ORPHICS. The founder of the Orphic Mysteries and of the sect known as the Orphics is supposed to have been Orpheus (q.v.) The Orphics believed in re-incarnation, but they believed also that souls could escape the " cycle of reincarnation " by initiation into the mysterious Orphic mysteries. " To avoid new birth, certain magic formulae were learnt by heart: the dead man was allowed to drink the water of a living spring, whereupou he cast off his carnal nature in which sin inhered, and thus purified • reigned among the heroes ' " (Reinach). They believed also in original sin. The soul was enclosed in the body as in a tomb or prison, to punish a very early crime committed by the Titans, the ancestors of man. who had treacherously slain the young god Zagreus." It needed to be purified by religious conse cration and by the means of expiation taught by Orpheus. The cosmogony of the Orphics, as found in the poems attributed to Orpheus, is curious and interesting. At the beginning was Time (Chronos). "Time was when as yet this world was not." Time, personified, pro
duced (gave birth to) Chaos, " the monstrous gulph," and .Ether. In course of time Chaos produced a silver white and shining egg. We have now three primitive generations, time, chaos, the egg, and in the fourth generation the egg gave birth to Phanes, the great hero of the Orphic cosmogony " (Lang). J. M. Robertson finds here the origin of the Easter Egg; the Gnostics took it from the lore of the Orphics. Phanes, who is both male and female, has in him " the seed of all the gods." He is represented as being, in the form Phanes Ericapmus-Metis, a kind of trinity. Phanes produces, as the last of a series of gods, Zeus, who swallows the rest. including Phanes, and then produces the real world. Orphism had great success, and spread throughout the Greek world and into Southern Italy. See Andrew Lang, M.R.R.; O. Seyffert, Diet.; Reinach, O.; Max P. Weinstein, Welt- and Leben-ansehauungen, 1910.