ORPHIC FRAGMENT 223 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: The souls of the beasts fly about in the lower air after death (awaiting rebirth), while the souls of man are taken to Aidîs (Ἅιδης) by Ærmís (Ἑρµῆς).

223. (224) Πρόκλος Commentary on Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος II 339, 17 Kr.: 

ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἰδία τῶν ἀλόγων τίς ἐστιν ψύχωσις, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἀπὸ μόνων τῶν ανθρωπίνων ψυχῶν, δηλοῖ λέγων ὁ Ὀρφεύς·

αἱ µὲν δὴ θηρῶν τε καὶ οἰωνῶν πτεροέντων
ψυχαὶ ὅτ’ ἀίξωσι, λίπηι δέ µιν ἱερὸς αἰών,
τῶν οὔ τις ψυχὴν παράγει δόµον εἰς Ἀίδαο,
ἀλλ’ αὐτοῦ πεπότηται ἐτώσιον, εἰς ὅ κεν αὐτὴν
ἄλλο ἀφαρπάζηι µίγδην ἀνέµοιο πνοῆισιν·
ὁππότε δ' ἄνθρωπος προλίπηι φάος ἠελίοιο,
ψυχὰς ἀθανάτας κατάγει Κυλλήνιος Ἑρµῆς
γαίης ἐς κευθµῶνα πελώριον·

|340 Kr. δι’ ὧν τὰς μὲν ἀνθρωπίνας ψυχὰς βούλεται χωρεῖν εἰς τὸν ὑποχθόνιον τόπον καθάρσεως ἕνεκα καὶ κολάσεως καὶ εἰς τὰ δεσμωτήρια τῆς τείσεως, τὰς δὲ τῶν ἀλόγων αὐτοῦ περί τὸν ἀέρα πωτᾶσθαι, μέχρις ἂν εἰς ἄλλα σώματα πάλιν ἐνδεθῶσιν. εἰ δ’ ἦσαν καὶ αἱ τῶν ἀλόγων ψυχώσεις ἀπὸ ψυχῶν ἀνθρωπίνων μόνων, πάσας ἔδει φάναι τὸν Ἑρμῆν εἰς Ἅιδου κατάγειν ἢ καθαρθησομένας ἢ κολασθησομένας· ὥσπερ καὶ Πλάτων (Gorg. 523 b) ποιεῖ καὶ τὰς ἐκ τῶν ἀλόγων, ἀνθρωπίνας δὲ οὔσας ψυχὰς εἰς τὸν ὑπὸ γῆς τόπον ἀπάγων καὶ πάλιν εκείθεν στέλλων εἰς ἄλλας βίων αἱρέσεις, ἃ δὴ πρότερον ἐπεδείξαμεν

 

“But that also the irrational creatures (the animals) especially are given soul, but not exactly like the souls of men, as Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) made manifest, saying:

‘But of beasts and feathered birds,
their souls dart forth, and sacred life quits them,
yet no-one leads this soul to the house of Aidîs (Ἅιδης),
but it flutters around incomplete, going about of itself,
while another such soul tears off confusedly in the blasts of wind.
But when man abandons the light of the sun,
Ærmís Kyllínios (Ἑρµῆς Κυλλήνιος) leads down the immortal souls
to the hollow of the earth.’ ”

“Indeed, through the human soul, it wishes to advance into the subterranean region of purification...for the sake of chastisement and imprisonments and retribution...but the animals themselves fly about in the lower air, until their bodies are bound back. But if the souls given to animals are the same as the human souls, they all require the appearance of Ærmís to lead them down into Aidîs, either to purify or to punish. Even as Plátôn (Πλάτων) [1] postulates, that the souls of animals are as those of the humans, being souls heading into a place under earth and back from that place, making themselves ready for different lives and choices, as shown before.” (trans. by the author) 

NOTE: 

[1] Γοργίας Πλάτωνος 523 a-b: 

ἦν οὖν νόμος ὅδε περὶ ἀνθρώπων ἐπὶ Κρόνου, καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ νῦν ἔτι ἔστιν ἐν θεοῖς, τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν μὲν δικαίως τὸν βίον διελθόντα καὶ ὁσίως, ἐπειδὰν τελευτήσῃ, εἰς μακάρων νήσους ἀπιόντα οἰκεῖν ἐν πάσῃ εὐδαιμονίᾳ ἐκτὸς κακῶν, τὸν δὲ ἀδίκως καὶ ἀθέως εἰς τὸ τῆς τίσεώς τε καὶ δίκης δεσμωτήριον, ὃ δὴ Τάρταρον καλοῦσιν, ἰέναι. τούτων δὲ δικασταὶ ἐπὶ Κρόνου καὶ ἔτι νεωστὶ τοῦ Διὸς τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔχοντος ζῶντες ἦσαν ζώντων, ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ δικάζοντες ᾗ μέλλοιεν τελευτᾶν: κακῶς οὖν αἱ δίκαι ἐκρίνοντο. 

“Now in the days of Cronos (Κρόνος) there existed a law respecting the destiny of man, which has always been, and still continues to be in Heaven,---that he who has lived all his life in justice and holiness shall go, when he is dead, to the Islands of the Blessed, and dwell there in perfect happiness out of the reach of evil; but that he who has lived unjustly and impiously shall go to the house of vengeance and punishment, which is called Tartarus.” (trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)


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.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


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, 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, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, 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.

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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