Ancient Hymns and Poetry for the Nymphai

Orphic Hymn 24. To the Nereids
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

O lovely-faced and pure Nymphs, daughters of Nereus who live in the deep,
At the bottom of the sea you gambol and dance in the water.
Fifty maidens revel in the waves, maidens riding on the backs of Tritons,
Delighting in animal shapes and bodies nurtured by the sea,
And in other dwellers of the Triton’s billowy kingdom.
Your home is the water, and you leap and whirl round the waves,
Like glistening dolphins roving the roaring seas.
I call upon you to bring much prosperity to the initiates,
For you were first to know the holy rite of sacred Bacchos and of pure Persephone.
You and Kalliope and Apollon, the lord.

Orphic Hymn 46. To Liknites
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

I summon to these prayers Dionysos Liknites, born at Nysa,
Blossoming, beloved and kindly Bacchos,
Nursling of the nymphs and fair-wreathed Aphrodite.
The forest once felt your feet quiver in the dance,
As frenzy drove you and the graceful nymphs on,
And the counsels of Zeus brought you to noble Persephone,
Who reared you to be loved by the deathless gods.
Kind-heartedly come, O blessed one, and accept the gift of this sacrifice.

Orphic Hymn 51. To the Nymphs
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Nymphs, daughters of great-hearted Okeanos,
you dwell inside the earth’s damp caves,
And your paths are secret,
O joyous and chthonic ones, nurses of Bacchos.
You nourish fruits and haunt meadows,
O sprightly and pure travelers of winding roads
who delight in caves and grottoes.
Swift, light-footed, and clothed in dew, you frequent springs.
Visible and invisible, in the ravines and among flowers,
You shout and frisk with Pan upon mountain sides.
Gliding down on rocks, you hum with clear voice,
O mountain-haunting, sylvan maidens of fields and streams.
O sweet-smelling virgins, clad in white, fresh as the breezes,
With goat-herds, pastures and splendid fruits in your domain.
You are loved by creatures of the wild.
Tender though you are, you rejoice in cold
and you give sustenance and growth to many,
O playful and water-loving Hamadryad maidens.
Dwellers of Nysa, frenzied and healing goddesses who joy in spring,
Together with Bacchos and Deo you bring grace to mortals.
With joyful hearts come to this hallowed sacrifice,
And in the seasons of growth pour streams of salubrious rain.