Handling Grief — with the Orphic Hymn to Thanatos (Athanassakis Translation)

#87 — To Death

incense — powdered frankincense

Hear me, you who steer the path of all mortals

and give sacred time to all from whom you are distant.

Your sleep tears the soul free from the body’s hold,

whenever you undo nature’s powerful bonds,

bringing the long slumber, the endless one, to the living.

Common to all, you are unjust to some,

when you bring swift end to youthful life at its peak,

In you alone is executed the verdict common to all,

for to entreaties and prayers you alone are deaf.

O Blessed One, with pious vows, with sacrifices,

I beg you, I pray to you, grant me long life,

that old age might be a noble prize among men.

This is hitting me very hard recently, On April 4th of 2023, I lost my spouse of eighteen years. I can’t say that Thanatos actually took my spouse “unjustly” because he was chronically ill with at least one disease which typically cuts people’s lives short. However, Thanatos did bring him the long slumber, leaving me to need to voice pious vows, asking Thanatos to grant me a long enough life for my child to grow to full adulthood.

I still feel like Orpheus did following the death of Euridice, I’m not intending to try to face The Host of Many and his Queen in order to reclaim him, though. I know that someday, the two of us will be reunited, but until then… I miss the spouse the Theoi brougth into my life.

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