The Orphic Hymns

Translation by Apostolos N. Athanassakis

Orpheus to Mousaios

Friend, use it to good fortune Learn now, Mousaios, a rite mystic and most holy;
A prayer which surely excels all others.
Kind Zeus and Gaia, heavenly and pure flames of the Sun,
Sacred light of the Moon and all the Stars;
Poseidon too, dark-maned holder of the earth,
Pure Persephone and Demeter of the splendid fruit,
Artemis, the arrow-pouring maiden,
And kindly Phoibos, who dwells on the sacred ground of Delphoi.
And Dionysos, the dancer,
whose honors among the blessed gods are the highest.
Strong-spirited Ares, holy and mighty Hephaistos,
And the goddess foam-born to whose lot fell sublime gifts;
And you, divinity excellent, who is king of the Underworld.
I call upon Hebe, and Eileithyia, and the noble ardor of Herakles,
The great blessings of Justice and Piety,
The glorious Nymphs and Pan the greatest,
And upon Hera, buxom wife of aegis-bearing Zeus.
I also call upon lovely Mnemosyne and the holy Muses, all nine,
As well as upon the Graces, the Seasons, the Year;
Fair-tressed Leto, divine and revered Dione,
The armed Kouretes, the Korybantes, the Kubeiroi,
Great saviors, Zeus’ ageless scion,
The Idaian gods, and upon Hermes,
messenger and herald of those in heaven;
Upon Themis too, diviner of men I call,
And on Night, oldest of all, and light-bringing Day:
Then upon Faith, Dike, blameless Thesmodoteira,
Rhea, Kronos, dark-dwelling Tethys,
The great Okeanos together with his daughters,
The might of preeminent Atlas and Aion,
Chronos the ever-flowing, the splendid water of the Styx,
All these gentle gods and also Pronoia,
And the holy Daimon as well as the one baneful to mortals;
Then upon the divinities dwelling in heaven, air, water,
On earth, under the earth and in the fiery element.
Ino, Leukothea, Palaimon giver of bliss,
Sweet-speaking Nike, queenly Adresteia,
The great king Asklepios who grants soothing,
The battle-stirring maiden Pallas, all the Winds,
Thunder, and the parts of the four-pillared Cosmos.
And I invoke the Mother of the immortals, Attis and Men,
And the goddess Ourania, immortal and holy Adonis,
beginning and end, too
Which is the most important,
And ask them to come in a spirit of joyous mercy
To this holy rite and libation of reverence.

1. To Hecate

Lovely Hecate of the roads and crossroads I invoke;
In heaven, on earth, and in the sea, saffron-cloaked,
Tomb spirit, reveling in the souls of the dead,
Daughter of Perses, haunting deserted places, delighting in dear,
Nocturnal, dog-loving, monstrous queen,
Devouring wild beasts, ungirt, of repelling countenance.
You, herder of bulls, queen and mistress of the whole world,
Leader, nymph, mountain-roaming nurturer of youth, maiden,
I beseech you to come to these holy rites,
Ever with joyous heart and ever favoring the oxherd.

2. To Prothyraia
Incense: Storax

Hear me, revered goddess, many-named divinity.
You aid in travail, O sight sweet to women in labor;
You save women and you alone love children,
O kindly goddess of swift birth, ever helpful to young women, O Prothyraia.
Accessible to all, O mistress, you are gracious and fond of nurture,
Yours is the power in every house and you delight in festivities;
You loosen girdles and, though invisible, you are seen in every deed.
You share pain, and rejoice in every birth, O Eileithyia,
Freeing from pain those in terrible distress.
Upon you alone pregnant women call, O comforter of souls,
And in you alone there is relief from pains of labor.
Artemis, Eileithyia, Prothyraia!
Hearken, O blessed one, succor me, grant offspring,
And save me, for it is your nature to be a savior of all.

3. To Night
Incense: Firebrand

I shall sing of Night, Mother of gods and men.
Night- and let us call her Kypris- gave birth to all.
Hearken, O blessed goddess, jet-black and star-lit,
Whose delight is in quiet and slumber-filled serenity.
Cheerful and delightsome, O mother of dreams, you love the nightlong revel,
And your gentleness rids of cares, and offers respite from toil.
Giver of sleep, beloved of all you are,
as you drive your steeds and gleam in darkness.
Ever incomplete, now terrestrial and now again celestial,
You circle around in pursuit of sprightly phantoms,
You force light into the nether world, and again you flee into Hades.
Dreadful Necessity governs all things.
But now, O blessed one, yea beatific and desired by all,
I call on you to grant a kind ear to my voice of supplication,
And benevolent, come to disperse fears that glisten in the dark.

4. To Ouranos
Incense: Frankincense

Ouranos, father of all, eternal cosmic element,
Primeval, beginning of all and end of all,
Lord of the universe, moving about the earth like a sphere,
home of the blessed gods.
Your motion is roaring whirl,
and you envelop all as their celestial and terrestrial guard.
In you breast lies nature’s invincible drive;
Dark-blue, indomitable, shimmering, veriform,
All-seeing father of Kronos, blessed and most sublime divinity,
Hearken and bring a life of holiness to the newly initiated.

5. To Ether
Incense: Crocus

Yours are Zeus’ lofty dwellings and endless power,
And of the stars, the sun, and the moon you claim a share.
O tamer of all, fire-breather, life’s spark for every creature,
Sublime Ether, best cosmic element, radiant luminous, starlit offspring,
I call upon you and beseech you to be temperate and clear.

6. To Protogonos
Incense: Myrrh

Upon two-natured, great and ether-tossed Protogonos I call;
Born of the egg, delighting in his golden wings he bellows like a bull,
This begetter of blessed gods and mortal men.
Erikepaios, seed unforgettable, attend to my rites,
Ineffable, hidden, brilliant scion, whose motion is whirring,
You scattered the dark mist that lay before your eyes, and, flapping your wings,
You whirled about and throughout this world, you brought pure light.
For this I call you Phanes and lord Priapos and bright-eyed Antauges.
But, O blessed one of many counsels and seeds,
Come gladly to the celebrants of this holy and elaborate rite.

7. To the Stars
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call forth the sacred light of the heavenly stars,
and with devotional prayers I summon the holy demons.
Heavenly stars, dear children of dark Night,
On circles you march and whirl about , O brilliant and fiery begetters of all.
Fate; everyone’s fate, you reveal and you determine the divine path for mortals,
As, wandering in midair you gaze upon the seven luminous orbits.
In heaven and on earth ever indestructible on your blazing trail,
You shine upon night’s cloak of darkness.
Coruscating, gleaming, kindly and nocturnal,
visit the learned contents of this rite,
Finishing a noble race for works of glory.

8. To the Sun
Incense: Pounded Frankincense

Hearken, O blessed one, whose eternal eyes are on all,
Titan radiant as gold, Hyperion, celestial light,
Self-born untiring, sweet sight to living creatures.
On the right you beget dawn and on the left, night.
You temper the seasons as you ride your dancing horses,
And rushing swiftly, O fiery and bright-faces charioteer,
You press on your course in endless whirl, and harsh to the impious,
You teach good to the pious.
Yours the golden lyre and the harmony of cosmic motion,
And you command noble deeds and nurture the seasons.
Piping lord of the world, a fiery circle of light is your course,
And, O Paian, your light gives live and fruits.
Eternal, pure, father of time, O immortal Zeus,
You are the clear, brilliant, and all-encompassing cosmic eye,
Both when you set and when you shine your lovely radiant light.
A paragon of justice, O water-loving lord of the cosmos,
You guard pledges and, ever the highest, you help all.
Eye of justice and light of life, O charioteer,
With screaming whip you drive the four-horsed chariot on.
Hear my words and show life’s sweetness to the initiates.

9. To the Moon
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Hearken, O divine queen, light-bringing and splendid Selene,
Bull-horned Moon traversing the air in a race with night.
Nocturnal, torch-bearing, maiden of fair stars,
Moon waxing and waning, feminine and masculine,
Glittering lover of horses, mother of time, bearer of fruit.
Amber-colored, brooding, shining in the night, all-seeing, vigilant,
Surrounded by beautiful stars,
you delight in quiet and in the richness of the night.
Shining in the night, like a jewel, you grant fulfillment and favor.
Long-cloaked marshal of the stars, wise maiden whose motion is circular,
Come! Blessed and gentle lady of the stars,
In three ways shine your redeeming light upon your new initiates.

10. To Physis
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

O Physis, resourceful mother of all, celestial and rich divinity, oldest of all,
Queen, all-taming and indomitable, lustrous ruler,
Ever honored mistress of all, highest goddess, imperishable, first-born,
Fabled glorifier of men, nocturnal, knowing, light-bringing, irrepressible,
Swift is the motion of your feet and your steps noiseless,
O pure marshal of the gods, end that has no end.
All partake of you but you alone partake of one;
Self-fathered and hence fatherless, lovely, joyous, great and accessible,
You nurse flowers, you lovingly comingle and twine,
And you lead, rule and bring life and nourishment to all.
Self-sufficient, many-named persuasion of the Graces, Dike herself,
Queen of heaven and earth and sea,
You are bitter to the vulgar and sweet to those who obey you.
Wise in all, giver of all, nurturing queen of all,
Abundant nourishment is your as you dissolve whatever ripens.
Father and Mother of all, nurturer and nurse, you bring swift birth, O blessed one,
And a wealth of seeds and the fever of seasons are yours.
An opulent and might divinity, you give shape and form to all things;
Eternal, setting all in motion, skilled and discreet,
You are ever-turning the swift stream into an unceasing eddy.
Flowing in all things, circular, ever changing form,
Fair-throned, precious, you alone accomplish your designs
And, loud-roaring, you rule mightily over sceptered kings.
Fearless, all-taming, destined fate, fire-breathing,
You are life everlasting and immortal providence.
Since you fashion these things, you are everything.
You are the all, for you alone do these things to bring peace, health and growth to all.

11. To Pan
Incense: et varia

I call upon Pan, the pastoral god, and upon the universe,
That is, upon sky and sea and land, queen of all,
And the immortal fires; all these are Pan’s realm.
Come, O blessed, frolicsome and restless companion of the seasons!
Goat-limbed, reveling, lover of frenzy, star-haunting,
You weave your playful song into cosmic harmony,
And you induce the phantasies of dread into the mind or mortals.
Your delight is at Springs, among goatherds and oxherds,
And you dance with the nymphs, you keen-eyed hunter and lover of Echo.
Present in all growth, begetter of all, many-named divinity,
Lord of the cosmos, light-bringing and fructifying Paian,
Cave-loving and wrathful, a veritable Zeus with horns!
The earth’s endless plain is supported by you,
And to you yield the deep-flowing water of the untiring sea,
And Okeanos who girds the earth with his eddying stream,
And the air we breathe, which kindles all life,
And, above us, the sublime eye of weightless fire.
At your behest, all these things are kept wide apart.
Your providence alters the natures of all,
And on the boundless earth you offer nourishment to mankind.
Come, frenzy-loving and gamboling god;
Come to these sacred libations, bring my life to a good conclusion,
And send Pan’s madness to the ends of the earth.

12. To Herakles
Incense: Frankincense

Herakles, stout-hearted and mighty, powerful Titan,
Strong-handed, indomitable, author of valiant deeds,
You change your form, O everlasting and kindly father of time.
Ineffable, wild, lord of all to whom many pray,
All-conquering and meddlesome, archer and seer,
Omnivorous begetter of all, and most sublime helper,
Who, for the sake of men, subdued and tamed savages races,
Because you desired peace, which brings dazzling honors and nurtures youths.
Self-grown, unwearying, bravest child of earth.
You hurled your primeval thunderbolts, O illustrious Paian.
Round your head dawn and dark night cling,
And your twelve deeds of valor stretch from east to west.
Immortal, world-wise, boundless and irrepressible,
Come, O blessed, bringing all charms against disease;
With club in hand, drive evil bane away,
And with your poisonous darts ward off cruel death.

13. To Kronos
Incense: Storax

Everlasting father of blessed gods and men,
Resourceful, pure, mighty and powerful Titan,
You consume all things and replenish them too.
Unbreakable is the hold you have on the boundless cosmos,
O Kronos, begetter of time, Kronos of contrasting discourse,
Child of earth and starry sky.
In you there is birth and decline, august and prudent lord of Rhea,
Who, as progenitor, dwell in every part of the world.
Hear my supplicant voice, O wily and brave one,
And bring an ever blameless end to a good life.

14. To Rhea
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Mighty Rhea, daughter of many-faced Protogonos,
Your sacred chariot is drawn by bull-slaying lions.
The sound of drums and cymbals, O frenzy-loving maiden, is yours,
And you are the mother of the aegis-bearing Olympian lord.
Illustrious and honored, you are Kronos’ blessed consort,
And you delight in the mountains and in the horrid shrieks of mortals.
Strong-spirited Rhea, queen of queens, lover of the battle din,
Liar, savior, redeemer, first by birth, you are mother of gods and mortal men.
From you come the earth, the wide sky above, the sea and the winds.
Ethereal and restless, come, O blessed goddess, as a gentle-minded savior.
Bring peace and a wealth of possessions,
And send death and mire to the ends of the earth.

15. To Zeus
Incense: Storax

Much-honored Zeus, indestructible Zeus,
We lay before you this redeeming testimony and this prayer;
O King, you have brought to light divine works,
And earth, goddess and mother, the hills swept by the shrill winds,
The sea, the host of stars marshaled by the sky.
Kronian Zeus, whose scepter is the thunderbolt, strong-spirited,
Father of all, beginning and end of all,
Earth-shaker, increaser and purifier, indeed All-shaker,
God of thunder and lightning, Zeus the planter.
Hear me, O many-faced one,
And grant me unblemished health,
divine peace, and riches and glory without blame.

16. To Hera
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

You are ensconced in darksome hollows, and airy is your form, O Hera,
Queen of all and blessed consort of Zeus.
You send soft breezes to mortals such as nourish the soul,
And, O mother of rains, you nurture the winds and give birth to all.
Without you there is neither life nor growth;
And, mixed as you are in the air we venerate, you partake of all,
And of all you are queen and mistress.
You toss and turn with the rushing wind.
May you, O blessed goddess and many-named queen of all,
Come with kindness and joy on your lovely face.

17. To Poseidon
Incense: Myrrh

Hearken, dark-maned Poseidon, holder of the earth, equestrian;
Carved in bronze is the trident in your hand,
And you dwell in the foundations of the full-bosomed sea.
Deep-roaring ruler of the sea and shaker of the earth,
Your blossoms are waves, O gracious one, as you urge horses and chariot on,
Rushing on the sea and splashing through the rippling brine.
To your lot fell the third portion, the unfathomable sea,
And you delight in waves and in their wild dwellers, O spirit of the deep.
Save the foundations of the earth and ships moving at full tilt,
And bring peace, health and blameless prosperity.

18. To Plouton

Subterranean is your dwelling place, O strong-spirited one,
A meadow in Tartaros, thick-shaded and dark.
Chthonic Zeus, sceptered one, kindly accept this sacrifice,
Plouton, holder of the keys to the whole earth.
You give the wealth of the year’s fruits to mankind,
And to your lot fell the third portion, earth, queen of all,
Seat of the gods, mighty lap of mortals.
Your throne rests on a tenebrous realm,
The distant, untiring, windless and impassive Hades,
And on dark Acheron that encompasses the roots of the earth.
All-Receiver, with death at your command, you are the master of mortals.
Euboulos, you once took pure Demeter’s daughter as your bride,
When you tore her away from the meadow and through the sea.
Upon your steeds you carried her to an Attic cave,
in the district of Eleusis,
Where the gates to Hades are.
You alone were born to judge deeds obscure and conspicuous.
Holiest and illustrious ruler of all, frenzied god,
You delight in the worshiper’s respect and reverence.
Come with favor and joy to the initiates. I summon you.

19. to Zeus the Thunderbolt
Incense: Storax

Father Zeus, sublime in the course of the blazing cosmos you drive on,
And ethereal and lofty the flash of your lightning,
As you shake the seat of the immortals with divine thunderbolts.
With the fire of your lightening you emblazon the rain clouds.
Storms you bring and hurricanes and mighty thunder,
Blazing and roaring thunder- like a shower of arrows-
Which with horrific might and strength sets all aflame,
This dreadful missile that makes hearts pound and hair bristle.
Holy and invisible, it comes with a sudden crash, an endless spiral of noise,
Unbreakable, threatening and ineluctable.
The gale’s sharp and smoke-filled shaft swoops down with a flash,
Dreaded by land and sea.
Wild beasts cringe when they hear the noise,
Faces reflect the brilliance of thunder roaring in the celestial hollows.
You tear the robe that cloaks heaven and hurl the fiery thunderbolt.
But, O blessed one (calm down?) the anger of sea waves and mountain peaks.
We all know your power.
Enjoy this libation and give all things that please the heart,
A life of prosperity, queenly health, divine peace that nurtures youth,
And is with honor crowned, and an existence ever blooming with cheerful thoughts.

20. To Astrapaios Zeus
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

I call upon great, pure, resounding,
illustrious, ethereal and blazing Zeus,
Whose racing fire shines though the air.
With an ear-splitting clap your light flashes through the clouds,
O horrid, wrathful, pure, and invincible god.
Upon you I call, lord of lightening, begetter of all and great king,
To be kind and bring a sweet end to my life.

21. To the Clouds
Incense: Myrrh

Airy clouds that nourish fruits and rove the sky,
You give rain as you are driven everywhere by the wind.
Filled with blazing thunder and water,
you resound with awesome crashes
In the air-filled vault of heaven
when you are repelled by the onrush of raging winds.
To you I pray, you whose dewy cloaks are blown by fair breezes,
Send fruit-nourishing rains to mother earth.

22. To the Sea
Incense: Pounded Frankincense

I call upon gray-eyed Tethys, bride of Okeanos, dark-veiled queen,
Whose waves dance as they are blown into the land by sweet breezes.
You break your tall waves upon rocky beaches,
And you are calmed by races that are gentle and smooth.
You delight in ships and your waters feed wild beasts, mother Kypris,
Mother of dark clouds and of every spring round which nymphs swarm.
Hear me, O holy one. Kindly help, and blessed one, send a fair tall wind to ships.

23. To Nereus
Incense: Myrrh

The sea’s foundations are your realm, an abode of glossy blackness,
And you exult in the beauty of your fifty daughters as they dance amid the waves.
O Nereus, god of great renown, foundation of the sea, end of the earth,
Beginning of all; you make Demeter’s sacred throne tremble,
When you imprison the gusty winds driven to your gloomy depths.
But, O blessed one, ward off earthquakes, and send to the initiates peace,
Prosperity and gentle-handed health.

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.

25. To Proteus
Incense: Storax

I call upon Proteus, key-holding master of the sea, first-born,
Who showed the beginnings of all nature,
changing matter into a great variety of forms.
Honored by all, he is wise and knows what is now, what was before, and what will be.
He has all at his disposal and he is transformed far beyond the other immortals
Who dwell on snowy Olympos and fly through the air and over land and sea,
For nature was the first to place everything in Proteus.
But, father, attended by holy providence visit the mystic initiates,
and bring a good end to a life of industry and prosperity.

26. To Earth
Incense: Incense and Grain

Divine Earth, mother of men and of the blessed gods,
you nourish all, you give all,
You bring all to fruition and you destroy all.
When the season is fair you are heavy with fruit and growing blossoms,
And, O multi-formed maiden, you are the seat of the immortal cosmos,
And in the pains of labor you bring forth fruits of all kinds.
Eternal, reverend, deep-bosomed, and blessed,
You delight in the sweet breath of grass,
O goddess bedecked with flowers.
Yours is the joy of the rain,
and round you the intricate realm stars revolves
in endless, and awesome flow.
But, O blessed goddess, may you multiply the gladsome fruits,
And together with the beautiful seasons, grant me favor.

27. To the Mother of the Gods
Incense: et varia

Divine are your honors, O mother of the gods and nurturer of all.
Yoke your swift chariot drawn by bull-slaying lions,
And, O mighty goddess who brings things to pass,
join our prayers.
Many-named and reverend,
you are the queen of the sky,
For in the cosmos yours is the throne
in the middle because the earth is yours,
And you give gentle nourishment to mortals.
Gods and men were born of you,
and you hold sway over the rivers and all the sea.
Hestia is one of your names,
and they call you giver of prosperity,
Because you bestow on men all manner of gifts.
Come to this rite, queen whom the drum delights,
All-taming, savior, honored and frenzy-loving nurturer of life.
Joyously and graciously visit our deeds of piety.

28. To Hermes
Incense: Frankincense

Here me, Hermes, messenger of Zeus, son of Maia.
Almighty is your heart,
O lord of the deceased and judge of contests.
Gentle and clever, O Argeiphontes,
you are a guide whose sandals fly,
And a man-loving prophet to mortals.
You are vigorous and you delight in exercise and in deceit.
Interpreter of all,
you are a profiteer who frees us of cares,
And who holds in his hands the blameless tool of peace.
Lord of Korykos, blessed, helpful
and skilled in words,
you assist in work,
you are a friend of mortals in need,
And you wield the dreaded and respected weapon of speech.
Hear my prayer and grant a good end to a life of industry,
gracious talk and mindfulness.

29. Hymn to Persephone

Persephone, blessed daughter of great Zeus, sole offspring of Demeter,
Come and accept this gracious sacrifice.
Much-honored spouse of Plouton, discreet and life-giving,
You command the gates of Hades in the bowels of the earth,
Lovely-tressed, Praxidike, pure bloom of Deo, mother of the Furies,
Queen of the netherworld whom Zeus sired in clandestine union.
Mother of loud-roaring and many shaped Eubouleus,
Radiant and luminous playmate of the Seasons, august, almighty,
Maiden rich in fruits, you alone are beloved of mortals.
In spring you rejoice in the meadow breezes,
And you show your holy figure in shoots and green fruits.
You were made a kidnapper’s bride in the fall,
And you alone are life and death to toiling mortals,
O Persephone, for you always nourish all and kill them too.
Hearken, O blessed goddess, and send forth the earth’s fruits.
You who blossom in peace, in soft-handed health,
And in a life of plenty that ferries old age in comfort to your realm,
O queen, and to that of mighty Plouton.

30. To Dionysos
Incense: Storax

I call upon loud-roaring and reveling Dionysos,
primeval, two-natured, thrice-born,
Bacchic lord, savage, ineffable, two-horned and two-shaped.
Ivy-cover, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, you take raw flesh,
You have triennial feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters.
Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus,
When he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union.
Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nurses,
Breathe on me in spirit of perfect kindness.

31. Hymn to the Kouretes

Leaping Kouretes, stepping to the sound of arms,
howling mountaineers whose feet pound the ground,
discordant is you lyre as you strike a pace,
Light of foot, O renowned marshals and arms-carrying guards,
Priests of the train of a Mother struck with mountain frenzy.
Kindly visit those whose words praise you,
And, with joyous heart, be gracious to the oxherd.

32. To Athena
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Revered Pallas, you alone great Zeus bore by himself,
Noble and blessed goddess, brave in the din of war.
Renowned and cave-haunting,
you may and may not be spoken of.
Your domain is the wind-swept hilltops and shaded mountains,
and dells charm your heart.
Arms please you, and you strike men’s souls with frenzy,
O maiden vigorous and horrid-tempered.
Slayer of Gorgo, blessed mother of the arts,
you shun the bed of love,
and, O impetuous one,
you bring madness to the wicked and prudence to the virtuous.
Male and female, begetter of war, counselor, she-dragon of many shapes,
frenzy-loving, illustrious,
destroyer of the Phlegraian Giants, driver of horses,
Tritogeneia, you free us from suffering,
O victorious goddess.
Day and night, ever into the small hours,
hear my prayer, and give a full measure of peace,
of riches, and health accompanied by happy seasons,
O gray-eyed and inventive queen to whom many pray.

33. To Nike
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

I call upon mighty Nike, beloved of mortals,
For she alone frees men from the eagerness of contest,
And from dissent when men face each other in battle.
In war you are the judge of deeds deserving prizes,
And sweet is the boast you grant after the onslaught.
Nike, mistress of all, on you and your good name depends noble glory,
Glory that comes from strife and teams with festivities.
But, O blessed and beloved one, come with joy in your eyes,
Come for works of renown and bring me a noble end.

34. To Apollon
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Come, O blessed Paian, O slayer of Tityos, O Phoibos, O Lykoreus.
A giver of riches are you and an illustrious dweller in Memphis,
O god to whom one cries “ie”.
To you, O Titan and Pythian god belong the lyre and seeds and plows.
Grynean, Sminthian, slayer of Pytho, Delphic diviner,
You are a wild, light-bringing and lovable god, O glorious youth.
You shoot your arrows from afar, you lead the Muses into dance,
And, O holy one, you are Bacchos, Didymeus, and Loxias too.
Lord of Delos, eye that sees all and brings light to mortals,
Golden is your hair and clear your oracular utterances.
Hear me with kindly heart as I pray for people.
You gaze upon all the ethereal vastness,
And upon the rich earth you look through the twilight.
In the quiet darkness of night lit with stars
you see earth’s roots below,
And you hold the bounds of the whole world.
Yours too are the beginning and the end to come.
You make everything bloom,
and with your versatile lyre you harmonize the poles,
Now reaching the highest pitch,
now the lowest and now again with the Doric mode,
Balancing the poles harmoniously,
as you keep the living races distinct.
You have infused harmony into all men’s lot,
Giving them equal measure of summer and winter.
The lowest notes you strike in the winter, the highest in summer,
And your mode is Doric for spring’s lovely and blooming season.
Wherefore mortals call you lord, and Pan, the two-horned god,
Who sends the whistling winds.
For this too, you have the master seal of the entire cosmos.
O, blessed one, hear the supplicant voice of the initiates and save them.

35. To Leto
Incense: Myrrh

Dark-veiled Leto, revered goddess and mother of twins,
Great-souled daughter of Koios, queen to whom many pray,
To your lot fell the birth pains for Zeus’ fair child.
You bore Phoibos and arrow-pouring Artemis,
her on Ortygia, and him on rocky Delos.
Hear, lady goddess, and with favor in your heart,
Come to this all-holy rite and bring sweet end.

36. Artemis
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Hear me, O queen, Zeus’s daughter of many names, Titanic and Bacchic,
Reverend, renowned archer, torch-bearing goddess bringing light to all,
Diktynna, helper at childbirth.
You aid women in labor, though you know not what labor is.
O frenzy-loving huntress, you loosen girdles and drive cares away.
Swift, arrow-pouring, you love the outdoors and you roam in the night.
Fame-bringing, affable, redeeming, nurturer of mortal youths.
Immortal and yet of this earth, you slay wild beasts, O blessed one,
And your realm is in mountain forests.
You hunt deer, O august and mighty queen of all, fair blossom,
Eternal, sylvan, dog-loving, many-shaped lady of Kydonia.
Come, dear goddess, as savior, accessible to all the initiates,
And bring earth’s fair fruits and lovely Peace and well-tressed Health,
And do banish disease and pain to the mountain peaks.

37. To the Titans
Incense: Frankincense

Titans, glorious children of Ouranos and Gaia, forebears of our fathers,
Who dwell down below in Tartarean homes in the earth’s bowels.
From you stem all toiling mortals,
the creatures of the sea and of the land,
The birds, and all generations of this world come from you,
And upon you I call to banish harsh anger,
If some earthly ancestor of mine stormed your homes.

38. To the Kouretes
Incense: Frankincense

Bronze-beating Kouretes, with Ares’ armament,
dwellers of heaven, earth and sea,
Thrice-blessed, life-giving breezes,
glorious saviors of the world,
who dwell in the land of Samothrace
and who ward dangers for mortals roaming the seas.
You were first to set up sacred rites for mortals,
O immortal Kouretes with Ares’s armament.
You rule Okeanos, and likewise you rule the sea and the forests.
The earth resounds with the pounding of you nimble feet,
As you come in your gleaming armor.
All wild beasts cringe at your onrush,
and the noise and shouts rise heavenward,
While the dust from your briskly marching feet reaches the clouds.
Then every flower is in bloom, Immortal gods,
you nurture, but you also destroy,
When ever angrily fretting over mankind,
You ruin livelihoods, possessions, and men themselves.
… the great, deep-eddying sea groans, lofty trees were uprooted,
and fall upon the earth and the tumult from the leaves echoes in the sky.
Kouretes- Korybantes- mighty Lords, masters of Samothrace,
veritable Dioskouroi, airy, soul-nourishing and ever-blowing breezes,
you are called celestial twins on Olympos.
And, gentle saviors who bring fair breezes and clear weather,
And as nurturers of seasons and of fruits, breathe upon us, O lords.

39. To Korybas
Incense: Frankincense

I call upon the greatest king of eternal earth, blessed Korybas,
war-like, of forbidding countenance,
nocturnal Koures who saves from dreadful fear.
Korybas, you assist the imagination
and you wader in deserted places.
Lord, many are the shapes of your two-fold divinity,
and the murder of the twin brothers has stained you with blood.
Following Deo’s scheme, you changed your holy form
into the shape of a savage and dark dragon.
Blessed one, hear our voices, banish harsh anger,
And free us from fantasies, a soul stunned by necessity.

40. To Eleusinian Demeter
Incense: Frankincense

Deo, divine mother of all, goddess of many names, august Demeter,
Nurturer of youths, and giver of prosperity and wealth.
You nourish the ears of corn,
O giver of all, and you delight in peace and in toilsome labor.
Present at sowing, reaping and threshing,
O spirit of unripe fruit,
You dwell in the sacred valley of Eleusis.
Charming and lovely, you give sustenance to all mortals,
and you were the first to yoke the plowing ox
and to send up from below,
a rich and lovely harvest for mortals.
Through you there is growth and blooming,
O illustrious companion of Bromios,
And, torch-bearing and pure one, you delight in the summer’s yield.
From beneath the earth you appear and to all you are gentle,
O holy and youth-nurturing lover of children and of fair offspring.
You yoke your chariot to bridled dragons,
And round your throne you whirl and howl in ecstasy.
Only daughter with many children and many powers over mortals,
You manifest your myriad faces to the variety of flowers and sacred blossoms.
Come, blessed and pure one, and, laden with the fruits of summer,
Bring peace, together with the welcome rule of law, riches too,
And prosperity, and health that governs all.

41. To Mother Antaia
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Queen Antaia, goddess and many-named mother
of immortal gods and mortal men,
weary from searching and wandering far and wide,
Once you ended your fast in the valley of Eleusis
and came to Hades for noble Persephone.
Your guide was the guileless child of Dysaules,
who brought the news of pure chthonic Zeus’ holy union.
Yielding to human need you bore divine Euboulos.
But, O goddess and queen to whom many pray, I beseech you,
Come graciously to your pious initiates.

42. To Mise
Incense: Storax

I call upon law-giving Dionysos who carries the fennel stalk,
Unforgettable and many-named seed of Eubouleus,
And upon holy, sacred and ineffable queen Mise,
whose two-fold nature is male and female.
As redeeming Iacchos, I summon you lord,
whether you delight in your fragrant temple
at Eleusis, or with the Mother you partake of mystic rites in Phrygia,
or you rejoice in Cyprus with fair-wreathed Kythereia,
or yet you exult in hallowed wheat-bearing fields along Egypt’s river,
with your divine mother, the august black-robed Isis,
and your triad of nurses.
Lady, kindheartedly come to those contesting for noble prizes.

43. To the Horai
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Horai, daughters of Themis and lord Zeus,
Eumonie and Dike and thrice-blessed Eirene,
Pure spirits of spring and of the blossoming meadow,
You are found in every color
and in all the scents wafted by the breezes.
Ever-blooming, revolving and sweet-faced, O Horia,
You cloak yourselves with the dew of luxuriant flowers.
You are holy Persephone’s companions at play,
when the Fates and the Graces,
In circling dances come forth to light,
pleasing Zeus and their fruit-giving mother.
Come to the new initiates and their reverent and holy rites,
And bring seasons perfect for growth of goodly fruit.

44. To Semele
Incense: Storax

I call upon the daughter of Kadmos, queen of all,
Fair Semele of the lovely tresses and the full bosom,
Mother of thyrsus-bearing and joyous Dionysos.
She was driven to great pain by the blazing thunderbolt,
Which, through the counsels of immortal Kronian Zeus, burned her,
And by noble Persephone she was granted honors among mortal men,
Honors given every third year.
Then they reenact the travail for your son Bacchos,
The sacred ritual of the table, and the holy mysteries.
Now you, goddess, do I beseech, daughter of Kadmos, queen,
Always to be gentle-minded towards the initiates.

45. Hymn to Dionysos, Bassareus and Triennial

Come, blessed Dionysos, bull-faced god conceived in fire,
Bassareus and Bacchos, many-named master of all.
You delight in bloody swords and in the holy maenads,
As you howl throughout Olympos, O roaring and frenzied Bacchos.
Armed with the thyrsus and wrathful in extreme, you are honored
By all the gods and by all the men who dwell on earth.
Come, blessed and leaping god, and bring much joy to all.

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.

47. Perikionios
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon Bacchos Perikionios, giver of wine,
who enveloped all of Kadmos’ house and with his might,
checked and calmed the heaving earth when the blazing thunderbolt,
and the raging gale stirred all the land.
Then everyone’s bonds sprang loose.
Blessed reveler, come with joyous heart.

48. To Sabazios
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Hear me, father Sabazios, son of Kronos, illustrious god.
You sewed into your thigh Bacchic Dionysos, the roaring Eiraphiotes,
That he might come whole to noble Tmolos, by the side of fair-cheeked Hipta.
But, O blessed ruler of Phrygia and supreme King of all,
come kind-heartedly to the aid of the initiates.

49. To Hipta
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon Hipta, nurse of Bacchos, maiden possessed.
In mystic rites she takes part,
and she exults in pure Sabos’ worship,
And in the night dances of roaring Iacchos.
O Queen and chthonic Mother, hear my prayer,
whether you are on Ida, Phrygia’s sacred mountain,
or you take pleasure on Tholos, fair seat of the Lydians.
Come to these rites, with joy on you holy face.

50. To Lysios- Lenaios

Hear, O blessed son of Zeus and of two mothers,
Bacchos of the vintage, unforgettable seed,
many-named and redeeming demon,
holy offspring of the gods born in secrecy, reveling Bacchos,
plump giver of the many joys of fruits which grow well.
Mighty and many-shaped god,
from the earth you burst forth to reach the wine-press,
and there become a remedy for man’s pain, O sacred blossom!
A sorrow-hating joy to mortals, O lovely-haired Epaphian,
you are a redeemer and a reveler whose thyrsus drive to frenzy,
and who is kind hearted to all, gods and mortals, who see his light.
I call upon you now to come, a sweet bringer of fruit.

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 t mortals.
With joyful hearts come to this hallowed sacrifice,
And in the seasons of growth pour streams of salubrious rain.

52. To the God of the Triennial Feast
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon you, blessed, many-named and frenzied Bacchos,
Bull-horned Nysian redeemer,
god of the wine-press, conceived in fire.
Nourished in the thigh, O Lord of the Cradle,
You marshal torch-lit processions in the night,
O filleted and thyrsus-shaking Eubouleus.
Threefold is your nature and ineffable your rites,
O secret offspring of Zeus.
Primeval, Erikepaios, father and son of gods,
You take raw flesh, and, sceptered,
you lead into the madness of revel and dance
In the frenzy of triennial feasts that bestow calm on us.
You burst forth from the earth in a blaze… O son of two mothers,
And, horned and clad in fawnskin, you roam the mountains,
O lord worshiped in annual feasts.
Paian of the golden spear, nursling, decked with grapes,
Bassaros, exulting in ivy, followed by many maidens…
Joyous and all-abounding, come, O blessed one to the initiates.

53. To the God of the Annual Feast
Incense: all other things save frankincense- a libation of milk too.

I call upon the Bacchos we worship annually, chthonic Dionysos,
Who, together with the fair-tressed nymphs, is roused.
In the sacred halls of Persephone he slumbers,
And puts to sleep pure, Bacchic time every third year.
When he himself stirs up the triennial revel again he sings a hymn,
Accompanied by his fair-girdled nurses,
And, as the seasons revolve he puts to sleep and wakes up the years.
But, O blessed and fruit-giving Bacchos, O horned spirit of the unripe fruit,
Come to this most sacred rite with the glow of joy on your face,
Come all-abounding in fruit that is holy and perfect.

54. To Silenos, Satyros and the Bacchia
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Hear me Bacchos’ foster father and nurturer,
by far the best of the Silenoi,
Honored by all the gods and by mortal men in the same triennial feasts.
Pure and honored marshal of pastoral band,
Wakeful reveler and companion of the fair-girt nurses,
Leader of the ivy-crowned Naiads and Bacchantes,
Take all the Satyrs- half men, half beasts-
and come howling to the Bacchic lord.
With the Bacchantes escort the holy Lenean procession,
In sacred litanies revealing torch-lit rites,
Shouting, thyrsus-loving, finding calm in the revels.

55. To Aphrodite

Heavenly, smiling Aphrodite, praised in many hymns,
Sea-born, revered goddess of generation,
you like the night-long revel,
and you couple lovers at night,
O scheming mother of Necessity.
Everything comes from you;
you have yoked the world and you control all three realms.
You give birth to all, to everything in heaven, upon fruitful earth,
And in the depths of the sea, O venerable companion of Bacchos.
You delight in festivities, O bride-like mother of the Erotes,
O persuasion whose joy is in the bed of love, secretive giver of grace,
visible and invisible, lovely-tressed daughter of a noble father.
Bridal feast companion of the gods, sceptered she-wolf,
beloved and man-loving giver of birth and of life,
with your maddening love-charms you yoke mortals,
and the many races of beasts to unbridled passion.
Come, O goddess born in Cyprus,
whether you are on Olympos, O queen,
exulting in the beauty of your face,
or you wander in Syria, country of fine frankincense,
or, yet, driving your golden chariot in the plain,
You lord it over Egypt’s fertile river bed.
Come, whether you ride your swan-drawn chariot over the sea’s billows,
Joying in the creatures of the deep as they dance in circles,
Or you delight in the company of the dark-faced nymphs on land,
As light-footed, they frisk over the sandy beaches.
Come, lady, even if you are in Cyprus that cherishes you,
Where fair maidens and chaste nymphs throughout the year sing of you,
O blessed one, and of immortal, pure Adonis.
Come O beautiful and comely goddess.
I summon you with holy words and pious soul.

56. To Adonis
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Hear my prayer, O best and many-named god.
Fine-haired, solitary and full of lovely song.
Eubouleus, many-shaped and noble nurturer of all,
Maiden and youth in one… withering bloom, O Adonis,
You vanish and shine again in the fair seasons’ turn.
Two-horned spirit of growth and blooming,
much loved and wept for are you,
O fair and joyful hunter of the luxurious mane.
Desire is in your mind,
O sweet blossom and off-shoot of Aphrodite and Eros,
child born on the bed of lovely-tressed Persephone.
Now you dwell beneath murky Tartaros,
And now again toward Olympos you bring your fruitful grown body.
Come, O blessed one, and bring earth’s fruits to the initiates

57. To Chthonic Hermes
Incense: Storax

You dwell in the compelling road of no return, by the Kytos.
You guide the souls of mortals to the nether gloom.
Hermes, off-spring of Dionysos who revels in dance,
And Aphrodite, the Paphian maiden of the fluttering eyelids,
You frequent the sacred house of Persephone,
As guide throughout the earth of ill-fated souls,
Which you bring to their haven when their time has come,
Charming them with your sacred wand and giving them sleep,
From which you rouse them again.
To you indeed Persephone gave the office, throughout wide Tartaros,
To lead the way for the eternal souls of men.
But, O blessed one, grant a good end for the initiate’s wok.

58. To Eros
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon great, pure, lovely and sweet Eros,
Winged archer who runs swiftly on a path of fire
And plays together with gods and mortal men.
Inventive and two-natured, he is master of all, of heavenly ether,
Of the sea, of the land of the all-begetting winds which for mortals
Are nurtured by the goddess of the green fruit,
And of all that lies in Tartaros and in the roaring sea.
You alone govern the course of all these.
But, blessed one, come to the initiates with pure thought,
And banish from them vile impulses.

59. To the Fates
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Boundless Fates, dear children of dark Night,
hear my prayer, O many-named dwellers on the lake of heaven,
where the frozen water by night’s warmth
is broken inside a sleek cave’s shady hollow;
from there you fly to the boundless earth, home of mortals,
and, thence, cloaked in purple,
you march towards men whose aims are as noble,
as their hopes are vain, in the vale of doom,
where glory drives her chariot on,
all over the earth, beyond the goal of justice,
of anxious hope, of primeval law,
and of the immeasurable principle of order.
In life Fate alone watches.
The other immortals who dwell on the peaks of snowy Olympos do not,
except for Zeus’ perfect eye.
But Fate and Zeus’ mind know all things for all time.
I pray to you to come, gently and kindly,
Atropos, Lachesis, and Klotho, scions of noble stock.
Airy, invisible, inexorable and ever indestructible,
you give and take all, being to men the same as necessity.
Fates, hear my prayers and receive my libations.
Gently come to the initiates to free them from pain.
(This is the end of the Fate’s song, which Orpheus composed.)

60. To the Graces
Incense: Storax

Hear me, O illustrious and renowned Graces,
Daughters of Zeus and full-bosomed Eunomia, Aglaia,
Thalia and blessed Euphrosyne.
Lovely, wise and pure mothers of joy,
many-shaped, ever-blooming, beloved of mortals,
we pray that each in her turn, spell-binding and with petal-soft face,
Come, ever accessible to the initiates, to confer prosperity.

61. To Nemesis

Nemesis, I call upon you, goddess and greatest queen,
whose all-seeing eye looks upon the lives of man’s many races.
Eternal and revered, you alone rejoice in the just,
and you change and vary and shift your word.
All who bear the yoke of mortality fear you,
for you care about the thoughts of all,
and the soul that vaunts foolishly and without discretion,
does not escape you.
You see all, you hear all, and you arbitrate,
O sublime deity in whom resides justice for men.
Come, blessed and pure one,
ever helpful to initiates, and grant nobility of mind,
putting an end to loathsome, unholy thoughts, such as are fickle and haughty.

62. To Dike
Incense: Frankincense

I sing of the all-seeing eye of comely and radiant Dike,
Who sits upon the sacred throne of lord Zeus.
From heaven you look down on the lives of the many human races,
and crush the unjust with just retribution,
matching things disparate with fairness and truth.
For whenever base men consider matters that cannot be put to trial easily,
unjustly wishing more than is fair,
you intervene and rouse justice against the unjust.
An enemy to the unjust, you are a gentle companion to the just.
But, goddess come in justice for thoughts that are noble,
Until that fated day on my life descends.

63. To Justice
Incense: Frankincense

O paragon of justice to mortals, blessed and beloved one,
You take equal pleasure in all just men.
Honored by all and blissful, O bold and lofty Justice.
You are pure of thought and you reward propriety.
Your own conscience is unbreakable,
for you break all who do not submit to your yoke,
But in their greed, upset the balance of your mighty scales.
Dauntless, charming, lover of revel loved by all,
You rejoice in peace and you strive for a life that is stable.
You loathe unfairness but fairness delights you,
and, in you knowledge of virtue reaches its noble goal.
Hear, O goddess, and rightly shatter wicked men,
That mortals who eat of this earth’s fruits,
and all the living creatures nursed in the bosom of our divine mother Earth,
and sea-dwelling Zeus, may follow a path both balanced and noble.

64. To Nomos

Upon the holy lord of men and gods I call, heavenly Nomos,
Who arranges the stars and sets a fair limit between earth and sea’s waters,
And who, by his laws, ever preserves nature’s balance obedient and steady.
Journeying on the heavens he brings the laws from above,
And drives malicious envy out with a roar.
Nomos summons and good end to mortal life,
And he alone steers the course of everything that breathes,
Ever the steadfast companion of righteous thought.
Primeval and wise, in peace he shares the same house with all who abide by law,
While he visits harsh vengeance upon the lawless.
But, O blessed bringer of prosperity, beloved of all and honored,
Have kindness of heart and make me mindful of your lordship.

65. To Ares
Incense: Frankincense

Unbreakable, strong-spirited, mighty and powerful demon,
Delighting in arms, indomitable, man-slaying, wall-battering;
Lord Ares, yours is the din of arms, and ever be-spattered with blood,
You find joy in killing and in the fray of battle, O horrid one,
Whose desire is for the rude clash of swords and spears.
Stay the raging strife, relax pain’s grip on my soul,
And yield to the wish of Kypris and to the revels of Lyaios,
Exchanging the might of arms for the words of Deo,
Yearning for peace that nurtures youths and brings wealth.

66. To Hephaistos
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Powerful and strong-spirited Hephaistos,
Unwearying fire that shines in the gleam of flames,
God, bringing light to mortals,
mighty-handed and eternal artisan.
Worker, cosmic part and blameless element,
Highest of all, all-eating, all-taming,
all-haunting, ether, sun, stars, moon and pure light;
for it is a part of Hephaistos all these reveal to mortals.
All homes, all cities and all nations are yours,
and, O mighty giver of many blessings, you dwell in human bodies.
Hear me, Lord, as I summon you to this holy libation,
that you may always come, gentle, to make work a joy.
End the savage rage of untiring fire,
since, through you, nature itself burns in our bodies.

67. To Asklepios
Incense: Frankincense

Asklepios, lord Paian, healer of all,
you charm away the suffering of men in pain.
Come, mighty and soothing, bring health,
And put an end to sickness and the harsh fate of death.
Helper, blessed spirit of growth and blossoming, you ward off evil,
Honored and mighty scion of Phoibos Apollon.
Enemy of disease, whose blameless consort is Hygeia,
Come, O blessed one, as savior and bring life to a good end.

68. To Hygeia
Incense: Frankincense

Queen of all, charming and lovely and blooming, blessed Hygeia,
Mother of all, bringer of prosperity, hear me.
Through you vanish the diseases that afflict men,
And through you every house blossoms to fullness of joy, and the arts thrive.
The world desires you, O queen, and only soul-destroying Hades ever loathes you.
Ever youthful, ever beloved, you are a haven for mortals.
Apart from you all is without avail for men:
Wealth, sweet to those feast, and giver of abundance, fails,
And man never reaches the many pains of old age,
For you are sole mistress and queen of all.
But, goddess, come, ever helpful to the initiates,
And keep away the accursed distress of harsh disease.

69. To the Erinyes
Incense: Storax, Powdered Frankincense

Hear, Tisiphone, Allekto, and noble Megaira,
August goddesses whose Bacchic cries resound.
Nocturnal and clandestine,
you have your house deep down in a dark cave,
By the sacred waters of the Styx.
Men’s unholy designs incur your anger.
Rabid and arrogant, you howl over Necessity’s dictates,
and, clad in animal skins,
by your power you bring the deep pains of retribution.
Your realm is in Hades, O dreaded maidens with the thousand faces,
Phantoms airy, invisible and swift as thought.
Neither the speedy flames of the sun or the moon,
nor the radiance of wisdom and virtue,
nor even the joy in bold enterprise
as in the sleekness of fair youth,
can rouse life’s delights without your aid.
Upon the countless races of all men you gaze with Dike’s eye,
ever occupied with justice.
O snake-haired, many-shaped goddesses of Fate,
change my thoughts of life into gentle and soft ones.

70. To the Eumenides
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Hear me, renowned Eumenides, and be gracious.
Pure daughters of the great, chthonic Zeus,
And of lovely, fair-tressed maiden, Persephone.
You keep a watch over the lives of impious mortals,
And, in charge of Necessity, you punish the unjust.
Black-skinned queens,
your eyes flash forth awesome and flesh-eating darts of light.
Everlasting, of visage repugnant and frightful, sovereign,
paralyzing the limbs with madness, hideous, nocturnal, fateful,
snake-haired and terrible maidens of the night,
it is you I summon to bring me holiness of mind.

71. To Melinoe
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon Melinoe, saffron-cloaked nymph of the earth,
To whom august Persephone gave birth by the mouth of the Kokytos,
Upon the sacred bed of Kronian Zeus.
He lied to Plouton and through treachery mated with Persephone,
Whose skin when she was pregnant he mangled in anger.
She drives mortals to madness with her airy phantoms,
As she appears in weird shapes and forms,
Now plain to the eye, now shadowy, now shining in the darkness,
And all this in hostile encounters in the gloom of night.
But, goddess and queen of those below, I beseech you,
To banish the soul’s frenzy to the ends of the earth,
And show a kindly and holy face to the initiates.

72. To Tyche
Incense: Frankincense

With prayer in mind, I summon you here, Tyche, noble ruler,
Gentle goddess of the roads, for wealth and possessions,
As Artemis who guides, renowned,
sprung from the loins of Eubouleus.
Your wish is irresistible.
Funereal and delusive, you are the theme of men’s songs.
In you lies the great variety of men’s livelihood.
To some you grant a wealth of blessings and possessions,
While to others, against whom you harbor anger, you give evil poverty.
But, O goddess, I beseech you to come in kindness to my life,
And with abundance grant me happiness and riches.

73. To the Daimon
Incense: Frankincense

I call upon Daimon,
the grand and dreaded chieftain, gentle Zeus,
who gives birth and livelihood to mortals.
Great Zeus, delusive and vengeful King of all,
who is giver of wealth when he enters the house, laden with goods,
and who in turn ruins the livelihood of toiling mortals.
You possess the keys to joy and sorrow as well.
So, O pure and blessed one, drive painful cares away,
cares that are life-destroying throughout the earth,
and bring a glorious, sweet and noble end to life.

74. To Leukothea
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon Leukothea, daughter of Kadmos, reverend goddess,
Mighty nurturer of fair-wreathed Dionysos.
Hearken, O goddess, mistress of the deep-bosomed sea,
You who delight in waves and are to mortals the greatest savior.
On you depends the unsteady impetus of seafaring ships,
And you alone save men from wretched death at sea,
Men to whom you swiftly come as welcome savior.
But, O divine lady, come to the aid of well-benched ships and kindly save them,
Bringing upon the sea a fair tail wind to the initiates.

75. To Palaimon
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Comrade of joyous Dionysos in the dance revel,
Who dwells in the sea’s pure, turbulent depths,
I call upon you, O Palaimon to come to these sacred rites,
with kindness in your heart,
and joy on your youthful face,
and to save your initiates on land and at sea.
When in winter, storms come upon ships that ever rove the seas,
you alone appear incarnate to save the men,
and stay harsh anger over the briny swell.

76. To the Muses
Incense: Frankincense

Daughters of Mnemosyne and thundering Zeus,
Pierian Muses, renowned, illustrious, many-shaped,
And beloved of the mortals you visit.
You give birth to unblemished virtue in every discipline,
You nourish the soul and set thought aright,
As you become leaders and mistresses of the mind’s power.
Sacred and mystic rites you taught to mortals,
Kleio, Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene, Terpsichore,
Erato, Polymnia, Ourania, mother Kalliope, and mighty goddess Agne.
Do come to the initiates, O goddesses, in your manifold holiness,
And bring glory and emulation that is lovely and sung by many.

77. To Mnemosyne
Incense: Frankincense

I call upon queen Mnemosyne, Zeus’ consort,
Who gave birth to the holy, sacred and clear-voiced Muses.
Evil oblivion that harms the mind is alien to her,
Who gives coherence to the mind and soul of mortals.
She increases men’s ability and power to think,
And, sweet and vigilant, she reminds us of all the thoughts
That we always store in our breasts,
Never straying, and ever rousing the mind to action.
But, O blessed goddess, for the initiates,
stir the memory of sacred rites,
and ward off oblivion from them.

78. To Dawn
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Hear, O goddess who brings the light of day to mortals,
Resplendent Dawn, whose blush is seen throughout the world,
Messenger of the great and illustrious Titan.
Murky, dark and journeying night you send below the earth when you rise.
You lead to work and minister to the lives of mortals.
In you the race of men delights, and no one escapes your sight,
As you look down from on high, when, from your eyelids, you shake off sweet sleep.
There is joy for every mortal, every reptile, for animals and birds,
And for the broods the sea contains.
All livelihood one gets from work is your gift.
So, goddess blessed and pure, give more sacred light to the initiates.

79. To Themis
Incense: Frankincense

I call upon pure Themis, daughter of noble Ouranos and Gaia,
Themis the young and lovely-faced maiden,
The first to show mortals the holy oracle as prophet of the gods,
In her holy Delphic sanctuary, on Pythian ground where Python was king.
You taught lord Phoibos the art of giving laws.
Amid honor and reverence, your beauty shines on nightly throngs,
For you were first to show mortals holy worship,
Howling to Bacchos in nights full of revelry.
From you come the honors of the gods and the holy mysteries.
But, O blessed maiden, come in a kindly and joyous spirit,
To your truly holy and mystic rites

80. To Boreas
Incense: Frankincense

Freezing Boreas,
whose wintry breezes make the world’s lofty air quiver,
come away from snowy Thrace!
Dissolve the rebellious alliance of clouds and moist air,
and turn the water to rushing drops of rain.
Bring fair weather everywhere, and give ether it’s bright eye,
the sun, whose rays shine upon the earth.

81. To Zephyros
Incense: Frankincense

Western breezes, ethereal begetters of all,
As you blow gently, your whisper brings deathlike rest.
Vernal and meadow-haunting, you are loved by havens,
Because to ships you bring… soft and light air.
Come in a spirit of kindness and blow perfectly,
O airy, invisible and light-winged ones.

82. To Notos
Incense: Frankincense

Quickly leaping through the moist air,
And with both of your swift winged vibrating,
Come, father of rain, with the southern clouds.
Zeus did give you this lofty prerogative,
To send the rain-giving clouds from sky to earth.
Hence, we pray to you, O blessed one,
To take delight in our sacrifice
and send fruit-nourishing rains to mother earth.

83. To Okeanos
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I summon Okeanos, ageless and eternal father,
Begetter of immortal gods and mortal men,
Okeanos who with his waves encircles the earth.
From him come every sea, every river,
And so do the pure and flowing waters of earth’s springs.
Hear me, O blessed god and highest divine purifier, the earth’s own end,
The pole’s beginning, where the ships glide on,
And come, kind and ever gracious to the initiates.

84. To Hestia
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

Queen Hestia, daughter of mighty Kronos,
Mistress of ever burning and peerless fire,
you dwell in the house center.
May you hallow the initiates of these rites
and grant them unwithering youth,
Riches, prudence and purity.
You are the home of the blessed gods and men’s mighty buttress,
eternal, many-shaped, beloved and grass-yellow.
Smile, O blessed one, and kindly accept these offerings,
Wafting upon us prosperity and gentle-handed health.

85. To Sleep
Incense: Opium Poppy

Sleep, you are lord of all the blessed gods and mortal men,
And of every living creature the broad earth nurtures,
For you alone are master of all and you visit all,
Binding their bodies with fetters unforged.
You free us of cares, and, offering sweet respite from toil,
You grant holy solace to our every sorrow.
You save souls by easing them into the thought of death,
Since to Death and Oblivion you are a true brother.
But, O blessed one, I beseech you to come, sweet-tempered,
And kindly save the initiates that they may serve the gods.

86. To Dream
Incense: Aromatic Herbs

I call upon you, blessed, long-winged and baneful dream,
Messenger of things to come, greatest prophet to mortals.
In the quiet of sweet sleep you come silently, and, speaking to the soul,
You rouse men’s minds and in their sleep you whisper to them
The will of the blessed ones.
Silent you come to show the future to silent souls,
That walk the noble path of piety to the gods,
So that always good wins the race to people’s minds,
And leads their lives to pleasures enjoyed before evil arrives,
And to respite from suffering…………………………….
The end to which the pious come is always sweeter,
But to the impious never does a dreamy phantom, a prophet of evil deeds,
Reveal future necessity, so that they find deliverance from pain to come.
But, blessed one, I beg you to show me the behests of the gods,
And in all things bring me close to the straight path.
Do not show me evil signs which conduce monstrous deeds.

87. To Death
Incense: Powdered Frankincense

Hear me you who steers the course of all mortals,
And gives holy time to all ahead of whom you lie.
Your sleep tears the soul free from the body’s hold,
When you undo nature’s tenacious bonds,
Bringing long and eternal slumber to the living.
Common to all, you are unjust to some,
When you bring a swift end to youthful life at its peak.
In you alone is the verdict common to all executed,
For to prayers and entreaties you alone are deaf.
But, O blessed one, with sacrifices and pious vows,
I beg you to grant long life,
that old age might be a noble prize among men.

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