Orphic Hymns and Tarot Iconography


Though I personally do not think that what has come to be called the Orphic Hymns were directly connected to Tarot, I have at times wondered how or if, in meandering indirectness, they could have had influence.

What has precipitated this renewed interest in my reading of Asphodel Long's In a Chariot Drawn by Lions - the title of which comes from a line from the Orphic Hymns.

Having previously only read Taylor's rendition, I was struck by the beauty of a newer translation I found online, by Virginia Stewart-Avalon, at that wonderful wiccan site of the Sybelline Order...

For those interested, the 'Chariot Drawn by Lions' forms part of Taylor's XXVI's hymn (not XXXVI as is referenced in the mentioned book), and is, on the linked site, under the sixth of the right-hand column (Mother of the Gods).

The Hymns, as a whole, conjure many wonderful images having connections with imagery from the Tarot, and are, in my personal view, certainly worth including as part of various reflections.


Trionfi with tigers


menu point "io triumpe"

shows a Triumph with chariot, drawn by the tigers of Bacchus, a Tunesian mosaik.
The Orphic Hymns of course had some relationship to the development of the Bacchus-cult, actually the myths show some concurrence between them, before they "somehow" merged just to the "Greek tradition". Orpheus is killed by the mainades ...
some say, that the Orpheus-cult developed from the Echnaton movement with. The "kleiner Pauly" says. however, that the cult was not earlier than 7/6th century BC, so much later than Echnaton. .... the actually essence is the "power of music", perhaps combined with other new forms of "reporting the past" ... perhaps there were some revolutionary steps tn that direction around that time, accompanied by the great figures of Hesiod and Homer, who have a similar time. Probably .... just the development of the power of the poets, things, which we observe also in other contexts, in older Irish tradition with the strong position of the Bardes, in 13th/14th century with Dante, Bocchachio and Petrarca in Italy, in 18th century with Goethe and his circle. In certain development steps cultures develop the "poet" and the "literary talk", probably always, when they've mastered necessary other steps before (enough to eat, stable political conditions etc..), good observable in Germany after the 30 years with a decrease of almost 30 % (1618 - 1648). The population did need 50 years to recover to the same situation from ca. 1618, then it took 50 - 70 years to build up some luxury and then you've Kant, also Goethe, Schiller, Herder and other people, which made Germany to the folk of the "Dichter and Denker" - which is a legend, I can tell you .. :), not reality. With few exceptions (Leibniz) you've that rhythm of the necessary "luxury base". Shakespeare is also only possible with the drowning of the Armada

In 15th century you also don't have much poets and arts in the first half of the century, which is a time of war (although much less heavy as that in Germany), the great production of art took place in the peaceful second half. Tarot cards have their roots in the first half, but the great distribution took place in the secod half.

see: http://trionfi.com/01/e/r71

the analyses of autorbis to the documents

Ross G Caldwell

There is a persistent rumour that George Gemistos Plethon brought the Orphic hymns with him in 1438, or at least that he and his disciples practised the song-chant-trance-inducing singing on Mystra, and perhaps taught some students in Italy.