This is the last of the three prayers that I wanted to write in 2021 — hopefully, a decent enough go at it. It’s the most Platonic of the three (but, let’s be blunt, that’s all of them), and it was a good exercise in hammering out where I solidly understand Proclus’ Platonic Theology and where confusion lingers. As with the other poems, some edits may be made as I use it.
Now for the accompaniment. I recommend a combination of frankincense and some kind of aromatic herbs — which, given incense blends, is easy to achieve in one type of stick when frankincense and aromatics are pressed together in it. The stanza breaks are good points at which one could offer libations.
Prayer to All of the Gods III
I pray to all of the Gods, welcome —
accept this offering of incense and these libations
given in adoration while the sun is yet low
in the eastern sky, while the light rises calm.
First, I adore the household Gods:
O Hestia, Goddess who illumines all,
held fast to the bedrock of the home,
Zeus Herkeios who protects the hearth,
Zeus Ktesios of storerooms and pantries,
now serpentine Agathodaimon, gentle spirit,
and wondrous Tykhe who pours forth abundance.
I pray to Apollon Agyieus and wandering Hermes,
protectors of the streets, guardians of the gate,
to Hekate of the torches and dogs, of crossroads,
and to Hygeia shielding all from disease and death.
Now, to the daughters of rivers, I pray,
you maidens whose roots run moss-slick,
spirits possessing each solitary grove,
whether it touches air or flowing sea,
the ineffable beauties of each cosmic body —
nymphs who tend the starfields encircling each world,
who set honey upon our lips and ripen fruit,
who blossom forth where Persephone dances,
whose torches light the solemn death-road;
and to the daimones filling the cosmos
like a jar overflowing at the brim;
to the King of Rivers, stately Akhelous,
and to the Gods of rivers and streams;
to the mountains, to the uncountable winds,
to the rhythm that bobbles each world that spins,
to the Goddesses who count out planets’ years,
and the years of each planet who follow their count.
I pray to Okeanos, whose water fountains forth,
to Tethys who preserves each winding way down,
and to Gē, foundation of all, mother of all beings,
to Ouranos thick with nebulae, galaxies, and stars,
and to the Moirai, who anchor us in cause and effect,
whose threads impress the consequences of our choices.
The Goddess who carries torches,
whose left thigh releases soul, whose right virtue,
Queen of Daimones, world-loving Hekate;
revered Nemesis, who holds all to account,
suckled at the breast alongside stately Dikē;
now Erōs who binds root to leaf to sky,
who burns away depravity through love’s embrace,
I implore, bestowers of purity, O liberators.
Illumine me like lights shining in phantasmic dark,
your lighthouse pulses guiding me to the good.
I glorify Dionysos, thrice-born God,
child of Semele, child of Persephone,
male and female, abiding and proceeding,
you who looks back upon yourself, dazzled,
and the Titans who crawl in tall meadow-grass,
knives between your clenched teeth,
flint ready to crackle the fire to roast him.
I praise Athene who saved the core of the God,
Apollon who harmonized the remainder,
whose song reaches into the deepest abyss,
and Hermes, connecting all in friendship,
O voices of the God of the gleaming bolt.
I venerate the three divine kings:
Zeus of the bright bolt, of the scepter;
Poseidon of rolling earth and sea, of the trident;
Plouton of vivid shadow-light, of the cloak —
Gods who divided the cosmos among you,
Zeus abiding, Poseidon rushing, Plouton reflecting.
I venerate the Goddesses, great Queens:
Hera who pours your eternal libation,
veiled by bright feathers, source of the winds,
mother of the rushing currents, of the storm;
Amphitrite who holds the sea’s perimeters,
Queen of the nymphs, of the waters and waves,
adorned with fresh flowers, clutching your spindle;
and Persephone who surveys all who live,
maiden enmeadowed, sovereign of silent spaces,
cultivator of the thickets of mysteries —
Goddesses who rule the cosmos together,
Hera stable, Amphitrite protean, Persephone tensile.
I adore the Gods unceasing in your whirling:
First Zeus, whose flashes make way for the vision above;
Poseidon, wild-haired God, master of horses;
Hephaistos of the bridle, the saddle, the spear;
Demeter whose lush bounty nourishes and fills;
Hera of stately countenance, perceiver of all;
Artemis whose arrows pour forth and drive on;
Hermes, herald and quick-footed messenger;
Aphrodite, who turns all to bliss and to love;
Apollon, harmonizer of all, revealer of truth;
Hestia, tender of hearths, firm in your duty;
Athene, strategizer, diplomat, and tactician;
and Ares who loves the divisiveness of war.
I exalt abiding Zeus, the ones who follow:
the Kouretes whose drumming concealed his birth
and the Korybantes who attend to chanting Kybele;
the seed of shining truth, elevating Apollon,
and Helios whose light pours forth over all;
Artemis whose hands divide each wilding seed,
Persephone who categorizes and divides;
and Athene whose virtue is immaculate mind;
dynamic Poseidon, watery Zeus of middle places,
and terrestrial Zeus, chthonic Zeus, perfecting Hades;
and once more Zeus of the summit,
O offspring who cuts the sire, child of the scythe-bearer,
whose mouth opens wide to swallow the first king,
whose hands grasp the limitless, gathering it clean.
I pray to Athene whose shield preserves you immaculate,
whose spear reaches down to the depths of matter;
to Kore, unmingled and abiding Goddess;
and to the attendants, O Kouretes, so watchful and armed;
now to you, O Zeus, O Demiurge whose words bring forth all things;
to the Mother of the Gods, Rhea, breathing soul;
and to Kronos, God whose nurses intellectual life.
I honor the deft-fingered hundred-handers,
Cottus, Briareos, and Gyges, fashioners of lightning,
last and first to be born, who keep the universe flourishing,
Cottus who accompanies immaculate Kore,
Briareos who loves the bounty of the sea,
and Gyges who makes bright the darkest depths;
sceptered Ouranos who rules the unfathomable heights;
and primordial Nyx of the adyton, chanting,
who grasps life and pain within each solemn word,
Goddess vast and dark, contained and singly lit;
all-seeding Khronos and virginal Aion,
Metis whom Zeus swallowed down, who gave forth Pallas;
Erikepaios; last Phanes who encompasses all things within you.
Now at the heart, within vivid opalescence,
I exalt the light and the prism, the egg unborn,
O jewel of jewels more precious than saffron stamina;
limitless limit, the stillness of held breath that rushes;
and what cannot be named but drawn forth in unstirring motion
like a dream upon the lips that remains yet untokened.
I pray, O Gods — hear, and be well-disposed.
May I be your nursling, saved from the rushing waves,
the bottomless hunger of stinging passions,
and the perilous rocks that tear all things asunder.
Grant good things: the drive to build aretē,
true insights, unshakeable wisdom, and elegant justice,
upon the bedrock of temperance, courage, and prudence.
Crown all that lies within me with abiding erōs,
and grounded in goodness, rooted in beauty,
may my actions, words, and deeds bring forth what is best.