QUOTE(Faustus @ Sep 28 2012, 09:35 AM)
Where did you obtain this information?
From ritual practice and experimentation, from the spirits I work with both through the use of the hymns in offering practices and from unrelated spirits working in other veins.
For the past two years, as part of a research project I am working on in conjunction with my university teaching job, I have been studying the Orphic Hymns and the Orphic Mysteries. The hymns have never been linked to any traditional Greek or Roman religious practice that we can discern. Indeed, the authorship and the time period of the hymns can not be accurately discerned. They are most likely late Hellenic / early Roman creations, possibly a mish-mash of pagan poetry compiled and ascribed to Orpheus to keep the works from being lost.
I'll assume then that you already understand the nature of pagan religious practices and how they differ from our modern ideas of religion being a particular facet of life, and the difference between temple religion and layman religion in those cultures, as well as which of those two is recorded for the ages in writings and which was handed down orally by people would could neither read nor write. For instance, in the form of poetry. What field of study involves this research for you?
Also, I've been practicing magick for over 20 years now. I do understand ritual. What I am asking for here is not help with ritual basics but for personal anecdotes and what hymns (if any) people have incorporated into their practice.
Very well. I use the hymns from the Thomas Taylor translation. Specifically, hymns 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 18 and 19 together, 25, 27, 54, 57, 58, 71, 72, 75, 76, 85 and 86. I've used most of them in offering practices, but these I have in their own book at the altar. Understand that I practice a kind of ritual shamanism most of the time, and my practice waxes spiritual most of the time, rather than magical.
I've found that the hymns, for me at least, bring the right imagery to mind during both the offering itself and the communion that sometimes takes place afterwards. My practice is fairly straightforward: I arrange the appropriate icons around a central plate, whereupon a censer is set with charcoals. I burn incense, pour a small chalice of wine, and typically offer some kind of bread as well. I have put the taylor translations to my own music, and chant the hymn or hymns for the sphere I am making the offering to, and while it wasn't as easy originally, I follow along with imagery internally as I do so. A kind of scene builds up, but it's not always how it sounds - not always a 'place' so much as a 'state'. I make my own offering prayers, invitations to the spirits of the spheres to take the offering and receive my adoration and love, and then follows a request that the spirits who have come receive the blessing of the divine eternal.
Sometimes that's that, and sometimes I request that a spirit from a particular sphere make itself known. Usually this doesn't happen right away, and it happens in different ways when it does. I find that focusing on the imagery and concepts given in the hymns make for excellent jumping off points to path working, and frequently this is where those spirits that do make themselves known show up. Probably this is not how the laymen of the time used the hymns any more than christians use their hymns in such a way today. They would have been devotional verses sung to teach about the gods and principles of the faith.
The hymns make excellent meditations for this reason as well.
I have used several of the planetary hymns in ritual invocations to the planetary spheres for the purpose of specific magical intentions. Although they come easily as I have them memorized, I have simply found that there is no discernible difference to the change in atmosphere using the hymns versus using my own invocations. However, I have found that the same is not true during the offering practices. There is something about their nature, the words themselves, which is glorifying and devotional - they present the awe and wonder of the Gods and the natural forces - and it is this kind of invocation which calls most strongly to the beings of these spheres. The hymns to me seem to be strongly connected to the memory of the Gods, and reciting them is like a reminder to both us and them, of their power. Hence they make excellent devotional verses, but in ritual invocation for magic would serve more to remind us how much we are not in a position to command anything. With 20 years of ritual practice I'm sure you can see how that difference could matter.
My approach to the study of the hymns is experiential and spiritual rather than occupational or strictly academic. I always took the ascription to Orpheus to be a spiritual matter, or possibly even a matter of oral tradition, rather than a literal indication that Orpheus actually composed them. But for those of us that practice more ritualized magic, and grew up in a modern, predominantly christian culture, there is a division present in our minds between 'life' and 'religion' - that religion is just a part of life. From the old pagan perspective this is not so. We go to a place to do religious things, or have certain times of day when we do them. In the pagan faiths, it was part and parcel to everyday life. Though there have always been particular festivals and religious observations, your daily existence was owed to spiritual powers, the Gods, spirits, demons, etc. It would have been important to be ever mindful of those forces, to show them reverence and respect, even when asking of them that they accomplish something for you. The sorcerer who sought some command or control over those forces was rare, and the pagan verse was not written for his or her use, but for the mindfulness and memory of the common person.