Charles-François Dupuis: From ‘Origin Of All Cults’ – Of The Seven Greek Vowels
From Charles-François Dupuis’
‘Origine de tous les Cultes’,
volume X, page 521.
Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is an excerpt from Charles-François Dupuis 1794 ‘Origin of all Cults‘, volume XII, part seven, chapter four; from page 289 to 297. Dupuis presents the Greek vowels system and their connection to the seven planets and the musical tones. He describes how they were used in devotional ceremonies and also in healing rites. English translation from the original French by Via-HYGEIA.
‘Plutarch Of Chaeronea, examining the diverse origins of the famous inscription of the temple of Apollo in Delphi where one could read on the pediment the word EI, or a mono-syllabi composed by the letter E (epsilon) and the letter I (iota), reports an explanation taken from the customary usage of the seven vowels to designate the planetary system. He puts the Sun at the second place after the Moon and he represents it by the second vowel E or Epsilon-the first letter in EI. And as Apollo is the same God than the Sun, it is very natural that this inscription is to be found at his temple. Here is how they are commonly assembled: A for the Moon. E for the Sun. H for Mercury. I for Venus, O for Mars. Y for Jupiter. Ω-Omega for Saturn. The true order should be: A the Moon. E Mercury. H Venus. I the Sun. O Mars. Y Jupiter. Ω-Omega for Saturn. Mercury is often called the Planet of Apollo; Venus, Juno, Cybele and Isis’ planet; Mars, Hercule’s planet; and Jupiter, Iou and Osiris’ planet.
According to these observations, one could be lead to think that, the temple of Apollo in Delphi being consecrated to the Sun, the two vowels were consecrated to the Sun and to Apollo, or their planet; so the E, of the planet of Apollo, was united to the I, which is the Sun’s vowel of which Apollo is the ruling Intelligence: Which gives EI. This is why the vowel of the Sun, I-Iota, taken as the linking vector of the planetary system is often united with those representing the extreme planets, A and Ω, of which was made ιαω (iao), name that the oracle of Claros gives to it (the Sun), and that was often used by the Gnostics, in their theories upon Time, the Sun, the Spheres and their Eons. It is to be found often on their Abraxas, expressing in their religious system the same idea that the one expressed in the Mithraic religion by the seven doors-through which the souls journey, and by the seven Angels of the seven Churches in the Apocalypse. The seven vowels were the characteristic numbers of the Church for the Gnostics.
These very same vowels, combined in diverse manners became ‘ad infinitum’ formulas, prayers and mystical invocations. They were pronounced while singing and the sound they were making were substituting for the chords of the lyra, and the musical instruments of the Egyptians. Between themselves, they were composing a sort of musical scale.
A or the Moon answered to B (si).
E or Mercury answered to C (ut or do).
H or Venus answered to D (re ).
I or the Sun answered to E (mi).
O or Mars answered to F (fa).
Y or Jupiter answered to G (sol).
Ω or Saturn answered to A (la).
Porphyry reports an oracle of Apollo, or the God on whose temple’s pediment was engraved the famous EI, that contains an indication of how the seven vowels were used to invoke the Gods designated by these very vowels. The invocation of Mercury, the Sun, of Venus and the Moon, and in general of each planets must be pronounced the same day appointed to each of these divinities. Therefore, Monday, the vowel A was pronounced-as being appointed to the Moon. The day of the Sun, Sunday, the vowel I, etc…
In the published archives of the ‘Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres’ there is a speech by citizen Barthelemi who gave us the explanation of such formulas, found engraved on an antic monument in Miletus (Note: Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Ionia. Nowadays Türkiye) Englishmen found there during the last century a stone encased in one wall of of the theatre, on which was engraved an inscription arranged in a row of a few columns of which in each of them gives different combinations of the seven vowels, through which was represented the seven spheres system and the series of intelligences ruling them. Two column are missing. The Sun occupies the fourth position, or middle column: the first letter of the second line is I, vowel of the Sun, and initial of the word ΙΟΥΩΑΕΗ. This columns is toped by a disc from which rays dash in all directions.
This invocation was used to beseech the protection of the Gods for the sake of the city of Miletus and its inhabitants, as the chorus is always: “Protect the city of Miletus and its inhabitants.” This piece is addressed to the Genie of the planet, or the great Angel in charge to rule it and to whom the title of ‘Agios’ is given, or Saint. The planet is designated by its particular combinations, becoming for it its secret ‘nomen mysticum‘.
In the prayers addressed to the Gods, often were substituted, out of respect for the name of the planet, the vowel appointed to it. Therefore one would say A, E, H, etc…instead of saying: O Moon, O Mercury, O Venus, etc…Simply calling them by their vowels.
Ancient doctors, whose practices would be seen nowadays as mere ‘quackery’, familiar with the ceremonies of the Mysteries would also use the vowels in what would become ‘medical prescriptions’. A doctor of the time reports a series of formulas or recipes, which-in order to maximize their effect-needed to have the seven vowels, αεηιουω repeated while elaborating them. It is almost as it was prescribed specifically to successively invoke the seven planets, as they are sharing correspondences with different parts of the human body-their own signs would sort them also. Two similar combinations are found engraved on an amethyst ring, found in a grave near Angouleme in France. Here they are:
These are the seven vowels the Great Gods take pleasure to be praised with. By substituting musical notes corresponding to each planet, we would have something like this:
B (si), C (ut or do), D (re ), E (mi), F (fa), G (sol), A (la),
C (ut or do), D (re ), E (mi), F (fa), G (sol), A (la), B (si),
D (re ), E (mi), F (fa), G (sol), A (la), B (si), C (ut or do),
E (mi), F (fa), G (sol), A (la), B (si), C (ut or do), D (re ),
F (fa), G (sol), A (la), B (si), C (ut or do), D (re ), E (mi),
G (sol), A (la), B (si), C (ut or do), D (re ), E (mi), F (fa),
A (la), B (si), C (ut or do), D (re ), E (mi), F (fa), G (sol).
It would not give excellent music but would be ‘sacred’ and that would be enough. The Egyptians and the Pythagoreans, of whom the Gnostics borrowed many ideas, pretended that each planet produced a sound, and that together they would form the ‘Heptachord‘, the Sun being its mese (middle string). We can, for further research, read Barthelemi’s very speech and also more on this theory of the Greek vowels with the works of Spon, Chandler, Weehler, Thomas Gale (in his notes upon Demetrius of Phalera) and Ireneus of Lugdunum (nowadays Lyon in France) for the theories of the Gnostics. As for us, it is enough with what we have shared, so to give the reader a sample of an early form of the the planetary system, and how the famous group of the seven great Gods-or planetary intelligences- was expressed. This is enough, in deed, to enable the reader to recognize them everywhere they will appear under these mysterious forms.’