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The Orphic Mysteries and Ancient Astrology

The Orphic Mysteries and Ancient Astrology

In episode 443 historian of ancient astrology and magic Kristin Mathis and astrologer Drew Levanti join me to talk about an ancient Greek mystical tradition known as Orphism, and how it influenced ancient astrology.

Orphism is an ancient Greek mystery cult founded by a legendary figure named Orpheus, who is said to have been a poet, musician, and mystical figure.

It is a mystery religion because members of the Orphic cult had to be initiated, and were sworn to secrecy with oaths.

The Orphics believed the soul was immortal and subject to reincarnation, and part of the goal of becoming initiated into the mysteries was to help ensure a better life in the future.

There was an emphasis on remembering one’s divine origin, and the use of poetry and music as ways of accessing the divine.

The study of this topic is important in terms of ancient astrology because Orpheus is listed as one of the legendary founders of Hellenistic astrology by Firmicus Maternus, and there are traces of Orphic influence in astrological texts by figures like Valens and Critodemus.

Kristin and Drew’s work focuses in particular on the Orphic Hymns, and during the course of the episode we read some excerpts from some of Kristin’s translations of the hymns for the planets and the stars, which invoke the deities associated with those celestial bodies.

Join us for a captivating exploration of Orphism and its enduring influence on the rich tapestry of ancient astrology.

Kristin and Drew’s Websites




  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:00:47 What is Orphism?
  • 00:02:25 Kristin’s background
  • 00:05:40 Drew’s background
  • 00:08:38 Orphic Hymns overview
  • 00:10:25 Who is Orpheus?
  • 00:20:34 Parallels between Hermes and Orpheus
  • 00:27:14 The cosmos is alive
  • 00:33:13 Macrocosm and microcosm
  • 00:37:31 Other mystery cults
  • 00:46:00 Astral temple traditions
  • 00:48:49 Purpose of Hermeticism
  • 00:49:25 The unspeakable
  • 00:54:27 Ecstatic states
  • 00:59:13 Orphic mysteries vs. other mysteries
  • 01:10:41 The Sun and the soul
  • 01:19:38 Plato’s Myth of Er and reincarnation
  • 01:24:21 Milky Way gates
  • 01:32:41 Pythagoras
  • 01:34:07 Hymn of the Stars
  • 01:58:26 Time frame of Orpheus Hymns
  • 02:10:33 Hymn to Ares-Mars
  • 02:29:15 The hymns influenced astrology
  • 02:34:56 Music, numbers, and ratio
  • 02:37:26 The magic of the hymns for today
  • 02:40:54 Astrology as a language
  • 02:42:16 Early astrology texts were written in verse
  • 02:49:43 Orphic hymns enliven astrology
  • 02:52:10 Kristin and Drew’s websites, Substack, and class
  • 02:54:47 Kristin’s future book on Orpheus Hymns
  • 02:57:34 Closing credits

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

Watch the video version of this episode on the Orphic mysteries on YouTube:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 443 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

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