RHEA - SATURN: Orphic Instrumental Music

The Orphic Pantheon


G. R. S. Meade

Rhea and Saturn: Sabbath worship. 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.)


Noëtic Order


Cronus - Saturn

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' (ZOe). Rhea, is, therefore, the 'mother of lives,' the mystical Eve, the 'mother of all living.' She is also Zoe, the beast or originator of the Beast.

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

'This Goddess (RHEA), 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. 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, (Rhea Zoe Eve, Mary)

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 (MARK) 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.

Click Here to see how the gods lived in and spoke through musical instruments.


Aratus says that there are in the sky revolving, that is, gyrating stars, because from east to west, and west to east, they journey perpetually, (and) in an orbicular figure. And he says that there revolves towards "The Bears" themselves,

like some stream of a river, an enormous and prodigious monster, (the) Serpent; and that this is what the devil says in the book of Job to the Deity, when (Satan) uses these words: "I have traversed earth under heaven, and have gone around (it)," 

that is, that I have been turned around, and thereby have been able to survey the worlds. For they suppose that towards the North Pole

is situated the Dragon, the Serpent, from the highest pole looking upon all (the objects), and gazing on all the works of creation, in order that nothing of the things that are being made may escape his notice. See Serpent Worship and Music

Rhea was also called Brimô by the Phrygians, and her son (Zeus) was called Brimos. This in the macrocosm; in the microcosm Rhea was the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) which gave birth to the Human Soul (Manas). Thus Hippolytus, in the Philosophumena (v.6): 'The Phrygians also (he [the writer of the book from which the Church Father took his information] says) called it [the Human Soul] the "Plucked Green Wheat-ear." And after the Phrygians the Athenians, in their Eleusinian Mysteries, show those who are initiated in silence into the great and marvelous and most perfect mystery of the Epopts [those who "see face to face"], a plucked wheat-ear.

Now this wheat-ear is also with the Athenians the Illuminator from the Undelineable [Spiritual Soul, Great Mother, the Soul of Peace (Shânta Atman) of the Kathopanishad], perfect and great, just as the hierophant also--not emasculated like Attis,

but made eunuch with hemlock juice [soma-juice] and divorced from all fleshly generating--in the night, at Eleusis, from beneath many a cloud of fire [doubtless some psychic phenomenon], accomplishing the great and ineffable mysteries, shouts and cries aloud, saying: "Our Lady hath borne a sacred son, Brimô [hath given birth to] Brimos"--that is to say, the strong to the strong.

Our Lady (he says) is the spiritual generation, the celestial, the above; and the "strong" he who is born.' That is, the new 'Twice-born,' or Initiate who is born from the 'Fountain of Life.' (ZOE is connected to Lucifer) (But see my translation in Lucifer, xiii.47). We next pass to Rhea's royal son and husband, Zeus.

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

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Musical Worship Index

Church Fathers

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