SISTRUM - SEISTRON - ΣΕΙΣΤΡΟΝ
Foto taken by the author of this essay who releases it to the Public Domain. Three African Seistrons.

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Seistron (sistrum; Gr. σεῖστρον, ΣΕΙΣΤΡΟΝ) The seistron is a rattle used in sacred ritual, for the worship of Isis or any God.

"The sistrum (rattle) also makes it clear that all things in existence need to be shaken, or rattled about, and never to cease from motion but, as it were, to be waked up and agitated when they grow drowsy and torpid. They say that they avert and repel Typhon by means of the sistrums, indicating thereby that when destruction constricts and checks Nature, generation releases and arouses it by means of motion.

"The upper part of the sistrum is circular and its circumference contains the four things that are shaken (ed. the elements); for that part of the world which undergoes reproduction and destruction is contained underneath the orb of the moon, and all things in it a re subject to motion and to change through the four elements: fire, earth, water, and air..."

(Ploutarkhos Pærí Ísidos kai Osíridos [Isis and Osiris; Gr. Περὶ Ἴσιδος καὶ Ὀσίριδος] Section 63 [376c-d]. Trans. Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936, in the volume entitled Plutarch's Moralia in Sixteen Volumes, Vol. V, published by William Heinemann [London, England UK] and Harvard Univ. Press [Cambridge, MA USA]. We are using the 1969 edition where this quotation may be found on p. 149.)


The seistron may be used just before ritual, when the traditional Orphic phrase casting out those who are inappropriate is sounded off. This is symbolic but also meant to frighten away the kakodaimohnæs (cacodemons; Gr. κακοδαίμονες), mischievous souls of the lower sky who have committed crimes in their previous lives. Hold the left hand in a posture forbidding entry and shake the seistron in the right hand, while reciting the verse.

Of course the seistron may be used in music for ritual as well. Nothing much is known of it other than that it likely came into the Græco-Roman world through the worship of Isis and Osiris and found its way into the rituals of Ællinismόs, the ancient Greek religion. We have the quotation of Ploutarkhos, some references in Apuleius (The Golden Ass/Metamorphoses, Asinus aureus), and scant else; its entire application in a modern context is a reconstruction, but appropriate as suggested above. 

Suitable seistrons of various designs are available on Ebay at a vary reasonable price, often handcrafted in Africa with the rattles made of flattened bottle-caps. Egyptian-style seistrons can be obtained through Amazon and elsewhere.




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.





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 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.

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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