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ORPHIC HYMN ELEUSINIAN TO DEMETER
FOTO: Ophelia2 This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less. File:Head of the Goddess Demeter.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

40. Δήμητρος Ἐλευσινίας 

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Introduction to the Orphic hymn to Ælefsinian Dimítir

Dimítir (Demeter; Δημήτηρ), the great Goddess of Ællinismόs 
(Hellenismos; Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, is the Earth-Mother, which can be gleaned from the etymology of her name: Δη later to become Γῆ "earth" + μήτηρ "mother." And it is this aspect which occupies the greater part of her hymn, emphasizing her role in teaching mankind the ways to cultivate the earth. In doing so, the Goddess is advocating peace, for the art of agriculture is very difficult in times of war. She is the expression of the fruitfulness of the earth. The name of the hymn makes reference to her Mysteries, and these rites have deep connection to Ploutohn (Πλούτων), sibling of Zefs (Ζεύς) and Poseidóhn (Ποσειδῶν), each of the brothers having dominion over parts of the Kózmos (Κόσμος); the mythology says that they drew lots and Zefs won the Sky, Poseidóhn won the Sea, while Ploutohn has dominion over the earth and all its verdure. Ploutohn is entwined into the mythology of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια), having abducted Pærsæphóni (Περσεφόνη), the daughter of Dimítir, to his realm. Dimítir fasts, bears torches, and searches for her child. In this story, we suffer along with the Goddess, and when Pærsæphóni is found, Dimítir returns earth to its natural state of fruitfulness, nurturing mortals and loving our children. All these things and more are alluded to in her hymn. Let us now examine this great poem and try to understand the Goddess and welcome her into our lives.


The original ancient Greek text

40. Δήμητρος Ἐλευσινίας, θυμίαμα, στύρακα.

Δηοῖ παμμήτειρα θεά, πολυώνυμε δαῖμον,   1
σεμνὴ Δήμητερ, κουροτρόφος, ὀλβιοδῶτι,
πλουτοδότειρα θεά, σταχυοτρόφε, παντοδότειρα,
εἰρήνῃ χαίρουσα καὶ ἐργασίαις πολυμόχθοις,
σπερμείη, σωρῖτις, ἀλωαίη, χλοόκαρπε,   5
ἣ ναίεις ἁγνοῖσιν Ἐλευσῖνος γυάλοισιν.
ἱμερόεσσ’, ἐρατή, θνητῶν θρέπτειρα προπάντων·
πρώτη ὑποζεύξασα βοῶν ἀροτῆρα τένοντα,
καὶ βίον ἱμερόεντα βροτοῖς πολύολβον ἀνεῖσα·
αὐξιθαλής, Βρομίοιο συνέστιος, ἀγλαότιμος,   10
λαμπαδόεσσ’, ἁγνή, δρεπάνοις χαίρουσα θερείοις.
σὺ χθονίη, σὺ δὲ φαινομένη, σὺ δε πᾶσι προσηνής·
εὔτεκνε, παιδοφίλη, σεμνή, κουροτρόφε κούρη,
ἅρμα δρακοντείοισιν ὑποζεύξασα χαλινοῖς,
ἐγκυκλίοις δίναις περὶ σὸν θρόνον εὐαζόντων.   15
μουνογενής, πολύτεκνε θεά, πολυπότνια θνητοῖς,
ἧς πολλαὶ μορφαί, πολυάνθεμοι, ἱεροθηλεῖς·
ἐλθέ, μάκαιρ’, ἁγνή, καρποῖς βρίθουσα θερείοις,
εἰρήνην κατάγουσα καὶ εὐνομίην ἐρατεινὴν,
καὶ πλοῦτον πολύολβον, ὁμοῦ δ’ ὑγίειαν ἄνασσαν.   20


Transliteration of the ancient Greek text 

40. Dímitros Ælefsinías, thymíama stýraka.
(See this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek)

Dií, pammíteira thæá, polyóhnymæ daimon, 1
sæmní Dímitær, kourotróphos, olviodóhti,
ploutodóteira thæá, stakhyotróphæ, pandodóteira,
eirínii khairousa kai ærgasíais polymókhthis,
spærmeii, sohrítis, aloaii, khlöókarpæ, 5
i vaieis agnísin Ælefsínos yiálisin.
imæróæss', æratí, thnitóhn thrǽpteira propándohn;
próhti ypozéfxasa vöóhn arotíra tǽnonda,
kai víon imæróænda vrotís polýolvon aneisa;
afxithalís, Vromíio synǽstios, aglaótimos, 10
lambadóæss', agní, dræpánis khairousa thæreiis.
si khthoníi, si dæ phainomǽni, si dæ pási prosinís;
éftæknæ, paidophíli, sæmní, kourotróphæ kouri,
árma drakondeiïsin ypozéfxasa khalinís,
ængyklíis dínais pærí son thrónon evázónsdon, 15
mounoyænís, polýtæknæ thæá, polypótnia thnitís,
eis pollai morphai, polyánthæmi, iærothileis;
ælthǽ, mákair', agní, karpís vríthousa thæreiis,
eirínin katágousa kai evnomíin ærateinín,
kai plouton polýolvon, omou d' iyíeian ánassan. 20

 

BREAKDOWN OF THE HYMN

Δήμητρος (Dimítir) Ἐλευσινίας, (Ælefsinía) - Δήμητρος is the genitive of Δημήτηρ; titles are usually put in the genitive case in Ancient Greek. Ἐλευσινίας (gen) referring to the Mysteries of the great Goddess.

θυμίαμα (incense) στύρακα. (storax) - The author of this hymn is suggesting an incense-offering of storax (benzoin) to the Goddess.

Δηοῖ (gen. of Δηώ; Δηώ [nom.] is another name for Δημήτηρ.) παμμήτειρα (= παμμήτωρ, mother of all) θεά, (Goddess) - Of Dimítir Goddess mother of everything

πολυώνυμε (πολυώνυμος, having many names) δαῖμον, (divinity)  - divinity with many names

σεμνὴ (fem. of σεμνός, revered, holy) Δήμητερ, (voc. of Δημήτηρ) - holy Dimítir

κουροτρόφος, - nurse of the young

ὀλβιοδῶτι, - bestower of bliss (ὀλβιοδώτης)

πλουτοδότειρα (fem. of πλουτοδοτήρ, giver of riches) θεά, (Goddess) - Goddess who bestows riches

σταχυοτρόφε, - she who nourishes the grain (σταχυοτρόφος, adj. fem./masc. nom.)

παντοδότειρα, - giver of all (= πανδώτειρα)

εἰρήνηι (peace) χαίρουσα (rejoicing) καὶ (and) ἐργασίαις (work, labor) πολυμόχθοις, (won by much toil) - rejoicing in peace and difficult labor

σπερμείη, - presiding over seeds (σπερμείη is the feminine of σπερμεῖος

σωρῖτις, - giver of heaps of grain

ἀλωαίη, - one who works on the threshing-floor

χλοόκαρπε, - producing green fruits (χλοόκαρπος)

 ναίεις (dwell) ἁγνοῖσιν (form of ἁγνός, pure, hallowed) Ἐλευσῖνος (gen. of Ἐλευσίςγυάλοισιν, (valley) - you dwell in the hollowed valley of Ælefsís

ἱμερόεσσ', - charming (ἱμερόεσσα, fem. of ἱμερόεις)

ἐρατή, - lovely or beloved (fem. of ἐρατός

θνητῶν (mortal) θρέπτειρα (fem. of θρεπτήρ, rearer, feeder) προπάντων· (all) - you give nourishment to all the mortals

πρώτη (before or first) ὑποζεύξασα (under-yoke) βοῶν (of the oxen) ἀροτῆρα (ἀροτήρ, ploughing) τένοντα (band) - you were the first to yoke the plowing oxen

καὶ (and) βίον (life) ἱμερόεντα (lovely) βροτοῖς (mortals) πολύολβον, (wealthy, abundant) ἀνεῖσα· (send forth, send up) - and produce a lovely and abundant life for mortals

αὐξιθαλής, - promoting growth

Βρομίοιο (epic gen. noun of Βρόμιοςσυνέστιος, (hearth-sharer, nom. adj.) - familial companion of Vrómios (i.e. Diónysos)

ἀγλαότιμος, - splendidly honored

λαμπαδόεσσ', - torch-bearer (λαμπαδόεσσα)

ἁγνή, - holy (fem. of ἁγνός)

δρεπάνοις (sickle) χαίρουσα (rejoice) θερείοις. (summer's) - you rejoice in the summer's fruit of the sickle

σὺ (you) χθονίη, (earthy) - you are of the earth

σὺ δὲ φαινομένη, (bring to light) - and you appear

σὺ δε πᾶσι (all) προσηνής· (gentle) - gentle to all

εὔτεκνε, - blessing us with offspring

παιδοφίλη, - lover of children (παιδοφίλης)

σεμνή, - holy (fem. of σεμνός)

κουροτρόφε (κουροτρόφοςyouth-nurturing

κούρη, (maiden) - maiden

ἅρμα (chariot) δρακοντείοισιν (dragons) ὑποζεύξασα (yoke) χαλινοῖς (bridle) - you yoke dragons to your chariot with a bridle

ἐγκυκλίοις (circle, revolve) δίναις (whirl) περὶ (around) σὸν (your) θρόνον (throne) εὐαζόντων, (cry out, form of εὐάζω) - whirling and circling about your throne and crying out

μουνογενής, - only begotten

πολύτεκνε (bearing many children) θεά, (Goddess) - Goddess bearing many children

πολυπότνια (mighty queen) θνητοῖς, (mortals) - mighty queen of mortals

ἧς πολλαὶ (many) μορφαί, (fashion, mold) - you form the many things

πολυάνθεμοι, - rich in flowers (πολυάνθεμος)

ἱεροθηλεῖς·blooming with holiness (ἱεροθαλλής)

ἐλθέ, - Come

μάκαιρ', - blessed one (μάκαιρα)

ἁγνή, - holy one (fem nom. and voc. attic epic ionic of ἁγνός)

καρποῖς (fruits) βρίθουσα (heavy with) θερείοις, (summer) - heavy with the fruits of summer

εἰρήνην (peace) κατάγουσα (lead down) καὶ (and) εὐνομίην (good order or law) ἐρατεινὴν (lovely) - bring down peace and lovely order to our world

καὶ (and) πλοῦτον (wealth) πολύολβον, (blessings) - with wealth and blessings

ὁμοῦ (as well as) δὑγίειαν (health) ἄνασσαν. (ruler) - as well as health to govern us.


All this yields a more literal translation of the Orphic hymn

40. Dimítir Ælefsinía, Incense storax. 

Of Dioh divine mother of all, divinity with many names,   1
Holy Dimítir, nurturer of children, bestower of bliss,
Oh divine one, who cultivates the grain, who apportions all good things,
You who rejoice in peace and our difficult labors,
Presiding over seeds, bequeathing abundant grain, thresher, producing the green fruit,   5
You dwell in the hollowed valley of Ælefsís.
Oh charming, lovely one, you give nourishment to all the mortals;
You were the first to yoke the ploughing oxen,
And you produce a lovely and abundant life for mortals;
You promote growth, familial companion of Vrómios, splendidly honored,  10
Torch-bearing, holy one, you rejoice in the summer's fruit of the sickle.
You are from the earth, you appear, you are gentle to all.
You bless us with progeny, oh lover of children, holy one, maiden who nurtures the young,
You yoke dragons to your chariot with a bridle,
Whirling and circling about your throne as you cry out in ecstasy.   15
Only-begotten, Goddess bearing many children, mighty queen of mortals,
Creator of many things, you bloom with flowers, blooming with holiness;
Come, blessed one, pure one, heavy with the fruits of summer,
Bring down peace and lovely order to our world,
With riches and blessings and a life governed by good health.   20


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.

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