Joséphin Péladan – A Pre-Christian Hymn
‘The Forgetting of Passions’ painted in 1913, by Jean Delville,
1867-1953, Belgian Symbolist artist and great friend and collaborator of Joséphin Péladan.
Today’s sharing from the Blue house of Via-HYGEIA is a poem by Joséphin Péladan, ‘Hymne Païen’, in ‘La Décadence Latine, Éthopée, 9th novel, ‘La Gynandre’, written in 1891. It is also to be found here in an early anthology of Péladian prose, ‘La Quête du Graal’, published a year later (link below). page 185 and 186. A Via-HYGEIA English translation from the original French. By the way, another ‘Little Joséphin Péladan Sampler’ (part II) is in the making!
‘Spirit of pre-Christian* times, geniuses of nature, daimons! From oblivion and damnation, come out; I grant you back, for an evening, your former might; I deliver to you these hearts, I deliver to you these bodies: Rule again and may instinct overcome sin!
And you, great Pan, appear, order, prophesize, in this temple built for the divine. I dare not, my divine saviour, in this coming lust, pronounce your name and show you the sign. You forbid that we oppose evil to the worst, and that by sin we cure sin. To your perfect works, spotless hands are needed, and pure rays to light your path.
But, due to the blatant failing of the impotent hierarch in this peccation*: I hereby raise the lyre, which first revealed softness to human kind; in the name of harmony, in the name of nature, I come and I reconcile the male Dorian mode to the female Ionian mode; I tune the dissonating instrument of love; your grace will then act, if it may, upon a keyboard toned according to the mighty Norm of the origins.
Rise, in your sublime shame, symbol of sin, symbol of God Himself, form that creates form! O sign of life, O means of pleasure, scepter of nature, royalty that extends from the par to mankind, prime tool of the things to come: O original gesture, O ecstatic motion of everything that breathes, key of being, key of Love, open again, to those who turned away from you, the paradise of serene pleasure; divine number, may you tame the binary; O Pantheus*!’
- For the title, we chose to substitute the original ‘Païen’ (pagan) with ‘pre-Christian’, better fitting to the meaning of the text, as the former is usually used in an improper way and was never used by pre-Christian followers of Greek, Roman or Norse religions. ‘Paganus’ was chiseled by Christian apologists to what came to describe non-Christians, often with pejorative connotations.
- Peccation: Designates the act of sinning.
- Pantheus: “All-god.” A surname for various gods in the Hellenic period and onward when deities and their characteristics were syncretized, also designates a statue presenting the symbols of several deities.
with the latest