. Beliefs come and go but genuine perception evolves, leading ultimately to insight. Unlike religions that exclude those who have not adopted particular creedal beliefs, Hellenismos recognizes the natural evolutionary nature of the development of wisdom. To demonstrate this vividly, examine the dialogues of Plato wherein he utilizes the so-called Socratic method of argument. It can be observed in the Dialogues that ultimate conclusions and definitions are rarely realized, but the elenctic process encourages the participants to grow and deepen their perspective on such concepts as Justice or the Good. This process is the Hellenic way, not ritual observances, which, as already stated, are symbols. They are important, but it is what the symbol points to that is important, not so much the ritual observances themselves.
To conclude, the commonly held position that Hellenismos stresses orthopraxy (correct practice) over orthodoxy (correct belief) cannot be viewed as particularly relevant as an appropriate lens to view how our tradition functions and what it considers valuable. A more useful statement might be that belief (Gr. πίστις, pistis) is regarded primarily as subjective opinion and not true knowledge, and that the genuine path is the one which goes after truth, regardless of whether such journey confirms our preconceptions. This is the authentic path to arete, the only real concern. The Hellenic philosophical view concerning belief is a major factor contributing to tolerance in our tradition.
2) surname of Apollon, from Ortygia, the ancient name of the island of Delos. (CM p.23)
osiotis or hosiotes - (Gr. ὁσιότης, ὉΣΙΌΤΗΣ) Osiotis is piety or holiness, similar to efsævia (eusebia; Gr. εὐσέβεια, ΕΥΣΈΒΕΙΑ) or the Latin pietas.
Lexicon entry: ὁσι-ότης, ητος, ἡ, disposition to observe divine law, piety, Pl.Prt.329c, Euthphr.14d sq., πρὸς θεῶν ὁ. piety towards them (ed. the Gods); also, like Lat. pietas.
See also efsævia and pietas.
OU and ou - The English letters ou are being used on this website to represent the Greek digraph OMICRON-UPSILON (Gr. ΟΥ, ου). This is pronounced like the oo in boom or too.
Ourania Aphrodite - Born from the foam in the sea where Ourano's genitals had fallen, Ourania Aphrodite is the "heavenly" Aphrodite. Compare to Pandemos Aphrodite.
Ouranos (Latin: Uranus or Caelum) - Ouranos is the son of Nyx and the father of Kronos. This website has a page dedicated to the God: OURANOS - ΟΥΡΑΝΌΣ
Ousia - (Greek: Οὐσίἁ, ΟΥΣΊἉ) Ousia means the basic substance, that which exists primarily, as in the cosmogonic substances Earth (the Meristi Ousia or Substance) and Æther/Water/Fire (the Synehis Ousia or Substance).
Lexicon entry for Ousia: οὐσί-α, II. stable being, immutable reality. 2. substance, essence. 3. true nature of that which is a member of a kind. 4. the possession of such a nature, substantiality. 5. in the concrete, the primary real, the substratum underlying all change and process in nature. Etc. (L&S p. 1274, right column)
ABBREVIATIONS: A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE