The Gods and Goddesses of Greece, and the Greek Creation Saga Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 7 - The Orphic Mysteries One other mystery religion that bears similarities to those of Demeter, Persephone, and Dionysus is that of Orpheus, the musician who lost his wife Eurydice on their wedding day when she died from a serpent-bite on her heel. Orpheus, though supposedly the son of Apollo and the muse Calliope, was a bard from Thrace, who seems actually to have once lived and founded a philosophy and theology among the Greeks. He may have been Hindu and received his teachings from the Brahmins or he may have been an initiate of the Egyptian mysteries.  Also associated with him were the mysteries of the Cabiri at Samothrace. Among others, his knowledge was supposedly passed on to Homer, Pythagoras, and Plato.  So beautiful was his music that he could charm the birds from the trees and the animals from the forest.  He is therefore always pictured with a lyre.  In the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, his wife was stung on the heel by a serpent on their wedding day. After her death, he went to the underworld to retrieve her and charmed Hades and Persephone with his music; they agreed to allow her to return to the upper world provided he did not look at her until she was fully above ground. He led her out of the underworld, never turning to look at her until  they had arrived at the surface of the earth. But after he had stepped out, he turned; only then did he see that she was just emerging. As soon as he saw her, she was pulled back to the realm of Hades. Afterward, Orpheus was destroyed by another group of madwomen, generally agreed to have been Ciconian women.  His head and lyre were cast into the river Hebrus and floated to a place where the head wedged between two rocks, from whence it gave oracles for many years. Symbolism Orpheus as the son of Apollo and the muse of harmony and rhythm is reason and truth (Apollo) revealed through music (Calliope). Eurydice is humanity, dead to understanding because of the sting of false knowledge (the serpent) and imprisoned in the underworld of ignorance. Though truth and reason can win her back, they cannot accomplish resurrection because they falsely estimate the understanding in the human soul. The women who tear Orpheus apart symbolize various philosophies and factions that can destroy the truth. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily