Orpheism and the Pagan Mysteries
- Part 1
Another of the many Secret Societies, that
most know nothing of.
There is no greater or more erudite authority than Fabre d'Olivet
(1768-1825) on Orpheus or Dyoniusius (Pythagore, Les Vers Dor�s)
and to such an eminent source, among many others, must the reader be referred.
The feats of the white Dorian race of Greece and the mysticism
of its priests of Thrace as well as the enturies-long rivalry between the
solar or male cult and the lunar or female cult, have provided inexhaustible
sources of religious and literary lore.
The legendary birth of Orpheus adorned with his descent from Apollo,
his flight from Thrace, initiation in the temple of Memphis and return
to his own country as a high adept of the most profound mysteries, constitute
but the first part of his life.
After his return to Greece, he united the cults of Dyonisius and
Zeus, reformed that of Bacchus and instituted the Mysteries. To him was
allotted the task of reducing the power of the Bacchantes, priestesses
of Hecate, by a magic superior to theirs, and their vengeance, which caused
his death, has been the theme of many a poet.
One follows the evolution of Greece from Orpheus to Pythagoras,
Socrates and Plato as one searches for the remnants of Egyptian esoterism
in the utmost recesses of the Delphic temples and in the ceremonies of
initiation to the Eleusiuian mysteries. These, having still been practiced
until the Emperor Theodosius I, the Great, (379) prohibited them and ordered
the destruction of the Eleusinian Temple, much material is available for
We are indebted to Bishop Lavington, an erudite member of the
Anglican Church, for a graphic description of the perversion to which they
gave rise, but we preface this article with that author's apology to the
reader, which, like the text of most of this chapter, we quote verbatim
from the Bishop's book "The Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists compared,
Part III": "We wallow indeed in the mire, by publishing these things. But
lest any one should fall into the mire of these heretics, from mere ignorance,
I purposely and knowingly defile my own mouth, and the ears of the auditors,
because it is beneficial. For it is much better to hear absurdity and filthiness
in accusing others, than to fall into them out of ignorance. Much better
to be informed of the mire, than, for want of information, to fall into
Bishop Lavington then proceeds with the explanation of the Pagan
Mysteries from which we quote: "The Gods and Goddesses each had their spiritual
mysteries. Even Cotytto, the Goddess of Turpitude, had her rites and devotees.
A high opinion of the Mysteries was very far from being general,
or received by great and good Persons. Those great Men, Agesilaus and Epaminonudas,
would not submit to an Initiation...The Athenians asking Diogenes to be
initiated because such had the Precedency in a future State; he replied,
Ridiculous thing! That Agesilasus and Epaminonudas must rowl in dirt;
and every Scoundrel initiated, such as Patecion the Thief, be happy in
the Elysian Fields.' Nor shall we entertain the better Notion of the Mysteries
when we find so wise and good a Man as Socrates refusing initiation. For
which (though perhaps he had stronger) he gives this Reason: If the Mysteries
were bad, he should not be able to conceal the Secret, but must discourage
every one from Initiation; and if good, Humanity would oblige him to discover
it for the public Benefit.'
But whether the Mysteries were good or bad, Authors are pretty
well agreed as to the preparatory Ceremonies, and manner of Initiation:
whereby they were to Represent, and Act over again, the Actions and passions
of the Deities, for whose Honor the Mysteries were instituted.
That Initiation might seem a venerable and solemn Thing, the Devotees
were taught to qualify themselves by Prayer to the Demons, Fastings, Watchings,
Confession to the Priest, and other Lustrations. We read in Plutarch, that
fasting is to precede the Mysteries of Ceres,' and that Confession was
required, Antalcidas being examined by the Priest, in order to his initiation,
what grievous crimes he had committed, made Answer, If I have been guilty
of any such Crime, the gods know it already.' The Confession was a trick
of the Masters of the Ceremonies to get the people under their Girdle.
Tertullian says, As tot he superstition of the Eleusinian Mysteries,
what they conceal is the Shame of them. Therefore they make the Admission
tortuous, take time in the Initiation, set a Seal on the Tongue, and instruct
the Epopteoefor five Years, to raise a high Opinion of them by Delay and
Expectation. But all the Divinity in the sacred Domes, the Whole of what
they aspire to, what sealeth the Tongue, is this: Simulacrum membri Virilis
revelatur. But for a Cover of their Sacrilege, the pretend these Figures
are only a mystical Representation of venerable Nature.'
The Original Reason of such figures being exposed to View, and
had in Veneration, in the Mysteries, we learn form others. Clemens Alexandrinus
giveth a full account of this religion of the Mysteries, too prolix to
be transcribed; Of their wicked institution, Cruelty, Stupidity, Madness,
making goddesses of Harlots, corrupting Mankind: the Mysteries of Cere
are nothing but representations of incestuous Deities: their ridiculous
Exclamations upon Admission were, I have eat out of the Timbrel, I have
drank out of the Cymbal, I have carried the Chest, I have crept into the
secret Chamber.' In the Chest Pudendum Bacchi inclusum erat. Cistam et
veretrum nova Religione colenda trandunt. It is a shame to mention the
filthy circumstances in the story of Ceres...
The Pagan Mysteries being of such an immoral Nature, and Tendency, it
might justly be thought strange, were no Notice taken of them in the Holy
Scriptures. And therefore, though such an Enquiry might carry us into too
great a Length, yet I shall not entirely pass it over. There can be little
Doubt, but they are pointed out by St. Paul: It is a Shame even to speak
of those Things that are done of them in Secret.' And where Christianity
is termed the Mystery of Godliness, it is set, I am persuaded, in Opposition,
not only to the Mystery of Iniquity that was to work in the Christian World,
but likewise to the preceding Mysteries among the Gentiles. Nor is it improbably,
that the Apostle writes in direct Opposition to the Appearances, Pretenses,
and Impostures of those false Divinities: Without Controversy great is
the Mystery of Godliness...
In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy xxiii.17 (not indeed in the Hebrew,
but in the Septuagint) after the Words, There shall be no Whore...nor
sodomites of the Sons of Israel,' we find added Words of this Import, There
shall not be an Initiator, nor an Initiated, of the Sons or Daughters of
Israel.' Tis possible this additional Clause may have been inserted by
the Seventy, by Way of Interpretation of the preceding Words. They knew
the Nature of the Mysteries full well; and we are led to this Meaning by
the Impurities forbidden, and by the Price of the dog in the next verse;
the Egyptian god Anubis being usually figured with a Dog's Head. (Edit.
Daniel, Schol) We may observe also, that Philo the Jew (de
Sacrific) expressly ranketh the Prohibition of the Mysteries among the
Laws of Moses. The Saw, saith he, expressly excludeth the whole of the
Mysteries, their Inchautments and execrable Scurrilities, from the Holy
Ordinances: not permitting those educated in her Society to celebrate such
Heathen Rites; nor, depending on such mystical Ceremonies, to disregard
the Truth; and to follow the Works of Night and Darkness, smiting what
deserveth the Light and the Day. Let none therefore among the Disciples
of Moses either initiate, or be initiated: it being equally wicked either
to teach, or to learn the Mysteries. Tis generally the Case with them,
that no good Person is initiated; but Thieves, and Pirates, and mad Gangs
of abominable and immodest women; after parting with their Money to the
initiating Priests." (Bishop Lavington, The Enthusiasm of Methodists and
Papists Compared, p. 313 et seq.; Occult Theocracy, pp. 91-95)
Orpheism and the Pagan Mysteries
- Part 2 (Last One)
Several of the Fathers have taken Notice of the same Passage in
the Septuagint, and explained it in the same manner. "For further Proof
of the Turpitude in the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris, and that it was so
from the Beginning, we need only consult Diodorus Siculus, Lib. I. Isis
being overwhelmed with Grief for the Loss of her Husband Osiris, took particular
Care in deifying him to consecrate his Pudenda; which she ordered to peculiarly
honored and adored in the Mysteries. And the same holy Institution was
observed with the same Ceremonies, when carried into Greece by Orpheus:
where the common People, partly from Ignorance, and partly from a Love
of the new god (Phallus), were very fond of being initiated.'
Much more might be collected (even from initiated Authors, however,
generally shy) concerning the infamous Origin of the Mysteries, which I
The celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries commenced in Greece
about 1400 years before Christ but whenever or however they were brought
into Greece, and transferred to the honor of Ceres and Proserpina, they
were of the same Nature, and observed with equally chaste Ceremonies, with
those of Isis...'
One contrivance for giving the Initiated a Sight of the Divinities,
was by means of a Looking-glass, wherein none could see their own Faces,
but had a clear view of the Gods and Goddesses.' This we have from Pausanias:
and Eusebius relates the same Thing. So easily might weak People, and under
the utmost Astonishment, be deluded by Figures behind a glass, in a proper
Habit and Posture; and especially by living Persons, personating the Deities
in any Manner they thought fit.
As a proof of the Indecencies, Sozomen writeth, that Theophilus,
Bishop of Alexandria, egregiously ridiculed and exposed to public View
the shameful Figures belonging to the Mysteries, the Phallus, etc., which
he brought out of the Pagan Temple. For which the enraged Heathens raised
a Tumult, and massacred a great Number of the Christians.' Even the initiated
Pausanias (notwithstanding his usual Reservedness) sometimes blurts out
a little too much, and intimates something shameful: as frequent assignations;
the proneness of the religious Females to venery a Mixture of the Obscene
and Miraculous; the continuance of the Eleusinian Festival for a week;
on the third Day whereof all Males, even the Dogs, are excluded; but the
next Day the Men are admitted among them, when they pass the Time in sporting,
and light Discourse; the Amours of Ceres of a very strange Kind; with the
Secrecy enjoined; The Obscenities in the Mysteries of Cupid, and suitable
A man initiated, and under an Oath of Silence, could not well
have discovered more of the true Nature of the Mysteries, and the Reason
why they ought not to be divulged. We are assured too, that one Day of
the Eleusinian Festival was set apart for the Rites of Venus and Cupid,
and another for those of Bacchus: both of which were confessedly beyond
measure abominable. Nor will our Opinion be more favorable, when we remember
what Athenus writes; Apelles, being extremely desirous of drawing a Venus
from the famous Phryne, could find no Opportunity of seeing her naked,
without going to the Eleusinian and Neptunian Games; where she stripped
herself in the Sight of all the Men, and went into the sea to wash herself...'
I apprehend therefore that no great Stress is to be laid upon
those initiated Authors, who have thought themselves obliged to say nothing
but what was good of the Mysteries; or have talked of the Unity of the
Deity, as the great Secret of them; perhaps to avoid the Shame of being
thought Dupes to a foolery, or inquisitive into something worse." ((Bishop
Lavington, The Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists Compared, p. 313 et
seq.; Occult Theocracy, pp. 95-97)
On the same subject the Chevalier de Ramsay, reputed founder of
Scottish Rites, writes the following: "About the fifteenth Olympiad, six
hundred Years before the Christian �ra, the Greeks having lost the
traditional Knowledge of the orientals, began to lay aside the Doctrine
of the Ancients, and to reason about the Divine Nature from Prejudices
which their Senses and Imagination suggested. Anaximander lived at that
time, and was the first that set himself to destroy the Belief of a Supreme
Intelligence, in order to account for everything from the Action of blind
Matter, which by necessity assumes all Sorts of Forms. He was followed
by Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus, Strato, Lucretius and all the School
of the Atomical Philosophers.
Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and all the
great Men of Greece, opposed this impious Doctrine, and endeavored to prove
the ancient Theology of the Orientals. These Philosophers of a superior
Genius observed in Nature, Motion, Thought and Design. And as the Idea
of Matter includes none of these three Properties, they inferred from thence,
that there was another Substance different from Matter.
Greece being thus divided into two Sects, they disputed for a
long time, without either Party being convinced. At length about the 120th
Olympiad Pyrrho formed a third Sect whose great Principle was to doubt
everything, and determine nothing. All the Atomists who had labored in
vain to find out a Demonstration of their false Principles, presently struck
in with the Pyrrhonian Sect. They ran wildly into the System of an universal
Doubt, and carried it almost to such an Excess of Frenzy, that they doubted
of the clearest and most sensible Truths. They maintained without say Allegory,
that everything we see is only an Illusion and that the whole Series of
Life is but a perpetual Dream of which those of the Night are only so many
At last Zeno set up a fourth School about the 130th Olympiad.
This Philosopher endeavored to reconcile the Disciples of Democritus with
those of Plato, by maintaining that the first Principle was indeed an infinite
Wisdom, but his Essence was only a pure Aether, or a subtle Light, which
diffused itself everywhere to give Life, Motion, and Reason to all Beings
(This is talking about the Jewish En Sof, which is what they call Almighty
God, and say that it has no substance, and that it is really not the Creator
because it cannot create; that the world and everything was created with
In these last Ages the modern Freethinkers have done nothing
but revive the ancient Errors. Jordano Bruno, Vannini and Spinoza, ha vamped
up the monstrous System of Anaximander; and the last of the three has endeavored
to dazzle weak Minds, by dressing it up in a geometrical Form.
Some Spinosists, finding that they were every Moment at a loss
for Evidence in the pretended Demonstrations of their Master, are fallen
into a senseless sort of Scepticism, called Egomism, where everyone fancies
himself to be the only Being that exists.
Mr. Hobbes and several other Philosophers, without setting up
for Atheists, have ventured to maintain, that Thought and Extension are
Properties of the same Substance.
Descartes, F. Malebranche, Leibnitz, Dr. Bentley, Dr. Clarke,
and several philosophers of a Genius equally subtle and profound, have
endeavored to refute these Errors, and brought Arguments to support the
ancient Geology. Besides the Proofs which are drawn from the Effects, they
have insisted on others drawn from the Idea of the first Cause. They show
plainly that the Reasons of believing, are infinitely stronger than any
Arguments there are for doubting. This is all that can be expected in metaphysical
The History of former times is like that of our own. Human Understanding
takes almost the same Forms in different Ages, and loses its Way in the
same Labyriths." (The Chevaller de Ramsay, A Discourse upon the Theology
and Mythology of the Antients in The Travels of Cyrus, vol. II, p. 76 et
seq. (Published 1728); Occult Theocracy, pp. 97-
The attitude of Jesus Christ to this sect is definitely
expressed in the New Testament. Ask yourself the following questions regarding
present day Jews Then you decide from the Word of God, who is true Israel.
1). Have the Jews been a blessing to all nations?
2). Have the Jews been "Circumcised In The Heart?"
3). Do the Jews glorify Jesus Christ?
4). Do the Jews declare that Jesus is God?
5). Do the Jews show forth the praises of Christ, God's
6). Have the Jews carried the message of "personal" and
"national" Salvation to the ends of the Earth?
7). Do the Jewish people have God's Spirit in their hearts?
8). Was the New Covenant (Testament) written to Jews or
Israelites and what is the difference between the two?
9). Are the Jews the "lost sheep of the house of Israel?"
10). Are the Jews the "children of God, scattered abroad?"
11). Are the Jews the servants of God?
12). Are the Jews a Holy Nation and People?
13). Are there any Jews mentioned in the "faith chapter" of
14). Are the Jews a righteous nation?
15). Are the Jews bringing forth the fruits of God's Kingdom?
16). Are the Jews kind to strangers in their midst?
17). Are the Jews called the "children of the living God?"
18). Do the Jews admit that they are not God's People?
19). Do the Jews have all of God's Word?
20). Are the Jews a Great and Mighty Nation?
21). Do the Jews possess the "gates of their enemies?"
22). Are the Jews a "company of nations?"
23). Are the Jews above all people in moral excellence?
24). Are the Jews today called through Isaac?
25). Have the Jews ever lost their identity?
26). Have the Jews ever been called by a "new name?"
27). Are the major heathen nations aligned against the Jews
28). Are the modern day Jews described as "a great lion?"
29). Did the Jews deliver Jerusalem from the power of the heathen?
30). Has the Jewish people ever had the name of "Great?"
31). Have the Jews been foremost in ending slavery?
32). Have the Jews been great colonizers?
33). Do the Jews recognize Jesus as Messiah?
34). Does your pastor teach that the "Jews are ALL of Israel?"
35). Do you honestly know what the Bible teaches about the Jews