21. Νεφῶν, θυμίαμα σμύρναν.
To Nephelai, Goddesses of Clouds
Divine medium: myrrh
Αέριοι νεφέλαι, καρποτρόφοι, οὐρανόπλαγκτοι,
Air-borne Nephelai, fruit nurturers, heavenly wanderers,
ὁμβροτόκοι, πνοιαῖσιν ἐλαυνόμεναι κατὰ κόσμον,
Rain-birthers, blown around about the cosmos,
βρονταῖαι, πυρόεσσαι, ἐρίβρομοι, ὑγροκέλευθοι,
On a thundering, fiery, roaring, watery path.
ἀέρος ἐν κόλπωι πάταγον φρικώδη ἔχουσαι,
Air-enfolded, crashing foundation of frisson,
πνεύμασιν ἀντίσπαστοι ἐπιδρομάδην παταγεῦσαι,
Blowing, erupting, free-flowing clashers.
ὑμᾶς νῦν λίτομαι, δροσοείμονες, εὔπνοοι αὔραις,
With this hymn, now, we entreat, with dew-clothing, kind breaths of air,
πέμπειν καρποτρόφους ὄμβρους ἐπὶ μητέρα γαῖαν.
Send fruit-nurturing rain upon Mother Gaia.
The Nephelai (Νεφελαι) are the immortal Goddesses of the clouds, literally “tipping-point (Ν) + esspence-of (ε) + physics (φ) + essence (έ) + release (λ) + αι.” The singular for cloud is Nephele (Νεφελη).
The letter Φ refers to physics, nature, and inexplicable phenomena, such as sound and light. Clouds have many physical properties all at once: they are aereal and float in the sky, they are solid and block sunlight, they are liquid and give rain, and they produce fire in the form of lightning. They are the “tipping-point” whence all these physical properties converge and transform into one another.
The word for cloud, nephos (νέφος), and kidney, nephros (νεφρός), are very similar. The kidneys function similarly to clouds. Kidneys filter liquids in the body and release streams of liquid (urine) and sometimes fiery gas. Clouds filter water and release rain and sometimes lightning. Aristophanes (c. 446 – 386 BCE), in his play, The Clouds, compares the rumbling of an overfull stomach to the rumbling of clouds.
The word for “snow” is neipho (νείφω). Snow is solid, liquid, and aereal.
Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.