Not that long ago, I put out an ebook, Preces Castri or “Prayers of the Castle”, being a prayerbook consisting of over a hundred prayers for a variety of devotional and ritual purposes, ranging from blessings of various ritual implements and supplies to invocations of the planets to general prayers and meditations on the divinity of God. In many ways, I consider this to be a compendium of many of the things I’ve written, compiled, or composed based on existing ritual, grimoiric, and religious texts as part of my own spiritual work. The thing is, however, that this text is…arguably not for all of my readers. Not that this is a particularly advanced text—it’s definitely not by any stretch of the imagination—but the flavor of these prayers is largely Abrahamic in nature. To be sure, I still consider all these to be solidly Hermetic in their foundation, but the word “Hermetic” can be used to mean any number of things, really, given how it’s been so mixed and remixed time and time again over the past 1500 years across so many religious traditions, Christianity and Islam notably among them. As a result, many of those prayers in Preces Castri have a heavy Islamic, Christian, or otherwise Abrahamic monotheistic flair to them, which may not be so tasteful for all of my readers. But, as I hinted when I published that text and on some of the more recent podcasts I’ve been on, that’s not the only kind of Hermetic work I do, not by a long shot.
The reason why I named that ebook Preces Castri, “Prayers of the Castle”, is given in the introduction to it. Some time ago on Twitter, I gave some thought to how my own spiritual practice might be termed beyond simply “Hermetic”, and decided to use the ancient Egyptian city of Thēbes as a basis for naming it. After all, Thēbes is the source for many of the papyri that form the collection we today call the “Greek Magical Papyri”, and was one of the two ancient capitals of Egypt, conveniently located in the middle area between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Although many Hermeticists might find that Alexandria to be the Egyptian source of so much of our tradition, I would rather give that to multiple cities throughout Egypt, with Thēbes at the top of the list. Of course, Thēbes was just the usual Greek name for the city; towards the end of the classical period and into the Islamic one of Egypt, there were two other names for the city, one of which is still in use today:
- Pape, from Coptic ⲠⲀⲠⲈ (earlier Egyptian p’ jp.t), meaning “the adyton”
- Luxor, from Arabic al-`Uqṣur meaning “the castles”
It’s from these two names that I derived the terms “Papetic” and “Luxoric” to refer to the two styles of spiritual work I do, “Luxoric” referring to the more Abrahamic and monotheistic approach and “Papetic” to refer to the more pagan, Greco-Egyptian, and polytheistic approach. Mind you, this is entirely a distinction I make for my own convenience, mostly for the purposes of organizing rituals and chaining prayers together (I find the whiplash from going between one to the other to be too jarring at times for myself), and is meant solely for the purposes of practical approaches rather than anything deeper regarding cosmology or syncretism without making use of the problematic terms “Abrahamic” or “pagan” to describe what it is I’m doing. Still, all that being said, Preces Castri is a good example of the Luxoric stuff I do and have written about. But what of the Papetic stuff, then?
(Yes, I did basically reuse the ring design from the write-up I did of the Royal Ring of Abrasax ritual from PGM XII. I had a hard time trying to make a companion frontispiece like the one I used for Preces Castri, and opted for a different approach. It makes sense in the context here, trust me.)
As with Preces Castri, Preces Templi (extending the meaning of “the adyton” to “temple” more generally) is a prayerbook that I’ve written, both from scratch or composed from existing sources (mostly the Corpus Hermeticum, the Stobaean Fragments, the Nag Hammadi Codices, and the PGM), or otherwise compiled from other sources (e.g. Stoic and Neoplatonic hymns or Egyptian votive texts). Unlike Preces Castri, Preces Templi is much more pagan and polytheistic in its outlook and approach, with a heavy Hellenistic (though not necessarily Hellenic) and Greco-Egyptian flair, and may be more fitting for those who eschew purely monotheistic or Abrahamic approaches to Hermetic magic and devotional work. To be sure, I’ve certainly shared a few such prayers on my blog previously (like here, here, or here), but again, there’s much more in here (well over 100 prayers total!) that I haven’t shared publicly before:
- Various prayers and hymns to God from or based on the Hermetic texts or other attestations of the prayers and invocations of Hermēs Trismegistos
- The “Epitomes of the Divine”, a series of 21 ten-line stanzas on Hermetic doctrine for use in contemplation as well as daily recital across the three ten-day decans across a single sign of the Zodiac (or across the three decamera of a lunar month) and the seven-day weeks
- General prayers for ritual work
- PGM invocations to Aiōn as the god of the gods
- Hymns to the various gods of the Hellenistic/Greco-Egyptian world, including original prayers to Poimandrēs, Ammōn, and Asklēpios-Imhotep
- Invocations of the 36 decans
- And more!
This prayerbook is intended to be used by anyone who operates within what might be termed a “syncretic Hellenistic approach”. Consider the overall outlook of the various rituals of the PGM: it’s an incredibly mixed bag of stuff, calling on Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and other powers using at least as many ritual forms from such traditions, switching between what we might consider to be monotheistic, polytheistic, or henotheistic, sometimes even in the same sentence. As opposed to a more monotheistic or Abrahamic approach, this prayerbook is more geared towards those who are more freewheeling, open to syncretism, or outright polytheistic (though, at least for the “pure Hermetic” stuff, with a focus on a hierarchical single-god-above-the-rest-of-the-gods) approach. Again, this is only a collection of prayers, not of rituals, but those who have even an ounce of ingenuity will be able to construct or adapt these prayers to their own ritual needs, perhaps augmenting what they already have or making new rituals with them.
This prayerbook is one that I’m really proud of and one that I’m genuinely happy to have put out—so what are you waiting for? Head over to my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store and get yourself a copy today, and I hope that these prayers serve you well in your own Work!