The Magic of the Orphic Hymns

This is a truly beautiful book! In this case it can be judged by its cover but also by its contents. The first half provides a thorough but concise summary of the history of the Orphic hymns and interpretations of Orpheus from ancient Greece through the Roman Empire down to the present. The second half consists of translations of the hymns. These are the first two endorsements of the new book among seven quoted on the publisher’s website.

“Tamra and Ronnie have outdone themselves! This book is the most comprehensively intelligent and pleasurably accessible portrait of Orphic mythology now available. Their modern translations of the Orphic hymns yield fresh fruit from an ancient vine. The culmination of their historical and practical research yields a book that testifies to the 21st century: this music is magic, and the magic is real. Anyone interested in the intersections of music, myth, and magic will delight in this work.”

– Matt Marble, author of Buddhist Bubblegum

“This book is a marvel of pagan revivalism. Tamra Lucid and Ronnie Pontiac have created a symphonic and learned study of the Orphic mythos encompassing history and meaning; translation of key odes; and reconstructed practice. If you yearn for evidence that the old deities are with us today, look no further than The Magic of the Orphic Hymns.”

– Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award–winning author of Occult America and Uncertain Places

The first Orphic Fragment in the book is a Charm rather than a Hymn, written on gold leaf and used as an invocation to the gods:

Exploding from the Great Soul,

souls reel and writhe,

seeking each other in space.

From planet to planet we fall,

crying for home in the abyss,

we are your tears, Dionysus.

Mighty one! God of freedom!

Bring your children back into

your heart of singing light.

The great accomplishment of a book like this is the way it enables what I call “time travel.” Within my narrow range of expertise, late 19thc history, I admire all authors who can bring that period vividly back to life. But the ability to take us back in time not two centuries but more than two millennia requires a special gift. The editors’ introductory explanations share a deep understanding of historical context. The translations themselves bring the past magically back into the present.