Chanting from the Chaldean Oracles

I am an experimentalist. Objectively, it is probably identical to mysticism, but in terms of how I view it, experimentalist more adequately captures my methodological approaches, especially when it comes to interpreting things the philosophers have written, trying out new things, and playing with the range of sympathetic signs to refer to the Gods in the modern world.

I am also excited by things like chanting and want to do more of it.

The above image is the original text and translation of Fragment 112 of the Chaldean Oracles. The passage reminds me of some of the sentiments in the Gāyatrī Mantra in Hinduism, specifically the focus on seeing (which here, in the context of the Chaldean Oracles, evokes light and the flower of the mind/one of the soul) and on the opening of the soul to the divine. It is also a good length for chanting, with the minor modification of desiring a first-person-singular where appropriate instead of (what I assume) is second-person singular. This is a barrier to those of us who never learned Ancient Greek.

I have been informed by a friend that the first-person version of this would likely be: Οἰγνύσθω ψυχῆς βάθος ἄμβροτον· ὄμματα πάντα ἄρδην ἐκπετάννυμι ἄνω.

Chanting with beads is my preference. I found some beads that had a lotus icon at the end (a good reference to the flower of the mind or the soul despite the fact that in Hellenic myth, the lotus is more associated with material oblivion, as per the Odyssey passage). Through customization, I was able to select oak wood beads, with some ebony wood and howlite accents. The oak wood reminds me of Zeus’ sanctuary at Dodona, which brings additional meaning. Howlite is more ethically sourced than other crystals with a clearer point-of-origin trace, and it is said to have properties for stilling and calming the mind and opening up spiritual pathways, which is useful for the message in the passage, too. I’m not into crystals, but I am into awakening the causal chain of God(s) to which it belongs, and the fact that there is a preestablished sense of connection to divine realities, wisdom, and insight is a good sign that I can use it with a chant based on a Chaldean Oracles fragment.

This is still at the “experiment” stage. One of the things about starting a chant is that I am not aware of other people using the Chaldean Oracles as chants, just as contemplative devices. This means that the chant is “new” and semi-nascent. I do, however, want to share this just in case others are chanting things (especially people who may have advice on procedure) and because it is good documentation.


3 thoughts on “Chanting from the Chaldean Oracles

  1. I’ve actually just started a chanting practice too, though i’m primarily using the Orphic hymns. Right now, i’m just doing them at the end of my morning prayers, using the hymn for the god honored that day (i’ve been doing this for a short enough time that it’s been entirely contained in the chunk of single-god days towards the end of the lunar month, i’ll have to figure out what to do once i get to days that have more than one when i get there!). I pick a line or two that seems like a good invocation, which i suspect i’ll end up standardizing eventually. The initial suggestion i was given, which i’ve felt no need to change, is to do 49 repetitions. I use my fingers to count: three joints on each finger (including the base of the thumb) is 15 per hand, three hands plus four makes 49. If i were doing anything longer than that i suspect i’d need to look into beads.

    So far i really like it! It’s hard to describe the physical sensation, but it feels like my head is expanding when i do it.

    Liked by 1 person

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