ORPHIC FRAGMENT 65 - OTTO KERN

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


SUMMARY: Fragment 65 states that Orpheus outlined the following sequence: the Incomprehensible One, Time (Χρόνος), Aithír (Αἰθήρ), and Kháos (Χάος). Under the Aithír is everything, this everything is the possession of and is concealed by Nyx (Νύξ). Earth was in this darkness, but the light of the Incomprehensible One broke through the Aithír and illuminated everything. This Incomprehensible One is 3-fold: Mítis (Μῆτις, Counselor), Phánîs (Φάνης, Light), and Írikapaios (Ἠρικαπαῖος, Giver-of-Life). These three are one power of one God, who is the source of all creation.


65. (56) Χρονογραφία Ἰωάννου Μαλάλα IV 89 p. 74 Dind. ~ Georg. Cedren. I 102, 8 Bekk. (v. etiam I 148, 7) ~ Suid. s.:

Ὀρφεύς. ἔστι δὲ ἅπερ ἐξέθετο Ὀρφεὺς ταῦτα. ὅτι ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἀνεδείχθη τῷ Χρόνῳ ὁ Αἰθὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ δημιουργηθείς καὶ ἐντεῦθεν κἀκεῖθεν τοῦ Αἰθέρος ἦν Χάος, καὶ Νὺξ ζοφερὰ πάντα κατεῖχε καὶ ἐκάλυπτε τὰ ὑπὸ τὸν Αἰθέρα, σημαίνων τὴν Νύκτα πρωτεύειν, εἰρηκὼς ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ ἐκθέσει ἀκατάληπτόν τινα καὶ πάντων ὑπέρτατον εἶναι, καὶ προγενέστερον δὲ καὶ δημιουργὸν ἁπάντων καὶ τοῦ Αἰθέρος αυτοῦ καὶ τῆς Νυκτὸς καὶ πάσης τῆς ὑπὸ τὸν Αἰθέρα οὔσης καὶ καλυπτομένης κτίσεως· τὴν δὲ Γῆν εἶπεν ὑπὸ τοῦ σκότους ἀόρατον οὖσαν· ἔφρασε δὲ ὅτι τὸ φῶς ῥῆξαν τὸν Αἰθέρα ἐφώτισε τὴν Γῆν καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν κτίσιν, εἰπὼν ἐκεῖνο εἶναι τὸ φῶς τὸ ῥῆξαν τὸν Αἰθέρα τὸ προειρημένον, τὸ ὑπέρτατον πάντων, οὗ ὄνομα ὁ αὐτὸς Ὀρφεὺς ἀκούσας ἐκ τῆς μαντείας (v. fr. 62) ἐξεῖπε, Μῆτιν, Φάνητα, Ἠρικεπαῖον· ὅπερ ἑρμηνεύεται τῇ κοινῇ γλώσσῃ βουλή, φῶς, ζῳοδοτήρ· εἰπὼν ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ ἐκθέσει τὰς αὐτὰς τρεῖς θείας τῶν ὀνομάτων δυνάμεις μίαν εἶναι δύναμιν καὶ κράτος τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ, ὃν οὐδεὶς ὁρᾷ, ἧστινος δυνάμεως οὐδεὶς δύναται γνῶναι ἰδέαν ἢ φύσιν, ἐξ αὐτῆς δὲ τῆς δυνάμεως τὰ πάντα γεγενῆσθαι, καὶ ἀρχὰς ἀσωμάτους καὶ ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην, ἐξουσίας καὶ ἄστρα πάντα καὶ γῆν καὶ θάλασσαν, τὰ ὁρώμενα ἐν αὐτοῖς πάντα καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα.

“But this is what Orphéfs sets forth. He declared that at the beginning, the Aithír followed after Time, created by God. And henceforth Kháos (Χάος) follows next after the Aithír. And that gloomy Nyx (Night, Νὺξ) possesses all and conceals it under the Aithír, thus indicating that the first place belongs to Nyx. He says here in his exposition that there is an incomprehensible one, who is the highest of all, and so, therefore, primeval, and creator of all, and the Aithír itself and Nyx and this which was beneath the Aithír concealing the foundation. He then explained that the Earth was invisible under the darkness. He said that then the light broke through the Aithír and illuminated the earth and all of creation, declaring that the light which broke through the Aithír was the one spoken of previously, he who is highest of all, whose name Orphéfs himself heard from an oracle, and thus declared, “Mítis (Μῆτις), Phánîs (Φάνης), Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος)!” These three can be interpreted in ordinary language as, “Counselor, Light, Giver-of-Life!” He said in his exposition that those three sacred things, bearing those names, are one power, and are the strength of one God, whom no-one can see. Concerning this power, no-one has the capability to understand its form or nature. From this power of itself everything came into being, the unembodied beginning, the sun and the moon, the magistrates, and all the stars and the earth and the sea, all that which is perceptible in them and that which is unseen.” (trans. by the author)


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; 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 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.

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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