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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9698
Porphyry, On The Cave Of The Nymphs, 7


nanWhy, therefore, are the amphorae said not to be filled with water, but with honeycombs? For in these, Homer says, the bees deposit their honey, which signifies to deposit aliment. And honey is the nutriment of bees. Theologists also have made honey subservient to many and different symbols because it consists of many powers; since it is both cathartic and preservative. Hence, through honey, bodies are preserved from putrefaction, and inveterate ulcers are purified. Farther still, it is also sweet to the taste, and is collected by bees, who are ox-begotten from flowers. When, therefore, those who are initiated in the Leontic sacred rites, pour honey instead of water on their hands; they are ordered |21 (by the initiator) to have their hands pure from everything productive of molestation, and from everything noxious and detestable. Other initiators {into the same mysteries) employ fire, which is of a cathartic nature, as an appropriate punncation. And they likewise purify the tongue from all defilement of evil with honey. But the Persians, when they offer honey to the guardian of fruits, consider it as the symbol of a preserving and defending power. Hence some persons have thought that the nectar and ambrosia (note 8), which the poet pours into the nostrils of the dead, for the purpose of preventing putrefaction, is honey; since honey is the food of the Gods. On this account also, the same poet somewhere calls nectar golden; for such is the colour of honey (viz., it is a deep yellow). But whether or not honey is to be taken for nectar, we shall elsewhere more accurately examine. In Orpheus, likewise, Saturn is ensnared by Jupiter through honey. For Saturn, being filled with honey, is intoxicated, his senses are darkened, as if from the effects of wine, and he sleeps; just as Porus, in the banquet of Plato, is filled with nectar; for wine was not (says he) yet known. The |22 Goddess Night, too, in Orpheus, advises Jupiter to make use of honey as an artifice. For she says to him:— "When stretch'd beneath the lofty oaks you view Saturn, with honey by the bees produc'd Sunk in ebriety (note 9), fast bind the God." This therefore, takes place, and Saturn being bound is emasculated in the same manner as Heaven; the theologist obscurely signifying by this that divine natures become through pleasure bound, and drawn down into the realms of generation; and also that, when dissolved in pleasure they emit certain seminal powers. Hence Saturn emasculates Heaven, when descending to earth through a desire of generation (note 10). But the sweetness of honey signifies, with theologists, the same thing as the pleasure arising from generation, by which Saturn, being ensnared, was castrated. For Saturn, and his sphere, are the first of the orbs that move contrary to the course of Coelum or the heavens. Certain powers, however, descend both from Heaven (or the inerratic sphere) and the planets. But Saturn receives the powers of Heaven and Jupiter the powers of Saturn. Since, therefore, honey is assumed in |23 purgations, and as an antidote to putrefaction, and is indicative of the pleasure which draws souls downward to generation; it is a symbol well adapted to aquatic Nymphs, on account of the unputrescent nature of the waters over which they preside, their purifying power, and their co-operation with generation. For water co-operates in the work of generation. On this account the bees are said, by the poet, to deposit their honey in bowls and amphorae; the bowls being a symbol of fountains, and therefore a bowl is placed near to Mithra, instead of a fountain; but the amphorae are symbols of the vessels with which we draw water from fountains. And fountains and streams are adapted to aquatic Nymphs, and still more so to the Nymphs that are souls, which the ancient peculiarly called bees, as the efficient causes of sweetness. Hence Sophocles does not speak unappropriately when he says of souls:— "In swarms while wandering, from the dead, A humming sound is heard.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

6 results
1. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 146 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

2. Papyri, Papyri Graecae Magicae, 4.487-4.510, 4.547-4.555, 4.587-4.600, 4.668-4.669 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

3. Porphyry, Ad Gaurum, 2.2.9 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4. Porphyry, On Abstinence, 2.36 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

2.36. 36.The Pythagoreans, therefore, diligently applying themselves to the study of numbers and lines, sacrificed for the most part from these to the Gods, denominating, indeed, a certain number Minerva, but another Diana, and another Apollo: and again, they called one number justice, but another temperance 15. In diagrams also they adopted a similar mode. And thus, by offerings of this kind, they rendered the Gods propitious to them, so as to obtain of them the object of their wishes, by the things which they dedicated to, and the names by which they invoked them. They likewise frequently employed their aid in divination, and if they were in want of a certain thing for the purpose of some investigation. In order, therefore to affect this, they made use of the Gods within the heavens, both the erratic and non-erratic, of all of whom it is requisite to consider the sun as the leader; but to rank the moon in the second place; and we should conjoin with these fire, in the third place, from its |66 alliance to them, as the theologist 16 says. He also says that no animal is to be sacrificed; but that first-fruits are to be offered from meal and honey, and the vegetable productions of the earth. He adds, that fire is not to be enkindled on a hearth defiled with gore; and asserts other things of the like kind. For what occasion is there to transcribe all he says? For he who is studious of piety knows, indeed, that to the Gods no animal is to be sacrificed, but that a sacrifice of this kind pertains to daemons, and other powers, whether they are beneficent, or depraved1. He likewise knows who those are that ought to sacrifice to these, and to what extent they ought to proceed in the sacrifices which they make. Other things, however, will be passed over by me in silence. But what some Platonists have divulged, I shall lay before the reader, in order that the things proposed to be discussed, may become manifest to the intelligent. What they have unfolded, therefore, is as follows: SPAN
5. Porphyry, On The Cave of The Nymphs, 6, 16 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

16. In this cave, therefore, says Homer, all external possessions must be deposited. Here, naked, and assuming a suppliant habit, afflicted in body, casting aside everything superfluous, and being averse to the energies of sense, it is requisite to sit at the foot of the olive and consult with Minerva by what |39 means we may most effectually destroy that hostile rout of passions which insidiously lurk in the secret recesses of the soul. Indeed, as it appears to me, it was not without reason that Numenius and his followers thought the person of Ulysses in the Odyssey represented to us a man who passes in a reguIar manner over the dark and stormy sea of generation, and thus at length arrives at that region where tempests and seas are unknown, and finds a nation "Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar.
6. Proclus, Theologia Platonica ( ), 1.5 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aion Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 454
allegory deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
celsus deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
descent/ascent Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
initiators deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
initiatory hierarchy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
light Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
mithras liturgy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
mysteries Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
name, divine Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 454
name, magical' Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 454
paganism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
plato / (neo-)platonism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
pythagoras / (neo-)pythagoreanism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
rites deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
ritual Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 453, 454
sun deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
syncretism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
telete deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85
verbal performance (chanting, singing, hymning, glossolalia) Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 454
zeus deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 85