There are no less than four persons to whom the ancients gave the name of Orpheus, but of these only one is worthy of notice as the inventor of the Mysteries, or, at least, as the introducer of them into Greece. The genuine Orpheus is said to have been a Thracian, and a disciple of Linus, who flourished when the kingdom of the Athenians was dissolved. From him the Thracian or Orphic Mysteries derived their name, because he first introduced the sacred rites of initiation and mystical doctrines into Greece. He was, according to fabulous tradition, torn to pieces by Ciconian women, and after his death he was deified by the Greeks.
The story, that by the power of his harmony he drew wild beasts and trees to him, has been symbolically interpreted, that by his sacred doctrines he tamed men of rustic and savage disposition. An abundance of fables has clustered around the name of Orpheus; but it is at least generally admitted by the learned, that he was the founder of the system of initiation into the sacred Mysteries as practiced in Greece. The Grecian theology, says Thomas Taylor-- himself the most Grecian of all moderns--originated from Orpheus, and was promulgated by him, by Pythagoras, and by Plato; by the first, mystically and symbolically; by the second, enigmatically and through images; and by the last, scientifically. The mysticism of Orpheus should certainly have given him as high a place in the esteem of the founders of the present system of Speculative Freemasonry as has been bestowed upon Pythagoras. But it is strange that, while they delighted to call Pythagoras an "ancient friend and Brother," they have been utterly silent as to Orpheus.
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