Taming wild beasts and singing with grasshoppers
Type of Spiritual Experience
Hierophants don’t tend to get persecuted, Fools can be, but magicians have suffered considerably.
One important aspect of the magician and the way they were perceived needs to be discussed first. Many it would seem in the olden days [as now] were charlatans. They had no powers at all and simply used fortuitous events to claim magic powers. If rain suddenly came after months of drought, or a flower bloomed at a certain time, they claimed that it was their intervention that had achieved this ‘miracle’. Clement in the Protrepticus 12 was particularly scathing about these apparent hoaxers and cursed the ‘Magicans’ and others for their "impious rites".
But amongst the bad were the very competent. The following is against magicians as a whole, but it gives us a good insight into what they could at one time achieve
A description of the experience
Chapter I.-Exhortation to Abandon the Impious Mysteries of Idolatry for the Adoration of the Divine Word and God the Father.
Amphion of Thebes and Arion of Methymna were both minstrels, and both were renowned in story. They are celebrated in song to this day in the chorus of the Greeks; the one for having allured the fishes, and the other for having surrounded Thebes with walls by the power of music.
Another, a Thracian (A Barbarian), a cunning master of his art (he also is the subject of a Hellenic legend), tamed the wild beasts by the mere might of song; and transplanted trees-oaks-by music.
I might tell you also the story of another, a brother to these-the subject of a myth, and a minstrel-Eunomos the Locrian and the Pythic grasshopper. A solemn Hellenic assembly had met at Pytho, to celebrate the death of the Pythic serpent, when Eunomos sang the reptile's epitaph. … there was a contest, and Eunomos was playing the lyre in the summer time: it was when the grasshoppers, warmed by the sun, were chirping beneath the leaves along the hills…..The Locrian breaks a string. The grasshopper sprang on the neck of the instrument, and sang on it as on a branch; and the minstrel, adapting his strain to the grasshopper's song, made up for the want of the missing string.
The grasshopper then was attracted by the song of Eunomos, as the fable represents, according to which also a brazen statue of Eunomos with his lyre, and the Locrian's ally in the contest, was erected at Pytho. But of its own accord it flew to the lyre, and of its own accord sang, and was regarded by the Greeks as a musical performer.
How, let me ask, have you believed vain fables and supposed animals to be charmed by music while Truth's shining face alone, as would seem appears to you disguised, and is looked on with incredulous eyes?
And so Cithaeron, and Helicon, and the mountains of the Odrysi, and the initiatory rites of the Thracians, mysteries of deceit, are hallowed and celebrated in hymns. For me, I am pained at such calamities as form the subjects of tragedy, though but myths; but by you the records of misteries are turned into dramatic compositions
But the dramas and the raving poets, now quite intoxicated, let us crown with ivy; and distracted outright as they are, in Bacchic fashion, with the satyrs, and the frenzied rabble, and the rest of the demon crew, let us confine to Cithaeron and Helicon, now antiquated.
But let us bring from above out of heaven, Truth, with Wisdom in all its brightness, and the sacred prophetic choir, down to the holy mount of God; and let Truth, darting her light to the most distant points, cast her rays all around on those that are involved in darkness, and deliver men from delusion, stretching out her very strong right hand, which is wisdom, for their salvation.