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ZenMusic  ZenMusic is offline
Join Date: 06 Nov 2005
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 506

I'm sort of backing into this.... I had just started looking in the meaning of the orphic egg (an egg entwined by a serpent). becuase of the Thoth deck, which shows the egg on a number of cards.

This is a sample of where I've wondered searching through this..

It’s a symbol from the ancient Orphic Mysteries, the egg representing the cosmos, the serpent the creative spirit. The egg is also the soul of the philosopher, the serpent the mysteries. At the time of initiation the philosopher’s soul hatches from the egg, ie is reborn from physical into spiritual existence
The Orphic egg is usually represented as an egg surrounded by a coiled serpent. The egg symbolizes the belief in the Greek Orphic religion that the universe originated from within a silver egg. The first emanation from this egg, described in an ancient hymn, was Phanes-dionysus, the personification of light:

In Greek myth, particularly Orphic thought, Phanes is the golden winged Primordial Being who was hatched from the shining Cosmic Egg that was the source of the universe. Called Protogonos (First-Born) and Eros (Love) — being the seed of gods and men — Phanes means "Manifestor" or "Revealer," and is related to the Greek words "light" and "to shine forth."

An ancient Orphic hymn addresses him thus:

ineffable, hidden, brillian scion, whose motion is whirring, you scattered the dark mist that lay before your eyes and, flapping your wings, you whirled about, and through this world you brought pure light

Ran across another related? symbol.. the snake nailed to a cross -- is a common alchemical drawing representing the "fixing of the volatile," or, making the elixir of mercury, a legendary curative, by removing the volatile, or poisonous element. The crucified serpent is a symbol of overcoming one's base or materially inclined nature.

So then I needed to understand "Orphic thought" (though i knew very well the myth)

Orpheus was a legendary singer in Greek myth rescued his wife Eurydice from death by his music
Redemptive Purification
Orpheus, the poet-Argonaut, is also said to have come on earth to purify the religion of its gross, and terrestrial anthrophomorphism. He abolished human sacrifice and instituted a mystic theology based on pure spirituality. Cicero calls Orpheus a son of Bacchus."
- M. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled

To the Orphics, the soul is of celestial origin and divine; man is a child of earth and starry heaven; his body of the earth, but his soul, as a late Orphic line expresses it, is 'rooted in the celestial element'. Each soul had lived in the society of Gods, and was in fact a God.

"...As soon as a soul got into the body, the doors of the prison-house close around her. The soul has entered upon what the Orphics call the 'circle' or 'wheel of generation', a long and weary circuit of birth and death."
"While present in the body, the soul is therefore a fallen angel who is doing penance for her sins and her ultimate aim is to be released from her chains and recover the inheritance she has lost."
- "Orphism, Return to the Gods" in Advance, Issue 119

The followers of Orpheus turned the Dionysian method on its head, seeking ecstasy through abstinence and rites of purification, denying the senses rather than using them as vehicles for bliss."
- Search for the Soul

In the Hellenistic mystery cults initiates entering the holy of holies were often required to be naked, and, whereas women were excluded from Mithraic rites, they were essential to the Orphic-Dionysian, both as inciters of the mystic rapture and as vehicles of the revelation."
- Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology

"The ancient symbol of the Orphic Mysteries was the serpent-entwined egg, which signified Cosmos as encircled by the fiery Creative Sprit. The egg also represents the soul of the philosopher; the serpent, the Mysteries. At the time of initiation the shell is broken and man emerges from the embryonic state of physical existence wherein he had remained through the fetal period of philosophic regeneration."
- Bryant, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology

This "rebirth" is depicted on an Orphic bowl (dating from the 2nd or 3rd century AD). Inside around the rim, a ring of naked figures - male and female - are shown in the Sanctum of the Winged Serpent.

"The mound in the center, covered by the winged serpent, is the top of the Orphic cosmic egg, within which all mortal creatures dwell. The company is outside and above the egg. They have ascended (spiritually) through the sun door, which opens at the instant of noon at the summit of the sky....The normal limitation of human thought and sense, the clothing of the mind, were destroyed in the fiery passage, the purging flames of which are now blazing at their feet; and the serpent wrapped around the mound, at which they gaze in silent rapture, combines the forms that would have been seen below as opposites: the serpent crawling on its belly and the bird in winged flights."
"Standing in the bowl of the winged serpent, we are inside that sacramental chalice, drinking with our eyes, so to say, the intoxicant, there symbolized as wine, of the mystery of the substance of our being."
- Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology

The egg almost universally symbolizes perfection and totality. Cosmogonic myths which posit creation as arising from the cosmic egg are varied. Sometimes the creator God lives alone inside the egg. Sometimes the primordial chaos is described as an egg. Generally, all the possibilities of a perfect creation are inherent in the egg.

Ophioneus is something shared by the "living."

and this is just getting the background to a deeper understanding...

quasi Golden Dawn Thoth tarot ( such as does the Wang deck ) .. does it show....
.. i have the Wang deck, but I have a bit more to research before I can address this.. but i will...
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