ORPHIC FRAGMENT 20 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 20 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: According to Plátôn (Πλάτων), there is an inescapable law (Ἀδράστεια), that a soul which attains a glimpse of truth following a God, such a soul is preserved from harm, and always so, if always thus attaining. But when a soul is not capable of attaining to truth, there are degrees of rebirth dependent upon its understanding.

20. Φαῖδρος Πλάτωνος 248 c. d:

θεσμός τε Ἀδραστείας ὅδε. ἥτις ἂν ψυχὴ θεῶι συνοπαδὸς γενομένη κατίδηι τι τῶν ἀληθῶν, μέχρι τε τῆς ἑτέρας περιόδου εἶναι ἀπήμονα, κἂν ἀεὶ τοῦτο δύνηται ποιεῖν, ἀεὶ ἀβλαβῆ εἶναι· ὅταν δὲ ἀδυνατήσασα ἐπισπέσθαι μὴ ἴδηι, καί τινι συντυχίαι χρησαμένη λήθης τε καὶ κακίας πλησθεῖσα βαρυνθῆι, βαρυνθεῖσα δὲ πτερορρυήσηι τε καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν πέσηι, τότε νόμος ταύτην μὴ φυτεῦσαι εἰς μηδεμίαν θήρειον (θηρείαν B) φύσιν ἐν τῆι πρώτηι γενέσει, ἀλλὰ τὴν μὲν πλεῖστα ἰδοῦσαν εἰς γονὴν ἀνδρὸς γενησομένου φιλοσόφου ἢ φιλοκάλου ἢ μουσικοῦ τινος καὶ ἐρωτικοῦ, τὴν δὲ δευτέραν εἰς βασιλέως ἐννόμου ἢ πολεμικοῦ καὶ ἀρχικοῦ, τρίτην εἰς πολιτικοῦ ἤ τινος οἰκονομικοῦ ἢ χρηματιστικοῦ, τετάρτην εἰς φιλοπόνου < add Badh.> γυμναστικοῦ ἢ περὶ σώματος ἴασίν τινος (Herm.] τινα BT) ἐσομένου, πέμπτην μαντικὸν βίον ἤ τινα τελεστικὸν ἕξουσαν· ἕκτηι ποιητικὸς ἢ τῶν περὶ μίμησίν τις ἄλλος ἁρμόσει, ἑβδόμηι δημιουργικὸς ἢ γεωργικός, ὀγδόηι σοφιστικὸς ἢ δημοκοπικός (δημοτικός B), ἐνάτηι τυραννικός.

“And there is a law of Destiny (Ἀδράστεια), that the soul which attains any vision of truth in company with a God is preserved from harm until the next period, and if attaining always is always unharmed. But when she [1] is unable to follow, and fails to behold the truth, and through some ill-hap sinks beneath the double load of forgetfulness and vice, and her wings fall from her and she drops to the ground, then the law ordains that this soul shall at her first birth pass, not into any other animal, but only into man; and the soul which has seen most of truth shall come to the birth as a philosopher, or artist, or some musical and loving nature; that which has seen truth in the second degree shall be some righteous king or warrior chief; the soul which is of the third class shall be a politician, or economist, or trader; the fourth shall be a lover of gymnastic toils, or a physician; the fifth shall lead the life of a prophet or hierophant; to the sixth the character of a poet or some other imitative artist will be assigned; to the seventh the life of an artisan or husbandman; to the eight that of a

sophist or demagogue; to the ninth that of a tyrant.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

[1] In the Platonic and Orphic tradition, the soul is referred to in the feminine, and for good reason.

Πολιτεία Πλάτωνος V 451 a:

προσκυνῶ δὲ Ἀδράστειαν, ὦ Γλαύκων, χάριν οὗ μέλλω λέγειν

“I conjure Adrasteia, therefore, Glaucon, with respect to what I am going to say.”

(trans. Henry Davis, 1861)

Another translation:

“And I pray Nemesis (Ἀδράστεια) not to visit upon me the words which I am going to utter.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

Iam apud Προμηθεὺς Δεσμώτης Αἰσχύλου 936:

οἱ προσκυνοῦντες τὴν Ἀδράστειαν σοφοί.

“Yet the wise bow down to Nemesis (Ἀδράστεια).”

(trans. Paul Elmer More, 1899)

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.

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, 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, κιθάρα), the 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.

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

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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