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Writing an Ancient Greek-style magic invocation

For several years there has been an issue for me about writing authentic invocations in the Ancient Greek style.  Going through the Greek Magical Papyri there would appear to be a formula but it has become a little corrupted due to mixing with Egyptian and Hebrew formula.  While there is nothing wrong with using the PGM invocations, this is a little limiting. What I want is a traditional formula which can be used to write my own invocations.

Fortunately, academia has managed just that.

According to Ljuba Merlina Bortolani’s Magical Hymns from Roman Egypt invocations generally follow a three-fold pattern.  This pattern might be “taken as read” as some of the PGM spells might lack different levels because the copyist could not be bothered or see a need to write them down.  This is why some of these spells are only a line long.

Epiclesis

Firstly, there is an Epiclesis stating the name of the God, epithets (genealogy) and any places associated with it.

Thus: “I invoke Helios, Hyperion (“high up”), Elektor (“beaming” or “radiant”) Phaëton “the radiant”, Terpsimbrotos (“gladdens mortals”), and Hekatebolos “far-shooter.” Ruler of Rhodes, Titanic son of the Hyperion and Theia and brother of Selene (the Moon) and Eos (the dawn).

The Epiclesis effect is that of dialling a phone number and it connects you to the idea of the God.  Sometimes names of power are placed here which are specifically associated with this function. This part of the invocation attracts the Gods attention and “switches the power on” for the rest of the invocation.

Eulogia

The Eulogia defines a God’s power in a way that you want for the ritual. It includes the reason why you are calling that God to help you. In phrasing this part of the rite, you only include things connected to the God which are part of your intent. You do not want to mention mythic elements which distract or are disconnected. If you were doing a business ritual to Zeus, you would not need to mention him chasing Europa in the form of a bull. Sometimes it can describe how a God was born and acquired his functions.

Returning to our Helios example a Homeric prayer said:

Ruler of the day that streams through the houses of Olympus, you see all.

When Persephone, the one with the delicate ankles, was seized by dark-haired Hades, you, magnificent son of Hyperion, the seeing eye of gods and men, told the daughter of Rhea with the beautiful hair of what had occurred. And it was you, Helios Panoptes, in the great hall of Alcinous, who warned Hephaestus of the infidelity of golden Aphrodite, from Cyprus. You shine upon the Earth, diurnal light, giving life to all mortals. At the start of each new day, you bring the most wondrous light to the world.

These lines appeal to Helios as an all-seeing force and would make a good attribution for a ritual asking Helios for prophetic dreams.  In this section you are hinting the way you would like Helios to act. It could include a hypomnesis where the magician reminds the God how he has helped before (ie provided a precedent which the God must follow or not be considered consistent), or how the magician has aided the work of the God.

Egyptian influences on prayers and invocation also allow one God to be identified with another.  This can be confusing as you can find Thoth-Hermes being called Typhon if the invocation wishes to emphasis how his words can destroy.  Sometimes an invocation to Helios might mention him as being Apollo and Hekate might be Selene, Artemis or Persephone according to what aspect of power you are calling.

Euche

The Euche is a direct appeal to the God so that he will fulfil a petition. This is the material part of the invocation and should reveal the intent. It often includes the magical names of power which fuse the God to the intention. This is the business end of the rite and in my view is the reason why some of the rites in PGM are so short and would be expected to be included as the Euche of a larger spell.  For example, in PGM GM Va.1—3 which is supposed to be a spell for a direct vision:

O Hēlios BERBELŌKH KHTHŌTHŌMI AKH SANDŪM EKHNIN ZAGŪĒL, bring me into union with you!
(Add the usual, then anoint yourself, and you will have a direct vision).

However, this section can be quite long and can include invocations

This section usually includes the release of the God which can include a repeat of some aspect of the Eulogia.  This effectively “banishes” the God to the next level up.

Hekate Invocation example

So were we to write a “prosperity” invocation following a period of difficult using an authentic structure to Hekate we could do the following (note that I have borrowed different bits from PGM, and Hesiod. I have done this because invocations should really be personal. This one will “work” but is not exactly mine).

I invoke thee, Hekate   Klêidouchos (holding the keys),  Phosphoros, “bringing light” in darkness. You are   Propulaia “before the gate,” Triodia “who frequents crossroads,”  Enodia, “she who appears on the way.”   Come forth from Zerynthos in Samothrace, daughter of Perses and Asteria to my magic so that you will open the way for me.

Mountain Roamer, Goddess of Crossroads, Zeus, Cronus’ son, honoured you above all others: he gave her splendid gifts – to have a share of the earth and of the barren sea, and from the starry sky as well she has a share in honour and is honoured most of all by the immortal gods.

Much honour very easily stays with that man whose prayers the goddess accepts with gladness, and she bestows happiness upon him.

And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less.

Save me Hekate Sotara from this period of lack

Askei Kataskei Erōn Oreōn Iōr Mega Samnyēr Baui (3 times) Phobantia Semnē,

I have been initiated, and I went down into the underground chamber of the Dactyls, and I saw the other things down below, virgin, bitch, and all the rest.

I ask you to open the way for me so that this period of lack might become one of abundance and plenty. Bring to be me the resources I need, bring those who will aid me, help me choose the right road to tred, which will lead me to you. Guide me as you guided Persephone, unlock the locked doors that bar me to success and abundance.

Do this Earth Mare as I chant the names you desire to hear.

MASKELLI MASKELLÔ PHNOUKENTABAÔTH OREOBAZAGRA

OREOPÊGANYX MORMORON TOKOUMBAI

Make any offerings light candles etc and then say:

Askei Kataskei I thank you Hekate Sotara for saving me and ask you to depart.

Much honour very easily stays with that man whose prayers the goddess accepts with gladness, and she bestows happiness upon him.

*As Sam Block points out here  Ax is actually an abbreviation and he suggests for ΑΚΡΑΜΜΑΧΑΜΑΡΕΙ or ΑΧΕΒΥΚΡΩΜ.  Personally, however I think it is an abbreviation for Abrasax.

 

 

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