The Head of Orpheus

Take four coins and paint the backs of them black. Throw the coins and note how many heads are turned towards or away from you. Then roll a die to determine the verse from the Rhapsodic Theogony of Orpheus which you must hear.

1: Long did he ponder.
2: None has an unchanging destiny laid upon it, but all must go full circles.
3: As we draw in the air we gather to ourselves divine soul.
4: The insolent are brought down below Kokytos to the chilly horrors of Tartaros.
5: These things keep in thy mind, dear son, and in thy heart.
6: Well knowing all the things of long ago.

1: The souls of beasts and winged birds when they flit away.
2: Conspiring with Kronos and his other brethren.
3: This is now the twelfth voice of those I heard from thee.
4: ‘Twas thou that said it.
5: And thee thyself, far shooter, would make my witness.
6: They were born from Earth and from the blood of Heaven.

1: Throughout the misty darkness.
2: And it moved without slackening in a vast circle.
3: With golden wings moving this way and that.
4: Uttering the voice of a bull and of glaring lion.
5: Female and Father the mighty god Erikepaios.
6: Cherishing in his heart swift and sightless Eros.

1: The key of mind.
2: An awful daimon.
3: But all the others marveled when there burst upon their gaze the unlooked-for light.
4: He built for the immortals an imperishable house.
5: The genitals fell down into the sea.
6: A great yawning gulf on this side and on that.

1: There was no limit to it, no bottom nor foundation.
2: All things were in confusion.
3: Holding in her hands the noble scepter of Erikepaios.
4: He granted to Night to have the gift of prophecy wholly true.
5: He cast them into Tartaros, deep in the earth.
6: Seven fair daughters and seven kingly sons.

1: Okeanos who winds about and enfolds the earth with his swirling streams.
2: Titans of evil counsel, with overweening hearts.
3: For powerful though the were they had set themselves against a mightier foe.
4: Burdens to the earth.
5: Whose counsels never perish.
6: Then circling seasons the year brought forth.

1: And the spirits of Rivalry and Beguilement together took her up in their arms.
2: At this time Okeanos kept within his halls, debating with himself to which side his intent should lean.
3: He held the body of all things in the hollow of his own belly.
4: Whether he should maim his father’s might and do him wanton injury.
5: Then bind him.
6: Of four and twenty measures.

1: And Justice, bringer of retribution, attended him, bringing succor to all.
2: Out of their fatal insolence and reckless pride.
3: With their inexorable hearts and lawless spirit.
4: All things one and each one separate.
5: Drunk with the works of loud-murmuring bees.
6: Zeus is head, Zeus is middle, and from Zeus all things have their being.

1: She is called by the noble name of Arete.
2: That she might be for him the accomplisher of great deeds.
3: Therefore together with him all things in Zeus were created anew.
4: A world which has many mountains, cities, and mansions.
5: That it may return in a month as much as the sun in a year.
6: And the honourable works of nature are steadfast.

1: These things the Father made in the misty darkness of the cave.
2: All that was to come to pass.
3: Thou shalt bear splendid children.
4: And he was called sweet child of Zeus.
5: Only the heart, the seat of thought, did they leave.
6: Seven parts of the child in all did they divide between them.

1: All the immortal blessed gods and goddesses rejoiced.
2: He took in his hands the glorious daimon.
3: Perform the mystic rites.
4: With four eyes looking this way and that.
5: Fair Ide and her sister Adrasteia.
6: For he was wroth with his mother, and yet more with his brethren.

1: Under the weight of stern necessity.
2: Instead of one stock of wine they put in its place three.
3: Many are the wand-bearers, but few the Bakchoi.
4: How am I to establish my proud rule?
5: Plying the loom, an unfinished toil, flowery.
6: Performing mighty acts.

1: Until Rhea should bear a child to Kronos in love.
2: He lay with his stout neck lolling sideways, and all conquering sleep overtook him.
3: So as the year completed its circling course.
4: Unmarried and all untried in child birth she resolves its issues.
5: He mingled with his own limbs the power and strength of the god.
6: All come out of each other in the succeeding generations.

1: Water is death to soul, and soul to water.
2: Yearning to be set free from their lawless ancestry.
3: Of all the springing herbs with which mortals have to do on the earth.
4: Vain and foolish and improvident.
5: For there is no worse, no more terrible thing than a woman.
6: To cease from the circle and have respite from evil.

1: Men will dispatch full hecatombs in all the seasons of the year.
2: He remained sitting in his halls.
3: From water comes earth, and from earth water again.
4: For thou hast power in these things.
5: Set free from grevious pain and endless sting of frenzy.
6: He took and divided.

1: Without wit to perceive the approach of evil.
2: Close the doors, you uninitiated.
3: Mother, highest of the gods.
4: Taking the brazen cymbals and tympanon of goat hide.
5: Counterfeit images.
6: Then great Chronos fashioned in the divine Aither a silvery egg.


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