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THE ORPHIC HYMN TO APHRODITE
55. Εἰς Ἀφροδίτην.

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Introduction to the Orphic Hymn to Aphrodíti

In the Mystíria (Mysteries; Gr. Gr. Μυστήρια) we speak of Ouranía (Gr. Οὐρανία) Aphrodíti (Aphrodite; Gr. Ἀφροδίτη) whose dominion is the Natural Law of Harmony, for it is she who harmonizes the soul, mythologically represented by her union with Áris (Ares; Gr. Ἄρης) producing the child Armonía (Harmonia; Gr. Ἁρμονία). The Orphic hymn to this most important Goddess opens with the epithet (Οὐρανία) immediately calling all this to mind. But the bulk of the hymn glorifies her other, more familiar aspect, that of Pándimos (the common or popular; Gr. Πάνδημος) Aphrodíti, she who blesses the physical union of mortals. The hymn heaps praise upon her ability to cause the reproduction of all the creatures of the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος). It can be easy to forget in a world which seems to condemn sex, that our religion has a different point of view: procreation is so essential that it is sacred. And it is blessed and governed by this most beautiful of Goddesses of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. And then near the end, the hymn invokes sacred Ádohnis (Adonis; Gr. Ἄδωνις), representative of the deification of the soul, tying the poem together with its beginning, reminding us again that she is also Ouranía, the great transcendent Goddess of the Sky. Let us now examine the hymn and get closer to lovely Aphrodíti.

The original ancient Greek text

55. Εἰς Ἀφροδίτην, ὕμνος.

Οὐρανίη, πολύυμνε, φιλομμειδὴς Ἀφροδίτη,
ποντογενής, γενέτειρα θεά, φιλοπάννυχε, σεμνή,
νυκτερίη, ζεύκτειρα, δολοπλόκε μῆτερ ἀνάγκης·
πάντα γὰρ ἐκ σέθεν ἐστίν, ὑπεζεύξω δέ τε κόσμον·
καὶ κρατέεις τρισσῶν μοιρῶν, γεννᾷς δὲ τὰ πάντα,
ὅσσα τ’ ἐν οὐρανῳ ἐστι καὶ ἐν γαίῃ πολυκάρπῳ,
ἐν πόντου τε βυθῷ· σεμνὴ Βάκχοιο πάρεδρε,
τερπομένη θαλίῃσι, γαμοστόλε, μῆτερ ἐρώτων·
πειθοῖ λεκτροχαρής, κρυφίη, χαριδῶτι ἄνασσα,
φαινομένη τ’, ἀφανής τ’, ἐρατοπλόκαμ’, εὐπατέρεια,
νυμφιδίη, σύνδαιτε, θεῶν σκηπτοῦχε, λύκαινα·
γεννοδότειρα, φίλανδρε, ποθεινοτάτη, βιοδῶτι·
ἐνζεύξασα βροτοὺς ἀχαλινώτοισιν ἀνάγκαις,
καὶ θηρῶν πολὺ φῦλον, ἐρωμανέων ὑπὸ φίλτρων·
ἔρχεο, Κυπρογενὲς θεῖον γένος, εἴτ’ ἐν’ Ὀλύμπῳ
ἐσσί, θεὰ βασίλεια, καλῷ γήθουσα προσώπῳ,
εἴτε καὶ εὐλιβάνου Συρίης ἕδος ἀμφιπολεύεις,
εἴτε σύ γ’ ἐν πεδίοισι σὺν ἅρμασι χρυσεοτεύκτοις
Αἰγύπτου κατέχεις ἱερῆς γονιμώδεα λουτρά,
ἢ καὶ κυανέοισιν ὄχοις ἐπὶ πόντιον οἶδμα
ἐρχομένη χαίρεις νεπόδων κυκλίῃσι χορείαις·
ἢ νύμφαις τέρπῃ κυανώπισιν ἐν χθονὶ Δίᾳ,
θυιὰς ἐπ’ αἰγιαλοῖς ψαμμώδεσιν ἅλματι κούφῳ·
εἴτ’ ἐν Κύπρῳ, ἄνασσα, τροφῷ σέο· ἔνθα καλαί σε
παρθένοι ἀδμῆται νύμφαι τ’ ἀνὰ πάντ’ ἐνιαυτὸν
ὑμνοῦσιν, σέ, μάκαιρα, καὶ ἄμβροτον ἁγνὸν Ἄδωνιν.
ἐλθέ, μάκαιρα θεά, μάλ’ ἐπήρατον εἶδος ἔχουσα·
ψυχῇ γάρ σε καλῶ σεμνῇ ἁγίοισι λόγοισιν.

 

Transliteration of the ancient Greek text:
(See this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek)

55. Eis Aphrodítin.

Ouraníi, polýimnæ, philommeidís Aphrodíti,
pondoyænís, yænǽteira thæá, philopánnykhæ, sæmní,
nyktæríi, Zéfkteira, doloplókæ mítær anángis;
pánda gar æk sǽthæn æstín, ypæzéfxoh dæ kózmon;
kai kratǽeis trissóhn miróhn, yænnáïs dæ ta pánda,
óssa t'æn ouranóï æstí kai æn yaiii polykárpoï,
æn póndou tæ vythóï, sæmní Vákkhio párædræ,
tærpomǽni thalíiisi, gamostólæ mítær æróhtohn;
Peithí læktrokharís, kryphíi, kharidóhti ánassa,
phainomǽni, t'aphanís t’ æratoplókam' efpatǽreia,
nymphidíi, sýndaitæ, thæóhn skiptoukhæ, lýkaina;
yænnodóteira, phílandræ, potheinotáti, viodóhti;
ænzéfxasa vrotous akhalinóhtisin anángais,
kai thiróhn polý phýlon, ærohmanǽohn ypó phíltrohn;
ǽrkhæo, Kyproyænǽs theion yǽnos, eit' æn' Olýmpoï
æssí, thæá vasíleia, kalóï yíthousa prosóhpoï,
eitæ kai evlivánou Syríis ǽdos amphipoléveis,
eitæ si y' æn pædíisi syn ármasi khrysæotéfktis
Aiyíptou katǽkheis iærís gonimóhdæa loutrá,
i kai kianǽisin ókhis æpí póndion ídma
ærkhomǽni khaireis næpódohn kyklíiisi khoreiais;
i nýmphais tǽrpii kyanóhpisin æn khthoní Díaï,
thiás æp' aiyialís psammóhdæsin álmati kouphoï;
eit' æn Kýproï, ánassa, trophóï sǽo; ǽntha kalai sæ
parthǽni admítai nýmphai t' aná pánd' æniaftón
ymnousin, sæ, mákaira, kai ámvroton agnón Ádohnin.
ælthǽ, mákaira thæá, mál' æpíraton eidos ǽkhousa;
psykhíi gar sæ kalóh sæmníi ayíisi lóyisin.

 

BREAKDOWN OF THE HYMN

Εἰς (in regard to) Ἀφροδίτην. (Aphrodíti) - Ἀφροδίτην is the epic accusative of Ἀφροδίτη which follows the preposition εἰς, a convention in some titles of hymns. Unlike most of the hymns, there is no suggestion for an incense offering; this author likes to offer her powdered rose petals as this flower is traditionally sacred to her.

Οὐρανίη, - Ouranianof the heavensof the Sky. Aphrodíti was born of the foam which formed when the genitals of Οὐρανός fell into the sea.

πολύυμνε, - much sung offamous. (πολύυμνος is fem./masc. nom.)

φιλομμειδὴς (laughter loving, famous epithet of the Goddess, adj. fem./masc. nom.) Ἀφροδίτη, (Aphrodíti) - laughter-loving Aphrodíti

ποντογενής, (adj. fem./masc. nom.) - born of the Sea

γενέτειρα (birth-givermother, fem. nom.) θεά, (Goddess) - birth-giving Goddess

φιλοπάννυχε, - friend of all-night festivity (φιλοπάννυχος, fem./masc. nom.)

σεμνή (fem. nom. of σεμνός, holy) , - revered or holy

νυκτερίη, (of the night) at night

ζεύκτειρα, (one who causes to mate; fem. of ζευκτήρ, one who yokes) – she who causes beings to mate

δολοπλόκε (wily) μῆτερ (mother) ἀνάγκης· (Necessity) - wily mother of Necessity

πάντα (all) γὰρ (for) ἐκ (from) σέθεν (you) ἐστίν, (be, comes) - for all comes from you

ὑπεζεύξω (yoked) δέ (but, then, yet) τε (you) κόσμον· (Kózmos) - and you have caused the Kózmos to couple

καὶ (and) κρατέεις (are sovereign) τρισσῶν (triple) μοιρῶν, (parts) - and are sovereign over the Three Realms. Taylor translates μοιρῶν as the Fates, but this is likely incorrect. The Fates or the Mírai (Μοῖραι) are minions of Zefs alone. Actually μοιρῶν (gen. plural of μοῖρα) has many definitions depending on context. It generally means "lots" or "portions," but portions of what? The hymn is likely referring to the three realms of existence (the sky, the earth, and the sea) which includes everything, that her ability to effect the yoking of mortals gives her, in a way, sovereignty over all.

γεννᾷς (origin ) δὲ τὰ πάντα, (all) - you are the origin of all

ὅσσα (as much as) τἐν (in) οὐρανῳ (sky) ἐστι (to be) καὶ (and) ἐν (in) γαίῃ (Earth) πολυκάρπῳ, (fruitful) - as much as in the Sky as to the fruitful Earth

ἐν (in) πόντου (Sea) τε (and, and also) βυθῷ· (depth) - and also in the deep Sea,

σεμνὴ (holy) Βάκχοιο (Vakkhic) πάρεδρε, (sitting beside) - holy attendant of Vákkhos (Diónysos)

τερπομένη (delight) θαλίῃσι, (festivities) - delighting in festivity

γαμοστόλε, (bridal) nuptial

μῆτερ (mother) ἐρώτων· (Ǽrohtæs) -  mother of the Ǽrohtæs (Ἔρωτες, the winged attendants of the Goddess representing the various qualities of desire and love)

Πειθοῖ (Persuasion) λεκτροχαρής, (enjoying the marriage-bed) - Oh Persuasion, enjoying the marital bed

κρυφίη, - secretive

χαριδῶτι (joy-giving) ἄνασσα, (queen) – joy-giving queen

φαινομένηmaking appear

τ', ἀφανήςinvisible

τ', ἐρατοπλόκαμ', - bearing lovely locks

εὐπατέρεια, - daughter of a noble father

νυμφιδίη, - bridal 

σύνδαιτε, - companion at table 

θεῶν (Gods)  σκηπτοῦχε, (sceptered) – sceptered by Gods

λύκαινα·she-wolf

γεννοδότειρα, - giver of heirs

φίλανδρε, - man-loving (φίλανδρος)

ποθεινοτάτη, - much-desired

βιοδῶτι·life-giving

ἐνζεύξασα (yoke) βροτοὺς (mortals) ἀχαλινώτοισιν (unbridled) ἀνάγκαις, (necessity) - you couple mortals in unbridled necessity

καὶ (and) θηρῶν (wild beasts) πολὺ (many) φῦλον, (tribe, race) - and the many tribes of wild beasts 

ἐρωτομανῶν (mad for love) ὑπὸ (under) φίλτρων· (love-charms) - frenzied from your charms of love.

ἔρχεο, - Come

Κυπρογενὲς (Kýpros-born) θεῖον (Goddess) γένος, (offspring) - child of Kýpros

εἴτ' (seated) ἐν' (in) Ὀλύμπωι (Sky) - seated in the Sky

ἐσσί, - be

θεὰ (Goddess) βασίλεια, (royal or queen) - royal Goddess

καλῷ (beauty) γήθουσα (delighting) προσώπῳ, (face) - delighting in your beautiful countenance

εἴτε (be) καὶ (and) εὐλιβάνου (rich in frankincense) Συρίης (Syrian) ἕδος (sitting-place) ἀμφιπολεύεις, (waiting on) - and while being attended at your seat in Syria rich in frankincense

εἴτε (be) σύ (you) γ' ἐν (in) πεδίοισι (plain) σὺν (together with) ἅρμασι (chariot) χρυσεοτεύκτοις (golden) - or riding through the plain in your golden chariot

Αἰγύπτου (Egypt) κατέχεις (possess) ἱερῆς (priests) γονιμώδεα (fruitful) λουτρά, (bathing place) - or taking seat with the priests of the fruitful river of Egypt

 καὶ (and) κυκνέοισιν (swan) ὄχοις (carriage) ἐπὶ (upon) πόντιον (of the sea) οἶδμα (a swelling or surge) - and riding your swan-drawn carriage upon the swelling of the sea

ἐρχομένη (going, coming) χαίρεις (rejoice) νεπόδων (young ones) κυκλίαισι (wheels) χορείαις· (dance) - rejoicing in the little ones as they dance about in circles

 νύμφαις (Nymphs) τέρπῃ (gladden, cheer) κυανώπισιν (dark-eyed) ἐν (in) χθονὶ (earthy) Δίᾳ, (Goddess) – delightful to the Goddess are the dark-eyed Nymphs of the Earth

θῖνας (beaches) ἐπ' (upon) αἰγιαλοῖς (sea-shore) ψαμμώδεσιν (sandy) ἅλματι (leaping) κούφῳ· (lightly) - as they lightly leap upon the sandy beaches of the sea-shore

εἴτ’ (seated) ἐν (in) Κύπρῳ, (Kýpros) - seated in Kýpros

ἄνασσα, - oh queen

ττροφῶι (nurse) σέο· (you) - oh nurturer

ἔνθα (where) καλαί (beautiful, invoke) σε (your) - where you are invoked

παρθένοι (maidens) ἄδμηται (unwedded) νύμφαι (girls, maidens, Nymphs) τἀνὰ (throughout) πάντ’ (all) ἐνιαυτὸν (year) - by maidens and unwedded Nymphs throughout the year

ὑμνοῦσιν, - singing

σέ, - for you

μάκαιρα, - happy one

καὶ (and) ἄμβροτον (immortal) ἁγνὸν (holy) Ἄδωνιν. (Ἄδωνις) - and immortal holy Ádohnis

ἐλθέ, - come

μάκαιρα (blessed) θεά (Goddess) μάλ' (exceedingly) ἐπήρατον (lovely) εἶδος (form) ἔχουσα· (possess) - blessed Goddess possessing a very lovely form

ψυχῇ (soul) γάρ (for) σε (you) καλῶ (summon) σεμνῇ (σεμνῇ, holy) ἁγίοισι (pure) λόγοισιν. (words) - for I summon you with pure words and devout soul.

 

All this work yields a more literal translation of the Orphic hymn to Aphrodíti


55. Aphrodíti.

Ouranía, of whom many sing, laughter-loving Aphrodíti, 

Sea-born, birth-giving Goddess, friend of those romantic encounters which extend to dawn, holy one,
At night, causing mortals to mate, wily mother of Necessity;
For everything comes from you, and you have caused the Kózmos to procreate;
You are sovereign over the Three Realms and are the origin of everything,
That which is in the Sky, in the fruitful Earth,
And in the deep Sea, holy attendant of Vákkhos.
You delight in festivity, nuptial, mother of the Ǽrohtæs,
Oh Seductive-one who enjoys making love, secretive, joy-giving queen,
Obvious yet hidden, aristocratic daughter with the beautiful hair,
Bridal, dining companion, sceptered by Gods, wolven;
You give us our progeny, lover of man, desirable one, life-giver;
You couple mortals in unbridled necessity
And the many kinds of wild beasts, frenzied from your charms of love;
Come, daughter of Kýpros, seated in the Heavens,
We behold you, royal Goddess, splendid with your beautiful countenance.
Whether you be on your throne in Syria, rich in frankincense,
Or riding through the plain in your golden chariot,
Or flanked by your priests at the fruitful River of Egypt,
Or riding your swan-drawn carriage upon the waves of the Sea,
Delighting in the little ones as they dance about in circles;
Delightful to the Goddess are the dark-eyed Nymphs of the Earth,
As they lightly leap upon the sandy beaches of the sea-shore.
Or when seated in Kýpros, oh queen and nurturer; where your blessings are invoked
By maidens and virgin Nymphs throughout the year;
They sing for you, happy one, and immortal holy Ádohnis,
Come, happy Goddess who is so ineffably beautiful, 
For I summon you with pure words and devout soul.


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.
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 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 

, 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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