Orphism is the teachings of an ancient Greek philosophical cult which exerted great influence on Greek culture, and later on Western mysticism and occultism.

It began in the sixth century BC, and is attributed to the mythical Orpheus. The chief teachings are of reincarnation, a Greek version of Karma, a history of the universe which was formed by Cronus who formed an egg and created the first king of the gods — whom Zeus supplanted and fathered Dionysus — the divine child.

Other teachings are that the body is the prison of the soul, animals were not to be killed or eaten, the good were to be rewarded while the evil were to be punished in Nether World, and teachings of self-denial and seriousness in religious matters.

Apollo was the kindered god who demanded purification and righteousness. Orphism had a great impact on alchemy. A.G.H.


Riland, George, The New Steinerbooks Dictionary of Paranormal, New York, Warner Books, Inc., 1980, p. 212