Orphic Mysteries

   Like the Sumerian Descent of Inanna epic, the mysteries of the Greek hero Orpheus have been interpreted as being shamanic. In part, this is because Orpheus descended into the underworld to restore his dead wife to life. He is also the archetypal mystagogue or initiator and revealer of mysteries. However, like other classical-period mysteries, those of Orpheus privilege restraint rather than excess. The main link between Orpheus and ecstasy is in the stories of his frenzied dismemberment by female devotees of Dionysus annoyed by Orpheus’s rejection of all deities except the sober, solar Apollo. This is hardly an encouragement of trance or possession among his initiates. Nonetheless, Gloria Flaherty (1992) shows that Orpheus was considered preeminent among shamans, themselves considered preeminent religious virtuosi, by 18th-century Enlightenment writers such as Johann von Herder, Johann Goethe, and Victor Hugo. But it is as an inspired poetic performer rather than as an entranced otherworld journeyer that Orpheus is considered shamanic, thereby making the term too vague to be useful.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Orphic — Orphically, adv. /awr fik/, adj. 1. of or pertaining to Orpheus. 2. resembling the music attributed to Orpheus; entrancing. 3. pertaining to a religious or philosophical school maintaining a form of the cult of Dionysus, or Bacchus, ascribed to… …   Universalium

  • Orphic — /ˈɔfɪk/ (say awfik) adjective 1. relating to a religious or philosophical school maintaining a form of the cult of Dionysus: Orphic mysteries. 2. (often lower case) mystic; oracular. {Greek orphikos. See Orphean} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Orphic — adj. 1 of or concerning Orpheus or the mysteries, doctrines, etc. associated with him; oracular; mysterious. 2 = ORPHEAN. Derivatives: Orphism n. Etymology: L Orphicus f. Gk Orphikos f. Orpheus …   Useful english dictionary

  • Dionysian Mysteries — Dionysus in Bacchus by Caravaggio The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the… …   Wikipedia

  • Greco-Roman mysteries — See Western esotericism for modern mystery religions in the Western cultural sphere. Topics in Greek mythology Gods Primordial gods and Titans Zeus and the Olympians Pan and the nymphs Apollo and Dionysus Sea gods and Earth gods Heroes …   Wikipedia

  • Mithraic Mysteries — Top: Mithras killing the bull, being looked over by the Sun god and the Moon goddess. Bottom: Mithras banqueting with the Sun god.] The Mithraic Mysteries or Mysteries of Mithras (also Mithraism) was a Roman mystery religion which became popular… …   Wikipedia

  • Orphism (religion) — Orphic mosaics were found in many late Roman villas Orphism (more rarely Orphicism) (Ancient Greek: Ὀρφικά) is the name given to a set of religious[1] beliefs and practices in the ancient Greek and the Hellenistic wo …   Wikipedia

  • Omophagia — See raw foodism for the modern use of the term. Omophagia, or omophagy (from Greek ωμός raw ) is the eating of raw flesh. The term is of importance in the context of the cult worship of Dionysus. Marble image of a dancing Maenad;… …   Wikipedia

  • Orpheus — For other uses, see Orpheus (disambiguation). Roman mosaic depicting Orpheus, wearing a Phrygian cap and surrounded by the beasts charmed by the music of his lyre. Orpheus ( …   Wikipedia

  • Orpheus — Orphean /awr fee euhn, awr fee euhn/, adj. /awr fee euhs, fyoohs/, n. 1. Gk. Legend. a poet and musician, a son of Calliope, who followed his dead wife, Eurydice, to the underworld. By charming Hades, he obtained permission to lead her away,… …   Universalium

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