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Orphic vs Homeric

Post  spokane89 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:57 am

Which hymns do you prefer to use? I tend to go back and forth, usually because Homer would sometimes write these absurdly long hymns and I feel like my incense would go out before I finished reciting them Razz
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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  J_Agathokles on Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:44 am

I used to followed the Orphic Hymns according to a devotional schedule I got from Hellenion's website (http://www.hellenion.org/campbella/daily_orpheus_drewcampbell.html) but I have since stopped doing this because it felt a bit uncomfortable as I do not subscribe to Orphism. I use the Homeric Hymns were I can (not the really long ones) now, and the Orphic ones where I have no choice.

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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Callisto on Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:19 pm

I use both, though most often the Homeric.

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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Erodius on Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:29 pm

Well I practice Orphism, and we use the Orphic hymns. However, I have at least two translations that I know of sitting around on my shelves of the Homeric hymns, and I do use them as well on a few occasions.

However, being familiar with both sets of hymns and both sets of theology and theogenealogy, I think it is understandable that non-Orphics would prefer the Homeric hymns (I would almost recommend this, actually), being as the Orphic hymns are full of Orphic theology/cosmology and belief that is often not shared with the Homeric hymns, and can be quite disorienting if you aren't familiar with it.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Pemphredo on Fri May 31, 2013 6:36 pm

Sorry for digging out this older thread.

I can understand J_Agathokles. I really admire the Orpic hymns. But I also don't feel so comfortable for using them actually. Not because I wouldn't subscribe to Orphism (it's less territorial bound), but just because I'm not initiated into Orphism, so for that I'm feeling a little as if I would profane them since I'm not an initiated Orphic myself. And the initiands are often mentioned in these hymns. I do read and study them, but out of respect to Orphism I actually do not dare to use them.

We also have the hymns of Proklos, but they are only six: one to Athena, two to Aphrodite, one to Helios, one tho Zeus-Janus, Hekate and the Mother of the gods and one to all gods. Did I forget one?

And Julianus Restitutor wrote hymns to both King Helios and the Mother of the Gods.
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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Erodius on Fri May 31, 2013 7:52 pm

I can understand J_Agathokles. I really admire the Orpic hymns. But I also don't feel so comfortable for using them actually. Not because I wouldn't subscribe to Orphism (it's less territorial bound), but just because I'm not initiated into Orphism, so for that I'm feeling a little as if I would profane them since I'm not an initiated Orphic myself. And the initiands are often mentioned in these hymns. I do read and study them, but out of respect to Orphism I actually do not dare to use them.

They were already profaned centuries ago, though by whom it's impossible to know. Regardless, they were already available in Western Europe by the 18th century. However, your respect for them is honorable and praiseworthy. So long as you are treating them with due respect, it is not so much the issue that non-initiates might profane them, as that they might misunderstand them, or simply find them straight-up confusing, being as they are peppered with Orphic doctrines, use Orphic naming conventions (which are often different from the Homeric and Hesiodian systems), and sometimes reference myth and genealogies that are specific to the Orphic system and occasionally diverge from the Homero-Hesiodian ones with which many people are alone familiar. And of course, as you mentioned, there is the fact that numerous hymns conclude with references to and/or prayers for the well being or blessing of the community of Initiates, which I imagine would be a little situationally awkward if the reciter of the hymn was not him/herself an Initiate.

We also have the hymns of Proklos, but they are only six: one to Athena, two to Aphrodite, one to Helios, one tho Zeus-Janus, Hekate and the Mother of the gods and one to all gods. Did I forget one?

And Julianus Restitutor wrote hymns to both King Helios and the Mother of the Gods.

There are also a few hymns (6 in number) by the Hellenistic poet Callimachus of Cyrene: http://www.theoi.com/Text/CallimachusHymns1.html

And there are seven Proclan Hymns — you listed all of them, you just miscounted. :-)

Emperor Iulianus did write an extant Hymn to Apollo (which is quoted in my signature, actually), but the Hymn to King Helios and the Hymn to the Mother of the Gods are both more like sermons or speeches rather than hymns.

Finally, there are also the Hymns of Plethon (15 in number), which are almost more overtly Orphic than the Orphic Hymns themselves, and which expound a theology that is radically different from that of Hesiod, and whose genealogies and juxtaposition of gods I imagine would make most students of Homero-Hesiodian mythology who aren't familiar with Orphic or other Mystery traditions ask "Where in the hell did this guy learn mythology?!" Laughing

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Pemphredo on Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:16 am

Miscounting... so typical for me! Neutral Embarassed And how could I forget Kallimachos? I used his Artemis hymn for my study of the goddess Diana. Plethon I didn't know until now, so thanks!!!

They [the Orphic hymns] ask some effort to understand and they seem confusing... but well: that's what I like about it actually. The Orphic hymns are doubtless religious. And Orphism is lesser bound to territorial or ethnics, similar like Isiacism or Mithraism. Thoug Hellenism was of course spread over a much greater area then only modern Greece. Already before Alexander conquered the East, Olympian gods were worshipped in Asia-Minor(East-Turkey) and Magna Graeca (South-Italy)... some of them (Apollon, Artemis, Hephaistos, Aphrodite) came from the East... and when the Romans equated their gods with the Olympians, the Olympian worship reached other parts of Europe. Well that is a very simple explanation. A deity like Mercurius Dumias from the Puy-de-Dôme in French was in principle a very interesting constellation: a local deity, perhaps celtic, bearing a Latin name and portrayed with the attributes of a Greek god. But nonetheless a real deity.

Uhm... how did I come from Orphic Hymns to the Mercury of the Puy-de-Dôme??? No idea, but Orphism is attractive to me, just like Isiacism and the philosophies, because it seems to me to have lost any territorial or ethnical "limits" and can become as universal as chrisitianity. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Erodius on Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:32 am

Pemphredo wrote:And Orphism is lesser bound to territorial or ethnics, similar like Isiacism or Mithraism.

Orphism is attractive to me, just like Isiacism and the philosophies, because it seems to me to have lost any territorial or ethnical "limits" and can become as universal as chrisitianity.

Yes, that is true. Orphism, Isiacism, Christianity, and Buddhism also, all have parallel origins; they are all universally-oriented religions that came out of ethnic religions (Graeco-Roman religion, Egyptian religion, Judaic religion, and Indian religion, respectively). These four religions also all differ in similar ways from their 'parent religions'. Graeco-Roman, Egyptian, Judaic and Indian traditional religions were all religions that were defined by custom and practice, and one was part of them simply by being born into them.

Orphism, Isiacism, Christianity and Buddhism, however, are defined instead by beliefs more than by practices (although all of them have plenty of rituals of their own). In this sense, they are more of what we'd today call 'orthodoxies', in that the core of these religions is a particular set of beliefs. They are all likewise religions that one would most likely (at least in the ancient world) have converted to, rather than been raised in.

There is, still, increasing opinion in scholarly circles that the forms of Hellenistic religion and Indian religion were influenced and shaped to various degrees by Orphism and Buddhism, respectively, with the result that Late-Antique Hinduism and Hellenism were reasonably 'Buddhified' and 'Orphicized'.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  Pemphredo on Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:17 pm

Simply a perfect description!!! sunny
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Re: Orphic vs Homeric

Post  tayarlin on Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:49 pm

I too use the Homeric Hymns.

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