FOTO: MANNapoli 9991 Young Dionysos Tigre mosaic.jpg Public Domain.


Γενέθλια του Διονύσου Ἐλευθερέως



The Twelve Days of Diónysos (Δωδεκάς Ἥμεραι Διονύσου) is one of the great festivals of Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. The commencement of this holiday is December 25th and the festivities continue for eleven more days, according to Greek tradition. It is the called the Yænǽthlia of Ælefthæréfs Diónysos (Γενέθλια του Διονύσου Ἐλευθερέως), the birthday of Diónysos the Liberator, or, simply, the Dionysouyænna (the accent on the fourth syllable: Διονυσούγεννα).

Why is this such a great festival in our religion, one of the most important and sublime, and why are we celebrating Diónysos as the Liberator? It is because this festival marks the fulfillment of the providence of our father Zefs (Ζεὺς) who is the highest (Ὕπατος) of all the Gods, and who, when he created our generation, foresaw that we would be trapped in anxiety, and to alleviate our sufferings he conceived a son who, with his Mysteries, will free us from an endless circle of rebirths (κύκλος γενέσεως). All of this can be found in Orphic theogony, the story of the origin of the Gods.


Not only does the birthday of Diónysos fall on the 25th, but the multi-day observance follows exactly the twelve days of Christmas, which conceal the ancient holidays.

According to Greek legend, the Kallikándzari (Callicantzari, Καλλικάντζαροι) are mischievous creatures similar to the Irish faeries, gnomes, goblins, and elves. They become terribly excited during these holidays and cause all kinds of trouble until they are "polluted" by the Orthodox priests with holy water on the last of the Twelve Days, only for them to rise again next year at Christmas. There is a suspicion that the Kallikándzari are none other than our blessed Gods, "Lilliputianized" to diminish their importance, and that, perhaps, they become exuberant at the birth of mighty Diónysos and of his joyous celebrations every year, or perhaps they represent obscured memories of the train of revelers of Diónysos from the great festivals which took place in winter.

"The superstitions and customs connected by the modern folk with the Twelve Days are undoubtedly an inheritance from ancestors who celebrated the Brumalia and other pagan festivals at the same season of the year. These ancient festivals, though Roman in name, probably differed very little in the manner of their observance from certain old Greek festivals, chief among which was some festival of Dionysus. This is rendered probable both by the date of these festivals and by the manner of their celebration. For the worship of Dionysus was practically confined to the wintertime, at Delphi his cult superseded that of Apollo during the three winter months; and at Athens the four festivals of Dionysus fell within about the same period --- the rural Dionysia at the end of November or beginning of December, the Lenaea about a month later, the Anthesteria at the end of January, and the Great Dionysia at the end of February. As for the manner of conducting the Latin-named festivals, Asterios' description of the Kalándae in the fifth century plainly attests the Dionysiac character of the orgies, and Balsamon, in the twelfth, was so convinced, from what he himself witnessed, of their Bacchanalian origin, that he actually proposed to derive the name Brumalia from Βροῦμος (by which he meant Βρόμιος) a surname of Dionysus.

"The mumming then, which is still customary in some parts of Greece during the Twelve Days, is a survival apparently of festivals in honour of Dionysus. Further the mummers dress themselves up to resemble Callicantzari. But the worship of Dionysus presented a similar scene; 'those who made processions in honour of Dionysus,' says Ulpian, 'used to dress themselves up for that purpose to resemble his companions, some in the guise of Satyrs, others as Bacchae, and others as Sileni.' The mummers therefore of the present day have, it appears inherited the custom of dressing up from the ancient worshippers of Dionysus and are their modern representatives; and from this it follows that the Callicantzari whom the modern mummers strive to resemble are to be identified with those motley companions of Dionysus whom his worshippers imitated of old." [1]

"Many attempts have been made to account for the Kallikantzari. Perhaps the most plausible explanation of the outward form, at least, of the uncanny creatures, is the theory connecting them with the masquerades that formed part of the winter festival of Dionysus and are still to be found in Greece at Christmastide." [2]


When considering the ancient evidence, it seems obvious to this author that the birth of Diónysos was originally celebrated on the winter solstice, which was believed to occur on December 25th. In modern times, we know, however, that the solstice occurs closer to December 21st. So why do we celebrate the birthday on December 25th? Some scholars propose that in the old Julian calendar, the solstice fell on the 25th of December. When the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian, December 25th remained associated with feasts celebrated on that day. This suggests that the birth of Jesus was originally intended to be celebrated on the solstice, which is the birth of the sun, and, according to Macrobius (see below), the birth of Diónysos.

Since we know that the solstice is December 21st, why not revise our practices and celebrate the birth of Diónysos on that day rather than the 25th? It is because this is the tradition that has come down to us. We celebrate the birth of the Sun on the 21st and the birth of Diónysos on the 25th.


The Twelve-Days-celebration is not so known outside of Greece, but this author was told that "just as birds fly and dogs bark, all Greeks know that Christmas is Diónysos' birthday." These same Greeks insist that the observance of the festival extends back to ancient times. The authenticity of this has been challenged, but there is significant evidence to confirm its truth.

Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius

Macrobius writes in the Saturnalia (I.18.9-10) in the fourth century (CE), equating Diónysos with the sun, and the winter solstice identified with the birth of the infant God.

hae autem aetatum diversitates ad solem referuntur, ut parvulus videatur hiemali solstitio, qualem Aegyptii proferunt ex adyto die certa, quod tunc brevissimo die veluti parvus et infans videatur

"However, these differences (in the age of Diónysos) refer to the sun. He (Dionysos) is perceived as little at the winter solstice, such as (the image) the Egyptians carry out from the holy place on a certain day, whereby at that time it is the shortest day, even as he were perceived as a child." (trans. by the author)

According to Macrobius, therefore, the birthday of Diónysos was intended to be celebrated on the Winter Solstice.


In the Panárion (Πανάριον), a treatise on Christian heresies, written by Æpiphánios (Epiphanius, Ἐπιφάνιος) [315-403 CE approx.], the Bishop of Salamís (Σαλαμίς), there is a curious passage:

Πανάριον Ἐπιφανίου 51.22 (This text is typically cited as 51.22 [Haer., LI. 22], but the Greek text we are using shows this as 50.22.)

...ἐγεννήθη Χριστὸς τῇ πρὸ ὀκτὼ εἰδῶν Ἰανουαρίων μετὰ δεκατρεῖς ἡμέρας τῆς χειμερινῆς τροπῆς καὶ τῆς τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας προσθήκης.» ταύτην δὲ τὴν ἡμέραν ἑορτάζουσιν Ἕλληνες, φημὶ δὲ οἱ εἰδωλολάτραι, τῇ πρὸ ὀκτὼ καλανδῶν Ἰανουαρίων, τῇ παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις καλουμένῃ Σατουρνάλια, παρ' Αἰγυπτίοις δὲ Κρόνια, παρὰ Ἀλεξανδρεῦσι δὲ Κικέλλια. τῇ γὰρ πρὸ ὀκτὼ καλανδῶν Ἰανουαρίων τοῦτο τὸ τμῆμα γίνεται, ὅ ἐστι τροπή, καὶ ἄρχεται αὔξειν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ φωτὸς λαμβάνοντος τὴν προσθήκην, πληροῖ δὲ δεκατριῶν ἡμερῶν ἀριθμὸν εἰς τὴν πρὸ ὀκτὼ εἰδῶν Ἰανουαρίων, ἕως ἡμέρας τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ γεννήσεως προστιθεμένου τριακοστοῦ ὥρας ἑκάστῃ ἡμέρᾳ· ὡς καὶ ὁ παρὰ τοῖς Σύροις σοφὸς Ἐφραῒμ ἐμαρτύρησε τούτῳ τῷ λόγῳ ἐν ταῖς αὐτοῦ ἐξηγήσεσι λέγων ὅτι

«οὕτως γὰρ ᾠκονομήθη ἡ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ παρουσία, ἡ κατὰ σάρκα γέννησις εἴτ' οὖν τελεία ἐνανθρώπησις, ὃ καλεῖται Ἐπιφάνεια, ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς τῆς τοῦ φωτὸς αὐξήσεως ἐπὶ δέκα τριῶν ἡμερῶν διαστήματι· ἐχρῆν γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο τύπον γενέσθαι ἀριθμοῦ τοῦ αὐτοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τῶν αὐτοῦ δώδεκα μαθητῶν, ὃς <τὸν> τῶν δεκατριῶν ἡμερῶν τῆς τοῦ φωτὸς αὐξήσεως ἐπλήρου ἀριθμόν».

πόσα τε ἄλλα εἰς τὴν τούτου τοῦ λόγου ὑπόθεσίν τε καὶ μαρτυρίαν, φημὶ δὲ τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ γεννήσεως, γέγονέν τε καὶ γίνεται. καὶ γὰρ καὶ μέρος τι τῆς ἀληθείας ἀναγκαζόμενοι ὁμολογεῖν οἱ τῆς τῶν εἰδώλων θρῃσκείας ἀρχηγέται καὶ ἀπατηλοὶ εἰς τὸ ἐξαπατῆσαι τοὺς πεισθέντας αὐτοῖς εἰδωλολάτρας ἐν πολλοῖς τόποις ἑορτὴν μεγίστην ἄγουσιν ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ νυκτὶ τῶν Ἐπιφανείων, εἰς τὸ ἐπὶ τῇ πλάνῃ ἐλπίσαντας μὴ ζητεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. πρῶτον μὲν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ ἐν τῷ Κορείῳ <οὕ>τω καλουμένῳ· ναὸς δέ ἐστι μέγιστος τουτέστιν τὸ τέμενος τῆς Κόρης. ὅλην γὰρ τὴν νύκτα ἀγρυπνήσαντες ἐν ᾄσμασί τισι καὶ αὐλοῖς τῷ εἰδώλῳ ᾄδοντες καὶ παννυχίδα διατελέσαντες μετὰ τὴν τῶν ἀλεκτρυόνων κλαγγὴν κατέρχονται λαμπαδηφόροι εἰς σηκόν τινα ὑπόγαιον καὶ ἀναφέρουσι ξόανόν τι ξύλινον <ἐν> φορείῳ καθεζόμενον γυμνόν, ἔχον σφραγῖδά τινα σταυροῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου διάχρυσον καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς ἑκατέραις χερσὶν ἄλλας δύο τοιαύτας σφραγῖδας καὶ ἐπ' αὐτοῖς τοῖς δυσὶ γονάτοις ἄλλας δύο, ὁμοῦ δὲ [τὰς] πέντε σφραγῖδας ἀπὸ χρυσοῦ τετυπωμένας, καὶ περιφέρουσιν αὐτὸ τὸ ξόανον ἑπτάκις κυκλώσαντες τὸν μεσαίτατον ναὸν μετὰ αὐλῶν καὶ τυμπάνων καὶ ὕμνων καὶ κωμάσαντες καταφέρουσιν αὐτὸ αὖθις εἰς τὸν ὑπόγαιον τόπον. ἐρωτώμενοι δὲ ὅτι τί ἐστι τοῦτο τὸ μυστήριον ἀποκρίνονται καὶ λέγουσιν ὅτι ταύτῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ σήμερον ἡ Κόρη (τουτέστιν ἡ παρθένος) ἐγέννησε τὸν Αἰῶνα.

τοῦτο δὲ καὶ ἐν Πέτρᾳ τῇ πόλει (μητρόπολις δέ ἐστι τῆς Ἀραβίας, ἥτις ἐστὶν Ἐδὼμ ἡ ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς γεγραμμένη) ἐν τῷ ἐκεῖσε εἰδωλείῳ οὕτως γίνεται, καὶ Ἀραβικῇ διαλέκτῳ ἐξυμνοῦσι τὴν παρθένον, καλοῦντες αὐτὴν Ἀραβιστὶ Χααμοῦ τουτέστιν Κόρην εἴτ' οὖν παρθένον καὶ τὸν ἐξ αὐτῆς γεγεννημένον Δουσάρην τουτέστιν μονογενῆ τοῦ δεσπότου. τοῦτο δὲ καὶ ἐν Ἐλούσῃ γίνεται τῇ πόλει κατ' ἐκείνην τὴν νύκτα, ὡς ἐκεῖ ἐν τῇ Πέτρᾳ καὶ ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ.

“… Christ was born on the sixth day of January (the text says, “eight days before the Ides of January [the 13th],” which is Jan. 6, because they counted inclusively) after thirteen days of the winter solstice and of the increase of the light and day. This day the Greeks, I mean the Idolaters, celebrate on the twenty-fifth day of December, a feast called Saturnalia among the Romans, Kronia among the Egyptians, and Kikellia among the Alexandrians. For on the twenty-fifth day of December (the text says, “eight days before the Kalends [the 1st] of January,” which is Dec. 25) the division takes place which is the solstice, and the day begins to lengthen its light, receiving an increase, and there are thirteen days of it up to the sixth day of January, until the day of the birth of Christ (a thirtieth of an hour being added to each day), as the wise Ephraim among the Syrians bore witness by this inspired passage in his commentaries, where he says:

‘The advent of our Lord Jesus Christ was thus appointed: His birth according to the flesh, then his perfect incarnation among men, which is called Epiphany, at a distance of thirteen days from the increase of the light; for it needs must have been that this should be a figure of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and of His twelve disciples, who made up the number of the thirteen days of the increase of the light.’

How many other things in the past and present support and bear witness to this proposition, I mean the Resurrection birth of Christ! Indeed, the leaders of the idol-cults, filled with wiles to deceive the idol-worshippers who believe in them, in many places keep highest festival on this same night of Epiphany, so that they whose hopes are in error may not seek the truth. For instance, at Alexandria, in the Koreion as it is called – an immense temple – that is to say, the Precinct of the Virgin; after they have kept all-night vigil with songs and music, chanting to their idol, when the vigil is over, at cockcrow, they descend with lights into an underground crypt, and carry up a wooden image lying naked on a litter, with the seal of a cross made in gold on its forehead, and on either hand two other similar seals, and on both knees two others, all five seals being similarly made in gold. And they carry round the image itself, circumambulating seven times the innermost temple, to the accompaniment of pipes, tabors and hymns, and with merry-making they carry it down again underground. And if they are asked the meaning of this mystery, they answer and say: ‘To-day at this hour the Maiden (Κόρη), that is, the Virgin, gave birth to the Aeon.’

In the city of Petra also – the metropolis of Arabia which is called Edom in the Scriptures – the same is done, and they sing the praises of the Virgin in the Arab tongue, calling her in Arabic Chaamou, that is, Maiden, and the Virgin, and him who is born from her Dusares, that is, Alone-begotten of the Lord. This also takes place in the city of Elousa on the same night just as at Petra and at Alexandria…”

(trans. G. R. S. Mead, 1903)

Here Æpiphánios says that the pagans were celebrating the birth of Aióhn (Aeon, Αἰών) by Kóri (Core, Κόρη) on the same day as the Christians were celebrating the birth of Jesus. He continues stating that on this same day in Pǽtra (Petra, Πέτρα), the pagans were celebrating that Kóri gave birth to Dousáris (Dousares or Dushara, Δουσάρης), an Arabian deity syncretized to Diónysos. Æpiphánios translates Κόρη as "virgin" because the word can refer to an unmarried daughter, but Æpiphánios capitalizes the word, and everyone knows that Κόρη is Pærsæphóni.

Why then did the date migrate to the 25th of December? The anthropologist James Frazer explains it thus:

"In time, however, the Christians of Egypt came to regard the sixth of January as the date of the Nativity (of Jesus), and the custom of commemorating the birth of the Saviour on that day gradually spread until by the fourth century it was universally established in the East. But at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century the Western Church, which had never recognized the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, adopted the twenty-fifth of December as the true date, and in time its decision was accepted also by the Eastern Church. At Antioch the change was not introduced till about the year 375 A.D." (James Frazer, The Golden Bough, 1922 edition)

A different explanation is that the Egyptians were using a calendar which made the 6th of January the winter solstice, but when the more accurate Julian calendar was introduced, the solstice was recognized as December 25. (See Greek Myths and Christian Mystery by Hugo Rahner, 1963, Burnes & Oates Ltd., Great Britain, p. 141). If this idea is true, then Æpiphánios may have been confused. The Julian calendar had been in use for hundreds of years. He would not have realized that the Egyptians believed they were celebrating the solstice on the 6th of January.


Aióhn is the son of Kórî; the son of Kórî is Diónysos

Æpiphánios mentions Aióhn by name as the deity whose birth was being honored on the same day as the celebration of the birthday of Jesus, but who is this God? The word Αἰών can be used in ancient Greek in various ways, but when Æpiphánios states that Aióhn is the son of Kórî (Corê, Κόρη), the identification is obvious. Kórî is Pærsæphónî (Persephonê, Περσεφόνη) and the son of Kórî is Diónysos:

Kern Orphic Frag. 58 (41) Πρεσβεία περί των Χριστιανών Ἀθηναγόρου 20 p. 22, 10 Schw.:

εἶθ´ ὅτι Φερσεφόνῃ τῇ θυγατρὶ ἐμίγη βιασάμενος καὶ ταύτην ἐν δράκοντος σχήματι, ἐξ ἧς παῖς Διόνυσος αὐτῷ·

" he (Ζεύς) violating mingled with his daughter Pærsæphónî and again in the form of a serpent, thereby became the father of Diónysos;" (trans. by the author)

Orphic Hymn 29.8 (to Pærsæphónî):

μῆτερ ἐριβρεμέτου πολυμόρφου Εὐβουλῆος

“mother of loud-thundering many-formed Évvoulefs” (trans. by the author. Εὐβουλεύς is an epithet of Diónysos)

Orphic Hymn 30.6-7 (to Diónysos):

Διὸς καὶ Περσεφονείης

ἀρρήτοις λέκτροισι τεκνωθείς

“Zefs and Pærsæphónî bore you (Διόνυσος) on a secret bed” (trans. by the author)

Aióhn is the son of Time

Αἰών τε Χρόνου παῖς. (Ἡρακλεῖδαι Εὐριπίδου 898)

“Aióhn the son of Time.” (trans. by the author)

Compare the above with line five from the Orphic hymn to Krónos. It is common for ancient authors to equate Krónos (Κρόνος) with Khrónos (Χρόνος):

αἰῶνος Κρόνε παγγενέτωρ (Orphic Hymn 13.5)

"Oh Krónos, all-father of Aióhn" (Aeon, Αἰών) (trans. by the author)

If Aióhn is the son of Time, he is identical with Prohtógonus according to Θεογονία Ἑλλανίκου as described by Damáskios (Damascius, Δαμάσκιος):

Kern Orphic frag. 54. (36) ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμάσκιου (First Princ.) 123 bis (I 317, 15 Rue.):

ὁ Χρόνος ᾠὸν ἐγέννησεν, τοῦ Χρόνου ποιοῦσα γέννημα καὶ αὕτη ἡ παράδοσις, καὶ ἐν τούτοις τικτόμενον, ὅτι καὶ ἀπὸ τούτων ἡ τρίτη πρόεισι νοητὴ τριάς.

τίς οὖν αὕτη ἐστί ; τὸ ᾠόν· ἡ δυὰς τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ φύσεων, ἄρρενος καὶ θηλείας, καὶ τῶν ἐν μέσῳ παντοίων σπερμάτων τὸ πλῆθος· καὶ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις θεὸν δισώματον, πτέρυγας ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων ἔχοντα χρυσᾶς, ὃς ἐν μὲν ταῖς λαγόσι προσπεφυκυίας εἶχε ταύρων κεφαλάς, ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς κεφαλῆς δράκοντα πελώριον παντοδαπαῖς μορφαῖς θηρίων ἰνδαλλόμενον. τοῦτον μὲν οὖν ὡς νοῦν τῆς τριάδοςὑποληπτέον, τὰ δὲ μέσα γένη τά τε πολλὰ καὶ τὰ δύο τὴν δύναμιν, αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ ᾠὸν ἀρχὴν πατρικὴν τῆς τρίτης τριάδος. ταύτης δὲ τῆς τρίτης τριάδος τὸν τρίτον θεὸν καὶ ἥδε ἡ θεολογία πρωτόγονον ἀνυμνεῖκαὶ Δία καλεῖ πάντων διατάκτορα καὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου, διὸ καὶ Πᾶνα καλεῖσθαι. (ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 123c bis {i. 317-19 R.}; = Orphic fragment 54.)

"Time begot an egg, making it generated by Time in this tradition, and in this begetting, from this the third intelligible triad issues forth." (trans. by the author)

"What then is the third intelligible triad? I answer, the egg; the duad of the natures of male and female which it contains, and the multitude of all-various seeds, residing in the middle of this triad: and the third among these is an incorporeal God, bearing golden wings on his shoulders; but in his inward parts naturally possessing the heads of bulls, upon which heads a mighty dragon appears, invested with the all-various forms of wild beasts. This last then must be considered as the intellect of the triad; but the middle progeny, which are many as well as two, correspond to power, and the egg itself is the paternal principle of the third triad: the third God of this third triad, this theology celebrates as Protogonus, and calls him Jupiter (Ζεὺς), the disposer of all things and of the whole world; and on this account denominates him Pan." (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1824.)

Dionysus and Phanes are identical:

Kern Orphic frag. 61. Θεοσοφία Αριστόκριτου 61 p. 116, 15 Buresch (cf. supra p. 141):

|117 Bur. καὶ τοῦ Διονύσου, ὃν Φάνητα προσαγορεύει, δημιουργὸν πάντων αὐτὸν εἰσάγει τὸν Φάνητα ὡσανεὶ τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ υἱόν, δὶ’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐφάνη, διὸ καὶ ἐν τῆι τετάρτηι ῥαψωιδίαι πρὸς Μουσαῖον οὕτω λέγει·

ταῦτα νόωι πεφύλαξο, φίλον τέκος, ἐν πραπίδεσσιν,

εἰδός περ μάλα παλαίφατα κἀπὸ Φάνητος

“And who then is Diónysos? He is addressed as Phánis, who brings in the sole creator of all, Phánis, as it were, son of God, he who makes all appear, wherefore he (Ὀρφεύς) said to Mousaios in the Fourth Rhapsody:

“ 'These things keep watch in your mind, beloved child, (and) in your heart,

knowing very well (things) of long ago from Phánis.' ” (trans. by the author)

Irikæpaios is identical with Diónysos:

Συναγωγὴ Πασῶν Λέξεων κατὰ Στοιχεῖον Ἡσυχίου (Alphabetical Collection of All Words by Hesychius):

Ἠρικαπαῖος· Διόνυσος

“Irikapaios (entry): Diónysos” (definition)

Kern Orphic frag. 170. (71) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 29 a. b (I 336, 6 Diehl):

πάλαι γὰρ ὁ θεολόγος ἔν τε τῷ Φάνητι τὴν δημιουργικὴν αἰτίαν ἀνύμνησεν· ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἦν τε καὶ προῆν, ὥσπερ ἔφη καὶ αὐτός·

Βρόμιός τε μέγας καὶ Ζεὺς ὁ πανόπτης.

ἵνα δὴ τῆς διττῆς δημιουργίας ἔχῃ τὰς οἱονεὶ πηγάς· καὶ ἐν τῷ Διὶ τὴν παραδειγματικήν· Μῆτις γὰρ αὖ καὶ οὗτός ἐστιν, ὥς φησι· καὶ Μῆτις πρῶτος γενέτωρ καὶ Ἔρως πολυτερπής (fr. 168 vs. 9), αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Διόνυσος καὶ Φάνης καὶ Ἠρικεπαῖος συνεχῶς ὀνομάζεται.

“For the theologist (Ὀρφεύς) long before us, celebrates the demiurgic cause in Phanes (Φάνης). For there, as he says,

" 'the great Bromios (Διόνυσος), and all­seeing Jupiter (Ζεὺς), was, and antecedently existed;'

"in order that he might have, as it were, the fountains of the twofold fabrication of things. He also celebrates the paradigmatic cause (i.e. Φάνης) in Jupiter. For again, he likewise is, as he says, Metis (Μῆτις) the first generator, and much-pleasing Love (Ἔρως). He is also continually denominated by him, Dionysos, and Phanes, and Ericapæus (Ἠρικαπαῖος).” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1824)

Prôtógonos is Irakapaios (Ἠρικαπαῖος) in line 4, Phánis (Phanes, Φάνης) in line 8, and Príapos (Priapus, Πρίαπος) and Antavyís (Antauges, Ἀνταυγής) in line 9.

Orphic Hymn 6. Πρωτογόνου, θυμίαμα, σμύρναν.

Πρωτογόνον καλέω διφυῆ, μέγαν, αἰθερόπλαγκτον,

ὠογενῆ, χρυσέησιν ἀγαλλόμενον πτερύγεσσιν,

ταυρωπόν, γένεσιν μακάρων θνητῶν τ’ ἀνθρώπων·

σπέρμα πολύμνηστον, πολυόργιον, Ἠρικεπαῖον,

ἄρρητον, κρύφιον. ῥοιζήτορα, παμφαὲς ἔρνος·

ὄσσων ὃς σκοτόεσσαν ἀπημαύρωσας ὁμίχλην,

πάντῃ δινηθεὶς πτερύγων ῥιπαῖς κατὰ κόσμον·

λαμπρὸν ἄγων φάος ἁγνόν, ἀφ’ οὗ σε Φάνητα κικλήσκω,

ἠδὲ Πρίηπον ἄνακτα, καὶ Ἀνταύγην ἑλίκωπον.

ἀλλά, μάκαρ, πολύμητι, πολύσπορε, βαῖνε γεγηθὼς

ἐς τελετὴν ἁγίην πολυποίκιλον ὀργιοφάνταις.

Prôtógonos is Phánis:

Kern Orphic frag. 64. ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμάσκιου (First Princ.) 111 (I 285, 7 Rue.):

ὁ θείος Ὀ. οὐ πολλοὺς θεοῦς ὑφίστησιν ἀπὸ τοῦ Χρόνου μέχρι τοῦ πρωτογόνου Φάνητος;

“Does not the divine Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) conceive many Gods from Time (Χρόνος) until first-born (πρωτόγονος) Phánis (Φάνης)?” (trans. by the author)

Irikæpaios is Prôtógonos:

Kern Orphic frag. 167. (120. 121) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος I 29a (I 324, 14 Diehl):

ὣς τότε πρωτογόνειο χαδὼν μένος Ἠρικεπαίου

“Thus then taking hold of the power of first-born (πρωτόγονος) Irikæpaios (Ἠρικεπαῖος) (trans. by the author)

Aióhn is Osiris

The Souda (Σοῦδα) identifies Aióhn with the Egyptian God Osiris.

Osiris is Diónysos

The Souda (Σοῦδα) identifies Diónysos as Osiris. Ploutarkhos (Plutarch, Πλούταρχος) makes the same identification in his book on the Mysteries of Isis (Περὶ Ἴσιδος καὶ Ὀσίριδος Πλουτάρχου). The famous historian Iródotos (Herodotus, Ἡρόδοτος) wrote the same: (Ἱστορίαι Ἡροδότου 2.144).

Ὄσιρις δὲ ἐστὶ Διόνυσος κατὰ Ἑλλάδα γλῶσσαν.

“Osiris is, in the Greek language, Dionysus.” (trans. A. D. Godley, 1920)


[1] Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survivals by John Cuthbert Lawson, 1910. Cambridge University Press (London), pp. 228-229.

[2] Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles, 1912; p. 245.

[3] This section of quotations identifying Αἰών with Diónysos was inspired by a series of citations found in FROM ORPHEUS TO PAUL: A History of Orphism by Vittorio D. Macchioro, 1930, Henry Holt and Co. [New York], pp. 251-252, note 22. I felt compelled to find the actual texts and see if I agreed with the conclusions of Prof. Macchioro. While most were satisfying, I did not use all the citations because I found a couple unconvincing. Beyond this, I added several other quotations which I found myself.

PLEASE NOTE: Ritual in our tradition is not permitted to be displayed in a public place. If you have a sincere desire to learn more, please write:

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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.

BABY DIÓNYSOS: This is a painting of the infant Diónysos, created by contemporary Hellenic artist Lykeia. The myth has it that the Goddess Ípta placed a líknon (winnowing basket) containing the newborn Diónysos on her head and climbed up Mount Ídi (Ida, Ίδη). Here we have baby Diónysos, cradled in the líknon, adorned with ivy and wrapped in the pelt of a leopard. Around the basket is a snake, symbolic of Earth. Encircling the little God are the signs of the zodiac, representing the months of the year over which the Olympian Gods have dominion. Ípta appears in the upper left corner of the painting with the líknon on her head.

This logo 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 (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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 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.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

S PELLING: 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:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

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