To the Seasons — Thoughts on the Orphic Hymn in their honor (Athanassakis Translation)

#43. To the Seasons

incense — aromatic herbs

Seasons, daughters of Themis, daughters of Lord Zeus,
Eunomia and Dike and Thrice-Blessed Eirene,
pure spirits of spring, of blossoming meadows,
you are found in every color, in all scents wafted by the breezes.
Ever-blooming, revolving, and sweet-faced, O Seasons,
you cloak yourselves with the dew of luxuriant flowers.
At play you are the companions of holy Persephone, when the Fates
and the Graces in circling dances come forth to the light,
pleasing Zeus and their mother, giver of fruits.
Come to the new initiates and their holy and reverent rites,
bring perfect seasons for the growth of goodly fruits.
This hymn focuses on the Seasons as being exemplars of virtue. Their names alone are indicative of what the Ancient Greeks felt that they represented — Good Laws, Justice and (Thrice-Blessed) Peace. Yes, they are described as being spirits of spring, but they are more than simply this as they are being called upon to bring perfect seasons for growth of what are more than just physical fruits, but spiritual ones as well. The Seasons are described as being the companions, not just of Persephone, but of the Fates as well. This is something that indicates that they perhaps were involved in the lives of mortals more than people realize in the modern world.
When you have a culture, like the Ancient Greeks, that is tied to the agricultural cycles, you find that if attention is not paid to the seasonal changes in the environment that there are problems. When you do, then the “natural order” of things as exemplified by Themis and her daughters becomes very important to you — important enough that they are memorialized by the Orphic singers….

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