25. Πρωτέως, θυμίαμα στύρακα.
To Proteos, The First-Born
Divine Medium: storax/styrax
Πρωτέα κικλήσκω, πόντου κληῖδας ἔχοντα,
Protea I call, Ocean’s key-holder,
πρωτογενῆ, πάσης φύσεως ἀρχὰς ὃς ἔφηνεν
First-creation of all Nature, first to appear,
ὕλην ἀλλάσσων ἱερὴν ἰδέαις πολυμόρφοις,
Matter transforming, sacrificing form to numerous shapes,
πάντιμος, πολύβουλος, ἐπιστάμενος τά τ' ἐόντα
Honored by all, Counselor to many, from the framework to real actualization,
ὅσσα τε πρόσθεν ἔην ὅσα τ' ἔσσεται ὕστερον αὖτις·
Sole prophet of the future so far as essence extends to what comes next,
πάντα γὰρ αὐτὸς ἔχων μεταβάλλεται οὐδέ τις ἄλλος
In every way alone the foundation of change and not any of the other
ἀθανάτων, οἳ ἔχουσιν ἕδος νιφόεντος Ὀλύμπου
Immortals who hold the thrones of snowy Olympos,
καὶ πόντον καὶ γαῖαν ἐνηέριοί τε ποτῶνται·
Of Pontos’ and Gaia’s and Hera’s winged creatures
πάντα γὰρ Πρωτεῖ πρώτη φύσις ἐγκατέθηκε.
In every way the very first of the first within Phusis,
ἀλλά, πάτερ, μόλε μυστιπόλοις ὁσίαισι προνοίαις
Yet, Father, bring the mystic axis of hallowed foresight,
πέμπων εὐόλβου βιότου τέλος ἐσθλὸν ἐπ' ἔργοις.
Send whole life blessings and complete goodness upon these works.
Protea means the very first: before (Πρω) + stretch/extension (τέα). Note the feminine ending – α. Later in the hymn, the deity is referred as “father (πάτερ).” This suggests a deity that is both female and male.
Proteos (Πρωτέως, Πρωτεύς) is described by Homer and Ovid as a sea-deity who can tell the future and the past and who can change shape into any animal, plant, or object:
“Any one wishing to compel him to foretell the future, was obliged to catch hold of him…he, indeed, had the power of assuming every possible shape, in order to escape the necessity of prophesying, but whenever he saw that his endeavours were of no avail, he resumed his usual appearance, and told the truth (Hom. Od. iv. 410, &c. 455, &c.; Ov. Art. Am. i. 761, Fast. i. 369; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. i. 4). When he had finished his prophecy he returned into the sea (Hom. Od. iv. 570).”
Pontos is the immortal God of the sea.
Phusis is the immortal Goddess of physics/nature.
Olympos is a mountain in Greece believed to be the home of the Olympian deities.
Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Hera is the immortal Goddess of air.
 Schmitz, L. (1870). PROTEUS (Πρωτεύς). In W. Smith (Ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Vol. 3, p. 554). Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
 Empedocles, Poeta Philosophus (On Nature) 6.1-3; Aetius, Opinions 1.3.20 Diels; Plato, Cratylus (404c); Virgil, Aeneid I.42-45; other references in Pease ND vol.2, p.716.
“And first the fourfold root of all things hear!--
White gleaming Zeus (Ζεύς) [fire], life-bringing Here (Ἥρη) [air], Dis (Ἀϊδωνεύς) [earth],
And Nestis (Νῆστις) [water] whose tears bedew mortality.”
The Fragments of Empedocles, (“Physics” also known as “On Nature” (6.2-3)), trans. William Ellery Leonard, Open Court Publishing, Chicago, 1908. p. 17.