Hymns for the Gods – From Olympus to Asgard
I have had the pleasure of reading Hymns for the Gods – From Olympus to Asgard, published by Heliotroph Books. As the title suggests, the book contains hymns to the Graeco-Roman and Germanic Gods. It also contains an insightful introduction in which God, polytheism, metaphysics, and relevant topics are discussed. Thereafter, a number of Gods are introduced and hymns that can be recited (sung) to them are presented. Many of the hymns are quite beautiful, I might add!
‘We affirm that the mystic and perennial truths elucidated by the Orphic, Platonist, Asatru, and Vedic traditions are in fact uniquely and providentially suited to addressing the problems of modernity and post-modernity because they teach us the proper relationship of our selves to our experience, our selves to others, our selves to our spaces, and our selves to their source and cause. They lift our eyes upwards to reveal the fantastic and mysterious motions of the web of forces above us and give us the opportunity to live our lives attuned to that divine clockwork instead of being mindlessly tossed about by it.’– Hymns for the Gods
Plato’s Tripartite Soul
The author introduces Plato’s theory of the soul, which we encountered in our review of The Practical Art of Divine Magic by Patrick Dunn (as well as in my video: Lose Fat With Plato – Mental Technique to Resist Cravings).
In essence, Plato presents the soul (or psyche) as being divided in three:
- Logos – the rational charioteer. The head.
- Thumos – the white horse of will and spirit. The heart and solar plexus.
- Epithymetikon (Eros) – the black horse of desire. The belly and genitalia.
Note: in my own work, I use the term Thumos to mark spiritedness, the Faustian spirit, the Homeric yearn for glory.
Below is a beautiful prayer that appears in the book (the other prayers and hymns are in a similar style):
‘Poseidon of the waters,– Poseidon’s Prayer
God who sends the rollings waves,
May you with royal power
Spur my soul to greater works,
And, tireless with stallion’s might,
Grant us lives so full of life,
Abounding with your blessings’
Helios and Julian the Blessed
In the description of Helios, the author notes that Zeus-Helios was the favourite god of Julian the Blessed. Julian is perhaps more commonly known as ‘Julian the Apostate’, which is the name given to him by Christians. Julian was emperor between 361 and 363 CE and attempted to restore Paganism to the Roman Empire (hence the aversion Christians have felt towards him throughout the centuries). Julian the Blessed sounds good, so I will use it henceforth when referring to him.
On a personal note, Helios has always been close to my own heart. My pantheon is otherwise dominated by Germanic gods. This is something I will elaborate on at length later on, but what we can say for now is that I am, as keen readers of my book reviews may have noted, looking for the Indo-European roots of the gods. Thus, I do not view Helios as a foreign god, nor do I necessarily view some of the Vedic gods as particularly foreign – especially since we noted the following in Revolt Against the Modern World (review):
‘In relation to the Aryan element, in India the attribute used for salvific deities and heroes is hari and harit, a term which means both “the golden one” (in relation to the primordial cycle: Apollo, Horus, etc.) and the “blond god.”’Julius Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World. Page 245.
In the description of Hermes the Messenger, the author shares the following insight, which I found interesting:
‘As the bridge between higher and lower, matter and Intellect, Hermes is the leader, the serial fountainhead, of Soul in the specifically Neoplatonic sense. This is because Soul is the intermediary between the unchanging Intellect and ever-changing matter and therefore becomes the first layer of godhead which could be said to be mobile, interacting with time and space but not contained by them.’– Hymns for the Gods
Speaking of the Soul and Neoplatonism, Keith Woods recently made an interesting video on the subject, which can be watched here: The Ascent of the Soul in Neoplatonism.
Hymns for the Gods is rather concise and therefore does not present a great time investment. It can be viewed as a handbook that can be used alongside one’s worship. The cover is also really nice – great work by Brendan Heard of the Aureus Press! I can definitely recommend the book for someone interested in the subject.