O - An Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism




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PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this Glossary, you will find fascinating stories. 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 often 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.

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ABBREVIATIONS: A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE

Ο, ο (OMICRON) - The Greek letter OMICRON sounds like the long o in go or flow, never like the o in top or pop. The OMICRON sounds exactly the same as the OMEGA (Ω, ω); to distinguish between the two letters, in transliteration, this website is using the single o for the OMICRON, and oh for the OMEGA. See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

Ω, ω (OMEGA) - The Greek letter OMEGA sounds like the long o in go or flow, never like the o in top or pop. The OMEGA sounds exactly the same as the OMICRON (Ο, ο); to distinguish between the two letters, in transliteration, this website is using the single o for the OMICRON, and oh for the OMEGA. See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

Oeagros or Oeagrus - See Oíagros.

Ogygius - (Gr) surname of Apollo, one of his names in Attica, originally called Ogygia. (CM p.23)

Ohmophayía - (Omophagia; Gr. Ὠμοφαγία, ΩΝΟΦΑΓΙΑ) Ohmophayía is communion with the God. The term refers to the eating of raw flesh by the Mainádæs (Maenads; Gr. Μαινάδες) in the rites of Diónysos. The ohmopháyion (omophagion; Gr. ὠμοφάgιον), a living animal, was sacrificed by means of sparagmós (Gr. σπαραγμός), 'ripping apart,' in imitation of Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεὐς) being torn apart by the Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες). The raw flesh was then eaten in communion with the God, producing an experience known as Ohmophayía. Ohmophayía is not literal; it is symbolic of the opening of the centers of the soul. In ancient times there were instances where so-called Vakkhic practitioners actually killed and ate raw animals in the way described, but even in these ancient instances, such practitioners had misunderstood. Similarly, the association of wine with Diónysos was used as an excuse for drunkenness; in reality, the intoxicating quality of wine is symbolic of the intoxicating quality of the Aithír (Aether or Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ) of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς).

Oi or oi - The English diphthong oi is typically pronounced like the oy in boy. It is for this reason that this website is avoiding using it to represent the Greek digraph OMICRON-UPSILON. The Greek digraph OMICRON-UPSILON sounds like the ee in seem or keep. We are representing the Greek digraph OMICRON-UPSILON with the letter i. We realize that this makes it difficult to find the original Greek letters for scholars, but we have opted for ease of pronunciation. Where possible, the original Greek word can be found in parenthesis, in any case.

See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

Also the opening entry for the letter I: i - www.HellenicGods.org

Oíagros - (Oeagros; Gr. Οἴαγρος, ΟἼΑΓΡΟΣ) Oíagros is the Thracian wine or river God who is said to be the father of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) by Kalliópi (Kalliope; Gr. Καλλιόπη).

oikos - See ikos.

oinochoe - See inokho-i.

Oïzýs - (Oizys; Gr. Ὀϊζύς, ΟΙΖΥΣ. Pronounced: oh-ee-ZEES) Lexicon entry: ὀϊζύς, Trag. and later Ion. (Herod.7.39) οἰζύς, ύος, , woe, misery. II. as pr. n., daughter of Night Hes.Th.214. [ in nom. and acc., v. Hes. l. c. ; in other cases.] (L&S p. 1201, right column, within the entries beginning with ὀΐζυος, edited for simplicity.)

Okeanides - the three-thousand nymphs whose domain is fresh water and all its sources (streams, clouds, etc.).

Okeanos (Oceanus) - the Titan God of river which encircles the Earth, Oceanus.

Olókafston (Holocaust; Gr. Ὁλόκαυστον, ΟΛΟΚΑΥΣΤΟΝ; Etym. ὅλος, meaning "whole" or "entire," + καυστός, "burnt.") The original meaning of Olókafston did not have the evil connotation we now ascribe to it; the Nazis polluted the word, as they did to the symbol of the swastika (which they distorted in any case, i.e., the Nazi swastika goes in the wrong direction). We include it here in our glossary only to explain its original meaning as the student will eventually discover it in his or her reading and may be confused. The Olókafston refers to a particular type of sacrifice to the Gods. In the usual sacrifice of an animal, the flesh is eaten by the participants while the fat and bones are given to the Gods. The Olókafston or Holocaust is a blood offering in which the entire animal is offered. This was done but rarely and for situations of usually of great calamity, need, or thanksgiving.

olotis - (Gr. ὁλότης, ὉΛΌΤΗΣ) Olotis is "Wholeness. A whole which has a perpetual subsistence, and which comprehends in itself all the multitude of which it is the cause." (TTS XV p. 10)

Olympian Gods, the (the Dodekatheon) - the Twelve Olympian Gods: Zeus-Hera, Hermes-Athena, Apollon-Artemis, Ares-Aphrodite, Hephaestus-Hestia, and Poseidon-Demeter. Contrary to common belief, Dionysos is not one of the Olympians; his position is supremely important, but different.

Olympianism - Dodekatheism or Olympianism refers specifically to the worship the Twelve Olympian Gods as supreme while implying, as well, the worship of the entire pantheon of Gods surrounding them. See Hellenismos

Ómiros (Homer; Gr. Ὅμηρος, ΟΜΗΡΟΣ. Etym. ὁμηρέω, "meeting, agreeing, harmony," [Isíodos Thæogonía 39]. See Etymological Dict. of Greek by Robert Beekes, Brill [Leiden-Boston], 2010, Vol. 2, p. 1076: ὅμηρος)

Ómiros is the great epic bard and poet of ancient Ællás (= Hellas = Greece; Gr. Ἑλλάς). He is known primarily for two books, actually poems which were written down after he died: Ilias (The Iliad; Gr. Ἰλιάς), the story of the rage of the mighty hero Akhilléfs (Achilles; Gr. Ἀχιλλεύς) during the last year before the siege of Ílion (= Ilium = Troy; Gr. Ἴλιον), and the Odýsseia (Odyssey; Gr. Ὀδύσσεια), the story of the wanderings and eventual homecoming of the great hero Odysséfs (Odysseus; Gr. Ὀδυσσεύς), after the Trojan war. There are a number of religious hymns also attributed to Ómiros because of a similarity of the poetic style, usually called, simply, the Homeric Hymns, but the actual authorship is unknown.

To be sure, the actual existence of a person named Ómiros, the blind bard, has been a subject of debate, although never questioned in ancient times. The Greek historian Iródotos (Herodotos; Gr. Ἡρόδοτος) indicates that Ómiros was alive around 850 BCE, but other ancient sources say that he lived even earlier than that. Legend has it that Ómiros was born or at least lived in Khíos (Chios; Gr. Χίος).

The study of Ómiros is critical to an understanding of the Hellenic tradition; indeed, all of Western civilization owes a great debt to these writings. Ómiros is ubiquitous. These books have been criticized, saying, for instance, that whoever wrote them had a political agenda. For those in contemporary times who practice Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, some feel that the anthropomorphic depiction of deity in the poems of Ómiros leads to distorted views concerning the Gods, a perspective apparently held by Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) as expressed in Politeia (The Republic; Gr. Πολιτεία) and elsewhere. Nonetheless, Ómiros' poems are immensely important if for nothing other than their influence. Much of all Hellenic mythology refers to events before and after those described and referred to by Ómiros, making the poems something of a center. One cannot be literate in the Classical tradition or even in the Western literary tradition, without familiarity of these texts.

So much literature from antiquity has reference to Ómiros. The index to the Moralia (actual Greek title is Ithiká; Gr. Ἠθικά) of Ploutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος) in the Loeb edition has more than eleven dense pages of references to Ómiros. In comparison, there are not even three pages for Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος). In the 1937 Random House edition of Jowett's The Dialogue's of Plato, a page and a half in the index to Ómiros. We could continue with the writings of Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας) and so forth, but why go on as it is obvious: Ómiros is everywhere in ancient literature. And beyond antiquity, there is likely no other literature from this period that continues to influence the Western world and beyond so deeply as does Ómiros. This background is critical as a foundation to understanding Hellenic religion. Once that foundation has been made, then the many questions that the poems of Ómiros inspires can be, one-by-one, answered, providing an excellent vehicle to assist someone new to Ællinismόs to learn this religion.

omonia or omonoia - (Gr. ομόνοια, ΟΜΌΝΟΙΑ) 1) Omonia is oneness of mind, unanimity, concord, 2) personified (L&S p.1226)

omonoia - See omonia.

Omophagia - See Ohmophagia.

Omphalós - (Gr. Ὀμφαλός, ΟΜΦΑΛΟΣ) Omphalós is the Greek word for the navel, the umbilicus, or anything like the naval. It refers to something which is at the center. The Omphalós, in a religious context, marks the center of the Earth, the Axis mundi (Latin). The navel of the Earth is Dælphí. The Omphalós is also the name for the stone which was wrapped in swaddling cloth by Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα) and given to her husband Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος) in order to deceive him into thinking it was the newborn Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). Please visit this page: Dælphí.

One, the = To Æn (Gr. Τὸ Ἕν, ΤΟ ΕΝ) For issues dealing with the Platonic/Neoplatonic concept of The One, please visit this page: Monotheism in Hellenismos.

Óneiri - (Oneiroi; Gr. Ὄνειροι) Óneiri is the ancient Greek word meaning Dreams. Orphic hymn 86 is dedicated to Óneiri.

Oneirokrisía - (Gr. Ὀνειροκρισία, ΟΝΕΙΡΟΚΡΙΣΙΑ) Oneirokrisía is the art of interpreting dreams.

Oneirokritikón (Oneirocriticon; Gr. Όνειροκριτικόν) The Oneirokritikón of Artemídohros (Artemidorus; Gr. Ἀρτεμίδωρος) is a text from antiquity regarding the interpretation of dreams.

Onomatothæsía - (Gr. Ὀνομᾰτοθεσία, ΟΝΟΜΑΤΟΘΕΣΙΑ) Onomatothæsía is changing one's name or being given a Hellenic name. It is not uncommon for those who worship the Gods but are not ethnic Hellenes to either adopt or be given a Hellenic name. The ceremony for receiving a Hellenic name is called the Amphidrómia (Gr. Ἀμφιδρόμια). For infants born in Greece, in those families who worship the Gods, such a child is sometimes given two names, one for daily secular use, the other for the religion and the community. Cf. Amphidrómia.

Lexicon entry: ὀνομᾰτο-θεσία, ἡ, the giving a name, nomenclature, Eust.39.23. (L&S p.1233, right column, within the entries beginning with ὀνομᾰτο-γρᾰφία)

opinion, belief, and faith - See pistis; see doxa. .

oræxis or orexis - (Gr. ὄρεξις, ὌΡΕΞΙΣ) desire, craving, striving, appetite, yearning. Oræxis is not the same as Eros (attraction). Aristotle (see Pæri Psikhis, Latin: De Anima 431-433) portrays oræxis as a function of the soul, the capacity to pursue an object of desire; it is that which pushes the soul into motion.

Lexicon entry: ὄρεξις, εως, ἡ, (ὀρέγω) general word for all kinds of appetency, conation, including ἐπιθυμία, θυμός, βούλησις, Arist.de An.414b2, cf. 433a13, al., Stoic.3.40, Epicur.Fr.202, Metrod.Herc.831.16,Phld. Mus.p.78 K. ; opp. φυγή, Arist.de An.431a12 ; opp. ἔκκλισις, Arr. Epict.1.4.1, M.Ant.8.7. 1. c. gen. objecti, longing or yearning after a thing, desire for it, Democr.219, Pl.Def.414b, Arist.EN1119b7, de An.414b6, al.: more rarely, ὄ. ἐπί τι Plu.2.48c ; περί τι Democr. 72. 2. abs., propension, appetency, ὄ. βουλευτική Arist.EN1113a11 ; ὄ. διανοητική ib.1139b5 ; [ἐπιθυμίαι τινὲς] εὐδιάχυτον τὴν ὄ. ἔχουσιν Epicur.Sent.26. (L&S p.1247, right column)

Orchestes - (Gr) Apollo the dancer. (CM p.23)

Orgy - The Orgy is a secret rite in the Mysteries, such as the cult of Dionysos. Another word for Orgies is Mysterita (Gr. Μυστηριτἁ, singular: Μυστηριον). The word was perverted by Christians into the derogatory meaning found in dictionaries today. In reality, even a simple ritual is a type of orgy.

Orithyia (alternate spelling: Oreithyia) - [Greek: Ὠρείθυια] 1) Orithyia is a mountain-nymph and the daughter of Erechtheus (king of Athens) and Praxithea. She has two Goddess sisters, Pandrosos (All Dewy) and Herse (Dew). Having strayed beyond the river Ilissus, she was abducted by Boreas, by whom she had the following offspring: Kleopatra and Khione (snow), and the winged men Zetes (Zethus) and Calais, these brothers known as the Boreads and became Argonauts. The name Orithyia means "she who rages from the mountain." She is a Goddess and has dominion over mountain winds.

2) According to Homer, there is a Nereid named Orithyia

3) According to the mythographer, Antoninus Liberalis, there was an Oread nymph in Phoenicia on Mount Lebanon who was called Orithyia. She was the mother of Theos (by Baal, i.e. Belos), who was the father of Smyna, who was the mother of Adonis.

Oropæus - surname of Apollo, from his oracle at Oropus, a city of Eubœa. (CM p.23)

Orphæotælæstai - (Orpheotelestai; Gr. Ὀρφεοτελεσταί) Orphæotælæstai are practitioners of Orphic rites.

Orpheotelestai - See Orphæotælæstai.

Orpheus - Please visit this page: Orpheus.

Orphic Hymns - Please visit this page: ORPHIC HYMNS - ὈΡΦΙΚΟῚ ὝΜΝΟΙ

Orphic Rhapsodies - There appears to have existed a group of twenty-four Orphic rhapsodiai (parts or lays) viewed as the Orphic theogony, according to the Neoplatonist Damaskios (O.F. 60). The Neoplatonists believed that Orpheus himself wrote these poems and they are thought of as particularly 'orthodox'. The poems have come down to us only in fragmentary form and are found as quotations in Neoplatonic literature, much being found in Proclus. To read the complete extant fragments, visit this page: ORPHIC RHAPSODIES - ΙΕΡΌΣ ΛΌΓΟΣ ΣΕ 24 ΡΑΨΩΔΊΕΣ. You will find additional information on this page as well: Orphic Cosmogony and Theogony.

orthodoxy and orthopraxy - Please visit this page: Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy in Hellenismos.


1) the word is confusing because it is also used as the name of the island where Artemis was born, Leto then going to Delos to give birth to Apollo. But Ortygia is an old name for Delos.

2) surname of Apollon, from Ortygia, the ancient name of the island of Delos. (CM p.23)

oryí - (orgi; Gr. ὀργή, ΟΡΓΗ) Lexicon entry: ὀργή, ἡ, natural impulse or propensity: hence, temperament, disposition, mood. II. anger, wrath. 2. Adverbial usages, ὀργῇ in anger, in a passion. 3. c. gen., Πανὸς ὀργαί visitations of Pan's wrath, Id.Med. 1172 ; but b. c. gen. objecti, ὀργή τινος anger at or because of a thing. 4. v. ὀργάς 2.—Not in Hom., who uses θυμός instead ; once in Hes.; freq. in Eleg. and Lyr. and in Ion. and Att. Prose.

Osía (Gr. Ὁσία, ΟΣΙΑ. [fem. of ὅσιος]) Osía is divine law. II. the service or worship owed by man to God, rites, offerings, etc. 2. funeral rites, last honours paid to the dead. (L&S p. 1260, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Ósios - (Gr. Ὅσιος, ΟΣΙΟΣ) Ósios is hallowed, i. e. sanctioned or allowed by the law of God or of nature, δίκη. 1. sanctioned by divine law, hallowed, holy. 2. opp. ἱερός, permitted or not forbidden by divine law, profane, ἱερὰ καὶ ὅ. things sacred and profane. II. of persons, pious, devout, religious. 2. sinless, pure. 3. rarely of the Gods, holy. 4. title of five special priests at Delphi, Plu.2.292d, 365a. (L&S p. 1260, right column, edited for simplicity.)

Osiótis - (Hosiotes; Gr. ὁσιότης, ὉΣΙΌΤΗΣ) Osiótis is piety or holiness, similar to Efsǽvia (Eusebia; Gr. Eὐσέβεια, ΕΥΣΈΒΕΙΑ) or the Latin Pietas.

- Lexicon entry: ὁσι-ότης, ητος, ἡ, disposition to observe divine law, piety, Pl.Prt.329c, Euthphr.14d; πρὸς θεῶν ὁ. piety towards them (ed. the Gods), Plu.Alc.34 ; also, like Lat. pietas. (L&S p. 1261, left column at the top of the page within the entries beginning οσί-α from the previous page, edited for simplicity.)

- See also Efsǽvia and Pietas.

OU and ou - The English letters ou are being used on this website to represent the Greek digraph OMICRON-UPSILON (Gr. ΟΥ, ου). This is pronounced like the oo in boom or too.

Ourania - One of the nine Mousai (Muses), she is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. She is the Muse of Astronomy.Ourania Aphrodite - Born from the foam in the sea where Ourano's genitals had fallen, Ourania Aphrodite is the "heavenly" Aphrodite. Compare to Pandemos Aphrodite.

Ouranos (Latin: Uranus or Caelum) - Ouranos is the son of Nyx and the father of Kronos. This website has a page dedicated to the God: OURANOS - ΟΥΡΑΝΌΣ

Ousía - (Gr. Οὐσίἁ, ΟΥΣΊἉ) Ousía means substance, matter, that which exists primarily, as in the kosmogonic substances Earth (the Mæristí Ousía or Substance) and Water-Fire-Aithír (the Synækhís Ousía or Substance).

Lexicon entry for Ousia: οὐσί-α, II. stable being, immutable reality. 2. substance, essence. 3. true nature of that which is a member of a kind. 4. the possession of such a nature, substantiality. 5. in the concrete, the primary real, the substratum underlying all change and process in nature. Etc. (L&S p. 1274, right column)

Oxuthumia - See Oxythýmia.

Oxythýmia - (Oxuthumia; Gr. Ὀξυθύμια, ΟΞΥΘΥΜΙΑ) Lexicon entry: ὀξῠθῡμια, τά, refuse deposited at cross-roads near the statues of Hecate. (L&S p. 1235, right column, within the entries beginning with ὀξυθυμέω, edited for simplicity.)

ABBREVIATIONS: A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE

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 kosmogonic 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).

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:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

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