APOLLÔ: GOD OF LIGHT
APÓLLÔN - ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ
Foto: Soapstone sculpture of Apollo, modeled after the Apollo of the western pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, encrusted with precious gems, created by the author, who places the photo in the Public Domain.
APÓLLÔN - (Apollo; Ἀπόλλων, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ)
Apóllôn is among the most important deities of mystical Orphism and Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. One of the Twelve Olympian Gods, Apóllôn is the son of Lîtóh (Lêtô, Λητώ) and Zefs (Ζεύς) and he is the twin brother of Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις).
The birth of Apóllôn
The beautiful Homeric hymn to Dílion (Dêlian, Δήλιον) Apóllôn describes the birth of the God, the outline of which is as follows: The Goddess Lîtóh was unable to find a place to give birth to her children. Lîtóh was denied refuge wherever she went. All were in fear of jealous Ίra (Hêra, Ἥρα). Ίra was angry because Zefs (Ζεύς), her husband, had consorted with Lîtóh, and was, therefore, the father of soon-to-be-born Apóllôn and Ártæmis. Despite the fear of retribution, the brave island of Dílos (Dêlos, Δήλος) welcomed Lîtóh. But Lîtóh's trial was not yet over; Ίra detained Elefthía (Eleuthia, Ἐλευθία), the Goddess of childbirth, at Όlymbos (Olympus, Ὄλυμπος). The other Goddesses distracted Ίra and offered Elefthía a beautiful amber necklace to encourage her to help Lîtóh. Now, with the assistance of Elefthía, and holding onto a palm, Lîtóh gave birth to handsome Apóllôn. The young God was given Amvrosía (Ambrosia, Ἀμβροσία) and Nǽktar (Nectar, Νέκταρ). He arose and proclaimed that he had come to declare the will of his father, for Apóllôn is the voice of Zefs on Earth.
Ártæmis, according to this same hymn, was born before her brother on the island of Ortiyía (Ortygia, Ορτυγία), near Syrákousai (Syracuse, Συράκουσαι). Some sources say that they were both born on Dílos and that Ortiyía was an ancient name for the island.
There are other localities from antiquity which also claimed to be the birthplace of Apóllôn, such as Tæyíra (Tegyra, Τεγύρα) in Viôtía (Boeotia, Βοιωτία) where was an oracle of the God, Ortiyía near Ǽphæsos (Ephesus, Ἔφεσος), and Zôstír (Zôstêr, ζωστήρ) in Attikí (Attica, Ἀττική).
GENERALITIES CONCERNING APÓLLÔN
In antiquity, Apóllôn was perhaps honored and loved more than any other God and his influence on ancient society was great, and he is still loved in our time. We will attempt to list below some of his major characteristics.
Apóllôn is sympárædros to Zefs
Apóllôn is the ambassador of the Solar Powers, the higher Olympian Gods and, as such, he is at the same level as Zefs of this, our system, and thus truly merits the title Ánax (Ἄναξ), the Great King. Apóllôn is sympárædros (symparedros, συμπάρεδρος) to Zefs of our system, meaning that they hold the throne jointly . (See Thomas Taylor's notes to the Orphic Hymn to the Sun.) The Solar Powers are represented by the two intertwined snakes of the Kîrýkeion (Caduceus or Cêryceion, Κηρύκειον, one of the major symbols of Zefs) which Apóllôn gives to Ærmís (Hermês, Ἑρμῆς).
Apóllôn is the voice of Zefs on Earth
Apóllôn speaks out the unfailing testament of his father Zefs (Ζεύς), at whose right hand he sits. Apóllôn is the voice of Zefs on Earth for which he is called the Orthós Lógos (Ὀρθός Λόγος), the True Word, for Apóllôn does not lie:
"For he (the Dælphic Oracle, i.e. Apóllôn) does not lie, since this is not lawful to him." 
As Diónysos (Dionysus, Διόνυσος) is the action of Zefs on Earth, Apóllôn is the voice of Zefs on Earth, who declares his will.
Zefs is the source of all prophecy, articulated by Apóllôn
Zefs (Ζεύς) is the source of all prophecy:
"The eagle dropped the fawn by the altar on which the Achaeans sacrificed to Zeus the lord of omens (πανομφαῖος)." 
Nonetheless, it is said that oracle was first spoken by Yi (Ge = Earth, Γῆ) and handed down to Thǽmis (Themis, Θέμις), who gave it to Phívi (Phoebe, Φοίβη), and eventually became the possession of Apóllôn who holds this power eternally:
The Pythia speaks:
Loxías (Λοξίας) is an epithet of Apóllôn meaning "he who is the prophet and interpreter of Zefs."
Apóllôn states that it is forbidden to practice soothsaying, even for the Gods, in the Homeric Hymn to Ærmís (Hermes, Ἑρμῆς):
"...μαντείην δέ, ϕέριστε, διοτρεϕές, ἣν ἐρεείνεις, οὔτε σὲ θέσϕατόν ἐστι δαήμεναι οὔτε τιν' ἄλλον ἀθανάτων· τὸ γὰρ οἶδε Διὸς νόος·"
"But as for sooth-saying, noble, heaven-born child, of which you ask, it is not lawful for you to learn it, nor for any other of the deathless Gods: only the mind of Zeus knows that." 
Apóllôn goes on to say that he reserves the power of oracle to himself:
"I am pledged and have vowed and sworn a strong oath that no other of the eternal Gods save I should know the wise-hearted counsel of Zeus." 
Apóllôn will use his power to both help and impair mankind:
"As for men, I will harm one and profit another, sorely perplexing the tribes of unenviable men." 
Why would Apóllôn "harm one and profit another," as the hymn states? Because Apóllôn distinguishes between the mortals who choose to live in justice and those who choose to live in injustice, and he keeps them separate.
For more information regarding oracle, prophecy, soothsaying:
Apóllôn is the great God of enlightenment
Apóllôn is the God of Light, for which he is known as Phívos (Phoebus, Φοίβος), the shining one, who has dominion over the Sun (Ἥλιος) itself. Apóllôn is not the same as the Sun, despite what some ancient literature would have one believe; he has dominion over the Sun. (See Thomas Taylor's notes to the Orphic hymn to the Sun for an explanation which is reasonable.). Apóllôn is the great God of enlightenment, for he fosters everything which brings about understanding: reason, education, logic, knowledge, and every kind of expansive thinking.
Apóllôn possesses a great fire
Apóllôn, like his sister Ártæmis, possesses the bow and arrow. He rules over the realms of archery. This arrow is a mighty fire that pushes the soul forward to great progress and arætí (arete, ἀρετή), virtue. His arrows never miss the mark and are also said to avert evil and punish the unjust.
Apóllôn presides over music, knowledge, and all the arts
Apóllôn plays the kithára (cithara = a type of lyre, κιθάρα), an instrument which, in the mythology, he acquired from his brother Ærmís, who, in the Homeric hymn to Ærmís, created the instrument from the shell of a turtle and gave it to his brother in exchange for his stolen cattle. The kithára of Apóllôn has seven strings, a number associated with the God, and represents the Seven Centers of the Soul. Therefore, with his beautiful music, Apóllôn causes these centers to vibrate and spin and thus propels the soul to progress and deification.
Please visit this page: The Lyre of Apóllôn.
Plants sacred to Apóllôn: laurel tree and larkspur.
The meaning of the name of Apóllôn
There are various opinions concerning the etymology of the name Ἀπόλλων. Modern etymologies differ from ancient views, particularly when considering that the antique ideas came from believers in the Gods. Etymology within religion is usually relegated to the category of “folk etymology.” Of course, the ancient writers had no idea of Proto-Indo-European roots of their language, but their etymologies can be thought of, at the very least, as a teaching tool for religion. Some of these etymologies are as follows.
Κρατύλος Πλάτωνος 405 b-d suggests several etymologies: ἀπολούων "purifier;" ἀπολύων "he who delivers from impurity;" ἁπλός from ἄπλουν "simple" "sincere;" and ἀεὶ βάλλων "always or ever-shooting," in reference to his skill at archery. Sôkrátîs (Sôcratês, Σωκράτης) points out that the letter ἁλφα at the beginning of the name signifies harmony, both harmony in music and the concordance in Gods and men. Another proposed etymology of his name is: α, "not" + πολύς, πολλοί, "many," (See Περὶ τοῦ εἶ τοῦ έν Δελφοῖς - Δε Ε απυδ Δελφος Πλουτάρχου, 393 b-c) i.e. not many, but a Unity. All of these ideas shed light on the meaning of the name Apóllôn, but this author has been taught that the primary etymology is derived from the Greek verb ἀπόλλῦμι "to destroy," an opinion that Sôkrátîs or Plátôn would seem to disagree with, most likely because Plátôn did not like ideas that had the potential to mislead people about the Gods, which is a very good thing. Nonetheless, Destroyer is the most important and fundamental meaning of the name of Apóllôn. Because of this association with destruction and some other ideas about the God (such as his relationship to plague), it has been assumed by some that Apóllôn has a "dark side," but this is a complete misunderstanding. Apóllôn is a destroyer, but what does he destroy? He destroys the darkness of the mind and soul, superstition, spiritual stagnation, the ýdra (hydra, ὕδρα) of egotism, slavery, and injustice, and everything that obscures the Natural Laws. He destroys all the impediments to expanding the limits of the mind. It is evident in his epithets: Phívos (Φοίβος) meaning "the bright one," or Phôsphóros (Φωσφόρος) meaning "light-bearer," or Lýkeios (Λύκειος) from λύχνος meaning "light" or "lamp." Apóllôn is the great boundless God of light. He is enlightenment itself. There is nothing dark in him. Within the verb ἀπόλλῦμι is the root λυ meaning "light:" "He who destroys with light." The idea that any divine being has a dark side, whether we speak of Apóllôn, Ækátî (Hekatê, Ἑκάτη), or any deity, is completely illogical because they are all beings of light and complete goodness.
Apóllôn is the principle God of deification and this is indicated in yet another meaning of the word ἀπόλλῦμι: "I lose myself." The entangling ýthra of ego has been destroyed; therefore "I lose myself" and unite with the Gods in immeasurable freedom. You are no longer what you were: "I lose myself." The circle is complete: you shall no longer return as a mortal being.
Apóllôn in iconography
In iconography Apóllôn is portrayed as a youth  of consummate beauty. His body exhibits perfect proportions, neither soft nor overly muscular.
"And ever beautiful is he and ever young: never on the girl cheeks of Apollo hath come so much as the down of manhood. His locks distil fragrant oils upon the ground; not oil of fat do the locks of Apollo distil but very Healing of All (Πανάκεια)." 
He often carries a kithára (cithara = lyre, κιθάρα), or a bow and arrows, or sometimes a sword. Frequently Apóllôn is accompanied by the Mousai (Muses, Μοῦσαι). The head of Apóllôn is adorned with long golden hair and is typically crowned with laurel. His eyes are green. Sometimes he is shown holding a branch of myrtle, emblematic of prophecy, or an apple, the prize of the Pythian Games. He is sometimes accompanied by a raven, sacred to him, or the Lýkos (Λύκος), the wolf, a symbol of the power of Apóllôn. The wolf is known as the Æôsphóros (Eosphoros, Εωσφόρος), the herald of the Dawn or the Light of the Dawn because wolves are usually seen at the break of dawn.
"The character under which this God is represented, is often suggested by the taste and caprice of the sculptor or the poet. He appears at Lesbos (Λέσβος) holding a branch of myrtle, a tree considered by the ancients to be emblematical of divination: sometimes he holds an apple, the prize at the Pythian games. At Delos (Δήλος), he has a bow in his right hand, and in his left the three Graces (Χάριτες), each of them bearing an instrument of music, the lyre, the flute, and the Sýrinx (Σύρινξ). As the sun, he has a cock on his hand, is crowned with rays, and traverses the zodiac (ζῳδιᾰκός) in a car, drawn by four white horses, to which the names, Philogæus (Φιλόγαιος), Erythræus (Ερυθραίος), Ethon, Actæon (Ἀκταίων), and Pyrois, are variously given. At other times, he appears upon Parnassus (Παρνασσός), surrounded by the Muses (Μοῦσαι), with his lyre in his hand, and a wreath of laurel on his head. The Persians, who confounded Apollo with the sun, represent him with the head of a lion and human features, surmounted by a tiara, and holding by the horns an infuriated bull, an emblem of Egyptian origin. The Egyptians, who identify him with Orus (Horus), represent him as an infant, swathed in variegated clothes, holding in one hand a staff, which terminates in the head of a hawk, and in the other a whip with three thongs; but he is most generally represented as tall, beardless, in the beauty and vigour of youth, with flowing locks, holding in his hand a bow, and sometimes a lyre (κιθάρα), his head being crowned with laurel, and surrounded with beams of light. In the temple of Assyrian Juno (Ἥρα) at Hierapolis (Ἱεράπολις), he is seen, near the throne of the sun, as an old man with a long beard. The statue of the God which has acquired the greatest celebrity, is that of Apollo Belvidere, which represents him at the moment of having discharged the arrow from his bow. Homer (Ὅμηρος), and the most ancient mythologists, considered the sun and Apollo as two distinct divinities; whereas Plato (Πλάτων), Cicero, and the Greeks, generally identified them. Upon antique monuments and coins they are almost invariably distinguished from each other; and more recent inquiries into this part of mythology tend to confirm the propriety of the distinction, ..." 
Birthday of Apóllôn and the number seven
Apóllôn's birthday is celebrated on the seventh of the Attic month of Θαργηλιών. Because of this, Apóllôn is known by the epithet Ævdomayænís (Hebdomagenes, Ἑβδομᾱγενής), meaning born on the seventh day.  All seventh days are, therefore, sacred to Apóllôn , hence, the connection between Apóllôn and the number seven.
For another interpretation of why the number seven is connected with Apóllôn we find this explanation of Próklos (Proclus, Πρόκλος):
"For he (ed. the Dimiourgós = Demiurge, Δημιουργός) divides the soul into parts, harmonizes the divided parts, and renders them concordant with each other. But in effecting these things, he energizes at one and the same time Dionysiacally [i.e. Bacchically] and Apolloniacally. For to divide, and produce wholes into parts, and to preside over the distribution of forms, is Dionysiacal; but to perfect all things harmonically, is Apolloniacal. As the Demiurgus, therefore, comprehends in himself the cause of both these Gods, he both divides and harmonizes the soul. For the hebdomad (= seven, ἑβδομάς) is a number common to both these divinities, since theologists (Orphic) also say that Bacchus (Βἀκχος) was divided into seven parts:
Into seven parts the Titans cut the boy.
And they refer the heptad (group of seven) to Apollo, as containing all symphonies. For the duple diapason (ed. a rich outpouring of harmonious song) first subsists in the monad (one = μοναδ), duad (two = δυάς), and tetrad (four = τετράς), of which numbers the hebdomad (ed. seven = ἑβδομάς) consists. Hence they call the God Hebdomagetes (Ἑβδομαγενής), or born on the seventh day, and assert that this day is sacred to him." 
There is another tradition regarding the birthday of Apóllôn. We do not follow the Attic custom, but celebrate the birthday of Apóllôn on May 21st, the commencement of the zodiacal month over which he has dominion.
Festivals of Apóllôn:
Hymns and prayers to Apóllôn:
Hymn to Apóllôn, a song
 Symparædros (συμπαρεδρος) to Zefs for this and other reasons: "Now Jupiter (Ζεύς) in the Orphic theology, is the Demiurgus (Δημιουργός) of the universe, or the first intellect; and Apollo, in the intellectual world, is the same with Jupiter..." This statement is found in the notes to the hymn to the hymn to Pan, The Hymns of Orpheus, Thomas Taylor, 1792.
 Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους Πλάτωνος 21b, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1804.
 Ἰλιάς Ὁμήρου 8.250, trans. Samuel Butler, 1898.
 Ὀρέστεια Εὐμενίδες Αἰσχύλου 1-19, trans. E. D. A. Morshead, 1881.
 Ὁμηρικός Ὕμνος 4 Εις Ἑρμῆν 532-541, trans. Hugh Evelyn-White, 1914.
 εις Ἀπόλλωνα Καλλιμάχου 47-54, trans. by A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair, 1921.
 Νόμοι Πλάτωνος 2.653 d-e, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892.
 "Pythagoras (Πυθαγόρας) pointed out that boys were most dear to the divinities; and he pointed out that, in times of great drought, cities would send boys as ambassadors to implore rain from the Gods, in the persuasion that divinity is especially attentive to children.....That is also the reason why the most philanthropic of the Gods, Apollo and Love (Ἔρως), are, in pictures, universally represented as having the ages of boys." (Ιαμβλίχου Χαλκιδέως περί βίου Πυθαγορικού λόγος, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1818)
 εις Ἀπόλλωνα Καλλιμάχου 44-48, trans. G. R. Mair, 1921.
 A Classical Manual, Being a Mythological, Historical, and Geographical Commentary on Pope's Homer, and Dryden's Æneid of Virgil, 1833; London: John Murray, Albemarle St. This vast, very old, and quite amazing reference book does not list an author.
 Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell & Scott.
 A Classical Manual p. 22 under Hebdomagenes.
 σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 200 c-d; trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820.
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods: 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.
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).
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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.
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