This Hymn celebrates the arrival of the profuse and glorious greenery and blossoms of Spring. The classic story of the youthful Adonis and his death when gored by a wild boar features Aphrodite, the Goddess of passionate love, as his principal mourner.
“(Aphrodite) saw, she marked his irresistible wound, she
saw his thigh fading in a welter of blood, she lift her
hands and put up the voice of lamentation saying
‘Stay, Adonis mine, stay . . .
Awake Adonis, awake for a
little while, and give me one latest kiss; kiss me all
so long as ever the kiss be alive, till thou give up
thy breath into my mouth and thy spirit pass into
my heart, till I have . . .
drunk up all thy love . . .
take thou my husband, take him if thou wilt; for
thou art far stronger than I . . .’
The Paphian weeps and Adonis bleeds, drop for
drop, and the blood and tears become flowers upon
the ground. Of the blood comes the rose, and of
the tears the windflower.
‘I cry woe for Adonis, the beauteous Adonis is dead.’”
(Theocritus. The Greek Bucolic Poets, “The Poems and Fragments of Bion: I. The Lament for Adonis,” translated by J.M. Edmonds, Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann; New York: MacMillan Co, 1912) 389-391. http://books.google.com/books?id=IMrCpKxmgCUC&q=adonis#v=snippet&q=adonis&f=false )
The Hymn references “extinguished lamps” because in the ancient Greek religion fire is the essence of life.
The Hymn references the Horai, the immoral Goddesses who determine the hour for something to occur in nature, such as the moment a sprout emerges.
The Hymn references Aphrodite as “the Kyprian” because of her famous temple on the island of Kypros. Aphrodite is the Goddess who personifies the immortal “urge to merge” which is the foundation of new life. Adonis is rooted in the commingling inspired by Aphrodite.
The Hymn references Phersephone, the immortal Goddess whose return to the world above ground in Spring is evidenced by the profusion of plants and flowers. P(h)ersephone is both the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and Spring rebirth. Similarly, the immortal God of the afterlife, Aidees (Ἅιδης), is also called Aidoneus (Αιδωνευς). In this respect, P(h)ersephone and Adonis play parallel roles.
The Hymn references Tartaros, the deepest realm beneath the earth, the cosmic inverse of heaven (Hesiod. Theogony 715). The Hymn also references Olympos, home of the Olympic deities, the highest known point on earth.
The Hymn references Dike, the all-seeing immortal Goddess of justice, who keeps the scales in balance. Adonis is called “Dike’s Rose” because the harsh injustice of death is balanced by the arrival of new life in Spring.
Adonis is “tear-honored” by the ritual growing and mourning of quick-growing, short-lived Adonis plants.
The Hymn references Gaia, the immortal Goddess of generative earth and Mother of All.
56. Ἀδώνιδος, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
Translated by Catherine Proppe, May 12, 2015
Divine connection: aromatics
Κλῦθί μου εὐχομένου, πολυώνυμε, δαῖμον ἄριστε,
Hear my prayer, O many-realmed elite Deity:
ἁβροκόμη, φιλέρημε, βρύων ὠιδαῖσι ποθειναῖς,
Exquisite Embellisher, Animator of Voids, brimming with birth’s longing
Εὐβουλεῦ, πολύμορφε, τροφεῦ πάντων ἀρίδηλε,
Purely declared, plentifully-formed Nutrients for all to see
κούρη καὶ κόρε, σὺ πᾶσιν θάλος αἰέν, Ἄδωνι,
Daughter and Son together, each blossom eternally Adoni
σβεννύμενε λάμπων τε καλαῖς ἐν κυκλάσιν ὥραις,
Extinguished lamps called-forth by cycling Horais
αὐξιθαλής, δίκερως, πολυήρατε, δακρυότιμε,
Arising in blossoms, Dike’s Rose, profusely invoked, tear-honored,
ἀγλαόμορφε, κυναγεσίοις χαίρων, βαθυχαῖτα,
Glorious in form, the Hunt’s Genesis, benevolent, deep-rooted,
ἱμερόνους, Κύπριδος γλυκερὸν θάλος, ἔρνος Ἔρωτος,
Yearning Kyprian’s sweet blooming Seedlings of Desire
Φερσεφόνης ἐρασιπλοκάμου λέκτροισι λοχευθεῖς,
Phersephone’s lovely-tressed marriage-bed flows with childbirth divine,
ὃς ποτὲ μὲν ναίεις ὑπὸ Τάρταρον ἠερόεντα,
When after dwelling below in Tartarian air,
ἠδὲ πάλιν πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἄγεις δέμας ὡριόκαρπον·
And then back before the Olympians grows a body of seasonal fruit.
ἐλθέ, μάκαρ, μύσταισι φέρων καρποὺς ἀπὸ γαίης.
Come, blessed, mysterious, bearing fruit upon Gaia.
 Adonis is the immortal God of Spring rebirth.
 The Horais are the immortal Goddesses who determine the hour for something to occur in nature.
 Dike is the immortal Goddess of justice.
 The Kyprian is Aphrodite, the immortal Goddess of sexual desire.
 The Erotes are the immortal Gods of romantic love, often depicted as winged children.
 Phersephone is the immortal Goddess of spring renewal and the afterlife.
 Tartaros is the deepest realm beneath the earth, the cosmic inverse of heaven. Hesiod (Theogony 715).
 The Olympic deities reside on Mt. Olympos, the highest known point on earth.
 Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.