The Postmodern Magic!a1lPapyrus

of Abaris

Edjt!ed~nd Introducedby Stephen Edr!ed Flowers" Ph,.D,.


Phu ,pub.IJShild. ~r. t9'95 by SamU<jrn W~i$<l'f,. lac,

P.O. Box 6U

Yoik :Be:llch., ME 0:3i91I]1·0612

This work is dedlc .. ared to my Teachees, .my Students, and most espedalliy to Plli1~ev-El1a~ whose Wo.rd. guided my hand, and! to IS'tVCtK't! whose Works show us furtherhoriZions,.

Copyrjgbt[ ©rn'995 by SitC'i'JI.c'nEd,[¢df~G'we:rs" Ph.D.

AJ~, dgiat$ :l'~.s:Cf¥(:d. N!I) Paft of tlhi;sipublicatio:ll may be :reprodll.l;oed o[tl."ansmit:red .in any fOrm 0.[ by a.or .mnI'lS, electmaie or meehanieal, lnduding ph.orooopyimg, fecoirding. 0..[ by any informadon srtOmge ~nd [¢(.fk~ ~$ltJ[I,. whihQut p~~mi:!l8i;on in w:lfi'ting f.m'm S:3:ml:!~[ W<l]S!;[" .rn:nc, Rev~ewers :may qUJQl[e brief paitS.:lg~. Ma~eii'bl. ql!low::lin t~is book .may not be reproduced withoHt .p:m:rm~5!jiQ~ of the oopyrjglu QWJh'!f •

It is: also dedka~~dlj .in the deepest sense, to KPIJ6'tUAA.'lct!, whe iii; myW~$dom ~ndmy P:Q,wer.

. fEcrWC:JiS, Src:pb,cn .E.

Hcntl.Clilic magi.c : thepo;s~madC]n m3.:gjc~ tpapyu:w of Ah.ari:!i l SttplTh~n Edr~d f.lowe.!'s.

p. em.

1. Hermedsm, 2" MilgiiC.

I. TIcl.e. BF 16 H.F,7 1995

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l'~c p~]:n~r ~~in th]:; p!J,b]~gt1(liIl meets ,the mini,Mum. ~eqlJlrcJll'Jielu:; oJ dhe .iU:ne;t.ican N3J[On~ Seandard foil" Permanence ,of fi1l\pei! of Pfint<ldi Ub[:aILJ' Materia]s Z39A,s:_.] 984.

Table of Contents,

Lis[ ,o,f',Figul'"eS it !~.,!,.,,,. II ••• 'i",.oi1i·~s'li;t"'i"~'!!I'! .1I1.'II.'II.'''.,~.",il;'i,ii,~ .. ,tf,!!+~~ •• ~.'Il.'''. II ••• ili'i"iotJ~"'!!"'!'" xv

List of'Tab~,£s' .,tr ••• ,iiiii.foit-t ... ! ..... II, •••• , •• '.,..."'i.,.,iiiiilt;"'!!,I!'!-!'!!'.,".II'."II •• IIII ••• 'ii .. ·!!ofI!'·!!,!'.,"'.' ••••• i, ... ,i X\!"

Preface iI.t;,.,If'!'f!!'!!' •• '.'''.'''. II .... ·ioiilofif ... ~·!'!,!' .... ,.~,.", ...... II.". ~~ iiiiil'~ ·I'f'!'f! ~"l'~ ••• ,.lIli,.,."'i+.ii,t;,OI·~~"'~ •• LII •• II :1{\P'1]

Abbrevialriorils ,., , .•.•. ,"' , .•.• , .e a . " .••• " " ",..... XXI

Acknowledgments " .. " ," ,."'."' ,,, , ,, .. ,,. " .. "... xx~i

I d . . ...

o(:ro' UCtlO'R " ", " .. , •• , ' .. ""., •.. ,., •••••. XXJH


10 IU:G INS .!iii iillll+!'~!1!!'~ I!''!'!'' •••• , ..... , ... ,.Ii,i,.i"'i.~iI·~!I !!I'~~.'!'~'!!'."'.' •• II .... ,.Ito.·;;'i"'iI"'iI"!!!'~!! ! .. , ... , ..... , •• , •• , •• '.',..·m 31

The Hellenic Root, 4 The Egypl:iall ROOl~ 5

The Hermetic Tradition, 7 The Anclrent Phase, 8

The Modern Ph ase, 11 The: Posnncdern Phase, i 3 The Papyri ill H~s[.OrJ! l4

THE HERM'ETIC SYNTHESIS " .. ,............ 18

The Egyptian Stream, 19' The Hellenic Srream, 20 The Iranian Stream, 24 The Gnosric Stream, 26 The Semlrr.ic Stream> 30 The Chri.stian Stream, 34

Pw~ndple8 of the Hermetic Syml1.es,is. 37






,COSMtOILOIGY ;t,! 't;!!!,t;!I'~ "'I ~·l!ih.ih.1Ii 1"' ... ·I .. 'i "'i ... i>lii i i'i .,;'';'i';' iril i ...... i, •• iI~I •• '.' •• ,iI •• ,!!I~,!I. '¥~ ~.'.'!'. _'" .,.. 47

Neo-Plarcnic Cosm(>.~ogy" 4'9 Gnostic CosmoJogy~ ;,5 Egyptian Cosmo~ogy, 60 Hermetic Cosmology. 63

The Esoterlc Study .of Letters, 1 Th.5 Opeearive Phonology:: Names of PO\'Ii'e.[", ~,25 Arithmosophy: Hetmetic Numero~ogy~ m 30

MAGI'CAL TliE,ORlES " , .. , .. ' .. ' " , 1.3),

HERMEJl:C ANTHROPOLOGY ".............. 70

Hellenistsc Anthropology, 71 EgyptIan An duopology, 73, MYSlicaJ Judaic Anthropology, "77

Ancient Theory. 13,; Modern Thoory, 137 Pcstmodem Theorj; m 38

nA. ar III·, ·PRAXl~·: '.' S

I=-,na· I!' _ ,-": _:, :-',

TOOl.S ,.0;."' .. ' " ,., .,. , " " .. , .. , •••••• , , " •• 145

THE.OLOGY AND DAIMONOLOGY , , .. ,.............. 83

Egyptian Gcds and G oddesses, 84:

Hellenic Dlvinirles, 9'1 Semitic Divinities, 95

GnOSlric and Iranian Divinities, '97 Daimonology, 99'

Golfe.ill, 102 Magtia. 102 Theourgia. 103

1. Mtar" 145

2. Crurclc', l4:6 3 ... Robe) 148

4. Black (Isis) Eye Band. 148 S,. Tripod, 14.8

6. Lamp, 149

7. Bowl, 150 8,. Brazier, 1 50

9. Stylus", 1.50

10. p;J)pymsJ 151

Conseaa:twon of Tools and Phylacteries" 151

RITUAL. Sl"RUcrU.RE " " ", '.". 15,:

Ifrome Rituals, 154


.... .' WJi:U 'II"'" ..... '. . .,

-' -.:- I . . . '.'. ',' .M·_ ., .. , .. , ... !r.~""!-!!!oII!~.of!!.<l!!!!!~'!of!l.!!Ii!Ifo~>hI ... iil'iil..jjoi!i~li~li 110,5

The Egyptian Sys terns, 107 The Greek Syscem~ m lO The Coptic System, 112

SlE . ~-·A'TlIlO·N· 1'5'

1·-_LF-INI,Tln . .w. . . . 'E!"! •• ,.",."J.Iii.lliirll.Ii.!.!!I'! ........ .,;, .. i"'iI"'II~!!~l!!~l.I •• , •• lI.1i ~!i'I!"I'I1!~!",!~·IIJ.'~ •.. II!

I P'reHminary Rite ofSdf .. Iniriation, 161



lNJTIATlONS .. ' , ' .. ' , .. , " ". , .. "., " .. , ,., , .. , .. ,., , .. , ",.".... m cr

L The Operat~ol1 ofPnm.H~~is the Sacred Sceibe, HiS 2.. The Mhlu~i,c Iniriation, 173

3. The Scele of J eu rhe Hieroglyphlst or The Rile of [he Headless: One, 1,82,


B'OWl. :Dl\flNATI,O'NS." ".,. ,., , , , ." ' , , 212

I m9.Baw~ Divination, 2] 2.

20., Bow] Dlvinatiou of Aphrodite!, .2 [16,

21. Dream. Oracle, 218

22. Dream O~adeJ 21S 2.3., Dream Oracle, 219

24. Dream Revel.rriQllS, 2:liS!

PRJOTI -E·.··C· -·T-I·.O··N·

, " " • .' " I - - ":,' '. ~,,~ '" ~ • ., ~.t; ~,~~. E 't, E"I'! +!,~!!, f !I''!' !I ~ ~,,~~,! ~. '!' ~,,!!, '!'. '!'. '!'. , •• '!' .... ~I ., ••.•• ,. ~I. [ill" • ~,.", i [ill i 'iii ~".~'.'" i

4,. A Bowerful Phyl~c[ery~ 185,

5. Another P hylacrery) 186

6. Another Phj'~ac[efYi 187

i 25. To .Appeam: in Dreams" 221

·\f'lliS~.ON'iI .JliI il'li '" iI,t; i -Ii ~"I!;"'! +! 'J' ~,,!!, ~J! ~I'!!, ~I. "'."'. , •• 'il oi,. "'. '" i". i "'" '" a +! o!"! ,!!' ~ •• ~ • ~I. OIl. IIl.~'. ~J" L~"'~ i'~ ~'Ii ~"I!; II-! ~I! '!'. '!' ., ••••• 2.,.22

DillVINE INVO .• ·.C.·~'T· ·10- NS' .- .

, ',. .. ' . _. :. ,111,... ...••• , " ' , , , ., ••••• [,,88

7. An Invocatien to ApQUo, U:l8 S, A Genera~ Pray.u, ] 9]

9. Moon Prayer, 192

10. Prayer to .Ma:nt (Moon)" m95

11. Gen.eral Mag;kal Invocation, m96 1.2. Another Gene'ral Invecanon, 197 1.3. Th.e Hidden Sti:le, 198

Hi. ~3_ear 'WorkIng To Arkros, 200

, :26". ViSJ{ln, 222

27. Revelation, 22A 28.. Direct Vision, 22:;,

A WORKlI.NG .FOR MEM.ORY , , ,. 226,

I 29'"Men'lory; 226

'WORKINGS FOR LIBERATmON , , .. , ..........•.... , .. , .. 227

A lUNG CjU'Al)"~ ._.. 2'iO'2

- ' . ,. , . _ - .. ~,UVJ ... ,~ .. '. ~" •• ' .. "' .. "' •. ~ ."II~·" ~".~,.~; ~;II, i;li i'~~' i ,.,'.,.. ~;~ ~,,~ ;II"i;to i '" iI'of; iII"~" .''Ii ~,~;II, ~;!II ~ ~! ,p. ~"'"I'! '!'! '!'! '!'!, .. - .u .. : _-:

I .30.. Release from Bonds! 227 31. Ddivernnce~ 228

CONTROlL.· ·~·N· 'G·· -T·H~·E S'HAD~ ·'O.:"v, 'J,O,.c:

,"_ • w j. ,- ~"." _". _ .. = . "W !!'!'!'!"~!I,~~'!'!'!'!'.,~~".'!I,~'!'!I.~.~'!liI'!J.'!'~I •• ,.'!J."' .... LiI •• L-.UO

I Hi.. COf.llw]ling che Shadow, 206

.oPERArlONS TO GMN lr'AVO.R " "." ,.,"" , 23.0

I ~.2. S~iS ofAphrod.i,~e forFa~orl .. 23? 3,3,. To Win the favor ,of Crowds, 231

~ ] 7. To ~k~~.a :ihwt" ,~09 II HL Plant fJckillng~; 210







34. For Love! .23.2 l5. For Love, 232 36. For Love, 233 .37. For Leve, 233 .38. Love, 236

3'9. For Love and Atrraction, 235 40. To, Gain Friendship, 237

4: 1" To Resuain Anger and G~in Success, 238, 4-2. To Restrain Anger" 239

43 Cease AngerJ 2391

,4,4. Resltrai ning Operation, 239 45. Restraining Operation I 240 4,6. Resrrain Anger 242

t. Myrrh I~~kJ 257

To I .. I . k 2 "7'

2 . .II.YP,l.oman n.].),

3. Natrcn, 257'

4. Por a General Offering. 258

S. DAYS FOR DIVINATION " " .. ' "." " "' ,,, .25'9




THEIR TRANSCR.1PT~ON , "." , " , , .. 263


HELLENID'ZED F:OIUHGN WORDS " 0;. ' .. ' .. ' "." .. 2165




I 47'. To. Cause Separation. 243

Glossary of Dhrirlle Names , "." '.i •••• ·.,·,.· ••••• ' •••• " ••••••••••••••••••••• 271

Index. of Common Magical Fcrmulas " .. " , .. " .. "." 275,

'8,ibliogt'aLpi'l;{ " .•. ' " , ..•.• i. i.. ., , ,." ' .. ' ' " 277


48. Vicr,ory, 245

49. Victory, 245,

50. Hermes' VictoryWol'1kin,g. 246

5 ~. for Vicmty' and SlWCCes:S ln AU T]1Jill~gs'" 247'

,About the Au,thor .. , ' , .. , " , 29'2

'Ind,ex'i'liIIjj!'I!;t.!-li~'I!~.'!'.IIl.IIJ.' iii a a a a E"~! !~!!! ! ~,~~ "' ..,.,i.,i .. i+i"~"'~d!~·~ a , ~I1 •• ' •• 1 •• ' •• ' •••• iii' .28.3


I 52. To Win at Dice! 24'9

I 5,,3. J;o Catch a Thief~ 2,49


Hgure L
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure ,4.
F~gUl.re ,.
Fmgure 6,
F~gufe 7,
Fmgu.re s
Hgur1e 9"
Fignfte 10.
Fi:gure 11.
Figure ill:! ..
Figur-e 13..
Figu,re 14.
F~gure IS.
Frugure 16. Figures,

The' Hellenistic Cosmographic T reJe. w, " .. , ' ..

Neo- P1aw nlc Threefokl Emananac i on n''' •••• ,. " ..

The: Hellenistic Cosmograph. "., ..

A G " C' , iL

.,' nosr.c ·-'fl\~an~og![:ap.u , , .. "" , " .

50 5~. 54 58

Circle of li~ , "' .. ,,' , ".......... 58

The Heliopoliran Cosmogony ", ,....... 61

"nle Hermopolitan Cosmogony , , .. , .. , , , 62

The Egyptian Cosmograph ' " "., .. '''''' , .. ,",. 63

'The Hellenistic Seul.: , , , , "............. 72

Tbe Egytian Anthropology , ", , , .. , ,,,. 76

The Four Aspects of a Sto'.ichi(m .• , ' .. ', .. , 117

Postmodern Hermetic Altar , , " , 14,6

Inscribed Magk C~ rde "., ," ..

M . l 'f_

. ,agu:a Lamp' , "., " .. ,." " .. , .. ' ,,, ",

Design of rhe S'tylus , " ....... ,,, ,, .. ,, ,, ,

Spatial Model of the Ritual o.frhe Hepragrasn ,,,.,,'

147 14'5)

l50 15,6


The System ,ofEgyprian Phoneme's 108

Correspondences between Egypt~an Phoaernes

and Hebrew' , " e e e e "" .. " ," , 110

Table 3. The System ofGr,eek rTOIXEIA " , .. III

TaMe 4. The Coptic System ' ' ' .. ' 113

TaMe 5. The Greek Alphabera and .Mi'CIuaic

Cerrespondeaces "."' ' .. ' .. '.". , .. " ' " .. , ,. .. 1.13

Tab[e 6,. Seed.-Words , "' ,., .. ,", 118

Tab~e 7, Tr~nsHire:~aii.~on of Seed~WordJ; , .. " " "........ lli28

a Q11Va Hlperim ess JiC"u.tquod inforiuser qflOd inforiu$ est sku! quod .JU= pt'ri,m ad perpetrd.nda" mir:llc"da rei uniUf- That[ which is above ~s like rha .. [ which is below and that whichi,'i below ],5 like that which is above, ,~o achieee the: wonders of the. One Thing. '~I These wordsr-ing out from the wisdom ofHe:l."mes Ttls,megls~oi$·-rhc Thrice-Grearese, aJ8 recorded. inrhe Tabuln, Smaragdina!, or Emerald Tablet. ru it was, so it ,might also be,appHedtJ()the Hermetic ~aw,) a:s far as the wnrking:of tme Hermetic magical formul:.::l$ is concerned, The: Hermetic rradi .. tion of magic is one of the JUOSt often ] nvoked of the so-called Wes:[ern schoo]g: of mag~,. Its technical form:u~.as have been wdl documented for .lleaJ.rly a, hundred years. Btu ,eVCJ,lI now lhe-y remain onlybarely known to the ,communh:y of modern ~na:gk~an~ol[ thelH~gis(s-who, wouldmake use of them. 'The formulas have been «buried" out it). th.eo:pen-~n academic books,many wr~u:e:nilll nonIDg~lsn htnguages .. This book ~s inrendedm open rhe g3n~ eo (he atetual use o,f the leal Hermetic fotJnuhwcoo!Cerued in me magic~ pap}ll[l of Egy'pr.

These fOrmulas are at least pan of the basis of w~aI ~.ate!!f came rebe knownas the "Hermetic tradidon.'" The lTIOS[ famous example of this; is rhe "Hermeric Order of rhe Golden Dawn" in the late 18005. The VicWf]3fiJ1 urll..d:ersl:afJJd.~ng of the fo·rm~lla:s was, however, m.,th.er ~hn.~ted and sometimes misinformed. No doubt the magic conrained in rhe papyri has great po~en,~y. It represenrrs rhe firsl Known. anempt to bring together many rradirions of magic in die wodd, ';lind to forge them into a. unified eclectic system, The. p,apyri themselves, the: grea[ repository ,of rhese fOiE'mulas~ requlredexrensive research by e:ll:pens over a period of several decades befo![,e tmey were tnl~Y ready to reveal their many secrets, Now is that time'. These are their secrets,

] odginaUy had [he ~dea for[~js book when ,doing academic research for the RIU'IIlc schoel ofmagk. I became aware ,of the fact. that there werewell over a hundred documents or original magical literature dadrrug from '[he 6rsr £OlJ,lI' centuries C.E. whi}c~ contained ehe





root's of what was widely practiced out of occult 'books of our .day. These documents were written in the Greek, Coptic, and. Egypdan languages,

Further research, bcrh schola.rly and pracdcal, revealed that rhe magic of [he papyri was much, more "down to earth" and pragmatic than the often complex. forms of Renaissance and Victorian occultism derived from the practices outlined. in the papyr·i. This: pragmarie base became clear once 31, rena] n set. of codes W'aS cracked open.

This book also might have been rided "The Practical Greek Kabbalah." Butthistirle would not be entirely accurate, It would, however" express: the: great debt we owe to rhe Hebrew uad~don for havin:g preserved intacr a syste·m. ofmysrkaJ speculation and cosmology., Without she Hebrew Kabbalah rhe reconsrrucrion of the "Hellenisric Cosmograph" would have been impossible. However, the

di . . di L' • IL· tho h iL H 1...

tra mon expressed m trustexe 1S, sornetrung {)e>r tnantne "f enrew

Kabbalah. It is a pagan parallel and analog to that tradition,

The original papyri contain many formulas which call foranJmal sacrifice or (he use of substances that must be obtained from dead an] mals, ,N{)',ne of tht ,workings prcscn,ud.in this book do, so. Bu [ we must remember the rime and place of the papy.ri~a largely agricul[Ural world of some 15,00. to. 2000 years ago. When one of rhe old spellscalled for rhe "blood of a black ass, ~ ir was reaUy no more a rare i,l'lgr,ediem: than" ~eil:~ssa)'~rh.e· crank case '(In of ' a black Chevy pickup truck would he today. I would advise anyone 'who LS going muse rhis 'book ®el~ously to look into (he otigimds behind the forms gjven here, (They can be found in English translation in The' Gr.eek'Magical Papyri in 1h:Zr1slatiotlj edired by Professor Hails' Dieter 'Betz" published by the Universi~ ofChicago Press in 1'986:,) In choosing the models tor the workings given in (be practical pr.ut' of this: book, I always; chose ()l!\C~S, that did not even originally requ teethe use of P ractices Oli substances now repugnant Ito us. 'TJ1~S., by the way. was' not diffic1IJ:h since a great Dumber of the w,ollkings relyalmost to'tally IOn verbal and other symbolWc acts,

In many ways (his book is different from, other modern manuals of magical p.r~acdtGe,.M,ore details are g~ven.on how it is different in (he iatroduction. If you find youfsdf mystifiedhy rhe conrents of the book, refer backto thjs preface for claritiearion,

This is a book of expel] men tal and. ,experienda] ph ilosophy and paiooiogy-che study of an dent things. It is not enough to read ahour such things. We: can learn something of the true essence of a teaching by experruetllcin,g its acdons as much as by hearinger .rea&~n,g: its words. Purely "academic" exploration ~s rarely rransformanve, The voyager musr a~tuany do" work, experience and thereby gain real results and, red understanding. Ic is by s uchvoyagi ng mat the magician reaches 'the OPPOSiCf' shore of the rivet.

But as the Hermetic dictum is applied to a temporal model-e-as ir was, so shall it be-by experlencing the sights, sounds,ihoughts, actions, and all the dozens of orher th ings that come with the P erfor-

" 1 'Il • .n,. .1l..

mance of magical acts, we can not on Y necome one w~(n tne an-

dents, bur more imporrandy we can he come one with rhe very

d l U d" ~. . I.. IL . " • . . '. , .,-

roo eis or para- ugms rney u ieruserves were using.

It ~s my hope that the reader-e-ehe experimenter and esplorer-« win underm_ke this voyag~ of discovery along the path of the ancient Hermeticisrs, To know, to w:iU, to' dare, and to OOO(leaJ what you learn in me depths o,f your hearts. FOE) in the end, no matter how much you try to say conoerning what you 'Will experience, the [ruth w.i]l on~y beaudible in silence.

Stephen Edred Flowers, Ph.D.

Mo:l'o~, MUO"t[]tOU Austin" Texas:

C.E.; B.,C.:EL:

Copt.; Egypt.! !Gk.:

Common Em (~ A.D.: Anno Domini).

Before the Common Era, (= B,.C.; Before Chris[).




Heb.: Hebrew .

.P'DM: Srnndlaf,d reference 'W the Demo~kMagical,PCapyri, PGM: Sta~dla[d reference 'to 'the Gr,eek Magical Papyri.

Notes on Pronunelatlon

Sometimes approximate: phonetic representations of shereer vocal formulas are placed in squa,re brackets ~mmediaH::~~Y after the fm:mulas, for example: ABl .. Al'>lATHANALBA [all ~blaJ.hn-ah~t"alm-AHLB~ M]. A complete guide to [he pflJ.!Fi.u.nda.don of the Greek. letters, or eleme:n.:ts, is provided ]0. Appencllb!: H

,AJso~ in the 'or~gina] Grejek of [he periodl. UOij-500 C.E.) the t1"etaand phiwe:re not prenounced as modem EngUsh "th' and. ~<ph"

({~f' M') L ·ll . 'II '. _:j ,"", d ," .. . _. -~- - - -1h·_.1. ., om . ramer as 5uong~y as,l?'~r3n~u . ran., P respecuviewy. WHH.::.U

are l1ende:l1ed here ph.on.,edcaUyase and p",



Spedal dunks galla RoaaldL. Barreu, Robert Menschel, Roberrt 'NemYj Don and Rosemary 'Wehb~ and Roberr Zoller for thdt thQ~gh~ful reading of the msnuscript and hdpfiI~ eemmenraries,

This book conslsts ,of four main parts or sections, Each isnecessarj, each completes the orher. The historj, thelOry~ praerice, andactual examples of experimental operations ],[1'1JJiS( each he ,exploredi". worked du,ough and realized before a. true quimessence can be reached.

The h,i.story of the ancient Hermeric trad~dQn must be understeed mday ~n order for us to grasp, even ~[l'l some small way, the place ir held in due metrix of wO!l:'kl. cultures, As Hermeticism irs es .. senriallya synthetic tradition, that is, ir brings tcgether diverse ,~]emenrs andha:.rm{,)nizes them intoawhole, the various elements need to he understood S,Q rhar a new synthesis can be reached by each Individual Hermedc in rhis posrmadem cra.What'iiVas done in ancient times oC:;,iJ.!I1, be; do,ne again. But we InU8:~ understand how irwas done,

"l'he;o.ry is 'lot dry, oognh~v'e wool-gathering. On the contrary, it is the precess of vivi tYing jn1l'~rfi~llnod.e:l!j o.f 'rhough[which. g~ves ]ife and vlrnlity to magicaill practice, Practice widlOIlll.'[ a basis in sound rheory usuaHy ends in the. lRudd~e-hea.ded mnmbo-jumbo so ofienroo typk~~ of (~(!·kku~tn~k~j culture, The Gt~ek word 'Sl60peta (.thevrti'tz) means: Gonliemphnion~from the verb thtronttJ. A (rue dleory must be based on thcughr deeper dlan whar is normally used in. ev.eryday ]~fe; d:1let d1ling~obsen'ed muse be moeeprofound than every1:lay occurrences .. A truly Hermetic theory can «)nly he developed ~[] conjunc .. don with pract~ce-pr¥D:'J.f,

Practice is rhe ac[U.a~ e~~rd~~ or ,ef!Jacrring of rhe (11eo.redca~ base, each operation of which, if contemplated, will perhaps in some Wl!hY mod]fyrhe theory unril some true, Hermetic understanding is g;:dned. The posnnodem pa.pyrus ofAbaris is acollection of au thentk andeVli[ operational fQif:Jnu.lM· spedaUr uan.s]a'lled and edired fae this work, The fact rna'[ each is clo~;dy based on a fOfmu~a originaring in ancient :[~mes WS essential co grasp.. Byre~e:na.cti[lg the. aneient :6ormulas, you undertake <1:. higher .Form of mag], than may eeemte he the case with each hlld~v.i.du;aJ. operation . On one level YDU may be ,camng .Fotch a lover of flesh and b]{Jod!!. but on anQrhew- you arecall-




ing fonh 'the spirit ,of the 'twine of the an,de~'t p1apyri-you are bend-

ing rime to you.r will, you, are shifting paradigms b! mag,j~., ..

Wha[ I~a before rem is at postmodern apc::nme:nt U1 ope~lfJIg 'dle mouths oithe ancient Hermetic ma,gkian:s. With rhis work their methods ~nd symbolism are aUowed to speak to (he reader directly; asthey spoke to the writer as the work was being puttogether, The gods and goddesses; standing at [he gan:ways 10 this kind of kn0w.]~ edge have ~ong been silent, Many have rried to maIDc,e rhem speak 111 the pur century and a half. Bur the God of the ol~ papyri ,doe~no[ demand worship, bur rather study and work. If this work ~s fined wi,th atn exa.cting ,combin,a'r~Otl ofpassicn and precision, the med~ods, of rhe Hermetic D:tagkbns can ag~in y~dd a harvest of wondrous powers., . _

This harvest Ca.D not be enjoyed by' lithe multirude. Results of

sucoess&rul work can nor b,e rransfesred easily .firom one magician to others. An arrempt ~E work efthis nature' is witnessed by the nfe ,of J.e:sus the Naassarene [the Serpentine). The subsequent and immediate betra:}"al of dl!e werk ofthat magos by his would-be followers isa tesrimony re the impo5sibility ofdl.e results of work hy one ma;gwdan b ei ng transferred ro others, Methods of initiation" of po.;"I~lU, and even "salvarion can be taughl:~ burall true magicians must ultimately find!. the secret, the mystery oftheir own existences, from, wirhln.

The contents of rhis book-lO chis new papyrus" describe many e:x;r amples and dues to rhe u.nlocklng of cerrain secrets hidden wi[hin the souls of seventy-rwo men and women who win read its page.s. Many more wm read the pages:" of course, but only rhose sevenry-two win tl'luly !lJ!!ndel"snmd ehe lnystery contained in them ..

Wichwn [he idea of mystery there is the posswbm~ cfulnmace understanding. On every leaf of this book there is a mystery Readers must ]oak beyo:rrud ;;l!.p'pea.fall~ eo the h.wdden~ IlJmna~.ifest r,eaJi~ frOom which the a::ppeamnces come, and which the appearances in (urn conceal from me eye of the seeker, This, at ~easr in pan,. ~s how rhe power .of the Mystbiorti Of as me Egyp£tans would have said itt

- f . d· . d .

the: I.hta~, w·cMJrb in the mind 0 magicians m gt ve . Jrecno nan im-

perusto rheir iniriarlons, The papyrus which lies before you is 2[D. ~~ ercise in this principle or a~~ch,iofe.'xisrencet and Gomes from th.e aiihi of the origrunill.Mystery.

Hewto Use 'this Book

This is not a typical manual of ,coflltemporary rnagkal pracdce, Its purpose is not to indoctrinate the reader ina certain set form of cosmology and dlJleology~al'[hough the generarion of these things is essenrialto development of rhe ind.~viduaJ Dlagician.., Rather; thws book is in tended. asa gtdde for the creation of a new and original,1}nt.he'Sis by [he individual magician based on the same consrituenr parts that would have faced developing Hermetic magicians around 2000 years, ago. The' very proan put forward by [he book is an alchemical one, .E~eme'mcs are ana~yze,dan.d recombined lneo a unique newsynthesis,--:sotve ttl .{()'tl,guia.

Eady readers of the unpublished manuscript of this book were sometimes baffi0d by itssrructure. This was perhaps because its appro~h ms so novel, or perhaps because ·they had nor been exposed ro the necessary prelimin'ary discours« which I hope this preface wm provide"

The book is divided. into. four parts; Historj; Theorg Practice, and Operation in rhe form of the text of rhe I(Magical Papyr.us: of

AJb . !t l' c. th . ..!Ll • I I:J'" • h h

ans .: JIG ract ,-. ere are wmun r 1,ese 10m OJVJSIOInS, t fFee P __ enomena

which canand should. rake place in someone who studies the contents of the book. The rursf phase is that of .theoria (EI'tOP~HO'.}.,whjich en-

h fi· f J b k ·~j·TL ;,. .1_· k··· Th

compasses n e rut rwo prun 00: . n.e • 0.0 _. ncOry]5 t:nt1'1mg:. e'

tee-adell is: chaUenged to work through ehe contents of [he firsr [WoO parts of ~le: b001k carefully and thoughdully. Success i nthe first phase is ehe beginn ing of me second-prtlXis (Xpo1;:bc;) .Pracdce comes from serual

f h bi -' d''IL d 'L 'IL hed i hi h

enaecmenr 0 t e o~ec:[wve liiJffi mere-a er nas aosor .. '(;:u' mro usor "er

subjective aniverse, Practice is work From work comes the aerual experience of meory-'which leads to real unders,candi,ng. The operations '\vhkb make' :up the last .p..'l.rt of ehe text are the :n~~:ulf of the aurd1Jol's acrive ,exp~or~,tiOi1rS of both ,m'coria and praxis" This experieace, if profound~ wiD Wead inevitably to the emergence of a Teaching (50~(t)., The Teaching ofclhe-authof IS embedded in the whole' ofth~ book. Ibm is es-

·'_11 . m.. .. r- di hi c. • n_ . h . ;;'. + ·1- ll' f·A-'b .

lPeC~aL~y to 'LIe' rounc .. In L IS pretace, In tfie synt ~ euc'ef~sf es 0- aans,

and in me editions of the operations themselves. The implicit exborradon is for the one-time student to evolve his orr her own Teaching, Then and. o.in~y then wm the finali stage .of real, progress, be possib~e'.


The old Hermeric booksmake w,~fereJ1Ce~O t~l.e cu~,minatdon of' this processwhen the teacher chai[g~s the snrdeat [0 take wha[ has been t~uJght and "carve :for you,rsie~f in hierog)yphks In. turquolse in me temple air .M~ln.phis.~'

1:00 much 11;3.S been. made in recent y-:ears of the idea thae "msgic isfor rhe mHHons~'j that i~: ~s e~ to understand and therefo])e easy to pracrice, In bet rnagia.. as descrjbed in [his bQokl is the most challengi ~g IOf h urnan endeavors, ,Magia: is the developmenc of the s~~f to a. virtually div.ine level, It is ludicrous ro undertake such atpwcess Hgbdy erroassume this airn is ~a!8ily' ,n:rn.l]'DJcd. To do ~o is to make the ,di!l1:cuJ[ impossible,

Magical knowledge is mys~crious kilowled,ge,.Boob which P1lJfporr to c,lariiJ magicto YOIli in the same way tha:r Gr-eek grammar or ,g,eomctl!.'y' mig~[ be explained .0 r tauglu are do~ ng you a disservice. Mag~call lmowledge~.QlI:pasi$~. must come througha. combinanen of theory and experience ifDI such a.'\oVay thaethe gnosis comes as a gen-' rune. unique and or~gina~ discover] on you r pan: of sOlue:t!hillg which had been. up to that mement hidden and outside yo~u eonseious mind, This is why rea1Mysre~d~:s can. nos be "revealed'I jn profalile words, Ibut on~y thro1UJgh extended meta:phonand whole metllod.olegical discourses ..

The. Wo['d.~ or Aoro~, which. gu~des [h~s Work is MJ~.til'ion {or Mysre:ry}--:aillsQ sometimes re£ened to as Krypt8n-du:t which ~5 Hidden, The Egypt~ans called it 5ht-dt) andthe Hebrews referred m such rhi ngsas r:dzim. The ·'u1dkll is [0 Focus on acmaiMyuer.ies and ro avoid. concentratiea ()n1Ji "pseado-myseeries," False mysteries are tllings It'ha:J!: are secret s~.mp~y [because someone decides nor TlO inform you ahom: t~em .. Real Myslt:edt!:S are those tihirDigs which can 101l~Y be revealed" or dWsoCiveled.~ my.steriowly,

To illusrrace this lastpo~n[, compare "aromic secrets,' 'whidil!.are just rechnical fOI!r'muias on how co split theatem w[rh "secrets of the amm""-whkh are eantamounr ro (:osmo~ogical mystcideswhkh can OJ1Jly be grasped ill moments ·of extreme ]ureUectual ~ll!ddity ~nfo'!imed 'by the theories ,o,f [physics. The6rs[ example is S6Cfe'[ because of circumsrances inthe oater or objective universe (nalrruoJl;a~ securityand what nod whileehe second. example remajns secret beeause of :I:~aNdes of the In net wo:dd ,of the mind, or ehesbselu lie subjecrivc universe,

I~ [he (H'igimd Gf~d{ of dlJern;agica[ p.!lJp:yri rhJ~m:s~lves~, the words "maglc" '(ILl.ay~u:l}and "mystery'; (p,ucr-tTThpmv) are ofren used synonymo!1Jsly. Magitlls (he technical practice, white m(Jsr.erium is the theoryor OV¢f'iU inner fr~unewo'ifk Q·f the ~:e.dUl,olo:gy;

Paradoll::k:aruIy; tbis seeming~y olbfuscadflig or obscuranr concep( of t!he Mys(,ery :acmaUy leads [he Hermetic magiciaa toward daliiry and. precision, This is why it is so essential to magical theory, The practice of seeking the Mysteries foJlb the magician whh pm;v,er {dy~ 11.amis) a~d the 'llndersl:aind:lng of the mysteries creates conditions for self~u;ul,sfof11J,at~oll. This ~atter is rhe case because, in the unknown space ofrhe mysterious, the sel f of rhe magici an finds s:pace~o grow.

l'hemtthod of theuse ofMyste'.rymllS[ involvea Mgh degree of hrueUocmal precision comb~ned with an ,equaUy high degree: o·f enrhusiasm or passion for whar is being done, Real .Mys[)el.ies must he expleeed :lI.lld peneerared both .obWClC'r~ve:ly' and s11lbjecdvdy. The best scientific knowledge (Gk. epis.t~m~ or ,dJanoia) must be combined with ~nspired. leaps .of faith to result in stihlImegnosis. Th~ ru .. se ,of mys~,erj,ous:symbQls and aestheticaUy lnspi raticnal models can have wondrous effecrsand prov~d.e tremendous enlergytorhe process of ua:n,s,~o'.[mado,n. Bille if there is no ratienaland objective basis, the ~Jt~ma(,e resulrsare likelyto be inauthentic and. vaCliJOus.

ffin an absohne sense. rhemel~od ofdlis hook is based on the eig~t~ precept ·of the Emtrald Tttble.f, ~nriby~ed ro Hermes Trismeglsrus .. It says:

Use feme mind to its :fun extent and rise from Earrhte Hea¥en.,an.a then descend '~Q .E:ud'lJ and combine the powers ofwha,l is above with what is below. Thus YOIJJI. wUl win g~(Hry inthe whole world, and obscurjcy will leave yo~ at once.

'This means rhat the alchemist is to oscillate between the subjective spiritu:dr,~~lm:(ll {iIlho®e ~~bQJve») "Wh~wein dwell ehe sublime forms of theory and the ,Mind~ and the objective material realms (those "below") wherein the forms andthecries can be tesred and perfected as nowhere else in the cosmos, This bipolar path leads to [he grearesI states of acrompHslmu~nt~ the h~ghes~ ]eve.lsCiifpowe:r:-m'l.d I~hede:ar-


,est ~,eve~s of ~1.m.derstancUng. In a, pragmadc sense thisprocess is; refille£tcd in my method: ['objeC'[~ve iloa.lysis] --i>. [subjecdv,e s),ru:hesi;s] -7 [enactmenc], Objective analysis ofdlC dam pre:par'fS dleMjnd For its assentto the ~pp~r realms where dle subjective O~ne.r) sy~thesi~ takes place, The: prooess is not complete, however, liJi.n'tH the sU1bjecr n:turns. frOll1l r~e~nner (or flupperlil) realm to test this 'or her naFllsfof"" marions on (he world through emJ,CtmeJM ofrhe vision.

Essential 'to fuU and authentic use of ehis bookand the method it espouses is a d~orough study of tbe Corpus He,rmeticum amld! other g,entwll1dy Hermeeic texts of am:iqu~ty~ Thrus abo includesthe Gnu:k Magical P4pyr4 of course. These are d1)j~ prhnaryobjt1,f,t$ of the objecdvean;a~ysi~phase of the method. This book is ~n (jxample of what can be done, bu[ each ~nd~vid~~aJ. must undertake his or her OWill jourlruey to gain the fuU benefit of the method, Primary £oc~as musr be()~ rhe oldest availablematerial which mOIStly cernes fi'(JI·m [he £Irsi[' five eenturies of the COJ::r.JinlO[D, Er,a.Accord[l1g I[)O' the theory behind thls book, pr;rugmadc works: of Hermttie magicwer,e often preludesto furrher more sp~dtu,d~ or subjective .• work withthe same [h~ode:s.B'lJit wh~ a hackgroundJ In '(hep'~ii.cd(;a} and. ebjecrive enects .of magic" [he ,eme:r.gen[ Hermetic master would. have a more complete g,ra;sp of [he prjndpk$ ar work r~aDl someone who dealt wirh rhe rheories only subjeC:i[i,ve~y.,

Wbelll and. if yntl.find. yourself mJs.t.i/l'edo"l the cements of d:tis; book) I Invite YOIl [0 return to this pre:.f~ce and censider its words a,gairDJ.AU bo:w~,edge' and an power beg~n with a Sense of My~te1"Y;


Part I

A History of Hermetic Magic


The kind of magic and. p:hnosophy we now call "Hermetic' is most dea.rly seen In documenrs ,daliug from [he first four or Bve cenruries C.E. The epicsnterof Hermetic ideas was: .AIi.exan.dria. in the NHe:

Delra, This is wherethe ancient Grn:,(I)ek (or Hellenic) culture and thar of Egypt weremosr cOi11.p~etelyand p.owerfuUy beoughr rogerher, A secondary sireof this activ~o/ was: in the .Fayyum., Theseare the places where thetwo culu;!.res mo.s[ easUy mixed-e-in both ethosand ethnos.

OIJlJ! r UlOS[ Imporranr sourcefor the srudy .Qifopera[~v;e Hermetic magic Will the body Qftext known as: me ·A:!Greek magicaJ p:apyr~.~~'Tbese wm be discussed in more detail below For ]lOW itt' is importantto darify thaT ~h]s b.ody ofwridngs mSIJO[ tntinely "Hermetic" in [he srricr philosephical, or even ~[heolog]cal" definition of the l:e£111. Om: thesis is rhar the Hersneric parh 'was one of gradual intellectualization or spirittMiization of initiation, As [he Hern:meric in itiates carne closer co. their gOlaill.,. the: t,ecbniques became pro.,gres,s.b/,dy mOE\e focused on pm:,ely Hemietic imag;eFy and language, but In the earlierstages of tile work,. h was more eclectic in ~u: tastes and. more p~ac~ica.l ] nits methods.

The complex Hermei[~c rradirion has <1 dual heritage, This is dear whef!! welook inrorheorigin of the name "Hermeeic.t'Tbe school is named after the Greek god Hermes (Gk. ~!EPI1"1l~)~ who is w~ddr choughr me he at least ]ilfl pan: a. Greek reinrezpreretion of the

Egyptian god Thorh, The actual Egypdan form of his name is ~ tlhwry Dhury]. TMs~ th.e chief Hermetic godl., was llcnown In. the tradidonas H.e;lrmes Tris.megJ.stos.=--rh:e! Thrice-Greatest. In truth he ~s an amalgamation of rhe magkians' god of [he GI'ceb and. Egyp[ian~ but also contains the seeds of aU the other "gods of magic" Hum the Hebf1ews~ BahyJ:onia.ns. 3riLd. Persians aswell,

If we look to the very deepest roots we can uncover [he dual heritage of rhe Hermeric uadirion .. One of these rOotS underlies [he G[,eek or H~nenic cultun::: the Inde-Earopean, The other is rhat £If rhe Semlto-Hamiric or IEgypdan culture, In the Hermetic magical system. these rwo djsdnct~and uSlL[aU,. disra.ll(j. cultures have been


The Hellenic .Ront

study of rhe oldesr leve]s of Celeic, Germank. Roman, G[,e-ek, and Indo-Iranian magical pracrices.

The Hermes .of the Greeks, the M,e:l1cury of the: Romans; Is rhe god of communicarion, the god] who is in charge' of transporting rhc sou~s ohhe dead to realms beyond th,e eanh {a psychopomp}; the god. of lnsplred intellect and. quick who The magic of Herm(k is roored in che ~ntd~ocrual faculry ofhull1anhy-~n ch-e parn ofrhe mind wllilich uadeesrandsrhe forms of symbols and can put them ineo inspired words of poe:try. Hermes has rhe power to synthesize the 'COJ1J[,ern:$ of the' rwghr and I.efr sides of ' the brain, and 'to piI!l[ them ~nro communicab~e forms., both verha~ and nonverbal (s,ig,n$, symb(lb.ge,stures~ music> and 0 on).

The Hellenic spieir, e.xempM'ied. 1Dl Hermes, is (U1.e' which can cake dements from a widevarieey of SOILm.:e:s and synlhesiu them into a hll"!J.(J'Nioll,swhole. Since their early h~story~ [he' Greeks: had brought to:ge~hef' elements from every exotic culture or dvm~adon with "V'nich dle}" had. ceme inro conrac(-the Aegean (Minoan), Anaro!Wan, Persian" Hebraic/Canaaniee, Mesoporamian, and Egyprian, This was made possible rhrough the' intellectual fad li£Y present in t~egenius ofHerme;s,.

It was the intellectual spirir of Hermes that [he Greeks brought ro Egypt. This spirit confronted the Egyprian gods and goddesses and Idle kinds ofm~gjc done .i n thei r names, and from [he synthesis ,of the two systems, Hellenic and Egyptia n, the Hermetic tradition was born. Even ~n (he latest phases- of the Hermetic rradirion, [he Greek He.rm&~.nd the Egypd.an Hermes were distin,gutshed, a,t a certain level, The Greek god was called Hermss Logics and was the focusof magical attention (lu[S:mde E,g}'~:)'[., TheurgkaHy, his cU.I'[ seems jUS[ as «Hermetic" as dun of'Irismegiseus, "the Egyptian.1iI

brough[ [og,ed1<er. in a pagan coneext, This original synthesis then becomes [he mode] for any and. all finureamalgamanons of magical tra-

di '" d' h d "H . '"

,morn, unaer it- e 00 !~ name ermenc,

Ultimately all of these text's are Hermetic in the sense that they are examples of eperaeive magic, and Thorh- Hermes is th.e god. of :ma,g~'c par ex~e"J'enc:e:, His p;atll!'()n~ge would have been understoodas being essenrialtn the' whole process in the t~me and place the papYIr~ were produced.

We conveniently call "Inde-European't the descendants of that great mass of folk speaking ~ related dialect and. worshippinga certain panitheon of related ,godS and goddesses. The origwnaJ homeland of rhese !people was; ,SIOfllicwhe;re in the region noerh of the :Black and Caspian Seas over ,6000 yean ago" One branch of tbis culture made its way into the southern parr of the Balkan pen] nsula (present-day Creece) as early as 1900 H.C.E. Orher ind,ependem :groups of these folk later formed. the Germanic, Celtic. Slavic, and b:a~ic peoples, The most notable of the Italics were the Romans. These Indo-Europeans also spread at an early date into central and southern Asia, where they caned themselves Irani and Ary~n,s.

The ancient Indo-Europeans had a three~Fold structure of the divine, The pantheon 'lN3.S dtvid,ed into three levels:: the fir.st of sever,eign powe:r" the second of physical power, and thethird of productive O!!' generadv,e pOWiI!'f. The first of these was further lIiefined into two factors:. One ru~ed the Forces of law and order (atnongthe Greeks [his 'Was o.dgjnaJ~r me purview ofZe~s)., Larer some ofZeus' eharacterisdes were absorbed by Apollo, The orher factor WaJS ruled by the forces of ma:gk and mantic activities of the miad .. This was, ait. the oldest stage, the realm QfHermes. Lacer his functien was absorbed by other gods and. go(lde:sses~ ~ncludlng boeh ApoUo and Dio.n:ysius. He[mes was the inventor ofwriring and the gr,erat eemmunicaror;

Of course, Hke aU peoples, dle' Indo~EJUtopealJ1s had their mag; .. cal traditions. Some of these can be g~eaned throu,gh compararive

Tbe EgypdanRoot

The importance of Egyptian magk and phi~osophy ~n [he origwns of the Hermetic tradition can 11JJO't be overesnmaeed, One' of the ch~ef reasons for [his is that probably most, if no'[ aU; of (he actual authors



'0,( ,the magical papyri wer,e ethnic 1E,gypdansF-alrtbo~gh they were highly Hellenized, They hadlearnedthe Greek language and] wrote :and spoke it AuendYb [hey had absorbed Greek phi~o!SQphy and mcdalities of thought. One of the ,dl1efs~gns of rhis Hellenization is, the enormous eclecticism of the eechnicsl Hermetic rradirion. This is rotan", fOft!ign till' the purdy Egyptlam ~:nenmliry. which WS iluri~s~adly highly xeaophobic,

Hdle:nk eulrure began to influence E:gypt strongly from aboet 660 S.C.E.> when Gyges. [he king of Lrdia~ sene mercenary Troops to help secure the reign of Psammethichus I. After me war, [he Gr,eek soldiers were settled in :E,gypiF. Bur rhe strongest Hellenisric influence Is hisrorically traced to the conquest of Egypt 'by Alexander the Great in 332h.C.,E. For several centuries, even miUennia, precedillg, this dare, however, there had been along period of cultural exchange beMoen the Greek" and Egyptians. Greek philesophers and magicians ofeen. dt,edEgypt as {he ultimate source of their knowledge, rile romantic allure of Egyptian origins has been an enduring morif in the hlsrory of westem esorerica,

Egyp[wan rhoughr and magical rechno~ogy must be C-OllSrudi,er,ed the basis of Hermetic, or octuaHy. Thorhian, ph.i~osophy andmagic, Over [his: Egyptian base. Hellenistic philosophy and ineellecrual conceprlcns werelaid to create at Hew synthesis which is the essence of the Hermetic tradition itself.

The Egyptian god commonly called Thorh was rhe p':t'tlrOn of

. -

m;ag~'c because he was The embodiment oflm:dHgenc:e and the chief

alTchimct of the process of c()mmuntc:at'i()n. These rt\Vo elements are: essential to (he practice of magda., Even the GJeeks dlm':lght of the Egyprhm Hermes as rhe rex:emplary model of the 'magician" and thought chat the books of'Thoeh had been translated ineo Gr<eek:u an archaic period of rime- aafierrihe Flood."

In ,ma.ny ways rhe intellectual conrent of Egyptian phiio.sophy remains, obscure" The conceprual worilld of thi,e ancient Egyptian and, the modern European are suffidendy dwffc![',en[ co make substantial undersranding difficub::, The Hd~;e~iling of Egypdalu though[ allows easier access to the intellectual world of Egypt as it exisred in. the Hellenisric and. Roman periods-e-although ir had by [hat 'time beJComc

'''f': ]'~ . • dl& ~~E ' . ..1'1,' h

stgm ncanr y weseerruzea or uro p eamzea m me process:"

Egyptian magic is somewhat easier to comprehend because it ,cohlor,ms in most respects [0 the inrernal ~og:ic of magical operations throughout history. In The Egyptian r,eUgj,ous rradirion magic pla}~s a large and ,Q,Neml offidaJ [ole' in the cult .of [he gods. and g~:ddesses ..

The Hermetic Tradition

,Many scholars would like to divide the Hermetic literary 'tradition ,in_to nvodisti,:lu;t '[YP(;S; '[he philesophical (eze:m~Hflod in. the Corlnn Hermeticum) and [he rechnieal or magical {one' example of which is {he Greek m~gkal'pa'py[[i). The philosophical rraditien, they say" is word~'Y of serious arrenrion, whlle the magical traditicn is "rubbish, ~~, Arrkude.9 such as this are merely Indicative of the disease 1 call "mod-

". ',- n, '0·" '.' h' IT .. e: --- IL.' Jill' . . b [. th n m 'j, •

eenoas. '. ne w· 0 s urrers nom tnis liIlsease . eueves tr a[ mag~c JS a,

primitive stagt: of"reHg~on)'" which has 11.Ow g~v'Cn way to the new and improved 'way, ILiQ [he true form of knowl,edge known as"sci~ ence," Ia rerrospecr we can. now see rhar m.agic is as mueh with us today as it was in ancient times! and that in face some ancients were o.ften every !hit as "sciemific" in rheir thought: as moderns.

The magical tradition is: mere]y the op'el:a'tivt branch of (he philosophy~ which is moreanalytical Of ilbtstr:ative. In ancient rimes the rwo branches worked. together J]1 ind.ivj,dlta[s and dldr schools of thought . Each had, irs place in. rhe whole scheme of bumanen.deavce=-and so it should be again roday in '[his post-modern world. In fa.c,t the'Viery division between the MO is an obviously modern invenrion .. It bas helped us (0 understand. certain aspects of the tradirion, btu it has limitedus in imporranr ways roo. Even scholars have begunto realiaethe lirnitarions, and are comingro realize more and more thar the tl,operari've)"!!lfechnical,,'j) and "philosophical" genre'S of Hermetic ~.in~raru.re ;;lire reaUy facers of a whole.A clarification ofthis problem is previded by Garth Fowden Ln his ~andmark study The

Egyptian Hermes. .

The operative tradition is mainly encoded in (he magical papyri. These were recorded in Egypt and there are ehree major types of them U~gldsticaUy: G~ek.l D~mo,ti, Egyptian"atld Coptic, The tech-



nical tradition covers what app·ears to bea scientific field as this encompasses descriptions of fiat~.md phenomena ln the context of the hidden sympathwes. which exsst berween and among. them. The rechnical Hcrmetica include treatises on alchemy and astronomy (or astrology). The ph WloiSlOphical tradition ~$ contained ~na body of

independent texts: known as: the Corpus, Hermetic-um. _

Hermetic philosophy and operative technology is a combination of every major scream ,of d~ought presen;t in [he eastem Mediterranean reg~on in the firs[ few centuries after rhe birth of Jesus. It brings Gnosticismwgerher with Neo-Plamnism and Stoicism.jmd places them ill in an Egypdan. cujtural matrix. m~ assimilates elements frOom the reI~gkllt8 and philosophical sy'St,ems of (he Hebrews, Mesepotemians, and Persians, The concepts contained in GrecoRoman as well as Egyptian mystery schcols wereencompassed, as were: some :formu~a5 and ideas taken from the Hed.gl~fig Christian. sys~ rem, In the main, however, [he genit!!i of the Hermetic system 'was at dynamic and non-dogmatic asshnHa:t1on of the two major esoteric cosmologies of the d~y.; Gnosticis.m and Nec-Plaronism.

Hermetic magic is hTh esseneean operational izieg of the philosophy within [he technical mamx, The rune cultural and philosophical elements are assimilated and. synthesized in the magica~ papyri as In the C(J~'Pm Hfffluticu.rn .. But magic is something one does, or even .. 'maHy which one is, nor merely something one contemplates. Bue through a comb~nadon of action and tho'ught the actual essence ,of a person can be raisoo qu.aHttadVldy--and with that rise inquality true understand ~ng; can grow. A fe:vil of the ancients understood th ismost modemists hav·1f: forg--otiten it~bu.t some posr-modemisrs are beg~nn.ing ·toO remember.

rhese centuries, and that what we have in 'the oldest of the magical p.apyri is In mer a mature synthesis; of rhe various magical and philosophlcal streams thar had been crisscrossing: [he Nilotic cl!!.h:l1~r~ for cen runes,

The most s:~gnifican[ ,devdopment in the final stages of-the history of ancient Egypt was its conq_ues[ by the Romans: in 30 B.CE. Wirh this development, Hellenic and Bgyptian cultures were forced. rogerher more than rhey had been before du,dng Ithe Hellenistic pedod-now borh were sub jeer peoples in the Roman Empire .. In some r,es-p.ec[s rhe Hermerica could. be considered philosophical reactions ro culniral op pression,

By aheut 200 c.s..s well-documented combination ofelements had come together which became rhe basis for the continuing de'llclopmene of the Hermetic rradirion, This is [he basis For the texts which serveas the original foundarlcn for the m,ag;!caJ operations presenred In this book,

D,welopment of the Hermetic Tradition

Much of the develop men I: of '[~e Her-

. di . . III1 • h· 1" ~I

menc era: 11!10n 15 tost in t e [ea[Jv·e~y

undocumented. centuries before the blrrh ,o,f Jesus .. I[ is clear that the eradieion was bdng developed over

Early Development During the per~od when our source Texts

were: be] fig recorded, rhere appears re have been a gradua~ do(~v(:rnopment in the ideological content away fwm the ancient Bgyp{~an models and more and more eoward the Hellenistic models, This is simply because the' oM culture of Egypt 'was rerrearing increasingly into '[he backg;routld-knowt~dge 'IJ,f hierogl.yph~cs and the cultic f-onns of '[he gods, and goddesses 'of the NH~ slowly gave way CO more for,dgn feanares, AnDiong these foreign Influences was [he growing presence of Chrisdan m:a:·[,eriall.

The vase majiorIry of rhemagieal papyri we have date from this period {200-400 C.E.}. Their contents are certainly older, but the actual dares of most of rhe p1apyd themselves faU within this time frrune. Technical Hermetica were bejng written perhaps as early as (he middle of me second icenmry S.C.E •. These were fOol." rhe most pan

j~. • f 1<J • hidd 1L.' b _I h

scsennnc treanses on nLl;Jlensym.patU.les,emee.n natural penO]'l]l-

ena, and here too was ehe beg~ nnings ofakhem.y~ later 11.'0 become a dominant aspect of Hermericism.

The ideological content of the papyri form a relatively stable mixrure of elements. The three maineomponents ofthis mixn.mre

The Ancient P'base




are the Egyp'lL~aJl, G reek, and Hell raic mythological and magical traditions, The' Hermetic rnagician-phllosephers used these elemenu irnl ways: independent ·of any of the offid,a.ltr.ad~tions themselves, T~eY' were neither Sl111p]y Egyptian. 0.1.' Greek pagaf!lls, nor 'Were t:hey Jews, and they were certainly not Christians. They had fcu:med rheir own eclectic phHosophical and operative iF:e~wgion and spiritual technology.

. The magical traditions developed in three: d~ffereIlit srrata of ehe

writren recordithere were Demotic Egyptian magical papyri (whose contents are mostly Egyptian and, we must suppose, most repl\esen~ raeive of the ancient Egyptian. ffla..gkal technologies), Coptic m~gica1 papyri (beg,iI1JJning around 100 C.:E. which come [0 embody a. Hermete-Christian synthesis) and. the Greek .m.ag~cal papyri, which are e5.sentLaUy pagan and cosmopoluan,

Medievol Development

With the' eventual development of dogmatic, imdmtiOtlaUzed. Cru~sdanity> the Hermetic tradltion was increasingly suppressed in. the g,eographicaJ regions controlled 'by the church. Hermetic magic and philosophy, like that of ~U other Unon-Chrlsdanl') systems~ 'Was rueh-

~.essly peesecmed, _

CUIious~y; however, rhe Hermetic readirion, at ~east the written form of it" was given a high level of respect and admirarion by some of rhe early church leaders and writers, For example, Didymus rhe Blind (ca. 313-3,98) quotes from known Hermetic texts in his Chris[ian treatise titled On. -the TrinitJ~ Before han, Lactantius had praised Hermes Trismegistus as a! "prophec ofChill~:srt)" las did C'yilil ofAtex:a.n.dria (died 4-44)" These men and many ochers, were SCI' impressed! by Hermetic teachings that tiley inoorp()ra"[(~d many of them in their Christian doctrines =e=s and simply "saw" in them [he true teachings of Christ. He:rm~s came to be called by some ",a. Christian before

obligarionsro Allah" what he did in other fields was; often more or less his own affair.

Islamic asssmilatien of rnaglcaltechnology in bo[1i1 the fields of operative ma.gk as well as in the areas of alchemy and asuologywhich were also par,. of rhe early Hermetic tradhion-ef'll.mred its survival.

The church 'CO'I.dd not. however, prevent Hermetic ideas from penetrating into European culture even at the he.ight of its power in rhe Middle Ages .. For example. texts fcom the IlOOs and 1200s wJ~.ich celebraee the mysteries of courtly love and. the: GraH legends ofte:n. contain Cnosric and Hermetic ideas. The epic Parzival hy Wo~fram von Eschenbach is (he crown of this creative achieve-

. 1


At the same time many Hermetic and Gnostic ideas were absorbed inrorhe esoteric tradition, or Kabbalah" of the medieval Je-ws throughout: the world, These were mixed wirh Their own theclogy and unique mystical ~[[sigffius and. preserved intheir remarkable books and. schools of wisdom. Be.caus.e they stood tOutsidl.e (he srreamof Christian dogma.; these traditions were able (.('1 surviee intact.

C·I . '''1 ·lnSt i

following, the rise of Islam in t~e: Easr, which conquered Egypt in ,63,8, (,E •• the Hermetic body oflirer,a;uu',e,as well as the ideas 0011- rained in it, was preserved better in the Islamic world. This is because

1 tl' dO id IL

Islam was more to erant wnen Ill' came to ... Iv,ergen't ~ .• eas tnan were

the Chriseians ofthe period, As long as the Mus~hn met his reHgious

The. modemwo:dd r,eaJHy began, ~l1. northem IDtaly during the 15rh I centu ry. Abhough modernism is characterized by the. intellectual rejecnon .of medieval Christian ~eachings based on fawth in favor of objective kn()w~edge. nevertheless i.t bore the ~egacy of the fang shadow of the church in many ways. The new Herrnericisrs in the west' would be men who still had a. great deal of seneimenral auadu:tile.nt w some ideas inherent in church ~e'achrun.8s. They were therefore much more likdy 1)0 see '~CffitriSiian.t.t things ~n the Hermeric u:atdw do ill that were never acuJ;aUy there. or

Renaissance and EnUghtenm;en:t PhUosophy

IWo~m von Esehenbaeh, ,fkrz:i'lud{New Yo~k: Viking P-enguin, J980).





that were a.ctuaUy borrowed from Hermetic tea,chings hy early Chrisdans .. From a Hermetic perspecth ... e, indeed, the eeachings of the Thriee .. Grearest were the roor ofall eeligions ~nd 3iH phi~os()phi,es .. Because Hermeticism is suited to account for all types ·of philcsophies, it can he considered the root of all philosophies.

In bet, as we hav,e seen, this "discovery" of Chds'tian ideas in I' lermerica 'was an old phenomeuon at rtr.he time of the Renaissacce, It had come SOt far by I:he~400s; in ba~y thet He'fmes Trismegisrus was honored as aquasi .. saint in [he art work of rhe cathedlr:al ar Siena. Italy" built around 148.8., There we find 2 !pavement mosaic w~th the inscelprion HERM[S MERCURIUS TlUSM:EC,ISTUS CONTEMPORJI.NEUS MO'lfsr [Hermes-Mercury rhe Thrice .. Greatese, contemporary of MOI'Se.5j .

Most of what {he We.st had learned ofthe Hermetic rradicion ill the Middle Ages was fragmenmry; But in 1416rO" the ruler of Ploreatine, Cesime de Medid, acquired an original Greek manuscripr of (he Corpus Hermesicum and ~mmedjattely commissioned the Horentine scholarand magician Marcilio Fidn:o to eranslate the entire eext ]~UlO Lstin, This: work was cemplered in 1463. In those ,days it was 'widdy believed. [hac the corpus contained the most anden'trdigious teaching available (0 humankind .. By the way, most Renai.s;ance phil,os,ophers and magicians believed lhey were being perfectly OIrhodox in [heir Chrirsda llhy ill their explcrarions of the Hermetic rradirion, because they thought it represented the (1,~rugiija:1 rheologywhich foulld its culmination in Christ ..

Throughout the Renaissance; more and more odgjnal Greek and. Latin magical eexts came to the attention of magicians and p hllosophers (both S pi ritualand natural). Also ,. Arabic text'S based on the Hermetic tradition, especially in thefield of alchemy, found. their way into the in.cre3Sin:g~y free ,inteneccu~l woeld ,of western Eerope.

The role of maglc-=especlally Hermetic magic-inrhedevdopment of modern natural sciences remains generally unacknowledged. It is true, however, '[hat many of (he mo dels of understandi ng, as weH as fundamenra~ theories used by~ for example, Paracelsas (father of modern medicine) during the Renaissance, orr Isaac Newton in rhe EnHghrenmen't, had thei.r .origins in magical Hermetic philosophy. Chief w'long these ideas: is the assumption that rhert is a direct

correspondence betweenthelarger world. and the smaller one-between whatwould be called the macrocosm and the microcosm.

Beginn i ng in the ~. 9'th OentlLlfY die' Hermetic tradi [jon began W reassert itsellas at rl'wys;,J;'" iteal methodologj; This new beginning occurr-ed. during [he. Romantic period of European inrellectual history. Interest in maJg~c~, and even the code-word "Hermetic," found. a new level ofenthusiasm,

The magical papyri were discovered in Egypt in rhe early pan: of the 1'9t111 century and transported m various western European Hbnuies and .. museums .. But: these seminal magical rexrs made titdc::' or no impact on the practice of magic in the occulr revival, The rradinon they represented had undergone such a transformation through the centuries that the o['~ginaJ essence oouM 11l0W ha.rdly be l,eoog'"

. Jill bei . ] UH' .;' S' ] L V' . . c.'

mze(ll, as ,emg rru y efmelUC..o muc 1 e eganc ictonan renne-

menr and civiksarion had turned the vital and vibrant tradition of the papyri iato the long-winded murrerings of a few old genrlemea.

It is ironic th:;a.lt the popularity of [he' idea of Hermeticism 'and the discovery ofthe actual papyri should come' so. dose rogerher hisrorically, It would be another hundred years before the papyri were ana[yz;edand. pubJwsh«l as Q corpus, For, m.any years the idea of Hermeticism was: popular among pla,c~idng magicians, but rheacrual Hermetic tradition of magic remained s~dud~d in the uu~y "arcane" world ,of academia .. An eady and somewhat Inaccurate translation ,of one of the papyri by Charles Wydiffe Goodwin provided the "Bernless Ritual" used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and. subsequently by Aleister Crowley in his translation of the Go~tiitlo,r "Lesser K~y of Solomon. ~

Ro'mantic Occult Revival

The Postnlodern Phase

Does anyone doubt that since the end ofWoddiWOlr Il we have been ~ivmg on the brink of at new era, in the hislOry of the development of human ideas:? At preseu![ W~ are in. :11 rather 'confusing t'rNili.ght zone


The Papyri in History

Irween ~he time of the historical Jesus andrhe year 500 c.s.Thevssc ma.jodry ofth.e: ma:g~calptarYli are wrlnen 'w:ich ~nk in the Greek Ian .. g.tlSig"e and 'IIlsing Greek ]f;Ut[S. A few I"f!agkal patpy.d were also written in Demotic Egypdan.

Time and in rellecrual ·tymnts have DJH been ]a nd '[)O the magical Hte·r.;),r)" uadirion, Early ('!Chrisi[iaI1~jdTlu[ch leadess were very afixkl1"ils ~:o destroy the magi.cal texts (usm~Uy by bwn~n.g)-Gnd sometimes rhose who possessed such boob we're: also bla.rned~Jong wirh them .. In ~he Acts ofthe Aposdes (19:19') w.e read that in Ephe-sus (an anden[ 'dty famous .f~·iI: magic located, in wh ~u is iJ'iJgW western Turkey) n'lany magicians) boob were burned <lisa. pa:n of the price of Gonyer", SlOfDJ m Chr,ls[ianiqr.

The eady MllisJ]nls were ,DO kinder to' d~e: old pag~n learning, The deseruction of t~e lihrary.of A1e_r:i~'lJH:irii): in 641 ~S OJlIly (he' most famous example of the attempted programmatic destruction ofrhe inrellectual herirsge (If pag3.~ antiq ui:r:y hy the cN:thQcl!ox ,rel~g~o~~ femes of the day.

An extremely small fmC[lOIl of these texts dJd survive a- A fi'lj[l:)bet of(h~m werecol tec~ed,by aill un known ma;~)dan and. scholar in d'l!~ ancient c~ty of Thebes (pre,s;en[-day Luxor). This unknown collector must have lived sometime before rhe year 500 C.R. He co~ ... leered magicaJ papyri ~n 'both rhe Greek and (he Egypda~ tongue, and was ceetainlya leamed Egypr~an, probably alsc of a philosephical type, Wid'!!om: doubtbe was cne of the last" of the learned pa~ g;3lru;:-che keeper of a wisdom whkh was finally urrerly exrrlnguws]1ed by the co.ming of the Islamic conquest in the middle of the seventh century.

b: WE!_;S EgyiP[~a~ tradition to bury sacred magical eexts with rhe bodies efrheirowners, It was probably in SUClD; ~. romb, rbe wmb of ehe unknown eollecronthac the papyri were discovered (or robbed) around 'li.300 years after the death and hU[~al of the colleceor;

In the wake ofNapoleo[D,~s conquese of pans ofE"@:ypt (in 17918) Europeans began leering, desrreying, and in somecases saving,. ~a~ge amounts of the surviving Egyptian arniq'l.l!iries. One of'these men was an ethnic .Arm!cni.an. ,calling himsdfJe:atl, d'Anutasi 0780?-185n, He bought l~e bulk of the known magicalpapyri in a sil1g~e pur .. chase in Thebes and. had the enrire ]oe shipped to Europe where they

.for mosa people. But lin, the yeats to come, more and mOJ.1e peop~e will begin [0 aba.ndon [he fu'U']le universalisric pipe dreams of [he modern1stsjas rrhey abandoned ehe catholic mig11I:ma:res of themedievalis~ hef'Or.erhem" Fo]' want of a berrer term, (his tile"N ern is ~t present being called [he post-modern period.

Posnnodernism is characrerjzed !by a freedom from the p'ervas~ve mod -r-- -:-'V' .. clth -f· 'p' 'iC,.-.'-""''''~·_~~,e ide rh at -",> r~-c,- ~ - '-~~ ,-- b:v.·.· an-

_ _ _ . __ .., _ Co n ,W; !L_ Q :fQ_g:t_" ~~ L ."a ,~"a, ~L '~UD!e goe - (I Ill, '"F

p]y~ng ever increa,sing rationality and scieneiflc methodo~ogy!. the problems of the wodd win be un~versal~y evaporated in the lighr of pure reason, The POlStIDo,dernrnst realizes, as d~& the ancients, tlh~,t such p:rDgr.,~S is only possible for indiv.idutlls.Funheil:mo[e~ the POS['_ modernist is free of the consrraiers of modern progressiviam: 'to the modern jf ir's 1),(1,( neW'. ~f ie:) 01)( rhe latest ithing~ then it is <'Itet~o-

d- ... ;, -'. ", j II - bill - 'p' d ..

gra e or n.~a..crnonary alilo. nence unaccepra -.~e.ou~mO"ern~,~'[S are

free m:SYI1!thes~:z;e elements fJ)o.lu:aU phas,e,s ofh'll!tllan history -in aJDi}' shape: or fo,rn'l, that suits rheir purp05e~. Therefore, th.e contents of

h 'L .. I •• 1 d . I

[!exr,s sue_ . as me magical papyri g;;un a. new re ev;:mce an .. - potenna.

for individual empow.ennenu.

~[~S in the papyri, written down in me firscffwcenu.uies ofour era, rhar we have rhe most d~~ec[ evidence ,of the nature and quality of the ,ea.riiest form (I f dlJe Hermetic school of magic. W~th()u~ the SUIvlva] of these physica~ objects} we would be alMe to !ttU),W vinu~lly li:1odling of~he true tradirion .. , Umi~ recenrly the knowledge contaiaed in these papyri hasbeen obscured, !by ignol"anc:eandm~sunde]'smJ1idi ng.

Papyrus ~5 an earlyform of highly durable paper (a word derived fr.o·m the Gr~lek. f[.ct1fUP()C;~ an Egyptian Inrush wkh l::I:'io1mgu~af' leaves), Ir was used in ,eady Egyptian rimes, .from aboiJ][ the Vrh Dy~ nasty, Of 25(101J.G.~.,~ but rehrive[y few' survive fmm rher veryaneienr period,

Most of (he original ma:gka] papyri adapted (or ~hjs: collection were writren between thefirstand sinh centuries G. E.-thatl: Is) be-




were: auctiened off to a variety of Europeaa nltlSle~,rn,s~ such :.A:S rhe .B.rw[ishM~JJJ;e:t:lm~. the BibHmheque Nationale in Paris, dle: Srnadkhe .Museum in Berlinand rhe Rijksmuseum In Leiden,

For several decades the papyri were: una pprodared. and virtually unknown .. It few scholars begaflJ to give them someaeeentlen Jill the middle of (he 19th cenrury, ITn li853 Goodwi~ pub~~shed a rransladon of PGM V, wllich. oOlualrJls the InisJ'Jiam.ed"Born~e'5s Rilitu:al "PaPY[1io,iogy was in irs :infaJ:lcy in Good.w~n:S claY' and. there were a number ,o.ferrors audquesrien marks 1n his text tharhave been darified in [he meantime, Operattion .nJJ.mbe~[ .3 in the p:r~iCtical part of thIs hook presents a more accurate verslo.n for those who wish 'to make use of h.

The papyri beg.an eo be .m08~ seriously smdied.]n lheeOldy 20th century by Germal1 s,cholar.s, Professor Mbftlc~n Dietrich p~anned. to produce an edition of aU thetexts, bur when he died j n 1908, ~is students had to carryon. Unfonunatdychf1ee of his students undertaking this task were killed in rhe F~rs [Wodd.War. ffit wail not until 19'28 that rhefirst volume of the colleeeed editionwas brought our by another o·f Di,enkh~s students, Kar~ Preisendanz, In 193 ~ the second vo~ufll:e appeared, These were corrected and ,exlPa.nd.ed in a. ['WQvolume edition of 1973-]:9'74. These GennarDi editions contain the original Greek text along: wkh an. adjacenr German translation. In [9816 Professor Hans Dierer Betz of the Unlversityof Chicago edited an En,gl~5h rrrnnsiati(lf\ of ch~ entire corpus,

The: Hermetic tradition, whefil ([,truly understood through theory and practice, through phUosophy and operatjve work) isa Syn(he~ic blend ofthe preds,e ~nd the passienare, It is at once based onesact and unsversal principles of mathematicsand on applil)ximate individualized forms 3[ the active level, Hermericisra ],$- a science and an an at d',ie same rime, To W(H'[k with Hermetic p:rificip]!~~u(h~fitic~1[y you muse keep these nwo factors in, baJance-not by ~!e[ting one ne.gate the other 'but hy POSi[lVe indwg,e]]J.oein bodl extremes, lB,y d'llS

pfatc;Jlice you wm hoM a. dynamic {mt)ving) balance:, .

If::I higher state .of Hieing is the !ldt~ma:re. goal ,ot the true lUagicianbalance between rhe exaremes is needed, BUI[ such a balance Is soon. lost and! mad.e unarrainahlewhen the focus onrbe magical work ~:S '[ransfe-t.red to the. state' olbeing rather than co ehe prf)'Ct!ss ofluccm-

ing. Balance ~~ llda[ivdy more possible 0:111 a. moving object rhan on. 1.1:. stationary one, Try balancing yourself ona bicycle when 1'OU are standing srl ll,

TheHermeric tradition has.d~ys been dynamic. SOl i( is rod:ay~ But whatwas called Hermerldsm In late moderntimeswas hard]y in the spiri[ of rhe original Hermetics. 'ni~ istetheir spirit-to rhe spirit ef founh-cenrury .Alexalldli]a.-a spir~[ beyond the :liln~[S ·o.f time and space, ehar this posrmodern pa.pyrus seeks ro take you.

The Egyptian Stream

Khemet.[he "Black La.nd~;j'wars a g~e:;u cultural magne:tfor millen[1Ja .. Histortcal dv]~~za,don began on ,the NH!e a.round 3,000 B.C.E. tbe: Egy[ptians themselves were an erhnic mixture from the begsn[ling~as wastheir .language. Bur. in (he earliest period they coalesced inro an idendfiah~le c1l.n!ltme. In ta:Cl; .Egypt was :aJways a mosaic of local eulrures, not a unified mass,M,ajlor featute-cS of EgypdaIil! ~~f~ were ha rdly ever exported-e-not until reoen dy auyw~y! Others came to Egypt. Some ca.me as invaders, crslaves, or 'tt'raders-others carne assrudenes, As the Hellen ic cul rure moved across the mnap like wildfiee, the: Egyptian C'UlDJfC remained along [he Nile in ies isohued splendor.

One of the ,ch~ef aspects of ancient E:gypt~a]l culture whkh, is sometimes overleoked is its extreme xeno,~~obia, Theyhated and feared foreign t:hings,.Th1ng~~gypr]~Ul were good, and holy. while dlings fordgn were had and. >CClrn~p(~t least this was [he attitude that an ancient Egyptia:ui! t.b:Q.ygh[i"'I)()$~ p:ro'per.Jlhis .ma~es the place of the ma,gic..1] papyri in EgJ'Pt:~:.Hl culture most curious. They are so obviously fuU of foreig~'DJd.,emen[sthax no "rradirional" Egypt~an would have fou:nd them to. [heir ta:s't:e".l'h.e obvieus eulruralconclus~on is that [he writers oh~e pap1r~ were Fwmgh:[ fig;ure;s-. men and women caught between ehe Hellenicand Egypda:nwot~.ds.

'~P,hi~()~ophyj~ as underssaod by the: G~eeks~ and by other indoEuropean peoples such as dye Brahmanic Indians, is d]fficlIJir to separate ou.r[ from rhetotality of [he Egyptian cnlture, This is why it maybe temp,d [!Jg to say the Egypt.i~ns bad no "philQ:ili(n'ph y'" at all, Bur the Greek:SE:hemselves were so lmpressed with what (hey felt the Egyptians bad ro teach that they ofren ascribed subjecrive elernents .of thelr own thought to what di.eyhad ~,e~m~d from the E,gyp~iar.lJs.

The great .advanrng;e [he Greek culture h.<1Jd over the Egyptian M1S ies Hng,u.isrk rradit~o[l,. The hieratic wl'i~ingsycstems: of the IEgyprians oftren ba:ffled the Egypriu:lIs t~.em.selve·s. Ideaswere lose 01" miscomrmmicated over time he cause the system was too cumhersomete lI:eadlqu.i:ddy and. eMHy. VVllle~ the Greek system W.aJS .made available

A number of cuh:ural streams ofinf]uel'lce can be seen co converge in the operative Hermetic rradhion .. The main ones are' rhe He]jjenk (or Greek) and the Egyptian, but t~c culeures of the ancient Hebrews and other Semires, the Be[S~an:s and orher Iranian peoples, [he Mesopornmhuul (of various backgrounds), and the transcultural (or antkll!l.IturaO Gn.ostic and Cluistian traditions must an be considered for 'l:1ilID.e~nsjgh[ ~n{O the human matrix ~n which the Hermetic sy.nthe~i!i wok place in h~stor'ica~ t~me$.W.hen specaking ahout 3.

. . ·1· ~~].!!. I... bel b

[Ol~n'cas e~~SJ'Vleas ClLrUEie mlg#t seem ro·· e, lour eiements must I, e

borne ~n m~.nd: ethnic culture [who the people arephyskallyl! erhical (I'r ideologjca] culture (what the people(h]nk)~. material culture (wha[ the people make), and li[D;gu,i.sdc cnlture (how the people commuTIlka;'(e), In$igh~ ~~todhe,s,e aspects is itiJdisf:'errusa~le for any subsequent Hermetic. synthesis ,OfCllt.'t1iJ!.1I"31 feamlI'·es whj,eh individual Hermetics undertake today;

The his~o[y of magic is: a his:ro.ry of the interacticns ,0 • .( various major schools: of magical pracdce dlllroughour [.he world, Some of rheseare closely cennecred co ethnic or nationalreligious rrsdieions (such as rhose ·of the early Su.meda~$~ E.gy:ptiatJJ$~ or the eady IndoEuropean peoples, such as the Indians,. h:an~a~\lS~ Greeks, Celts, eire.} while others reach beyond nadona~. boundaries: andare t:JrlLlly internadO'ri..u~cbQ(ll~, These rte~d eo be (lf~ later date, of course, and! usually stem frOID the expansioa of some: llat~on<1:1 tradition. We see t~is with the Hellenistic expansion w]rili.fIII[he borders of dlC! empire carved. our byAJ!ex;'1:nde.r~ or the expansien of Iranian magical trad~tiom: under ('he wnflue:noe iQf the Se~e!JJdd Empire dudn,g rhe ~as:n: threecemuries B,le.E. The schools 'of magic expanded eheir theoretical bases: 1:.0 take in d.~sPMate elements from various uaJ.[ional tradidoDS:. The pr-ocess of absorbsngelemenrs from ourside a sys[en~ and symh,es~zifJi.g them so dl:at they appear to have ahi\l':ay:S been a pan: of the original system is caillied ,syncretism ..




The earliest philosophers of Greec(:" the so-caned Pre-Socratics, were mainly concerned with matters of cO's.w:oiogy and wok for gran[ed the existence of humaniry and the flu.man mind, Theyanalyzed. and. caregoll:ood chhlg$ such M the Eltmtnts--Fire., Arur, Wa.ter! Earth.! land. Aerher, Pythagoras developed a system of holislicsdel!1ce which saw [he unwty of the cosmos inall its man~Johl shapes, Some, snd~, as the gfa:ndfa~her of Epicareanism, De,m:olkrh:us (4606.360 B.C,,E.), held that all rrh,ings were made up (If material atoms (Gk ct't"0I10~). W~rh Socrares and hts student} Plato, and his student, Ariswde, the auemJ:on ,o.f ehe ph~h':Miiophe:rs turned mere i1tQwol;.;d zhe mind, The most importanr Greek thinker for the developmenr of Hermeticism is Plato .. But much of what Plate taugh[ which is rdevanr [0 Hermeticism ,3, ud m"ag~ia i~ i.nh.erited. from the school of Pyrhagpras.,

The Jarer phHosophj,cal schools, such ;;Ji8 Plaroaism, NooPlatonism and Stoicism, acceptedsome of the premises ofrhe:

Pythagoi,ean system~. bu~ did no r ~Il,dll..l.lge heavi~yi n [he prac tical applicarien of rhem, Legend hash that fythagoras was an iniri • .u~ of several Egyplian temples. This is: oenn]n~y possible; ahhough skeptics note, that rhe WRy Pythagoras d:mught and d'll!eo'[.ized cannot be rl.)Ur1id, .u'l'long, the Egypri<1!1Il eradiriens, It ismost l.ilely thar he traveled. in E,gyp[ but that he brou:ght with him a! pre-exisrlng.eradhion which was then. syr.l.cr,eru-l:z;ed, with whatever hem.ighrrhave learned. ]]11 [he .Egyptian; temples,

ThJs~s confirmed by the basic cosmological scheme wed hy this school of magic~l t.ho,ug)n. which migh.[ best be ealleda sore of "n:u:~ ural du:aUS111 a. " That is, ,there exists, as at matter of "narure," a dWfe'rence betw~en [he. world of nature and. {he world of!>!nofl-nail:t:I.[e" or psyclJf. This same ph.W1o.sop~y' is. found amoag eheancienr Indians, ~.ending credeneem the cn.e,o,ry rharrhis is a common inheritance fr·om theage of Mndlo- European unhy (~efofe 3000 B.G. E.). This O)ISmology can be 00nuastoed with that ofthe Sllmer.i.ans Oor Egypt~aJ:'Jis who heldto a mu:ura] honsm. Th..e body/soy] dichotomywas natu:ral rorhe old Indo-Eurepeans, whereas ir was DOC :recognized by the Sameriaas or Egypda'nls ..

This gives the Py!:l'l.agorean schcolan early role in. thesyacretizli!lg of rhese iiV!lO theories ~.Ilto a s:ystem which cou]d be optr-ated

te the Egyp'l:ruan:s, at ]!~a:s[ SOlne ofrhe:nlfve:ntUaUyad,Qptledh and. made It their own.

Even the Egyp'~~:an P riestho ods, rhe last bastions of purely Egyptian cl:du.u::e~ were largdy HelleIl.~I-ed. by dl!,e first c:Je::ruu:ry C.I!, This according to the ()onl!emporary Egyp,tian philosopher-priest Chaeremon, wbo was: at tutor of [he Emperor Nero. By [he flah cen'turye.E" all knowlcdg"e of II:heEgypdan writing systems had diedour, Bm: truly Egyp'dan uaiUdo.ns were nevereheless pres:erv"ed in. the Helle:l'dz..ed fiJ·nns.

The imporeance of the Egyptianculmr:a1 streamro Irhe· development Qf tine: Hermeric tradition of magic is enormousc Most writers of [he old magical papyrj were ,edlnlc EgyprlaftlJs; [he v'ery material up;on whkIl the operarions were recordedvrhe pa!pyrus~ was ::lin EgypciarD. i:nvefDitlo.n,; maeerial substances called for were efren obrainable on]yalong [he Nile, 'Iechnieal or procedueal aspeers of rhe .ma:gkal operarions in [he ancient period were largdy EgyplL~an in nature,

The culture of the Hellenes, ,Q·r Gr,eeks, as' 'the Romans called them, was' .llotg~ographicaHy Iimieed tothe land. caned. Gree()e ~od:a'Y; CMl~ nually, if nor po~hrucaUr" the whole Medherranean and B.~ack Sea regions: were Hellenic lakes.. G:c:eek la D:,guage was the ~.aJ'Ji:gtwa,ge of commerce ~and phHoSlOphy; the ideas carried by dla'r.lang,uag;e p,e:lilerraeed into all the cultures eouched by 11[', The. Greek cultural values of sJn~the'ii~) ho,rmol:JYI and. JfJ;oaemtio.n were .for eenuuies ahserbed by' ne~ghhOf.~fig narions and exported d~.rotlgj-liout the world ~hmug!h die pure prestige enjoyed by (hat culture. Af'rer the fiur .. .flung.conque8rs of A1~x:ande,r at [he beginni,l:lI:g of the fOl],[rh century H.C.E'j GI:cek ways became mere a [parr of tbepolieieal e~taIlbUs~ment ofm:any nadonsthose areas known as Egypt~ Syriat!, Israel, Me.5!op(!l[amia~andfersia. In the overall. scheme of (he Heemetic tradlrion, Greek culrure bmugh(m:any new so phisrkated ldesaaswell as the ~an~age needed ro express those ideas dearly.




through the will of individua[ initiates, This school brjngs musk to the level of what we In ight recogn ~ze roday as "scien d 6c rhoaghr. !j

These ideas weI€: ,rememb,end and synthesized by Plaro in a unique way whi,ch had, enormous and long lasting, effects 'I)~t~e world, Essential eo Plato's phn05op~y is; the dl!l:~dil:y between (he realm Q,f (he Forms (eeernal principles) and (he world of Things, which are pale reflections or Imprecise shadows of the real principles upon which they are modeled, The world of'Things can be perceived with the five senses, but the realm of the Forms can Q01y be perceived by Ineelligence=-the lJO'US. The purpose ofP~af,o's system was to discover a meshed for '[he education of the soul in ceder ~haot w e m~gh[ know the erernal prlnciples-e-and rherefoee act on that knowledge. Platonism wasabsorbed by fllany scho ols of magical phi~osophymosr mQmMy by Hermeticism.

TheHe:r~etic tradition ~s rkh in perscnaiirics=-some of [hem. are historica], some myrhk,. and many of the hisll:O,dcal ones have been recreated mytbolo,gkaUy. But there is alwa}''S somethjng passionarely humanabo'l..llt the figures of ehe ancient Hermetic lradl~t~on._ M,emorla ,of these personalities are corrusmndy invoked. in the' texts of the magical papyri. Individual operations ale ascribed to well-known reachers and m:llgicians of the. pas t, This tradition ,of au-Fib-uti ng text's ItO respected figure.sof anriquiry is FlO[ entirely "dishonest," 11: ]s also :a way 'o,f honoring them and k,ee,pjng their snemories alive, On 'the. Hellenic side of (hings 'these fathers include Apollenlus of Tyana, ApuJ,dus of Madaura and Plotinus the Egypciatll of Rome.

people of Ephesus~ the raising of a girl from ehe dead in Rome, and the exposure of !the infamous "Bride of Corinth." In chis bn:cer episode) a Corinthian friend, ef Apollonius named Menippus was, 'to 111l.3,n:y a wea~rhy )'Ou.mg' and beamiful. woman from Phoenicia .. The young bride brought wlth I-:U::f vast wealth as 3. dowry from Phoenicia. Bur Apollonius saw through the situation and caused all illusion to vanish=whwch exposed the bride as at lamia, or vampire, who. made her wea~th appear by magic.

When Apo]1onlus is supposed to have dwed. (s,ome~im~ berween 96 and 9'8 CJ~.)I he was almost a! hundred years ,o.tdL His foHo-wen) however" insist tha'[ he did tllO( die ar an lnn was taken U'P' to heSJ,VC'n.

;fpo.J'loniU's o!lyr:m:a' Bo.m wn the n.lls[ century C,:E.~ AJPoUo~

nius Q,fTrana was a, GleekpMlosopher andreputed WiO rker .of wonders. His, llfe is mahl~Y known 'to us through a biography written 'by Philoserarus, Evidence shows he was essentially a p},thagorean in his philosophy, He was educated at Tarsus and at the remple of Aesculapius in Aegae,.

Mtt'[ his basic education and iIllIf.iado[!IJ~ he ua:vded, to ]ndja~ where it is said he studied with the prjes[s(B.:tahmins}. Afbe:r his ex,rended s,[aywn. the East" he returned to Greece, where he is; reponed, to have worked wonders such as, the removal of a plague' from the

Apuleius of Madaura Apuleius, who was born in 125 C.E •• is'

most famous for his "occulr" novel Metamorpll0s,C'S or The Golden .Ass, but he was himself a p!I:,acddng magician of the Neo-Platonic ph]losoph~ ical schoo], AI. the experience ofApoUonluS' ofTyana shows, ir was a dangerous rime to be known as a practitioner of ma:gk in [he Raman Empire, So. U10.s:t Jnagkians merely sa.~d, they studied '[he art, and

• ...iI1 1 ~I • ,.

pracncea on y scsence.

The best documented aspect of [he life of Apuleius himself is his owatrial on the charge of the practice of wi [chcram. This came about due to. his marriage to a widow some ten years older than himself. The family .of the woman charged that A:puleius must have 'bewirched her in to the marriage.

Derails .of magical practice revealed wn his novel show that Apulei1JS was quire familiar with ma,n.y rechnicalseceets, afldi it is Hirel,. rhat the work ~s ar least ~n parr aucobiographlcal. Mctam()r~ phose'S is rhe Story of Lucius, a youngscudent of phao'sophy~ who begins '1lO delve into '[he practice of magic and witchcrafii: as he seeks the keys to seIf~nansfonnario11. .. This leads him {O navel eo Thessa~y, a place itradi(~OllaUy associated with wirches, There he becomes atrached to a young and. bea!J.uif.ul witch named Phoris, Heir wne-xperience shows because her magk nrrns Lucius first into a :bird and 'then into an ass. The mistress o~f Phoeis, the more mature w~tch, named Pamphilia, informs him chat he muse ear ofroses in o[dler~o 'be trans- 6orm,ed back into human shape. Although this seems: simple enough,


obstacle a~er obstacle come-s benveen Lucius and h~s antidote. H .. nal[y~che goddess Isis inrervenes and saves the unformn:a:w Lucius. He then converts to her CU~[ and is initiated into her mysteries,

the cousins of the Hellenes .. As eady as: 1500 B.C..E. there were ad~ ¥anced Iranian dvmzatioos inthe region of modern dar.}" [r.an,and. d.~e plairn: no["ch ofdl!a( reg.io.n w·ell:e: populu"f:d wirh hor.se-.ddlflg warriors ~hose empires eeached to Greece i nthe Noeth. The Greeks fou:gh.I[ a. ~)f1Q(ract.ed series of wars a.ga]n.s·[ rhe Persians in the 6&:-11 cen ru ry-a. ~ong~standilngconHkt whkh only ended withAlexander's cenquesr ofPersiain 3:U ~3..c.E..

The importance of Iranian religknJis and phHolSophkal views is ,easy to over~ook Il:OW because of the dimin ished role ofrhat narion in the wo~~d of ~de~s since ~ts conquest by Islam in d~~ seventh century C.E. BUll in rheancienr wedel Iranian thinkers and cults developed. some of 'the mOSI[ powe:rmlideas w~ich exerted an inflM.l!nce on many trad~dons. Because ·ofthe. drarnatlc ]oopacc of the duaJistk teachings ,of Zoroaster (or Zat::ru[ihlrusr:ra)i.[ is also ·easy [0 fo.r,gc'[ tharnoe an I ranlan thought was dualistic, The older traditions ofn0]1IJ-dua1l~stk Iranian lI:'.dig,ion continued on in d~.e form of Jnany cults induding the Mag~.a~:!; and .Mhh.ris:~lS,

The dualistic and propheeic fidth of Zoreastrianism also g:ave rise to. ma.my sub-culrs, ~ndudt[lg Zurvanism and Maaicheanisnt. II 'was among the: Iranian dualistic c:u,~ts-whidll saw the cesmos divided ~n~o morally good and !~vH elements ar war with. each orhe:r-· - {hat the ·essemlce of judeo-Christian demouology was born. Zoroasrrianism also had some effects 011 Hermetic da:imol101o.gy. FO·iL

-l j1i a •• -I Z' - , A" J~

examp e, a nemon tc en !ny ] fI. 1[,1e c oroastn .. an syste.mwas r. essma ..

dtt2ua (~g:od of wJ:03Jdllll)-wh.n eventually developed. into Asmedeus in. medieval d.emoflology:

The name ofZoeeaster b scmetimes invoked for, magical au ... ~hQriry in the old papyzi .. Hisrole in rhe h~s[Ory of magic is a~run [0 ~hair of MoseBam.Q~g d~!e He: brews. AE; a fOI,.n~der of a .rdig~on" much nadjdon is ascribed to him for the sake of presrige o.rau.d~or[ty, a].rholll.g;h we have ~~rde evidence that he wouldhave had :anythin.g to. do with the kind of magkal operacicns recerded wn the Heemeric papyri.

Another Persian whose name occurs ] n ~he pap.yr! ]1i1 Oseanes .. He came W Greece in rhe .. entourage of the Shah. Xerxes in 481 B.C.!:: .• He ;s·ta}'f:d behind afeer the Persians returned eastward and. is repu~ed te have mught d'The Greek phllosopher Demokrirus, . one ·of dle fOunders

Plotinus .of R{)meP]o[~nus (204-270c.B.) wa.s Egy["H~an by bircb, bu~ was, like se many of his cOiuntr1~ men of the ti me, t~O roughly ed neared in the Greek system. He visitedPersia andIndia in the enrourage ofdle EmperQr Goroian.IU. In the ~atteI' pian of his: ~ife he settled in Rome where: he g~thefed many students, In rhe~asif yean; of his Hfe:~.when aimos[ blind, he wrote down a. series of basic treatises 01]1 histeachings .. These were collected by his st'lldelltPOrphyry·an.d arra~ged. in six grou.p.s of nine books each, ealledrhe .Enneads C~rhe Nines").

Plotinus, ~~ke so many other pMlosophers of his time, p:mc .. eiced .. ascetic d]scipHn{;;s in order m help. hImsdf galn mysticalexperieaces, P~otinus did. not write about hispracrices, . however, only rhe d~!eofe![ka~.3!.ndl philosophical aspects o.fhi$[e~ch][I,g. He syncretized "the ~eachhi.gsof Plato wirh those of subsequ.ent Greek ph~lo:sop~elSand. Pu.c 'rois togerher widl what he had. ~ear[D:ed in his [[:lI"v.e]s .. The result is what is ~suaUy called "Nee-Platonism .. » The ideas of Plotinus, and those i(!·f hili schno], had. tremendous impact (Hl the ]ntd~ect'li!d w(IF]d represented in. the old magEca.l papyrh it also had far-rej}ch.hilig effeces on the formadon {)·f cady Cfurisrian rheology, In fi3:iCr~ most} if notaJ~.~ ofwhax is called the "western tradltioa" in m1l.gk and mys:tkisrn rraces ~[S theorecical roors back II!'(! Nuo chrough Plorin 1IJiS •.

The Persians are the best known of the b~n]an. peoples ofandq1Ui.iry:; But [here 3.F'C many (Idler Iranian tribal gmups ehat pruayed rnmpo:r.mm parts in me cultural hismry which led. eo the uhiw.ate Hermeeic .sygnd'l!~.i~tbe Bactrians, Sogdjans~Medes, Parthians, Scythiens, Sannat~ans-an.d the lL"eHgimJs traditions they bore, The Iran iansare a bD.llch of [~e Indo,-Em:.opeansll:b.e brothers of rhe Indian Ary:au,s <1f.DJd




Mo'se major Cnostie sects adhere eo a group of tenets headed hy d41<dlismJ that is, a srricr dichotomy between spirit; or that which ,WS good and. created by God;, and mattc'f, or dl,at wh ich is: evil and. ereared and ruled by the Archons. An:mher tenet is ehat .of the ah:to..tute mzJUundenc(!,o/G()tt--God, as the "Farher ofrhe S:p~rhl;' is in no way conraminared by the matter of [his world. A third idea is (h.ac of Gndsis itself: "Salvation' is gajnedby gn,oSif, "knowledge," of a. Sllperrational, experiential kind. This Is nor. intellectual knowledge as commonly thought of: but a direct comprehension of rhe eranscendent a:Jbsolutc;' God. A. fourth tenet is: that of l'lcttio~[he' individual

G .. ';~-Inl d,j ,j I ,~dI!! J-" ... ,r: ,.'IL ' . de

nosnc is -OJ e. or e ,ec[eu. ttl ns status rromtne transcen ent

source ofHght bey'Ond, the cosmos (natura] order). A :fifth cO;$111:o1og~ ical idea is that of the Ai~ns .. =cycles of existence ([hat act as gradual barriers between '[his: 'worM and [he realm of transcendent lighr,

Some of rhese tenets are, in some 6ormJ, shared by other schools of thought" suchas Stoicism and Neo-Plaronism, and true Hermerieism iOQQilpO[a,res some of ehem also, but ,th~s panicular' combination offalcwrsSleu Gnonk schoo~s apart f~on~ 30]1 others,

Gnostic sects hold rh;:;u the material 'woi~d ws ruled by an il!"vil force, and mostsay that '[he material world is a,ClU:JiUy the creariouof the evil ,de:mwufge. SiUrpris~ng~y enough when Gnoseic thl!!1king is app~ied to 'flu: Judeo-Semidc myth of Genesis, an undcrstand.wng complerely contrary to [be conventional inrerpreration em-erg,es. In the Cnosnc mind (Yahweh) Elohim of Genesis is iden rifled as the demiurge. creator 'of this, world-that is, the Evil, One,

¥atb,weh~ also celled Ialdabaoth 'by :!"'Jll3.ny Gnostic sects, created '[he wo:dd and. the natural pans ofhuma.nity~ but tried to keep' llilu.mankind in slavery and darkness, separate from [he transcendent light .. The savicr of humanity is the Serpent (Heb, nachash) who. is the ilringer of [jg[u from beyond [he cosmos. Especially those schools thar extolled [he virtues of the Serpent! C'.g. the Ophires (Gk. 'O~tC;. serpent) and the Naasenes {from '[he Greek rendering of Hebrew Juz£h:as:h) wbo 'COIll]d easily be: identitied ona s.uper6d~11,evd, as p.mc-

. . f' t. ~I 4:. h .1 ~:I T'" ... _I ' • b jj

nnoners orme ~eI!J~- ana paU1.. netr spmtuat aim is tc necorae ,gou~

men W.n H:fe and to mainmin their :idemides-as sp'~ri~:Y.a[ entities-e-as it'hey pass through [he aio'm; ro reach the ultimate source of tight.

S- h' . . . r1._ ••

, orne see t " .ms as a [rue lmltatw 'Gnr1Jtl.

of t-he school of Epicureanism, This school holds (hat all rhings arc' material and rhar all materia] is made up ofaroms (Gk [(10110<;" "an iilldl.~vi8:ibl,e ~hio.g:"). This seems rarher odd because any reaclliling dHl.t Osranes 'lNOuM h:ID,Vl'e 'to impan: might be expecred eo have been a p,an ofrhe dualistic SY:Sliem of Zoroaster. It is perhaps rhe case rhar Ostanes was not a dualist at aU, bu if rather a priest of one .of 'the other Iranian mysceri,es,. such as ws represented by 'the Magians and Mirhrisrs,

The ulrimare rootsof the jdeo~ogy commonly known as Gno:s:tidsm are in. Iranian dualism. Bur beyond! this, Gnosticism was: essentially shaped, by a mixture of philosophieal, theological and, mythornogka1 streams if'om Zo,toasuianism, judaism, Platonism, mystery religions, Egyptian magic and phllosophy, as wen asthe recently emergent CJl ~~5 danirfy ..

Gnosdds:m rus: ~mHke the o[],ginal Iranian 1node.~ ~~ the beli.d [hac the world or physical universe ws: actually rhe crearion of [he eva, dark sprurit, not just rhe zone between the spirits .of light and darkness, Fo!li' the Gnostic, material creation is ~n. and of:iu.e~f~!evi]jj and must therefore 'he the: result of a creativeact on [he pan of an

'ill oJ d ,."

,eY,1 go,.

I n the time Del:W'een [he fi.r.sc and second centuries, the period. of Gno.sd.c feundarions, [here were actually dozens, of major schoolsof Gnosticism, including [hose of Sw.mon '(Ma:gus)~ UasHides~ Ma~x:ion1 VaJent~,l1us~ and seers, e.g. the C<1inii~e-$.8Mbe1he;s., Sethians. Ophires, and Borborians . .one of [he major reasons EoI!' 'this tremendous pluraliry of ,systems is [he fact that Gnostics did not arrempt 11:0 unify their doctrines into an "orrhcdos" system, 'but: rather encouraged the creation ofdlverse schools of thought,

Gnosuk sects are especially difficuh to study and underseand be'" cause the creation ofdiffetin::g '~r;Scen:ls.'~ part o·f'the: inirruation inro these schoels at the highest levels, Leaders were encouraged i(JQ ianovate andgeneraee more sects. But thereare certain common characteriseics among most of ehem which make [hem Gn'(}stir,



'The Hermetic Synt:htsis


Simon of Samaria

nexus for certain preexisting ideas, a possible originaror of new realimdon.s.and a teacher of fu[m:,e Gnostic leaders, He was rheteacher of Menailldier" who. practiced a.~!baIh ofimmOJlalltyM' inwhjdt a visib~e fire descended inro the: wafer to bestow miraculous power onehe inieiate. Menander was in ro.m [he reacher of Sarurninus and B:asiUcies! borhimperranr G:nOSili:LC teachers.

Simon raughr a cosmology rhae was an insplred comblnarien of Gnosticism and Nec-Piatonism-e-which will be seen ro be a hallmark of the Hermetic ullIcUrwon. He' held. that the One, the undivided and eternal Divine Mind (Gk., Not)~)) ~flttud upon and wi[h~n itsdf. thus g~virng rise to dle First Thought (Gk. B1tWO'l,O:J. and 'thus iJJ~IQ' the aI'S'!: Aeon (Gk Alrov)~a~so caned Ermoia or Sophia', wisdom. Unity is broken, Duali IY is begun, and the Fall inro manifestation has been set inro motion. Through (he first acr or deed of sdf~f·eflection, am. indeterminate power .of the Nm'l$ is: turned into a. positive prindp plegiven over ro the object 'Of irs own thinking, This process Of08~ going self-re:aocl::~on. is ccntiaued through a series of emanations. Each successive one has a little bit less of rhe or~gi,nal Unity ofd.i,vwl'1e N(}Ui [han the one before It: had.

Simon also taug~t that the One Mind, the True God. ofLigh'[~ had nothing [0 do. wirh '[he creation of'rhe material universe. and Imalr in fact rhe One M~I1d was noc even aware of [he existence of matter, This world, he raughr, was [he creation of a wicked dlemiurge. whom he identified with the Creator God of rhe orthodox Jew~sh tradition, II is because he' had determined Yahweh .Eloh:im (0 be evil rhar he coacluded that h~s Lia!.'W'S 'were also <lJC'[U,aUy wicked and led men to evU~ not co good. This ~ then, is '[he root 0 f Simon's llbertinism and :mtinolulan:ism-. -che practice ofwitlfulIy break~ng nonnative codes '00 at'tawn. higher spiritual truths.

In Sil~o.n!s system, the First Thought, Illite Aeon Epi.f:lOii:4 fell Immugh all of rhe s uceessive Aions andwas eventually Inca! nared as a lnsman woman, Sh transmigrated fro.n:l female body to female body 'rhroug_holll1: h~story as each Ru[e:r(Gk, ApXIDV) mu,ghl to' possess her. She had been Helen ofTf<oy~ ror example, S~.m0.fl1. believed tha:the' had, found, the current incarnation of Epim)ia in the flesh of his consort, Helene, the Who[,e ofT}'!e. He also held himself to be the wncamarion of the Divwne Mind irse[( $00 in the terrestrial act of saVIng, and

Simon. ha1j been called the founder of Gnostic thollghr. Most ,of our knowledge

ofh~s[eac~jngs comes from works wrinen a,gajnst the Gn:05tics b,y eaI~Y Chu,[;c:n :Fathelrs. Their accounts ofhis phwlo50:phya.re pmbably accurate, since ch.eyar,e ,conf:mued by actual Gnosdc texts, The stories about his magical! duels with the apostles are: lfpkaJ sectarian propaganda-ar least in the way they ruin OU[". The figure of Simon Magus IS best known fro,Q'l. the account given of him ~n the N~ Testament book of Ac['S.

Simon was: born aJound15 C.E" in Samaria, a regionknown for its nonoonformism. from ;;n, Jewish. point of'vieYll'. He was the son ·of an ostensihly Jev:,rish sorcerer, but was educated wn.A1exandr~a. Simon becarne the dlscip,~e of an ~'Arab" named Dosirheus, whom some believe had been a fornlower of "'John the Baptise," This Doslrheus mayor ma:y nor have been the author of a '1DeXt found in the C:<Nag Hammadi Library' called rhe Tbree Suics of Seth {Of the Revelation: ofDosithem}. Simon is said. to have tr:a'i,llcWed, wid:erny~ ro Persia and .Ambh'll" as well as Egyp[ and elsewhere, ruways in search of mag~ca] lore, In <liny,ev(;nl:, wl'~_erll Dositheus died (around. 29 c.a), Sin"lon took ovell: his school, called untU then. 'the Dosirheans, now the Simonjam:. Dositheus had. a femil,e disdp.~e named HdcIU:" and Simon later rra:v,e~oo with h~s own Blain disciple, a forme.r slave and prostitute fr(lffi Tyre, aJ50 known by the name Helene .. However, [hey were probably not the' same person. Bur ir is certain that Simon didhave a companion whore with whom he practiced erotic magic, some of which made use of semen and menstrual Mood. Because this and. other fearures of SImonis practices link up 'Ww'th cerraln eaeeem ideas. iris likely rhe accounrs were not mel'ely propaganda by his 'enemies. Sinlon is said eo have died in Rome where he 'Was engag,ea in Q. magical contest with [he Christian apostles Peter and Paul. One account hasie that he rued while 'trying to fly to heaven (while Peter prayed to.r God to make him fat!).. Another repoer has irthar he was blm.ried. alive, but ~i~ed to resurrecthimself

It is poti8ib~e that SWmon was an iil1ii[ia~e of a we:; tern branch 'of the "Iranian m-y-st.efies,,)'Jo hence' the apEH:'!o'plI:iarelness of his oognomen "Magus," This priesthood \YaS quille strong In M'esJOpo'tamia and .As~a Minor at this lime .. But Simods true impoerance lay in his role as at




redeeming Helene, Simon saw a reflectlon of the Ultimate Subject, ihe Nous, redeeming jts Firsr Object, .Epinoia.

The Gnostics used mageia e:l{tensIvdy. Blait it was rarely used 1O cause eftects in this world, which would ,on.]y add. [0 the evH in. it; rather they practiced a spiritual form of ;"higher msgic" which was aimed ar fint perfecting themselves spiritually ~1'l this life, and [hen rraining their S10'l,ds, [0' such an extent thar chey woald be able ItO remember the keysto unlock rbe barriersto their ascent back 'm ehe tight in their after-death stare. E:adl sphere surrounding rhe world is a time-space structure caUed an Aion (or Aeon), each of these is ruled by an Ar:chlin. The Gnostic [ll,USl Know the key magica[Wowdsand Name.s to pass through these barriers back tothe Realm of the Father. Chapt'ec 3 'On Cosmology shows how the-se Aeons and An:ht3.fls arc 'thought CO be arranged around the world of lunuankind.

Hermeticism ws a "gnostic" phenomenon in the technical sense [h.al the Hermetic shaJ.I"CS air one poinr oranother in the initiatory process, aU of the: characteristic traies of Gn1osridsm. Ii[ differs In thae almosr all of the historical sysrems of Gnosricism ptr Sf! rely on Hebrew mrdlo~ogy for Their cesmologlcal language', and Hermeticism is more Helieno-Egyprian in this regard,

OQt, humans can expect to be punished by [he gods. The gods are unknowable except through set rituals in which the gods receive sacrifice.

It is easy to' see whyche magic coming from the Sem,itic'WOI~d, wirh such a religious outlook wouldseress the' need. to gaiill power over lower spiritual beings: by threatening them, with the' power of beWDgs who are (heir superiors. In a cosmos in which the divinities were vig~]afn ~!boul plmishing (hose who break [heir laws, the Semitic rna-

,. _.'I ".J:' • lL 1 fi- •

glclans were arways inreresreu in protecnng rnemserves . rom negauve

consequences ofinreracring with the divine forces, This: is repeatedly seflected wn the operations ofrhe old papyri.


.MesQ'po,[amia is; merely a geographical designs-

- -

tiol'l-Greek for "land between [he rivers." The

The Semitic Stream

rivers in question are the Tigris and Euphrates, This is present-day Iraq, The oMe.st civiKz;a:r~on [Osp:lin._g up here was [hat of the Sumerians, Sumerians were non-Sernitie, btu their cuhure was subsumed by the Semitic Akkadians around 2.350 ,B • c.z. This began a. history of wave an,er wave of dominant populations coming to power and ~n turn being driven from power by new invaders eirher from abroad or fcom. subcultural groups within [he civiHzadon.,

Mesopotamia seems to have been a land perpetually obsessed wit~ contrcl, with rules and regularions, Elaborate hierarchies and strict chains of command were a consrsnr feature' of (he various cultural phases of the region. AU of rhiswas perhaps made necessary by the fact that the peoples of ehe area were beterogeneous I and at the same 'time the land was ,constantly vulnerable to agg;l)ession from '[he ourside=borh situations remain mclay.

One faetQr 1!JLnify~ng culture in Mesopotamia was irs mytholog .. ical rradition and religious practice, T~is rradirion was originally Sumerian, bur 'was absorbed by ~h.e various peoples who occupied the region over the millennia, Even the Semi tic peeples-s-whc controlled the region for most of Irs history-were la..rg:e:ly Sumerized' In. their religious andmagical views This distinguishes them from their more purely Semki,( fileighbors to the west in Canaan, Syria and Israel, oe to the south in Arabia ..

Thorkild Jacobsen writing in. Tbe n~asf,ir,fS of Darkness, sees the basic Mesopo tarnian religious values as 1) immanence of the numi-

The Semitesare one of dll.e great and ,manifo1d mega-nations of antiquiry, analogous m the Indo-Europeans in. their sizeand scope, Today the Semitic cultural empire stretches from Morocco WJIl [he we-St to Iraq in the east, The two great living Se.mide l3inguag~s are Ar::JI,hk and Hebrew. Era: and.em't rimes the great Semitic nations were Israel, Sy£iall l!bbyrnon (or Akibld/Assyda)'~ and Phoenicia-e-along with Ithe nOoW~~.ic peoples of Arabia .. Much of ehe feundadon of these Semitic nations, was based on the non .. Semirlc culture of the Sumerian:s 'willo .fiourid]Jed in Mesropocamla from about 3200 to 2800 s.c.s,

Most ofSeroWc re~i,gkm, is based on the ~dea of creator gods who exist in a realm rna( transcends chis world, They' are al~~powerful..and virtually own this world. Their laws must be ebeyed, and if [hey are



nous, 2) ldeurity between name and fonn, 3) intransitiveness ·of the numinous po~r; 4) pluralism, and 5) ]oC-a~jty.2 The Mesopotamians responded to their diviniries as; immanent bdngl'ii'I embodied in rhe phenomenal, world .. Badl of these beings had a form and. a name and was thus isolated as a unique entity-its power was not na.rn:ferable from it to another 'being. This aspect ensures continuing p~llrality and multiplicity, while at the same time ]oQ~iZ;rliQIl of the embodied power is: made more possible, There has perhaps never been a more holistic religious philo,sopilty-wleh the possible exceptions of those of Taoism and Shinm in the Far East,

This ho~~s.m led '[0 an obsession wid~ good and evil in magic, however, This is only aaruralsiace glOod! and bad things ~appen. to humans and if these "rhings" (phenomenal are burt sensible manifestarions .of numinous powers-c-and nothing faUs outside I[hart category-the wodd soon becomes a place inhabited by ,ev,ery ,8,0'[[ of powe'ffulemity bent on doing these good and bad things. This aspect conteibures littleto 'the spirit ofHermeticism=-where a natural sort of dualism rewgns:., The rcalrn of [he spleit shape's and can direct events In the' phenomenal wor[d ....... -but the MO are not identical,

I .. is: ~n the rech nical .. '-, .... ,"'f···I'-F.-'~--""'-:; .. ; ""r· ... .- c, .... L-, '. he - rh

_" __ . .. _ "" __ . __ ... ,,_ "r~",... as .. roovmy v a,;;t~rv agy were e

ultimate Mesopotamisn influence on Hermeticism is srrongesr, The Sumeriam may have pioneered the practical. applicarions of the ob .. servatien of the movements of the stars, but ilt would be the Semitic Babylcnlans who would develop rhe di.irv.iJn:uory importance of astrology during the first parr of (he firs( millennium B.C.E. However, even dtis was: W,efQ'iUJned by-the G:u:teks and it is the Greek Of Hellenisric form of asuo~ogy wMch we find in the papyd-not 'the Egyptian Of Babylonsan .. ];lOI example, rllile OO.Ds'[eU3l.dof:IJ we: cornmonlycall 'the Big Dipper (the Great Wain)' is called Ar.ktos ("th,e Bear") in {he papiyri~ whereas h is identified as a bull or the 'rhi,gh of a b'I..WU in EgyptEan star lore.

At the rimethe papyri were wrirten, MeSlo'potamia! wasei ther pan of It he Parthian (Persian) Empire O~ W~ pan of (he ROLDan Ernpire (fo]1owln.g, Its occupation in '165 C,E,)"

Israel The Hebrew culture must be separated from the rest of

the Semitic euhure of the period because of its unique religious view, The Hebrews were' the first nation ro establish a non-ph]lo80ph~aJ.~ form of mcnorhelsm. That is, phdcsophers had for a long[~m,e spoken of an abstract supreme Being, or Vniry,. which the Greeks .migh.t regularly refer to as. "'Godt.l~Theos .. But the Hebrews succeeded in demoring '[his idea to the srarus of simply being a god, whose characteristics were much like: anyone of :1:. hundred other gods of rhe region, and. then promcring [he conoept to being the One Go.d., Theirnational God, Yal~weh!, wasconsidered not on~y their own. tribal god, but the one true God 1'»[ all peoples,

This attitude earned. [he Hebrews a repurarion in amwqu~ry for bein;g a: decidedly pre-philosophical people.But rhe idea of their god be~ng the One God gave their theo1ogy a grteat deal (If prestige among magicians because of the natural ornniperence ascribed to him. The Roman historian Tacitus, writing in the second century C..E." referred to rhe Judaic rdigionas "superstitions" and. their beliefs as "paradoxical and. de,gra,ded."J I!: seems tha,( the Romans' ~ow regard fOol" (he Jews stemmed from the latter's lack ofa ratiollalphHo50phy.

Judaic culture had been dominated for [he w1hole first mHlennium :B.C.E. by th,e idea 'of mOfiorheism-whkh led to an ever more cenrralized state and cultic .lite. Atrempt's were made to center rhison one c.ity, jerusalem, and. one rdigious site; (he Temple 'built by Solomon .. Solomon was k~ng of brae] 'between 966 and 9126Il"C.E. The Babylonians destroyed h~s Temple in 587' B .. c.a .. Between the arrival of'dle Hebraic tribe's in ehe land of Canaan around 1.500 to 1.200 :S.C,j!., and role destruction of the Temple in 5.87'" rhere was ongoin,g conf]kt with. the Baal-worshipping Semiees .of the region as well as wirhthe Dagon-wetshlpping Philistines in Gaza. It was nor l.IInti~ the esrablishmem of the second Temple in 539 B.C.E. [hac the foundations of the [dmgious form known as Judaism were laid. This took place under [he sponsorship of (he Persian Empire-e-hencethe great influence ,of Persian ideas in early judaic texts,

- .An, important cultural development within judaism as &.r ali mc' Hermetic tradition ~s concemed was the sp~i~' of ehe communiry be-

2Thorkild. [acobsen, Th~ Trttu,fITt$of,Dai'kneu (New Ha'Ve~" CT: Yale University Press, 'l976), pp. j~7.


The Henaetic Synthesis


tween me heavily Hellenized Jews ofAlexandlria in Egypr andl ~le rest (If me orth.odox ,faj,thful" The Hellenized Jews [r-ms~a:ood me, Pentateuch into Gfeek and used l~a,t language as their preferred Iwn:gu]S1"ic mode,

Ph iloscphicall y the un wq ue as,peel.': of Hell raic ~.nd eventually Judaic religion was its fana(~ca] monorheism rooted in irrationa] acts of faith charnctedzed hy blind obedienee to a written set of laws (Torah) rhoughr to have belen dir,ecdy received from God by Moses (ca. 1250 B.C. E.),

II: :lIppears, however. that. rhe bulk ,of Judaic i.ll:fiu,(,;FlJoe on. the' Hermetic tradition cernes not fmm the Israelites, hut from rhe A]exa~"iidri:an JeYlf5 who had adopted many features of Hellenistic ehougbe during the time between .2000 s.c.a. and. 400 C.,E"

In (he strictest respects, msgic is qu~re' antirhetieal [0 the spirit

. .

of Judaism. Ifmagic is the assertion of [he will of the jnd~vidual rna ..

gidan on the universe, this Is 'bound '[00 beat cross purposes with the win of God on many occasions. Despite [his, judaism was historically

1- • ] • __ II ., T' 'his i . ~l- ll·'

n: alIve.y open to magrcai pracnce. . rus IS espec[a~ y true wnen ~t

comes to the i m plemeneation of protective magic" a mulees (kamt.4)i ;tnd the phylaeteries I(tefi:llil~)',. The theurgk aspects 'Q,fMefik,aJbah mys~ ricism seem '[00, havre been borrowed from neighboring peoples in the eastern Mediterranean and flom Persia,

he became 'a son of a goat by these practices; rhar he caught his fo,llowers to disregard. Jewish Law .( To'rah) and to peacrice a sexually libertine doctrine onav·e (agape).

Id.e,o,logica~ enemies can, and do, simply make lap 'wild and unsubstantiated stories as propag.anda,. But. surprisingly rhere is plenty of evidence for this view of things from w:idlwn the Gospd accounrs themselves=-rhe New Testament books of Marrhew, Mark, Luke and especially tha[ of john,

Curioasly, when Jesus is accused. bythe Pharisees ot casting out daimens by the force of Beelzebub-c-ruler of daimons-c-he replies only wichan attempt to b:affie them with. what are supposed to appear to be sophistic or ]ogica~ formulas;

Every kingdom divided against ](self is brought 'to desolation; and every city or house divided aga][1.st itself shall nor stand; and. if Satan casts out Satan he is divided ag~~nrSr h imself how shall ehen his k:i ngdom SC3.nd.? And j f Beelzebub ,eMI[ our devils, by whom do your ch~ldre]'il cast them

~ f.M' '12' 2' 5'. '''17.)5 out. !,.' 't. . ,; .. -&, .

The Christian. Stream

The obvJOUS answer is that the show is fl,gged . " .

If we assume Jesus ro be a historical person who performed acts cosrespondingto some of the accounts given in the New Testament books, what ki1~'d of man would he' have been! Wererhe'.re' others in tbar time, and in (hat region who did similar d1.ing$! Monon Smi ell asks these, bask questions and finds, (hat Jesus fits perfectly the p,rome of:;a. magician lwving in tbe easrern Medil1en,anea.n during [he first 'I:VI/O censunes C.E. The G.reco-Egyp~ia.n msgkal papyri provide many favorable comparisons in his exact 'time and region for his magical activities, Smlth deals w~th this: evidence in detail. What emerg,es is a picture of at Hellenized Jewwsh magician who, among orherthings, ,~lrumed to be a so n of a. god." lIjSOO verbal magical formulas to work m~.ra,c:les~ and who did not send spirits, angels or daimonste do his work, but who contained ,o.r abscrbeda divine spirit and exerted ir directly upo.n the universe around him,

Chidsdallli.ty ls impossible to separete from rhe personality of J~StlS, 'the supposed founder ,of' rhe sect. The book je'Su-s ,th.e Magician by a renowned scholar of New Testament studies, M,onon Smwth, is the best single source of in6onlla.tiofll concerning what was pliObably the true: character ofJ~us> the man." Among other things, Smith reports what (he nO'.nc.Christ~an contemporaries of jesus said 'of him. F·o[ us [he important elements of this repof[ are [hac he was said to he the illegitimate son ·ofa: Roman soldier' (named Panthera) mud a prostirute: 'chat he became e:xpell:itt: Wn. magwiC; having been n:ained. in Egypt; that

'Monon Smith, jems thr Magici(m (San il"sndsoo: Ha:rperSan.Frandsco, 1'97,8).

SKiIng James Bi.bLe, aut:ho.ritt'd version of ]6] 1 +



Several pap'yd outline mag~caJ] cperarioas fo[ obt:ll.inrnng a spirit ~n order [0 become "a son .ofa god» __:which is another ~y of !i:ay~ng cbal[: riruaIDly the magician hal become d~virrue run essence, 'O~ more simp.!y th,'ilJu:cihegod ha.s'\tdopred.!!' d::l,(~magj,da]'ll. One ofthese eperations (PGM [42-195) say'!! thar the: rD;agjciliin should pur~fyhimsdf; go onto I lo.fqr roof and, ,among other things, b~~ndfoM hlms~lf wh:h a, '''b<ladk Isis barru(r~" Ar one PQhudtDJrlng the ritual the hand b removed a~d, if is said dlac <1( ~f~Jc:cm wm fly dewn" :l[lld, dr-op a stone asa fjrs[ sign of the manifestation of the spirit in themagj,dalil. This sphit~ or da.£'r.nQ~~ becomes idenrified with [he m;3i:grnd:an from an outsider's

• <, h ,.., 'h- d f" L « "'1~'1 b

vwewpomt so tt e m;3lg!Cla.fl Ul !t, e WOIS orme papyrus W~ ~e WQr-

shipped a!S a god since ![he has] a gud as a f!iendJ.~}

There are obvious para1leb between such magical rituals and the smry of rhe bapti'iilTl ofJes~s (Mk, 1;9'~11) where he receivesa "ho~y spirir" in, rhe shape ef a dove which fIIhes down from. heaven", Mtf:r this event he is able to perform ma:gkal operarions by just 'lIsay~ng dru,e

_d "rh • , " ,. al C] 'to . "

WOru,~ t .. au: lS, U.W::IT~__:g: S1Qme: magu:a . .I[iorm~ ,I, or name.

iI_· "'..a; ~. ., IL.":: 'J "'h dO> ••

n..'j; IS mace ciear m cn<llp:u::e:r 01, sorce.rers W 1'0, .. <}"., , a, spun or

da,w mOmJ in ~ghr be caned in [be Greek of dlis period a magos (pl.

.) d s: id ~.l ~~jl·· "S IL

mag()~an was orten cons] ereaa O!.lV'U1!e man, .' ilJCf[ III magO$ was

more rhan a mere goDs, or sorcerer, whow1li:S only ableto command spirit'S outside hhnself~ In JesliJs' own time some people seem ro have thought he had "obtained" the sph .. ir of the: execured Jolhn [he Bap[w8[~nd workJ!d magic with it a, But it is the '''holy spiri(-duu of a god,=who Jesus the maraseems ro have become. It is thIs holy spirwt which is the true a;ge.nt ofhis wi)rkas a 'm4£O'S.

Am'tlgo~because ofb.is: acquired "dlv~ne na.u.!.rer~an cause

,L·b f: hi cC' d'" I JlI· . Ji .' 'l~') -~' ...... 1 !.

'~)~1anges -'f means O~._-:JS word \;(JIuecreGi. OOD.sCWOtlS wru ~.. aione. .'. ne

papyri are fuB ·of verbal magical formulas l.hro~gb which th~m.ilg~clan can work his wHL Bur. there ~Iil even oae such word recorded in the book of Mark (5,:41) when Jesus heals a linle girl whllil the (supposedly Aramaic) phrase; tallth.a /e()umi,

In fac[ an the miracles pe.rformed by jesus areparalleled in the Hermetic m;agkal HUieramre ofthe period. Even [he magwcan povy,em: ,of his own name was enhanced a:f~er his dearh-for m~gk worked, with 'rh.e 5pkit (or «1Il31ne") of an ,executed. criminal was believed to be of sped:al power. This is" of oourse~, ktrtiller bobn~red by rlleknO\"l~edge

char jesus exhorred his 6oUowers to do rhis sayingcha~ he would be

'''' .. - h-I-"] .-" ;!, If1 '~14, -2'·'3" ] 5· ",,,_(]!, M·· ,.; lO'2r11• ·2··.·8·2;',°), F~'·"·· ."

!m L_em(;Lways ~'. n.,~ ,~, ,,"I 7~ .. E: •. o.U!~ .. ., .!lL. . or many

magicians of the rime, ddfi·ca.da·n-artd ]mmorn\[1za(],on-''!Na.s [he: highe:s't goa~ of idle praceice of mageia. J'e8USI own declararions of his

d~v~n~- cerresnond e":a rlv w~n~.-J",.~., -~ ,c.",---. --,·,·i·· -J '--' ',i"" •

_ _ __ ry c __ reo p_ _ _}!:__Cf Y -[~ ]:I l:rases from mag.c~u iPapYIJ in

:L' h l. •• d l- hl di . l" .

W'JT.UC . '[He mag.lClaJ.ll_ec~res . ,. J5 '_Jvme qua. mes;

J n. 10:3·6 "1 am the SOIl .of God. "

PGM :W. ,35 '~] am rhe Son ,. ,~j .P1JM'X}{33"[ am. the Son of the Hving God."

In. 6:5m c~m am ..• theone rome fi"Om heaven .. '!

.PGM rv;.m 08 ~~ID am the 'One come forth filiom heaven,"

Such evidence ~eadsm I:h:e cenclusion t_~al the man jesuswas a mag.vs" He was a dissident, who preached [~eab.roga.'t~Ol1. of'eseehlisbed Jew-

. h La d h J. b "S +" "'r: 1 ~, 'b hi

I~_c w an __ was ,even r_ oug_ u we -i;iI.t~U]C~ or J yp :'U.:!'man.y .. ' ts

c,ontemporary rivals and critics. He taug~n the «s:a~va:t~on. ·of the indiv.id.u~~"-wh~l.e pncddng the deification' o:fbi'i OW,1;1 individual s~lf.

There areseveral paraHeJs between jesus of Nazarerhsndsno'fher C(i1'~te:rnpor::J!.ry magpsnamed S~mon of Samaria, ,Among: these pl3,rnUds: isthe fact that J.esus: (despite laterarremptsto gloss it ever) h,a,Ci as his corrusen at peostirure, Mary ,Magdaruene. Having such a, woman as acousorr seems to have: beenan essential component ~!Il the myth of the 1},tagocr...

Principles ef tile Hermetic Sym'tbes,is,

The opera:truy,:e Hermetic tradition as a whole ]s a grand sy.nlihesis of aU rbe sereams .of in.f1.!1J.euce menrioned so far, When we ,d.~w th.c[:ra..di .. tion as a whole we art rempced ro seetwo different branches. One is pMlo.SlClphica[ and eeatemplstive, dlie (Idi.li~m: pr~.c:t~ca~ and operative. The limirauons of [his view have :dread)' been po.i,nted, OlU) bUll: for



the sake o.f underseandlngat this juncture it provides a useful model, WirhWn [he philosophical 'branch there appear '[0 be rwo subbranches; the. pantheisti,c; Neo-Platonic schoolan:d, the dualistic Gnostic school. These differences are probahly more app=nefl!lt [han real, however; In The E,gyptit1J1 Hermes,. Fowden concludes concern ... in,g this "problem":

Such doctrinalvariarions .... , in fact reflect an intention

h d",CL - . + (- I (. a W) f' .. _'I

It at .'. uterene SUfCtlfJWf evets . or seeps 0' spmtuat en=

]~ghre.nn'lien'r should provide d!~fferem: .mcuss.ive levels of truth aboutMan, the Wodd and Godi SIO that for example knowledge of (heWor~dlj, whichthe Hermericists regarded as desirable air ear:l.~er seages of spiritual instruction is subsequen't~y rejected as: "curiosiry" (1C;gPU~pytct" CfJ";Qsitas), [he pursuie of mowledg,e fo,[ its own ~e.and branded as

sin.6 -

B· 'h . . l dr . f" H ,. ," hi l • h

.U[t ,- e pracncar en op~rauve' ann" .enne:tJCHim, W .~cn ,IS t e

foct.m:S of this book. is not n.ecesslJi.ri~y subject to such refined pbHo~ sophical distinctions .. The elements of its nature are characEerisrically more diverse. There are nine principles to the Hermetic synthesis as expressed duough the: praccieal tradirien of the nla:g~ad pap'yri: eclecticlsm, d.iversiry-. pragmarism.worldliness, individualism, natural dualism .• immanence ofthe divine, successive revle~adofi., and: emotional fervor. AU of these are not necessarily emphasized, in the more philo" sophical bmndl of rhe tradlrion, bur when ir comes to peacriealapplicationthese are the principles at work to make the tradlition come It:'Ogerl .. er, In rypwcaJ Hermetic fashion, all nsne of these principles must be ,applied eqifllally' and simultaneously to reach a true Hermetic apPl'OIa,dl,

The tradition is an eclecdcsynthesis of d~ffeli]1g cosmologies and pM~osophk~ perspeetives, There appeal'S to be no anempr ro make tt..lcse appear to be reconciled to each other, The key w how this works is conceded in the f':I:incip~e oi'.S:tJ(cnsive revelatio'fJ'. The edec-

6Garrh Fowden. Tin EDPtial' Hr-rmf!f,.· A Hi$J'Or:ir;(lJAppro.ach .to lhe .Lat~ Pagan' Mind, 2~d ed. (Prince'oon. NJ: Pri~'l:or;~Qn Univ.e·ulli.ty PI'-ess" ~'99'3). p .. lIB.

de mixture is allowed to remain dynamic and ever open to change or modifieaeien,

In. coujuneeion wwth the nrst principle, the tradition is draw!l1 f(l"om rhe widest available variie'ry of cultural source's and mythological traditions. There seems to he a special dfo,n made (0 catalog the traditions of the wm'M in hs meu:-myr!hology. This results in a virrual llaCk of dogmarism. AU eperarionsare s,ubjlc:c[ only to [he dictum of :whe~lheE' somechilog worNsor nor.

Pragmatwsm is a key c,oncepl: in the pracrical tradidon. The aims and purposes of the operarions are most often quite down to earth,

! f' f~lb'· h ·tl ft" 1..' h . _JI tl

W'en, forms 0; , .. !g aer mag~c 0 "en seem su u J('\C[[() I[ . e H:wea. rna!: one

~iiiiIJ .... nf.~;~ .. one's selfto a godlike status in orderto be more efficienr at r~UwJC:Il:lrU: magic .. This sense of pragrnacismalso lends ''tsdf to an open~' . ro innovarion. The Hermetic pracrieionercreares new pacterns comibiflatimls. unique Iro a certain rime and place based on an-

dent principles ..

When reading the m3.gka~ papyri one is struck by the worldli'Iil.w;of their aims, The Hermeric magida.n is not concerned so mntl,Ch with, lhe destiny of his soul afrer death-e-the ·chief preoccupation of p.M~oooph lad Hermetic The ope'rntive Hermetic knows he mUSiI: sm:n~:rbe:n himself wn this world, become godlike) 'before his philo"'J"u~o,..dJI!l lihougJu can become more chan idle specularion, The pracHermedes interest l n the material istic Epicu~ea!1 pbUosophy of

vem(]IW" •. tus is at Ieast partially explicable' in these rerms, Abo, in later the development iQf Alchemy wi thin [he Hermetic context is a refeiienCe't(1 the pos~ted link berween [he world of nature and irs ..... "&I~~·~·i;:;".' .and thar of the s PUtt or psyche.

In most ancient societiesof [he eastern Mediterranean the indi, (unless he was a king or :pha~aoh,) had little traditional imporIn rhe Hermeaic rradition, lW:Yifeve9i'.rhe individual comes m ,forefront, both asa teacher ·of students and as a practitioner of ~1!!.4.l eperations. Hermeticism is not practiced in ] . arge group riruDor is the individual wiUa:nd consciousness to be subordinated [,0 ,of a group oHll:l!ID;3J1S '0,.[ even so a Itradirio.n,aIi ,god:-for m, .Altbou.gb the ph ilosophical cosmologies of Hermeticism appear lUll the gamut ffOm the dualism of the' Gnostics [0 'the pantheism

'-u!!!I"'I"~'"W of the S'IiO[CS and Neo-Pla'tol!1jsts~ there is an underlying


consistency in the cosmological model ~mp'li,dt inrhe .ma,gka~ operadO.M. This is already perceptible in the basic operaelng theory of Hermetic magicwhich ~:S dependent ona kind of "nateral dualism." There is a f~hjgher world" (of the gods> daim:8ns. etc .. ) and. a "lower 'IoVOl'M" (of rhe earth and, huma.nhy). There WS, however" a "narural" connecnon between the two as a. matter {If s~m~larity of kind-e-this world is a shadow or rdlection of that world, This is the reason there are secret correspondences between this world and that. This pri ncipIe is responsible for [he mosr famous Hermetic dictum of alk "What is hdow is like due which rus above, and what is above is :I~ke [hal 'Y,i~.ich WS below~ ~~ Tin.1s i~ pan of the second precept of Hermes Trismegistus as recorded on the Emerald' 14blet.7 Moreover. this Hermeric principle also becamea comersrone of mcdernsciemificrbcught.

As a result ,of synthesizing the ideas of' variousculmres and philosophi,eal streams iQf thought, most Herm'e£ics hold rwo appar .. endy contradictory ide,as about the source of true knowledge and power. One of these is the idea [hat knowledge is revealed from an ourside, divine source. This ~8 generaHyl.fDJieli~ted from Judaism and [he Egyptian rradltion, The other idea is rhar bowled,gee is. innate in the' psyche awaiting bur a C~,t~yuw cause 3;rememiJr-an(t oferernan)" real things, This idea is ~nb.e[hed from the Indo-European stream of thoughr-e-frern the Greek and the Iranian schools.

It seems most: Hke~y that the Hermetic. synrhesis sees ehat there is an innale,. inborn divine essence in (alleas[ some) human beings, but w't is hidden fr.om rhem so rhar they are generally ~gnonuu of it, KnIO'w~oo:g,e and 'Use o:f this h.cu~'ty leads te sa1va,t~Qn. 'Gaining: knowledge and use of this essence depends ~lp'on a "revelation" fWID a divine source or the: instruction ofa human teacher, Revelation may come through regular conremplarion and pr:llyer (or even ascetic practices wn some schools), or.as is mO:DIe usual in the practical school" through regular practice ofmagicnicQntro,llt is onlypossibleto rev,ea] this Knowledge, or gn{jsi.s~ in .stag~s (Gk. IP(:tel~Ol)! and 510 the 000- wnitla.t,e .may see inconslsrencies where none exist from another pe:r .. spective,

; F~r i I]fQ.nTla:tiQll. Q!1 the /i?ft,(ndJ 14bkr;. Sit;~ G~'Q,rg W.c:k, Ilrcana Mundi:· Magie & Ii,(, Omllt ill' ,tIle G'r€i~k & Roml1t1' lV'orldJ{BaJtimoI€:, MOo: Johns Hopkins, 19'85). p .. 370.

Common. among all Hermedcs is a certain. emotional fl:!fVOr, or even fanar.icism" which separ,a'tes them fnull ehe more staid philosophical schools around them. Hermerics see an intrinsic hidden value:wn commitmerrr 'to an idea or principle as anaid in eheie magical and phi]o50phkal developmenr, This results in an emotionalism pr,ese:nJ in their works reminiscent ofjud.aism or Christianity, bur always tempered by an underlying Classical pragmatism.

The Hermetic Cult Another rhing we must consider is the question of whether '[he Hermeties of old were organiaed i ~[O> a secret order or cult.

The answer to ~hi:s quesrioa is clearly negative. There appears rohave been no formal, hierarchized eulror organiz:.a:don of Hermetics in the anclenrperiod, nor was [here any in rhe Renaissance, In fa.clt", later modern attempts to create "Hermetic orders" are violations of some of the v;ery bask principles of,eaf']Y Hermeticism. \Vichin {he 'texts .of the magical papyri! nowhere is chis aspec[ more clearly demonstrated ihan wn rhe faCt that many of the texts werewrirten originaUy:as "lertees» f[om an individual teacher. 'to an :in.cliv~&ual pupil,

The social aspect of the' ancienrHermetic tradition was probably based on small closed groups of pupils garhered around a teacher on. a compararively informal basis, There was no disrincrion among the pupils as to rank 'Of degree of sniriarion-c-one was either a "reacher" (or "master"), or one W:a5 a "pupil.' (Ah·hou,gh the papyri sometimes show the [pupil teaching the master a .few [ricks!) Despiee ~iMs lsck ofhierall'chy. [here wasa strict sense of an inner group ,ofin.i .. riates ("'those who have heard]. the ·Word.~~') set apart from. the profane world around [h.,em.

Tille schools or groups gadle'fed around ~ ndividual masters would a ppear [0 have been based on the systematic readi ng and inrterplfiemti,o'fi of cerrain "sacred rexts,'1 such as those represented in the COFpusHerme,ricum and. the UNag Hammadi Library .. 'I'1i: In the course of the guided r,ead~ ng of these' texts, revelations would il:ake place ] n

~'fOif il1for·JII.:n.iDn on C{)rp~ He·rm~tk'tm1l' see Walter SOOt:l" Htmlt'tia {Bosto1o:. :ShOiJI1;I,bbala, 19H5}, and. J:lmcs M. Robinson, ,c&, Th« Nag Hamtrladi Libm'1 (l.(;.iden: BriU, 1 977}.




the minds of pupib. ThtJs~ f,{;;v,e]adons constituted [he true spiritual :i nitia:c1olU. ]melradng[y~he fact that many of the old p~p'Ym'li seemto [hav,e come ]nd'Ji!e form (~,f correspondence between masters and pupils would indicate (hat the ancient Hermerics were the flrsr (0 practice a sort o,f"'mail order cccultism" This has again become popij,dar in this d~w~ (Df the pcstmodem age"

Mlrcea Eliade pl,}~nltsout tih.<lt the enormous imporrance of writ-

- - . " ',' ·-lll~", inthe -H' - ',' .',. . '-. d' ,'. ionfell '.' 'fl', . .... .' ,e',. - ," z i - ,] , -

(en worM In tne __ ermenc ml!~lUOn Ionws. rom two ractors rn tne

history of the first haJf of the first millennium c. E,.Fint, there is the triumph wlrMn the eseablishment of a ·[~~lig~on lof rhe book" -Christiall~ty; Written. texts gained! i]]J presdge) even if they were not Chrisdan. Second, the fonnerly established Myslery CU~(S and. iniriarory schools had been desrrojed and the HV1n~g initiators had ];argdy d~:s:appeared, or were increasingly d]ffl:c~alt to fhuli. .E~iade goes: on to say [ilila[ in [his new sy$ce~m. a new rype of enrirely spirirual iniriation was: based n.O'Il: on. contact witll ~iv]ng teachers but upon contact with written sources-> "the sacred. text can he foegonen for centuries, but if ir ls rediscovered by a. comperrefaJ[ reader j,![S Inessage becomes i~leHlgi= :hIe: and! contemporary," This tOO is after an a major premise in the pestmedern thesis ]lsdf.

It is dear thar the philosophieal Hermerlcsdld practicecertaln ritual forms, aLhho~gh theywere for the most part 11:0'[ as elaborateas those .6ouJ'JI,d. in the magical po:rupYii]-l:he need for wl~ich had been superseded by the more interiorized practices cfthe philosophical Hermeties, The philosophical rituals may have beenas simple as a regularized focusing of 3!:(Il:en[]on ona symbol of divine uw.ity-SUdli as the Sun {Be~[os-Re) or the ritualized offe:ri]'llg of "sp]rkuaJ sacrifice~t~n the form .of hymns of praise and. ['han_bgi.v~ng to [he ddty. (An example of this ~s the Fermula of Thanksgiving I[P,GM HI.

5,QW=LIO'-·] 0-- ·pa- 252 \

7 ." Q. . .IJ g, __ ,_.)

Ar the dawn of this: poscmodlem age we have witnessed a revival of the idea that spiritual development can. ~e foster0d dl.~(lug~'.Ii,exposureto boob or sacred texts .. The: questlon remains an open one as to whether genuine developmen; is; possible without recourse 1:0 a living

iE:eacherwho can at least actas a guide rhxolUgh, [be maze of written material, Clearly (he Hermetics of old believed dl:alt in large measure rhe texrs alone could p~aY:<1 vhal role in dl.e·~~nit~~l'~rnol1" of on~y cer .. t~i11J dec[ind~viduals,. :pred!isposed to be ableto "hear (he Word» -[0 unde[S~a]ld the: essence: of the texts unaided by' human contact, Bfft for rhe wtstmaj~ority of srudenrs it remained necesssry 1i:O have teachers to open their ears.Bur even ] n tacsecases the Hermetic teacher is not a master of indoctrination into a set dogma, b U[ rather aln "opener -ofc!h..e \-vay. ~!,

TheIiviag reaeaer remains the single most vital 00lnponeorc in. (he Hermetic tradieion, The fact is (hat no rrndition would have been po'ss]bie withcut (he cells ofteachers and. srudenrs who were pe.rsO:l1~ aJI1ya'l:ti3tched to each other,

i}M]].-'C(::rt EI.lade, !:if-J,wry &flkliticJij .ldtta~ W. Tmk. A. Hilrdbehd,alld. D. Aipa::nnJo!li~ Cappador:a:!., rrans .. {Chicagoi: Ua~"'c:~shy o.f'Chi.c:l~go Press" ]978).




A cOlSmology is the conceptual fr,amework of an 1J1diYidY~l> school of th.'olJ!ght~ or whole culture by means (If whkh the world is undersro 0(1. This is necessary for serious magica] work b ecauee if YOiiJ.[ want' eo ch~nge the world. around you,yollJ need to have so:meide~ (If how it is [nacre up.

Hermeelceosmolegy; you wi,]!, learn, can be a. fluid concrepL mr is not necessary, or perhaps ad.v~nul:geo1iJs, ('0 havea !!sde]'D:t[fiad~y accurn:re» map of the world. formagk to work .. This is why ageoce:mric physical model of the oosmes is still effecr~ve. We are eachthe center of O~I.]: O[Orl universe, a.fter a:11 AU such cosmologies are in .fact ereations of the inner 51e~f> the subjecrsve un~versel of so me individual reacher whose doctrine had asignHkant im paa on 3:. whole h~stodcaJI

_J' •


The original Hermetic cosmology was derived from four major sources; the Nee-Platonic and Stoic schools of Hellenistic philosoph)!'; the GnOcsticschool,and the Egy~t.i~t!, ![digkri.~s[mdidQ,n{s}. Any imd~vid!ua~ Hermetic Gosmo]ogy cam be seen to bea .rep.reser!ltation of one, or a s)'I1Ilhes.is ·of rwo or more of d:li.e~e schools of thQugh[ rei~,rdjng: the uaiversal order .. The collection of philoscphicaltexrs known as r~e C(J1'PusHermetictl.m con cains some books which seem. tetaUy Nec-Plaronie Oil:' Stoic) while other'S are heavily 'dng~d with Gn05tidsm .. You caft read:

... God ordain 00. d~.e births ·Df men and, told mankind ro Increase and 1111Uhip~y abuIlidandy. At'l!d he implanted each soul in lesh 'by means of the gods ~ho circle in me heavens, Andto this end. he made me~~tha.t c~e:r might:colltemplate heaven, and. have: dominion over all thjDlg~ U nderheaven, and that [hey migh1t come [(I k_now Go&~s power, and 'witness namre!s wodcings and thar they n1~gh.t rl.liark what tlllin:gs: aIle good :an.d. discern [he diverae natures of tillin~ good and bad, and invent aU manner of cunningarts,


The Good [ben is in GodaJone _; . . [Tjhere is [tot: mom for. the Good. ,i ~ a mm::et~al b.Qdy;, hemmed ln and gripped as such a body by evil by p!a~n;s and gde[s, desires and angry pass]o.IJs" delusions and .6ooHsh dlought.s: • ' ... I [hank 'God for this very t~ough[ he 11,015 putinto nlJJY miJ1JJd~ even th.e r.hol.1gh[ ehae the Good isabsent, :andi, thar me ~s impossible for. ~[ to be presem j n d~ewof[d1 (kos:mas) '. For rhe world is ,one mass of eva {kakias} even as God is one mass of Gocd. I

sonal developmem and initiation, These rheorlesare add ition ally essenil:ia:l as expressions ,of youru~lde:r...smrl([jrag of rhe elements (s,tv~ iche'ii) ofthe universe and how they 6,[ together. in rhe cosmic order.

Here YOll! seetwo radIcally djffererut anitudes tow~rd: (he KOcsmas arlin ~tS role in the spiritual ~i:fe ofhumankil1:d. In the fh:.st tesc you hear of how ~o:odness is inthe natureand rhat hi.g~ler trurhs can be run1cemgib~y derived from observarlons of the worklngs .0 f rhe Wei rld .rh]$ is th:e:animde ofdu~ Smic 311.Q. Neo-Plaronic .sch-oo~s. Bu~ in :rhe second rex:[ you see dlf Gnostic position rharrhe .mare:r~:allwor.ld. is devoid of geodness and that nodling: ~s m be ga~ned bry o~:"'i!erv~ng ir and cerrnwoly rDIot by interact~llg with it-as it is "one mass: Qfe-'lit» Ye:tboth ·of-these radicaUy different views ~re-----or 'can be~quallyHer.meric.

The reason for rh i:; is. ~s we ha'i/1e le1.l!rn:ecL may be because various hooks (If the CrJrptfcS H(Jt11~~ti('~mt are the products of different schools and eeachers within rhevasa Hermetic tradirion. B'IlJ[ it is moee likely that rhese repmsenr dH"fering levels of undersrandlag, and are in fact not COlltfl:'lldktory. A persuasive case is made for dJ!is point of view by Ganh Fowden mhis book The ~f.YptitZ'R. HermeJ"~ In any event it can be sald. that: in [he Hermetic u:adhion iudiivldllaJs are ,challenged to arr~V1; ar unique phj~osophwcal synthescs based onexperlence=-oot (0 fu]lo-w theteachings of petrified dogmas s~a\i'~shly;

jj, ndso i , JI

fl.H . so It ,COf:lI:JJ1Iua. [Quay ..

The dev1dopmen[ of such phi~osoph~cdrheodes is also ~mpoFUml.'tw pnlc~ical m3g~.ca[ work as the staging points fo:ra.dv,anoeci :pe,[-

The mest dominant single aspect ·ofHelme'U'ic cosmology is [hat provid.ed by the P~al:onk school. Bythe time of the wridng of tile Greek n.~8Jg~icaJ. papyri arid [he Corpus fl'etmcticum,rhis sys~em had develeped wnto <1:. Neo-Plarcnic branch and a Stele schecl, The OMlc d.iffen~nce' between the fW'O laster schools is rhat dDl(: Stoics hoM rhar [he entire cosmos 1.'1 rational and, limited, whereas the Neo-Plaronisrs h_DM (hat there remains aairzatioaal, eompleeely l1ln]mowab~e and mysterious aspece beyond [he ab,~lity of rarionaH'n:Y to comprehend, The basic id.ea.lbehhld the Neo-Plaronic view of the wodd is the emanarinn of,[he 'Good ,(Gk. ctyaElov) or ~he One. lin '[his cQsnrao~ogy there is a pr.ogr.,essive· admixture o.fdarkt1ess and density the fi:lnh.~'r :somerhilllg ~s fro.l.n the S/O urce of all emanatlon-e-rlte "fuU.r:Iles:s: of being."

Neo-n:>~al[o.nh;m. as h would have been known to rhe writers o.f me ,magical papyr~ also cenraiaed admeetures of Stoic and Gnos~i:c elements, and has Irs roots in rhe even more ancient school ofPyr]1ago~ ras, The majo.r~eam.re,5 of Neo-·Pl:a:tonk OOSlRO]Ogy are already presented, in Plaro's dialogues-especially in (he Timt1ltl;,s,3 Btu (hey are gi'\i'¢~l d'iJ~~r d.istincih/,t: fonn by Plorinus in his: Emullth.4 These ;oonoepts als,o find extensive expression and elaborarion in medieval Judaic Kabbalism-> for example In [~e Sefir l'ttzir:ah ([hird. m sixth ce:n~ur~e!i) a11ld. [he Z()haJ' (13dl century) ... ~ Some of the earliest roots

~IF~!r i,!'!rlJ~madg]'! (1lI1 CorpUJ Ht:"»Ulit.U.~I~·. steWllherS~ou!. H.EN~It.iff, Vol. I (BruIDOf.t Slhitmbha:l~, ] 9S:5), p. 169. Tl;xt h~.!'e! 0Ir:ld. on P', 47 f!l'Q~l. Lib~llus m :li~dVll.

~G".rth Bowd~[!!, Tilt: f3g;ypll:ati .H€r1i'll!5'" A .1·listtJr:ie,dApp1'l!}.t1.rJJ 10 t/~~ latt .Pilgill.f Mind (Pri,n~(lt!l)n. Nj: Pri.i'lc(;tD1n Utlivcrshy Puss.~993,),

~.&!rt.::lJlj;.dl'lrion vif Tim.tt.ill; see f.dh:h Hami:~roifl. Plato: Tht ColkcudDi4upts (Prim:ecl[on, NJ: :P~111cc:mn Uitlj¥crs~tyP.ress. 1963-), p,p, :I 15,1-] zt ] .

~l?lol:if1lus, Tbe E,mtttds, .s(l,~:p.heJruJ MacKe.rlifia. n':il.lls. (LQl:ldoMn.: PC.rlgu:li.I'I, 1:9'91). ~Awy;~h Kapi:ll1l, S~I' .¥t,tzir:ni;: TiJt! &ok oj'CrNltlO,n {Yo.k Bead" ME~ S:iliJittUJlc.IWe~£.t'E, 1.'9'90) .. Gcrshfifi:'i Schole:lfi'l. oel, Z(;hi.!'r:; TIft Jl(}'i}_k ofSpltmior (New York: Scl~o&e.fi. ~'~9').



ofwh..'1l" WBJS~O become KajbbaUsm can be discerned in ~he HermeticPlsrcnlc oosoo(.I!ogy. In6gure 1 on p. 50 you will see die' form of the ICabbaJi:STk "Tree of Life:" as if .migh,t ~a¥e been framed by [he H!e~~ len istic cosmologist'S.

To'overs~rnpli:fy. the Ne>o-fla:[:onic cosmogony and. c'Oi'iJno~.ogy sbows a ehreefold emanation. (See fiigufie 2.) The One is [he: origin of aJl1 d]Jhlg.$:~ eq uated w~d~ God.. God created as: an ill termediary [he' "Md:er~!--rhe demio'.Ml'Cl)S (dem~ufge) also called me Wo.r-d Oot.'Os)" The cm.uion of the Word. is called rhe AU~ or Wa,dd-,SouL T.be Wo])d. is the a.cltive ag,em .of divine creation, while the .P.Jl-Solll.i~s dlliever¥ plan 0,[ bluJep:ri[l~ ofmanifesraricn.

N~)w, ro be more exact, an three members o:f [be ·t:riad are bur three pans of the Divioe, Th!C:: fltrs[ part Is rhe .one} the Pirst Exhte:nt, also called [he Good (agatholl) Olf somer~me.s.'~theFa[he!l:'~!'· The S,6C(lind p.m: isthe Fi rs t Thi nker and the Plrst Tho~ght- the vlslon ef the D i vine, This. ]5, the. Maker, often called [he "Son of God." Part three is the expression of the o~l'r;going ::lcn:ivity or ,mergy of the DI~ vin.e. It becomes rhe basis for m.~H:er~al Inanifesmdon.

Pundamental co an in-depth unders[anding of Neo-·Pla.toEilk 't.boug~·l isthe notion dl;a,t an essence or Being is the equivalent ants ch3Jra:.cte:r.Lstk action. Love is the eq:L1!i va lent of loving-for rhe relarive Being of love can have no other ;3i}cl[ion than trJ L()1}'(LAJSO, each

Oemjurge /logos.

The AII-Soull




emir:y in '[he chain of Bernng is a f'efruectlol1l, or "shadow," of cll.u which is above h-' -from which ~t emenated .. mr then both eoaternp~:a:te:s and aspi res eoward that which g.ene'r:ared w r, end in tnmalso gefl~ra[es aI'DJ Image ofkselfbe~ow itself. And so [he chain of Being gees until its energy ebbs and. it finally ceases, 'Bdng is seen '~O' !be an:dogousw :1. Hgh( shi~ing into the darkness-s-ehe ~igh[ Is nronges[ where it is closesr to its SOUlice!, the :fm:dler it ]$ from its source, the more (Hfruse ] ris,

M3:r~r ads~$ 'H that p,oirn where ili:'hecfe~.dve power of rhe AH~ Sou] comesto an end. Mateer is almost non-Being, .it is a, mixture of BeIng and Ji!,on-Berung .. Absolute filion-Being catnnO[~ st!f:Dcdy sp eaki ng, oIl'xi$t in ili, cosmos that ukinl;;i;tdy emanares from the fullness of:Being,

The supernaf rrlad Ci( (he One-DivlneM~!1:d .. 1Jl-Solil reflects wtself cornhu.ruaUy in ],eve]s bdow, or '''after'''' it. Here the odgin .o·f dte pr~nciples by whkh rhe Neo-Pla15oniccosmo1!o,gy was. used ro conS,[['UC[ the Hebrew «Tree of Life" became clear, Thereare threetrmes three spheres, with the 'world of matrer sep3r:are from and be~ow the three triads above.

It has I!ong been suspected that the .cosmo]ogy of the Hebrew Kabbalah-as outlined in ehe S.eftr J4ezt:rah and the Zohll},==,~ based (10 a now lose Gr,eek (Irigj nal, The ~~ ~oss» of dl,e GW!eek origi n:d was; p'!!ob,aMy due to. (he persecurion ofNee-Platonic and Gm~s:[k schools and sects by ·(I·ffida[s of [he orthodox: c~Urd)~5.B~[ now, the lou Greek original can be restored. The restored version ~s based on simple p,dndple~ Uts.iJlg the dass[c oosmo~QgicaJ pauern inherited by the HeheewKabbalah '~()gether with what we know ofrhe Hellenistic philesophical tradition.

The role of the Greek "Ieeters" =---{lW .$toic./;'Cia (elemenm)-is essenns]. These are 24 in number, of coarse, so the number of pad1iway~ between theW spheres would, be' 24, nom: 22 as in the Hebzew tudidon. It is lniiown. that the 7 V'Ow.ds of rhe G[,~ek alphaJeta were conneeted to tb.e 7 thenknown p~a!lle'[S and d13I [he many vocalic ] 11.cantations found in. the Hermetic magkal(rndltion were considered keys for wD'foking tbe subtle fOrGes of the pla.ne1fsl'"-nli: more parili:'ku~ lru:~y .oftbegods wbh:h. rhe planets lna.nj6esred. With this k_now~edge) m :lippHed the sjmp~e principle th~t ~be ordering of the stoichria shouM. proceed in slJdl a waYl[ha.t the flrst stfJichitm - would be benveen dtc:

[wo spheres yieldifillg the h.~ghes( sum when the numerical va~lJesas~ signledl.\ol thQses~heres wereaddedeegerhez When rhis marhernarical principle was fonowed~ [he oonfigu:mdoll represented ~ n fii.gurc ill {po :50) was obralned .. I deeermined [his mustindeed be ~he correct ordering and. configuta.dori (If the elementa concerned because wirh no orher is there' the possibiU[)' of asoending fm.mthe:Kin:g.dom to. ~he Crown by means of the 7 vowd :SiQu.mtds-AEH.IOYn.~in an unheoken and continuous line. This is the original Hellenisric-Herme[k ,c(}Smog;r~p~y as represenred i[l rNO dimensions .. Funher aspeets .of rhis figure wj[l be discussed In detail and made pracr~cd in ~h,e section on Stoicheia' on page 115.

II i$~Dr ~heia!.im of this book 'toexp~a]n in irs entiFeo/ the depth and breadch ofdl~ Hellenistic magical oosmog[aphy-if such a dli,ng were possible. It is inrroduced ~ere for prac.t:iod reasons and ~n order '1)0 gj.vc the right fr3L_mework fertbe ''!lIIorkillg exploration of (he sto.ic:he.i~(he sign $, sounds.~ and meanings of the G:licdc leteers, Howev·er~ ~he dooiD' now scafbJd.s open For thosewbo would discovermere abeur rhe foundetion of'rhis undersranding of the world, II[ should he .l:1!o[ed ~ham: I[he nfJ,m~s ofthe spheres reflect [hose translated i1)[O Aramaieand Hdbrew .~nand.ent times, but that the: Gr,eelic was not as sumct as the Hebrew when it rome to me If1:.llli1CS of 'the splh~:re..,. :O~h;ell" names ofd]Je sph;eres~ oo.n.veyLng ocher dimensions Of aspects ofrheh: bdng~ were aJs;o :k:n:ia:w.Il., .:for examp]!e Sophiar:lligh1r also be called q'inoiaof En"n.o1Iiwirh app,rox:ima;l!dy equal meaning ..

Although the pattern shown in: figure] (p, 50) is fundamental to esoteric and .rnagi,ca~ unde:rsltandhl,g of the triad.s and their funcdon~Qjs wen aJS rhat of the de-menta (uoicheiti)-fhe more usual form of dwagraJnl.llg the Nee .. Platonlc (and Gnostic) cosmos ~s follifl.d in figure 3, on p, 54. In this second di,agrmn! a number of {)(he!l: th~l'JJgs become d,ear'~f. Wh.ereas figuI.eli ,emphaslzes the Nee-Plaronic eencepr of triads and emsnation [r.om :3! distantscurce downw'lZrdt:o"., ward 1~1I:nhhna:tt,e[~ fig:ure .3 emphasizes rhe ruJLne~r/Oij,iief d~chommy or !(lppo<s~ti()!U1a~,lH') ~mporm.nr re Neo-Platonlc, Gnostic,an.d Egypdan loosmo~(I:gy. Likeall :suchmodds Olr diagrams, theseare on]y partial wmages of lleaJJdes wlli1iicb. cannot be [effiected in [¥II()()[ e:lfen. three dlmensional models. 17Qbe [:l'u1y seen.the models must be grasped ~1f1- rir:ely by und.erst~n.dlmg hsdf.-by []le Intellectual Soul.




seen as expressions or e;q'llIlvdence,s of rhe gods and godd{'-sses of nll~hology. In (he center ]5 rhe reakn of ~:he demen:rs-.aedler" Sirle!1 air, wate~~;]Jnd earth. Theterresulal sphere. is inrhe i~ilerroQ$t midst ('i,f wis whole SYSIem. There are aJso~ chthonlc realms beJow the earth, known eo Greek nadhion a'S Tartaro!$, Hades, and Erebos, This bask map of rh,e universe was elaborated ] n specific w,ays by dfl!e: Gnostics 'and borh were; synrhesiud ~n [he Hermeric vi:ew.

Gnostic Cosmolo:gy

Neo-Plaeonlc and. Stoic C0SmO~(igy srrovete be scientific in 1[11,011[ it was anateempt to dC$crihe the physical. universe in objective detail. This is not so of Gnesric co:nuology. Gftos(~a strove only w'waro, spi~irll;al bo,wiedge-!t'{)wa:rdgJ10sis. Subjective, inner truths have p'ri~ ma,cy aver al.[ else, For '[his reason it: is common fo'i!" Gll'!O~dc teachers ro d,evelop widdy differing cosmologies.The dJ.et~.Hs vary from scheol lID Scll.oo.~ but the principles remain fairly oensistent. Often our only sources fOil:" dllJe various schoolsare Christian writers who are w.dd.l1:g agalnst[ihe Gnostics. But we ilillav.e m3i.l:1yaijJdlen'~~caHy Gnostic texts: also, s~d], as lhePiJtls~op.J'id orthe who~e body of texts found .1;[ Nag

H --- nY JI· G

am ~J:Jl.

The main diffe:renc:cs between the G oosdcand Neo,- P lato,n ic views of the universe often. [ie ~ n dle or~gin and value ef the physkal OIlsmo:s-nf}[ in its shape or fO!l'm.For file Gno5tic (he physical uni .. verse ~s in, ~[sdfevH-and[he creation oran evil god.h:.l. dl~S attitude the Gnosrics were oppesed by the Neo-Platonists, su,c~ as Plotinus who devoted one rraetare of rhe Em,sd4s (U:9') to [his opposition: '~gainsr [ffile Gn!Os.da; or Ag~inslF Those dliar ~:nn the Creator of the COSmQS a:tIDd the CO,sW(I$ ~tse~f~Q be Evi], ~7

Uldm:l!'tely~ the source ofGW9.ostic cosmology ~ies in Iranian dualism, However, this Iranian form was sig;nLficandy Influenced and

The cosmog~aph shown in. figure .3 is c!os-e[y :rdated to the scieflrlific model of pre .. Copendcan an~wq[u~ry: Irs bask sbape, a~dl0ug:h not ~t8 basicmean]ng,; was shared by many GnoiSdc teachersas wdL The cosmos can ibe seen to be d~vided into ehree great zoaes-e-the trans-Sanernian realm, [he plaJllerary l\eilm~and. rhe '[e!!'renriarn sphere .. The fi[m31mem~ defined !by [he heave:n~y sphere of d'llefix:ed stars of the ZocMa.c, divides '[he ph.ne'l:ary f~a]m (If change-and flux from d~e

. .

supemal realm be,yond wherein dwells fhe Devine Triad .. Seven OOJ:'Ji-

cen [ric cireles or spheres define the realm. of[hep~:u:lI::~rs~ wlliljch 3!U

~c. Sltilm1d[, ed., Pis.tiJ;.$opbia. v: MadJe:Jinl!Qf .• [;m~s. (Leiden: Brill. 1978)" 1fl.ot~n:Uis,. Tift E1J'tu:dm, St'epb~n M::!icKe$ina. erans, (London: Pen~~in, 1991J,.pp . WE--B2.



reshaped by Helleaistlc phaoooplhy, Judaic .l'll.ydl0~Ogy and. .mystical dl,e()i~ogy~an,d pcrh3lps even. Egypdan tradition. until ir developed a distinctive character beginnJllg ~n the firse century C.E. Essential to most Gno.s;tic SdlOO[S is the idea rha,t the; material universe was ere .. ated by at god 'they eharac lierize as 'being ,evil. When consideri ng [he Judaic cosmogony) then, the clear Gnos[lc conclusion is [hat Y~hweh ]s {he creatcr efthe physka] universe and is rh,e;refOll:e to be idenrifled as rhe evil demiu:rg:e:.

,l\c{)orojng to the ApodiJ~]phon of John in the Nag Hammadj texts, Jthem;a[,e~ia1 universe ()![]gh1,;;i[ed when. Sop]1JJI<], desired ro create a being without the ooope~a:t~on ofher CQ,nSOit" the Invisible Spirit, She: created Ialdabaoth, ~Iso called YallW(I:h, who then created the material universe rhrough i vast series of j\jl:ins!. each ruled oyer by an Ar,~6n. [ruler),

And the archons created seven pow1ers for~hemselv~. and the powers created for '[~em.se;lv,e8 six ,angels for each one: un til d\eYI)~came 3,65 angels. And these are the bodies belongjngwith t!he names: the fiJrsi: is Ath(nh~ ~e hasa sheep~s: fa:ce; dDJe second is Eloaloa, he has ai. donkey~s facc~ d1ce thir,d is .Astaphajos~ he has a hyena's ta..ce;: the: founlli't is Yao,.

1 ] ;. f: ,. h· ~- "Ii ·'iJ..~t"cll...·

te nas a serpent s tace w~t.· seven f!lJea.uI.S;, tne nrtn IS

Saibaodl.; he has a dug;o:n/s face;, and the S~X[~ is Adoni», he has a monke,r's face; the seventh ~n Sabbede. he has a shinj ragfD re-"fa.c.e.8

mem. of their kinship with the ]ig):u'l and to hdp' P revlde the knowl-

,edge (_posis) necessary for (hat return, .

The ,f]gun~; of Christ is usually i.lnponant in Gno>Stlc schools.

This is not so in Nee-Platonic or Hermetic siChookBur <llnong rhe G!I1os[ks Clilrist: ~:5 seen noe asthe son ofYah.weh~ bur of hit; Farher ,run Heaven, ehe Invisihle Sp!rit., Christ jsohen idJendfied with. rheserpent in rhe Garden of Eden" who enceueaged humankind, to seek KnowLedge, Cenahr.1J Gno~r~c seers S:l!.W [he roleof rhe serpeJu (Hell. nl1ch,nh), as central, Two {If these groups'lIve.re known as' dl,e Naassaeenes (from the G:reddzed form of the Heb, 1'1dch.fJ;h,wilkh was

~ naas). O[ th.e Ophlres (from ehe Grelek aphis,) serpent}. It has been the-

, . amed "N ·'m'''··,,1,· .·k ,C'... .

orized, since :no [!Own name" .... azarern, existen 11) the nrstcentury

c .. I1", ,th.u: till!! epithet "Nazarene" referring: ro Jesll!J.s teaJ[y means Naassarene-« "the Serpenri ne."

The Ophire sect provides us with an examp~e of Gnostic cosmol,ogy: A d.iagr.uu of theoosmoo as they ufJj~ers~oQd 1:Jr appears i~ fi:~Uf'~ ,4 on p. 58. C[early rhis cq~molO!gy has much In common wirh that pOl\l~te,d by (he Neo .. ,P[a:tonlsr.s, Again we ffi'aave a ihrnefold divisInr.i-. hut dte ibordef$ are defined diffoerendy: Tl~e'!'lGngdmn of God" is made ()if pU1\~ ~piri1i:-th.eP]ero1l1a, It eonsis ts of the O~ 'lier two cirdeS=4)f ehe Fa~!her (the Invisible Spirir) and the SO~ (me .pm:~mevaill sp.Ldtud man), The Son Forms the link between (he World of the Spiri[ and that of Lim bdow; The Faehee and (he Son are bound. co,ge(her by Love-« agapJ. The .StlCOfDJdI. realsn W8 that ·of Life. It also ,consists of OY'O cireles, one (If Lighr (sig;nifj(;';d wieh rhe color. yeUow} 3rD.dl one of Darkness (seen ~U blue) . Ibis realm is [Outed. by 8p~rh and soul m~~ed mgem.er,

'WIthh1J. irs midst ~s- rhe Cir.cle ofUfe.._rrhe active realm of Sophia. This is the seed. ofthe Divine Soul in Man. Its oomp~ex s~rtlC1!ure appears in6gure 5 om p. 58. Wil:h~n ehe Circle ofl.:l[e is the Pro-vidence of Sophia" and In. the midst of thac are MoO im:e[slecdng cJrcles-gnosis (Knowled..ge) and ;SJnes.is Umight). Where these interseer is t'hJ~ deflnieion of the Nature of Sophia (Wisdom).

Below t~e: Realm of Life is-the Cosmos l£sdf. It is usuallyseenas the creation of the fi.rst}\[c.hO.n---,arThd is: material (<3lI,ld hence ,evH In [he Gnostic: ~D:deE$w.odi!lllg), lit is a mixture .of matter (body), 50M,t and spirit, At die ourermosr bomu:huy of this realm IS the Garden of Eden. m.1rl. ~f are me trees of Knowledgeand Ljfe-and art its innermost gate is

Here we see ehe cosmic ~mp,on<lI:'IJ(:e ofd:le number 365 and reeognise many of the names :iII.lsOo fu'll.lnd in the Hermetic magical literature,

Humanity was also created by the Demiurge b.ldaba(Hh/Yah~ weh and bis hcseof An:hSn,s, .. W.hen the Demiurge brearhed ~ife in't(l the humen form, the struggle betweenthe ligh,[ of spirit and [he darkness ofmaner in human existence heg~n. Clldst ~s at pure spirituil creation of the Itlywsihle Sp,iri~ and comes to humanity to temiad

SPar .I.nform.uio[l on AprJl-kfJPi;.mJ cfJfJbn" Me Jarn.t5 M. Roh.i.f1so .. n, :Th~ Nag Hltn~~ mad; Libmry (Leidie!l: Uri]l, 1977),p. Hl5,



a revobil'ing la_mjng sword. jusr be~ow [his realm are the 6xed STars and most ~mp(lrtan(]y [hose of the Zodi:ac. This regh:m is the gaJrc.vay eo the higher reaches througWt Eden, Entry to this realm is blocked by the cos.m~c serpent encircling ehe Cosmos. bDi Gnosrrj,c uadirion this is identined widl rhe Hebraic sea-monster Leviathan! whHe more Hellenisric trnd~tLon ,simplycaJ]s ]t [he Ouroberos=ehe serpen[iJid.ng 11:6 own tail, Bdow the serpent are arranged the fumm:ar seven. planetary !realm~ each one ruled by a hierarchy of Archons meantto b~od~ and prevent the indhr]d.uan~ soul from remming to its home in thePleroma,

.A!t the center ofthe world ordee is: ~he Eerrh, J~$t aborve 'the Ea:nh~ and below the sphere of rhe Moon~ is chearmosphedc realm fined with aerial enr.~tie:s-daimons" al:l,g,els~ and sc on. A~so,the .Earth. is IHH c[lIJJit.e rhe nerhermosr region of the wo.rldl-be:low Wfare the infe:rnd. regions such as Ta,rtaI"OS and Erebos, It is; from theseaer.waJ and).rnnternal realms thiar [he: e:.ll:rly Hermetic magicians moss oftien. 3ioquired the aid 'of e:~c'ides ~n their practice ofgoiuia,

To '[~e Gnos:dc'an [his cosmological speeularien was intended 1)0 explore' the machinaeions of ehe evil cosmos so thaI the ind~vidual Gnostic 0011JJd. rome Il"O understand them and e:venruaUyecScape [hem In a perilous journey om: of [he almost infi]lIre material tnipS of the wodd. Magk as such was o]]ly impon:an[ (,0 [he Gnossic as atool for escape a:!'Thd safe pa:SiSaJge dlroUgh [he Aio]'[!s back to the realm of pruJ.re spirit, A Gncsticwould never en,g;agei lit (he magic of [he son found in the magical papy.ri. Magical technologies were used p;j . .He~y for pm:poses of bringi~g an ~.nd.iv~.dllal 'to grtos:is and for aiding the .spi tit in its SUlJ.lggle to pass thmugffil dle Aionic hierarchies, Some Gno;sdc texts, for example the Copdc Book OfJflU~ give the necessary "spells" of inca:nt-ations needed :ilt each levelto for,ce the kch6.n. [callow the sp,irit 'to pruifi rhreugh," These lncantaelens and: the names of the vM.iiO'll.rusen~ titles inh03J.hi'liing rhe Ai!O,~·u are ,ofte.n ]den tical in type eo dU::I6e ((mud ,i H, the magical papyri. The purpose of {he speUs ~s also veo/ ,s~m~lar '~O thar ofthe :Fo·rmtala...s fOl!JJnd:in the much older E,gypti~n 800k ofCom~

ing .Fo'r:thby Day..I.e1 -

\l'c. Sdi:M~d.1!, ed., Tilt J3<mluo/ Jt,~ .mul t/;'" Un~'itkd ux't in thr iJnlc:t CQJ(Xj v.. Mili.C~ D(':limm, trans, (leidcl;b: :BrHl,197'S).

'~hi~ tc::xt~S b~lfl[,e[ kltlowlla$ 'lbt lJt}ot of tl.}'(} Dead.. l'~ere are several ·rraii]sJa:~~ons. Tb~ best ls by T. CA.lle![1, U:iI[I$., Tht Book of .ht .D~f/,d o[G{)ingFo.r-li/~'bJ Day

. ._



Because che Hermedctradition has ]tsgeogmph.1cal reots in Egypdan soH. ~nd surely co,m~jns E:gyp'~~a~ concepts jus~ be[ow the surface" a discussion. of dle basic id],cas {If the ancient cosl1D'D:ology of Khemet ]s needed 110 understand the: dements: present wn the Hermetic worM,=, view, t\J.[. aspects of thc:st:u.d.y of ancient Egypt pos:eeno.rmous difficulties .. The h~story ofthat o:,lltu.lrtlsprea.ds om over 5~OO@ yearsand seems dece~pdvely conseaar in itsexternal shape. In fact~ Egypdan cul-

d ,I' • d IL IL ~L • ']1 .' 1

tureaJlJ ,r-e.!.wg.!,on 1!1n._e~ent .many "I~ang,es t~rougill us nu . ennea- ong

bjsldory-and (!he counny was always more a mosaic oflocal cultures (each wiith hs own particular values and myths) than a uojfied. culture.

The one rhillg that held 'th.ese cultures together was the NHe tiver, Geograp,]}i.ca~ eonsideearioas U1:USt have s ugges red. some aspeen of cesmologyto the Egyptians. :Egypt is called the Black Land, [Khemer) because (he annu;1o'Y'erHowing ofrhe waeers of (he Ni]e brings reniHz,ing sodand poomlle to dle I,and just a few miles e~dler side ofrhe banks ofthe river a. This makes the Than& rich and fertile du.e 1)0 the deposics of dark s~lt~~ wirhoas rainf~U. The land beyond the ferll:He dark strtp is entirely desert and l£ called the RedJ land. This regular, yet mysterious, p'roc:es~ ofannual hiliundadon, and the stricr division Ibervveen the inne!ffe~rdle land and the desolate outer-land also proved, important to Egyptian cosmological conceptions;

Ac[!aal~y there are several [uajor cosmogonic myths in. ~gypr~an tradition. DHJeren[ cities orregions had [he]!.':' own local myths coneeming ~heo'!J[igin ,ofche wo:dd., Two ·ofthe mest ~.nl'IPO'nant andrhe two most interesting to the would-be Hermeeicisa.are those of HeHapaHs (Chy of[lliJJe Sun) and Hermopolis (CicY' of Hermes = Tborh). Before the b~nh of [h,e COStllOO could take place, three quaJ~des 01[ powers hacd. to be preSeni[:' Hu (divine utterance), Heka (mag'k:a1 power), and[ Sin (divine know1.edge). A[Um.(Re)~ the fhs[ entity;. wielded these power,s m shape the cosmos .. In the cosJno]ogy of Heliopolis this firsremi'ry. A~rum (dle J\l~):1 golVl! b~r[b (0 the fIrst cosmic palr~ S]-ruu '(Sp:a(~ or Ajw) and. Tefn.ut (Moi.stu~e or Waxer) [hrough a ma'Sturba:l!o,r:Y acr of crea dv[ty. This pai rthen ga:'!i'e birth t-o Osir~s, Isis, Ser, Nephthys, and Horus ehe Elder. The whole HeHopoHtan. cosmogony JS ShOWfl; W!l .figul1e 6 on p a, ,6 L

I Sh!J

~~~-------- =

~~----- letnut

G,eb Ii;

Clan riis ~ IsiS;


l~o"'lu$ theYOulI1Iger


Horus the e1lidel"

Another, perhaps more abstract and sophisricared myth comes from HermopoHs where W~ read of fmJ:r pairs ,of end ties representing Nothingtl'ess () r H~d,de.n~e$S~ Endlessness O:E' Form~e.'ls:n"ess, Darkness and Inertness who all c:m.lf;sce [0 f'orm a. g;real cosmic egg:-fmm whkh. I]'ueUigence (Thodl) is born, The whole Hermcpoliran cosmogony appears jm,figu:r,e 7' onp .. 62 ..

The: actual shape of [he world as undersrcod by the Egyp[:iam is oDlly sJighdy more singu]ar. In [he earliest rimes the Egyptians faced t~e south fo,r ritual purpo~:es-the south ~s [he direcrion fr,om whk::h, dll.e [ising waters of [he Nne come. This must have been tbe source of 11 fe--of dle earrhly k:i nd in :anY' even t. We know they ,olD:ig"" inaUy faced seuth hecause the Egyptian. WOld for north meant "back ofdle h!~;;}cd.;' whHe rhose for east and wesr are ~~~Iefe' and ~rwghf' roe~p'ec[wvdy. In ~:ailier 'l::]mesr~is «aitls[!I'i1CH'l,a'r~on'" became at true orienta, .. , lion wh!en, with the increase of the importance of [he sun in E~p~ian cultic lifeJ the ritual direction was changed to tbe east, The s~hu cult we appare;ndy developed in 'the NHedeha!, and sp read rhmughour the ,country when (he north conquered rhe 801JJ[h. af,(l'U~d. 29500 a,e,g,

The. Egypthul cosmology lsimpressive by irs apparendy primirive nature. Absnace principles lJjpon which the cOcSmo~ogy is basled are oftefl. obscured by the multi pHdI.')( of external ~mag¢.5 olI,rui. [he muralbmo/ of those im:ag"es., The basic cosmological principles of '[he ~ID'ptians !hinged .on their desire for symmetry and. their. sense that s.pa:ce·was ilmltwi. In ies .~imp[~t form the. Eg-yp,dan cosmos appeared as shown jill fig:u.rur,e B 01] p, 63.






Nut is the Sky O~ vauk of hea ven, She ]s bdd tru.p by f-ou II" columns Or' pinus in the fotlr cardinal dieeetioas. These -are someil:iffles eqU3.1COO wrndl tcham-soepre.lI"s. (See the dlscussion of the god Set on page 89'.) Shu is the Spaoe betvleen the Sky and. the Eanh(Geb}. Geb is a flat: pl~.in-which~s Egypt wirhthe NHerunning through irs middle, Around [he edges .of" dlJJis plate the land Is hmy or mouneainous. These are the 60rdgn lands olJtside Egypt. This who]e ,pla:~e of land floars .0,1] a. pfhueval water-mass-e-Nan. Below [his ~s a realm called (he Dar: or DlLDI:.u: the «U ndenvorld,."it: is into the D uar [hal the Sun descends nighdy~and m[ ~s bUOldlJIS p~aGe [halt the souls of:r.he dead, also descend.

The' qU1e-s[jon of rhe "locarion" of (~e' "Underworld" is: a probIemaric one, mill the lUOS[ ancient limes rhis rerum was iden6fied w]dl the northeenperr ,o·f the 11.wght sky-where rhe stars "know 11:0 desrruerion." This: refees to the drC1Lailllpo],ar sears which are .alw~ys in the sky and. never dip below the ]'1or~:ro:l1. T~e Dua[ cornainsthe "FieM of Reeds" and. rhe ~~F~e1d. of Offu:r.i.ngs» whew:,e tbe d.ead. may live eternally as an a.k:h~. "effecel ve spirir." bID later rimes: rhe location ofr.he enrrywl3iY to the Dual sh[fced fr'Om the north eothe west.

An. a~te:r.na;te speda~. anange:menr s'Ugges'[led by some texts is shawn in figu[le 8 on p.63. Here d~.e Sun iiWSC:5~n theeast af~er renewing, itself in the waters of Nun, mIL then [ravels below 'the vault of heaven in the under~kl' (;ujjet)~~h.ough~ of as polished mee.duntil lc ~pn dips [0,(0 the watery realm only to rise along the outside of the inner phue. mil: is the Suns ligb[ oom~ng duo ugh - the ~.ole,) ill



West' I



che plate rhar accounts for the ng~n of the fixed s[ars.The FIeld of Roods lies in the east ~n the Duar where dle SitlD ]5 reborn each day, and rhe Field ofO:ffer~Jl.gs: (Het~p) lies ~n 'the Wiest ~n [mentet;

- ~

'Hermetic Cosmology

Hermetieeosmology is an o'r]g~n:al and. mu][ifaceted mosaic of cosmo~og~es drawn from Hellenic phjlosc p~ies (suc~ as [hose of Plalo andArjs~orJie). HellenisricSmlcism and Noo-P~amfllism, as. well as lu~ dak and, Egyptia.n myt~o]:og~es: and. reHgkms;[n.dido~s. There isno



one single Hermetic ,co-smo~ogyi just as there is ]10 one single Gnos,dc ccsmolegyTbere Ollie only iudhddual cosmologies revealed by individual Hermetic teachers through texts [her wrote, In order eo understand fnJI~y the Hermetic ,c:()Smo~!ogy=a.ndJ uJ['ima~.ely (he ;anrlhmpoJogyand. theology as well=-you must do several fh~DgS. First you mnJJS[ read and smdy a w~&e number of ~nd.ivjdual Hermetic teachings, The systems contained in the Corpw .Hemu,t£ot:m11 should. be stud.~ed,~ as wellas the docreines of the Neo-Plateaises, Seoics.and especially rhose of [he Gnostks. Next these doctrines must beacti·, mted[;hwugh the higbesr forms of operative work of which you are capsble, After this has been done fur some cime;~us~aUy ;3, period of several ~::;IJ'S""-y'()U must begin to create yOl.llr own personalised doctrine based upon your ope:rn[~ve and experiential work. Then, and.

] L ill ,. cl J1' ~!' h 'll ill

on~y tnen, tan you I~egm 1[(1; tea _1I yQ\i1i.r goctrme-"'3i.nl;.!. LerellJy[l!u~y

undesseand ~t yourself.

The: p:l"][ld,paJd.em,~.Il~ ,ofa Hermetic cosmo~ogy ean be de,r,~vloo, fro]1I1, th.e material aJread:y 1I'J:l:l:v[ded in. thi~ chapter, However, wider study lS nelOfs .. '\}ary for fiJrcher progress. Other cosmologies can he accepeed or adopred b:;v the postmodern Hermetic. The w.thnate aim is the creacion ofYO!J.J!r own oo:s:mQ~ogy based on a,pru:t~cularsyrH.~esis of component dements .. Fromall objective evidence rhis eclectic 00:5- mological creariviry is one common denomh1l:aroramong all qsc:h.OO~!l~ of Her me deism in aftld~:Iltr.ime:s:, 'The ~~~o,~ to !be dl~wo f:rom this :fac[ wHl he left £0·[ you to fOD.der.

First Part of an Epistle from. Abaris to Ammonius

(Tr - ,,-,e·l· t ,d'- c¥ '1: " ." Unkr "'1 ,.- 'Iongue)

. ' .. ,ams. ,a._.e __ .Ilium I,D .~.Il Ilown .1..0D,D _.


1, In (he name of the first born son of Chaos, who is Inrellig~ncej, I gree'[ thee from (he land of eternal day~:

2.. Tho!l1has( as[;ed ofmq co set down in words my Knowledg;e of tbe origins ·ofthe ordfflng~ of the world .. Herein ate my thou,gh[S perfecdy concealed, It is fo·l' rhee to reveal and. open them,

,3.Whart[hou readesr here is bur a. conrlmtarlon ofwha:[ rhou hast kamed while [h01JJJ didst dwell wieh me ~ong ~go.


I.. Before time hegi.iin and before NalU[,e; moved upon the b,oe of ehe void, God.-the M ind~dw"Ch in darkness and solitlldej as an egg i~ spa,ce was the M.~nd,

2. Eventhe Mind. knew floch]ng,; for there was mLo1rh~ng Intel~i:gible. Bun ar once duo: .. Mi~& d~ough[ [he fi rst Th.ough(~nd ~hen [he.re were !:'WO. Between theserN~~:he: .Mind, wino is the bricile;groom. and. his bride, who is his Thought" and whose .Hps d[~p wirh honey because she ~:s w1se~.Jd an ~meUlgent llh]ng$ come to be.

3 .. In rhelr bliss the Mind .. ind his Thought. who. dweir with ~i.m, hrought forth my:dad Qffiprjng~thoMgh they mew them 11Iot, Prom me honey sweet lips of Soph.ia, as the Thoughr of Mind irs caHedlio,day~ sprang f:6rdl an eternity .of circles, each one: smaller and less; like her than the proced..lng one.

4. Though s:beKnew not wbat she did. her creations gave her gr,ea:c pleasure,



5. Thuswere hom '[he Arrcht:iHs, and. rhelr Aiorns:!, wh~(.h ~hey govern. and, 'WYolltt"ch over and g~~rd w~th Fer'OclfY.

,6. Bur when her creative pleasure had passed, tber't was born i~ her a burning desire: ro Knew what ~a:Y' beyond.

7, This desirewas bequeathed to her by her brmdegroom on their wedding nig~t. This W;l!S his firs [ gift, but ~is last wit] be ehe eevelatien she receiveswben th,ey are reunitedl ..

8,. Gill-cd whh her biIiJr,nilllg desire to Know; she set ,o"ff irDJ[Q, ~he created realms. As she entered each of 'the succeeding ,Ailion.s which had issued from her own lips, she expected 'to find. the bliss ,she had kt~.ownwj~h her h[wdegf\oom~u[ found only na~ n. and sorrewas s~e was violated and caused to suffecrar the


hands of each <of dD:.e An:];ll:ins. W~th each of hell: violaeions, the

Ai,an w]-ru~rein she dwele was .flned. with creatures :and given. shape and form. When her vlolanon was complete in one ruont 5111: was passed. on to rhe nat bdow.

9.& she feU below rhe realm ohhe Ai6nsshe reached the oenter of ;aU wherein there shimmered a beay,enly water, In this waeer was reflected [he ~ma:ge of rhe r,ealm above, whence it carne, In [lib; vastness dwdl twelve creatureswho gird Iii: f:Jtom withQl,Il!t ~nd t"Wd.v~ wh.Q anchor ir fromwi~hii1, An.d rhe second t'Wd.ve are seven and. five in number,

~O. While on t~.e earth Sophia wok utpO]]! herself a body~ dta[ she mi,ghc come to Know the wa.ys of'the earth. Bm: O.l1 earth it was Hn~e dWferenl from [he way it 'was among. [he .ru.om. And in, the earth, creatures were brought forth fr-om.lher v~o]a(.ions.

11. .r-demory ofher hrid.eg~om had all lIMit faded from her mem:," .... ~!~ wL~'r:1L,-, t, - d ofrur4le iml"i. aetedto her ... hild .,--,' ... lk.,-F thev

orr . .w.;I!u.~ ,. n.<1~ sue ,ua _ _'!!', ~ r--~L !.Y u_~, y~_ ren l~~,~a .. " __ ~I

might be instilled wIdTh some measure ofhis gift of desire.

12., And ehus 'W~S the cosmos and. 'the eawilrh in. irs ,m~ds[ made Gomp~e(e duough [he suf&rings o.f the Fin!: Thoughr.

m3 .. Now~ I could tdl thee of the search of .Mind. fo[, his Thought, and how he quested alter her duol'!gh I[he erernities of tbe ages. bur r[ha [ rn ust wah ,fa r another d~,y,


1. Today w~al[ thoumuse learn, however, isthe sharpe of [he cosmos as i r istoday ..

.2., The realm of Earcl1" where thou. d~U,e.sI[ now~ consists of foul base elements, These are Earth, Wa~e:r~ Ajf~ and Fire. A fli~!h> Aether, connects rhesero 'tli1.e realms above and to the hea:Vicnly f(HrfflS of the base dements.

3. Below the Earth ~ie the. Infern;at 0[' nether,. regk:l:I1rs whe'rein Chaos ~~i]l reigns and. TyphBn is king. There are tbree cl1thonk. r,edms: Hades, Ereb os, and Tarteres,

4.. BllDicabO'Vt'!: ehe Earth strerches a gf€:ar expanse (If Air, ~n til is:

Air dweU an manner of daim6ns. Ar [he outermostreaches of (he Aerial realm ,[he Eanh is wreathed by a halo of Aerher ,and in this dwells a bost of 365 da~.mo'ns ..

5,. Beyo.nd d.'le Aerl1etialteilm sureoundlngthe Eanh arc' seven circles, each Ot'll.€: 01J.~ rside the til." t,

,6. The fin'r ·ofrhesif! is; inhabired by rbe Moon, who iscalled (he Goddess Selene. WI,lOH1, the Romans call Lana ..

7'. Then (here is [he realm of Hermes, or Thorh, whom the' Ro'IDa!lS call Mercury.

,8. Then da.e·re is the realm of AphlJ',od~[&, whom the Romans can Venu.s.

9. Then rhereis th.e realm of the S'Un~ lilli'lO is also .I.<nown. as' Helio.s or ReI and.w~om rh.eRoman.s call Sol

10. Then, thereis the realm of Ares, whom rhe Romsns call Mars,




1 L Then there Is [he realm of Zeus, or Anuno:n:" whom (he Romaas call Jupher~

12. T~en [here ls the realm of KrOflOS, whom rhe Romans call Saturn.

m.3. .Beyond. t11c reaches of Satm:n ~ie the gaxeways to the SQr pernal regions beyoad, These ate ehe ewelve living crearures of Zodiscus who rule over (he realms be~.ow.

~. 4., En'[ of the stars thereare nO~H;: more lPowelfu~ than those we call ehe Immortals, W]1:0 never know deadt Of decay. These are the eternal ones of [he Northern heaven) wherein dwells the Ageless b]n~Hi~nce.

'~5. There arc mal'Jiyg~tewa1s:to[llil,e superna] regions wherein dwells the innnicy ofAiOns.

16. Each Ai6n is ruled !by an Archo]l and! each is aaexpression ofa Word which issued ,fro~n the fi.rstWorcl. uttered by God, the Mind~ wffilliclh was an emhodimenr ofhts First Thought, and who remains hidden ftom hi m UJ:;Jj'd~ he is able to find. her in the nether ,regio~.


1. Thi~ is all I have to say at ehis rane ,concerning ehe shape and nature of the wOIr~d.

'2-' 'S·· - ek.th - M-·· ' .. ,', c • ,-~ ". - ee . , t!!lie _ . _YSiEenes.

The theories of cosJ,no~'ogy are essential 1[:0 true pmg-;ress DR the arr and science of mageiaee tbeurgy. Such theories act: as a framewerk Em: magical operarions which in rurnrefine the "mere theories" into n-uet1ea.chi.J1g.s-,dox~b<1l£oo em experieace and. teal KnQwledge (gn',osis) .

Nfany anclent Hermetics mrdy indu~ged~n ope[[;a~ive maglc--but u-heyaH practicedan ab-suact.ed form of mageia nev,e~~h~~es$. Srm. others ~v<ol!!1~d. to apo~n[afrer whiCh they no longer needed to ~n"'



dll~ge in operariveworkings, In. both case's what was eventuaillly prac~ tked. was a, pure form of m~ge~a ]n which the indiv]d~a[ suh~octive un iverse=-the not~irecdy en rered into, 'and worked its will (the/ema) tlpon~ thegreater .'iubjecdve universe: tth~ N()'tlS.

The olig~naJ. magical papyrru are fun ofreferencesUlo cosmological models which indicate (he magicians recorai,[l,g 'the operations were ]n'l:~,ma1!dy fami][ar wh:h complex lmages of tfD:e world. A complete :analysis O'f the cosmolog;ical references ~n. the ancient papyri 'WOuld. reveal ~nter.e~(ing results, Such mysteries should! be i:etirrIlC) 'file ~lldhdd!!tal to discover, Froman operative viewpoinr it is most ~mpona.m[o understand thatthe earthand ,ean:My ~ife is the focal point of Hermetic m~g,eja. Influences are cn]efly drawn from gpds~ daimSm~ 01' angels dwelling in rhede.merJJl:5....-Ea.rdTh~ W:a[~rjAlirl Fire, and Aether-as well as in the heavens or bdow the earrh in the chIh.onic realms, There are rur'the:r powe:rs (Gk. ouva~"c;) ,th;a[ are informed inrhese spheres from which magicians can draw both know~!5dge and personal power if rhey understand how to gain. access ... - the ~ e snheres

.. 0 " ~~ .... "1'" - '--'


Hellenistle Anthropology

Ahhough other anchropologies may abo be ~n:lportant [0 [h;,e; total nnderstanding of Hermetic teachings, it is d,e:;JJ,:dy tha:rr of the Gr~eb: which gives us tlle grearesrinsight into [he magical system of the papyri, as wd.~ as being the oae with rhe mO'S[ profound Unksm our awn ways efthirsking maay. The link is provided by

, mo thhllgs., First, dle ancient Greek system W.'l linked 'm~ our own by reason (If dl,eir. P rimeval idlell,'rii[y. The [angu;:i,ge of the Greeks and

'~hart which w,e speak [(Iday were 0111iCe 01U. TMs: PWt(l~~:ll.nguage is called Iado-European hy (he academics~(ho~gh i[ has been caned. IliAryan!1 by the more romantic. (ActuaHy "Atyart' o.nly refersto the eastern branch ofthe Indo-European farnHy a,nd rechnicslly has fiottMng [(]I do w.id\ the European [radkion exceptrhrcugh later ]flflw!cnces.) MsQ. alink is prooV~ded. by d~.e widespread, bursecoadary, Hellenizatian oJ 0 II rowntechn katl. jargon, Most of 0 ur "scienrific" t~rmi]]o~ogy for dllmlgs to do wkh physirJ/og} or psychology are dedv,ed u~dm:llr,ely from Greek (us'lJaUy through a learned Latin. inEerm,e;d.iary} .

The ancient Greek term for the whole human being was an.tlJ'ropo:$. This included (he complex psychic structures together w]dl! me' natural physical parts. Tbese physical cempeneurs W~f,e caned either .denu!S~ w~idl meenr the framewoek ofauaromieal structure of m('!' body, or SQmdj which Is more narrowly confined ta die' material substaace. Sonul iii also the word used for the li ~dess corpse,

The wide~y used eerm far t~e sou]! p$]Chi. odginaUyhada. very spedfk" ifbroad, meaning, The p;-!1ch~oou1d be: ca!Ued rh>e active form o.f~he person. ~t is; dlJ<:; l~ft-fo~c'e capaMe o:f bel~gS!ep;,l::r~ued from the body byde:llr~ (orthrough magical techniqm:os). It can exist ia Hades or Tanaroo and be reborn. The psychi is the~'.shaidell or disembodied "s:piri{' which call survive death. It is, however, particularro each indivjd:ua[~dlOUgh it can ,alm be raised to dl£ level of a. god (them) or daimo~ (daimQn).

Most characteristic of the ~:lld.(I-European. psydlol,o:gy is a strucEtH;al d!~scinctruo~b{';nv:eena. cegnirive or intellective aJ.n:d at refl~c[hi',e or emoriveaspect ofthe mind. (This ls no doubc an intul~iYie~ "pre-scient ifk" realization ,of [he dichotomy of flUllCtlO.ilS

M.agfiais [he an of effecti¥e~y eocpr-essing the wHl of the individual ~]] [he workll" But what is the true nature of the i.ndivwdu.d! of the .seH~ ·of Ma:n:-th:e Anth,:(jpoi: Theal1swers to these quescioesare essential in. the pracrice of Henneeicmageia, This is because the developmenr or rransformatien of rhe se1f must occurintandem wlth [he increase in p~fsonaill technical pcwer, The lnagjcian. must have an und.erstanding ofwhat makes up the human b(~]il'1g (Ant.hrcopoJ)~ as well as what ma~ u.p the world. (Kos1rlos) ttl order to know how to pcactice magel~l.

Whaj[ I speak 0.£ here isanactual ,r;J'rI"thmpoJogy--.a.l1 understandLng of the nature of the whole human belng, Wh::l[~ in mdo:lJ.y's terms, ,[night be oons.id.eredl <1J combination 0'£ physlo~.Q:gy (body) -al1d~y. chok.lgy (mind, soul, and spirjr),.AJJd'DJDugh the mosr ancient Greeks seemto ~ave had an insrinctual Ul'llde:r.sr:,u'JIding of the distincticn between psyche (SOllll) and physis (nature); rhis dichotomy was less well understoed by the .Egypt~ans and other sy'S[elDS of the east, Diflierenr cultures have h~d d~fferent ideas abOll.l what if is :ro be: a. human being.

,But w~.eth.er Hdlen.i.sric., .Eg;ypt~an, ortraditionel Juda.ical-:Ilb:ro[po]ogy WS behlg considered, the system indicstes a much more dermiled and. precise set of terms for '[he make-up of :['he(Qt:a~ human b.eing than is commonlyavailable in modern ter~n.s., Th is ]s due-to the ,ract rhat [he ancien rs were more fam Hi:arand ~min1.ate with these parts ofthemsdves. II is thia understanding (h3![ we seek. co "mlecover in the study of ancientanrhropologies,

A.'S elsewhere in (he' Hermetic traditien, Hermetic a.nthropo]ogy is e~lecdc and drawn frm]1 sources we have leernedtc espect by ~ow:

Hellen is tic phHoSiO phiesand rd.[gions" Gnostidsm." J Mdak tea.chwngs~ and .. E,gypejan religious rradi dons. kld. agsin the would-be .FoUorwer of the postmodern Hermetic path must drin k ,dele.piy (:rOll) these sources and even tll"HI.Uy create a personal syl!ldles~.s from those eJe~' ments.





'the physical heart; while lr may also sim.ply mean the innermost essence 0 r core 0 f the person.

The MiSe C1f the term pneum:a, breath, to mean. anYl'.hing; bur the phys~o~ogjcru, process of respiration carne only with lud:eo~Chr~st~an in~uence in the latest Hellenisticperiod, Ultimately it is 3. translation ,ofthe idea of the Hebrew ruab. Otherwise its meaning ~s contained wn the Greek p!JCh-i and ,thymo1.

Of tremendous i nteresr to magicians is the idea of the ,daimo~.

A ,daimon is ess,entia:H}, a demigod or quasi-divinity of good or evil propensities, which can, through [he applicarlon of magical tech-

- -

niqaes, become anached ro an rundividu:al Theindividual can, by an,

act ,ofw~]L assimilate h.hnsd:f Of' herself to the essence of a daimfm and assume its POWC:l1l as h.is Of her: own. The psych!! of an individual can. be raised ro [he leve of a diJimon after physical death-s-or conversely l[he psyche and the pre-existing daimOt2' can become fused during the H6e of an jndividu31L The Jaima,~ and its relationship to [he relared concepts of the a~geloJ and tbeos win be d iscussed in. the next chapter .

. A conceptual 5nUC[Ure of [he Hdlen~s'rk soul, is shown in figure 9 on p, 72.

Egypltian Anthropology

usuaUy explained il:oday in 'terms of the left and right hemispheres of the hrain.) The ancient Greeks uSIJ,aUy called (he emotive Of vi .. ~:aHs.tic aspect '[~,e thymos. This: word comes ffQ·m ~ eooe-word mean! WDig "t~) SlO<UJ'lI ~ iI:'~g,e ,or. rush .. Oil It is 0 ri,g:i,[! ~Uy the scat of vi tali tyl' desire', afllge:r~ courageand so on .. The ancient writers would never think ofthe thymos as beiag in Hades. It is vitally connected eo Hfe in chis world, The other aspelC[ of rhe mind is called the noes. Its: mental and. intellectual character made it more preminene in the language of philosophical writers of all naditions .. The not« Iconta.lns 'the intellectua] forms and suuctur:es o.fdlOU.gh[ and ihe power of memory I(mneme). Later philosophers, used [he' [,erm.sphrenes (senses), ori.ginaUypractkaUy a. syn.onym for nom: meaning reason. Both the thymos and the 'lOUt have traditionally been locarr0d inthe "heart" (kar.dia) of the individual. Some have taken this to mean

Concepts of the ancient Egyprian psychosomatic complex have been included in a w~de var~ery ofocc'iJh:-o/pe lireraeure for well over 100 y;ears now .. Mudl. of it has suffered, from '(\'/,i'O u:cndenc.ies often found in suchlieerarure-e-ir has been cut-of-date andoue-of-rouch with me most recent Egyptology;, and it has often tended [0 project onto :Egyp![tan evidence concepts already familiar to whatever occult school the author happened to' belong, To the theosophist! the Egyp'ti~n conceprs looked. "remarkably theosophical," and so on. In facr, the Egypcians looked at themselves and rhe world around them in a unique way. The post111od.em. Hermeric should try to un.delsCandthis vi~W!pO~llf ss m uch as possible'.from w.ithin itself.

There are many aspects of Egypdall anthropology thar might seem strange to the modern European mind. The degree to which


the individual person on]y had meaning in die context of the :,mda:l.~!! just one of these. It was not um:~l ehe 18th dynMry (a,round 15001 1lo.C.E.) that the w,o.rd. £0'[ human being:,remdcfJ' (rml)~ wasused ~Jl a singu]ar sense-s-ir P'["eviOliS~y appeared only in. the collective r.~m.etr:h,rt (inntu). (Forms [~ parentheses :r,efe:!: to phonetic values of MerQoo g~fphk characters., See Table m.page ~Oft) Also the degree to whIch rhe- Egyp'l:~a~s did. not recognize 11 dkhQ[omy beeween the bo,dy and the 5'o~u~(d is remarkable, This is whYl:h!!y dl0Ug~)[ i[ so lmponant for the furI,][ce of the soulto keep [he p~yska1 body preserved III the

f 'fi'

.~ -: ,~--,~ ',' I "'~i' II' ,. 1-> I '1''-' - -I'

process (1) mumsru icanon,

Egyptian ~Ullhropo]o,gY' consis ts of three grea[ (areS(H:ies=~}[e eerperealself ~he social self.ul,drhe p'!'iyc~kse~f~ Theseare dna: parrn ofa who~.~w.!hjJdl is most idelldfiJed with the physical or corporeal s~l£ [~e 1;4 o:n. This word eauld alse mean "body," as eeuld the wordsdjet (dr).~ h1m'Uf(~m,n, Of het(hc), The djet also meansthe "inner s~lf:'~ while bemif is used only of gud.sand kings .. He« ~s(he most fphyskaro.f ~d1 the terms as h: is alsoused of animals and even of'planrs. b reaHy medius me '"'beJ]y." The regjon efthe abdomen was thought of 2.S the Seat ·ofd~e affoctl'!i O.!i instincts by the ancient Egyp(i~ns-arrld [he place wher-e ma:g~c;;]:l power '(heka) was stored. A.U of these terms IJldi~catea.n '~:ndrely physkll~ state ofbdng~ :aU ofwhich would also be [hou,g,]1H; to be "psrchQ]!ogka,r~ byche modern. Earepean mind.

The nrter lack of [he body/mind or imag,elliealh:y d.icho~omy gives rise to the idea ~ha[ d1.C: inl;ag,e: or shape ofa. pre:rson hasa detertninadve effec(().n the sou~-espe:daUyin the ah:ef'"Hfe. The mesrimponam: aspect of the ~mage is the face .. This IS wilily the sarcophagal images portray the shape ·of elle bodly indis.tincdy" while concentraringwith great[ deteil on [he :reatlJ.res of d~e: face. This ,~saJs!Qwhy the Egypda[D;s PUt so much emphasis ,O'rt cosmetics. The 'very word "cosmetic" really means "to arrange or order (prope'rly) ,,»r.h;at~s~ "te make in ~he~mage of the world. (kos1'fl(};s).'" This. like so maayeeher Egyptisn terms, walt) translated inro [he Gr,eek langMa:ge. W1l1en [he EgylP~' tians applied! cosmetics to their faces, they were acmaUy creating immortal images within rheir Ibei.ngs. mndwvjdta.alcha[:~u:::te:rjgdc:s were m.i1'Jl~mized in favor of a sty~h.u.io[]J of the self as an <lrcihe'rypal h u man '. h . -,

Jmage £: :"ii:,[ was unmertat.


Another exsernalaspecr is [!he "shadow/, caUed ~n Egypdarn the k/taib,et or shut (h.3 j bt or shwt). Th is is rhe~ app earance or image. of 'rhe pe:r~on as a. wJ~lo]!e, bu~ is: sometimes equ,aJ[od, with [he physical body

Illlf Hfeless corpse ]tsdf. _

Two pdncip~es g1Qvemedthe social sdf.-fuvor (bt~l;t) and right~orde!r (m4~dt). All effons made' hy sndividual selves were thoughrro be Instigated by (he ki]1lg whose I~fa:vor!{l' initiated such efforts. AU actions of indi\i'~dluaLls were seen: in [~e (ootperadveconte:x:t of ma~'dt----a:lld 'by t~.e P ewer 'ofmd-at~ eollecrive action was ~e~ warded, This social aspect ofrhe body-soul was ina decayed seate by the [~me of [he Hellenistic period in Egyp'[~~H1 :hJsmry; The ma:gkal pa'),Ti and the Corptu; H.enneti(;Ul,~ are [est~I.11Q~1:ies ~o the,a$ce~da.ncy' ,of the individual will over the co llectsve will of ancient E;gy[ptia:!1 stad,'Hn,~l II should he nosed dun fr·oml::he earliesttimesthe cause of {~lC Ind.i'!{~d.ual wHl W3,S championed by the god Set (Typhon). Al~~(nlgW1 the ofHdaj CU~( of'See declined in (he latest periods ofEgypc~ Ian history as that of Osiris ascended, the Typh6nian. spid( gained ~o:we[ as foreign phjJos,~)pbica1 and. r,digkll.is schools frolU Gree,ce and the Ease gain~d srr,ength.

The chida organ oftrule "ps;ychic" a.cdviry'-[h~t is. d:ruinking, feding. and soan-e-is the ,ab C"heart). This is: d~e innermosr ,sdfj the:

SJe~i~ ~fkn{)iwled,g~ and mason as wen. as emotion. It is here' tharthe intrinsic cOlThtlic[ ibeMleen[he assertion of the i.ndjvid!uaJ will and the r~ght sense of cooperarion with social complexes is pla:r-ed o~t. The baiarH:e andhannenizi ~g of tbese was [he task of the EgypnaJ1. ab. The outermost .self ],5 embodied inthetongue and is symbolized by the name ren.

Terms IUO'St ftequendy d~scussed as "soul concepts' ::unong. the Egypf.~ansa,re[he' ba (b3) and tiThe !:til (1t3.). In £1([ these are nor nosmally used. hy [he' nvIn,g, person .. ;lr aU~aldloug~ [hey are pfes,e]Th[ in bfe. They only beccme active aft1eraeadl. The' ba is the pl)$'(; mortem body or ~cm~~- -th.e ·~!Hfu in dearh," while (he ia is the «body dO!!lb.[e~ of'the person. The ka Inay~ however, be:act~vated ~n Hferhf.cmgh cermin magkaJ recbaologies,

',l.Fo~ inf1;lrmaltiotl. on ON1~'lJ H"m~.ic~~n, see Waltler Scott, H~rj</~t,tit1, vol ,[ {BI)IJ[:on:. Shamb.hala, 1985:).



Of perhaps g;re.;ue:r importance [0 the magician than these rwo funcdon~ arethe /tlth 03h) and the hekil (hlk3) OF tdehu (3hwJ. The akh isthe ~effec::[~w splrir" W~.iCJl c.'1J11 become inunorral in l!he ~m·~ peti,shab~e reg]ons of [he northern nigh[ sky;, This ]s [he: n:ue po'st

• ,I •• d [ '" , 111 I:. 1:,('" • , , ~II W)' •

m()'rteffl Ulgl'VJ!,_wa, ent]ry., ,d' must possess .fJtlKd ',. n1.aglca~ power ,,' In

~ .' T' h'· . J" h f!l1h 'l] -" th" -)'" li e .I 'b

orUl!~[ to snrvsve, ' ~;s rs seoren U.I. r -eue ']if ~",c& m rsre ana must ae

carefi[aHy gua.rd,ed and protected aJf(f'f dearh. (See figure 'to, The Egypda:n An[.hllo,p0.logy) p.age 76.)

The he/ttt is important to the magjci an both in li re and death.

This force ~s[ha( by which [be creator god Atmn-Re ere • aced the cosmos. ~.r is personified as ~he god Heka=-widaeur whom the other

..lit... 'l 'I d . 'I' L,i~ ·c ''liVI kj, , ~. ,:lll A.

gous tnemseives COil! . net eXlS1!. , t isrne rll$[ wOL, - -a~so cai en

Khunum in [he :Egypcian pan rheon ,. In ] ~ft;; ~1ila:gida]Ths use the heila)

~ :' h II ,~, 'l" ,j" - " ' III-, the' ,"]1, '

atso synonymoili1s wirn nn:em:ag!lca WOfiQ,[O maze rnen wsus po-

l[e11ll(. This is also done through a kind. of charisma 1JJ:sed, toexereise i!PJ;I)]u.ence OV'BI rhe hearts ofmh~r5 .. Words for this emphasize eirherthe idea offear-rl'er,rf. (nrYif).--{)r d1JC idea .of ]ife--mrtn~t (mrwr),

Ir is pe~!hap,s: impossib~e: to understarni, totaUy the Waty in which ,rneEgyptj,ans d~(lug]u of rhemselves and. the woeld aeound rhem. But because ofthe impertance ofpeop~e of Egyptian heri(~;ge in. the Hermetic tradition!'we must ny to bridge the gap 'with :rationally inruitiverools as aril exercise in using these mels, Many Hermetic Egyp~ dans peehaps first exposed as adults [0 Hellenisric phUosophka~ and magical tho!lrugh'~ may have had to exercise .sknHar faculdes (0 grasp the truth by which rhe Hellenized systero..s dlaUe~ged, them, III struggHug with the problems in reverse, we reverse the Row of rirneand recreate their experiences in reaH!iY.

Mysdcal JllIdaic Anthrop'ol,ogy

Alfhough Judaic 'Or Hebraic mytho]ogy and. cheo]ogy played :a, major ro~e in. the development of Hermedc magkaJ and oosmo](Igic~l ~QO~ cepdons, [he mthropo:togy or p1l1ycho:logy of [he ancient Hebrews was reffiatively ~ess imp ortanr, Howeser, because of thevilimHsm pmmor.ed by ehese wOI'Shipper.s of (he Demi1iJr~e (a.sthe Herme'rlCS saw ie)j,the 'OQIl.-



cept of the physic-al breach as a dominant psychic concepcion became widespread .. The more complex psycbo[ogy presenred iLn medieval Kab .. balisric literature is acmaUr dIKctly related to Nee-Platonic psycho~ogy as wen asto the anc]en[ Semitic ~eliefs on [he topk of the sou],

The Z()ht1:r~ compiled by Moses de Leon in 'the 13fh ,oenmry, contains asuccinct discussion oftllte eripartire SOUL'13 The three souls are; the tufosh (vital soul)" the ruah (sp,writ)" and the ,ne'Shamah (mnner soul). Wben 91, persons body dies the nefi-sh remains with h~ perhaps continuing f~r a period as a disembodied soul and even Interacting with [he' ] ~ving., The rtuzh goe's[o, "rhe earthly Ga.rd,en of Eden!') and vests itself'wl,t_h a, new form lriesem~Hng rhe one it had ~n earthly Hfe. Blltt before the ruall can enjoy the delights of the lower Gail:den~ the n.e.sha:m,ah must ascend. and be: reumred with f'dile One: who embraces all sides. :t· Wh.,~n 'dle reunion of the ntlhamah wi rh the One ~s complere, the ruah is crowned in the lower Garden and '[he neftsh rests easy in the g;ra,ve. So then the task is. For rhe .tu'Sh:amah, which has ][,5 origins in the One, [Q be reunited with irs source-s-rhe Holy One, This may invo~V'e some d~fficu~de.s.

The text of the. 2'ol1(lr also indicates a. basis of necromanric ma_gic in die Kabbalistic context when it says tnatw!n.ell'[:he living are rroubled '(hey go to the graves of the dead and awaken '[he Ilefosh which, goes out to activate the r,t;lah, which in rum rouses the parri. arches andthe neshamah which is: united with [he Holy One who chen "has piry" 011 the llving and their woes.

Ruah is d~e soul-breath bseaehed by the Demiurge, Yahwe'h,~ inro the inanimarefosm of Adam, This ~d~ ,of (he brearh bearing 'the divine component in humans is heavUy emphasized in Hebraic lore .e Before contact with [he Semitic teachings, the terms for "bream" In

G . . k t : ,).. L· . ( ... " ) J . _]I J. l If hi ~j

,ree·. \pneuma or .ann . JPt,r.ttus lau nit e or no pSyC.:JC connc-

rations. Ir is equallyclear, however, how much of rhe systemaeic Kabbalisticteachings of [he ZfJharare based on the Neo-Platonic triad of the One" the Derniurgevand the Ail-Soul. Each of the three soulcomponents is, the creation of '[he cerresponding aspect of D~vinhy~ and leach uleiraarely returns '[10 irs creator;,Ml are conceived ofas he.~n,g' one on. a certain ~evel.

I 'Gcfshom Scholem, ed. ZoJJ.'f1r: Tilt B().()/.r alSpk,ndor (New 'York: Schocken, ['949).

Second Part of all. Epistle

," Abari t A .'

:~'I~om . \:arl.s_ o. _mmoluus

A Hermetic A.n'tbrop,o~,ngy


1. I now continue on the topic of the character of 'till! An[h!1'Q~ pOlS. as rhou h an also. asked me to ser down in wo rds my Knowledge of the origi.n.s and character of the Anchrlopos. .Again.j, mythoughts are herein perrecdy concealed, It is for thee 1:'0 reveal and. lopen them ..

2. Know thou that rhe An eh fD pas isa creature of intermediate nature, and can become like unro a creepingvine or Hke unto an angel or god. The key is found in the will of the Anthr6po,$ himsd£


I. Man, or rbe Anrhrepos, ir is said, by some" was creaeed ~n the image (If God. This is indeed. so, but his origin ~s not sin. .. gular, bur manifold,

2. In the Anthroposiscol1l,ained the seed of all possibilities • both physical, and spiritual, In [he Earth are contained aU pb.ysicaJ possibilities, and .8,0 ic is in. the Body of Man, But Ol1.~y the Soul of Man contains the seeds of a11 spiritual POSS]-

L']·'· ,

lUI JtH::S.

~t TMs is so because [he AndlrOpos lS indeed a reflecdon of the ,totality of the Most High, the 0.1(:, the very 'God, who could do .naught else bur create and create he did by means of his'Thought and. his. Word. which is embodied in his Thought.

4. In the Anthrepos were coalesced ehe potential quintessence of [he Most High, but thw$ quintessenee can nor be realized un,less it receives Impetus from '\IV]thin (he crearere=-whereupon he bears the Worx:l[,





.~ . The .Body of Man is [he focus 0 f (~e pediect .rdlecti,on of the essence ()f the Cosmos, of the unlversal ordering of [he Wodd,

2.. Man need noe study the' CoSll1l0S to learn its secrets, but by smdy~ng the Body [0 which his Soul ~s for a time wedded, he shaU be'ahle to Know the My5~eries: ofnatllUe.

3. The Soul is wedded to [be Body naw and ~gaifllfo]' ~ purpose. Th:a[ lP~rpose i'S eevelaricn,

4. In the Body [here is; a ii:yste,m, of hidden affinides Of' correspondeaces, and. between certain Bodies there are other hidden affini(~esand correspondences. So i:u: ~s in the la:rger COS,lUOO. By Knowing rhine own lody~ rhou canse Know the Cosmos.

5. FOil: as 1 t has been said: "That wh ich ws abcve is like unto d~a[ which ],51 be~oVl.,'~

6. In the same \Va)'. the AlIlthropo.c;, !being endowed with a Soul~ whkho!!iginates ,in chose realms beY0fi.dj 'th.e :physi(-aii!J!nj~ v'e:!$le. and from beycnd [he stars, can come to Know the realm ,of the Spirit' and, the Aed:l.e[ia~. realms beyond the Earth by ,coming to Know his own Sou],

7.BliIIt befor.e it can be Known, i( must be discovered,

8., HaY~ng been discovered, h can. :now become the object of the inqui ry ofdle Will of [he A..ndu,opos.


1. %ax the Soulcomes to Know depends entlrelyon the innate eharacrer of that Soul and. (he]1wlu~,t ~heWiH ofthar Sou] undertakes eoculrlvate the seeds which are found ~.n that character,

2" If tb.ey (cHow thd r apperites, a:nd are no diJ,lng b 11~ Creal ures of NauJre, ::lind. donaught else wwth their Lives than. consume and excrete, be that f{lod.~ money~ or effon~ [hey w.ill be linle else than plal1lts,or .3,[ best eanbworms.

3. If [hey folLow their senses, and are noth~ng b1lJt Creatures of Naru:re) and do naught else with theil' Livesthan grad:fY their 6.ve physical senses, fo].low~ng pleasure and ayoidingpi;;lm~ they will be ~iu·.le: else than beasts of ehe field. Perhaps therein dley shall beeome aJS noMe as a. hound or ea:gle'_bu~r they shall :".0'[ be Human.

4. lf~ howeve:r" t~e:y applythe ur~ona[hyo.f rheir Souls and by means of rheirown effiJ·ns rise above the ap p eeires and beyond th,e senses=-to them :l! greatM'ys~e.l:Y shall be revealed, For they will have: become: truly Human, and] wm come (0 underscand th.ek connectionswith the eealmabove.

5 .. But yet greater Mystery will be revealedtc those who learn hOWD;:o cultivate the seeds of divin ~rywhk!h are innate ] n the Soul of the fleer of the Earth .. Such seeds are culrivared by e-xercising d1:e £acul~y of magic. the a:biHry to me Knowledg,e rro alrer the nature of tile So u l, or to' aher (he order of' nature SU.rrounding the Soul.

6 .. Upon the death. o.f[heBody, h returns whence lt came and becomes one with Nature once more,

7. TMs will also be true of chose Souls which hru\l~ beencons'l.uned by '[heir own appetites or which have been imprisened by their own lllusienary existence in rberealm 'Q'( ]~,ag;e~ pre .. sen ted. to their senses in. Hfe:.

8. B,~(' for those who haveapplied their rational facuhie,s) somepart ofd:lie][' Soub may iud.,eed. survive, I[ho'l,~gh ,they will by rowe of Neoessity fOIg,et aU which they have learned hlJ




Life, on~y~() return to Life'and, in dme go beyond the gifts of rhe rational Soul roascend (0 the realm of the ,da~ mons and acngek

9. Only those who have in LiCe exercised the fucu]ty of the divine, and themselves become: as one with an a:nge.l Qrda.im.on will he. ableto d:fink of~:rteWarel~ ofMemmy and~dH~]leby retain mar 'which d'ruey have learnedand devdoperl of the divine In the rime of Li6e~ when. [he SOld was wedded to fhe Body,

In :the Hermetic rnagic of the papyr.] we find i[V{O kinds of exrernal ,em~:tj¢$ the rn;a,gidan ronstandy dl~aJ:1lwj~h; divh'l[~~es and d,aimo]lls. A ~od or g,oddess (Gk. BEO~. or ega.) is an ,emiqr of a transcendent narure, They are USlUl]Jy drawn from one of [he major national r,eHg]ou;s m:ytho]o,gies: of the eastern Med~teJ'rai1lieaD-Greek~ Egypdal1.~ He-

brew, or Mescpotamsan. ~ .

The daimofJJ (Gk. SUtjl{ov) pl. O(u.j:JOV'TlI~) also later caned Jaimdni().n (p~ .. Jl1imiJnia) is a being ~betweefJJ the gods an.d.lulrna]jiuy. To the ancient Greeks, dai.mons GO uld be ei ther helpful and geed ((be agt1Jh()dttim~n) or maleficenr and evil (the /utiuu:iiJimiJl,t).. The for-

m" - ·m·· ;'gh' ··f I . b . £: . _l ' ~!~ 11 ,~t I G'· . ~"., 'IL • LJ1b

• _ ... r . ,.. .r 0 ... alle .. e n.':.'erreumasan, ange]. ,Jl.n. '" . ·r~eK. (F:I ~.S WOURlI.e

a;fYSAo~. which . is s~mply Gr~ek for "messenger," The .angeles was rile mesgen.ger. of a god or [he gocilis~a thing which is ,ess-enda[1y thencdve age'nt of the wiH of God or a god.

Hermetic rheology po-siesa number OfqUfSt:ions er problems for d:DJ.e student (0 solve. What is a god? Is there :Qn~y One.or are there many? By what: names are the godsto be ca][ed.? The mOSI[ philosophical branches of the 'tl:"~djdon may pmvid.e one sec o.f answers, whHe:dle more magical branch seems W give quite diffell:ent ones .. This is .no[ unusual in. CQ,rn.plex traditions with long his[O'r~es,. The gods are eha m!c:rer~zed by .Mind .. Consisreacy and. regularity· can on[y be expected in Nature .. Therefore it is ]lJJOt even necessary fOI your M~nd to hoM Inre.m~u.y consisrent views on such questions=-although you m~y strive for su!ch ~ f you wish.

Phdesophical Hermeticism holds that the gods are creations of tih.e ~miversaJl ,M~nd or Inrelligence (N(l~~tJ) andare in faa abstract nmc", dons orallchet:ypes or relative Being;. This is the [(lOi[ cause o.fthe happy sense of eclecticism in the Hermetic tradition a. 111. re~l]ty the various gods and g~ddes.ses of national (natural) trncl~tiofD.s are mere images of real :areheqrpeswhkh in &'cc e;ds~ beyond their sensible iml3Jges. This is why~ to [he ~_i,ghly iuidare-d Hermetic, there is no redl differ,efta:': herw.eenl Thoth and Hermes) &eand Hellos, or Set and ryph&n.


But [q practical-minded magicians~ the ima:ges can not be dispensed with JILtS[ beeause 'they arequ~i-,mus~on$, Magici,ms must jnspire and motivate '[heir own psyche.s to effecdv·e acricn. In the' ,ear]y

f· ,.. b •. ., . ~I]' ibl

sil.Cage's I) . uunanon 8MC . motsvanon rs Vlrtll!lfu y Impossi···.we 'W accem-

pUsh with absrract philooQphical jargon .a T~lJJe sOlDJI is stirred to action by myth and poetry:, This is why rhe magkal for,nltwlas are usually based on. myrhic undersrandiags, This pracdcal S[:3Jge may not be dis-

JIl+'1 .JIL·· f d lLI .

penseewit l-aflu I:n15 ]sa. gil:'cat 'secret (I' POS[fflo.:..ernr:_e:rmec.!:c

Mo~n of the ~na;o[' divinities of [he Egyprian panrheon make reg;ulara.pp,eaJiilrices in the: ~ndenr magical pa:pyri~ Thoth, Osiris" Isis, Horus, Sec (Jyph6n), and others. Some basic understandlng of who or what these gods and goddesses are and how they migh rfuncden in che Hermetic ma:gicd phU:osophy is essential,

Thoth (---- Hermes)

The Greek (Of m of £1, is gotf's name ]s [he label IIiJ nder whkhr.hewhole eclectic

philosophical and magic~l na.dl£ion of the eastern Medieerranean is found .. lBu( it is ]wkely' [hat wt is wirh [he Egyptian neter that the root of the. rradit ion is ro 'be discovered,

In [he mag;kaJ papyri [he name of Thoth appears in various fO[MS and. spellingst Thljth~ Th(Joth~, ThINnu:h, Thottth~ or Tht:o~~th, Each has its own philosophical power in the: Hellenistic system of operant phonology. The aceual Egypeian form of his name is t!jhuti {1ihwqr} .He is dose~y associated W~dli the MOo]L

In the Hennopolinu:il0(}S.nl0~ogy Thoth is clearly s~own eo be a. god of]nrdHgc.llce and 'Wi~dom. He is the god of wridng and . of the ma:gk of wrking. 3J]1d, of [he spoken word. b is for this reason that rhe p:articnlar fonn of magic represented in the. papyr~ ]s ascribed to h.hn.

T~odl. can act as the Gr~~t God. j n (he nt,e:r~t~IU'C of the magical papyri. His name is found in workings designed to provide release or ]i:berntlon as wdl a5W :reveal hidden rhhilgs. He is often ~nvo~ed in conjunction whh Moon workings and for victory or 'to restrain the anger of othees, In ope.ration42 he isequated wkh Abrasax and caned the "soul of daJikness" (from:a Coptic rirle BainchQQo.cb).



Thetwo most ~mponant [heo~ogicU sys[em,s fOf understanding Hermetic magic are those of rhe Egypr~ans: and the Greeks. As noted elsewhere, in the Hermetic philosophy; focusled on the principLes of whk:h the various ,.go,dsand goddesses are expressions, the differen.oes between various mycho]olgkaI pantheons is seoondary. me is mosr esseatial it.o see beyond the ~magesro [he t1ealiry which lies aboveand

.. L·'


The Hermetic rhooJogy is a synthesis ofdle Egyprian and. G~e.k :sys·tJems wirha s[wng, but :s(:corD.d:a:l:Y~ admi;uulI"e ,ofHe'brak: or Judaic: [heu:rgy. Bue the act ual original devisers of [he Hermetic sy~nhes:is were~ first Emrptians~ who were educaeedaod trained ~n the Hellenis-

" '. Ji" ., TJ ld 'I s: [. .. ~ ,II h ", + 'I.. .•

nc Itr:aw.uon. . ley W01ijj . nave re['!IIiery mtlCf[ :a.'~ .. ome wm~ r~le

Egypr[afi g;oas and. gQd!de-sses~the Greek d~vinirieoS would probably have seemed more u.nivt',rsal and. absrract to (~em~ whHech.e Hebealc gnd would no doubt have seemed qulte m:a:lie:r]alb;tk andconcrete,

The E,gyptia.ll idea ofa !~:go&'!' was itself rather abstract in some respecrs. The Egypdan w-urrl f()r-'~god» is neser (nE:r),[he phJra~ fOflU 1.sneteru fntrw). These neteru seemto have been something 0011 to fAiptirh:ip~.e substances," This is why ~hey could be so easily mixed and combined In the Egyprillu mind, Whereas the G[:edlc .might have &~:sringuished clearly berween the god (theas) and the principle (nrcbl) of whid::t[he god. fn~gh[ be 11 m03J.nifestadon O[ image, dle .E:gypdan rec,ogtrilized no division,

.Re { 'Helios) R~ isthe god ·o.f the Sun, The formula PHRE

occersquire often in [he ancient magieal papyrn-i This ~:S a Hellenized foera of rhe name of [he Egyptian SUI1-god., Re:, whh a definke article attached, meaning therd'Ore"llhe Sun. »Th is is the name of the god In the later periods ofEgypdan histo.ry.

Inanclenr Th;gyptian (heQ~ogy R€isd~e creator god.l, the first of the god.s. He is called AU1JIDJ as 'the serrt~ng Sun and Re at midd.:lI]f. The disk. or better said, theerb, ·ofthe Slit! ]$ called Att:n. (Tlli$ be-




came the fOCliS of the "heretical" monorheis~:ic aberration under Akhnaten between 1377 and 1358 !l.C.E • .) Re i!l de~uly the god of creacivhy and, the'originator ,of motionand change in rhe cosmos. R€ is commonly combined wid)) a wid,e variety {If other g~d=forms and. of~en t:<Jj,u3ted with others .. TWQ of dIe: more no[a,b~e of these combinarions occur in the: piapy:rl.~hera:.1:'U.re wirh AiIr,esonoph.r,e (rhe Sun of A[s]noe~-rhe eil] ·ofCmcodi1es) ana with Helioses (Hel~os,.. Homs],

Mnev1s, which appears in operarions 1.0, and, 4.5 in Pare IV of this book" is drue sacred buH of [he Sun> worsffilipped at Heliopolis, Mnevis is: the GIi,eek form of rh.eem:hy. which the Egyptians rhemselves called Ur-mer; '\vhi.dl .is described as the qlj[e of Rt"

RS! or Ph!:.ie~ as he IJ!!,suaHy appears in the magical ~:apyd~, Wg a sovereign fig;Uft; of cennmizing and general ma:gkal force. Obvio1Jjs~y the ima,_ge of Ra was rehabilieaeed tl~rough later ccntacr wkh the astro-philosophical views of rhe Gre~lks. who viewed Helios as: the sovereign ofheavlen. If'Tboch-Hermes is [he synthesizer of the' Hermetlctradi eion, Re.-.HeHos is 'the symbol of th.e focus of that synrhe-

q]uirecomplere. Odd]y enough, Osh1s was originaHy a forefugn god. i~portedl.f]iom the Semitic world juan eady date, His chjd' function Involved 'the ag:ricuhunu cycles of birtb~ ]i:fe~ dearh, and renewal. In thi::& ca.paci,ty he 0'11,0 hecamea god. of dle Underworldand of the d.e:ll.dl-hiu'lSdf a son of d:e]'f1ied mummy-:..

MagkaUy Osiris Is us!!J31ly c(mne~ted with [be underworld 01 the world of the dead .. The clearest e,xample of how Osjr~iS functions in ehe magical [exes is found in PGM '\1n.429,,-.5,8 (opemriotl.l1umber 4S 1I] this beok). This is an operationtorestraia or banish [hi ngs. There the magk~a:n is rold '[.0 ,engrave his desire on a j~tead p~.a,ce fr-orn, a. cold water ch~Ulll1d'"'al'ildro do this «late In ehe ,evening or in. [he mwdd~e of rhe night," The p~ate is [0 he tied to acord 3]]Jd thrown, intn deep warer, The' text written on the p~a~:e commends the matrer at hand ov~r to Osiris n,~' deal w~[h.

Serapis (Gk.I,apa-1tLC;) is an ~nrere\S'ring, dc:vdopmeurt' ofOsirws.

His name comes fron] the Egyprien Usar-Hapi, 3! combinarion of Osiris and Ap,is-who is the Lunar Bul[ of [he: Wen or o'fthe UmderwnrldJ. Tradition has ir thar Prolemy SO'I::er {305~286 e.c.a) establlshed the worship ofSer3:pis as a. god of'the Underworldwhich both E:gypt~;;ll1JJS and. Greeks could worship in. common.


~lg .•

Osiris if!; the CQIRJUOn rdigion of the Egyptians at the time of

[be wrjdng ofd~e magical pinpyri ~o godwas more important than Osiris. This dominanoe ~s nor reflected in the ancient papyri~ hQ"weveI~ since not only :6Qrdgn gods hut also citViers€: intra-Egyptian religious f~cr[ons--suchas those of Thoth and. See- TYiP~,on - -wereeven more s[rong~y represented ..

The name of Osiris generaUyappea.rs in [he Greek form. in the

.old papyri as Oiiris.lhe actual Egyptian f'Orm of t~e name is U9" ~! (wsyr). Various m3igica~ forms of rhe name, obviQi~~sly derived frmn origjna11y Egyptian wordser phrases, are incorporated as magi/cal formulas or :v,'@ces: magical! in the paJpyrt These include OUSERRAN~ NOUPHTHI eO.siris of the gp,od lUl11:DJe"), OUCHmCOCH~ OUSENARATH, OSORNOUPH,E e05~d;s [be Beaudfu[")~ and OUSERSETEMEN'fH ..

[Ill t~e ancient Egyptian pan[~eon, Osiris ~venmany became a. sou' of '''SUpil:ellll.e god.'" E.U[ this developmenr was dow and never

Isis Isis is another J:d~gMy poplLdar dehy in (he late E.gypdan pe-

riod who. is relacively rarely mentioned in the magjc~Jpa;~ pyrLHer name appearS' jn rhe papyri in the form Isis. One magical p3ipyrus: mentions several of her secret namesas bdraJg: LC?U, LOULOU. IATHARTHAR! 'THARESIBATH ATHlERN'EKLESmCH:, ATHERNEBOUNL EUCHOMO and CHOMOTHt For most ofthe anciene Egyptians Isis wa5(herur greares:r godd~s .. She per.sonrnfw,ed r~e fowe ofHfe and (he feminlne power [0 g~ve: Hfe andto


J~new ~t.

'Perhaps (he most f!l'1eqlW!.e:r!l[ mention of Ish; comes In her connccdo~ with dle black, S"N~th of ,dod1 usedto blll'JJdlfOtld rhe magician for certain wQrn:king/'i. This IS called the "black Isis band," and. was Qf:~gin,aUy supposed m roe eaken f:rom ill clliod] used as drapery on scarues of the goddess.

In operations in. d!its book she is sometimes mentioned in coeneerlcn w~th Osiris. In ()pe:r~ui,o'n number 12-:a general i:nJiyoca:don



{PGM VlI.490-504}-she is connected to the star called $Ot11[8 (the rising ofwhkh slgna~s the annualrising of rhe Nile), ehe Pull MooR, end it is. mentioned rharrhe (~g,at!hos Dajmon permitted herto rule the en till:': Blsek Lsed."

Sekhmet The ~ion-goddes."l Sekhmet makes: only fare appear-

3JlI.0eS In the old. papyri. for example, in operation number 23, of rhis GoUec[~Qn one of her esoteric names, SACHMOUl-JE PAELIOGOTEREENCH~ ap'peiiJIfs. Her main funceion in the ancient Egyp,tia n pan~hecm was that ora gpddess of war, p[ague~"and aggr-e$s~on., Her name is: derived fr.om [he E:gyp[~an word. sekht!fn! power. ~ such her essencewas certainly un,df;[.stOC d by rhe writers of the papyri.,

Horus There were, of'ceurse.rwe disrinet gods in rhe Egypdao pantheon called Ho'ms. One was among the' mosr aneient of rheEgyptisn dei ries: Horus (he EJ]del (Hr'-w.r; ..

The oeher was dnJ.e son of Osiris and Isis: Horus the YOU]'flgel1'. Inthe ]a[Jen period the tv{·o' were jde;ntified~at least by the Osirians, The symbol of both was a fairon.

In the papyri [he name of Horus commonly appears as '.npo~.

Horus the - Eldcrl• 0:1: Gr,e3i.te[~ appears jn.magic;al formulas as AROUER. a, Hermetic eendirion of Hr-a»:

In the ancient Egyptian pantheon thetwo Horus 6guI'es originaHy had. very d.i.fFer.ent fiwnct.i(Hu. The oldeir one, true ro the actual .[D,eaulng of his name, was a. deity of the ~ori1.on and I~C chief god. of [he inhahitan IS of Lower Egypt. Ho rus (he Y OIungerJ son of Isis, seems to ha'll'e been eng~]ldeJ)ed srump[y m avenge [Wle death of his &ether Osirb; who was k:iUed by the E:r:e:rna~ Ser,

Reference-s to Horusa.:re surpr[:llin:g~y rare in [he oM papyrt M:oSI[ ofdu:: timewhen he. ].1 mentioned ir is s,lInply to evokea mythic siu,1jath:m_ in which. he p~aJys:{!,. part~uch as: .~ls fight with Set.

Al.non ( Zeus) The name of Ammon (Egypt~an8. ~ amrj) 0:[

Amen, or Amen:! :appean frequ.endy ]0 the papyr~. There [he name Is IlsuaUy sp,dled Auoov, His name llrigiDlIalJy Indka:res"he who keeps his name hid.-

cJl ~··H 'IL ill b III JIlL IlL ili 'f" reod .

u.e~. ~ .' - _ e was tnQug!lllt to _ e ~e;:ro,nQ! tnt !i11O.Uty O'c men 0'1' g9S co

conceive of him,

Ah:ho~g~ Amon was an anciene god~ he was only oflocal importanee untillarer in .EgyptiaWl. history: He gained ~is greatesr populariry in combination with the Sun-god, Re, ~n [he form of Am.oD.""Re .. Bu.iC his importance in the laeer H,d.lelllisfkage stems from the id.e11.tifica.tiOJl of Zeus with AmIDon. 11111 th..e form of Am.Jn,on dl,e Egyp6al1S and Gr,ee.lai worshipped the god in common,

KJinum ' Khnum, or Khnemu, was one of the oldest gods wOfsh~pped by Irhe Egyptians. His chief seat of worship was in Elephanrine in far Upper Egypr. Compared IDO' his diminished populadg' in '[he latest phase of Egyp~jan hbtory his name occurs quite freiquNe.ndy in Idl.'e magical papyri. There his: name appears most of tell as Ch.~1.ut:n. and, ~n Pan IV of this book, Irappears in operasion numbe:rr44 hl. a vox matied as GHNEOM,

His continued imponanc'e in the magical 'tradidoll reflects the primeval power of Khnum as atoral god=-the p[]m~J shaper of life and of the: go:ds themselves, He~s also the creator of h.um.m]ty~ He is ofte.1Il depicredcrearinga man as a potter tuming the human formon a wheeL ~t is his fu nction asa maker. as a. t:reat(n'~wh ichls mcst jrnpcrranetctbe Hermetic ma.gk~a:n1:,

Set ( Typhon) The name .of Ser appears q uiee frequendy in

the papyri. Despite [he f~cr [hal( in 'the more common cubic lifeQf the Egypd~fl$ $.et had become ~argelf diabolieed by [he 1000te: Hellenistic and. Roman periods of Egyprwan hwsto.ry~ Set is ttnabashedly used in rhe magi!cal papyri. l'h~ form of his name is u8~:a~ly[.en~dered as Illel Ot ][i Coptic as ene .. (It must be I',emlember,ed. rbat [he G[~ek letter the:.u.was pronOllJ.HlCed asaa aspirated H!h~ nor as In OUi]' German]!c~~dlormll .. !' t~is i;s why d~.e mose ph.otl.etlca][y accurate :spemng "Ser" i:sgefl.~r~ ally prefe.rr,edL

Other magkd names '0.[ formulas] n which the: 11 arne of the god Set a,p'Pea~$ indude BOLCHOS~TH and ATHEREBERSSTH. Also the fc.rmuill:as E.RB~TH andPAKERB£TH~ Q,CClWf so frequently



in ope:radOlu which a.llso use Sec, rhar [hey 11:00 mUlj:[ be considered .secret names ,of certain a.spects ,of Set- TyphQ~.

In rhe hismry ofancienr Egyptian reMgion no god JS older than Set. No ocher god underwent such radical chaunges jm.an~rll!de:m,ward hi,m bY' the people. III the beglulllug, Set was a teg~on~J god of Upper ~gypt. Hewas a 'Waf~~~e and aggressive force with rrernendous creative powers horn otDf ChaJ:05 and darkD1e5s. When foreign ~JJ.'~ vacile:rs came to' dominate Egypt on. eecasien, it was Set w~th whorn rhey most ,of~en ~deDnjfiedl:beir own gOod. Due [,0 a combinarien of Set~s od,gi:n1J3;1 ambiguities and his subs~quent "alliance" with hated, ror~igners~, ma:I1IY (l,E [he other Egyptian ,c~1IJ!1ts viHfiedi, Set as a god <of evil, This round irs ulrimare expressien J!I.'lJ '[he ~.a~e aad decadenr OSJrJan culr,

T~~ Setian foroe 'was' never fuHy rejected bythe EgyprlaJ.ns. His: §ymbo]s",,-and, h is power-were thQught to be indispensable by all Bgyprrhms. For e:x;ample.~(he tchdm or 'lc.tf,ff scepter carried by many Egypdan. gods bears the disti ng;IJishing marks ofSec,-'the head of rhe Set-animal and ~he cha:ractetis:dc6(H"ked wil.

o ther symbo.ls of Set ~ nclude b.[s red color (hence l~e general. tabu on [he use of lamps colored red in rhe historical papy:rlli),. The an~,rn.aills closelyasseciared with him are rhe donkey (ass), pig" and fISh, I t is for d~is reasonthat '[he papyri OfijeFil speak ofthe use of rhe b~ood of an ass (e;sped:ilJHy a. black one) or the proh~bitionoft the eating of pork O[ fish to maineain :i'~tlliiil puri ry;

~n.(hl~ oli magical papy:i'i Ser- Typho1ili may beinvoked for a~'iJJy number of purposes. This is oertainly becauSle~among the old Egyprla(n god;s)n()Ol!'h~r god would, more ex.elnp~i:ty the ID~e of the Hermeek magicians in the sodd order tha:n1J Ser, By [he rwHwgh[ of Egyptian culture. typical m~gi~dan8 were figu:r,es '~~OJ1Ij'[ of step" wkh their native Egypd.aJ.1 si().ciety. They l'lad 'enth~$iastkaUyembraced for~.ign r.houghl:\!l and practices and. had rejected the: domination of (he Osirian ol.d[ (If rhe esrahlishmenr, Thus ~t is easy to see why Se:t wou~.d. .have 'become one o,fdll.cir models, Nc.vC'rthele""s.!, Wl3l[IIl.ingcs are of:'Cen made in th.e old papy:ll~ not w use certain Setien sym'bols [such as [he oO~(lr [,ed) '(I'r co eat flsh~ po:dr.:~ and so on, In another spell, hOW'eVem') d~e god may be invoked freely and b~s name exalted. This shows as much as anything the degree ["0 which the magkians were

free of norma] mora] consrrainrs, and. just how much they.coJ'liS.id .. ered ehei r craft a pure i[echno~ogy.

'fhe gods and goddesses of Greece (Hellas) are of almost ,eqU!~ impo:rr;alJJ.ce 1[0 those of Egypt :for the ,magkal'[edlflQklgy of the magicians who wrote rheaneient ]xlI.pyr~. l,t is sometimes clear that in fuc~ E.gypdan div~[ljcie-s a re hid ing behind Greek names. This Is &spedaUy true of Helios ("". R:&)" and 1:0 a lesser e:x:reolr of He rmes {"" Thorh], and. Typhon (iii: Set), CJearly the writers of rhe papyri were deep~y schooled in Greek calrure, phHo.rophy, and reHgion. An undersrandi]1g of (he Creek diviniries isrepeatedly demonstrated-e-fcr example 'when Henil'1S-s is ]nvoked~o help in .findIng a th]ef (PGM Y.172-212)" The papyri often use Homeric vesses fOr magical purposes, which ]8 on.~y somerhing somebody lamiHa r with the Hellenic :na:t]Oll,arn epics WQuld] do ..

Burthe Egyptians' ~nders:mD1ld~ng .of the Creek gods was also d1JJomugh[y Hermetic. T~ey understood that the gods and goddeSSiecS were real fo[ces-:yet ones whose names and, shapes were only keys~o rhe j nner, rranscuhural and truly objective coreprinci ples which such.

gods and goddesses embodied. .. --

Hermes (=Th'(J'tn) Hermes appears wirh extreme frequency in

the P apyri as. 'Ep ~,Sl'i:. Beyond .a]l other names t[ Wo3!~ thisone [bat the ~na:gkku!IJs wrhiug rhe oM. papyli~ seemedto identify with the most .. This was: also true of the more philol'Sophkal~y minded Hene;__n~Zied Egypdans of the period who also caned themselves Hermetics ..

The Greeb honored. and woesh ipped HeFmes for avariety of purpo~s. Some of his fimcdonshad been taken OV't':f by Apo]lo'~. but he remained a god of commnnicatien, COIJUnercc, eloquence, healing (the cdllcetts is his.sceprer), andarhleeicism, This ]a:tter trait was: his because oEthe speed wit~ which he was: [nough[ co be able to go from place to place. One of his most ~mponam areas ,of a:u[vhy was as a, psycofJ'fJpom-



,'OJ a ,oond.uctor of the souls of the dead .. Bec~'~se ,~f alI these traits, he was the chief messenger of Zeus" and could with in speed carry communicarions to and, [(om Olympos. His connection with (he poweJr of speech earned him the divine title (If Logio~God of the Wot~._

. His mOS[ imporcam tim-elton In the magical tradition of the pa~

pyr~ is philosophiCal The Greek_Hermes embod~es~thes,~'~ritand soul of the intellect, o:f the PO''W'e:f e,f the Word and qtuck~w~nedness-of ceremunication. The other level .of imponence is how he aC'l:u-a~ly works in the operations. Through the power ,of Hermes, the wiU of the magician could communicate most directly with (he Olympian realm of '[he gods: and] goddesses. In larer astrclogical symbolism!, of course, HermeS' is equated with rhe planet Mercu_ry (his Roman


The Roman pbHosopher and orator Cicero, writing ill th_e fir"S{

cemury- S,C.E. in his Ntlt~w';t cft.he Gods. identi:fies: five forms of.Mc:r~ c:ury worshipped in his day. The :fifth of ilie-se he says killed Argus, and for 'this reason fled to EgYPl where he gavr,e "laws and writing to the Egypdans. nU He is further idencitmedl as being the same' as their Thorh,

Zeus (= Ammon) Zeus ]sthe ch[ef of rhe Olympian gods of

Greece, His name 'OOCurS repeatedly in the ma.gk:a] papyri in the G[,eekForm Z8,U~ [zdews], Zeus is again and again refetIDied to as the [an,g- or master of 'the. gods and is equated wirh other chief gods of other pantheons, such as Mithras or lao/ Ad&naru.

In the tradition of Hermetic magic Zeus is ilI_ figure 'j,~/ho is usually invok,ecl fO'f quasi-religious purposes, or for the eseablishment of comp~ex mythic analogies .. although Zeus himself seems to have Hu~.e to do with ma:g~cat operations. PGM VA· 5 9'-4:89' is ageneral invocation to i1!'he universal powers of Zeus. In terms of planetary mythologyJ Zeus is the equivalent of rhe planet jupiter (which bears his Roman name],

Hilio,s The name <of H!Hos (Gk. ~HE"-l:O~) ~:s CO[l-

(= tu or PHRE) srandy miemionedi~ t~e' papyrl. I~.the

Greek pantheon . Iehos ~s the' personifica-

don of '[he Sun itsdf; I lis: cult was ve'ry ancient and universalamong rhe Gr,eeks. The island of Rhodes is sacred eo him, and wt is there mat the colossal statue of him stood.

. The cbieffimcrions of Hellos in the Greek pantheon were both

na'Cural.----asrheorb of the ~igJu-g,ivwl1g Sun~and p,sychoiogicaJ-as a symbol of omniscience As a god .oflight he tC~n_ see e:,erything and knows everyrhlng. Also because of his focus oFhg,ht he: rs a symbo] of the tHl~fil(;d focus of the soul necessary to conrinued success in mag~~ cal operations, This is why ir is often said to 'be so important to have 3:. Hnk ww[h Hernios before g~ea't magical operarions can be carried out.

Asthe CU~[ of (he stars and. planers became more' important. in ancient Greece) the symb;o]wsm ofHel~os was expatnded to indud:eaU of [he PO\I\il:!rs' and aetributes belonging to the Sun.

Selene Se~en~ is ~he personification (If the Moon. Her name

appears both as at designation of -a goddess and. as the magical name' of the Moon herSielf.-for they are one in rhe Hermetic system. Bar this reason she i'i also known by her more ordinary IIUlLme: M~lle ..

As with H,~lios> [0 Sdene rna,y'be attributed all of the magical P0Wo!!fS attendant ItO the aserological meaning of the M'OOJl. She is called the "ruler of Tartaros" in PGM' illV.224·1~2.358 and in . .PGM VU.42'9-458~ it is said of her that "when she gees through the undenvorld~ she beeaks whareves speU she finds."

Apollo The Greek ged of the ~ight ofdle Sun, Apolle, 'was a.

fordgp gpd WflO was syncretized wnro 'the Greek panrheon at an early time-e-eirher from the Luvians (Trojans) in the EMIi: or some northern tribe'. The' Greeks themselves most ofren associared him with ~ Iyperbcreasthe :F~_r-NonJl. His name 03!-P'.pears in the p,apY!I"l as Ap'olton. In the ancient Greek pantheon, &poHos had myriad functions. He was thee god, oflight and a destroyer, the goel of he:aM_ng and pl!\o'p~ejcy;, t-he god of musk and wolves.

ApoUo is a dIvtnity who may have whole hymns dedicated to him ion. the old papyri (e.g. PGM I.262-347l, Because of his dose relarionshipwirh the power .ofHe~os and because of the various kinds


of power he has '[0 bestow, Ifhis becomes u!f!Iderstand,abl'e. The maim. power the magicians wJ~o WfOU)e rhe papyri seem '1;0' be iureresred in is 'I:~at of viJiQr~,'t'he g~ft of prophecy-for eX;31mp~e' as in PGM VI.1--47.

Aphrodite In the magical papyri her name appears as A,$poti''L'tTl.

Her name is Hkdy ofPhoenidano.rig1inm There were few goddf:J:5Jes more wlddy worshlpped il:DJ. Hellas dun Aph.r,odke. She was a goddess ,0,( fe,[tiHqr amID v~getattive abu.l:1-' ,d~nce, £0 be_s~rej bur. her functions went we~J be-yond this to include all aspects of eroticIove. Aphrodli,(e Oumma Is [he celestial goddess of i~ lo~e', Apbrodi,r.e Genetrhc promotes and protects marriage Aphrodi'l!e NympMa is rhemateon of unmarried young girls, while Apbrodj[e 'Porne is that" ofprostltures and the arts ofetotic love. The courtesans ofCorlnm were abo the priestesses .ofAphrodir~ (here,

Iu {he winnwng of lovers is an Ie'x[rle!l'ne~y common aim of ,magical opersrions, and as [here lS no more unequivocally ereric goddess than Aphrodite, her funcdon in the Hermetic tradlrion of magic is dear. AstrQ;~ogkaHy Aphrodlille is the equivalent ,ofV~nU$,

TyphlJ'J'l (= Set) FoE' the: most part, when the name of Ty-

ph8,n is invoked it is a. Hellenic substitute for the .oM Egyptian god named Set. he name of Typhon appears regularly ~n rhe papyri ~n the :form .of 1}phan, a~thQugh other spellings: are known. in Gl'leek (7yphlJ,OIT., 1jJ~ pho'eus; aIDJd TJp'h.(u). Abo rhe ,vox m:agic:n forms of' ERB~TH and P:AKERB£TH OCCIU regularly]n connection with Typha'H, as they do with Set.

for [he Hermetic magician {here is little difFerence between Set and Typhon; but it is certain dun the wrirers ofthe old papyei would also have knoO,wn [he myths ofTyph6n in. his purdy Greek ccnrext, as '[h,es€' wen;: widespread and. are founl in H.esiod's Theogony aJnd m~!tily orher old sources. In the ancient Gree,k sources Typho'll ~5, referred '[0 as :1, aralton (dragon), aldlough he is more thana large reptile, H~s shape is described as being rather amorphons-e-with reptilian parrs of sluning redand green colors, aJong with wings and parts of'various other beas[s. Some give' him [he head of an ass. He is uS.lIJaUy said t,D' be rhe offsp.dng of Gea (Eanh) and Tartaros (th,e chaotic Underworld), and [~ha~e fotwghr Zeus i:ndlC last battle beeween the deposed Tirans and the Olympians led 'by Zeus It was (he stated wm ofTyph.8n to OV'eIl1'come' Zeus andwin beck heavenfor ,tihecbdlonk for·ces. Ar OJ:1!,e point it is said 'r.ha[ Typhon forced all the Olympians ro flee_in rerror to Egypt-where they all took onanimal shapes to dlisgujse: themselves.

To the Greeks Typhon was a figure of cosmic rebellion, though Ms ~wnk with the chthonic (subterranean] .reallim also connecred hwm 'wi:tlhthe pfrllphetk powe'r of dlle P'yd~Sn. In ,th,e magj~ cal papyri, Typ,h,on appea.rs, 1.1"11 roles as varied as dlm;'e of Set-his burning passions and fiery nature seem to be the energy fr'Om which the magical power to effect '[he will of the magh:ian is drawn,

Semitic Divinities

The Hebrew God(s) The creator god ofthe Hebrews, Yahweh

Ej,ohim; b 60und in the often repeated formula lIAO. Indeed the lAO formula is I[he most repeated single name of power ill rhe old magical. papyri .. Also references '1)0 Judaic or Hebraic religious: fi.gIl!JI'l!S [such as Mo,ses, Solomen, ~raham, Isaac, and. Jaoob) ate extremely frequi:!nr ~fi the papy[i.w. Btu: few of 'me' ancient papyri are based on Hebraic rheologiIQlil conseructs and none is based on any orthodox, truly judaic U11- dersr;andling of t~eok)gy.

Yahl1Jeh = uo The name ofya_hweh" in its peculiar Greek V'Ocalk representaeicn fAO('Gk, ktoo '" ,~nl), is a magic~J power i(if g,l,ear pop!lllarlo/ among Hermetk maglclans Bue IAO is, noe prayed '[0 as a personal god!, but mOore ohern, wie.ldedas a ,quasi-n,atural. forc:e:-throug~ thepronunciado", of'the name itsdf.

Ofcourse, in orthodox judaie rheolegy YM1,,,,,e~ is the one and only true god, In practice he has: so manyspecial names and, func:-


Theology and Da:imo!lo,Jogy


dona] titles (E~~ Adonai, Shaddai, Yihw'en Tzabaorh, ere." erc.) that fur all intenrs and plUpOSC-S [he old polyrheism of the ancient Hebrews is 'to some extent still preservedat ~east in the early forms of Judaism. In dlJal rd~gion Yah:wl.'!h is rhe creator god, of course, bur also rhe giver ofrhe Law- -rhe To'n~A It is his: function. as creator of' tile narural cosmos that most' interests the Hermetic magician,

lAC IS a vocalic rendering of [he pronunclanon of the name: of rhe Hebrew god usually spelled Jehovah, or Yah,weh (Heb, YHVH). This is rhe most often invoked single god-name ~n {be papyri. This does not mean dle Hermetic magicians were Jewish Or Chrinian ][D, theIr beliefs. Qu~te [0 [he; cenrrarj; They invoked IttfJ

• m be h _] b , h ~I, d f 'L. lid'" t,

simpey necause ... e was s1llpposeu to _C tr e goo 00, [JJlJS' WO<El_ -rue

creative Demiurge (also according to' the' Gnostics!}_iWho was therefore bwgblypotent in werkings designed to cause changes to occuc in this world.-the Kingdom. The meaning ofIAO and '[he orthodox theological ~tnerpretadon of Yahw,en. are therefore in-

ibl c,om pa.tlo e.

Ir ws 'Wi,dely[hought also {hat the Semitic h.wgh god w:a.s~demld'" bed. by many lEgyptwans as' d'tdr own god Ser, wh.o isaill~o ,ii, 80& of storm and war, This was fm:dter enforoed !by the facr thar Set was: considered, t~e' «god cf foreigners" and many Semicic and Olher. fior,e~go invaders of Egypt identified their high god (Ba'al or Yahweh) wl'[h Ser,

B,y invoIcing the power oflA'O th.~ Hermeric magicia:n helps ensure that the rhings being wined shall become manjfes;r in the ebjec-

• • .; ru..] d f " __ .I .. 'IL

uve Il.mwvene 1l1CVUaiu y ;an " as a matter 0'" [lJatuJ];U course -,DegUire

it Is being channelled rh rough the uaiveesal creative framework c,epresented bY'MAO.

Gnosti,c and Iranian Divinities

Moses Ahho,ugb. the ancient and, sc.mw-11lytbkal Hebrew

prophet Moses was supposedly a historical man, he functions Wll Hermetic ma:gk as a god or asa deified rnagj,dan-rha[ is, as ~ tiai'tn8n. As Vll'ilh the god, of Moses, Jari, the Hermeric ma:gkian see's nothing of ehe w:!::l~:gious in. hW.m-only (he magical, Moses is not aprcpher. but a mighry wodcer of wonders who defeated the sorcerers of the pharaoh. As an inventor of writing, Moses is sometimes made' me eqUJ.i'll'alefit of'Thorh.

Bes~des references to the gods and goddessea of the peoples of'rhe eastern Medjrerran:ean region, rhe old papy[~ con[a~I1 many references W more exoticand m:y;s:teI]OUS deities, One who makes an occasional and dlrnmatic appea:rance is Mirhras, Mithras is a god ofIJlJti.rnan'!~y Iranian origin. But his CU!~[ was HOi[ Gnosrk or dualistic. Because: his cule was sn mmy respecl's idern:ica:l to ma't ofthe lral1ian Mag~an:l (or n:uzgi'lS,), frOom whom. the term rnngeia was derived, [he figllre of Michras became im,POr:t.ml in rhe pmely pragrnaric and functional pantheon of [he Hermetic magjdaw: .of the fj,]"st few ceneuries mer the time of Jesus.

Certain other enriries treated as gods have their origins in. abstracr magical constructions w~t:h their 100[5 in Gnosrk thought. One of the most often seen. is AB.RASAX (also spelled ABRAXAS). The spemng Is irrelevant because [his is nothing oeher thana numerleal formulia of the expanse !Qf the heavenly orb-the Hfirof enp'Q~}---me :S'~ m of the' numerical values 'ohh~ Jeerers :i n the name is .365-l[l:1e number: of degrees wn the a5UOnO[l}~G!.~ circle, and rhe perfect number of days in a yea.r .. Modler :abs,tr,act cosmological god: j':s }\.iOn. {Aw}v).. The word means 't~ge"-a11li enormous: exp,amH.~' of lime----bult also refersto the enc irclemenrs of the cosmos by successive aions) as we saw in chapter 3 on cosmology.

Orher abstract ideas unknown in the Greek pantheon such as Anank,e (AvaV-YKll)~ which simply means necessity or compulsion O[ Tych~ (Tull1l), meaning good fo.rtull,e. aredivini.~edafid addressed ,as goddesses, This process ofdiviniaarion of abstrart principles repeesears a magical approach to some of the same questions wresrled with by philosophers. '\Vherea.s6or the religious practitioner. gods and goddesses are i ntermediaries between rhe world of h uman it}' and the realm ofrhe perfece and permanenr archerypcs or ideas such as, Love Truth, Beauty, and justice, philosophers attempt to l~ndc'l'S,tand these thiags d~recdy with their own inteUocu, whi~e magk~ans fly to exereise these principles by means oftheir own wills.

The: best documented example of such a magician is: jesus the Naassarene ([ha:r is, theSerpenrine), A1though those who wrote and used




do.,e ,lllagica] p;1.i,Py·ri were not Christian in :any orthodox Oil gen:eraUy accepted sense, occasionaUy dD.,ey mightca1l on :the name ef'jesus for pu:r.,e~y pm:gm;a,tic ,ends-jus[ as dlJey caUed Oin Yahweh .(14$), •. ]!~ the d me the papyri were reee rded, (he name of Jesus: 'Was being wJ:de~y used as ott ,magical. word'by Cluist1Oll1,s and non .. Christiare alike, He wasa,&mous holy man Oil:' m:agk~an known te have been. ex(et,~ttid as a ,erim]nat Usii!1,g the ;m.r;t~ mpowcl' (Gk:. 8UVCf"~U.~' of any executed criminal was magrucaJly powe.l:fu.l-h,o,w m uch more so ruE fha~tQif an executed mago5!

The dQrrukey or ass ]~ 3m animal dosdy associared wi~h Jesus. In what mjght seem to bean ironic rwist. ln {he cl!1ku.rnl contexe of rhe Hermetic magicru HIDeramrC'j the donkey or ass Is identified wid~ {he god.-fonn Se[~Typhon-by thlstlme agodof evi~ IlJJ HcUen()~Ero1l'~ dan myt:ho,logy;. So for some Hermc[k ma:gwdans Jesus haJdJ .a~ready been ~dendfi.ed wieh Set~T1phon. It :15, possib~e he Wall considered a ".sc'n~of (hrus g,Od. We know thu d~e Hebrew god lAh{weh) ls represeated In Hellenic manuscripts as laQ~ 'Who was id.endHed whh SetTyphon by the Egyprla.rns m~m,sdves. TMs seems f~ghr ,enough since Set was rbe ~'god offt»reig~'DJ~r!i~j amo~g ehe h~ghly ~nophob,k Egyptians and the Jem were perhaps ehe largesr fordgtn pcpularuion if.li Egypt. Besides, the lEgyp'cian ~Copdc) word. fQr do'nkey happens to be i,~ or ei~'which soun!ded much Iike the Hellenie ~epfesentaiIL.iolll 'of the Yair-lim. Gospe~ evidence pointing to thisconstellarion of symbQ~s indudes[he story thar Jesus rode inro jerusalem on a don~ey,\VMc:h he instructed tlis disciples 1[0 steal from rhe city ,(M{. 21;m~7).

Th: is iLmexp ected c.omple~ 'of sym bols can also be found irD. the early Chrjs:[Jan use of the sign of drehsh, ex . This is abo deady rhe seign ofthe :first ~e:tter of the Gree~ alpbabe:tll5. hut the firshis also a, Sign of the god Sei[- Typh.on. The magical pa:pyti Q&~n. em,p,hasl;l;e the com.mo~ EgyptiaR tabaagainst e'4ring fish, because fish are thought to be '"fyphon]arl. Bm for a. TYphonlan. initiate, the eating offfus~ wl)il.t1d be: sacred :aJ'rud ,em.powering. This is: an idea jesus would have acqui red. durin,g his ma,gru.caill trELinin,g in Egypt,

Datm 0!11 I])~ogy

For the most pan. the magicial~:5 would try to convince ~hep~:r of a. godro work .6il.r them) while dJJe: dalmon wO~l.d.d be something [hey WQuM ~ntu.any rryto absorb and make d:~.dr own to work: wirh at

. ~11 ·nL. ..,. • . 1·..1 t, ~~.. f ,J I(!

w.i~ ,.. .vi" rms proaeSS:l. flllag;]c~a:n cou Q eecome a son . .0:. a gog, -

whim is what Jes~stlu;: magoJ seems to have done, He ,:t:llG;. hi~ daim6n. became one, The magic.ia[t.s are united with dl~ir own personal daimons .. Whax they win rhe daimonswjU-ancl thewill of daimons OlR make chi ng~ happen in. the IGn,gdom.

Likewise, a. daimon can. also be seen as a demigod-an Independene, rehJ]vely immortal and pow~rfu~ en dry. butnee as pl)W'er~ fulas the g,eal!: gods of the nffl,dal national cults, IJ1I Rornan f!ermilinoh]gy an e:ni[~.ty similar [0 [he diJjimon was the geniUf===,Fl fami,[~ iar iipif~t i~herireda~.on,g gene de ]h'l!~ ~t'l the family or gem.

D.a:1.mOrlS 3.1rr>€:; in and ofrhemselves neirher good. nor ,eviL Th~ are rather like humans that way. Their characteristics are, huwev.efJ much more .fixed and perm:anelu' th .. an those of hUma;l:lS"wiruo rend to manrufena, number of d.~tJe,u;]ng character traits at <1n1 g~ven memeat, The magical papyri 11Ile,~UWOIlI:\'ilO m.a:.j or classes of da.im&ns~the agathodn:imanl$ (gQod.~.daimo[lJS:) and [he kt1/uu/aim:o'Mls {e'li'ildaimons}. The good ones are used .6Qr beneficent purposes" wh~]le (he evil onesare employed to effec.t m aleficene e:IlJds".Butm.o[-e often dahno,[l.s: are mentioned ina 11Je:l1.[ ralsense-s-as den1~gods worthy of resp-ect an.dlwo[sh.ip.

Mg;eb on the other hand are quite d.ilterent from. daimbns. The chief difference· between rhem ]ies in ehe &c~ thet ehe Q:.nge~ is not lndepende!!n. ~t isthe mere messC'nger; or "active principle " of :31, grea:u:r god. It ~s (I'nly funy ~sefu~ to the Juagician, [f the lWla;gidan has some measure of concrol over the gpd O~ goddess fl'om whom i~: is sent. .of course, one god.,if:onl1 f:amolirsfOr fhe number ·of angels he has around, him is 'Y3:hweh--dlec,reacor~g~d of this, the natural world. For example:~. the rsames of the three archan,ge]s of '[he god". Mkhael~ Gahdet and Rarphiel are a1[ found In, rherexts of the old papyd .

.A .single entity mi,ght be ealleda go(Lan angel. (If :01 da~m6rnl 'be,caiU.s:e often from an opelative~ practic:rul perspecdve rheseterms Might be seen to be eGJu.ivaJe~u. Alliso one endty .!night i.nfact beall three-s-



having, at mined godhoodafte.r firs!! having been a daimon who Q[tached 1Irself to ehewill of enother god for a time'! haY~[l,g begun its existence as a, human soul (pryt:.hi).

From this elementary presenr,u[on ,ofdhe ![heo~ogy and dai.mouoiO'gy of dl,e magical papyri cef(ainpriru:iples of th.e eclectic use of the felevant pantheons should be ~pparen{. The allUhy [00 be eclecde in any effective way must he based on a deep level of understandtog of the core principles that the go,ds and. goddesses of various p:an[helons !j,epre5ent. h is. nOt 'based. 0:1'[ .u:hhra.ry choices predicated en questions oif style Of fashion." Eclecticism based on superficial im .. ages and misunderstanding ]s deomedto be sImply impotent.


TL. .. ~~; .' ~ L L· • . d ,', h .. h . f- ~1 ' gl t:

ne lerm mag;lc nas neen associate W1C rtec c mques o. s~e~.· U 0lI

hand tJickery as wd] as notions of",eva~'-whoel1 it is put side by side 'with «reHglon.» Iu we wlll also see j it chapter 12~ this distinction befW,een magic andreliglon, while sometimes ullieful, is often invoked hypocl'ilicaUy by those who [hillk rheir ~pir~t'llal ccchrD.ok)gy is "'giOOCC »and therefore ":rdigi.OllSJ!' while chose of adler people is

~ '[."'. d . ilL .t: " <."

eY.L, an .tnererere =s=:

The ancientswere closer [0 true magic rhan weare wda:y. This booomes very dear when. we look at how many rerms dle},' had for magical ~openujo~s~eachseemingLy with Irs own techn.~~~ differenee, In onter[oo practice HermeeicMsgic, you must underseaad ir, To underseand ir you m1!.lS[ study andlearn b-y experience wh • at lt really means.

The Hermetic nlag.icia.n is not obsessed wirh ideas ·CI·f "good')

d· ," ·t» L l"' ~·Z . J' ish I l .

::m , evi tne way;. [Or ex:~mp~e" :;il .oroas tn an, eWLSc_. ~s, arruc, or

Chri;S'dan one m~gh( b.e~the Hermetic magidan is focused on iniriation, self-develepmeot, if you wm, ,allJi(~. OJ] ob~ah!ling results, The Herme:dc magician is a pr~matri:c magk.ian ..

In other words, none ofthetypes of magic discussed here i~ «off ~,i.mit8>J' to true Hermetic ma:gic;i:u:us. They may me one kind of ep erarion for one kind of ,effe'CtJ and :;l(oo-chell' rype of operation for aaother. Also, m:a:gidans must gaug~ eheir own abilities and powers at any ;given mernenr and we the beta kind oftechnique within their

powe'fs at cha[ moment, .

The three kinds of magic most often seen iorne ancient sources are: Y0l1'r.81ct (goete:ia), ~~C(,yElO'. (~:n<llgeJa) and. IlE:oUPfU). frheurgy).





point to have become [he ~ISiO.n of (a) gQd"~he or she has been adopted by the god and elevated to a divine stature while sriU in life.

Anotbellr term used, in .SJ.n!den1 times that conveyed some of rrh.e same meaning as mage.itt was rhauma[urgy (Gk. IEk,u~(ltOUP'lL(l)" which generally means, "wonder-working," Wonder.s are worked b:y means oftbe will of the magician withoue the :nec:ess~'ty of lnrerven-

..... · ... ad n .. J' .. ~.

~:ng gos~ angels, Of liI3unomorlLS"

The term mageia is" of course, derived from [he name of the priest-class, and/or particular seer of Iranian orwgin. By rhe ,eady years ,of'rhl!: ,P'[,es'em em, '[his seer was widespread beyon,d the borders of Bersrua or Iran propee and into '[he lands dun are present-day'F'lukey. Iraq, and Syria, k was members of this sect, the Magoi. or Magi, that the Gospds say visieed the infant Jesus. Perhaps (hi; was but the nrslt sign of his :film re develo pmenras a. magos.

The practice of mageia extended well beyond rh,e confines of rhe Magwan sect' and) especially in those schools free ofthe particular rheo]ogy of theMagians, h: developed into [he fOrms we see ~n theHermetic papyri. In ahe Hermetic school the magician is froe 'to do his own wilt cansrrained only by the contents cfhis own psyche.

With rime me term mageitt began to faU into disrepute, so that WI evenrually became synonymous with go2uia. As chis was happen~ng" the phHosophkal schools of the early centuries of the ern, were g,rowirn1g'j and wilh~n them (here was some interest in mJlgeia.

Goe,teia is rhe "lowest' of the. three fOrms-n.ot in mny "moral" sense-s-but s,~mp~y because it is me easiest to perform sUicoessfullr. Goe,t.~ia is ofte n referred was "mere trickery." Or the ~rt of j ugglers. Wdt such things are even. used in the moss noble and philosophical schools. The Buddh.ist ranrric, 60r example, migh[ use such Hlus.I!onary tricks as a major teaching tool to demonuratl:.:::' to rhose who can, understand rhal[ all of sensory exisrence can 'be: seen as WUusory:. Teachers who present h,a~f or partial truths when conveying complex data to a S:CUd .. c;:tl't are e,ng:agin.g in such go,(teia-and such [eachillg reebniques are absolutely necessary for success.

But ]n essence goetfia is in fact whar moOst people practice as >I'Imagic~' r,oday, Wiith ,golte.ia the SO!l:'a:re:r~ or gfJes) uses elements in me objective u nh',er-se to affeCt 'm,e wiU gener:JI't:oo. in ~1JJjs awn subjective uni .. verse, Gods, goddesses, angels, or darumo.flS,. or even material magical substances (such as her'bs, sacrHkest and so on) are called UIP{)Il! or used to do me wwU of me. sorcerer, Each time the goes wishes to have a magi~,effect on the 'l:ibjecrive orsubjecrive universe, he or :s~e J:nw;te~g~ge the fa,emma and do the' magical opernri,ot1J particularre that effect., Mose of me workings in this book are therefore, [,e;chnjcaJly speaking, ,gotteia. M.oS[ WCs;[ern occW:d.sm has pracdocd 'what ~s ,essen~iaUy goctc:itL


Although co the non-initiate, to the oursider, works, of gO',eteia and 'works of m,agria may sometimes appear duo: same, ,[beyare wn :fact

. d>ct: . "Ti. • . "I'.. 1 . d

qmte·. srreeene, .ne mag!C~~Ul~ or magos) til one' Woo las artame iacer-

rain level of personal lllitiaci:on which causes him or her to act ona divine level, The rntJ:gas does not ;uk godsto do miJlgs fer him or her, or use substances to creare wondrous effecrs-he or she acts direcdy (usu.aUy th:r'Qugh signs 0:1: words of pOlwer) fr.-om hlS er her subjecrive universe: upon me ohjective universe, This is usu.al~y !ItO[ put in terms

f h .. 't .. di ]", d but 11.. "havine" h

0. me magicran commane mga. go·., . U( ramer as lavIng sue - a

:goOd. M :an indistwnguishable pittt Qfhim~e~.f or herself. He is said at ehar

Theurgy ws a term coined by the philosophical writer Ju~lanlls, at Helleoized Cha~dean! ~i ving in '[be eime of the Emperor .Marcus Aur-.eiiw (1,61-1.80 c.s.) .. Bur I:hellJrgy was nor, and is not, me'rody another

._]I C':~, .• ~ L" . I] h UJ'· • 11_ 'I I h" E

worn ror magIC. .irerar y meterm means vurvme-wora.: n cIS '1J'-

,~,ellds (IY.4.2,6) rhe Neo-Plarenisr Plorinus says of theu.rgy that ilt depends on. "'tffite sy:m,pachy of'enchained forces," IS Theurgy must work

!~[P~oti'nl~, Tht' En",t'4'ds •. Stephen MacKenml. U'i!l'l5. {London: Penguin. [99 Land Burden!!. NY: L.u,scm, 1992), p .. no.


in harmony with the gods, in hermonywirh the laws of the objecdve u niverse, or Ii[: least wirhthe characteristics of [he powerful suhj eotrive universes that surround ehe [h,eufg~st~ and. that are called. guds:~ alngels~. daim.ons, and so OQ.

]n a way, theurgy has more in commen wirh gaiteia rhanwirh mageia. The theurgist musrtake much that is ~n the macrocosm Outside himsdf into account when desi:g~in:g andesecuting his opera-

, h ~ discover ehe mi JI .~ f···1!.. . . d

nons; t . e -gJ()i:s too muse .... tscover e te minute details or tne eanuesan ..

subsrances he: is go.ing to work whh before his magk wm wod~,W.hat makes theurgy lln]que is its concern whh being~~phJlo5{)phj.ca]ly cor.reci~-and ~afmonious W][~ nature rather than .jUS( being effective and powerful, Mageia is also concerned with rhe discovery of ph]]:o~. sQphica!lrmrh-hu'li:tI'ur.h o,fa. fllf more suhjecdve kind, rooted 110·[ in nature bu[ in censciousness, not in physis: b~[ ~np:syche. The Hermetic Inagk recorded in the Greek papyd preserves the purest sua] n of the highly ind.~v.iduOillls tictradition of Western. mageia.


Hu;:tJ()ric<l!Uy~ system..sofwrkimg have been ] mportant to matoy schools of magical practice, The magical papyri! e:spedaHy thosewritten in Gr"fek. sometimes contain references to d1.e numbers of ~etters in a gWV(;D. fonnuIa, o:rg;ive precise ~nfol!'ma:tionalbout the p,ronundatkm .of these formu]ars. The act: ofwfiting and the written (as. well as spoken) word ere essential [{~. the Hermetic nadjdon. Three wddng ~y5tems are Important to the ancient Hermetic tl'aJdi[jonofma:gim[ communkado.n-the Egyptian {which is: preserved. in rhree fonns: hierogJYfh:ic, hieratic, and dem:oticL i[he Gre:ek:~ and. (be Coptic. All three sy5l1emSare used in the Hermetic magical papyri. The Semitic writ~ng system, which was to become .80 important later In the: western .mag~ca]u~djrio1'Ji> was reladv~]y unimportant ill rheearly Hermetic sys[.e:m,.BlH became: of ]{Si'Uldh:ecr influence .~[ i~ presented and. discussed in a basic '!May in Appendix G.

Scripts or wriring sys~'e~ns: have been. involved widl magical pmc:t~ce froln the begll'llfDJrl!g. Some: systems of writing appear ro have been created fr-om a magical or religious impetus fro.ll1. the beginning.

- -

&a:mptes ofthis would be the Egyptian hierO'glyphics and. the He-

brew alefbtttas wdl as the Germanic runes and the Celtic og~am. We: can td] this was the case because all oftlhese: systems have hMge :iiimOU]'jj[8 o.f]ore artachedto rhe written characters-c-beth individuarn]y and c.oUecrivdy, b1l. such systems the: names of the characters rtyp'" kaUy have some· deruni[e meaning in thelanguagethe characters are ,d.esiglJled to represent .. In Hebrew, fo[ example, ait/.Wc.:'iiU],S "an ox," bet means ·"01 house/"gimelme.:u'lrs "a camel" (or "at repe"), and so on. writing Itsdf w~funy iacorporated into rradition fr·Q·m[he y,ery dawn of lim racy in such celrures,

There h): another approach ro sacred wridflJg sys(ems. howe-ver, Of~ginallily some seem [:0 have been creared on a. purely peacdcal or fmgma:t[c basts. and ·only later acquiring reHgious or magical conno~aLtion8 .• This is the case with the Greek alphoilett: as wdl as the Latin ABC. This is clear because rhe lore bun:!: uparound t!he letters only



comes ar a Iaterdate, and rhe names of d'.li~ eharaceershave no special esoteric meanings: '[hey are jusr mnemonic formulas such as alpha, bet~, gamm~nof.le ofw.hich have any intrinsic flilJ':<'Ifl[ng in. the: Greek ~rul~~(, (They Me sound-imirsrions ()f the Phoenlcian lerrer-names.)

Bur this latter group ofsy,s(~m$ has: oneadvanrsge over the fo[mecrhe early practical phase opened thesysrem up to abstract and divergent elements dun [he tradition-bound systems resisted. The g~earest examples of this are found wi th the Greek ,aipht}.',hettl;, The Greeks, fOl purely P medea! reasons, begante write dl.e: vowels that rheir Semidc models hadleft unwritten. A system wirh no vowels would be rehnivdy moee dif£icw.tHl read and learn ro wfi~e, Thu~ the cll':lJ:6r ofwriting was better preserved among p'fofe:s:s]onalsI1:T.ibe's and pries('$,]t€a.ding such a syuem-wld. b n mr dl:ffch: thn rdng ths wrds fr sp,.krs'f 'nglsh., But the Greeks simpl)"and pmctk~ny used characters '[0 spell om: words just as rh.ey sounded. New vowel characters we:E'e add.ed to (he system and so merchants 03Jnd. shopkeepers: could learn. to read and write and. use the new ski]! in thei r d.ay~to-da:r aI~ :f:ahs ..

This pracrical Greek innovation rookplace sometime dudng dle ,eigl'.ilhcentmy u.c.E:.M,e:rchan.l[-S and. shopkeepers deal quite a bh with numbers, so rhe Greeksa~so carne up with the idea of using the same: characters they used. to write words far arithmetic as wdl. This aspect of t~e esoreric lore is covered in [he section starting on p<'l:g'e 1 ~. 5, Here: ] just want to polnt 0'!1l( [hat the' inveneion of a practical, easy-re-learn system of mathematical figures. making use of [he same characters as used for writing words, 'was the gan;:way to rhe po~sibj~[ty of inw.rpr,eti.o.g written texts according to. numerologic • .d symbo1o:gy:

The Hebrews borrowed (he idea of using le~nrsFQr numbersas ear~y as dl,e second oenm:ry LI.C.E. M.any of the oldest rnanuscripts of dw,e; Old. Testament hav .. e the c~apteI'sand versesenurnerared with. Gt:«k Ietters, not Hebrew ones!

Somed~il'l!g sh.ou~d abo be sa~d. about (he disrincrion berween a language and a. wIiting system .. A writing system or' script canbe used 1)() represent aninnnire number ofhumafllanguagts=:.:tS the Roman alphabet is; now used. ItO write ~angu03i;ges from Eugnshw J apanese (R£iru.a:njiL and fl£'·Q·m :~rananm Xuasa, Theoretically, you. could write

Chinese in Egyptian hieroglyphics) as awkward as [hatffiighr be. The Egypdan~ngl.tagt! i., eo be diseinguished from rhe hi,e:ro,g~yphk writjn:gsyslJem. In bct Coptic ~s re~Uya. dialect of Egyp dan written ~n a modified Greek alp/jabeu1. languages existapart from [be graphic systems used to ['epresent th.em.But when they do. cometo be written, [2ngl~ages are seen in a new, more' objective sense. The way in which language works is: mysrerieus. Wrid ng systems help reo objectify [his mystery and make it more operational.

The Egyptian. Systems

Th.e Egyptian ~:aIlg:uJ.age irself is best described as Hamitc-Sernitic-efrom its earliest stages i[shows itself to be a mix ... ture of the type of language spoken in northeasternAfrlca (Hamiric) and that of the Semites (e.g .. later Hebrew, Akkadian, Arabic), The iangu.ag:e was written in hie,wglyphks6:om the beginnjng ofEgypdan M~wry. The term~fhjemglyphic" is a. Gmek one meaning "priestly writing .. " This .fiy&~em usuallyrequired dl:at it he carvedcarefully into stone, woodor other h~.rd :5urf~ce$ or just as meticulously painted onHatsurfaces, By about 2:600 B.CE. an abbreviated version of hler,oglyphics had been dey,dQped. fOI w:ddll,g with petl and ink on papyrus. Thisrype of wrh~ng is caned. hierar~c~oD'~~priesdy.» Much larer, sornetime hetween ~h,)O and. 65(1 B.eR., an even more abbreviated system was devised. called demotic-or "popular, ,.

AU of rhese sysrems weremerely versions of each ether .. Their ~J]j~ernaJ. structures were rhe same .. None of them was a. form of "picture w.~idng:"a.:s is scmeeirnes assumed, There isa phonetic sys[ern of 24· sounds, (See Table n on p. 108.) Vowds were not written, O]'lliiy eoasenanes, So-caned determinatives were often appendedto words to indieare eo whk-~ part ·of speech or category of meaning the word bdoJl.ged .. Such deeerminatives have .1].0 sound-value, For example,

- ~

the im,ag.c of a papynu roll ~ determines that theword it is: <11'-'

pendedro isan "abseract idea, ~ So ,g ,~' is: pn011eric:al1y ht (see Table ]. oap. lOB for sound values), and [he ~ lndicates ahstraction. The:refo re ht means "an abstract rhi ng, ,~, No te rhat there is no vowel


Ta'M.c L The Sysu;m of Egyptian Phonemes.
Number Hi,erogftyphi.c :Hi«:l"ata,c Demotic V3;~ue MA;;;U:i~f:lg
~ I~. s» .a (.-3) fad:I.(~·r ,eagile/vuhlU re
2 I~, ,~ " )! m:o:! r~cd
.3 ~I "'-"I, i ill car arm and hand
4 } b... .s, w l.5l2 d~iik
5 j L d .... b hoot [e,g
16 0 U i.-... P ~ol box
7 ........ / , f fed herned vjpgr
,8 ~ j J m moon owl
'9 ~ ......, ... n aoon water
W ~ ~ ., It" right m.om})
U Ii] m Ai h b.::i~ c~:il'l!aJnp.KI.
U I t r '.' ~ hi wic.k (fix;:)
D • 6- e b lodlJ disklpla:cema
14 , ___ -li1 -., Ii huge dub
15 ~I 1 " s Ia.W .fQkJ~dmh
16 ...... _;!t_ dcor-boh
17 CCI - ). s maw peel
IS. ol'! JL "'- k :ij.lI!OCfi hJU
19- ~ , I~ k b:il.lSk,er b3iSket
20 li\ Jt, J0- s ,go jar stand
21 .g ~, .;r. t tap loaf
2:2. .~ ~, ,il. l: ,dltlrdJ n:.~thcf .m,pe
2.3 ~, Al """"". d d@g, fu.<'Ind.
24 '1, J .( Q, amUSI[ snake Magical Wr,iting Systems

sound indicated in [he example jusr given. The vowels muse he reconstructed :from Lnforma:do.n provided by Copdc. We can. never 'be S!l1I,e ofjl!a:S'l how ;tn,c],ern Egyptian was actually pronounced.

I";Heroglyphks also contam ideograms, These are single signs

representing; whole words. For example I ~ can stand for ~pr("to be-

,&ei1 0<

come, be"), This could also be written c'~ ~. Notice that in this

second form we can discern the phonetic signs "t c, + ,0 (kpr) as well as dIe ideogram and abstracc decerminarive-vend all the de ..

L' d . li <., l . l" bur i

menrs are ccmmne not to a , meal or . og'ca. wsy uuc in :3. way

guided by balance and. symm.e[,~y of (o,rm.

Thereare several things about hierog]yphk;s (hall should be obvious. First they were (and are) dlfficuk to learn-e-special hieratic training was necessa:.ry. This ensured that rhe an of wrking-~lld irs powers-s-wculd remain properry of the priesthood. Another obvious faero! is the importance of wriring £.0· r,e]igion and magic, Language-rhe word-· ...... has special power in Egyprian magic and religion,

This lasr point indicates a, tremendous shortcoming of the

'~",",..' • , .(to.'] J' I' . d') £' :h

~'PtLan w'ntlng SYSllenu, hierog YPllil,C,) rueranc, orc emonc ~o'.r 'r. ose

'who w'01I1d arrempr [0 revive old Egyprian forms of m:a.gk. From rhe writren forms we can simply never know exactly how the words we're pronounced, because the v:ow:els are missing. It is: these very vowels whk.h are later shown in the Hermetictradition '[0 be the backbone of verbal magk~ [hat we call phonoscphy or operative phono~ogy. We ca.n gu.c.ss dlal[ ehe science of '[he vowels \'VaS: both known to and prac'[iced by the ancient Egyptian hlerali.c magicians-s-end rt is precisely because of rhe power these SOlUJlIds had that '~hey were kept seere: and unwritten, Woen [he last member of dle Egyptian priesthood died. the secrets .ofthcir vocal magic would seem to have died wirh him,

Anctheraspecr of ancient Egypeian religious and magical lore ~OiSt W LIS is the esoteric. sign ifica nee of [he 24 phonetic signs. No andent work survives dun: indicates thelr hidden meanings, bur the Iconneceioas berween rbem and the Cr,eto-Semir.k sysiCe.m axe obvious, (See Appendj~ IG.) Several oflhe 24 Egyptian phonemes correspond

·'IL_t. • fl. C ~ ., dJ

to some exrentwitn me mean.m:gs; .0 me .. rero-oemmc, an". lcn.re to

th _ H. . ... ~ ...... ic <'V'"t,""m ... Flerrers '" s sh /"W' '. i c -r:. bl . 2 "'.:- .. ,c~ 1 10' I . Oth '

".e "'~~<'I _ ~l'l! "'- __ V ~_,, ~ _v n n '!',a _e _ vn p~ge _, er,

deeper correspondences can be found by those who look,



Bgypda.ll Egyr-t1r1itl, Hebrew H(dbrcw Meaning of
FOIrIll Meaning 'Fann Name Beb[~N3imc
..,..., a, (3 r~ and hand) , yeti haad
- n (warer) :0 mtffl waur
~ ~ {mOiud,} 0 ~ H'lourh
m h {e,oYJty;a,rd) n "tllt fence
.._. h (dub) l, zai» sword
~ s (docr-bol [) 1 tlat,tl, dooll"HI;;lf]
.~ t (1ie[her ,rope) :.- gi:m.t.l rop'
~ d {hand) :l k4f pallm of hand
" d {snake} :l 1uJcJJiuh· se[p~'i:U: The: G~,eeks did not begin to write until around the 14thcencll.U:Y IB.LE. ]r is frmn this rime rhar (he Mye,en,ean wnscripdons can be dared .. Burthis system died out in subsequent centuries, The writing system used in rhe Glieek magical'papyr~! th~t't of the ramaiar 24: 1~'~'-' tel' ,alphabeta,. was not developed until around 750 B.C.E. This was ~1- ~hmu:dy based o n ehe Phoenician wri ring system. B'ijtlts. development was one more in asoccession ofboid. cultural innova .. tioas instituted by the Greeks during the first IniUenniuJ1J B..C.E.~ Their tdphabet.a system is innOVi1~lVe because lr is (o['Mly.ph.onttic, :h]s spelled ~s i.E sounds. All sounds, the vowels ~ndU!ded) could be represented. by Greek letters. This is: o,f tremendous imporcan_CJe '[0 us as (he sacred Vo.c-es. magicae could nOW be written down so that we can know exactly how m pronounce them today. In the' origimd papyri fr.o.ro which [he mag~c:al operations in [his hook are raken, not O.n~f are the Greek words written in Greek letters, but se tooare E:gyptian or Copdc and. Hebfcw words and phrases. lu. opposed CO the: purely £gyp't~an tradition p.resc[vedl wn h.icral!:k or demode material, (he


Table: 3. Tile Sys:~(lm of Greek ITO]XE~A.

0( 13 'y S f. ~ 11 EJ
(llpha b@la g.omma della epsilon lei 01 elo Ihelo
I 2 j 4, 5 7 8 9
1 K .! .# r £ 0 ''1/'
rOla uppo lamt)da ffiLl nUl xi ornteron pi
IQ 20 J() 40 SO 00 '0 SO
P' , w.)
c V " X VI
, , ,
~ho sigma la'll yp~lol'I phi Chi psi om€g(],
noo 200 300 1100 soo 600 700 800 Glieek tradieion has been recorded in wrinten form-'OO be revivified by .m::lgidans today.

,POI' lnscriprions the Greeks used capital letters, bur for wr,iti~g 0111 papyrus cursive versions were developed. Most esoteric speculaIrion and. lore is: based 011 rhe shape-s of the capitals, although magi,cally the cursive signs carry JUSt as much force as (he capleals, This is understandable since the G[leek. esoteric tradition surrounding the letters: came along as a part of [.I'H~ development of philosophy and. Imm!!J,gh contact with [he more anciently literare peoples of Babylon snd Egypt. To the Greekstheir lerters were more purdy abstract.signs (or abstracc prin ciples than. .anyrh hlg roored .i nan ideogrammic ~ or Ideographic tradition. But by the time [he Greco-Egyp'[~an magical pap')'-lw were written down, there was a compleresysrem of Greek eseteriea embodied in their ]er'N!IS Oil stoicheia (elements) as (hey caUed them. Appendi.x.E demonstrates how to wrire the G:r,edk letters: prop-

erly;. in an aesthetic and powerful way. .

The Gr,eeks adapred the Seminc letrer-names as virrually arbimu:y names .. 1U opposed. to the Semitic ~etfelS or Celtic oghams or GermanWc runes, 'the Greek lerter-names have no natural ~ea,n~ngs. uhey do however. ccnrain mysteries, In the section on Stoich,e;.a~ mf.S:e .my.sreill'ies are explored! in depth, Now it ~s on~y impo,rmn·t '(10 understand the extemal body of the tradition,

The pU11e~y numerical P (digarnma) has: the value o.f6, but is not •. ~ _ of me oodifled system of [he .2·4 s:toicheia .. SimHarIy the swg;n '9' is



_ _'1h- _

1 .'_ : - __ .,. " II. .. '"I,. ' II, '.' '. . I

wen :for 9'1] and. '. ~for '900 m JWumencj)j ,compuranORs"Mosr of ehe

names .of the Greek ~etters ha ve no imri ns~, meaning, The ones that

.Jl h _:1- . ..:1 . hrneani '1.. "li ( 0"

co nave SUOi down to earn rneam.l'llgs: as:: ()~mt!r{ron~ _n1U~. , ora-

CC'L' '0· II 'M' d 'l.3I·· ,. _ h

megd" 11.)18' I. . 1 ,ore aetar ea mstrucnon on 110W to' P'[ODOUJ!.c:e me

letters in Greek are provided in Appendix H

On this exoteric base, the Greeks 'bunt 'Up an eiaborare and extremely complex set of teachings front various phHosophka~ schools. It ~s as dl.olJgh practical innovation had unlocked Oi; deeper esoteric posenrial based on abstract thought and m;uhemal!:i,cal


The Coptic language is actuaUy a. dialect of the language spoken by the ancient Egyptians. It: died om as a livi,ng ~anguag~ by rhe 17th century but continued in use for ritual purposes in. rhe Coptk Church. It was able ro isolate irsdf and survive as long as it dwd because it was the langu,ag,e of Christian sects in Egyp _ -some of then'} Gnost~c-whkhrem:a~ned apart from the Roman and subsequen[ Arablzing Islamic influences., Asdiscussed in the earlier chapters 'Of this beok, rherewas, h.owever~an O,Dvmow]y close li,darimubip berweea the Hellenistic and], Coptic socieeies in ,Egypt at the rime [he magical papyri were' written, Copric uses a modified Greek .atph,{lbettl (and so' represents the vowel sounds). Coptic words and words WFii[-' ten in the Copcic Illphabetaar1e regularly (,ound ~n the magical p.apyri. and rhere is a paraUe~ traditien .at Coptic magical papyrt The wdtefS of the papyri knew how co read and WEi te Egyptian in both demotic and Coptic scripts, although rheir preferred ~anguage seems to have been Greek, There were dose cwtu.ra~ ties between ehe Coptic speakfro} and the Egyptian Hellenies. This is showrnl bYl:he famous "Nag Hammadi Library;"_"_,,,a gro!!J P '0 f Gnostic texts discovered in 1945 Ln. BgyEH' some sb:::ty miles from Luxor. These are' written in Coptic but experrs ag"ee that: they were translaeed from originaUy Greek texts. They were probably 'buried a.rolllod400 C.IE. to save them from 011;"[hoclo,~( Christian persecumrs.

Magical Writing SYS!t'C.iiii'lS

I I Phonetic:
Num'bcr COI)'~l'C Nubian Name Vah.l!c
t ), ., :dpha, :I
2 I, I beta 'b
3 IF ."'" g;II:nllilll g
-4 A "li;. da.ld<l d
5 e e ei
, e
6 z 't 'lela Z
'7 H K hera e
:8 Ie, .. them t+ h
9 I. I; ior.8.
110 iii:. Il Imppa k
U l. A [ilUida
12 HI All. mi m
t3 Ii n hi 11
14 J; l{1 x
15 (11 .., 01.1 0
n.6 n D. pi P
17 F' P i'O r
l8 C ,e' sunma s
19' T 'T t:m
20 Y' T he II
2] 'T' q,1 phi p+ h
22 X :rc khi :kJl
23 t '1! psi JW
2,<11, m • 0 0
25 (Ij lID shai sh
26, '''I, f.tj r
27 .b 2 hoei h
28 X djandja
29' "'1 Ch,ima ell
30 t fl 11:+ l, Nume.rical Va.lUI'!

1. .2 3 4 5,

7 8


10 20 3·0 40 SO 60 10 ,80

100 21.'10 300 400 500 600 7"00 800



Mag;ical1y rhe Coptic alp1Jaht?itJ,· i~ especiaUy impcrtan r because ahlhough ]( is usedto repres:erJl[ EgylPrian sounds the vowe~!i are also wr.iuen-whkhaUow:s us (o~~ar the; vowel sounds ~n the operative :tJ:OCCJ mag:.icae.. Surely also tbe Coptic dlat is Egyptian, pronunciatloe of the ~e['~ers: must have had a tremendous: influence .;)]) the pedormaace of the~oces magicaf! as reflected in [he magka[ pa:pyrL Coprk is written ei rher j]l the Copdc style (If ina 'Vad an t, morecurs iVle) Nubian style, as shown in Ta,bie 4 onp. ill ill 3.

Learning how to read and w[he (he characters of strangealphabets has .always been anarcane fa,sdllat~on. Myste:dGus~.ys1lJid~. act~v~ty has its pr~,ctkal benefles .. It srrengthen,s: the Inemory and makes the mind more ,ag;i~e and fa.cme at processing data in new ways. There is aJ,siOa. great deal of lore andmagical wisdom em.ooded in many sy:s'rems of writing. This: type of , rea. ching is explored for d'1l.e Greek ~ysrem. OED. page 110. The decoding of tMs wisdom is [he equi"Y\aJenl of magical ~nidado.ml .. This comes nor by be]rue'Ving what you are raugh:r about a SYHem b~t by di!ico.vering f'Or yourself Some of the lnrrinsic meaning concealed and encoded within the structures and substructures of the sys[em. This pro cess am. be !I .. rndertaken wi(hHeb[~ letters-s-abous which the glllryiv~ng literature is most Cvast~t the Gf~k stoic-heit1 • or even Ce~dc o:g_ham or Germank rune-s.

Unaeutanding'the Jo.unm the ],euers: repeesene is an important pan of YOiljf explerarien, This is essential ropractiesl work in operant ph011iology. In order ro pronounce the phonicmaglcal forruulas correedy you must know ITh,Q'W eacl'll~etter <lind letter cQmbinardon is spoken .. (T]li?s is covered. inmore derail in. Appendix E.) But heyond this the Hermetic magician should be fammar wlm the way the writing of each letter feels and looks afce.r ii[ has been correcdy execured on paper, p:apyr us! or ~n carvings,


The Greeks can [he letters of their rupha..bel sfoicheia) demenr.s; which is ,mggestive of the WaJY in which they were though[ todescribe the buUding blocks of ehe ko:smo,sllS well as ncr as a blue p rinr for the:

Dlod..ifica6on OJ!' alteration of [he order of the w~)rillddu~u.gh magda. the world is said re consist of 24 essential ,e~.emelu:s, or stoichleia, ~ch (!If whjchfindsma~I£esnui!Jn in the 24 ~e~[llers of the alphabet as beqlID.eatt~ed te humankiad by Hermes, The science of d;'eJe elements can be classifled accord ing co four level s of knowledge rhe magician might have concerniug iihe.m: dliey axe expressed as shapes, sounds, m~;}nhllgS' and numbers ..

I .. rermer.icmagidans wm iflrsr seek to discover the meanings hidde:nw]dlifDJ each. of the elements, and [ben experimenrnl]yinlplemenl: those dem.eru.s to modi fy (HFintluence the subjective and! ob j.ecdve aniverses In ao:u::an!:!1!gfu.l way. Mag,ic is eommunlcaricn. We corn .. · municiUiealo,ng naturalchannels 1!J5irllg natural (physica]) ma .. nifesraeions o:f the sto'icheia. By the same: token we may communicate in a nen-namral or p"rychi'c way with the non-natural aspects of those .same :s.rui,heia. There are bodli . natural and .1'JiOn-l:larur.aJ aspects roan

.four levels of meanin.g the' s.toicheia" possess, ~

The Eseterle Study of Letters

.Manyreade.r5 of chis book willalready be f~U'lJlia.r with. the mystka[ ~Hld magical speculations ,5unound.~ng the Hebrew ]enJers in the s:ys'tem of Hebrew rD.'lysticism popularly caHed the Kabbalah. These tradl~i .. ens ~nd those of the Hermeties are d(ls!e~y I'ela.ted~ both in Ittyl?,e ad in historic terms, In fac~., it was surely through Hellenistic rnysIwdsm that me Hebre'\-'V5 fil[rher imbued rheir already magkal writing ~5tem wlrhmJl.merican,.. mysm-mag;ical significance .. This js W~[nessed by t~e mc[ t~at [he technique ofaddlng: up m:he teeal aumeri-



cal value 'of ai, word is called "gematria.» which Gershom Schclem citesas being derived from the Greek goo-metria rmeasuf,emen[ of the:

m JI';~ _1 lvel c. j, G L c. ~I '" . .» "o:r-c'"

WOI~lIi t. or airernanve y [rom tne . reek rorrmua .ga:mma = tna,. _.

== ",3';). us Another major method, of Kalbb:a~.i:stk 'Work wwth~e(l)ers is called 'n.:otfJr:ikot'lc, which is derived from the Latin word n.ordr:it1.ml~

,. .,'" H . - . n IL id - L. . • • d

acrosncs, .' owever, u: must aiso ne sai IICl:U mnovarrons an" em ..

bellishmenrs of the system made by Hebrew Kabbalisrs over '[he centuries were Iater borrowed by the latter-day rnedieva] and. Renaissance Hermericlsrs,

Theory The basic premise: of the esoteric study o.fjj~enets<l is

[hat (here is a hidden affinity between and among the various aspects shapes; sounds, meanings. and num .. bers-:and that 'this affinity extends from the realm of Being or reality (the realm of the God) from. which it emanates to the terrestrial , realm of Nam.re. Each "1 tter" is a. true symbol of a hIgher principle. Thatis, it is not: a mere arbitrary sign of a principle, bur is infact 3.11 (!:lSsenthdp.art, ormanifesration, ,c,f Ir.

If the/t(}'s1'fl'f)s was created by means of (he Word, (an idea common toEgypt~an, Judaic, and. Indo-European traditions) rhea the "l 1"~,e,'IS, ofrhe wo.rd("')· ,! are ind eed ... h,e..£tmtnt: ..... fr'E.e 00'-' ic orderins

_e~~_lf .. ,~ __ , " __ , ~_. __ ~-y 'k _ ,,__ ..• i1'-'_ 'I,-U_ m~ ~ en g.

By consciously absorbing rhe patterns wnhe:ren.t ~n the system oflet-ters (elements) the magician. wm have (he divine meta-grammar to be able [0 create ,effects in the objective and subjective universes just as the gow, do.

Knowledge of the esoteric lore of [he alphabeta allows the magidan roo uaderseand rhe w-ork~ng;s of other magicians, aJ.S well as P;j~)"V~des a blueprint for effective m:agical operstions, A total map of (he four aspectsofa ltoichion'i in this case '[he alpha,. might appear as shown in :figu re 11.

Numbe'r is. overall and. me highe.u of [he aspe'C'[,s because W't is nearestto deity in. its ahsrracr qll.lia~iry .. Number comes the: closestte dle-saibing [he e~,ement in irs P1Ues1i: furm., Knowledge of the numerical science orarhhmosophy, is pr,j,m,a,ry because the ancient Hermerics, with the P'Ylrhagor,eansl thoughr of number as [he root

a~Ger5hom Scholem, Kab.balah (New Yo~k: Me.ridhn. [974), pp. 337-343.


Meaning Fi"g,tlu 1 1. Th~ FotJf',mJMctJ ofa Sroichien.

(litchI) of all things. In rhis rh.q have been p roven co rrect when ir comes to ~hemanifi.'!:sta'tion stage' of existence, E.very manifest ~h]ng alill. be .qttantified on many levels, from its dimensional measuremenrs '[-0' the atemic number of the physical dements: ehat make ir up. If we: "have the numbers" on something we can create or recre- 3,[e'it In rhe physical world-s-we ourselves call. cause thatthing [0 manifest, remanifest, or even "dismanifest." If [his is true in the world of five senses and three dimensions, how-much more trueis it ln the more subtle realmsr

The shape and sound of a st()ichiot~: exist on [he same leveland ,g~v,e physical manwfesita'tioJl to the elemenr. These are what the senses can borh "see" and I'hear" of '[he manifestation of the element in question. For practical reasons these are rhe most pO'[ent magjcru tools: for rile jmplemenration of the powers of the stoicbein. Mos't of what: we see: in 'the hisrerical record of Hermetic magic as mcol"died in rhe ma:.g],cal papyri involvesthe use ·ofrhe elements on mws ];e:v,d.-by 'wdthlig our formldas; allld/o[ u,[te:ring them, It wou],d bea misunderstanding (0 rhink that [he shape and sound aee m'orely physkal manifestations. however, The physical phenomena ;an~ in fact reflections of corresponding higher, more subtle principles, which are numinous and supernal. Beyond the: physical stoicheia are dle stoich,t'tt1 sptnnatikon-th.e "seed-elements," Realization of the seed-elements comes thw1LQ]gh .experience of the roraliry ofthe stoi~bi()'n.

The meani ng of's stoicbion is 'by far the most complex aspec(because it is so manifo~d and melnleveled. But ulrimarely ~[ ~s [he meaning that is 'the most lmpnrranr aspect for work~ng Hermeric



magicians. 1'( is the meanirrg rhey seek most ,ofaUi and it Is rhrough [he meaning eharthe keys to cpeeati ng with stoichda areto be discovered,

In the Jewish ideology ofr~e letters, Ihey are seen as, d1:e "rwenry-rwo workers»us,ed by God W construcr the universe. Therefore .. command Oyef them gives the magician (or. b,lalshiffl1r-"rllaster of the word"} an analogous powertc aleer [he shape of events, Knowledge ofrhem win aUow [he master [0 unlockthe mysteries of the kingdom of God.

As mendonfCLth.ere are rhree principal WRYSW manipulate die ptryy:ot £0'11" ma:giJcal pl[rpol5,es::gem't1tJ'ia (numero]ogy)! notariJum (acrostics), andtemurah (pennuDu:[ons). In its simplesrform g~matria is the addition of the numerical values of the letters In at g:[v~n word or phrase ro aniy,e at a sem, This sum is the ttu.m.er]cal.signature of thcword-s-its essence in principle, ] ts arrha. Also, whatever words add up to the same value are obviously identical in essence, de .. spite wha,tever differences may appear (In (he surface in the sensible wodd .. Nota'ri/um, is thepractice of taking phrases and. creating words out of them, 1em.u.r:ah is <1. method .of encoding: one word (or interpreting it) du-ough a! system of letter substirurlons.

AU of rhese enerhods only became. exrremely popular in Hebrew rnysricism in the Middle Ages., although (hey were known at least from the lime of the composirion of [he SeIer Ye,rzir~h (perhaps as c:aiJ.y as rhe second cemury C.E,), andit is ]ikeJy lOf'lg befoI\(: that,

A'\ methods h)f inu-eq)remtion of [exes Of the objectively pM],osophical elucidation ofling!L1!is'l:[c symbols these rechniques may otte.n appear Idd.ic:u lous ro some. T'h~s is became j n rhe me,clem. peri od, once they were dislodged frOmCe!lICai.1il tmditiO'H.1 and approached in an arbirrary fashion, all ~dnds of manipularicns of the data! became possible, h is Hkdy that in the ancienttraditioasthere were specific uses of these techniques, nor the ~eas~ ofwhicn would have he en QPcra.t~1M tn character.

TheHebf'.fn:V ~n. no other cultural group has the esoteric study

Trcadit~'on of letters been 'betce~r eelrivaeed and preserved

than among (he Jews. Surely I::h~y must have ][1~ herited ~digious and magical loreconcerning the letters, or ! o.tiyyot (signs), fn)m their .neighboring Semitic sources, bUIIr that only acco~m!'s for at portion of ehe slilirv~ving [ore in the Hebrew 'tradition. A. g[ea:t deal ofit has obvioudy been 'borrowed from Hellenisticsources, This is named ~y Gershom Sdlo]em in his book Kabb,alah where he writes oonoer-n~n,g the composition ·ofrhe Sefi'r .~tzirah:: «Some of ehe terms used In. [he book were apparently tranda.med from Grnek~ iJ1J which, the term s/oichei:a [ndica~~s- both elements and ~ener.s: [his USU~ aUy .finds expression in th.c Hebrew term j tj#1JOtyes()d(el~m.e:m;a~. letrers) , i.e. letrers which are also elements." I?

The Jewish philoscpher and, historian, PhHo ()fAilleJ(~1'JJdria (3.(~' B.G.E.-50 c,s.), wrote :this concerning the 'Word in Hebrew theok.lg}!: ~!(Mos~s)would say that the Inremgible Wo.rIdJ . is n.,cHrhing else than,

·h D'· ·L .J' hes . f~L ··"dl' z rh .. ~~~8

t . e ..I.'vme '(}gQs engageu 1111 t· eacr 0 euuc rng i[_ e cosmos, . , .

Ofcoulse.[ihis ~s a primeexample of the e:mry.Q,fNe(I~P~atoni(l NeoPyth,ago:re<1ln~ and Stole philoscphical .ideas ill to Jewish ,theology throug~) rheA1,exancl!dan, HeUenized, branch of [he culture. A second-cenrury Jew~sh writer, A_j'tap~nus. even eq ~atedMo!S0S and Hermes.as both were characterized as the' inventor OfwTi~ing,19

In Hebrew [he word For ~.euer i,s'o~ w~kh also means t'sign," This could be :3. sign given bY' God. ,o'.ronea.dJdressoo~o, God in rimaL It is the word used fo.r signs and omens through which God made 11 is wm blOwn [0 people. (By [!he~ way another \VO:I:'d used in Hebrew for letter is siman,i -bor~rowoo from the. Greek serru:i()N'~ s·ign..)

17Ge1i.shom Smo]eM, KtihMMh, p, 27.

18-Se(;l?h~lo's On the (]ft!atitl'1i ef.bt Uiirld.in Tlu' W0rh fJfPhilf)JUd_4~u!, CD. YOH),C, trans, {London: Goeolt"ge Ben, Ul56). p:p, 6-7.

'~FQ1' ~rlFO[malfOn 0.0 Ar-tapaJlus, see Garth Fowden, The Egyp'tia~ H~'I'#JiE {rdnQl~ttH], NJ: Un]veni'0' of pl'in"'.I!l~QiI')J P1rt'$S, 19 Sl31.p. 23.

Th.e Greek Tradition Ahhoug:I'JJ we are rda'rivdy less well In-

formed abeur rhemysrical and magical uses of [he Greek a.tph:abeta}aU evidence points [0 many ofrhe well-preserved and cultivated Hebrew Tir"adikiolls involved i!i1 [he use of the 'otJ:1ot being borecwed from. Gf_eek practice, Therefore mcst of what LS mIssing C:3;.n be restored with some effon.




As noted earlier, the Greek tradition of magical and mystical speculations regarding, the letrers was I1Jot origlnal [0 the' system. In the v~ry beginniag Otn~tera:,cy amofllg the Greeks rheIetters were used for purely' prnctilcaJ arDid, mundane ends. The ,early devdopmen:r of rhe numerical values was more for bills of sale or invoices rhan mystical speculation, But soon after its establishment rhe system became the object of magical and mystical insight,

B,y calling [he letters stoicbeia (dements) the ancient Greeks

1 d h·' 'I; d II" f "~ ," d d revea_e, their magical-an ., , even SCle']1C! rc -att~m, ,I: r:owar.,

them, An attitudethat is somewhat different from the Hebrews who called their letters sign's;, AflJ dement is a buHdin,g block of a ~a~ge'lI: whole. whereas a sign LS mainly a medium f'Or communicarion between two entiries (e,.,g .. God and Human) .. The Hermeric combines these approaches for maximal operative and philosophical use,

The Greeks used a form of gemarria, also caned. isopsfphia in Greek" very similar to the one developed in the Hebrew tradition, The Greeks: speculated deeply Gin the sto·,ich-eit1t-O!'OJ [he numbers they represented (or manifested), (heir sounds, (heir shapes, and ulrirnately rheirmeanings. Even in modem rimesscientisrs have continued to use Greek lerrers as designations for absn act principles of marhemarlcs, physics, and other sciences, This is a rradition begun Iby theancient Greeks themselves,

EarlierI presented a reconscrucrion of rhe ,original cosmological schemata which hue!' became known as the "Tree: of Life'" in the Kabbalistic rradirion. Atthat poinr I noted [ha,t there are 24, connecring paths between the '~Or spheres of being dlalC emanaee fsom '[he 0111(:'. Tille' 10 qualities, which are the 10 numbers, studied and expounded by Pythagoras and others, are connected in a network ef'clements on a secondary (cosmic) level as represented by rhe 24 letters of the Greek alphahera. The abstract numbers, are fur-ely of the Intelligible world whereas the [etters (paths) are extensions o,f the inrelligible woild, into the sensible realm. They arc' the blueprinr ,o,f the WorM SOIlJI and the means o·f eeenmunicatien between the ,re:a~.m .0 . f the' senses and 'the realm of-the spirit,

Wharl present in the foUow~ng sections is based on this blueprint as expressed 'th.rough the Greek ltoichda. The ear~y Hermetic

tradition as we know it was: almost exclusively expressed through rhe medium of the Greek lan,gua:ge and alphabet. Therefore, in- is, by understanding this s.yste,m. that we can come closest to gras P ~n.g; the bask 'pr~nd ples of Hermecie practices in. this area,

The MUhr:..aic Use of the Greek Stoicheia

Of rhe several SdlOO]S '[ha[ cootributed to the Hermetic understand-

~ng ofthe stoicbeie, Mirhraism is one of the most interesting and useful for us today. Mithraism swep[ lnro the west from Iran at the same time that [he develepmenr of Hermericismwas ebbing. ,Although its roots are Iranian, it soon. sync.fl~(w:z.ed with du!' Greek modalities of [ho'U,gh[ and. in turn with the Roman system. An examination ofM']l:hrak doctrines concerning the alphabet reveals In.any ,(l'pctlltll-induding: those connected with h,e symbols used in the system .of images known as [he Tarot=-which would otherwise remain unknown until the late M]dd~'e Ag-:e-s;

In her. the Greek magical papyri contain many references '~a Mirhras (Gk. Mlepa~ or M&lep(l,~) .. Mirhrajsm Is a later developmens ofIranian religion being practiced at thetime of rheexpansion of the Roman Empire [0 the borders of Persia, (from the fiIst century B .. C,E.). Thisreligion found a receptive public in rhe Roman army. where it developed into an all male warrior religion, These soldiers then disseminated. t~e faith, along with aU its magical feamres tbroughcur the' Empire (where .it wassyncretized withthe Gr.eooRoman mysl[er)' religions), It was rhese Roman soldlerswho built (he num.efOY:S: Mhhrak temples to he found, rh,rougho~.u the rerrirories of

..II.. R-' E' '.

me oman. "mpure.

Mlthraism broughr with jr a whole body of lore and magical tecbnQ~ogy. It inherited this from Iian~an religio-maglcal systems from which it sprang., This was, tremendously influential in the formation of [he Hermetic synthesis. .As is well-known, the eerrns mageill and. magos are borrowings fromrhe Iranian ter.fi1ino~ogy. The terms p'Ii(lbaMy 'Wert pasSied. on. fr'O'm rhe Mhh,r~ic cult 'Oil' one ,dosdy rd.a:ted!. 'to [11: •. A priest in due cult was known as a map in. Iranian. It WS peesumably dlree such ml1:ffis (p~.) who are said to have come 'W visit the Christ-Child guided h}~ a. "star, 'I



.At some point in '[he early centuries C.B •. " a connecrien was. forged between rhe letrers of the Greek alphalJetaand the ~'ore of Mithmism. Curiously' enoUlgh this Mirhraic lore in turn seems 'W be' an lUD.mJs'mkable Ilnkwith the symbD,~ism of the Tarot. COJ1i~ neceions be["!N',een various a~lPhahet.i,c S'ysn:ffi:5l and the Tarot halve been the subject of speculation throughout [he modern oceult revival, Mosr, if not alL of (his has. centered on the jewish Kabbalah and. hence the Hebrew atcf,brt

A. Swedish scholar, SIgurd .Agrell., who worked in the early pan of chis century, points out [he; werul-known faCit [h"u the artrlbu[~o n of Hebrew letters to [he M,aj 0'1 Arcana of the Taren: is of reladvely late dare. Thws was n:rs't done ]J1I the late 18th or early 19th ceneury, AC,Qording iIDO Ag,reU, however, [he connecrion between the Tarot andan alphabet occurs first in the Greek cu~.tural sphere, not

the Hebrew."

Interesringly, the r,eaucri,on from .24 [0 22 lerrers fOor esoteric

practice 'came not through Hebrew .i.fi.flilencej, as ,m~ght be expected, buthmugh Roman practice, A[ that rime, [he Latirr alphabet consisred of 23 ~,e'£te[s, but since I.<"l,could nor be used in inithd poswcion, it was not employed in Roman divinatory p:tr;il.Cilttce which depended on '[he use of the illIthd leuers of words to form6ormubk :readhwgs. This Larln 22 .. letter sys.rem rhen became the y,ndedyrurlg one fO'1i biter m~gical p:rncdce (to whicb the: Hebrew was :dso added), We can not ru~,e «1Ut: ,the possibmry that the Tarot symbolism was shaped by either the older Greek. or by a kindred, p erhaps ,ev,en Iran-


A,g1lrdl uses the Greek alphabua and 1'1:5, magiGo-mystka1 corte-

spondencea ro explain ~he arot, Tab-Ie; 5, on p, '123, ~s ;]I .. $o'm!~whilit modified. version of '[he one printed [[I Die' pergame~isch'e Zat"b,"~ $chdbi! '«.nd ddS Throckspiel;l: I This reoonsrmccion rearranges the T31'O'[ order 'Vo agree with the esoteric meanings of the Greek ~eu,eI:s in '[he Micluak rradkion. Agr.eU is, of the opinion 'that the original Tarot order ~oUowed, me .sYSl1em of Greek letters, but' that it became alec'red

iOSigurd AgreU. Di( pe'X-411lenischt ZA,u/;.mchEihe tmd tim Tmv.tk.spiti (lund.: GLee'N,p .• 1936). pp. 60-6 L

1!Sig1iUd A.uett DifPt,.,gtJ.1:'1t11.i~,I]t Ztntbm,htiln una 'as Tarochpirl> pp. 97-98.

A:rcafil.l.m (E.sOI:eric

Nl.lmbel!' Rom.aJl N<I,me)

G~~k NiliMe

a1[l]-a a [bern.

,gamma delltili



pi rho


psi: omeg<i

Miduaic Meaning

2 3 4 5 7 8 5>

]0 2!0 30 40 ')0 60 70 ,8,0

HIO 200 300 400


The: f'ool. {Apiis}

The M;)Jgidan (Bi3c<JI~u~··:Typll,p[l) rhe Daimonic

The Pri,t"sl[,es.s (C:adcs .. ls.is) the Divine

The EmpIC',s;s (Diana) 4, :Elements

The Emperor riEo.~·Aeold AiDn

The Hieroph:iDt (fla.m.en" S .. " if

\ J" ... r! see

The Lovers (G3iudwum) loy. Love

The Chariot (H':lJrntt.l) Crystiil-HIi:!<lvcm,

Justice UIi..st~ti3) An,mkc

Tl!,e H~rm,i[ (Ki'on.os) Kl'On'~. De/H.b

Whed of .iForllll.rl!c (Libera) Plant'S

S[(,eogrh, (Ma,gnitl.lldQ) T~,~

The Hanged: Man (Noxa) HeKllitC

The Stii.r (Stc.lbJt:) S~a rs

The .sUIl! ,(ViClQr· Unus) ("


The Dc:vil (Q!Ji~1!'ms) SC.l'ap.is~Mid:lfas

Tlhe Moo~ {Trilla) [',he femilJll.llc

Dc,ath (Orcus) Beare', .of Desd

The 'World (Zoaiatus) H


Temp,cJ<ln,ce (P.luvia) Wiimr

Judg;mc:nr (XJpbill!S) PhaUus

500 6'10 700 8·00'



when fused with the Roman tradition ,of22 divinarory letters, as QU[lined above. No{~ce in Table 5 on p. 123, that each of the esoteric names begins with a differentlene,r.in the Larin alp~abet, andt.ha:t if these are arranged in their eradirioral ABCDEfGHIXLMNOP'ORSTUXZ order, rhe uadidonal order of rhe Major Arcana of d~e Tarot: is likewise revealedl These few !pages of lore a re, I believe, sufficient W set a whole newcourse in l[be investigarion o,fTar'0t symbolism. as well as being a door to new understandings of Greco-Roman

esoterica ..

From this mai[e:l:ial~ we can supposechu th.e s;ymhoHsm of the

Tarot. is ultwm3J.te~.y based, ()j1jil. syn,cr~etiz.ed Irano-Hellenlc model, not an originilly Semieo-Hebsaic one .. Furthermore it points to [~e po~.sibilh:y of there being an _odglnal 24 Maj:oI' Ar~na; not 2:, Thls would cause the whole body ofTat·oc arcana; counting ehe Major and

Miner An:an.a,mgedle'[I' to equal 80 ~ not 78,_ .

.As far as any connection between the Greek alphabet and the Tarot made duou,gh [his M]tHuai·c theory; it seems possible rhat (pr.o:to-)Tarot was indeed sbaped by this, or some related rradition. It i~ also worthy of nose thar me '·;Gyps~egj.'i'so often connected ~hb ellc Tarot.are actually of CentralAsitw orig~n (nor Egyptian!). The Ianguag.e [IDler speak, Romany, is doscly related to [he Iranian th~[ must have been. spoken by those original m,([gm:. These faCts, strengthen the connection of the Romany people with the Taros, while placing them in their. true Indo-Iranian culrural sphere,

An)O ng aJ::ade rnics in the ill 970s and l '9 80s there dev~lo.ped a new rhenry of how magic works in traditional societies. Thus M best: described as a Slemio.ricrheory!. which. brieHly stated. means that mag:ical acts are-seen as symbolic actions meant to commt;m_ic-att between realities. Symbolic acrs perf:om-med In m.e mundane worM win he received (and :i.[ is, hoped acted upon in return) by a rransmundane world. Anyacr of'ccmmnnicsticn Is perhaps best undersecodas a linpistie oct, and. an elemental parr of such an act hinges on. the letters (soundsl used to make l!Jlp '[he words, and ultimately the "sentences" of that communication. I win returntc the theor.etical basis of magic in the section called "Mag~cal Theories."

Operarive Phenology: Names. ofPower

The sto'icheia are sounds. Sounds are vibratio ns in the air which may be heard by others-they ale modulations in the atmosphere which can. trigger changesin the objective' universe or in subjectiveuniverses that might be sensleive [0 them. The One created the cosmos by means of the Wo.rd: rhe Logos. To the ancient 'Gredk the idea of the

"I il -~! d "I . d' - ._.J hol di

1\,01"0<;. was: more tnan a mere worn. 1 m .• icarec a w '-0 e .• ucourse

of (often abstract) meaning, which ci?uldhe .ef1capsu~ated in a. sin.g]e, ffiagkaUy charged, word of power:

The science of sound,. phonosopby, \VaS: wen cuh[vated by [be ancient I ermetic magwdans .. By means of the rig',ht pronunciation of die w:~ght sounds} in (he fight order) at [he right rime, by the right person. changes can be wrought in the universe, When we ~ook at' the verbal porriens ·0.( 'the' aacient operations in the magical papyri. we see fWO types: offormulas. One is in "natural speech," [hat is lectern, repeesent words which are easily understood on a mundane leveland represent more or Jess. the speech that would] be understood readily' Ihy other contemporary humans. The' orh .. er type orfor.mu~a is 50m~ thing else, It is not readily understood. byrhe non-inlriated, (1[, even by most human beings at aiU. It is a kind of speech known [0 the gods, the angels, and rhedaimdns, It is ordinary practice in the o~d operations recorded in the papyri [0 shift bade and forth between these rwo modes of communlcaeien. Common. examples of shorter e: . 1 . ,. . .n f hi n_· d- . . AB·· 'LANATHAN' AL" . DA

rormu as orl1.a.me-s 0 t IS KLn_ are ..."",". '.,- u,!

ABRASAX) PAKERs.t!TH!.Of rhe most famous lAO. Sometimes words or names of chis !kind are extended iaro whole sentence .. like 'ormu~as~ or even into entire pas.sages .. N they are w~inen. theyare meant eo be performed vocally (as weIJ as .otten written in some spe~ d:dway).,

Each sound is a. certain type ofvibracory modulation of 'me air in rhe environment. These 'V~ibra:liOry eaees can have, accordii~g~o the' andent Pyrhagoreans! specific. .effects on the atmosphere, For exampl' .. ~ the P'yrhagor.ea;n_s thou,ght[hatlio each of t~e p]anetary spheres surrounding the Earth a. sped6c musical note was ascribed, This is the oriligjru. of our western scale of musk with seven notes .and[ an octave,



When. magscians, with fuU artention and cencentratlon, can perform '[he 'QTOlXE'Hi-<:a!rl: make cr visualise [he visible sign whae perfectly performing the sQun,d,al1d at the same moment :~u:nY' realize the numerical 'qu:arnity andthe semantic meaningls) of the·11elements" in their souls-c-rhen the doors to perfection will

open. . "

The Greeks had a system for reve.aHng the correspondences be'tween the ssoicbeia and, d'ldr cosmic qualities) whkh is nowhere openly seared and has remained a quasi-secret, This system is broad~y aUud.ed '1::0 in a. number of ,dassj,cal sources, Is br~etlly mentioned by Agrippa at the end of Book I of his De oee'll/ttl phil(Jsophid,21 and is discussed ;1'[ some length by .Franz Dornsdff in his landmark work 00 our subject) Dus Alphabet in My.:;tik urui Mdgie,Z}

It is well-known that the Gr,eeks ascribed the seven vowels [0 the seven pla.nenuy spheres The quesnon ofwherher alpha was the highest or {he ~owest spher-e was open until [he discovery of the original form ofch,e Al,exao.drian "Tree of Life" depicted in figure 1 on. p. 50. wlhere it is made dear that alpha must beascribed to the Moon" and. ,omega ,[0 th.e sphere of Saturn. The 17 remaining letters are to be ascrshed to [he elements and to' the 12 si,gns. of the Zod~ac--=as per-· haps also suggesu~d by the~~Htera] cosmology" ourllned in the Jewish Stftr Ye'tzi'rah;2<i In the 'Groek system '[here' are fuUy fiy·c;:: ... elements .. - Aerher, Fire, J\ir~ WaIer, a~d Earth, Five plus twelve ~s seventeen, and w¢ halve our perfect correspondence, The question of which ~ener is to be ascribed [0 which sign IS again answered by rhe key provided by the Alexandrian "Tree of Life.'

One school of chough.t has it that the key to which sounds are to be attributed to which element is contained in ,the Greek names of the' elements; cu.HmU)" xup, l((l1P. IJOIDP, and 1fl. It just so happens [hat th.ef'e are only fiv[e consonants used in aU five of these words: p '"

Air, (5 ~Water, Jt = fire, 9 = Aerher, and y :;. Eart~. Anodlcr school has it that the den:umt~ letters are' nearrhe ends ofrhe throe rowsof sy~hoJs ~ represented in 'TIlb~e.3 on pag~' Ill. In this system th'c.f14 ~t che' end. of the fir.st row, is ascr.ibed ro Earth (it is Seen as an konk repres~ruatio!n of matter in space), Near the end of the second row. xi is asc:ri~ed to W~:~er:. The llst thF,ee consonams of the system, phi! .;hi, and 1m, are .ascnb'ed to Air; Fire, and Aerher respectively In the examples [bar 00.1 ~ow. rhe second system is used,

When conside:dng the astmnomi.ca1 factors in the de:l1njrrio,rD.s of 'r.~vowd/consonarn ,com.bin:ui:i)ns~ you should not think of.rhem in ~!e ~sual ', way we are perhaps taught to '[h~nk ahoulastrology as a predKuv:e science, Rather it is astronomy as a d:escrjpdv!e, G05.ffiologkaJ map of the archerypa] possibilities present in thewodd at all !r~~;nes and in aUplac.es .. To understand rhe synrhe.ses form,ed by-- the ,'Yo~,eUcon$o~,ant .(omb~nations, you should consult a good book of basu:: aSl:foJogwCaJ 1nrcrp .. reta!.rions.

.. ~trolog~c:ll lore isessendai to a fuU unde'ls,rand.ing ofHe.rmerk 'p,rmc]pl.es. Be:mg trueto [he philo:iophy of this :book,. and being true to cihe: Quest f'Or the' Mystery; one sbould ideaUy explore the mosr ro~r-~ev;ef~ or radical, S,?IUUC'CS 3:J/~j]able·. In rh~s regard We are fortunate 'to have the work of "[')r,oject Hindsighti" which setsabour to. make awila!?]e !th.~ b~jc source :boo~s of ~tro!Ogd:ca[ lore, Among tile vo~~ umes _.~_s the invaluable Liber Herme1is (B'oak of Hermes). Z',

The oo~binied vowd/oonsollam nnir can be rho:lliIghr of as a co~pound of elemenrs :forming a substance which is combined wirh odl,er substances to create rhe enrire formula, These are the second levd of building Mocks :aibav,e those fornled by the elements themselves. Ea~]1 formu~a is dlesigned. much like a. "chemica]' or alchem], call form.uIDa for a specific operative purpose. These conlbin:altlOns are me entities referred 1:0 by tlleanciem' Gm-,eeks as rhe ;\.01Ot ,(J1rep~ ;Jl.U:Ut'KOl (s',eed~words). (See Table 6 on p" i 28.,) Atransliteradon of this table is shown in TaMe 7 on p, 128: .. '

_ N~)ie char t~~ memthesized forms of these combinarions (i.e, bit

for ab) do llO[ efFect their me.auing On this level .of interpretation.

22For i.nforma.ticu'i on Agrippa's Dr oo:t:nita philowpli.ra, Sloe He'~nrich. Comeli~$ Ag:r]ppa \'lUI. NettE'$liehn" Tbrt:c Boolu 'Of O«uit Phiit1l0phy n 651 J (l.ondQIl:

Chdlonlos, 1986) .

. nFmnz. Dorn:s:e:iff. Vus Alphab(~ in .Mjs,tik fwd Mdgit (Leip:d,g: Tel:lbnc'f. (922); pp. 83-91.

HAryeh Ka,pl,:'}n" Sift,. fe'izim/;.: n,e Boo,k ofCml.tir)tJ (York Beach, ME: $a:m.'III.d We.lsel:, ~ 990),



The SciencE o.hhc Stoichn"a


TabJe7 .. Tf;.In:di,(cu!rilOl'! of Seed- Words.
,'"' I~' ~ n 1jW' .0. tJt "V ..,!' '18 ,_ H 8 .,Q, it
,w ~ (j ]I 63
U '!.iI
I;ij ~,
.!ii b d, th k .1 m ,n :x p m; s .~ pil eh ps
i:l.O ~. g :t I I
I I aph ach.
(t a ab ~g ad arz aib. ik al am an ax ap at as aft 3ps
'~ 'I: eb 'cog cd. ez I:(b ck el em 'en ex ep !Cit' es e~ cpa cch ,e:l's
~, ~ ,eb cg cd h erb. ,~:k: c~ ,!m C:l1 ~ ,ep er h et cph ,&h i'ps
a i ib ig id l1- h11. iii ~I im. tn LX :ip' ir IS [( iph iell tJl\S
'1/1' (I ob og ,odi o'Z cda ok (I~ (tun. on ox op <l',r 'OSI 01: I[l'ph i;lch O'~
'~ ''/ yb yg, :yd f'l.1 )'til yk yl 1m yn )IX yp yr ySJ )It ypll ycin yp5
1'1. 10' 060 og, 6d. {!~ o,th ,ok a:1 om O:UlJ ll~ O'P Of Os tit opb. ,och 8ps
I ' folW'lild 3lnd.lbackwa:rd}. Itcensisrs of only ehree vo()weJJcolfi.S~Onlnlt combinations (AB, LA. AN) and their J,netathesi,z:ed forms. AB'/BA ~s the sound, of (he ,Mo()[J in Ari,es;lAlAL is the sound. of the Moon in

Virg,o;ANINA is rhe sound of die Moon in Scorpio" Thelfl, the ft(),tc»-ion ,of Eart~, Is the axis about which rhis ana), rurns. So' it is fair1y dear ma,t the formula is one dlu e_tpresses and! ,gives command over me mare rial reaJ~n of Earrr:hamong theelemerns in the sub- unar sphere.

ABIlASAX' (AB-RA~SA~AX) is also seen as A8,RAXAS (ABRA .. :AX .. AS); Agawa only the Ael,:l:QWd occurs, onc-e mere inrucadng a ,s;ulb-Lm'll"U"' or' Lunar sphere ·of a:criv~ry and pmency. This: is the prererr~d sphere' ofprac:rka]mag:ka::lacrivicy For the Hermeric ma:gwdan. AB is rhe sound of the MOOJ:lJ in Ades;RA. is the sound of [he -Moon wn Capricorn; SA is the sound of tile Moon in Aquarius; AX is the sound of unar Water. The fact rhae rhe gematria vallll.e of the fOf,mlda is: 365, can~O( be ignored here, ABRASAX expresses, and gives 'command over, the emilie spectrum of 3,65 degrees of aC£Jv'ifY within dle su:b~L-tular sphere

P1\KERB~'rH fPA-K£..ER~BE~~TH}: PA ].'1 the sound of the Moon in Sagiu·aiius; ICE is ehe sound of Mercury in Leo; ER is the sound of Mercury in Capricorn:; B,g is the sound of Venus in Aries, :!~H is f~e sound ofIerresrrial Venus. PAKERB£TH is a m:l:g~ca1 cpwrber ot Ser- Typh6n~w whom is ,ascribed rhe [planell: Mercury in. Egyptian IS'tin·O~Ogy:~ It is obvious that 'dl(m~ is a strong" agg:ressivdy erotic c:ompolWem to. the oomposillOI!1. of this fO!rmukl.PAKERBi!TH m s:tmng in love and. in hue in workin,g,sm.e:anf ItO effect the material iIUlwerse ..

lAO (I-AmOI):: Thesea,re three vowels, so they are ,aWJ ascribed ro Ihe p1anc'l:ary spheres; I is the sou nd of the Sun; A is the' sound of rhe Mooll1; CI Is the aU ence,mpassing sound of Samm~dJ,e: O'ltVe:fm~st ,pJanera,ry sphere and galckeeper to the outer reaches. IAc") is th.e .pha (the ,innermosd :and the 'rImegtl (the outermosr), ru~edf~o.m [he p~mMY head of the Sun (HeIios). lAC is the creator of ,the Ea:rthly 'Ipi}lt~re (rOom thes,e prwmary stations of cre,ui,vity in rhe: system .. The JAO, formu~a (.an also be seen as a magical abbrev:iation of the entire ~kspeCtrumi AEH~OYn.

A11the magi cam formu~aic elements in the 'filiad.inoo of the an:cnt .papy[w can be j nterpreted in Ifh~s way. and made [0 unlock tbdr

Table 6. Seed-\'VQirdS.

I[ a (t1J a:( iltti a~ 0:.9 'IlJ( o;,')!. (l!~ 0:.'" ~ (ll'.rt a,p
\Ii s t,p q E& €~ 130 Ej.1\: ~;,., t,1J &\1 ,~~, en: Ep
Q 1rI 1111 '1'1' '18 ~ll; 110 11,1(; ll,A li1Ji.1 11'" 11~ 1iI1I: l1P
€I t t:~ ly [I) t~, tf.l U( o. ~JJ. uv 1; X1t 1.1'
d ,0 IOoa 0'( ,00 o~, 0:9 Q,tt ,(l,A. o~ 0'\1' i()J; OF[: op
1:1, U I)~ VjI os \)~ l)f) OK 'I)). t)J.l l)\1' u~ ![)in OPI
1t 0) ,(JJi~ roy m5 ro~, OJO I(O,K MA. mIA, 00\1' oo~ OOl't rop _, X 8. .d 8' e; t q,x~

t2 ~ ¥ tS II ~ V &l. fW .Q, 1fl., 'Q' ,l' \IS
u ~ :;;:p
c;;: ,iJ; ~
'" .~ p y 8 , 81 K 1 I:l 'It 'Ii P
.,... I
~ , I I r

ar; ,~1' 'ill'~ AX floif'

E<; 1;11 e.p EX&\V' l1>; 'I1t ii'j!j:l '11 Tl"¥ '~ ~T ~~ Ll 1!'!¥ Ot; M o~, 0), 0'1' :u~ OTU'~ 'OX ~Hjf me; rot: ro~1 mx (i)'1jiI'


The: methods of anal~in.g roagjcal 'Formilldas. or va,Ul m{J.gkae~ are demonstrated. jn the ex,ampies given 'below.

LeI: us interpret a few of the best knewnmagical name fo,rmula;s: from the ancient p(apy[w using this key:, True Hermetic magWcians'Wj]~ set about plovhlg- the validicy of this l!c,ey 1)0 [hems elves both ,theo~ticaUy and pra,cdca.Uy" so th..ere is no need ro interpretan ex~us.tnl'e number of formulas in this: way .. In fact, such an ,exhausnve cata~O!grung, would 'be counter productive ro the real aims of He[.rn.e~k:s.

. AB.lANATHANALBA (= AB~LAeNA-TH-AN-AL-BA); The fac;[ mac oOnly 'the A-vowel occurs in ehe fu!rmnla demonstrates i[S Lunar nature. Theta ('9) is Ql[ its ,oenter, and it is 'a palindrome (the same



secrets for the working magician 'tloday. It is hnpo:rr;aol: I[~ realize 'that when me old magical papyri instruct the magician to rectre a for~ula

, ha A' B'LA' N·II·'T·HAN·, " AL: 'SA it is nor. understnod as purelY' 1[:£3,"

sue , ,as: ',. '" ... n ,. "".1 ,_.

Donal mumbo-jurnbo. Each iener and. each sound of [he formtd,a is '[0 be ccneenrrared upon 'With the en. d reo Bein,g of ' rile magician-otherwise ir is .iIlleHectili',e,.

In [he ancient papyri i[ is always made dear rhar ~he idea ofmi~~er ~s an imponmu pan of [he constinnion of ma~icaL formalas, W]~[hm the texts themselves, quite often the writer WIU t-ell us Ith:u a. gnren name is to be made up of a certain flumbe'f of letters. Orherformu-

1 .. -h "'<, .. IL .. , 'fa1"'0""" ABI·RA,-.'. ' S'·'AX are obvwo'Uslyr. first and foremost

as, 5,u,C ..... ~.0 ...... ' •• "'''' ~ ~.'

numerical forn1,u~~ in rhe shape of words.

As we have already mentioned, some e,;reek schools of ~hought held char "number is LiThe rooe of an thing,s." We have also observed bow true this is 0.11 what Wle; moe 'to caU a.'~,sdem:ific" basis wday. 8m rorr the ancient Pythagoreans and Plaeonists, this logical use o~ the qualities of numbers was' only a heg_in~~ng ~o whar ,o~~[d.b~ done with. them, Their secrets, if unlocked with wisdom and LO.$lghr,can yidd understanding o,f [he very q ualhies of Being dwelling with the

erernal One. _

The numerical system of the Greek stoicheia has already been presented in Table .3 on p, llli., Ea:ch. Ietter ,has a numerical value, In Greek. pracdce when. a ]ene!f was meant to be understood as a.. DUm." bera ~ark would be inscribed nexc (0 it, for example, p ' ~ 1.011 ,

In 'the Gr«k s:yst,em of ml'umbera[eC'l!t!rs, theta is unique ~nd stands alone in the- ninth column (che signs for 90 and 900 bemg, purely numerical symbols). Also~ the sim'p~e fe~resentati?n ,of dle: number 6 is impossible withou,t recourse eo the obsolete ,dJgam;ma.

Numbers have been. imbued with symbolic ·qualities by most cultures The ancient magical papyri are' full of referencesto SUJdl ad.turnUy spedfic numerical symbols. For examp~_e~ when rhe number 7 is mentioned, it is moot often at i,eference to (he god Set~Typhon,

The Science of the $toicheia


whose Seat is 'behind [he ,oonueUadon of the Tbjgh (Kt.phesh)~- Wh1dl consists of seven stars, We mose commonly call tht~ consrellaeion (he ~!Bjg Dipper.» Howeve,r, '[he usual Use of fi~mer.k::-aJ symbolism at the deepest ~evd .of 'UlndeIsnmd[ng is one we know aJ)Ou( from the writlOgs of the fythagoreans and Neo'~,P1at:oni5ts. for [hem each of the numbers one through [en had a special, ~f manifold!, qualitative mean .. ,togl• Note chat fe't them the idea of fl'l..l.mber was nor confined to a, maner of,qualluhy. Here are a few of the 'quaHdes ascr~bed to ea:dl of the numbers in [he' Theology o/Arithme.tic"V) [hought to' be based on dte'works of the NeQ-P~a.wn[sr and rheurgisr, Iamblichus~

ONE-the Monad! Ir is c.aUed the First (pr6t'i!1u) and. r.hc Maker (Jem~:ourgo1), ir is Ljfe and God, It is Darkness and Matter. The One lexcludes llochwn,g. U'lJ~ IS in so Being. Nothingness irse][ In many 'Wi:lJys, the One shanxi, many quali ties wirh what we know as zero (aday.. (The' concept "zero" carne to rhe 'West from, India via: the' J\rnbs, and isa hormw~ng from Sanskrit sz'~ny,a.) The One is bOIt'h Ord,er (tdXia) and t<lnfinJec Space" (didos).

TW'O-t.he .Dyad: lit ws Nature in monon, dyfi~unk growth. Ir Is rh.e Radol (/lJg()i) ~.nPropordo 11. (anal(}gia);,

THREE-the Triad; Here is HalJRony in Know~edge (Ptosis). The triad is the Mean betweenextr:emes.

fOUR-the T~:[rad: Th~s is called "'dl,e Nature' of Change, '" and [hat which holds the key Ito Nature.

FIVE=--the Penrad, Ir i called [he' «lmmonaJ" and equated with Ligh[ and the Jna.oif:es[3'[[on of Juscjce.

SDC.- the Hexad: T.1l is is called [he Form of Forms and [he Reconcller. The hexad possesses wholene..ss. Here is rhe marri;J;ge between male and. female.

'l!VEN-me Heptad: Ir is known as rhe Citadel (akropofit)j and rhe -!lie which Pn~senres., The heptad ~s the "Reverend Seven."



EIGHT-die Ocrad: This is me Steadfase and. the Seat which ~s celled AU-Harmonious.

NINE-'th,e Ennead; This is called Perfecrien because it is the Oneness of Mind. Here rhere is not' the Oneness of [he One beyond [he' abahy to be conscious. 'but Oneness in a COI1SCiol!ls stare, It is equated with Prometheus (who sees ahead) and who, brings; to perfection. The Ennead is rhe h'8ro's" the horizon-the border between the OUIel' realms and the return ro [he One in ten.

TEN~th,e Decad: Herre rhere ~s a return to the quality of One; but on a differ:en.t levd. It is eql;u;U'ed with EtJemi'ty; or A~em. wieh Memorr and Necessity, Ten is the number of K(}£~NU;'S.

These qualitarive discussions are higMyrelevam to understanding the essences, of the ten spheres of Being as depicted in the Alexandrian "Tree of Life, i. They are in face somerhing separate from rhe qualities represented by the stoicbei« bearing the same number desigrDI,3.tlo:ns. The Jloich,~ia: are manifestations 'and quasi-sensibk; signs: (If rhar which is only fuBy il1tdlig~ble in the pure' abstractnumbers .0 f rhe 5 pheres ..

Gematria The practice of adding rogerher the numerical val-

ues of each. of the letters of a word or phrase and deriving (he hidden meaning of ehe word 'Of phrase from rhe resulring sum is: called gematria or isopsephcid" Gematria is [he more common term because 1[ isalso used in Hebrew ,my.u:i .. eism, The' term isop;s~ph'ia ]itclaHy means "equal-srone," which means dof equsl value." PsephoS'is the word for stone used 'in calcu~atln,g with a device similar [0 an abacus, we is also [he word for a stone used. in voting or for diviaarory purposes. When the sum of ~yo' words is rhi! same, th.ey· reveal a hidden affiniry or identity orherwise unknown, This is in accordance wirh the Hermetic ~a.ws of sympathy.

Here we will onlycol1Loem OUf&~~WS with the practice of Gr-oek, gemarrla, because that is ajl rhar would appear in the Hermetic rradirion (whether undertaken by Jews or pagans). There are certain rules of GIl,eek gemarria. P,Qr example, when a sigm'a and a tau cometo-


gerher. they rnay be written t; and their combined numerical value is to he read as ,6,_ In the Book of Revelations the number of me Beast is recoeded ~n. the odgLna~ text as XS~. (8m ~n some of the oldest manuscripts ofrhe resr rhe number appears Ia~~ which would he read 6] 6.) Also, jf two numbers are within fine unir of each other, tiller can 'he read as equals, A key for the rranslirerarion of uoees magicae hack into their original Greek forms can be found in Appendix F.

In rhe section on operative phonology we discussed four common names of POv.ref in [he oM papyri: ABLANATHANALBA~ A~RASAX~ PAKERB.~TH, and :£A'O, .. Now lee uS look at ,them in terms of thdr n. umerical values,

ABIANATHANALBA ;; 1 ... 2-t3,O ... 1.tr SiO iF 91+ 1+50+ m +3,0+2+ 1 = 179: The numerical sum is a, poetic interpretation of (he meaning of ehe name in this case .. It is unil), (I) throughom: an of the 7 heavens (planetary sphefes), ruled from a higher plane of unity which is

h 9' he " ,.

r e ,recurrent ' . ,I_n r,e ,,:enter.

ABAASAX := 1+2+100+1+200+I+60 = .365; Here we. have a (oImu~a that was primarily created as ill numerical emity; The de] 0/ it is meant to 00 nceal is certai nly revealed wl~en we d lscover rharthe Greek sp elling of Mi rhras (Me \,E)pa.<;) = 40.* 5 + UJ. .. 9 +.100 ... I +20.0 = 3,6;~ ABRASAX (and Mithras) are the gods of the 365 degrees ofrhe orb of heaven.

P~KERB.~TH :: ,80+:1+2.0+5+100 ... 2+8+9 = 22:5,: This is brr-wn to he a Typhonian name :from the conrexrs in which it appears rhroughour the magical papyri, Its key number .is 9' (the number ofthe digit'S ofdle sumwhen added rogether), andit i~ the higJ)Jer octave of another Typhonian name ERB~TH '" 124 (key numb er 7). Anodleli name used in the papyri, lARBATHA, also has a gemarrla vahie of ~24 and can. also be Identified as at Typhon~afi name,

lA() = .0+ I +800 = 811:: This is 'the Gn~ek version of '[he famous Hebraic divine name Yl-IVH (rhe gemarria for which ~s 27). The key' number of the G:r,eek form is 111 (= 8+ 1 + I), which WS rhe highesc form of P erfeccion, t:he decad,

The' last thing the' true Hermetic win w~sh to do is make all of the foregoing into idle speculation and. pseudo-inrelleccsalgame pMayjng. These ideas are' meant to be' used as rools-c-flrse for the exer-


'- - e.: r- . -' n.·1 lm <' ,[ib ... - ... ,CO- I' the C, ... , ..... , W, p·la.'I:~on. (If the lL!Juru.verst': with

c~se' 0 .m:ag~.caj ~n '.~) U.",;~. II ... ....n · _ ._.

the understanding tha~con1eSwi[h expe:r]enoe. . _ ," _, _

. J ' d - sh l'd' ~-,,,, l:OI''''' .. ··'''''rne l' .. 11...,,, ~ ... t'f''''-'M 'Ul5e o,f me

i[ ,-- re~. '.,']) 'VO!!J S . au.·. '1,;1"" It ....... <:It. (J!l .. n .. , • .,... ...... ,.... .. .

In [1]5 - ;:,- . J L" II G k

'" . - - .' - -.' ,~~.a. - ,.-d . .' ,- ....- [(I tne 0 riO"lnaJ.,ree

principles of gemau~a wu ~ l!!~pen~, onacoess, , . . ' _: _ ," : .: ll~

.... - . ' .. t".-. '.' l' - J, ··.f· the l""fi0'.U:;'l.Oe, (the mor,e [he better), know~

~eus. som.e Know el..J!ge G _rD.'" ~ a .1:), - .,._ • _ _ .

-d re , '.' f . ~]]. " . les of (he paocess, as w:eUas an ~:mder5:tan,hng Q_f rlle

e .. _ -'" gel' 0. '" '.,. [. ~.'. r o u1· -. _ -'I.'. iii' • . ,,-.6. -nr .. ' e " a ".:v .... ' ['.0 ~"" l ~ J :,lifltr.a!V Q[ down blind,aIDleysj

qua luesm,\i'O vou . .l.il: lS V"'"J ' ...... "i . IU .... ~u -- . -r .. _ ..... '._~

or worse, by using this p[edse:Slc1e1'llce in 0Ul lmp[x::c~sc w~y. .' . ..'

Ob. ' ' ·l· .. · '1- ' .. '.- "'.' Iv.· .. - ~''''!i1' .. I'''' to sera ","~'i"he s~u'.&.' ce be '! !. e. The.re

- "V~0'U,5' J caf!! rn i iJ .... b"'.. _,.... ,,~ .. ~od.~ '.. .., .

are a, thousand. ',secre-;swa~ting to be un.cover.ed.All uM,e Hermetic - . . . - "'-'1 .' '.. .. . - -- ,- ~ .'.- -. '(;0' [. '~h emselves ~ have been ma;gkians wit ser our [0 '!.U1COVC[ !1:~1eSe ~: ''-"- _. . ..• ·.·-.c - ,,_, c'~

- I . .J. ha - L .J.-. d.' chimes "" ','~Id· be written (ro,m [he basic mate:r

[D~'l!II[ ,11.[ a rIIUID,y[e, vow . ~ uuo.,d . - .-

id offe;red ] n this (I nc chapter alone,


I.1l auelenr times magic was oH:e~: very mu.cha. parr of the: e"il"~Eydiay ~jfe of people, both commonand noble. Bur even ~n anciem rimes OO[ all humans acknowledged. thepower of:tnagic=there were probably jestas many sceptics then as now, pmp.ortrionavely speakin,g., Also) manypeopJe todayare fuHy ,e:n:ga:gted in a magical universe af!IJd ,djo not tea~[z;e h-o[ ,oo!l1:dste,mdy deny' rhar ;s'll!ch is rhe case, It must be saidar theoutset I:ha.[ there ill: no,~hi.ng ~f.'i't'r~O$icii!Hy :;li!dva!imtagoou~ 1.100 using magical operations, 'they ar-e not a universal pan:acea t~:a~ an beapplied in a uaifonn way by ,an iridividuels W]rBl unifo,rm results, T~lat isthe hopeof science, M~gk w~s a]w.1lys. th(uJght to be the domain .of special, elect individuals and groups.

Aneienr Theory

Gen~raHy rbe ancients believed rhar rhe magkal arrs were thingsc that mWf 'be re¥eai.edI ro humans by means of some divine communicarion in (he firsrinsrance, and then something that had to' be carried 0]'0, along secret lineages £mnl. thaJi peint :rof"INl:!:rd in rime .. It was the :a:rl: and science of the gods and goddes&esrhemsdves'j and it was supernarural in ori:gjn. Magic Wilde use of [he pr~ndples of the cosmos, and was rhe means Ib-ywnlicb: the gods and. goddesses were ableto .. create and. :[0 some extent gulde rille developmenr .0'£ the: world, To some elect members of the human species the godsimpanedat ]eas'E aportien of ehe. keys :I1.fC'.essruy to' begin 'to make use of (he principlesknewn [0 dte gods .. Those wiclJ thiLSknoWrn.edge formed priesthoods and bmd'u~'rhoods tor the culowt10n and. ·al!e]lS]Om of dlls sp~daillicind oflrnowledge.

foil' theancieees, he they Egyptians, Greeb"m Jews, the an of magic W:lIS at matter of ap'p~ying roWr~Eerio1!llspri.nc~pks revealed to the magicieneirher hy a teacher OlD" directly !by a god or other occulr source, mrs practice was nm.hed '[10 rhe goaLs ehernselves and to rhe



elect of rhls reerestrial sphere .. Th~~ was because those who were J1I0~ elect simply could not make magk :w'()fft. It was not only a matter of what you did; ~[ was alsa a matter of who or what you were-e-what you had ID~Go.IJ1.e ,through iniriation and/or election,

For the ancient Hermetic magiciansthe ultimate aim of their pursuits was cer tainl y not s~m.ply catching thieves, obtaining ~oveIS, or protecting themselves from malevolent dalmons, Operations,o.f rhis kind are to mageia what basic laberarorj experirnenrsare 110 c:hemkalengineerjng. The discovery and realizaticn of the highest of principles may be rheaim, burt practical experimenrarion c-an be the: foundsrion and. prov~ng groul.1!d.

The theOiflli'!ilcaJ unde!['pinning of anciens Henneelcs was provided by the idea that all thal existed was der~ved from the PUroma ([he Fullness of Being) and was thus of one essence-and thac all of tMs 'WM therefore liinked-frolll the cosmological orderings, through the t~u.:ologj'C:i3l.lldaimonologk:al realms down to the psycnJ!c or anI[hropologlcaJ-Hmnans. Gods; and Cosmos 'were ~inked. Di.scover~ in.g ways, to work with the hidden linkages was the essence of

in l riaeion and ma;gic.

An Alexandrian ma;giciail of '[he third. or foulith cenrury would

tell 115 that magic works becauseit ~s formulated according I!O eternal principles hidden w~th~n the supernal realms (in ,the ,M~nd of God). These principles are hidden from 'the mundane mimi by reason of rhe ~ad( <of the mUID1d1;a.fH~ m~nd>5: ab:i[hy co perceive them. He would also insist that although ~og,ic and reason is able [0 hring one close to an understanding of chis hig~er reality; it alone can never cause one to r,eilize and have [rue knowledge (gndsis) of ir. This is becausealthough the higher and lower worlds may be similar in structure (as above so below) and. be linked by ~idde~ cerrespcndences or syl11,pa,~ thies, '[h~y are stiH difFen,m't in kind,

Th~ science of the' Jtoicheill. ho~&s the g[1eatest s~ ngle key to [he' theoretical undersranding of rhe magic of rheancient Hermetics at [east as far as the evidence ()f the GJ"eek magica~ papyri allows IIJIS to diseever, Magic works: chiefly on the basis of a theo~ of o(o.mp~ex cor .. r,espondences between clements in. 'the supernal reaj!tll and the mundane world. This was: the basis of all rhe occult sciences, asrrologj, alche.my~ ·and!, so on" and. the basis of d~e famous Hermetic dicrum "as

above, so below," 'The sto'ic/uiiJ ,reprcsen'[ a multidimensional system of srmbo~k correspondences with a r,eady made communicative con[exit. As humans can communicate by means of (be stoichel'd (sounds and. visible signs in writing), so' coo can humans communicate with gods (as gods must beable W communicate with one' another) by mCaJ.I1s of (he more mysterious aspects of these e:!e.me·nts.

Modemism, rhe schoo] of thought 'prevalent in weseem dviHzacion since the 17d\ century; is marked by 3:. ftil"m beliefin rhe dogma rhat humaniq can save itself through the application of reason and sciemific methods when and if these methods are applied WOo a cooperaeive and rational way; This new faji'l,'.h mighr be called "Scienrism." In the wake of modernism rwo schools ofthou,ghI arose concerning magic. One, the' more orthodox "Scientisric" approach, held that magic was me[,dy erroneous science, This: scbool rejected. the redhy of.magie akogerher; claiming that it Was merely superseded pseudoknowledge.

The ocher approach taken by those who, did [lot want to give up the ways of magic~ but wanted. [0 rryto makethem "respectable" in due 'eyes of:a populous ever more under rhe spell ofmedernism and ~'rs Scientism, held our the possibi1h:y [hat magic was, jus~ "undlscovered science." By ehe same token, those who wanted ItO correlate radonal science with. magic alw~ys seemed anxious to grasp any new scientific discovery [hair seemed [0 corroborate the past or present d~jm.s of :magidans. Add.wtio,na[ly;. magic was theorerically cOuched mor-e and more In terms of material science, Magic was no longer (he domain of spirlrs and gods. bur of energies and fo,rces~ ana:]ogous 10 newlliy discosered forces such as decnici~. Perhaps me mOISt famous modem magical thecrist on th friendl)" side of things was Aleister O[lQw~eywhose avowedtheoretical pas i tio n was, "The Method of Sdc:ncec-lhe rum of Religion, ~~1J'

] 3.8


Modern u,ndersrnnu:i] ng;s of magic, either f.dendly or hostile, served, a great purpose in. ~eeping wnr.el!!e-Sr alive ~n rhe reality of magic t_hrougholLH the modern period, BUI[ as the ancients CJQu[d have rold modern would-be m~gid~~u~ lcgk and ra rionalscience is p:rec:isely what magic is no.~the fact (hat ~[ is nor is what makes h.mag:it:. Rational rhoughr is, ] wuieed m ~uf be; the sprlngboard to the ma!;gka~ realm of operative power and .. intellectual enligh~enJDe~t) bur its rules are ]nsuffic~e![lt ee allow the scul to make rhe transition f:rom the~ sen" sible realm (where methods of natural science are valid) to the ~ntd'" li.gibte rcaJm where those same methods can he applied ()nly by al!iJ:31ogy at best ..

Pestmodern Theory

Posrmedernisrn isa general school of cultural rhOu.gill1l which has been growwng in western European societies s~nce [he end of the Sec" ond CWorM Wu .. No p!!'emise of postmedernism is more importaot tha,ntheabandOrnme]lt of the «myth ofprrC'gress" 'based. 'on. the C00rP~ erative, monolsthicapplicaeion IOf seienrifsc rarienalism, The events of the 20th. eenrury showed that despite a quantum leap in science and ~e'Chnology~ d'll.e E.1i.llma:n,spedes,rif [r had chan.g:ed at alt had only becomeworse. Quantum leaps .in.r:a:t~on,aJ.~ty~ education, andl peactical appUcation.s of science had,not equ,a~e~ even a moderate amount of true human progress. Modernism had. proven itseJf~ at least te some, to be a. failed experimeet.

On]y a vrery small gm~p of magicisns working in- (he world! mda:y could be characterized as practitioners of poscmodern magic, Jus;t becausea.label has been atrachedtoa schoo] ofmag~c inehepast twenry or rhi:ny years does not make that school pllJtmodenz.. AIrrempi[~ bYClII.:r:rl:ll1!' magical schools '['0 accord their ~heorieswi(h

'I d hvsi ,,,.,' f rh .:II •

mo .. ern p ... ySlC5 l5 Jl1rS:t more 0, c te same moeermsm,

full essential component of a. postmodern I[heary of magic ~s the realization that rtJ,dgl:C is rra.~ and k works. Modernises were simply di[1eam~ng ina self-createddelusion whet!' they posed the idea that m;,Jtgic would no longer bepmcticedi and that m,yrhs wou[d be our-

Magical Theories


moded ina world dominated by Science, or conversely rh:a:r m:a:gic

1.J b . .. I "bv .,. . .. 'f' 1 d';; T dav' "id '

wou (!!, e proven reai ry ene scienn ec merneu, Jt Or ay s worn .IS

dom huted by Science, YC'r myrhs and matgk and the supra-rarional ibouri;d .. To. be sure much of it is of the lowest quality and. to be found ontabloid pages or cable selevision. But in fan mday the apperire for t~.e ma;gkaJ only seems to grow with (he average pefson~s level of education. Modernism railedr:o provide .medning for people's li.ves:-a:nd.with.on.n meanieg <11. cnlrure can nor. ~OJlg survive.

'tVI"'· h L .,. f"'h id .. bar" .~;. d ,I~ ,. ]' ~;

w it ~. tbe rejecacn 0' t . Ie J. ea I[ aa 11: p rogr-ess alU rarsona tsm

are ill1 03Jnd. of rhemsel ves valuable rhings.;fhre posrmcdernisrs open themselves to the exploration of '[heWl~idlity ofpast models or. parl;'ldligms. Past, or perhaps better stated! timeless, models ofhumsn underseandlngare seen widl fresh eyes," Their value is seen as something more man historical curioeities with relevance to the fiatu~e lirnhled to eheir roles as past foundarions .. Also, "]eg~dmare" approaches: to these ptitn~dlglllls are Hbe.r~ted Irom [he: purely eatioualistic mode. The pres ... enr academic sciences will become obsolere bycheir ]h:nited natures when ircornes ro unravelingthe mys:t:e:r]re$ they were originally de-

• ..~ o! '] .•.. ~,

,:;Jgne'<O~o lexp _am.

In ehese posnnedem t1mes magic remains tabu roa great extent .. Itremains tabu forall the same reasons it was rabu [1:1 medieval times (31$ an acr of rebellion against tbe wiU of the judeo-Christian God.) and f-or modern reasons as well (as an act .of l1'ebeHiQnag;ains[ "Seiencism") ,.

Essential co [he posunodern theory of magic ]5 tile idea of communicatiaM. This posnnoderu theory migJu also be called 3. semiotic dleory of magj:c~ Semiotics isthe study of s]gns and .sy.mbo],s--the theory and practice of how meaning is conveyed filiom a sender to a. recdver and ~arCk agam. When [~ese' things happen comrnunicarion takes. place, This process is not w~thou.tmy.sterious oompone:rns

henconsid . h 0[ dane" . 1h

wnenconsu enng even t . e most munnane conversanon eerween

• NlO human beings. Science can not answer the most basic and essentwaj questions concerningthe narure of 'the: sender and receiver (dll(ir psyches) or of file system Ir:heyus,e re communicate (hmguage)-wha,[ is it, where djd h come fmm, how does itwork, It has been said by the wisest ·of men thiJi,t nOlrhhoog which has its origins in rhe human mind. call be reduced to a. set o,f]ogicall rational rules, The sol!11 ~s not



1:11. oornpdatWQD ofchemica!reacdons~l{hef'\;yis'e its mysteries would have long since been un raveled ..

The semiotic thee ry of magk stares rhar rna,gic is a process of inter-reality cemmunicatiorr whcn:. in Hermetic terms, dun \'!ibidt is below is able to communicate its 'Will to that w~ich is above: and dlJie[,eby bd[[[g about a modlflcation In. [be 00nfiguuuion of '[halt whkh isabove-e-rhe subde paradigms of ~hecosmos-- and thereby reoeive aretarn messag,e wn. the form ,of oQn~$ponding modifications im the ell1 vironmeat "below," 'That this should be: so is nor rational Of natural, h is nor subj,ecr m objecdve ,exll::n~riment:a::don-h is a. nonn .. srural (rarher rhan "supemarural") event, To be sure .. magieal communication may not seem ro Eakep]aoe in ,exa.cdy rhe same form as mundane conemunicatlon, btIDt it does {oHow rhe :analogous archetypaJ principles,

EV'f.1l discussions of the type this ehapter represents are prejudiced in formtoward the modernistic approach. When. you started chis c._hapr!d':r yo~ were hop1 ng.ro have magicr-xplairu:du) you. (he way Mr. Wizard. used co explain how warer boilsar 2]2 degrees Fah.re:n,heir (at sea-level, of course), BUI you see, such an explanation is impossible .6or magic-or filr .rd,~gi()n,. or poeuy. or love, or l~f.r.:" 'Oil' any of the things tha.t are re;;i!Hy important to human beings, These are things of (he soul, of'the psyche, which are simply not subject to the same .kjnd ·of rules as physics,! or chemiscry; Qf gieo].Ogy.

P:e:d~_apstbe most ,sig~.~ru.cant reason 'Why maglc C3:n nor be' explaiaed in the rational, predictable way some m igbt wish ~s that the magiciansare all difforr:nt, M~,ic.is the exercise of the will of' an indi'Y~clu;d!, and .. 0l!:5 such it is dep'e:nAeiIDt onrhe state of beill:g of dun individual ar [he moment the magical operation is executed, The c()O~lIdhjons for a. magical operatioa can never be fepeated .. Ritual ~~ t~e a.ttempt of theooag]d:3!:il ~:o ere .. are, as far as pOIS5ib~e!, the mosr similar condirions poss~ble for the most reliable pessible results

Postmodern magk; explores the paradigms of the p~St and gives them unprejudiced ooru;]dern[~Oll~and rationel approaches are seem as spr~ngboards-n(lt as explanaticns. Rat.~!Cln:aHry ill magic must be rehabilirued, It must !be restored w ~tS dghtful place as 'the fOUlldat~on of magical devdopmel'.liC') 'but not itsessence, M.od.~ ernisrn has ~pHlr would-be 111agklarD,s .iUIJOQ,iVO impotene camplS'_'"


those who have rejected rarionality al.rogelhe:i. (and have become SiO disoriented as [0 be virruallyinsane) and those who have embraced. rationality totally (and have becomevirtually paralyzed as magj~ cians),

TI1.c:~ Hermesic magi!dans of fou.rdl-cernu:c:y AJex:ar.ldl'.i; and Thebes were in a positionvery similar to the one in 'W.hkh.PQsnnodem ma:gici.<lln,s; .And (hemselv,es-~[}a maelstrom of cultural influences in, a. world ·of rnp'~d.[y !lhj~tingvah_~e&a.nd mental pattems. Their response. and. the .l"e,spo nse of rhe posrmodern magicians, can be seen to ha:v,e much in commoa,

Part III


To-' 0-' 'LS' .

. .. .. .

I", .' '. . .:~., I

" . _'

'There are a certain number of' magic~l [0015 needed for rhe working o.f many operations 'l)f Hermetic magi c, A~ at rule the ,0 rig;,naJly h~g;hly pr.agn"lil tic school ,of Hermetic magic [8 not as obsessed with elabon. re pamphenu~Ha as medieval a~d m,od.,eul magicians, No mere tOO~8 are: needed '[!han those l1"ecessarf to do the wo rk, Often items used :fo.r ,mag~ca~ operations are ones ,~d50 used for eV'el~"yd~,y ptl.rpo'siC',s" Th~s ,m~.y seem unbelievable to modern In:a.gi,eia ns trai ned. for the most pan in medieval frameworks where each item must be specially con- 5ecr3;t~d :to r exc~ usively magruca~ uses, The Hermetic tradition was more pragm,3r[ic~ and should again be' so [0 day. Certain objects must be considered htu,irm's]caJly ,5:l,cr,ed or holy; others are made so through m~glcal 0 perations, while others wi] I merely $,e"e a sacred. or magrucal function for the '[] me they arc: b ei ng used, and re tur J1 to their P ron ue state the'rea&er.,

Operations in '[his book that require special ,ingred.ie'.rtts wHl have these H~'[,ed at rhe b'e,gi.nning .0 f each 0 perati on, b lU some standa rd items used in the frame rituals and in many of the opemi[ ions themselves are presented here fo,r the sake of'c[ar;,'ty"

1'1 Altar'

:For a rna,j Q,ri!:y of operatic ns rhe altar acts as a place to fQ cus attention

- . -

at the beginning ,of r~b"e wo,rkin,g'", Occas ionaUy hi. will be directly ~,n~

vo],ved, in the mecha 11 ~C$, of the operarion, but US1!l~ny it, Sllon;g 'with the circle) robe, and other peripheral items, is p:a[[ 0'£ the sacralized coneesr which is necessary 'to construct llilefor!e, rhe h,o~.y work ofHermeric mi,g~c can continue, The' altar itsdf ID3I.y' be elaborate or simple,

1- u roM i]l flec d l 'b A lal h u 'bl

" • 1"-' I .1- ,. 'I ,,11,-,: -, t,·, -. -'I _. -,;n, ",- l.'·, I'" :,', " 'J '.' .1. '.C ' ". ;II' 1- .

a~ge 0 r s\wn~ .;, , . OS~ Wl " , Ul· It . ,. ene ]CJ}3;, ~O, ave, ,a snla.· ,~, pOI [;;)[ . ,e.

_'1,-., . _ :_;,Co- '.' '-"'1"'-:·"'-' .' .... , v lr uried out i , ' .. telc ""-'j .. -:,.,, 'Th

a.[ar, as O:rU~l1, operanons 11,]3.Y _ e ca r r H~, , O!!J I: m remote iocanons. '" e

,<~ ,. inles . k'i -c d f :~ lr -r' and .. ' ,--, -"d' ~' ~ - ,,-- a~ . ,l- men '~' - 1--- .-.- , -~ l--·,:, de-

:nmp e_l ~n . o_ ,a_,ra .. ) ' __ a ua ,_uon __ ~ e,_e,.~_,ent ][], ,many ~utar ,f:

J}ii],_.;ji V,(" J!-'.~.J!

illiiiJ n,


cle, "Encircling" :3l &pace was so. essential ,j n rhe performance of ,m'il! j n anciens Egypt rhar The concept became synonymous; wi rh Hworki magic, ~~ Obviously rhe concept here Implies a great deal more rh mere "protection, n Tih.e: ac [ of encircl tug 't:he place o..f working (usu_a by' pouring a solution of narron in ,a, continuous elrde around t area) H.rs'[: pu~'ified rhe area, In th ls purified state the area is made rea for [he infusIng of sacred meaning and pO'we,[" As a side b ene61 it ororected f:rlo m de rrimenra l.:J!,n'~; 11!'~;!2'" 0 i" ,co,-: rces

f""- - '-- - -'-'~ -- I _'" , - _' - '_" _at ~_~,!Li~~!!d!·""'.:1!·: -·1, I~. ,I¥" !if !I'

In later times the nlagic circle became more elaho rate with ]

," ,. f IL 'Ill e

scnpnons 0" no~y' names 'O~ po wer, and so on. Ge[[~ain~y nothing [pJ

venrs '[he postmodern Hermetic from us\]ng: this scmewhat h~1 J-nl!!dli~.v.aJ practice, e8p~ci~ly jill these places 'wl1e~re ,a permaneat wor ~ng: envi r.cHl men'[ has been esrablished.

.An U ~ USI[r~:r]_iQ11. ofa JlHlg],cal, ern rcle of this kind, ru.ns,cribed. wi rhe Greek forms of rhe names used i n the openi fig form ula ourli m ]0 [he section. called "Ritual Serueeure, ~~ ls sllowfiiJ in :6gu.r.e '],3.,

signs, consists oftwo bricks spanned by a thin boa rd upon which c

C' + II 1- -~ .J

reri ng'S can be p' a,L"OJ,~

-r- ~.! IiL nl • ble fo h l~ f" ,rr '"

In pr.~ nctpie the altar IS 'a, tan e ror i['" e P aeement 0' orren n

and ohj!ecrs MSOO to foclJS the magician's atren [ru011. durin.g rhe op,ew

. - ldl'L ~L !. I:' I. ~d- b '", 1

tson. It should IJ·e ~arge ~F:Hjugn lilac Ii[ call nOJJ( '3: orazaer. tarnp '~J

bowl, ~d'[hou;gb aJ1 of these irems do not have to be present for. :

worki n.g' '/!L

- -

,A tfp:i.'caj, wnrking altar of a .p ostmodern Hermetic magician a

pea.rs in figur-e' ], 2"

T'L. ·'_,I" '. 1 '" h . f~ d

ne c~ reie ss ,3JJl ] rnportant e ement In tne consrrucnon or sacreu spa

'" 'H . . I '" _j] be i .' J d" -- ,-- '.

In ,-- ermeuc ,m:aglC" t conn nuen toe Impo:rltan'[ in 't lie me - l'~\i'm [I

dit ion, where its principal funcdon. seems to .h31V1e 'b een protection, ' a ] im i '(led extent this is also true of the ancient Hermetic ]_n~gkal, c


~, ~,:;_ ,_., ':' ",

3 R b

'_;0 ".0_ e

merle OOIPtD.S efoperarions, but was a part ,of '[he mag~ciauts set of' tools from, even, more ancient times in. 'the eastern ,Medir~ri!.',anean ,regjon.

O!tten, it seems in the pragmaric Hermetic tradition special garments are nor necessary, However, we sometimes hear of the necessity (]if' donning a new' white g:ann~n'l or robe, ('Specially after an. ini.tial5.oty experience, AJ~o,! rut has been fou nd to be g,eneraUy ben.et1c~am 'to the

-k f -,f: h .. ial

W,O,Ii':, rings 0:, magic ]:0]: I[" : e ma;gICl:'M1. to pu.t on some specsar garmeur.

for the perfor manoe of magkal working;s,. This is 'bas~adly a ritual ace 'which, separates ehe Inag].'d;an.s ·wo:rkaday U fe fro,m magical Hfe and

k Col - IL cd· bI f . '~ ", c 1Il.,

'war. , it is therefore :;I- VIsa: - e rom a pracncat pf rspecuv,e ror tne

_ · '" d ,. d 'F]- -f: • 'I Hermetic maglcH~.n to', eSl,gn ;an· wear it .speCLa, garnl,en[ ror Jnag!ta_,

" '",'" ,-, -T-'h· '. ". -- .,.' .. ~14-- ld '-', b-" I~'·· ·-.,nl n;... ... '~:--i__:' J~ "-, T-"L,"",

a"CU V~ ty. ie ga.rm,en.[ Sn.O 1.], ". ,', ['0 ... e r.rauJJ!onaw ~ IUe a P ure wru te, ., ms

] h- '. r ~~~ '. ~ . ", TIl c ]! a. - -h - -T"

coior stresses tne .necessuy lot nruai punt}": I nose ro .IOWH1,g' '[ .. e y:-

phc nian trad irion would wear robes: of dark color-e-red or black,

16,:- La m c,

,c"II!' '--, _ :,_ " ,P

4~ B,:la,ck (hds) 'E·ye 'lB,H,nd

'The magical lamp ~s ~.imply an oil-burning lamp 'with a, wick used In

m • '" .~]- '. C k - h

more arcnatc nmes to h ummate an a rea ror \-0/'0,[, at n ig " l.

Lamps ha ve long exercised .: 3, degr~e of :htscjna:[]o.n in mag]cal uadidons of rhe Easr, Everyone remembers the "magic lamp" ~J:.f Aladdi n ,~n the Tales of Sh'elnJ1rmadt OF '[he' Thr)'UJ4n.ri a,nd' One Nigh'ts, In, 'the H ermeric '[lad] do n the lamp is ~C'~o~vdy' used flu: d i:v] natory pu.rposest ,alrr.hou.gb i,t may' he used :60 r "gen.eral ,i Uurnj nation. as well, Sometimes the o.~d pi3lpyrus texts saY' rhat the lamp should be one the n'la,gill.cDan uses for 'olldlnary purposes. It is also often noted that 'the

~I ill let ,! 'D.. • d - --, 'u,

~3!mlP SWJM! ,:,- not ne pamteo red, ~~ ,Ap patently th ~$ .refers to the p.rtilC~

dee of treating brass lamps wi dw red ochre, which caused dD.e'm. to .ha.vle a red color, But as red. is rhel irurgical color of Set- Typho.,n~ often a divine foroe to he avoided by m~g[cians of antiquitj; the, prohlbition agawnsT. using red. I,~.t:nps 'W~ a 'way of b,;uJishlng Typhonian inf]uetl:ce in the wo rkin 15'" This plar ticular aspect seems clearly drawn

from the Egyp dan roor nf practical Hermericls m, -

_ An, example of a rtyp ic Sl.I, lamp used fo r magical pllJ.rp uses Is

shown ~n ngur,e. 14"

'O'f]gin3Jly the black Isis eye band. was made. from a strip, of black cloth caken from the rna eerial used '[0 drape a sacred statue of Isis in

~ - -, d h h 'II' '"

an Egy:~rdan, rempie, 'To- 3.y, as ![ •. ere ar-c' no sucn temples' tn existence,

it is ,sufficient to, use' a srrlp of black clo dl consecrated '[,0 the god,dess Isis" The funcrion of the black. eye band, which ~~ Tied ~2" a bHndfo,ld around the magicians head, is simply to deprive rhe ,ma,g~_,cian, of dl,e: sense of .sight £0 r a specified period This earl y recognition of the' powe:r. of senso.ry deprivation in magruc is' interesting in its own, :rj:gh'r~ and. provides all avenue fur further ptagmi'udc expenmen tation,

~' T;o, d

,:J'. -, rtp 0-_

AJJd:tT1!J...l1.l r: .... ,1J;

JQ'~ _~p"' .Lrl~l'-r."r"

The tripod is a brni:et affixed to three .long legs ] n such a w,ay' tha 1r '[he brazier is: broughr up '['0 about chest level. This is for making: certain offf:rings of] ncense in areas of rhe wot.;]d'ng' sp~ue Other [han 'the altar;, The tri p od is ,0]].ly occasionally fOMnd in sp,eci:nc workings in ehe Her-

P,n.ilv'r(' __ ~:~I

7 B,', ,'I ,~,O'W,I

F~J[ some acts of d.wv.lnatlon a howl or s~ucew .is used." This vessel is UrsuaUy 'RUed wirha mixture ,o.fw;uer 'and olive oil) or in some cases with. ink. I n ope rarion numb er 2.0 in '[his collection (P'GM' IV 3,209-.32'54) a white bow~ Inscribed with. ma,gj,cal fo.r.mu~as is speeifi,edJ.~, but' more often ca brass b owl 0:[' vessel ~s;, mentioned, P~a,g;m~ii .. (ally;, an experimental atritnde can be taken. toward some o~ these material ,r'~q 1l.ru lrements, The m05 t important thing is that yo,u have a bowl of shallow' ~ iq'UJid '[hal forms a, semi .. [ef]"ecrive surface, and, that YOM, are ab~,e to pO-~].tion th is vessel in such a way that you can l,ook into It. at the light ·d ID~ du ri ng the wQ;,rking.

1?i,pyrus is rhe ,o"hies r known 't)'P'f 'Q f paper, ]1[ is made :fr.cHll 'the planr

:r IiL h 'Ll ' ,i, I L. r.; s: h N' '" le ri n.._

,or tne same name W, 1,CmL 15, natrve '(0 tne O,3,nlMS or tne , ". ] e rrver, b:;~,'~

pyW:W' is avai ~ab~le rb rough im po rters thrDughout the: world and was quh,~ popular as :;1, medium for Egyptha.n s'ry~e: pai ati ngs which were

a.a i '., :' 'h-' .. ' C-'d-ld:-~" '1 .,. -,' -"l ... ,,__ 19' ,8' .111., .

mm,e\V , all:: ,1IIii:, , " ,]$ 1 Ul rue ,'.' .us,.

To, 'w[i te on the' pa,pytu! ,i,[ is best to use lb~ack India ill k 'when special sacred inks are ]10'[ called for, TI-H;; pen used should be a med:i urn nibbed cidHg;r,ap.hy' pen", The characters written 0.11, J1f: papyrus should

b - ..111 • h . _'1- 'l·' ..... :1!.. k- l' I I L.

e ma.u,e wir :1 'q utck , m!y lI;'[ stro ees or 't=lo€: pen, as me papyt'us ma,y- ORen

tend 1)0 absorb '1:'00 much, of the i nk, One way to min imize this [en ~ dency 'W~ once used by ~1 sed bes run ancien t Egypt. They 'would s-pend.

,', • 'U ~~.'I '~- • '~ '~-b· I, e: f ·'h' ,

tome nme Wl[[]l a me'~~, uurmsner ru n ;, ,I n,g tne surtace 0 m of' papyrus [0

make its fIbers more -co~np.3Jct and less aibs-a rbenr,

~ d . heeaevrus has a certai or.!:·

Frcm a sacre . " pe,['specu ve, t . e p:apy:r1l.l,S ,];U, a certam ''Ir.ru role lra:v'='

~~in~(' eAix[. \llo.rkin,g with rhss substance, identical '[<CD '[har. used, hy

... 1.. •• I N°l . H' " "1'"·''' -l 'c.. 'L '~U •

'me' (),f,I,,gJ, n au. . ru O,(I:C ,I, ermencs ,..1 as E CS mtnnssc va ue, ~ b rencauy ,rr.

is quite pleasing, Also, rut has been found to 'be an. ~'ff~ct:[ve: substinne for. other writing surfaces for :magicaJ Formulas. Papyt1J!js~ as rare as it

,. h . ""l it.. -l d '. 'I ,I. ij h "d e

mlg~~.it seem, tS mo re av~u a,u e an! easier '[.0 use rnan !rJ1C ' :1.' ,e Of. a

bi(lJJ,ck ass." I nformation 0:1'] how [0 0 btai n gen ui ne papyrus can be' reeeived from Runa~ltarve'l1~ PO, . Box 557., Smnjr.ihvHl,e) T,X, 7'.8951,

The brazier needs to he made of metal in 'which a fi re can be ig,n ired and hems can be b urned, It j s usually eirhe r 'brag's: or some: [\d nd of earthenware. Some operations call for a specific kind of brazier, The most us ual sort would be made of brass, I t does: not need. 'to be anY' more I:.h~1L1rl about -f6!J r ] nches across

,A stylus is ,3;, sharp instnunent used to inscribe hard objects sach as' pots.~ shells, s tones, ,or bones w",i.dl, ,nl:31gical formulas i The sharper this obj ec~ is, rhe better, In origi nal versions of the operations ~o und ,i n tl1WS book, [he srylus is efren ]d,e'n:tifi.~ as being made ,of either- brass: or copper 'If

. 'L.' . 1- ~~ L -..!III £~ I ( • l

you. em, not 'Ou'[;;UJ:1. O~'1Le in t lese: metais, one' maoe O~ steer . .or loon; maY'

be ~ubs:thuted. The important thing here is to have a 1[001 [bat '}T(i1jj an rleiiably 'LllSC' IjO' inscrib e famIly' small characters on hard, :sur&c~.

The, de'slgn ofa 'IYP,icd, stylus is shown i11 fig,u re 1:S '.



M:any' objects Of' tools used, ~n magical opetadcns sh,ould be consecrared and, dedicated [0 the performauce of ma,gi,caJ acts, Th~5 is especially true ] f yiou tee l (his [;0 be: a 'V~ raj and necessary parr of magical symb olism, or if your P'l] ~na~y focus of '''0 rking ma,gic, will be' per=

[. j ~I ~,I· •• •

sona_ oeveiopment or ,aC[U(iJa In lnatUJi]i i

, nil ] 11:... ld b d . d C h 'f cl

A simple 1[1-(:11; . shou u I' e .' evise I 110r tne cansecratron 0','. su :' 1,

tools, The, next chaprer deals' wirh the e's'rib~ ishment of fiame rituals used to formaillly begw n, and end a ceremony., These should be' studied and practiced In th,e~ r o-wn. righr, They C~n aC[ ,as fine w nidaill, ,e:x:er.cwst!s ~fl ,the ~rt a.nd, practice of 'H',erm,e:d.c, .rl'[UaJ.


]'}DAVl(" J ..... fiI".Ltrll..J'

Pu~y object O,t cool 'hat you wish to consecrate should b, laid ,0:0 [hie alrar, If you are consecrating the. ah3Jf i,tsie.~f~ have nothing 011lJ it. Afcer performing the >0 pening ceremony wi th an invocation to a ,group of god~s and/r;[ god,dess.es which you feel represent yout perso nal pantheon, ];ay your hands on (be ob.j ecr and sa.)'~, "1 ~ who am rhe holy one standing for Thoth .. ; lerrnes, do now consecrate this object, [name the' abject], '[0 the service of ho~y m age ia, It Is now set :3,JpaI t from adler profane d:ting5'~, and has: power over them, as the Ai[cHU,

h 'H' - d th ~I ] - I, '. ,- f h E ,1J_ rll:i(i;

tie rieavens II an, , me g;rr-eaJ[ eiemenrs rU_e over '[~'llngs Oil' 1:, e cartm

'~;lu~n s.ayi ng these wo rds, concentrate on the sense of separation. between this ob j ect :and ph ysical objects: of the eerrest daj sphere, See ir, ana, feel it being fiUed 'w~rh ho~.y 4yndmis., Close the dtu3Jl of (0<0- secratlon ilin rhe usual way shown run th,e sectio n. on "Ritual Srruceere."

In pdncwp,[e '[he coasecration of protective amulets carnIed pity';» lacteries in. the ancient traditi on, is, donr In the same way as. a'~y other objecr. Some more complex rituals (tH' dlis plWrpO's.e are presented in the op!era"tion~l', ecrion (numbers 4,-6), but wfyou ted dle need for:a provisional protective amulet, a si.~np].'e oae can, he devised by d rawing a pen tagrarn (or hexagram) on a pweGe ,of' p1apytus, p~ad,Wlg i'e in, a leather POUCh.~1 and performing 3;, r~.te: ,o.f consecration over it. The words used ['0 consecrate it could be something Iike:

'AT S"'T ' " TUU-'

, n...u '··;"'"1 D:T'I'C:·I·· , ,:',;

-_. '1IAmU"_ I _ •. :_

I" who am, the ho.~y one standing ,~'CN!' Th,(r[h-,H,enill,es, do now consecrate this phylactery to '(he service of protecting ,my soul, myhearr and the _power. in my b~Uy in all places and at :~d ~ rimes, N othifJJg can ha rm me while 1 'wear thi s

., hi nd ItL'_'j_ h- h"' d F P I

protective s ~Je~ , wrucn p:roteccs me: as: [iii e sme n 0 ,3. as

Athe~nat did protect Perseus 31gajnsl all [h~n,gs evil and vile,

There are certai It ru:p ects of the structure of magical ri ruals thar seem almost un reVerSal l, wh Ue others are parricular '[0. certain hisrorical cultU!iLCS,. Because the' Hefme't~c [raru'rion is ,510 ecie'ctilc often riruals dra\v from various cultural spheres for. differing rites and even within a" g,ivc:n ritual, structural elemenrs fron] difF~rerli r traditions 'iVH.l be manifest.

An, almost universal basic structu e for a m,ag)c;aJ rirual involves :a:n openi ng sequence, which p repares the elernen rs of rhe operat~on~'rhe n"lagldan) [h _ S] re, and. n y [o'ob-to undertake [he workjng w'U~d[, Then there is the working, which filay be as simple as a prlf,ay.e[ and petition [0 a divinity, Or so elaborate [hat ir requires several days to comple re, The operation 'Vv] U [hen genera] [y be [COn =

eluded with a standard [dosing formula. -

The oprenins: .funcltions as. a p reparato ry phase ] n wh i ch [he 1]13.gieian en,g,2Jges ~, magica~ frame of mind, It is important ,f.or all mag]dans to be able to' evo ke this men cal. state'. Th i ~ is one 0 f the beneficial. funC[]QilS of religious kinds of wodk~ng~ which are really on.~y in tended '[0 create th is sense of ,e:ng:agemc:llrt 'W] rh rhe numi no us " 'odd.

'Workings themselves may have a variety of internal structures. 'One is: the prayer and petition, A diviniry i,s. called upon. and. thea the Inag~chtn speaks directl y [0 the enri ty; peritioning that the decS:' re o~ the magician will be fu nlUed. An alternare approach, 00 ,this [s seen ':when ,Inagi~wans actually ":I[C3[ch thernselves" (0 a,' god.~of[en ~~] ios=-and rhen 3,C't j n tll,e p ersona Orr id.ent i,ry 0 f that g-od.., ,I n the I,aner cue dle operatlon [0 make '(he divine ] i.nkag,e may be' '[he most complex part [of _ he overall working,

'Oh,en. [he '~lo.r[\dn,g.s seem eo presu ppose the divine character of the' magician. Those workings ,j n which the 'words of he magician are tOI ru~,[c~ion on a causal level a .' [examples of these. Once a ,m'agos has [e,.nablws~ed a, d.l vi ne presence of self: rhat WldgO:S ma YII j f the w-igh'[ kno'wledge is p,resellt, 'V[rtua~ly~speak events inro existence" with [he

It should. be no ted [hat ehe 'word phylactery 00 roes .fr.o,m '[he IG reek cpUA..,CtKtlltP'Lov] where it ong.-'naUy meant at guarded POIS:[ in :3], castle me! was also used 'to : ndicaee protective amtdets. In Hellenistic times the Jews rook up' dle P rac[woe ,of pu,nw ng on, such proreeri ve a mulets when theY' prayed,. These 'were' made wirh bib! cal Vle(ses inscribed on parchment and bound to various parts of the body and aile S'[:' U used

" b 0 ~ d J Th H 'n... d e hi ,. .at: ["J ]

today ~ y , ··r.tW10·.oX ews, !, he - enrew 'WOI[- ti(~11[ [ JS ]5, tf'j:i~'trJ, i t '~~ ,n,.


divine form1Jl~ known {echn~ca~tY' as voces magicae in the sd),o1arly Ib!e1.31;u.u:e. Quite oft, n we: se the p~ttern where the' maglcian n,rse writes or inscrib es [~e :formula on an ob j ect, '[hen speaks w't or another oral f.~:umuJa over the inscribed ah~ect to activate the £0 rmula objec-

'tifi_.d. in, the ins _ ript ion,

One of the funcl:io'H8 of 'the closing ritual, is to PU'[ 3lD "official"

end 1[.0 dIe' \~IO rkrn ng:,. Th ~s concen rra tes the magical wil ~ ~ n a de'tinJ ee space and, time', The main operaeive benefit of th~s is that the dy-

. f r, . '" -b f d e b I'"~ '.. I d -

n',am/.-r 01:. tne ma;gmc~.an. can ae : 'ree, , [rom tne ,1mJt,aU,ons p ae-e· on

iit hy' mental CO]1su',ainrs-.such as 'an:x.i,e't'Y' OV'e[ the success of the ri te, or- des ire ,fo r. the resu lt. ,0 nee rhe working is do ne it ~s ai ready


J~ow jrl.lrif!cation is best considered .. Even the (Jif[!en repeated injuncnons eo abstain from sexual acrivi ~.- for a period. o-f days ws hardly' '3. moral j ~dgnllen ton sexual i ty-w'h ich is m~d.e dear by the m.ct '_ h~.'[ W'[ most often a\ppe-ar~ as 3 prerequisi re in, operations £0 r attracting ~OIv.ler.S\! Rarher; lithe injuncricn is' meant eirh f. [0 cause a buHd-'Up' of sesnal eWle,r,gy fCHi '~.he' operatic n itself: OiW to make magicians roo ee ,al~~ trac.tiv.,~ to the goddesses' or gods dley may be 'try j ng [0 arrraet for the operanon.

'Fra,me 'Ritual,s,

Opening Operatian 1,. Purifji,r}.1} The mag~,cian should be

ofPurifica tion purified fo r working in. some way~ T h ~s;

may be done' through f~s ting fo r several hours before rhe wcrking, or by abstaining frQ,m, sexual activity for a ,s~'ecifi,ed,ti~le (24: hours 'being one standard], or by bath,~ng ~n cold wa tiel' (bdow ab 0 U( ,4 n~ Fahren heir). ,P:r.agllul ( cal ~r any [kind of f.in~a1, or -'coc~dur,e that makes you Fed, concenrrared In purpose and. open _to [he fu.rc,~s yo u intend Ira cal [ upo n in the worki ng will be' effective"

2. DnsJing. His.toncamIy the' usual dress for Hermec ~ c magicians W'a5 ~ wh.it7 robe <0 I garment. This 'W,i\S the tradinonal CO~Of.' worn by booth E,gyp'[~an and G.ree'k priesta and symbolizes ,r] tual purity, Therefore the' robe is a sj~n ,of the purified condirion of the m3!_gkja~. The char= acteristics of th is. gar,men r have already been d iscussed on. page 14:8,.


1 n '[he 0 perarional pan: of th is be ok most of tbe j nseruceions 1 ad lea te that the magician shoul,d perform so me version of an openi !l,g puri fi ~ cat~o.n w"ite. ~o begin an .0 p erarion and some clol$:ing rite '(.0 conclude It,

S' _'n.. • d 1 ,. . h ~t t, .

ucn openmg an:' C OSliilg operauons . ave a~ways neen cus'[~)mary~,

yet are rarel y;, if ever given in rhe old p,apyri. Often m~gidarts develop their OW'n versions of such eperatiens ~ oc have 'been tauglu versions of

:fi.. ~ _. . a, . 'f " . II rh ., L -., - . .,--. . -, . d-·, ~., _,- -Tt'..,,~ .' - -1' r .,' - ': ", ,. ,- ~ . :.'

m ts r.yp,e 0 ,ru:u,a~ t .IO u,gu some rra ·l non. r ne ror ow J ng 0 p eranons

have been gl~tUled. from refe ,enoes to' these kinds of wor~ings [Dade in '[he' p,a,pyrw thernsel ves , Either ,full ,0 r abbreviated forms of :s uch operations should be pe r formed before begin.ni ng; any general operation and at it-s eonclueion, Such, operations frame the :greate'f' worki ng.l set .. ,

. d h fy. h '. d · h-· ~~ '. - ·

i[lfig apa rt, an: r - us sancnr [ng~ me time an·~ space .l.n 'W,- I len ,I [[ IS ca ~

:ned our

'The' whole idea of "pu,rific:u,io.ll! WS OIHie. th.ait many medernists,

and some posnnoderni: (S~ h'ave Pi roblems undersranding, 'Olh-en - pu-

"JL" • n·'· h- r-· ~ 'f JiJi

r] ncanon ~,S JUS r ann r ,c .~ ril' wa y 0' s~.yl"n,g ,(;Q,I.1 .. cen rranon 0', essence,

'Wh" ." "'~ •. l'. d- ~]" • d d" d '" Ili\

, 'en 3. pe,t''Son or area IS --punue"', .1' j,s., e-,~ca'[!e,: Ito a s~.n.g~eJI pure'j

and. sirtlpie purpose-d1.arr of the working., Th~s il1vo~ves [\YOI [hi 19S., Tll,e ,ex,clus:lon of '[hin~ de'u[,men:[al to [he oo.n(t:.f.l t.£'arl:,ed p~.rpose ~nd 'mt'! Cio,nce:1l [ratio'fi of 'e5SCI:l!Ce. on the purpose: o.f the: operatiol,n~ This is

3, Encir,cling. The area, where the operation is to take place should be' set a'p,~r'[ by purring a circle around ie, T:radidona] y the cird ' was made by' s pri nkl ing 3;, fine sol urion of na:rron (see Append LX A) around the peri neter of [he area, Of course, a regular area of workwng can c e see ,apa,tt wnh a pen-nan.eu[ circle drawn on the floor I{}[" made on me ground wroth, either chalk or, berrer yelr, a, dry natron pnvnle'!~

4. Rimal of th~ H.eptagri1;nJ.: Th is " s ,3.Jl j nvocari Din [0 the powers of '[be se~n VOCailtC: ,d,lemen.~~,. ~,~ce' east and stretch our 'bOdl your rlghr and ~efit han,ds tOI "QUID': ~eft s,lde' aw d rn,l:l[on,e I[be $Iound, "'A.,'" Now turn to., ch,e n,'~)r.th I _ and pun in,g fon-vard. Q'nly 'YOU r :ri,gh ( fist, ,ma.ke ~h-,e sou.Old ~E/~' Then turn 'fiO the: WC'S[ I.nd c'x'[!end 'bo'rh hands .in frt(~'nt ,of

;OD.iI''I;,I'15 l-.~~'

,Air U

, ,

name .oIERB,£TH/i then you, turn to the, north! visualize an infant

~JIl. "LlI "-" ' l' IlL] ,_I ~;{S:' E-' "'E--"-N- G' ''IIJ'N' '8'~ 'D Tl'-HA'

m~JgJ ,sninn.g on a OHm's W} ,'OSSOf.Cl!, ;3..11,'0. ,s,ar '-, '..;) ~. ,:, .. '-,~ ,',iuiJC,,~,' ,,-

RAN G,Es .,» N (DrW tu rn to rhe west and visual ize a crocodile e'mergi IJ:g &(Dlm, the' warers, his r,ai l In, '[he, shape of 31. s,erpe-n'l], and, say ~ AB,LAN'ATHAN,AlBA. ~j Then turn to the' south and visualize a r31-, een with irs wings, ourstrerched, and say, ~llERTHEXANAX.jj, Pinruly~ visualize y,'Ou[£clf envelo ped in :3], cool :f1an'le, 3JS ehe phoenix rises fr.CH11 y,OUJ feet to you r head :you, have become the magician able to ,er.,fo:rm, ,aJU the' rnagi,c' you, are capable of perform i.ng, ~

Newdeliver an invocation ~Q the ;go,d, or ,goddess: most suitable 'f,D (the' operation 'Yo.u are perfo r.m,E ng, Th is should come :frl() [11 yOUE heart, If no! such god or gCH:tdess, is: apparent ro you ~ deliver it, ,gene ral

.' ., f-' h'l 'il,~:~ dzl · L • I . f'~'

.lJnvoC::~,'t~QJl. o}· t te ru.n-, ,g~,ven tn tne pr.a.cucal. secnon (t rne text, (~'D:

on,e: 'to Hermes- Thorh, :H:~U:o.s',-Ph]ie, A,B,RASAX, (or ABRAJ<A.S)

lIT I:!!:!: 3' '6"'5'] "!lru,IL. .... ; ;':i-'" =1'1.", .... kn ow ''"' '1t''I''" :~O"'i'II,..~ "'i,~i!'! M-:",',- E:'fT, -H' ~ J]i """'~: ,M ._ ('~," th -'?' " ,ik·,

III ,-', ,r",n'WI ~,-.) jj(JJ;,JIU, ,ILl' . ~.IL ~u ;li,_ 1.1Ii" ..... !i]!iJi . . _J!",., 1'\.1"'l"J I!..,.!I.[:~ ,[i"", If.' !!, ,_,Qse W~lO

know it! to the: g;rea.r. name rhe n umber of 'which. is 9',. 9 99., AB,RASAX i'i rhe god of the microcosm, of the' year and cycl,rnca~, 111'a-' mr.t~ w'hj le the' Grea'[ Name is 'the god, of'~ ,- ter n l'~ ~t~d£

6., QjfiriJ'1,g. The best: torm, of Q,ff'e'ring: is made by hu.nlwn.g: incense of fran kincense ';i nd myrrh, Bu rn rh e o:ffed ng ru fa. the b:r:a:~d er whi ],e ·,riling:

To thee [name me: !dli~n.ity]II make 'm.;s, offedng:'m3J.t thou ~,~t ,o'pen, '.yeu:s to me alld heae these, n,ll')" ho:m,y words.

Aftt';[! you fe,e~ ~:b,a r a ,6 rrn sense o.f COJl.iEleclt ion with. the elernen rs of' me Cosmos :and, rhe divin.:ity, you wish nl invoke have been estahILdu:d} proceed on I[)Q the central working phase of the operation,

11io'\, U,JI

t I! '

Closing Opera: ion To close ~ury operation aflter the comple-

do n of the wOrwk~ fig phase, a customary ritual should be develo perl. by' ,every' magwd31il. It is important m sjg~aJ, the end ofrhe wo[kj,ng so that the: l1:1Jag-

mh ,atrtaJng,c::mc[i,[ of d~v,ifiig A,g,lUI,rre$ ,j III "l111. hllv(lQ'[i{)H folL" ,rna!gia'~ power ls based (!i'EIl 6u:mu[a:s, o~mnJi ned, in ,PGM n.i 04-:1-i., III ,,:I. S 3«.~ ,XlI.87ft: and, on ,many aJrnll,uTedc,


non. -c

These lenm, are r.t1JOS'[ [easily reached by u,'[[trw ng. a, vler.bd :formu]a~

such as:

, The dosing jf"o[m:~b; is ~nsP][\ed by' d.ism:issld~ f.i:l'U'llld in. PGM ~.v. 312~l-3 I ,2;4 ,and 'V4'l'_'~1.,

[S',··":"B' L··"ID-I'~'TI\JTI'ij ·"·1'0" .;",_",

,," , ' ,.!I:' _:_L"'I, .• ,&,_.LA& :'_ .IX

Postmoder.n Hermerics wi]!, for the mCIS,t parr, he. ,f(ut,ed to rake ~ path

- '

"""f' p' [I 'II l1".li"' C""]- c_~ n.". riatio n T' hi l'!' ;'¢ -b~""QI i 'j;[,.po rh ere "!I re 'n,('N ,It rII' !I 9 ,;D' H' '[e'ii"m' 'Ie'[' ic

pU'i....... :. Ua!L.~ liJii!l.;r. _[~. til ~,Il . QlJ. Jl I!..,J!, Iii, ~ IL-IJ .. " .~~~ Iii. tIa_ ". _' '!ir.- A- ..... ll,t11IV ,:~- '~..,. r :J!J _'_ _- '_ "..:... r

SlCnoQb-=[hose' with. '~ctu;d Hermetic q ualities no, longer use the desig-

,,-"'~' ,',- nLI" ,- ... ,." ~ T]~ ., indi ld ,]' - . I Il, . , ,~" .,," - L'l" "'f'

nanon ,1Il~ e rme nc. nere are Ul.·. ,nrl,,- ua , reacners wnc are cap3.n e, o

aiding other j nd.~vid uals in Herme de ~ nitiatio n, but most of their ::J •. .! idd T[:'" ,C'_ 'L. b' dvieei ._ . ..l • h KU!Jl[~[les remain .l.ll, !" _ en. ': nererore, tne best a, ~ v~a; ,IS [0 proceea WIt,.~,

'work on rhe self and 'wii:~ for possible dDO rs '[0 open, based on the SU(i~' cess of YOUI' :i riner level work, In ,any event the true initittt-O'T is not any

Ill. • 'Ll If:' d [~iU • ;JI 'Il'" ;JI' ~.

tea.cu,elr y\{) u m ~8l!Ij'C [~.rk ';10 1~'U! t ramer your own U'ID(JWt;; ] Ilg yaw men or g~~

niu~the ~)j nnacle of your own soul, AU an.Y' teacher can do ~s poinr you it1, the right direction, 'and. keep poi nring you there,

True teachers ru n [he. tradi t ion of Abaris 'wiH be able to '~,d.l you

.JI!.. • f" It..!;' :11 'M"H· Co 'a,no I'I=! v D'N 'v A '8 AH' , v A. '8 ]i'M' ,

'Ulie mearuo'O' Oi, '[ne formula: ,:: 1 , :,: o~! i, " .. '::';,r,ill ~ I :,:':: '-' " ,~: 1. ,:,


.1,0" "'P'~E,'DI~lI'I'O" (M······· f'!T'H· '.A,pin)'"Vt:?'N" 'I[/" A'B" ","'~ K" ..... 1'l!~lM' ",' L10"'RS' .,:' '~p' f<;I'O' ""')

!f~·'··. lt~1 ~ ;:]I .... <." C. ., U ~ .... ,~ .~JC ~ .:. I .- ..... , .:".',£_. £ ,'" :I'::~'I

ud wH l be' able '[0 [en you how '[he formula relates to rhe :H ypel"borean t:r~.dir~otl of Hermeticism.

Hermetic .iJ1,~ dation is no t a mac ter of 'UJ nd,er,g'o] ng a set of P re-

pro'o'I'Pli'I-m:Ad ""1V"'I"[O;>'ii"'Pi'i'Ii~1 rituals .i"i;r P",;;;>'Ii", .... 'n ... cnies ''J!l arher ~liIf" iil' ''"!I 'rn!lF ..... g-'r' ..... ssion , . brL!R .al-II. I, ~ 1 ~;iIl,; ~,'_.JJ. oil "'-J}r:.l_~ . ~J ~~_ .~J.5 ~ \orlsrtli-\.-dll'l,,1 'W!- ~ ~l' ~I. ,~_G,,,-~1t'!r.o.,, "I~, ,II~ 'd, C·'II. '4!', _,' ....,.,~. _'" " ,

of true "rites of pSl,5sa,ge'" fr()~n. one stare of understanding, or' state of belng,~ 1[:0 another, b~ has been noted thar 'ttl un dersrand sernething at ,8;. certain level, one must b'e on thal,[ level, Que arrives at that level of bdng rhrough a combination of knowledge and experience, Experieace mus t he gained. both lJ1.re,r.lo.dy On. rhc real m of the psyche') and exteriorly (in the physIcal un i verse),

True ini riarion is not the kind of 'rr-hj ng ,a, member of ' the elect mwgh'[ choose to do j n '[be same way' one' might choose '[0 ,g'P to [he movies 011 Saturday nighr, IE is no'[ shnply a matter of desi re, but o.f' N'eces~~t,y. The :N'ece's'Sw'ty for lniriarion is! governed hy the Godld,es,s Am,ank~. She derermines that the lni tiate si mply' tfu,f,t seek SlJ;oris and ,JYr1d:m;£s. It is a matter of p ure survi v,a~, for. one wh .. o ~~ truly elecr,

Iniriatien ,i s not so rneth ~ ng rh at happens in a single ritual, I1: is, . the; cum ularive effelC t of co nscious and wi [jed life expel ien ce, a nd



,mo.n1H!DI[S in which understanding of that expe ience are assimila red". Mom,enrs, of in i dai[~o n will come at the odd,es'[ mome I1[S to those who are open ito them and. ,eady [0 recei ve 'them .. , The ancienr H!erro! '[we word for such a mornen t "vas lea.; 'PO$,;, The' old H erme tics knew 'we H til at true in ~ t j,ad,o n could co me 'w hen re ad j, n.g a [ext of phU.oStolphy 3;S ('asHy (or perhaps more so] than WhCIl ~~.volved in a ,COIn pl k:ar.ed, rieual, .Ri:~U3ls tend i[,O be able '[0 fOIlnaJ~lie changes rhar have' alread Y [alien place, <0 r SC[ such cha nges .in to rnorie n in a d ramatic 'wa:y~ Rarely is rrue initiario n 00 incidental wi th ceremon ~~J activuy;

BoW" the He,r:m.e:E'lc1 even tu;aUy an <0 f [j fe betio rnes a :g~eat working of 1nageil1. The mo re advanced [he' in itiare, rhe mO~H! rh is is true, The rno re advanced the initiare, the rno re likely the initiatory sri mu Ius win come in the form of what appear [0 the profane '[0 be mundane. events, his is wh,y the mos r adva .. need :j ill itiares never seem to do magic., This is because ~hq have b't:CtJ1flC milgie. : or. the b~~]nner or even Ineermediac ',' ermeric .ln~g~cwan the grearest danger, however, lies In the tendency to s~0.P' doing W,Ol nse ma;gi.caill work befo e ,th~ .P'tocess is ICO ,p~et~ [usuall y in orde to ~ay claim '~ some '~ld,vauce~D status in, a group). This Is perh ps on-e reason thar the Herm.euc scho ol eschews degrees and :formal .re-cogn ltions 0 f levels ofin i riation. Those wJM possess the Secret k.now ir, and to ,them .iff' is nnimportanr 'w;rn,ccher the wor d acknowledges ir or nor. Others with kl,IU)lI},tedge

• n ~- - rh ~ m ~ mm . ed L" "!j telv

Wlu n.~cog:n~z;e . _nib, iii"· ;".... • 1:11.11.' I" . _

But Hermetic ~n]dadon is: aided- jf not accuaUy tJficre;d" by operations of practical, magic, The' first three -ope' ations in ehe las _parr Q,f,this book are directed rowa d init:iaro,ry experience-s-teward the rea .lla:do,n of some rransfermed state of bei ng, This 'ca-n be done in terms of a pu reo rransformaden 0[' f.ID P owermen 1: (thf,ough a ,gr'Q,wd1. ~ n~ or acquisirio n of dynamis) or rhm:-ough the 3"c'q uisirion (J.f an (~aux~

, u known rechni

iH3J.ry S pi ~it~ ", a. g.eniw 0 r: dai mo~a paredr(JJ1 as it is. '. Down tecnr ~-

caJly i~ the o~d tradition. The acr of ,coagu.~atill:g your pccscm;t s'P'~rl~t with that of [he p,artdros would Q bviou~~y be: one of p.ro"t.o'Und selfrramlsforma'tlon,.

AI though ,j t is traditional for the injl~~aror.y ~ites. to aplpe~~ :al[ the begw,rul ing 00.f me old papyri, and. we 00 nrinued [hart tradition here by ptac~ng them hrs't in the coUectwon of operations, this does not mean

[hac '[hey are' to be' per.f,orJlled .fir.~t. They are usually the most diffic[dt operations in 'the book, Work].I1 (he papyrus non.;>Hneady .. U·rIder.mIte wo'rkings :3.S you I~e.ed'rhem~ A'[ some point rhere 'will be' a clear ,wn.dication [a YOillJ. Irh.:l[ it W5 :[Wm.. [0 a.u:cmpr Q.[U! ,o.f [he' initlatcry rites .. Ahe.r you have succ:esshdly pe:f£ornled. an in.i tiarory r.~ te, Y.OM ,~U fj nd irmuch '

it muc - cas ie r to he successful with :all sorts of n'i agical ri res u You. 'wi] I

a~so more readily b e ab~e t.o. make changes and i nno.vario-ns ] n [he' opierariofis~as you move '[o\Y3r:d cf,ea:ring you r own magical hook ~r record,

The preliminary rire of sdf",iuwtta'tlon should be undertaken :~o.ne', illt should nor be done 'be.fo,re· you are thorou..gbly Cam ajar wirh the .fraITM~ rituals and. have studied. the Hermetic phHoso:phy .for a,t ~.e:.ls'r one' mon th

1., PI.'l·rijj'YO'liferself: 'Bathe or sho.wer in cold warer (be.(o,w about 40 degrees .lFahrenhe~ r), Canoe' urare 0.0 30]( iJilll'pur~des: boeing wwchdra\vn from yOUt being and drained away with the water; ..

2~ Dl'ts.s'y()u,.s.efl PiILi'~ on a n~ wJ~ Ire ,[0 b '. or 0 ther loose-f uing gar ... menr,



·4·. _ Perform· the Ritual of the Htptagr_4m of the seven' vowt:l sou!'J/ds· (:as indicated in the 0 peni ng' ,0 P erarlen of Pur,i.ficatlon on p, '155).

5. h,'lWJke "enti"cdl""4gical POW(f,N by means .of the nantes ERBETH" SESENIGENBARPtL\RA!GG!SI ABLANATli:ANALBA and LERTHEXANAX, V:is.u~diu:: yourself enveloped In a (""00] ,Harne . .& '[be phoenix rises from you r :feet lID. Y(DU r head, )l'OU ha'~ become the magi.dan able to pe.rfo~rt1. aU '[he magic you are capable ofpe.rfofming:~

Now deliver a n invocat~o.n to !the god or god>de~s most relevant lIO your present state ofwn~tw~,'l:i,on, This' shou~d come' from your hearr, and be a. j sacrifice in the form of words .. JJ



6. qlftr fral1ki.uc.~f:lSt and .my.r-rl,' ~ n '[he brazier, wh ile saywng:

To thee [nalUlt the. Iw.vinhy] E make, this oH"er.inJg'dla'E: theu willt opemru thy mouth t[o me rhar I may hear thf hioir wo.f.d$~

7.. Listen ill'your heart tor rhe 'words of the god. in silence, Once yo~ have heard the wo [-(I ,of rhe god or goddess.~ lexpress yo ur thanks: .for rhat word and. also exp ress y[O'Ufo need fO.f furdu!r in.i tiarion, AU such expressions af" to be' made j nterio dy within your heart,

8. C/o;!.t.th, rue by gJvi.ng 'the Invoked divj~ ~.ry leave '(0 depart 'w~t . the words;

Depast now, [name di:vin.ity] ~ rerum to 'tiline: own throne, :and. ~o thine own 'vaule and chamber ·that tbe ,order of dl.e umive'[se 'be m:aJjnt9&ned~ Keep me :&olm harm, and hear me always" Helios mei, ,kyriti! (~i'Be gracious. to n It" lord! ")t

91,. Step outJitie the' area purified, and. sanctified fo~ rhe working and pur the events ,or rhe operatic 0. OU.C of you r m.ind.





'. d

'ostmo .... ·-·· e.··.··r·n

.' . . ," _... . . . ." - .



. f A'······· .' .. ,.

0'1 r : oaris

- I •• ' .~. '.'

:t1-..6 : -_ ~.


T- -0· '. T-- - 'K': 'B- 0···· .•.... p" 'B' ~', 'D .··~··!TII'O·-:··· ,'!II.J'1'S·:-1

.•.. :_.... I _ ..... ~_. . - • __: _. - &4£_, . £,

The texts pf the magical operations you, ww1 ~ read here are closely based on oti,,gw,na] ancient papyri, The exac r p,apyro.log,~caJ source texr is noted at rhc h,ead [},( each operation al,Qng with an approxi rna re dave for rhe ori,gwnaJ :papyrus,. What you see he'll! are' nor, however, j n'[ended, as trg,nsiatio'I1S of 'the original texts, 'They have b een rewritten ~d, revised for d,3ij:l~ and sometimes J'10 res of ex planaeio n ale' added '[(Ji reduce the pO\$sib]Jj ties ofmisu:l'l.dersca ndi D,g., Any,one'\-vhn, wishes '[0 read srraigbtfonvard eranslations of rhe texts in, question can find aU of them in The Greek Mi1:gital p{J,pyri in Tllt:t~lsls..tio~1, edited. by H aDS Dieter Ben, I

These operations remain true [0 rhe -(l:[.ig.i..I'l~I, intent .of each

O ,i, inrentionall 1L ~, ld 'll

source text. P eranons were In rennona l y cnosen enar WOO IIJ~," oe

'WQrbb~~ in. ,tQday\~ soda] and cultural environment. It' should also h~: !p oint ed OlU that in ancient rimes these practi C~ l operations were Pl9JJ'[ of'a vast philosophical and, cultural matrix. That 'C:OJ1,te'J(,[ is the subJect 'Of the first half of ehls book. The theorerical and cultural man j x Is Imp 00:[ ran r nor on [y to rhe 'un,de'.rs tanding of the: ancient wo:dd In which these £0 rm ulas have '[literu r ['0 0 C'~" b u t is also fu ndamental for those inreresred ~ n expe ri rn en tin,g 'W ith the "me dernizin"g;~ c;f the form ulas, 'I f the basic ,prbu:~ple:s a re UJ aderstood, it

b . b )11 d· ~:Il' • a, c. -I ,L ~,. c ] b d

_ eccmes P0rfjlSl,;we to ,In(rc_h) Hi. a meanmgrut rasmnn rormu as oasec

. 0.11 those principles.

If 'the' ins truction tells the' magician '[0 inscribe a .fOrm,ula, 0-0 '1 j. used for smokedfi:sh (as ln IOpie[a,t~ofi number 47 on p .. .2-43}1) :9.]1d 'we realise thai[ ,fiSJl were ~ab u fc.r Egyp dans due 1[0 their oorrc'Spondeuce to 'the' Egyptian, god of discord and rebellion, S et- T yphou ~ then 'w·e' understand that 'we an either use such :a vessel and be tradi donal 10:[ 'we can substitute another container for' other 'tabu substances (eithe]: as deterrni ned, by' '11'0 UN own culture 00''[ 'by p ersonal [dis ... ] '[";-ute-J ~

'IHm:) .D;1ellcl' Ret";a!;. cd,.j Tilt G",~~' ,Mn:,iC'tJ,l,PtfJ!jJ'i in '7,mMlnd~'M. (IChk.ag,o::: Uni~nil~'ty ~f Chicag,G J?,r~.. 1. ~JSG}.,

-. r''l ..... lIIL· if~·.il n'ii.ro F u: III F ABA1US THE POS TMODERN .MAo. ,~. J;'J1d- .r..I\I!J.:J' 'v·' _. ,


" ',.- .. '11'.· '.' .


. . r-- -b"':~ " . :" I . ·-u~d. be nos"

- ~. r-" --. --.'. ,.iIL.,i'l;1I""" rhis wpe 0: su -,!s,utl],tl0,n W'O·_ .' . '.' r ..

'C'~ .. _ " '. ue 0 instances Wll''''''J,· ..... 11;,.11.;) "'./ _. - .. . il. _

&}lam p,,~ .,. - . ., ;'. . _ .. k .' '. - iL. ",J\,. - fOrmulas. must lJiC

• "1. '. ..~~ -. 'D ~ ng tD1S kind. of wor.- . WUu. UJ.e· .' - .

slh~.e are ,ein.WCSS., en...... . + __ . '. ..... ,_ o.~..,.C' oj; iI"Ii '1i,d,-

id d h - - rna 'i"l'i'mI .... ' 11[ nl'e5U:lf'in. "'~., ,~!IJ.l G· __ ·

id d .-- .,' -.' i ' .· ... nt i,!I'I.1' a~~ t . e sa r . ~. 11.. HIL!b ~- IF c 'rr .... ,-

OO'R C'~I" ""'I!'tl! exne;:rUrLl,lku ~ lII;. . - t ,c k

.l.W~· ' ..... ~....... r" . --'. - . ~ • aJ U ~'I - - . EI.··- - .··.c iii"I. ru 'FUtT'~ 0"':[' 'tue:

, .' . - :rlteueno"· , r ' , . III LiilJl ....... 11.. _Jl,.... -'

.. , ,,, . . d: iIi!1 nd ~'rI'~ta.lldina of the ong~ [1, ~. . -". ' .. - '. ,;gyp .. . . -

vance, ~.U ",",.l ~ -'- .:5, -

6:rst few cenmries ,of ~l~,e COWl ~.oll era,". :""".~ ': 1 ned in, dle :p.os~~

Th ,.,.- 'l WOo .rklng·. of ilthe op.,er3tlOIUlI co.nm~," ... :.

. e actua - _., 'dt .[ ,. .'_ ".- e;" of"

- - ~ h I - - ~ . . g'p" -.". ,

-. ._..' - - ,....;- . , . un I~r. " IIJJ::., . ur r os, .

M . d' .. , : p:, "'us ,of Ab~n;s a;__re. essenna to te - .. . - ~ '-' - f'

. 0 "ern apy~. _. - ,,' . _. . - . f inner and cuter sca:l:'e5 C

.-_iL. .. 'ih. nk Th::n inurposc' 18 the rXI"trUrnC& 0 1...· -.~ ._ '" ' .-

u~,e uOQ, , .. :f"". ,'.. d l' . '!'.- rhe n'lS[O'N of rhe

. ~ -. .. certai 'irtI 1i1', ~m" p, Q iIf"',. p .. ace 1[11. 1.', = c· .. _ ~ ',~ i '.'-

- .. lar 1:iD :mJ, ..... Jl,1I..1!!I. ~ ~ 'ILl!; !L· .p,~.g, , -

atwa:n!DJess prai'[.~cu.,. ' . ,- .' - .. ' ~ '~'i' '~b"" Fn'~'~'~ ~""IDeden'ti-aA before the

bib..... 'IV' .... owl edze m m L ~ Ilull<OlLl!Ii,..... '"''''',f''

uman 'P'sycr.:lte~ .r\JU.' ~.~'C.. ti';- .. '- .' - - '- ised Tl' l -

,~.I,_:u. " _. J, ·"·,~.,'·.~.,.'Fsn1j;ndino. ~f the ~.l'ldivid.'llaJ. CI:D. be :nu.se.. li,:$, eteva-

1IJ!e:1.11'Q' :aflu. u.[lO.'!;"oI!,,- :0. f - . ,. . '1'I;jIC"1 jI'If,

- :0 .. di -: ,Ill. ~e'I!'''''m''iIce 0" 'U'Uie; ~U:)!;·i~""'~·'

.' '. " .. ,f' '1L. ~'. and 'iJ~, nde rst:a::n 1:n-1ii.'P!' ll,S. tl1.le ~.;:r!""lI! 11.' .,.. .

non ·ow. IJ! eu~g ,liU.II. 1.I1t 1iJ., .. . :I:j

Otten the more l:engthy of 'the' vari ous ma:gical papyr i, the ones '[hal lire virrualmaneals of magical practice, hegru.n with a rite designed '[0 he~p '[he reci pient of '[he book '(0 g,e{ an "assisrant, j~. rhat [S an ,awciHary ldivin.ell or semi-divine (d:aimon ic) sp irit which would fa(:i~itilte the o.p'el,ra,t,or~s .m,agruc:U will much more c'ffl!d en dy' than the m~icwan

Id d ]" Th <Il~. ll' H] d ...~:..'.

WilW .. , tVlet· .. :!Q :a.o ne.. . - e as,.s:rnst~.[lt ViI.as ca.~.e I,. a nap'a0tP0~ In

Gre~ku, Such auxiliarY' spirits were pt1~mani1rnly attached to the magi-

,. e. ",. .C d .. ~ hed . f'

c.tan. arrer cerra:l n. f~ res were p erro rme ... ~ nor jus t ro [[ tne •... 'Ill! ranon 0. ..

~'IL.. ..., ,·t- ' ..... , L 'II"' l':. t·, ,(, ]',_. , . h-' ._.. :.:.., ,. . .. th .. ,·- .. ,'. ._ .:' ..... " .

u~.c oper,a,J:Il'.n.~ IDU~. ror . ire, .n sue an instance, rr e magician is

·m(HJg~1i. '[0 p~:fi a ce'rta~n, kind of union with that end:ty===...t~, 'become' ""Ii 1ii!l,L'".nnD 0: ··r-·IifL<';iI'''· ,p-,..,.·d··- ,nil" d. ·1·1I:im,Qn The essenceof the masician and rhar

... I.]fVJL~ . I~Jl.a;,{g ;e'U 'U,IL" HJ.l I, .... '11 ',','. ,",- -_-::'" ,- ,:' ~ ,"'/ _'_'_' ~~,:.. ' "l~

of ~h,e entiry have' become, o r are becomi ng, one", This is 'why' the ma-

it' '1' iiL' ]'f-:~- I. ,....!I d d·I;·,"i, 1Ii'.'. 'L' . f'

g~cw(]n. can himsel I. oe ·wo.rSl1.~p en aJ5 .go a or .. ,_.aJ.ffi(.'I'll. 1Il[: is rnrs 'type' 0' .

• ,. 'L, 111' d I··~S·· h- b c,

ma.gwCt~n t~ ~a:[ jesus was, an·', w, ]j;c~ ill] mOD rr e ~.u:tyo~·ecame: arrer



Although these op erations :3J.r~' presented H rsr ~ n rh is collec'tiJii)n" they 5,h 01i_~ ld 0 n I y be under taken afrer a _gl'ea.t de~.l of ex peri·· enc·e h~'s b~en ,ga:irJJled. ]~l the odl!e.r Irypes of (gloedc) operario·ns. True 5UCC~'SS .in. ~lln operation of.initiatnry ~ay.HHl. makes. 3J[ other I)pe'f,aluons of YOll'tE ~ a su.pc'rfl UOl1,S,.

"7''H.E~' rosruo D" ,IE"IHi;,' ':'A'A,I';;''lF''lIIl', ,~AI!lVJ'];,I' ~,r- OF ABA illS " . ' .. : ,_I:·UJ.J" 1/t.1·~ e- 't;;ru'V iFIJ'1l U( ~_, ,jj··n_l-- ,~nv,Ji _. -. '. ~ - "

1. ~ The Operatla n, Otr r nouthil 'the .s sere d Serlbe ,(PGM 1.4l-l'95" ~ •. 4111 0 C.E.)

This ()p,ef,a~'ion, fer ob~ain.ing an auxilia ry Spif~ t wi th which rhe magkJ:an can. pe:r.f,onn di rect acts 10'£ wiU is found. in rhe form of a letter fro,m a, master m~gician named Pneuthis '[10 an advanced studenT

-, , .. .1' ,_,L, • hi 'If' ~j L L~ ~,

named Keryx, Pnouuli:s: cnaractenzes umseir as -'on~ 'WnO .KilllOW,8.

'He pIDesc~wbe's' [his operation ror acquit j ng an, assista nr t'? Keryx to prevent his faHi ng, ,18 he undereakes the other ~~te$ centai ned, in the

pa.py,rus book (_P:GM I) attached '[0 w't~ _

Pnourhis' operation is, complex and requires several d~ys to perform. Besides th-e sranda rd teols, ehe foHo'wing are needed .rOt me complerio n of rhe entire d te: ,il .$[aLff ,c~.rve\d. with, a fa~oon,!s, head, a b]ack Isis 'band (hUndfold) ~ tID ncur [t,ankincense'" rose iQH,~ 3], tripod, am earthen censer 'wilidl ashes fro"m, du~' p~,aIDu h,eHo[.rope~ .IIlyrru.h uo~ itis, a branch of myrtle, wine, and fesdve foods.

The ori,gi nal .pa,pyrU$ ve.r$~ot[ ,of ,th~~ worki nil SaJ.y~ ofthe en [itY' to be j nvoked that rnt is a ;god~ and an g:eria! spi ri,~~i.n. bet "the onJy lord (),f the aJ r," TllC P{-apy.rus :runher' tells U$ (h~x if '~, command. is gi,ven to the g;c.d. he will perform the task ':n once: 'Hie can. send dreams, hr~ng

- ~ h-' havi . ~._1 • ,~ 'I h' IL,

'W,Omet1 or men 'W~'t: 'CNJ't : :avlng: to use ,magruCilll, ffi$n:;rn:,wi3LI, su stances, ne

can ki U or des troy ,anydlJ n:g' ~:nd. can stir n,p wi nds fr.om 'me earth. He, an acquire fOf"YO'-U go,:kt, silver; bronze and g~v,e them to you whenever

- e. e b d ~ r- ~~ JiL' JI'

the need arises, H:e can rree you '[rom n on': S]. you a re . cnamea 10

prison ~ i~ he can open any door, and even cause :in,v]s:ibjH:ry., He can proB 'vide :fj re and water as w,eU as .folod of any kind, (Here the original leJ,:rr adds- tha~ he wiU not provide fIsh or pork.~) Bur outside of these limitations the Pared ros is ca,p,ab~.e of fulfi.U ~Jlg ~ny[hi fl,g rhe magidan 'w41!s, whether- j r is 50! P roeectien lor for the prov,rus.kl.n. of marerial or

... n ,. c, ~!'fo-- • L 1- , !iL "'h '~~

s:p,I,nn:mll g~ [-[s- ". r WU:nout ,1UJilJ no tul n,g ~'apiPens"

'The recipienr ,of 'the rite .is exhorted not '[0 share this gresJ mrs!'", t,ery with :3!JlyO ne e~se" bU.'1: rather '[,0, conceal i t, :3JS rhe .r'ec~p.i~-n.t has been cho.u,gh:~ of as wC'Hl'irhy by the lord god,

1«'J]l~S; is because bm:h thie f1i~s:.h and the pj~ were, [:h:ou~h~' I~O be ,~'!lnifestiJj~io,ns of: Seet-TY,phiOn by lhe Osi ri~n EgyplJJans.

"T'-h- " , R- ,,' ''''/' .. £- O'''',''b' "Ii ,- .

... e , ,'.,.1S )J,-Ol"" _,ta.l,n:lng a Paredros

1, • ito u shou~d. absta in f[liom ani m W £ood ,an d from aU form~ 0,( undea.nH.~,ess~ as you have dJere'rmined. them,~ for 24 hours prior ro [he. begmfl.l.n,g of your operarion,

2, JiU.U:,i,[ b efofe s ~ nset, on ,any ,nighi[ rQU, wi:sh,~ perfor JlI1 a version of'

rour rw te for prel ~min;rury pu,dnc3.'tion. -

3;, Cloehe yourself j,n a pu re' 'wh ire robe ot other garfi1Jent \l1lhl,ch, has never beFo',re be-en worn,

,~4., G,~,).,_uP 01l[O' I. :~oofj ,n:.n'Vec, or .other hjgh place where you ,haJ,v,e your- a~rn.r set lID p, The' ,p',~:iI!.Oe 8h~)!';l[d, overlo ok the IDoofs; of ,3; town or a bro~~: ~ands.cap e, Ta~e with Yl)U t.he' 'liGon ~tart: the' b~ack: Isis band, .f[_:a.nk.~_Jltcense~. :3 brazier, rose ,o,i! ~ an earthen censer, ashes from rhe plant he.J.~ion~ope'j and an ohle'n,g stone,

),. As rhe s.un';s or.-b is disap'rnear-j n g: .s-a:v th is f~"""mc , U'II"'io i<''''''1!i N!! ti, 'F'~ I"M, . . " '

,IF ,- - J' ,. , '" iE"lH" , . [ ........ '!;".~' 16,.,~ U I,J.lIles seven

re, H~Hos as ,an ,adj urarion of rhe assisrann - ,.,' " , ,. ,







1,. '\Vhc'fl the sun rises, remove the black Isis band and greet [he sun by shaking the fidoo,n s'taff and I:ccitin:g the s~r,ed fO.r.nl ula above as you make :3, sacrifice by bl'l,rJl,~ ng tW ncut frankinoense in your b.r~ier and by pourIng rose 0i~ ] n an earthen censer 0 n ashes from the pltllJinllt heliotrope. .. As your are reciting the :~-~Jo[nlJrwl~, visualize ,3. faJcon flying, down and spreading Its wings OUt in fron r of YOM as it fla,ps ~'[}J wings in midair; 'Vis llarnire .h in, ff,~):n '[ of yo,lJ, and tha(~ 'af[(~r f[a.ppi ng its ,,:i.ll,gs in. mid .. air, it dro P's, an oh.li!~lng stone ,3;,'[ Y:OtD..r :fee:t and itnm,ed~3J,~~I.y rakes :fl.ig~'tJ ascending back to heaven,

8., Pick IUJ p the stone, which you 'win now tu rn ~ n to an amulet, anOl,

~,. • u ACHA AC· 'LJI[ 1I.C· _ ·HA·' --, CHACH' C· 'U' A 'U,C' H li. 'D' .iIi.

carve UU: Inscrlpt]O:n:: ... , i. ,:, .~ rllri •. ·· ,: -_ ;~ ,~',. ..',:n..tu\1. , 'nM

'C,HAC'H: on '[he back ,sid.e .of the stone at the bottom so rhat Ii[" wHl he. concealed when you wear it.

9'+. Corne down from, yO'lJUl' high place during the day and spend your time engravi ng an image of lI'eHoros3' as a lion-faced &guIDe~ ho[ding in '[he ~efrt hand, a celestial g1.'o,'be and in his right hand a whip, Around, him ] n a. c ircle engrave :3, ~erp enr hidn,g Its rnil,=,[h~ 0 urob OIOS. o nee you have engraved, due stone, b ore a hole :in it, and run il1l 'Mack, leather thong (or Anu b ia n strlng) ,th:rough ~ t and W'e3Jf it a round ]fr>llr neck during subsequens operations,

] O~ Prepare a room below 'You r h]ghplace in a fi'tting m anner by providi D'lJg ;aU 'o/pe-s of .fOoo d and winli' to offer [he g;od~ Also pre,pare a suitab le' sh rine on an a~ [3. I' in yl~)'U.f rcern where {he ;g{D d au} rest when he' is wW'l:b, you",

Ll , just b efore the sun goes down, go back up to yo ur high p~ac~: and, facing me' Hg,ht of the moo n goddess Se~,ene:j' add ress th is hymn [to her as you, :again sacr ifiae myn:h, ,tfog;til['wS W n the censer" As you ~ igb.t the 6 re hold 'a, branch of myr. tle and shake It, :3,S you. s alure the

go· d ),e~~"

'._.'" ,j(]. iJiiJirll


A'N':··· Q·,C·.·H'A····. A···· [liIT"H' 'D:'JO'·'-·'·"U,· A~-C·.· .'U'_.t n, ~ "n'~/UBA··· ... U·"·' 'B.·"'.,A', .. ··.n_':,,._.~'.,_,'."T .. ,_,··r.H.', 1fA,·-t., .. lll·'-,~1

= __ _ .. " ~ ... ,.., J .Il! I I\J.' '.... .. _ ,~UFl.'" . ~,J, .ILl1J."'Il

1Th.~~ is a G)OjJlb~ j'tUi@ll Qf rhe na roes 'H~JJOSl ~:U1d ·HO,fl1lS.

-fTbe o,rrigina[ ,}pec~ ft:t-~ "-,l\..{cli],desl,a,n, wi~e., i'j, wh~:ch ls \=IJ ''!;~vi:nc' fUHTIJ the dry of Mendes Iml []],c Nile dd'm,




': ZAURA nT.'''-U··· ~'O· ···'U' c ·-:HA·TI:..:J.& 'Dn.A. 'D' A, c "H' TH' ""Z"O·'T'

", "~- ..... , JJ.:--·,n.:_:Ll·_······ _V ~~~ .. ,' [' Jl.,.~ .. _.I~


r- ,- I I!!

13. ,~ppfo~.ch the gOod and, visualize youE~e[f taking, him hy the righ'l

it.·--d "Ki" 'IL. J, d" '. ~ 'II..C ~ h

Q311: .• ' , .... :SS nun aao spea:J;;:. this rormuia t() it' . e angeh

O'flY'fi'!Ai,lUIM'-'I- 'NA··· i·,·'·'" .. :, .... '.," , , ... ' ... 'I· i . ,"~ ...• '""', c· ,- ., ",

Jl-JJ.ftJ __ ""'- ..... :P,H,THi\UBl MAMOUTH,M'O'U METRO,B,Al

'ID,AC··HI"if.!'DT·· ·O·,·'·.-·'UM····1f A ''fttAf'M·· O"·:··C"-'HA" ·-R]r ,.' '.,.- ' ... '... _-.'" .',', , ...

,.n".: !C,Ib'._. _:.I], EU¥I,: I,. ,,-. " A,UTHEI A.PHANTO

'I'J"!'A, "A' AI. n,.it ·C··':H1l'I·A01fT.'''' "'.if ·Tn,1rD'A,M· .. ·-IS ,iii, '0 A .,.,- ',',. ,. ,. . , , . , _

,1J'1J,¥~ ' a 1 .l!U '1, ruVJ ,ru,uU ..•.. :', nn..n'Cli,O' ISARl ,RA'eH]

JAtI':O· "UBI T;i\·Un .iN. 'DE-R-·· 0 M '-, '·NfT· " , .,'" _. D: .... , I J"n.·.,,~ .\1,: IA',~,j[i\Bl TAUBt

l4"Wbe.n Y'G)U have spoken this, he wi ll acknowledge y.our formula; Bu,t YO'U, s~y 't-o l~ lm i

'Whait ,i~ YOU[' divine nanlJe~' Reveal it to. me :&eely, ,610 ma.t.lmay call upon. it. (It willconsist .a.f :1,) Greek letters: SO'U'ES'O'LYR P'HTHE M,OTH:.)

Ad~tue hi~ 'wj'[h 'this oath so rhar he' 'w,ruH speak :3J1id will oh~y 'Y011~ commands in e,vell' li.eSP ec r,

15. Next address the god, and, say:' Come lO me ~ KIng" I call thee ,god, 0,£ gods], migh~, li.ln:~de's.s, u.nd'efUedj, b,eyond· description, ,~tto,1tg~y established AID,on" From, mi~ daly form art 'thou iWieparnhle :ffom me mrou,gn. the endee '[~.m,e lO,f .my ~ife~ SO'U'ESiO'LYR PH'TH.la .M',OTH:.,

1,6:, Once he has defini tely' accepted you r oa th 'to obey you and, be inseparable from Y'O'U" Qgaill rake hIm by the: hand, and, bti ng him in ro 'You r living 'q uarrers er ;3: room beJ.~rw the high place where yo u called upo'n_ ,bj m,~ Have the g'o d. assume his p lace ~n, [he shrine yea u have prepia red for ,b im ~ Set the food and wi ne b efore h im, (The origi nal pa,~'

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