RHEA Spiritual Power of Orphic Instrumental Music

Rhea is Called brass-sounding and drum-beating because of the mystical sound of music. Paul understood the myths of the world when he warned the Corinthians that they were continuing their old paganism.

The Orphic Pantheon by G. R. S. Meade

According to Orphic and Platonic theology, Rhea holds the middle rank between Cronus and Zeus in the Noëric Order. 'She is filled from Saturn withan intelligible and prolific power which she imparts to Jupiter, the Demiurgus of the universe: filling his essence with a vivitic abundance.' (See Taylor, Myst. Hymns, pp. 41-45.)

Plato in Cratylus mystically connects her name (Rhea) with the idea of 'flowing' (from the Greek reo--'to flow') [Rheology, for example, is the science of fluid flow.], meaning thereby simply 'that fontal power by which she contains in transcendent union the divisible rivers of life'.

Rhea, is, therefore, the 'mother of lives,' the mystical Eve (ZOE), the 'mother of all living.'

Proclus (Theol. Plat. Taylor's ed., i.267) says that according to Orpheus,

'This Goddess, when considered as united to Saturn by the most exalted part of her essence, is called Rhea;

but considered as producing Jupiter, and together with Jupiter unfolding the total and partial orders of the Gods [i.e., the powers of the Sensible World], she is called Ceres.' This is a very important distinction to bear in mind.

Now Rhea, as Ceres, in Hymn XIV, is called 'brass-sounding' and

'drum-beating'. This has reference to the mystical results of certain sounds and rhythm, part and parcel of what the Hindus call Mantravidyâ. I remember reading a curious old French book in the Bibliothèque de la Ville of Clermont-Ferrand, one of the books confiscated from the Minime Monastery of the same town, at the time of the Revolution.

This work dealt with the magical properties of music, and described for what especial purposes the various instruments of music were used in the Temple-service of the Jews.

Now Iamblichus (De Mysteriis, III.ix) goes into the matter of the so-called Corybantic and Bacchic 'frenzies' produced by musical instruments in the Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus; and in his Life of Pythagoras (xxv) he, further, tells us that:
........... 'The whole Pythagoric school went through a course of musical training,
........... both in harmony and touch, whereby,
. ..................... by means of appropriate chants,
........... ........... they beneficially converted the dispositions of the soul to contrary emotions.

For, before they retired to rest, they purified their minds of the [mental, says Quintilian] confusion and noises of the day, by certain songs and peculiar chants, and so prepared for themselves peaceful repose with either few or pleasant dreams. And again, when they rose from sleep, they freed themselves from drowsiness by songs of another character.

And sometimes by means of melodies without words they cured certain affections and diseases, and this they said was the real means of "charming".
........... And it is most probable that the word "charm" (epode) came into general use from them.

epôidê A. song sung to or over: hence, enchantment, spell,

It was thus, then, that Pythagoras established a most salutary system of regenerating the morals by means of "music" [Mantravidyâ].' (Op. cit. Kiessling's text, pp. 245, 246; see also Taylor, Iamblichus on the Mysteries, 2nd ed., pp. 130, 131, n.)

Music and Mantras, therefore, were used by the Orphics
........... to attract, or call down, the influence of the Mother of the Gods,
........... who at the same time was the 'Store-house of Life', of Divine Nature.

Thus Proclus in his Commentary on Euclid (ii) tells us that 'the Pole of the World is
........... called by the Pythagoreans the Seal of Rhea' (Myst. Hymns, p. 63).

Now the pole is the conductor of the vital and magnetic forces of the earth-envelope, and is, therefore, appropriately called by this name, as being the seal and signature of the vital forces of Divine Nature, whereby all diseases can be healed and all states of the soul vitalized.


Why does the name of Orpheus, "the first of the world's singers," as Lefranc de Pompignan called him, appear on the title-page of this volume? Because

he was not merely "the first singer," though the Greeks knew of poems by him which they held to be much earlier than those of Homer.

Orpheus was also, to the ancients, the theologian par excellence, founder of those mysteries which ensured the salvation of mankind,

and no less essential to it as the interpreter of the gods.

Horace [65 - 85 B.C.E.] designates him thus: Sacer interpresque deorum. He it was who revealed first to the Thracians and afterwards to the other Greeks the necessary knowledge of things divine. TRUE, he [ORPHEUS] NEVER EXISTED [compare: Jesus]; but this is of little moment.

ORPHISM EXISTED [compare: Christianism ("Christianity")] and, as Jules Girard has justly said, it was the most interesting fact in the religious history of the Greeks.' [v].

[note: Orpheus appeared 6th century B.C.E. in Greek Art and Literature (oral antecedents, probably, to [at least] 7th century

B.C.E.) (Encyc. Philos.)].

[note: Orphic movement appeared 6th century B.C.E. (Encyc. Religion, V. 11, 111)]. "The fathers of the church were persuaded that Orpheus was the disciple of Moses.

They saw in him a type--or rather a prototype--of Jesus, since he to had come to teach mankind, and had been at once its benefactor and its victim.

An emperor [Severus Alexander, Roman Emperor 222 - 235 (208 - 235)] placed a statue of Orpheus in his lararium, besides that of the Christian Messiah [from: Scriptores Historiae Augustae. very problematic! see Supplement I]. Between Orphism and Christianity there were, indeed, analogies so evident and so striking that it was impossible to accept them as accidental. A common source of inspiration was assumed." [v].

"If on examination we find something of Orphism in every religion, it is because Orphism made use of elements common to them all, drawn from the depths of human nature, and nourished by its most cherished illusions.

A little book destined to summarize religions and their histories could not invoke a better patron than Orpheus, son of Apollo and a Muse, poet, musician, theologian, mystagogue and authorised interpreter of the gods.

Having explained my title, I may add a few words in justification of the method I have adopted....

Now it is an historian that I propose to deal with RELIGIONS. I see in them the infinitely CURIOUS PRODUCTS OF MAN'S IMAGINATION AND OF MAN'S REASON IN ITS INFANCY; it is as such that they claim our attention." [vi].

'26. Fontenelle [Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle 1657 - 1757] concludes with a few remarks on the BORROWINGS OF THE GREEKS FROM THE PHOENICIANS AND EGYPTIANS [see Robert Taylor (495)], on the misunderstandings that must have arisen among the Greeks from their ignorance of foreign languages, and on the influence of literature, which sometimes preserves, sometimes develops fables, and even creates new ones.

"In fables," he concludes, "we need seek nothing more than the history of the errors of the human mind. It is not science to fill one's head with all the extravagances of the Phoenicians and the Greeks [and Christians, et. al.] but it is science to know what led the Phoenicians and the Greeks [and Christians, et. al.] into these extravagances. ALL MEN ARE SO MUCH ALIKE THAT THERE IS NO RACE WHOSE FOLLIES SHOULD NOT MAKE US TREMBLE."

This last phrase is pregnant with things Fontenelle did not dare to say; he also, like d'Alembert [Jean le Rond D'Alembert 1717 - 1783] (in a letter to Voltaire [François Marie Arouet de Voltaire 1694 - 1778]), thought "the fear of the stake is cooling to the blood."' [14]. from: The Lies and Fallacies of the Encyclopedia Britannica, How Powerful and Shameless Clerical Forces Castrated a Famous Work of Reference, Joseph McCabe, Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius, Haldeman-Julius publications ("Big Blue Book", B--608, 46 pages, 21 cm [U.C.S.D. (Private collections) has "5,000" "Blue Books" (not catalogued)]), c1947. [received (reprint), and first seen, 3/18/97].

PAGE 375

[from #8, 215: Joseph McCabe [1867 - 1955]: former monk of the Franciscan Order ("Father Antony"); author of "30" translations, "200" books, (delivered) "2,000" lectures; etc.].

'The Pope's Eunuchs [beginning of text]

A few years ago I had occasion to refer in one of my books to the male soprani of the papel chapel at Rome.

These castrated males, sexually mutilated, as every priest and every Italian knew,

for soprani in the choir of the Sistine Chapel, were the amusement of Rome when it developed a large degree of skepticism

but a grave scandal to the American and British Catholics who began to arrive about the middle of the last century.

One of the vices which the Spaniards had brought to Italy in the 16 century along with the Borgia family and the Spanish Roman Emperors was the falsetto singer. There were artists who could sing falsetto with distinction, but as the opera gained in popularity in Italy the practice began of emasculating boys with good voices and retaining them as male soprani or,

as the Italians, with their usual lack of Christian reticence about sex called them, the castrati. They were in every opera in the 18th century, but foreign visitors were never reconciled to them. The famous English weekly,

The Spectator, wrote about "the shrill celestial whine of eunuchs," and by the end of the 18th century they began to fade out of the opera-house.

But, as the word "celestial" indicates, they were found also in the choir of all churches that were proud of their music, particularly in the chapel of the Vatican Palace, the Sistine Chapel, one of the greatest shrines of art as well as of virtue and piety in Rome.

And the churches clung [sic] to their eunuchs when public opinion almost drove them out of opera.

The plea seems to have been that there was some indelicacy, or risk of it, in having females in the church choir, so the priests chose to ignore the rather indelicate nature of the operation of emasculation.
........... The fact was as well known as the celibacy of the clergy.' [3].

PAGE 376

'This work [Thalia] was written by Arius [d. 336] subsequently to his excommunication by the Alexandrian Synod of A.D. 321, according to some authorities. Philostorgius [c. 368 - c. 439] says, he wrote also a collection of songs for sailors, millers, and pilgrims,--

an old expedient for spreading religious opinions among the common people, as Neander [Johann August Wilhelm Neander 1789 -1850] observes. Milman [Henry Hart Milman 1791 - 1868 (Dean of St. Paul's, etc.)], in Gibbon's Rome, [as editor] notes the fact thus:


BEGUILING THE IGNORANT, as Philostorgius terms it, by the sweetness of his music, into the impiety of his doctrines."

According to Sozomen ["early 5th century"], "Arian singers used to parade the streets of Constantinople by night, till Chrysostom [John Chrysostom c. 347 - 407 (St.)] arrayed against them a band of Orthodox choristers." --Soz. B., VIII. chap. 8.

St. Ambrose [c. 339 - 397] composed hymns in Latin to the glory to the Trinity, for the people to sing in churches,

A.D. 374.--See Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church.

An old rhetorician at Rome, named Fabius Marius Victorinus ["4th century"], composed hymns to advance the Orthodox Trinitarian cause.

The following lines are the beginning of one of old Victorinus' hymns, as I find them printed in Patrologiae, VIII. 1159: ....[Latin].

Translation: Hymn First.

Be present, true light, father almighty, God.
Be present, light of light, wonder and excellence of God.
Be present, holy spirit, bond of father and son,
You, when you rest, are the father, when you go forth, the son.
You, who are joined the whole in one, are the holy spirit,
The primal one, one from himself arisen, the one prior to one, God.

This Victorinus, according to St. Jerome, was the "vice-consul of the African nation," and taught rhetoric, principally at Rome under Constantine. In his extreme old age, he received the faith of Christ, which was not long prior to A.D. 362. He wrote books against the doctrines of the Manichaeans, and commentaries on the apostolical Scriptures. He held a controversy with the Arian, Candidus [c. 354 (friend of Victorinus)], on the divine generation of the Word; and his four books against the Arians, besides several epistles to Candidus, are preserved in Patrologiae, vol. VIII., together with the opposing arguments of Candidus.' [73-74].

Some Other Pagan Connections to Instrumental Music

Jubilee 99 Navigating The Winds With Dionysus

Homeric Hymn to Apollo

Lucian The Oracle Monger

First Musical Heresy Musical Worship Teams

Musical Heresy 2: Hippolytus on Music and Soothsaying

Hippolytus Book V

Orphic Music

Orphic Connection to Romans 14

Rhea-Saturn-Zoe Connection

Classical Index

Musical Worship Index

Church Fathers

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