PGM XIII contains an extensive creation myth that has enormous implications for the use of magic. Creation myths are essential to magicians because their magical formulas tend to follow similar patterns to religious creation myths. A spell is the magician’s way of creating a new universe with their will and needs to follow the same logic as the creator.
PGM XIII describes the creator (Helios Achebykrom) laughing seven times. Each time, a new creative principle or God is created, part of a divine process. Interestingly, the universe was created from laughter and amusement in this allegory. It is simplistic to identify Helios Achebykrom with the Sun as the text implies it is more the of the solar disk’s radiance.
These seven primal gods are the same beings that I identify in Helios Unbound with the seven rays in the crown of Zeus or Abrasax (depending on which period of history you are using). There are similarities to the planets, but also Hebrew Cabbalah which I am bringing in so modern magicians can understand where this comes from. While these Gods are universally Greek, they are wired into Egyptian myth and concepts, with Justice having characteristics of Maat more than her Roman counterpart.
With the exception of Hermes and Phos-Auge, the gods here are minor and more in the league of personifications of Divine Force. This might seem odd given their importance to creation, but that would be falling into the trap of taking this section of PGM literally. What is being described are principles or ideas which form the backbone of creation.
Each god is assigned a divine name or word of power. Their function in this is to trigger an awareness of the principle. One crude way to use them is to state them before each creative act, another way is to use them to unlock the ritual during the learning stage. So you could meditate using the divine name as a mantra to help you understand the power of each stage of creation so that when a ritual was performed, it would unconsciously kick in.
Words of Power BESSUN, BERITHEN, BERIO
The First God is Phos-Auge which literally means Light and radiance. In modern Cabbalah this is Kether and the text says it divines and distributes itself amongst all things. This is the highest principle that must be invoked before all work begins. Raising consciousness to the Light aligns a magician to the creator and provides them with the canvas upon which to paint their new universe (and the paint to create it).
Words of Power ESKHAKLEŌ ŌĒAI ŌN BETHELLE
The Second God is Chaos or Abyss, which is the mirror of the Light. In modern cabbalah this is Chokmah. It is associated with primal water and is an important link to the “waters of Nun” in Eygptian creation myth. It implies that the Light initially finds expression in chaos and that all things must move from a chaotic start. Magically, things that are too structured must first be dissolved before being rebuilt.
This principle is often forgotten by would-be magicians who believe that you can simply add to existing structures. Magic rituals must include some form of sacrifice to allow a new balance to be created. For example, if you do money for abundance, you must be prepared to allow your existing universe to dissolve and let go.
Most people don’t want to lose anything and expect a cheque to arrive in the mail. While that is possible, everything has a price, and not everything can be fitted into an existing universe. Many magicians faced with unconscious issues about letting things dissolve back into chaos prefer to allow their spell to fail.
But Chaos is not just destructive. For Chaos to understand itself it must form Order and so the universe is created seemingly from random elements.
Words of Power HERMÊS-SEMESILAM
The third God is Hermes, comprised of Nous [mind] and Phrenes [thought] and the Logos. What is suggested is that creation takes place in the mind first.
Then, we must form an intention and speak it. In modern Cabbalah this is the non sphere of Daath, which is the forst that mediates the supernal forces into more concrete creation. But this is much more than the visualisation of the new age movement.
It is not only a knowledge of what is desired, but the ability to create its form. Rituals, where a person lights a candle or recites a prayer, are doomed to failure because they lack a divine inspiration for the result’s final look and feel. Those who believe they can do this without deep visualisation work to obtain Hermes’ blessing are fooling themselves.
Words of Power BADĒTOPHŌTH – ZŌTHAXATHŌZ
The fourth God is Genna, the creative force which controls Spora, the procreative power. In modern Cabbalah this is Chesed. There is little either in this or any other text which makes these two forces divine. Superficially they are the concept of reproduction and the sex drive.
Genna came to represent the concept of family and birth, but at a practical level, it is also “life” or “enlivening” sporá means “seed or sowing.” This principle then takes the form built by the third principle and gives it life. There are different ways to do this, but magic generally involves some form of unification between form and matter.
This method implies connecting into the universe’s life force and bringing the form to life. Unlike the third principle, this is not an intellectual process that must be felt and directed in the magician’s higher emotional core. The inability to do this is one of the biggest causes of magical failure. This is not ensouling a ritual with “emotion” or “desire” for a result. It is raw emotional power that desires to replicate, build and dwell in matter.
The magician must first find that within themselves and then project it into the universe they are creating. It is planting a seed they know will consciously grow into a more elaborate construct in the new universe.
Words of Power THORIOBRITITAMMAŌRRAGGADŌ I ŌDAGGARRŌAMMATITIRBOIROTH
The fifth God was Moira or fate. In modern Cabbalah this is Geborah. Fate is unpopular among modern magicians as it is associated with Christian notions of predestination and appears alien to “free will” and individualism. After all, nothing is supposed to be set in stone, and magic is supposed to change everything.
I equate it with the stories that each person manifests in their lives. For some, stories can and must change (ironically, changing stories is their fate). Others, they cannot. For example, Troy must always fall after ten years of siege; otherwise, there will be no story. Individualism is expressed as part of the character of the Hero in a story, but they still follow the stories tracks for good or bad.
PGM says Moira is connected to Justice, it has her sparring with Hermes over who is responsible for Justice, and the Great God saying it depends on what you mean by the word. He said Moira is responsible for Justice in matter. This means that everything must follow natural law.
The message for magic here is important. If you want a material result from magic it must come naturally. You cannot do a ritual which enables you to fly, because that would defy natural law, fate and stories. Hermes also has “laws” but these are different and more flexible from Moira. You can imagine yourself flying easily.
Words of Power ANOKH BIATHIARBAR BERBIR SKHILATOUR BOUPHROUMTRŌM
The sixth God was Kairos which was the Greek word for the proper or opportune time. This word is different from the more fixed idea of Time which was Chronos. In the New Testament, kairos means God’s appointed time. There was a Greek god of opportunity called Caerus whose name was based on this word.
PGM gives an unusual almost solar, Christ-like, role to Kairos, making him Phos’s representative and giving the moon the power to wax and wane in his reflection. “With you, all things increase or diminish,” PGM says.
In modern Kabbalah, this is Tiphareth and the Sun. Magically this God means that rituals and magic must not only be done at the right time but will manifest at the right time. In fact, it is tempting to see this part of PGM saying that everything must happen in accordance with the Divine Will at the right moment.
A magician often wants their ritual to work straight away, but Kairos implies that the new universe will be slotted in at the correct moment. It also implies that rituals need to be carried out at the right time to create the right effect.
Words of Power DANOUP KHRATOR BERBALI BALBITH IAŌ
The seventh God was Psyche who works under the guidance of Hermes to move everything. She also ensouls matter with spirit and creates movement. PGM says she is balanced by Phobos who is fear. The essence of this principle is movement and restriction. In modern Cabbalah this is Yesod and the ideas are strongly connected to the moon.
This polarity is important because it provides a sort of stop and go and prevents everything from getting out of control or becoming totally inert. Psyche (under Hermes Guidance) causes the universe to move, but Phobos sets limits.
A person who is fearless will keep moving, while someone who has too much will be paralysed. If you cant see how bad the extremes of either are, imagine driving an ever-accelerating car towards a brick wall. If your fear does not cause you to hit the brakes, you are going to be an ugly smear.
What this principle is saying is that there needs to be a balance between the life drive to expand, develop and learn and those forces of responsibly and fear which keep us in check. It was interesting that the Ancient Spartans were believed to worship fear because they believed that it kept Order.
If people were frightened, their ordered society would function better. While Sparta produced the best soldiers, it was often behind in military technology because they were too frightened to use the latest tech or move with the times.
Magically what does this principle tell us? Most magic rituals require progression (Pysche) or Limitation (Phobos) by knowing what polarity your spell is supposed to be doing it is better to sway towards the appropriate force. PGM is saying that a Pysche ritual must be under the control of Hermes and be entirely optimistic while Phobos rituals are based on fear.
Practically if you were doing a spell to compel someone you know to fall in love with you, that spell is actually based on fear (of rejection) and is not based on the more cheerful optimism of Psyche.
The myth of Eros and Psyche tells a lot of this dynamic where true love’s constant enemy is fear. This means your spell will fail because it is not based on Psyche’s true essence which is movement (towards). This might be one of the reasons that many of the PGM love spells require the object of affection to be “bought to them” to limit the concept of fear contaminating the spell.
This principle does not just apply to love spells. It is important to work out if the spell is to move or limit something and what things give it active motivation and work this into your rite.
A person performs a ritual for business success, usually because their business is in a poor state and they are in a state of fear (Phobos) so a ritual could limit them further. A ritual then must not focus upon, or mention the concerns that the business person has because they need to avoid increasing fear. What they need to do is keep the ritual entirely positive if they are not optimistic by the conclusion of the rite, it is fairly likely the ritual will fail.
Divination is another area in which fear brings failure.
But there are rituals where “more fear” is vital. Defensive magic and protection is entirely fear-based (which is why some people who brag about having the most powerful magical defences are often inert and paranoid).
I have gone into some detail about the last principle because it is harder to place in the scheme of things.
The PGM text gives us an almost neo-platonic emanation philosophy where creation starts from light, moves to chaos, is directed and controlled by the Logos (Hermes).
The remaining four Gods are to do with the creative force itself (which is expressed in sexual overtones), the establishment of natural and spiritual laws, correct timing before the natural world is given the last two dualities of fear and positivity and told to get on and move.
What is significant is that only one of the Gods (Phos) is identified with an element, but it is fair to assume that all of them are from the Fire element. They are principles, and not expected to get their hands dirty in creation.
Later in this same PGM text carries on with the creation of the material universe where these gods take primary roles (often having demarcation disputes over whose job it is to do certain things).
The seven principles become important when constructing rituals. We need to make sure that they are a template or that each of them make an appearance, preferably in the order, PGM XIII gives them.
PS. The spellings of the names come from João Pedro Feliciano’s site which can be found here