The Limits of Mind - Ὅρια Νοός




As Yaia (Gaia, Γαῖα) is Earth, Ouranós is Sky; they are both personal manifestations of the two kozmogonic substances, Earth and Water, but they are progressed, conscious entities. Ouranós is one of the most important deities of Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion; he is a mighty and splendid God. In the mythology, Ouranós is presented in a negative way, but this is mythic language and should not be taken literally. The Orphic hymn to Ouranós states that he is the father of Gods and men; this same declaration is made for both Krónos and Zefs in their respective hymns. He is called the "abode of the happy Gods" (οἶκε θεῶν μακάρων, line 4 of the Orphic hymn), for his very existence is the foundation of divinity. His aithirial nature, like the rómvos (rhombus or top, ρόμβος), whirls through all the heavens and through our very soul, for he is Aithír (Aether, Αἰθήρ) itself, evolved into a divine consciousness. He is called the Panypǽrtatos Daimôn (Panypertatus Daemôn, Πανυπέρτατος Δαίμων), the most exalted and highest divinity.


Ouranós - (Uranus, Οὐρανός. Pronounced: oo-rah-NOHS) Etym. οὖρος, "boundary, limit" + νόος, "mind," thus ὅρια νοός, "the limits of the mind." The English word horizon comes from the ancient Greek word ὁρίζω which comes from ὅρος (> ϝόρϝος) "limit" "boundary." We can see the sky only as far as its boundary, the horizon. Another proposed etymology is from ὁρῶ, “to see;” we perceive the visible heavens limited by what we can see at the horizon. Some modern scholars, however, derive his name from the Sanskrit varṣá, “rain” and other words. In Greek, the word ouranós means, simply, "sky."

According to Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), Ouranós is the guardian of everything:

καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ὀρφέως Οὐρανὸς ‘οὖρος πάντων καὶ φύλαξ’ εἶναι βούλεται·

“The Ouranós of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) wants to be ‘the limit (οὖρος) and guardian of everything’ ” [1] (trans. by the author)

The Κρατύλος Πλάτωνος gives the following meaning to his name:

"But, according to report, Saturn (Κρόνος) is the son of Heaven (Οὐρανός): and sight directed to things above is called by this name οὐρανία, from beholding things situated on high. From whence, O Hermogenes (Ἑρμογένης), those who discourse on sublime affairs, say that a pure intellect is present with him, and that he is very properly denominated Heaven (Οὐρανός)." [2]

The Latin word, Uranus, is derived from the Greek. Also we find the pure Latin Caelum or Caelus [3], related to the word caelo which means "to carve," as in carving a relief in metal or marble. [4]

The Parentage of Ouranós

According to Orphic Theogony, the Goddess Nyx (Νύξ) gave Ouranós supreme power:

" 'First indeed is the reign of glorious Irikæpaios,' as declared in the poem, with Nyx holding in her hand the brilliant scepter of Irikæpaios, and then Ouranós, the first of the Gods to reign after Nyx." [5]

“He (Οὐρανός) first reigned of the Gods next after mother Nyx.” [6]

And this in agreement with the Δερβένι βύβλος, which states that Ouranós was born of Nyx:

Οὐρανὸς εὐφρονίδης, ὃς πρώτιστος βασίλευσεν

"Ouranós son of Nyx, the very first to be king" (trans. by the author) [7]

This text says that Ouranós was the first to rule, referring to the lineage of the Six Vasileis (Basileis or Kings, Βασιλεῖς [Βασιλεύς is singular]), he following Phánîs (Phanês, Φάνης) and Nyx . Why is he first to rule? ...because he is the first personal deity in the series, Phánis and Nyx being impersonal deities. Nyx precedes Ouranós and Phánîs precedes Nyx.

The Progeny of Ouranós

Ouranós and Yaia (Gaia, Γαῖα) are the first personal deities. The pairing of Ouranós and Yaia is described as the first marriage. [8]

According to Orphic theogony, Ouranós and Yaia fathered children: the Kýklôpæs (Cyclôpes, Κύκλωπες) and the Ækatónkheiræs (Hekatonkheires or "hundred-handed-ones," Ἑκατόνχειρες), but Ouranós found them an unruly bunch and pushed them deep into the earth [9] . Yaia, angered, gave birth to the Titánæs (Titans,Τιτᾶνες) [10].

The Kýklôpæs were three in number, but counted together with their sons, they were seven. They were smith-like Gods freed by Krónos, who later drove them into Tártaros (Τάρταρος), and later yet to be freed by Zefs, for whom they forged his great weapon, the Kæravnós (Keraunos, Κεραυνός), the thunderbolt. They also created the three-pronged spear or scepter called the Tríaina (Trident, Τρίαινα) wielded by mighty Poseidóhn (Poseidôn, Ποσειδῶν), and they made the Áïdos kynǽin (Aïdos kuneēn, Ἄϊδος κυνέην), the dog-skin cap of Ploutôn (Plutô, Πλούτων) which renders the wearer invisible.

The Ækatónkheiræs were three brothers of the Kýklôpæs. They were creators of violent storms and hurricanes, terrifying and dangerous portents, but natural phenomena nonetheless. They are associated with violent occurrences of nature, upheavals of the earth and extreme weather. So, it is obvious that neither of these groups of deities are "evil" in any way, but they may appear so to mortals which encounter the effects of their manifestation in the Kózmos (Cosmos, Κόσμος).

The Defeat of Ouranós by Krónos

Yaia (Gaia) plotted against Ouranós for suppressing her sons and implored the Titans to defeat him. All the Titánæs agreed to the plot with the exception of Okæanós (Oceanus, Ὠκεανός) [11]. When Ouranós came to Yaia's bed to lie with her, the conspirators overtook and bound him. Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος) then castrated his father with a sickle given to him by Yaia. The generative powers of Ouranós have been transformed and are now held by his son. Krónos then cast his father's genitals into the sea and from the foam that rose was born Aphrodítî (Aphroditê, Ἀφροδίτη) [12]. Orphic theogony presents two births of the Goddess Aphrodítî. The blood of Ouranós falling into the sea produces Heavenly Aphrodítî (Ουρανíα Ἀφροδίτη), she who unites with Árîs (Ares, Ἄρης) and gives birth to Harmony (Harmonia, Ἁρμονία). The Common Aphrodítî (Πάνδημος Ἀφροδίτη), she who blesses the sexual union of mortals, is produced from the semen of Zefs (Ζεύς) falling into the sea as he pursued the Goddess Dióhnî (Dione, Διώνη) [13].

Ouranós and the Six Vasileis

Ouranós is a constituent of the evolutionary progression of Aithír (Aethêr, Αἰθήρ) known as the dynasty of the Six Vasileis (Basileis = Kings, Βασιλεῖς [Βασιλεύς is singular]): Phánîs, Nyx, Ouranós, Krónos, Zefs, and Diónysos [14]. Phánîs and Nyx are not personal deities but are primordial divine aspects of Aithír; Ouranós is the first personal deity of the six; he and all those who follow him are conscious deities.

The Orphic Hymn to Ouranós:

4. Ouranós [Sky or The Heavens, Οὐρανός] [15]

The Fumigation from Frankincense.

Great Heav'n, whose mighty frame no respite knows,

Father of all, from whom the world arose:

Hear, bounteous parent, source and end of all,

Forever whirling round this earthly ball;

Abode of Gods, whose guardian pow'r surrounds [16]

Th' eternal World with ever during bounds;

Whose ample bosom and encircling folds

The dire necessity of nature holds.

Ætherial, earthly, whose all-various frame

Azure and full of forms, no power can tame.

All-seeing Heav'n, progenitor of Time, [17]

Forever blessed, deity sublime,

Propitious on a novel mystic shine,

And crown his wishes with a life divine.

4. Οὐρανοῦ

θυμίαμα λίβανον.

Οὐρανὲ παγγενέτωρ, κόσμου μέρος αἰὲν ἀτειρές,

πρεσβυγένεθλ', ἀρχὴ πάντων πάντων τε τελευτή,

κόσμε πατήρ, σφαιρηδὸν ἑλισσόμενος περὶ γαῖαν,

οἶκε θεῶν μακάρων, ῥόμβου δίνῃσιν ὁδεύων,

οὐράνιος χθόνιός τε φύλαξ πάντων περιβληθείς,

ἐν στέρνοισιν ἔχων φύσεως ἄτλητον ἀνάγκην,

κυανόχρως, ἀδάμαστε, παναίολε, αἰολόμορφε,

πανδερκές, Κρονότεκνε, μάκαρ, πανυπέρτατε δαῖμον,

κλῦθ' ἐπάγων ζωὴν ὁσίαν μύστηι νεοφάντηι.


Akmonídæs - (Acmonides; Gr. Ακμονίδες, ΑΚΜΟΝΙΔΕΣ. Etym. from the God Ἄκμων, whose name is derived from ἀκάματος, "unwearying," thought of as a characteristic of the heavens.) According to the ancient Spartan poet Alkmán (Alcman, Ἀλκμάν), Ákmôn is the father of Ouranós (σχόλιον Εὐσταθίου επὶ Ἰλιάδος του Ὁμήρου frag. 61), for which he (Ouranós) is called Akmonídæs (Son of Ákmôn). Ákmôn is a name for Aithír (Aethêr, Αἰθήρ).

Caelus - (Cælus) Caelus (also Coelus) is the Roman sky God and thus equated with Ouranós.

Coelus - (Cœlus) Coelus (also Caelus) is the Roman sky-God and thus equated with Ouranós.

Kozmokrátôr - (Cosmocratôr; Gr. Κοσμοκράτωρ, ΚΟΣΜΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ) lord of the world.

Kronótæknæ - (Cronotecne; Gr. Κρονότεκνε, ΚΡΟΝΟΤΕΚΝΕ) Father of Krónos.

Ória Noós - (Gr. Ὅρια Νοός) Ória Noós is Ouranós, the limits of mind. The English word "horizon" is derived from ὅρια.

Panypǽrtatos Daimôn - (Panypertatus Daemon; Gr. Πανυπέρτατος Δαίμων, ΠΑΝΥΠΕΡΤΑΤΟΣ ΔΑΙΜΩΝ) the highest and most exalted divinity.


[1] Orphic fragment 113. (90) Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν εἰς τὸν Πλάτωνος Παρμενίδην Δαμασκίου 257 (II 125, 24 Rue.) (See all the quotations in Orphic fragment 113) There is an alternate translation of this line as οὖρος can also be translated "guardian" or "protector," which would give us:

The Ouranós of Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) wants to be ‘the protector (οὖρος) and guardian of everything’ ”

[2] Κρατύλος Πλάτωνος 396c, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1804. Below is Taylor's note concerning this line of the text:

"Heaven (Ouranós), which is here characterized by sight, is the heaven which Plato so much celebrates in the Phædrus (Φαῖδρος), 247c and composes that order of Gods which is called by the Chaldean oracles νοητὸς καὶ νοερός, i.e. intelligible, and at the same time intellectual. This will be evident from considering that Plato, in what follows, admits with Hesiod, that there are Gods superior to heaven, such as night, chaos, &c. But as sight corresponds to intelligence, and this is the same with that which is both intelligible and intellectual, and as Saturn (Κρόνος) is the summit of the intellectual order, it is evident that heaven must compose the middle order of Gods characterized by intelligence, and that the order above this must be entirely intelligible. In consequence of all this, what must we think of their system, who suppose Heaven (Ouranós), Saturn (Κρόνος), and Jupiter (Ζεὺς), and indeed all the Gods of the ancients, to have been nothing more than dead men deified, notwithstanding the above etymologies, and the express testimony of Plato to the contrary in the Timæus (Τίμαιος), who represents the Demiurgus commanding the subordinate Gods, after he had produced them, to fabricate men and other animals? For my own part, I know not which to admire most, the ignorance, the impudence, or the impiety of such assertions. All that can be said is, that such opinions are truly barbaric, modern and Galilæan."

[3] Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short, 1879, under caelo.

[4] Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short, 1879, under caelo.

[5] Orphic frag. 107. (85) The local Gods that are extant: σχόλιον Ἀλεξάνδρου του Ἀφροδισιεύς επί τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά Ἀριστοτέλους. N 1091 b 4 (821, 5 Hayd.):

....πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ 'Βασίλευσε περίκλυτος Ἠρικεπαῖος' (fr. 108) φησὶν ἡ ποίησις, μεθ' ὃν Νὺξ 'σκῆπτρον ἔχους' ἐν χερσὶν ἀριπρεπὲς Ἠρικεπαίου (fr. 102) μεθ' ἣν Οὑρανός, 'ὃς πρώτος βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτα (fr. 111) ---, οὗτοι δὴ διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἄρχοντας μεταβάλλειν τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἄριστον ὕστερον ποιοῦσιν.

“ 'First indeed is the reign of glorious Irikæpaios,' as declared in the poem, with Nyx holding in her hand the brilliant scepter of Irikæpaios, and then Ouranós, the first of the Gods to reign after Nyx."

(trans. by the author)

[6] Orphic frag. 111. (85) σχόλιον Ἀλεξάνδρου του Ἀφροδισιεύς επί τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά Ἀριστοτέλους N 1091 b 4 (821, 19 Hayd.) Cetera v. supra fr. 108:

μεθ’ ἣν (sc. Νύκτα) Οὐρανός·

ὃς πρῶτος ()βασίλευσε θεῶν μετὰ μητέρα Νύκτα.

“After Nyx, Ouranós:

'He (Οὐρανός) first reigned of the Gods next after mother Nyx.' ”

(trans. by the author)

[7] Δερβένι βύβλος Col. 14.

[8] Orphic frag. 112. (91) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30e (III 176 10 Diehl):

καὶ εἰώθασι γάμον οἱ θεολόγοι προσαγορεύειν· οἰκεῖος γὰρ καὶ ὁ γάμος τῆι τάξει ταύτηι, καθά φησιν ὁ θεολόγος· πρώτην γὰρ νύμφην ἀποκαλεῖ τὴν Γῦν καὶ πρώτιστον γάμον τῦν ἕνωσιν αὐτῆς τὴν πρὸς τὸν Οὐρανον· οὐ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα ἡνωμένοις ὁ γάμος, διὸ Φάνητος οὐκ ἔστι γάμος καὶ Νυκτός, ἀλλήλοις νοητῶς, ἀλλ' ἐν τοῖς μετα τῦς ἑνώσεως καὶ τὸ διηιρημένον τῶν δυνάμεων καὶ τῶν ἐνεργειῶν ἐπιδεικνυμένοις.

"And this union theologists are accustomed to call marriage. For marriage, as the theologist Orpheus says, is appropriate to this order. For he calls Earth (Γαῖα) the first Nymph (ed. woman), and the union of her with Heaven (Οὐρανός) the first marriage; since there is no marriage in the divinities that are in the most eminent degree united. Hence there is no marriage between Phanes and Night..." (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820.)

[9] Orphic frag. 57. (39) Πρεσβεία περί των Χριστιανών Ἀθηναγόρου 18 p. 20, 12 Schw.:

Οὐρανὸς δὲ Γῇ μιχθεὶς γεννᾷ θηλείας μὲν Κλωθώ, Λάχεσιν, Ἄτροπον, ἄνδρας δὲ Ἑκατόγχειρας Κόττον, Γύγην, Βριάρεων καὶ Κύκλωπας, Βρόντην καὶ Στερόπην καὶ Ἄργην· οὓς καὶ δήσας κατεταρτάρωσεν, ἐκπεσεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν παίδων τῆς ἀρχῆς μαθών.

“...and Ouranos, by his union with Gê, begot females, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; and males, the hundred-handed Cottys, Gyges, Briareus, and the Cyclopes Brontes, and Steropes, and Argos, whom also he bound and hurled down to Tartarus, having learned that he was to be ejected from his government by his children.” (trans. B. P. Pratten, 1885)

[10] Orphic frag. 114. (95) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 40e (III 184, 1 Diehl):

τίκτει γὰρ ἡ Γῆ λαθοῦσα τὸν Οὐρανόν , ὥσ φησιν ὁ θεολόγος·

ἑπτὰ μὲν εὐειδεῖς κούρας (ἑλικώπιδας, ἁγνάς,)

ἑπτὰ δὲ παῖδας ἄνακτας (ἐγείνατο λαχνήεντας)·

θυγατέρας μὲν (τίκτε?) Θέμιν καὶ ἐΰφρονα Τηθὺν

Μνημοσύνην τε βαθυπλόκαμον Θείαν τε μάκαιραν,

ἠδὲ Διώνην τίκτεν ἀριπρεπὲς εἶδος ἔχουσαν

Φοίβην τε Ῥείην τε, Διὸς γενέτειραν ἄνακτος·

παῖδας δὲ ἄλλους τοσούτους·

Κοῖόν τε Κρῖόν τε μέγαν Φόρκυν τε κραταιὸν

καὶ Κρόνον Ὠκεανόν θ' Ὑπερίονά τ' Ἰαπετόν τε.

“For Yî (Γῆ) generates, unseen from Ouranós, so the theologian declares:

‘Seven comely daughters indeed, (with lovely eyes, chaste).

And seven lordly sons, born with hair;

Indeed, (she begot) the daughters Thǽmis (θέμις) and cheerful Tîthýs (Τηθύς)

Both thick-haired Mnîmosýnî (Μνημοσύνη) and happy Theia (Φεία),

And she begot Dióhnî (Διώνη), possessed of stately form,

And Phívî (Φοίβη), and Rhǽa (Ῥέα), the mother of Zefs (Ζεὺς) the king.’

“Now the other children were as many:

‘Kíos (Κοῖος) and Kreios (Κρεῖος) and mighty Phórkys (Φόρκυς)

And Krónos (Κρόνος), Ôkæanós (Ὠκεανός); both Ypæríôn (Ὑπερίων) and Iapætós (Ἰαπετός).’

(trans. by the author)

[11] Orphic frag. 135. (100) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 40e (III 185, 28 Diehl):

ἔνθ' αὖτ' Ὠκεανὸς μὲν ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἔμιμνεν

ὁρμαίνων, ποτέρωσε νόον τράποι, ἢ πατέρα ὃν |

γυ(ι)ώσηι τε βίης καὶ ἀτάςθαλα λωβήσαιτο

σὺν Κρόνωι ἤδ' ἄλλοισιν ἀδελφοῖς, οἳ πεπίθοντο

μητρὶ φίληι, ἢ τούς γε λιπὼν μένοι ἔνδον ἕκηλος.

πολλά δὲ πορφύρων μένεν ἥμενος ἐν μεγάροισι,

σκυζόμενος ἧι μητρί, κασιγνήτοισι δὲ μᾶλλον.

“Accordingly Okæanós (Ὠκεανὸς) remained in his palace,

Deliberating, to which course his mind should incline, to be with his father,

Or should he wound his father’s might in wicked dishonor,

With Krónos and his other brothers, who being persuaded

By their beloved mother, or should he quit them and stay where he is at peace.

Then he brooded long and remained idle in his palace,

For he was angry with his mother, yet more with his brothers."

(trans. by the author)

[12] Orphic frag. 127. (101) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 406c, (p. 110, 15 Pasqu.):

παράγει οὖν αὐτὴν (that is Ἀφροδίτη) ὁ Οὐρανὸς ἐκ τοῦ ἀφροῦ τῶν γονίμων ἑαυτοῦ μορίων ῥιφέντων εὶς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὥς φησιν Ὀρφεύς·

μήδεα δ᾿ ἐς πέλαγος πέσεν ὑψόθεν, ἀμφὶ δὲ τοῖσι

λευκὸς ἐπιπλώουσιν ἑλίσσετο πάντοθεν ἀφρός·

ἐν δὲ περιπλομέναις ὥραις Ἐνιαυτὸς ἔτικτεν

παρθένον αἰδοίην, ἥν δὴ παλάμαις ὑπέδεκτο

γεινομένην τὸ πρῶτον ὁμοῦ Ζῆλός τ' Ἀπάτη τε.

Therefore Ouranós (Οὐρανὸς) produces (Ἀφροδίτη) from the foam of his own genitals which had been cast into the sea, as Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) says:

“The genitals fell down from above into the sea,

swirling round about from every side in the bright foam;

and then in the circling seasons, the Year begot

the venerable maiden; she received in her hands,

just now born, both Zílos (Ζῆλος) and Apátî (Ἀπάτη) together.”

(trans. by the author)

[13] Orphic frag. 183. (140) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 406c, (p. 110, 23 Pasqu.):

... ὑπέδεκτο δὲ πόντος

σπέρμα Διὸς μεγάλου· περιτελλομένου δ' ἐνιαυτοῦ

ὥραις καλλιφύτοις τέκ' ἐγερσιγέλωτ' Ἀφροδίτην ἀφρογενῆ.

"…then the sea received

the seed of mighty Zefs; and having gone round a year,

in the season of beautiful begetting he bore laughter-rousing Aphrodíti, the foam-born."

(trans. by the author)

[14] See Orpheus and Greek Religion by W.K.C. Guthrie, p. 82. The progression of the Six Vasileis can be found in the Orphic Theogony.

[15] trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792.

[16] Thomas Taylor, the translator of the hymn, comments on this line:

"Whose guardian power surrounds, &c. and v. 11 All-seeing Heaven.

ὁ του Ὀρϕέος Ὀυρανὸς ὁυρος ϰαὶ πάντων ϕυλὰξ έναι βούλεται.

Damascius περὶ αρχῶν. i. e. "according to Orpheus, Heaven is the inspector and guardian of all things."

[17] This line in Greek is actually two epithets of Ouranós: πανδερκές "all-seeing," and Κρονότεκνε "father of Krónos" (not "Time," which would be Χρονότεκνε).

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.

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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