To Prothyraia, Goddess of Parturition, “Approaching the Doorway”
Divine medium: storax/styrax
Κλῦθί μοι, ὦ πολύσεμνε θεά, πολυώνυμε δαῖμον,
I call, O much-revered Goddess, many-named deity,
ὠδίνων ἐπαρωγέ, λεχῶν ἡδεῖα πρόσοψι,
In travail of childbirth, with your aid, women give birth sweetly, before long.
θηλειῶν σώτειρα μόνη, φιλόπαις, ἀγανόφρον,
Women’s sole savior, lover of children, gentle counselor,
ὠκυλόχεια, παροῦσα νέαις θνητῶν, Προθυραία,
Bring swift childbirth for new mortals approaching the doorway,
κλειδοῦχ', εὐάντητε, φιλοτρόφε, πᾶσι προσηνής,
Key holder, welcoming host, loving nurturer, guide of all,
ἣ κατέχεις οἴκους πάντων θαλίαις τε γέγηθας,
Charged with populating joyfully, with Ge rejoicing,
λυσίζων', ἀφανής, ἔργοισι δὲ φαίνῃ ἅπασι,
Loosen the zone, invisibly work to bring all to light,
συμπάσχεις ὠδῖσι καὶ εὐτοκίηισι γέγηθας,
In sympathy with throes of parturition, ease childbirth, with Ge rejoicing,
Εἰλείθυια, λύουσα πόνους δειναῖς ἐν ἀνάγκαις·
Eileithyia, unbind the toil and terrible dangers of Ananke,
μούνην γὰρ σὲ καλοῦσι λεχοὶ ψυχῆς ἀνάπαυμα·
You alone come to women in labor and give respite to their Soul.
ἐν γὰρ σοὶ τοκετῶν λυσιπήμονές εἰσιν ἀνῖαι,
Come to childbirth, release suffering and painful distress,
Ἄρτεμις Εἰλείθυια, καὶ ἡ σεμνή, Προθυραία.
Artemis Eileithyia and revered Prothyraia,
κλῦθι, μάκαιρα, δίδου δὲ γονὰς ἐπαρωγὸς ἐοῦσα
Come, give blessings of offspring, aide their coming to be,
καὶ σῴζ', ὥσπερ ἔφυς αἰεὶ σώτειρα προπάντων.
And save from death, as Nature’s eternal savior for all.
Eileithyia (Εἰλείθυια) is the immortal Goddess of childbirth and parturition, equated here with Prothyraia. Prothyraia (Προθυραία) means “approaching the doorway” and refers to the mortal soul which approaches coming into mortal being through the process of parturition.
Psyche is the immortal Goddess of the soul.
In Orphic and Stoic doctrine, the soul does not enter the body until the first breath is inhaled, it resides in the body as long as respiration occurs, and departs the body when the final breath is exhaled in death.
Accordiing to Aristotle, the soul resides in the body because of the breath:
“…the soul comes in from the universe when breathing takes place, borne in upon the winds…”
“Respiration marks the limit of life.”
Vettius Valens echoes Aristotle:
“When we draw in the air, we harvest the divine soul.”
The Stoics’ belief that the fetus has no soul is stated plainly by Carlos Megino in Tracing Orpheus:
“Indeed, for the Stoics the soul is, as we have said, pneuma. However, that pneuma is not soul while the foetus is inside the mother’s womb.”
The Stoic Cleanthes (Κλέανθης) (c.300 BCE) says that the soul is animated by partaking of the cosmic soul:
“…the soul diffuses throughout the cosmos, and we are animate beings for having a part of it.”
“Cleanthes taught that all souls are immortal, but that the intensity of existence after death would vary according to the strength or weakness of the particular soul.”
Diogenes Laertius (Διογένης ὁ Λαέρτιος) explains that the Stoics believe there is one universal soul from which other souls are born:
“They (sc. the Stoics) declare that there is one soul in the universe—which they called ‘ether’ and ‘air’…The other souls are born from it…”
William Smith speaks to the importance of Diogenes Laertius’ work in the study of Greek philosophy:
“Considering the loss of all the numerous and comprehensive works of the ancients, in which the history of philosophers and of philosophy was treated…the compilation of Diogenes is of incalculable value to us as a source of information concerning the history of Greek philosophy… His work has for a long time been the foundation of most modern histories of ancient philosophy.”
Ge is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Ananke is the immortal Goddess of what is necessary, in this case, the travail of parturition.
Artemis is the immortal Goddess of independence.
Phusis is the immortal Goddess of nature, of Physics.
 Artistotle de An. 410b 27-11a 2), Tracing Orpheus p. 139.
 Aristotle de An. 404a 10, Tracing Orpheus p. 140 footnote #5.
 Vettius Valens in Tracing Orpheus: Studies of Orphic Fragments in Honour of Alberto Bernabe p. 142.
 Carlos Megino, Tracing Orpheus p.144.
 Cleanthes, Tracing Orpheus p. 143.
 Cotton, G. E. L. (1870). CLEANTHES (Κλέανθης). In W. Smith (Ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Vol. 1, p. 779). Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
 Diogenes Laertius, Tracing Orpheus p. 143.
 Stahr, A. (1870). DIO′GENES LAE′RTIUS (Διογένης ὁ Λαέρτιος or Λαερτιεύς, Λαέρτιος Διογένης. In W. Smith (Ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Vol. 1, p. 1022). Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.