This is a first-pass attempt to translate the Orphic Hymn to Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory, with the aid of the Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon.
Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory, daughter of Earth (Gaia) and Sky (Ouranos), is also the inventor of language and words. Language and words enable people to vicariously share experiences over time and space. (Art also serves this function.)
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 67. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
". . . they say that Mnemosyne discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another..."
Memory is the power of the brain to connect the past with the present.
Mna (μνᾶ) and mneia (μνεία) mean remembrance, literally "meta prevailing." Meta is the medium that connects the macro with the micro, as personified by the Muses, Goddesses of divine inspiration.
Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory, is the immortal mother of the Muses.
Mneesis (μνησῐς) means memory.
The prefix mnee- (μνη-) means "remembering." This prefix is common in words pertaining to courtship, having a loved one "in mind."
The prefix mneest- (μνηστ-) means "mindful of."
Mneestor (μνήστωρ) means means "mindful of," the basis for the word "minister."
The English word "mind" is derived from Greek words pertaining to memory and to having a thought "in mind."
Plato/Socrates describes a theory for how the mind is able to remember things.
Plato, Theaetetus 191c (trans. Fowler) :
"Sokrates : Please assume, then, for the sake of argument, that there is in our souls a block of wax, in one case larger, in another smaller, in one case the wax is purer, in another more impure and harder, in some cases softer, and in some of proper quality . . . Let us, then, say that this is the gift of Mnemosyne (Memory), the mother of the Mousai (Muses), and that whenever we wish to remember anything we see or hear or think of in our own minds, we hold this wax under the perceptions and thoughts and imprint them upon it, just as we make impressions from seal rings; and whatever is imprinted we remember and know as long as its image lasts, but whatever is rubbed out or cannot be imprinted we forget and do not know."
The Hymn to Mnemosyne could serve as instructions to the initiates to remember what they are about to learn and offers suggestions as to how to remember.
In this hymn, memory is contrasted with Lethe, forgetfulness, and instructions are given as to how to fix in the mind what is learned. Initiates are instructed to remember what they've learned upon waking.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 39. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Part of the rituals at the oracle of Trophonios at Lebadeia in Boiotia :] [the supplicant] is taken by the priests, not at once to the oracle, but to fountains of water very near to each other. Here [s]he must drink water called the water of Lethe (Forgetfulness), that [s]he may forget all that [s]he has been thinking of hitherto, and afterwards [s]he drinks of another water, the water of Mnemosyne (Memory), which causes him/[her] to remember what [s]he sees after his/[her] descent . . . After his/[her] ascent from [the oracle of] Trophonios the inquirer is again taken in hand by the priests, who set him/[her] upon a chair called the chair of Mnemosyne (Memory), which stands not far from the shrine, and they ask of him/[her], when seated there, all [s]he has seen or learned. After gaining this information they then entrust him/[her] to his/[her] relatives."
77. Μνημοσύνης, - Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory
θυμίαμα - incense
λίβανον. - of Lebanon, frankincense
Μνημοσύνην - Mnemosyne (Mnee-mo-su-neen) (this name contains 10 letters, which may be significant as this is the number of fingers on the hands, perhaps indicating a way of recalling what is learned); Mind (Μνη) + house, tower, slip for shipbuilding (μοσύν);
remember/link/connect (Μ) + new (νη) + remember/link/connect (μ) + entity (ο) + together with/link with (σύν) + guide? driver? nine? (ην)
καλέω, - call
Ζηνὸς - Zenos' = Zeus'
σύλλεκτρον, - together (σύλ) + in bed, marriage bed (λεκτρον) = partner in bed
ἄνασσαν, - Queen
ἣ - shared-center
Μούσας - Muse
τέκνωσ’ - children
ἱεράς, - holy
ὁσίας, - hallowed, sanctioned by divine law, divine law, holy
λιγυφώνους, - "clear-voiced, loud-voiced" = clear, sweet, shrill, loud (λιγυ) + sound, phonos (φώνους) (could be stage instructions to the musicians for accompaniment)
ἐκτὸς - outside, out of, removed from, 6th (6th is derived because you need a second hand to count to six?)
ἐοῦσα - substance, stable being, immutable reality, essence, true nature
κακῆς - evil, wicked
λήθης - Lethe, forgetting, forgetfulnes, place of forgetfulness in afterlife, River of forgetfulness (the foil to River of Memory/Mnemosyne) (if one drinks from the river of forgetfulness, one will forget all life experiences and be re-born, if one drinks from the river of Memory, one will go on to an afterlife paradise, asking permission by saying "I am a child of Earth and starry Sky." (See Ritual Texts for the Afterlife, Graf and Johnston)
βλαψίφρονος - harm, damage (βλαψί) + phronos, mind, comprehension, understanding, thought (φρονος) = mind-damaging
αἰεί, - eternal (this is contrasting memory with forgetfulness)
πάντα - all
νόον - prevailing mind, mind, sense, intelligence
συνέχουσα - together (συν) + hold, contain, have (έχουσα) = keep together, keep from dispersing, hold together
βροτῶν - mortal
ψυχαῖσι - soul
σύνοικον, - together (σύν) + home (οικον) = "dwelling in the same house with" (this is saying that the intact mind and the soul share a home in mortals)
εὐδύνατον - essence pure (εὐ) + dynastic, powerful, strong, mighty, able, capable (δύνατον) = mighty, powerful
κρατερὸν - strong, mighty, staunch, in control of, master of
θνητῶν - mortal
αὔξουσα - grow, increase in power, strengthen
λογισμόν, - reasoning power
ἡδυτάτη, - sweet, pleasant, welcome, pleasurable, taking pleasure in
φιλάγρυπνος - loving (φιλά) + hook, grip (γρυπνος) = "wakeful" More likely: memory loves something to "hook" an idea to, to get a grip on it
ὑπομνήσκουσά - underlying (ὑπο) + memory/mind (μνή) + darkness, obscurity (σκουσά) (this also describes fixing something in the obscurity of the mind)
τε - too then
πάντα, - all
ὧν - bring-forth prevailing; buy, purchase, exchange
ἂν - arising
ἕκαστος - each (opp. the whole body), all and each severally, each and every one
ἀεὶ - eternal
στέρνοις - heart, breast, chest, sternum (probably the derivative of the term "know by heart")
γνώμην - means of knowing, mark, token; organ by which one perceives of knows, intelligence, thought, judgment, knowledge
κατάθηται, - pure -or- down (κατά) + sacred; in service (θηται)
οὔτι - indeed not? nobody? not yet?
παρεκβαίνουσ’, - "step aside from, deviate from, overstep, digress" = having to do with (παρ) + stepping out of or off from, depart from, leave (εκβαίνουσ) (probably instructions not to go off the path)
ἐπεγείρουσα - awaken, rouse up, wake up = upon (ἐπ) + awakening (εγείρουσα)
φρένα - mind, as the seat of the mental faculties; heart, as the seat of passions; will, purpose, gut
πᾶσιν. - all
ἀλλά, - but
μάκαιρα - happy, blessed
θεά, - Goddess
μύσταις - mysterious, mystae, initiants
μνήμην - memory, as a power of the mind; remembrance; memorial, record
ἐπέγειρε - upon awakening
εὐιέρου - essence pure + holy
τελετῆς, - complete, fulfill, release, end, terminate
λήθην - forgetfulness
δ’ - of, from
ἀπὸ - inspiration, from
τῶν - to
δ’ - of, from
ἀπόπεμπε. - send off or away, dispatch, dismiss; escort = of, from (ἀπό) + the fifth, the number five, count on the five fingers, count by five (πεμπε) (why is the number 5 associated with sending forth, is it "on the count of five?" will the initiates be awakened from an induced state to the count of five?)