The Six Vasileis (Basileis = Kings, Βασιλεῖς, plural) are great deities of Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. Vasileis is the ancient Greek word meaning "kings." The word is plural; the singular is βασιλεύς. The etymology is: βάσις "base" or "foundation" + λαός "men," so, "the base or foundation of the people." But λαός is related to λᾶας "stone." Recall the story of how Defkalíôn (Deucaliôn, Δευκαλίων) and his wife Pýrra (Πύρρα) threw stones behind them, stones which became human beings, and thereby repopulated the earth after the great flood (Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου 1.7.2). The stone, λᾶας, is symbolic of the aithír (aethêr, αἰθήρ), the first form, like stone which has not yet been touched by the sculptor, but which has the potential to become anything. So the Six Kings are the base or foundation of the forms. They are the base of the aithír.

The Six Kings

The succession of the Six Kings is told in Orphic theogony. They are the progression or evolution of the active primary substance Ýdohr (Hydor, Ὕδωρ), which is the ancient Greek word for "water." Orphéfs, the great Thæológos (Theologian, Θεολόγος), described the universe as an Egg emerging from a primordial mixture. Within this mixture exist two fundamental substances, Earth and Water. Of the classical elements, Pyr (Fire, Πῦρ) and Aithír (Aether, Αἰθήρ) are closely related to Water; they are all what are called continuous substance. Τίμαιος Πλάτωνος 56d-57a says that these three elements have a quality in common and they can become one another, whereas the final element, Earth, always remains Earth. In the Orphic kozmogony, the progression of these kings begins with Aithír, a form of Water, and he is called Phánîs (Phanês, Φάνης), "he who reveals," or Prôtogónos (Prôtogonus, Πρωτογόνος), the "First-Born" of the Gods.

The progression of the Six Kings is as follows:

1. Phánîs (Phanês, Φάνης)

2. Nyx (Νύξ)

3. Ouranós (Uranus, Οὐρανός)

4. Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος)

5. Zefs (Ζεύς)

6. Diónysos (Dionysus, Διόνυσος)

Phánis and Nyx

The first two of these Gods, Phánîs and Nyx, are impersonal deities. They are great forces, but they cannot "hear your prayers," so to speak. Phánîs is the primordial deity who in the mythology enters the Cave of Nyx and reveals what is pre-existent, but unexpressed, thereby "creating" the Kózmos (Cosmos, Κόσμος).

The Three Vasíleiai and Earth

Ouranós is the first personal God. The next two in the progression of kings, Krónos and Zefs, are also personal deities, conscious entities. These three male deities are paired with Goddesses known as the Three Vasíleiai (Basileiai, βασίλειαι, plural of βασίλεια), a word meaning "queens." The Three Vasíleiai are the progression of the second and receptive kozmogonic substance, Yi or Yaia (Ge or Gaia, Γῆ or Γαῖα), which are ancient Greek words for "earth." The Three Vasíleiai are also personal deities.

The Three Vasíleiai are as follows:

1. Yaia (Gaia, Γαῖα)

2. Rǽa (Rhea, Ῥέα)

3. Íra (Hêra, Ήρα)

The Pairs of Queens and Kings

The Three Kings and the Three Queens work together as pairs. This pairing is described by theologists as marriage.

The pairs of Kings and Queens are as follows:

Yaia and Ouranós

Rǽa and Krónos

Íra and Zefs

Diónysos is the final King

The progression of Aithír is associated with the genitive power and the power of Mind. Ouranós and Krónos are associated with and are progressions of Nous (Νοῦς), Mind or Intellect; this progression culminates in mighty Zefs, who becomes the king of Gods and men forever. Diónysos is the sixth king and in this role he is known as the Klîronómos (Clêronomus, Κληρονόμος), the heir or successor. As is described in the Orphic theogony, Phánîs ruled over the Golden Age; Krónos ruled over the Silver Age [1]. We live in the final Titanic Age formed of the Titanic members of Zefs himself [2]. He created a new generation of beings: our generation. The creatures of this generation have immortal souls but, although we experience great beauty in our lives, we have bodies subject to death which is the result of old age, illness, or violence. Our souls return in new bodies, sometimes male, sometimes female, as tiny creatures, insects and all the myriad fish and animals, and also as humans, in a sorrowful circle of births (κύκλος γενέσεως). Constrained by natural laws which even the Gods cannot violate, this is the best possible universe. But Zefs in his great wisdom and compassion contrived a means of release from our misery; he conceived a son, Diónysos, born to free us from the sorrowful circle of births by means of his Mysteries, and through Diónysos, Zefs the king acts.


[1] Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι Ἡσιόδου 109-201 describes five ages of man, assigning the Golden and Silver ages differently.

[2] Orphic frag. 140. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Πολιτείας Πλάτωνος II 74, 26 Kr.

ὁ μὲν θεολόγος Ὀρφεύς τρία γένη παραδέδωκεν ἀνθρώπων· πρώτιστον τὸ χρυσούν, ὅπερ ὑποστῆσαι τὸν Φάνητά φησιν· δεύτερον τὸ ἀργυροῦν, οὗ φησιν ἄρχαι τὸν μέγιστον Κρόνον· τρίτον τὸ Τιτανικόν, ὅ φησιν ἐκ τῶν Τιτανικών μελῶν τὸν Δία συστήσασθαι

"The theologian Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) taught that there are three generations of men: the very first a golden age, which, he says, Phánîs (Φάνης) was the very one to create; the second is silver, where he says that the sovereignty was with mighty Krónos (Κρόνος); the third is the Titanic age, he says, which Zefs (Ζεύς) composed from the limbs of the Titans ."

(trans. by the author)

Orphic frag. 141. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Ἔργων καὶ Ἡμερῶν Ἡσιόδου 126 (Gaisf. II 121, 18):

ὁ μὲν Ὀρφεὺς τοῦ ἀργυροῦ γένους βασιλεύειν φησὶ τὸν Κρόνον.

“Truly, Orphéfs (Ὀρφεὺς) says Krónos reigns over the silver race.”

(trans. by the author)

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.

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 Apóllohn (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.

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.

SPELLING: 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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