A Ring for Every Purpose (PGM 12.201–269)

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1 Introduction


A parallel ritual text, which I call the Phylactery of Kmēphis (PGM 7.579–590), proves that the Agathos Daemon here really is Kmēf, as similar serpentine imagery is used, and the name Kmēphis stands right at the opening of its short invocation.

2 Translation

Placing a ring (dem. wˤ gswr). A ring (gr. daktylídion).

For every operation and success. Kings and rulers seek it. Very efficacious.

Taking an air-colored jasper, engrave a serpent,* which in the shape of a circle has its tail in its mouth, and further, in the middle of the serpent, the Moon, having two stars above her two horns, and above these, the Sun; and engrave Abrasax (ΑΒΡΑϹΑΞ) [above?] the Sun, and on the other side* of the engraving of the stone, the same name Abrasax. And across the encircling, engrave the great, holy and universal (katà pántōn) name, Iahō Sabaōth (ΙΑW ϹΑΒΑWΘ).

rough sketch of the motif, informed by extant engraved gems

And when you have completed (or ‘consecrated’) the stone, carry it in a gold ring when you need it, and so long as you are in a state of purity* (hagnòs ṓn), you will succeed in everything you wish. You shall consecrate the the ring together with the stone with the universal consecration. And likewise, engravings in gold have the same efficacy.

The consecration is the preparation described below.

Make a pit (bóthros) in a purified (or ‘sanctified’) place under open sky, or else in a pure sanctified grave looking eastward.* And over the pit, make an altar of fruit-tree wood,* and sacrifice an unblemished goose, three roosters and three pigeons, and sacrifice all kinds of fragrant herbs (arṓmata),* burning them whole together with the birds; and standing near the pit, look eastward and make libation of wine, honey, milk and saffron. Then, hold the stone in which the engravings are inscribed into the smoke, and say:

“I invoke and pray for the consecration!

“O heavenly gods,
O gods below the Earth,
O gods revolving in the midldle part, three Suns, Anokh Mane Barkhykh, who daily come forth in one part from one womb,*
O powerful ones over all who live and who have died,
O hearers of the gods over many necessities and of humans,
O hiders of the manifest,
O governors of the Nemeses who spend every hour with you,
O senders of Fate (Moirai), who rides her horse around all things,
O commanders of the preeminent,
O exalters of the dejected,
O manifesters of the hidden,
O governors of the Nemeses who spend every hour with you (gloss: again),*
O guides of the winds,
O rousers of the waves,
O bringers of fire (gloss: at a certain time),*
O creators and benefactors of every birth,
O nourishers of every birth,
O lords and mightiest of kings!

“Come, benevolent, to that which I invoke you to, as benevolent helpers for me in the present operation.

“I am a plant by the name of baḯs (‘palm sprigs’),
I am an efflux of blood from the palm sprigs (baḯōn) of the tomb of the Great One,*
I am the Faithfulness that was discovered to humanity, and a prophet of the holy names, who is always equal, who was born from the Abyss,
I am Socrates,* who was born from the ouation,*
I am the god whom no one can see or recklessly name,
I am the sacred bird Phoenix,*
I am Krates, the holy, who is called Marmarauōth,*
I am the Sun, the light that shines forth,
I am Aphrodite, who is called Typhi,*
I am the holy sender of winds,
I am Kronos, the light that shines forth,*
I am the Mother-of-Gods, who is called Heaven,*
I am Osiris, who is called water,*
I am Isis, who is called dew,*
I am Ēsenephys, who is calling springtime,*
I am the Image like to the truthful images,
I am Soukhos like to a crocodile.*

“Therefore* I demand: come to me as assistants, because I will invoke the hidden and ineffable name, the forefather of gods, the overseer and lord of all.*

“Hither to me, all-ruling god, from the four winds, who implanted breaths into humans to (give them) life,* master of the good things in the cosmos!

“Hear me, lord, to whom the hidden, ineffable name belongs,
Which daemons* are terrified at hearing,
Which even the Sun (gloss: the name is BARBAREIKH ARSEMPHEMPHRŌTHOU),*
Which even the Earth is whirled around at hearing,
Which Hades is shaken at hearing,
Which rivers, seas, lakes and wellsprings are frozen at hearing,
Which rocks are split at hearing.

“And Heaven is your head,*
Ether is your body,
Earth your feet,
And the water around you, Ocean,
Agathos Daemon!

“You are the one who bears and sustains and increases all things.

“Who formed the shapes of the zodiac signs* (or ‘animals’)?
And who discovered their paths?
Who is the producer of fruits?
And who raises up the mountains?
Who commanded the winds to have their annual works?
Who is the Aeon nourishing an Aeon that rules the Aeons?
One immortal god.

“You have come to be as originator of all, and you allot souls to all and strengthen all, king and lord of the Aeons, at whom even the mountains tremble along with the plains, the flows of springs and rivers, the glens of the earth and the winds, and all things that grow; high-shining heaven trembles at you, and the entire sea, lord, holy universal ruler and master of all.

“By your power do all elements* exist and all things come to be, the course of the Sun and the Moon, and of Night and Dawn, through Air and Earth and Water and the smoke of Fire.
Yours is the everlasting procession-place,* in which your seven-letter name* is set up in harmony with the seven sounds* which possess articulations relative to the 28 lights of the Moon.*
Yours are the stars’ good influences, the daemons, the Fortunes (Tychai) and Fates (Moirai).
You give wealth, a good old age, good offspring, strength and livelihood.

“You, lord of life,
who rule the space above and below,
whose justice is not thwarted,
whose glorious name the angels hymn,
who possesses the truth that cannot be falsified–

“Hear me and consecrate this operation for me, this power for me to carry in every place, to be protected unharmed for all time, inexhaustible and untouched by all danger, this power for me to carry.

“Yes, lord, for all things are subordinated to you, the god in Heaven, and none of the daemons or spirits will oppose me, because I have invoked your great name for this consecration.

“And again, I invoke you in the manner of the Egyptians: PHNŌ EAI IABŌK.
And in the manner of the Jews: Adōnaîe Sabaṓth.
In the manner of the Greeks: monarchic king of all.
In the manner of the arch-priests: hidden one, invisible one, who oversees all.
In the manner of the Parthians: all-ruling OUERTŌ.

“Consecrate for me and empower for me this thing, for all the glorious* time of my life.”

The names engraved on the back side of the stone are these.

Iahō Sabaōth Abrasax (ΙΑW ϹΑΒΑWΘ ΑΒΡΑϹΑΞ).

3 Notes


4 Greek text


πρὸς πᾶσαν πρᾶξιν καὶ ἐπιτυχίαν. μ[ετίασιν] βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνες. λίαν ἐνεργές.

λαβὼν ἴασπιν ἀερίζοντα ἐπίγραψον δρά[κοντα, κυ]κλοτερῶς τὴν οὐρὰν ἔχοντα ἐν τῷ στόματι, καὶ ἔτι μέσον τοῦ δρ[άκ]οντο[ς Σελήνην] δύο ἀστέρας ἔχουσαν ἐπὶ τῶν δύο κεράτων καὶ ἐπάνω τούτων ἥλιον, ᾧ [ἐγγεγλύφθ]ω ‘Ἀβρασάξ’, καὶ ὄπισθεν τῆς γλυφῆς τοῦ λίθου τὸ αὐτὸ ὄνομα ‘Ἀβρασάξ’ καὶ κατὰ τοῦ π[εριζώμ]ατος ἐπιγράψεις τὸ μέγα καὶ ἅγιον καὶ κατὰ πάντων, τὸ ὄνομα Ἰάω, Σαβαώθ.

[καὶ τελέσ]σας τὸν λίθον ἐν χρυσῷ δακτυλίῳ φόρει, ὁπόταν ᾖ σοι χρεία, ἁγνὸς ὤν, καὶ ἐπ[ιτεύξῃ πά]ντων, ὅσων προαιρῇ. τελέσεις δὲ τὸ δακτυλίδιον ἅμα τῇ ψήφῳ τῇ κατὰ πάντ[ων τελετ]ῇ. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐν χρυσῷ γλυφέντα τὴν αὐτὴν ἐνέργειαν ἔχει.

τελετὴ δὲ ἡ κατ[ασκευ]ὴ ἡ ὑπογεγραμμένη·

ποιήσας βόθρον ἐν ἡγνισμένῳ τόπῳ ὑπαίθρῳ, εἰ [δὲ μή, ἐν] σήματι καθαρῷ ἡγνισμένῳ, [β]λέποντι πρὸς ἀνατολήν. καὶ ποιήσας ἐπὶ τῷ βόθρῳ βωμὸν ἐκ ξύλων καρπίμων καὶ ἐπιθύσας χῆνα ἄσπιλον καὶ ἀλεκτρ<υ>όνας γʹ καὶ περιστεροὺς γʹ καὶ ἀρώματα παντοδαπὰ ἐπίθυε ὁλοκαυστῶν σὺν τοῖς ὀρνέοις. καὶ ἐγγὺς σταθεὶς τοῦ βόθρου βλέπε πρὸς ἀνατολὴν καὶ ἐπισπένδων οἶνον, μέλι, γάλα, κρόκον εὐχόμενος καὶ κρατῶν ‹λίθον›, ἐν ᾧ αἱ γραφαί εἰσιν ἐνκεχαραγμέναι, ὑπὲρ τὸν ἀτμὸν λέγε·

“ἐπικαλοῦμαι καὶ εὔχομαι τὴν τελετήν.

“ὦ θεοὶ οὐράνιοι,
ὦ θεοὶ ὑπὸ γῆν,
ὦ θεοὶ ἐν μέσῳ μέρει κυκλούμενοι, τρεῖς ἥλιοι Ἀνοχ Μανε Βαρχυχ, κατὰ αʹ μέρος ἐκ αʹ κοιλίας ἐκπορευόμενοι καθ‘ ἡμέραν,
ὦ τῶν πάντων ζῴων τε καὶ τεθνηκότων κ[ρ]αταιοί,
‹ὦ› τῶν ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἀνάγκαις θεῶν τε καὶ ἀνθρώπων διακουσταί,
ὦ τῶν φανερῶν καλυπταί,
ὦ τῶν Νεμέσεων τῶν σὺν ὑμῖν διατριβουσῶν τὴν πᾶσαν ὥραν κυβερνῆται,
ὦ τῆς Μοίρας τῆς ἅπαντα περιϊππαζομένης ἐπιπομποί,
ὦ τῶν ὑπερεχόντων ἐπιτάκται,
ὦ τῶν ὑποτεταγμένων ὑψωταί,
ὦ τῶν ἀποκεκρυμμένων φανερωταί,
ὦ τῶν Νεμέσεων σὺν ὑμῖν διατριβουσῶν τὴν πᾶσαν ὥραν (πάλιν) κυβερνῆται,
ὦ τῶν ἀνέμων ὁδηγοί,
ὦ τῶν κυμάτων ἐξεγερταί,
ὦ πυρὸς κομισταὶ (κατά τινα καιρόν),
ὦ πάσης γέννης κτισταὶ καὶ εὐεργέται,
ὦ πάσης γέννης τροφοί,
ὦ βασιλέων κύριοι καὶ κρατισταί.

“ἔλθατε εὐμενεῖς, ἐφ‘ ὃ ὑμᾶς ἐπικαλοῦμαι, ἐπὶ τῷ συμφέροντί μοι πράγματι εὐμενεῖς παραστάται.

“ἐγὼ φυτὸν ὄνομα βαΐς,
ἐγὼ ἀπόρροια αἵματος ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ μεγάλου ταφῆς τῶν βαΐων,
ἐγὼ ἡ Πίστις εἰς ἀνθρώπους εὑρεθεῖσα καὶ προφήτης τῶν ἁγίων ὀνομάτων εἰμί, ὁ ἀ‹εὶ› ἴσος, ὁ ἐκπεφυκὼς ἐκ τοῦ Βυθοῦ,
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Χράτης ὁ πεφυκὼς ἐκ τοῦ οὐατίου,
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός, ὃν οὐδεὶς ὁρᾷ οὐδὲ προπετῶς ὀνομάζει,
ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ἱερὸν ὄρνεον Φοῖνιξ,
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Κράτης, ὁ ἅγιος, προσαγορευόμενος Μαρμαραυώθ,
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Ἥλιος ὁ δεδειχὼς φῶς,
ἐγώ εἰμι Ἀφροδείτη προσαγορευομένη Τῦφι,
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἅ[γ]ι[ο]ς ἐπίβολος ἀνέμων,
ἐγώ εἰμι Κρόνος ὁ δεδειχὼ<ς> φῶς,
ἐγώ εἰμι μήτηρ θεῶν ἡ καλ[ου]μένη οὐρανός,
ἐγώ εἰμι Ὄσιρις ὁ καλούμενος ὕδωρ,
ἐγώ εἰμι Ἶσις ἡ καλουμένη δρόσος,
ἐγώ εἰμι Ἠσενεφυς, ἡ καλουμένη ἔαρ,
ἐγώ εἰμι Εἴδωλος τοῖς κατὰ ἀλήθειαν εἰδώλοις ὡμοιωμένος,
ἐγώ εἰμι Σοῦχος <ὡμοιωμένος> κορκοδείλῳ.

“διὸ δέομαι· ἔλθατέ μοι συνεργοί, ὅτι μέλλω ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸ κρυπτὸν καὶ ἄρρητον ὄνομα, τὸν προπάτορα θεῶν, πάντων ἐπόπτην κ[α]ὶ κύριον.

“δεῦρό μοι, ὁ ἐκ τῶν δʹ ἀν[έ]μων, ὁ παντοκράτωρ θεός, ὁ ἐνφυσήσας πνεύματα ἀνθρώποις εἰς ζωήν, δέσποτα τῶν ἐν κόσμῳ καλῶν.

“ἐπάκουσόν μου, κύριε, οὗ ἐστιν τὸ κρυπτὸν ὄνομα ἄρρητον,
ὃ οἱ δαίμωνες ἀκούσαντες πτοοῦνται,
οὗ καὶ ὁ ἥλιος (βαρβαρειχ αρσεμφεμφρωθου τὸ ὄνομα),
οὗ ἡ γῆ ἀκούσασα ἑλίσσεται,
ὁ Ἅιδης ἀκούων ταράσσεται,
ποταμοί, θάλασσα, λίμναι, πηγαὶ ἀκούουσαι πήγυνται,
αἱ πέτραι ἀκούσασαι ῥήγυνται.

“καὶ οὐρανὸς μὲν κεφαλή,
αἰθὴρ δὲ σῶμα,
γῆ πόδες,
τὸ δὲ περί σε ὕδωρ, ὠκεανός,
Ἀγαθὸς Δαίμων.

“σὺ εἶ κύριος ὁ γεννῶν καὶ τρέφων καὶ αὔξων τὰ πάντα.

“τίς μορφὰς ζώων ἔπλασε,
τίς δὲ εὗρε κελεύθους;
τίς καρπῶν γεννητής,
τίς δ‘ οὔρεα ὑψόσ‘ ἐγείρει;
τίς δὲ ἀνέμους ἐκέλευσεν ἔχειν ἐνιαύσια ἔργα;
τίς δὲ Αἰὼν Αἰ<ῶ>να τρέφων Αἰῶσιν ἀνάσσει;
εἷς θεὸς ἀθάνατος.

“πάντων γεννήτωρ σὺ πέφυκας καὶ πᾶσιν ψυχὰς σὺ νέμεις καὶ πάντα κρατύνεις, Αἰώνων βασιλεῦ καὶ κύριε, ὃν καὶ τρέμουσιν οὔρεα σὺν πεδίοις, πηγῶν ποταμῶν τε τὰ ῥεῖθρα καὶ βῆσσαι γαίης [κ]αὶ πνεύματα, πάντα τὰ φύντα. οὐρανὸς ὑψιφαής σε τρέμει καὶ πᾶσα θάλασσα, κύριε, παντοκράτωρ ἅγιε καὶ δέσποτα πάντων. σῇ δυνάμει στοιχεῖα πέλει καὶ φύεται πάντα, ἠελίου μήνης τε δρόμος νυκτός τε καὶ ἠοῦς, ἀέρι καὶ γαίᾳ καὶ ὕδατι καὶ πυρὸς ἀτμῷ. σοῦ δὲ τὸ ἀένναον κωμαστήριον, ἐν ᾧ ἀφίδρυται τὸ ὄνομά σου τὸ ἑπταγράμματον πρὸς ἁρμονίαν τῶν ἑπτὰ φθόγγων ἐχόντων φωνὰς πρὸς τὰ κηʹ φῶτα τῆς σελήνης· ‹σ›οῦ αἱ ἀγαθαὶ ἀπόρροιαι τῶν ἀστέρων εἰσίν, δαίμονες καὶ Τύχαι καὶ Μοῖραι. σὺ δίδεις πλοῦτον, εὐγηρ‹ασ›ίαν, εὐτεκνίαν, ἰσχύν, τροφάς.

“σὺ δέ, κύριε τῆς ζωῆς,
βασιλεύων τῆς ἄνω καὶ κάτω χώρας,
οὗ ἡ δικαιοσύνη οὐκ ἀποκλείεται,
οὗ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἔνδοξον οἱ ἄγγελοι ὑμνοῦσιν,
ὁ ἔχων τὴν ἄψευστον ἀλήθειαν.

“ἐπάκουσόν μου καὶ τέλεσόν μοι τήνδε τὴν πρᾶξιν ἐπὶ τῷ φοροῦντί μοι τήνδε τὴν δύναμιν ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳ ἄπληκτον, ἀκαταπόνητον, ἄσπιλον ἀπὸ παντὸς κινδύνου τηρηθῆναι, φοροῦντί μοι ταύτην δύναμιν.

“ναί, κύριε, σοὶ γὰρ πάντα ὑποτέτακται τῷ ἐν οὐρανῷ θεῷ, καὶ μηδεὶς δαιμ‹όν›ων ἢ πνευμάτων ἐναντιωθήσεταί μοι, ὅτι σου ἐπὶ τῇ τελετῇ τὸ μέγα ὄνομα ἐπεκαλεσάμην.

“καὶ πάλιν ἐπικαλοῦμαί σε κατὰ μὲν Αἰγυπτίους· ‘Φνω εαι Ἰαβωκ’,
κατὰ δ‘ Ἰουδαίους· ‘Ἀδωναῖε Σαβαώθ’,
κατὰ Ἕλληνας· ‘ὁ πάντων μόναρχος βασιλεύς’,
κατὰ δὲ τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς· ‘κρυπτέ, ἀόρατε, πάντας ἐφορῶν’,
κατὰ δὲ Πάρθους· ‘Οὐερτω παντοδυνάστα.’

“τέλεσόν μοι καὶ δυνάμωσόν μοι τοῦτο πρᾶγμα εἰς ἅπαντα τὸν τῆς ζωῆς μο‹υ› καὶ ἔνδοξον χρόνον.”

τὰ δὲ ὄπισθεν ὀν[ό]ματα τοῦ λίθου ἐπιγεγλυ‹μ›μένα ἐστὶν τάδε·

‘Ἰάω Σαβαὼθ Ἀβρασάξ’.