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Home > Reconstructionism > Greek/Hellenic > Daily Devotions Search

Daily Devotions with the Orphic Hymns
by Drew Campbell


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"...propitiate the gods with libations and sacrifices, when you go to bed and at the coming of holy day, that toward you they might have a propitious heart and mind" - Hesiod, Works and Days

This modern system of daily devotions blends material from two sources: Hesiod's sacred month, as described in his Works and Days, and the Orphic Hymns. Although the theology of the Orphic Hymns is sometimes at odds with the more mainstream beliefs of the polis, using the collection has the advantage that every major divinity, and many minor ones, will be honored during the month. Other hymns may of course be substituted at the individual's discretion. The numbers given for the hymns correspond to those in Apostolos N. Athanassakis, The Orphic Hymns: Text, Translation and Notes (n.p.: Scholars Press, 1977). Numbering conventions differ slightly between editions, so if you are using any edition of the hymns other than the Athanassakis, please refer to this page to help match up your edition's hymn numbers with those used on this site.

Thomas Taylor's 1792 translation of the hymns is available online, free and in its entirety, at the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

Morning and Evening Devotions


Wash hands and face
Light lamp or candle
Hymn to Hestia (#84)
Light incense
Hymn to Eos (#78)
Hymn to Helios (#8)
Hymn(s) to special god/dess(es) of the day (see chart)
Additional hymns as desired (see chart)
Pour libation
Make personal supplications and thanksgivings
"Orpheus to Mousaios" (pp. 2-5)
Extinguish lamp or candle


Wash hands and face
Light lamp or candle
Hymn to Hestia (#84)
Light incense
Hymn to Nyx (#3)
Hymn to Selene (#9)
Hymn to the Stars (#7)
Hymn(s) to patron/matron god/desses
Hymn to Sleep (#85)
Hymn to Dream (#86)
Pour libation
Make personal supplications and thanksgivings
Hymn to Zeus (#15)
Extinguish lamp or candle

A shortened version of the devotions may be done by simply lighting a candle, reading "Orpheus to Mousaios," saying any personal prayers, and extinguishing the candle.

Monthly Hymn Cycle

1 · Noumenia; Apollon
34, 76
2 73, 20
3 · Athena 32, 33
4 · Hermes, Aphrodite, Eros 28, 55, 56, 60, 58, 6
5 · Horkos 59, 61, 62, 69, 70
6 · Artemis 36, 2, 35, 72
7 · Apollon 34, 76
8 · Holy; Poseidon, Asklepios 17, 83, 67, 68
9 · Holy 30, 42, 44
10 · Holy 26, 11, 51, 43
11 4, 5, 10, 21
12 40, 41, 27
13 · Athena 32, 33
14 13, 14, 37
15 · Horkos 59, 63, 64, 69, 70
16 · Artemis 36, 2, 35, 72
17 45, 46, 47
18 16, 19, 66
19 12, 65, 38
20 · Apollon 34, 76
21 48, 49, 50
22 31, 39
23 · Athena 32, 33
24 52, 53, 54
25 · Horkos 59, 69, 70
26 74, 75
27 22, 23, 24, 25
28 77, 79
29 80, 81, 82
30 · or Last Day; Hekate and the dead 1, 57, 87, 18, 29, 71

Notes on chart:

(1) Days mentioned by Hesiod as sacred to specific deities are marked.
(2) Horkos is the god (or, if you like, personification) of Oath. Days sacred to this deity are considered difficult.
(3) As the lunar calendar months range between 29 and 30 days in the Greek reckoning, it may be necessary in short months to recite all the hymns for both day 29 and day 30 on the day of the dark moon. As the last day of the month is sacred to Hekate, Her hymn should always be included.

About Incense

The Orphic Hymns specify particular types of incense to be offered to each deity. In cases where one is saying multiple hymns with differing instructions, one might either choose a single type or make a blend of all those indicated. Pure frankincense makes a good all-purpose offertory incense.

The incense specifications from the Orphic text are as follows:

Frankincense: Apollon, Ares, Artemis, Asklepios, Bakkhai, Dike, Eos, Hephaistos, Herakles, Hermes, Hygeia, Kouretes, Muses, Nike, Satyros, Silenos, Tethys, Themis, Titans

Myrrh: Leto, Nereus, Poseidon

Storax: Chthonic Hermes, Dionysos, Eleusinian Demeter, Erinues (also frankincense), Graces, Kronos, Semele, Zeus

Aromatic Herbs: Adonis, Athena, Eros, Eumenides, Fates, Hera, Hestia, Horai, Nereids, Nymphs, Okeanos, Rhea

Various: Mother of the Gods, Pan, Chthonic Dionysos (any except frankincense), Gaia (any grain; no beans or aromatic herbs)

No Incense (underworld deities): Hekate, Nemesis, Persephone, Plouton

This article originally appeared on Andrew Campbell's Nomos Arkhaios site which is currently on hiatus.
This article is copyright © 2000-2003 by Andrew Campbell and is reprinted here with permission.

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