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  Astrology and Orphism

   ORPHISM (ORPHICA) is an ancient Greek religious-mystical teaching whose foundation is attributed to Orpheus. The orphism probably split in the 6th century BC from Thracian Dionisian mysteries. Orpheus was proclaimed the founder of the rites and author of orphic poems. The Orpheotelestḗs (dedicated priests) taught that Zeus gave rise to Dionysus Lisey ("Deliverer") in order to free (deliver) the soul enclosed in the human body (Soma) as in the tomb (Sema), and prepare it way to eternal bliss. The central ritual of Dionysian orgies - omophagia ("eating raw meat" confused in the vachic exasperation of the animal victim) - was rethought as the original sin of the titans who had confused the child-Dionysus and tasted his meat. People, according to the teaching of Orphism, consist of two opposite elements (Dionysian and titanic, good and evil), they are evil because they appeared from the ashes of the Titans; they have a good spiritual quality, as the Titans have squandered and devoured Dionysus. The theogony of Orphism is similar to that of Hesiod, only Zeus wins not Kronos but Phanes. Orphism was an attempt to save the Dionysian beginning in human. It was believed that only "pure" - dedicated in mystery and leading "orphic way of life," the hallmark of which for the Greek of the 5th century BC was vegetarianism, could atone for the hereditary sin coming from the Titans. The Orfics believed that after their death they were expected to be blessed, described as a great feast, while the rest of the people would die in Tartar.
   Already in Plato 's time, many "books of Orpheus" were known; poems under the name Orpheus were created over a thousand years, reflecting the different stages of Greek religion and the influence of various philosophical schools. From the huge orphic literature to us reached only two late monuments: the collection 87 "Orphic Hymns" (approximately 200 AD in Asia Minor), the originator of which was influenced by Stoicism, Philo of Alexandria and Plato, and "Argonautica Orphica" (V century). Only fragments are preserved from the rest of the works; they contained cosmogonic and theogonic teachings, descriptions of magical rituals, astrological information. Ancient literature mentions the "great year of Orpheus", "Dodecaeterides of Orpheus". From fragments of the so-called "Rhapsodic Theogony" a grandiose picture of the evolution of the universe from the "unaging Chronos", presented as a change of six generations of gods, is reconstructed.
   B.L. van der Waerden points out that Orphism, just like Mithraism and Zurvanism, influenced the formation of primitive zodiacal astrology.


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