Acrostic Names of Power from the Orphic Hymn to Hekate

Let me give this a whirl, and see how I feel about it. In the interest of starting with something brief and close to my heart, let’s take a look at the Orphic Hymn to Hekate. I’ll be working from the Greek. Here is a good translation of this hymn.

Now, this is a Hebrew mysticism trick, and it’s going to need to be modified a bit to work with Greek language. With Hebrew, you could take an acrostic from any poem and the letters would be something you could easily say. With Greek, you would frequently get a useless mash of consonants.

To avoid this, I’m going to get a little help from Linear B.

fig-3-1-linear-b-syllabary

Linear B — Chart Courtesy of crewsproject.wordpress.com

Linear B is the earliest attested script for Greek. Linear A is well in the works, but is not yet completely decoded.

As you can see from the chart, it would be impossible to get a combination of these letters which was unpronounceable, as each character represents a syllable.

Mycenean Greek, however, has a few differences from, say, Attic. You will notice that there’s no option here to end anything in a consonant. There are also double consonants. Knossos becomes Ko-No-So.

And what do I do with all the Greek consonant sounds that aren’t represented here?

Linear-A-base_diagram

A nice chart showing some relationships between the available sounds and modern Greek consonants. From: minoablog.blogspot.com

Beta becomes Pi. Zdeta, I know from elsewhere, becomes Delta. Theta becomes Tau. There are no liquids sounds such as L or R available, and the closest thing available is the W sound. Phi becomes Pi and Chi is Q. Ksi and Psi will be broken up into two syllables.

If that’s all a bit much for you, I’ll show you the “take the first syllable of each line” version, too. I have an intuition that the older syllabary will yield more satisfying results.

So here is our hymn to Hekate:

Ἑκάτης.

1. Εἰνοδίην Ἑκάτην κλῄιζω, τριοδῖτιν, ἐραννήν,
2. οὐρανίαν χθονίαν τε καὶ εἰναλίαν, κροκόπεπλον,
3. τυμβιδίαν, ψυχαῖς νεκύων μέτα βακχεύουσαν,
4. Περσείαν, φιλέρημον, ἀγαλλομένην ἐλάφοισι,
5. νυκτερίαν, σκυλακῖτιν, ἀμαιμάκετον βασίλειαν,
6. θηρόβρομον, ἄζωστον, ἀπρόσμαχον εἶδος ἔχουσαν,
7. ταυροπόλον, παντὸς κόσμου κληιδοῦχον ἄνασσαν,
8. ἡγεμόνην, νύμφην, κουροτρόφον, οὐρεσιφοῖτιν,
9. λισσόμενοις κούρην τελεταῖς ὁσίαισι παρεῖναι
10.βουκόλωι εὐμενέουσαν ἀεὶ κεχαρηότι θυμῶι.

And here it is again, transliterated, courtesy of the Hermetic Fellowship:

Einodian Hekatên, klêizô, Trihoditin Erannên,
Ouranian, Chthonian, te kai Einalian, Krokopeplos.
Tymbidian, Psychais Nekyôn meta bakcheuosan,
Perseian, Philerêmon, agallomenên elaphoisi.
Nykterian, Skylakitin, amaimaketon Basileian.
Thêrobromon, Azôston, aprosmachon Eidos echousan.
Tauropolon, Pantos Kosmou Klêidouchon, Anassan,
Hêgemonên, Nymphên, Kourotrophon, Ouresiphoitin.
Lissomenos, Kourên, teletais hosiaisi pareinai,
Boukolôi eumeneousan aei kecharêoti thymôi.

We’ve got ten lines to work with, and I have options. I could make one gigantic word of power by taking the first syllable from each line. I could break the poem into triplets and have three sets of three, ignoring the last line. I could break it into couplets and have five  words.

I’ll just do all of those things and see what I turn up.

The first syllables of each line are:  Εἰ, οὐ, τυ, Πε, νυ, θη, τα, ἡ, λι, βου

The ten syllable acrostic is: Eιουτυπενυθηταηλιβου (Ei’ou’tupenuthaeta’aelibou)

Then three sets of three: Eιουτυ, Πενυθη, Tαηλι (Ei’outu, Penuthae, Ta’aeli)

And lastly five sets of two: Eιου, Τυπε, Νυθη, Ταη, Λιβου (Ei’ou, Tupe, Nuthae, Ta’ae, Libou)

Using the Linear B syllabery This becomes:

  1. E’otupenudeta’ewipo
  2. E’otu, Penudeh, Ta’ewi
  3. E’o, Tupe, Nudeh, Ta’e, Wipo

Next steps: I’m going to work in conjunction with Hekate to see if any of this could be useful in ritual. The idea would be to chant them either to align oneself with Hekate (specifically the aspects described in the poem), or as a way to set space for her. Possibly, as a way to prepare a space before working any of her arts (Spells, magic, revelation through ecstasy, etc).

 

8 comments

  1. aediculaantinoi

    Really intriguing process! I’ll be curious to hear how your results are, and what the Deities think on it…

    The one word/name of power I was given ended up in a dream I had eight years ago (one of very few times I was shown something in writing in a dream that I could remember perfectly afterwards), and then on further research found out that the word concerned actually existed and was the name of an important personage as rendered in another language spoken in a place with relevance to the whole thing…anyway, it was rather cool!

    • Thenea

      Thanks! I’m probably going to call Hekate and try it out a few different ways. I’ll post when I have results. If anything interesting comes of it, I will follow up.

      Interesting about your dream and word of power. I think there’s an interesting tension between the revealed and constructed.

      The revealed things are given to us by our deities. The constructed things are gifts from us to them. Both are awesome. 🙂

      • aediculaantinoi

        I love how you expressed that, and it’s a beautiful way to think of this process…inspiration and direct revelation is what They give us, and if all goes well, devotional art (including ritual techniques) is what we return to Them! Mmm…

  2. polyphanes

    Ahoy! I really admire your work, and I really dig this method of making a word of power “distillation” of an entire Orphic Hymn.

    I would never have thought to use the Linear B syllabary, but for this it really would work well. I’ve also developed my own method of coming up with pronunciations for “generated” Greek names or words of power, based on the Hebrew method of giving natural vowels to the consonants (in this case, based on the name of the letter, so e.g. Lambda has the natural vowel “a”), which you might also be interested in:

    https://digitalambler.com/2014/08/23/pronouncing-generated-greek-names/

    I’ve used it to good success for things like natal genii of horoscopes and other such combinations of letters before, so there’s no reason why not to use it for a purpose as this. Using the method I’ve developed for the letters ΕΟΤΠΝΘΤΗΛΒ, which breaks things down into syllables based on long and short vowels as well as the type of consonants present, the generated pronunciation would be “E-HOT-PIN-THĒ-TĒ-LAB” (Ε-ΟΤ-ΠΙΝ-ΘΗ-ΤΗ-ΛΑΒ). Perhaps it’s also something you might consider giving a whirl?

    • Thenea

      Nice!

      Your method is actually exactly what I need for a different project, so thank you for sharing!

      As for “distillation,” yes, exactly. That’s a perfect word for it. After I test-drive these words of power, my thought was to do a similar thing with moments in mythology, to recreate their energy more strongly in a space.

      But one thing at a time!

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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