Blessing of the Vessel
This is a simple ritual that I use to channel the blessings of Divinity into a chalice so as to physically partake of them in a liquid form for health and spiritual growth. Unlike other rituals in this section, this is a distinctly Christian one with some Gnostic and Hermetic elements. Sourced from Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power by Marvin W. Meyer et al. (1999), this text has the original title of “spell invoking Bathuriel and other heavenly powers”, though it has distinct liturgical overtones to it. The ritual, much like many others from the PGM and similar collections, only offers the ritual text to be spoken aloud, and so no framework or methodology was originally given. The following is my implementation of this ritual, and was first mentioned in this 2015 post.
This ritual may be performed at any time, and is often useful to precede or follow other certain religious ceremonies with it. However, if it is to be done on its own for its own purpose, it is best to celebrate this ritual either at sunrise or at sunset.
Prepare a clean glass, chalice, or other vessel you can drink from. Prepare an amount of either pure, clean water or holy water mixed with wine. Use an amount that you can drink entirely in three, four, or five reasonably-sized gulps (three for the Trinity, four for the four directions, five for the five wounds of Christ), plus a little extra to spill as a libation. Set it in the middle of an altar or other clean surface. If desired, set on the altar a single white candle oriented to the East or four white candles, one for each of the four directions, as well as incense being offered, preferably of frankincense and myrrh.
Begin by making the Sign of the Cross at each of the first six invocations:
+ Hail, El Bathuriel, who gives strength, who gives voice to the angels!
+ Hail, Adonai!
+ Hail, Eloi!
+ Hail, Abrasax!
+ Hail, Iothael!
+ Hail, Mizrael, who has looked upon the face of the Father in the power of Iaō!
Place both hands over the vessel.
I adjure you by the first seal, placed upon the body of Adam.
I adjure you by the second seal, placed upon the members of Adam.
I adjure you by the third seal, which marked the vitals and the breast of Adam when he was cast down to become dust, until Jesus Christ takes him by the hand in the embrace of his Father.
Raise both hands up to heaven.
The Father has raised him up!
He has breathed in his face, He has filled him with the breath of life!
Send to me your breath of life, unto this true and faithful vessel!
Amen, amen, amen!
SŪSA SŪSA SŪSA
I covenant with you by the three cries which the Son uttered on the cross: ELOI ELOI SABAKTANI, “God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Holy, holy, holy!
Hail, David, the forefather of Christ, he who sings praises in the Church of the First-born of Heaven!
Hail, David, the forefather of the Lord, of the joyful ten-stringed lyre, the joyful one who sings within the the sanctuary!
Hail, Harmosiel, who sings within the veil of the Father!
They repeat after him, those who are at the entrances and those who are upon the towers.
When the Tribes of the Twelve Worlds hear what he says, they joyfully repeat after him:
Holy, holy, holy!
One holy Father!
Amen, amen, amen!
At this point, face inward and recite the Lord’s Prayer or some other exaltation of God in silence. Place the dominant hand above the cup, and raise the left one in adoration of heaven.
Hail Arebrais in Heaven and Earth!
Hail, o Sun!
Hail, you twelve little children who cover the body of the Sun!
Hail, you twelve vessels filled with water!
They have filled their hands; they have scattered abroad the rays of the Sun, that they may not burn up the fruits of the field.
Fill your hands, pronounce your blessing upon this vessel!
Pick up the cup. In a clockwise motion starting with the East, face the four cardinal directions and present the cup to the four directions with the cup up high in front of you.
Hail, you four winds of Heaven!
Again, face the four directions starting with the East, and present the cup to the four directions with the cup at chest level in front of you.
Hail, you four corners of the Earth!
Face the altar. Hold the cup above the level of your head in front of you.
Hail, you hosts of Heaven!
Hold the cup at the level of your navel in front of you below the surface of the altar.
Hail, you Earth of the inheritance!
Hold the cup at chest level above the altar, with the arms extended forward.
Hail, o Garden of the Saints of the Father!
Pour out just a small amount of water before you on the ground or directly upon the altar. Drink the water from the cup in slow, measured gulps. Holding the cup at your chest, take as many deep breaths as you had gulps of water, letting the water inside you fill your entire presence, turning into light that fills your spirit, becoming brighter with each breath.
Place the cup down on the altar, and cross yourself three times while calling upon the Trinity:
One Holy Father +
One Holy Son +
One Holy Spirit +
The ritual is complete. If desired, follow up by singing hymns or psalms of praise.
The above ritual is designed with one person in mind drinking from a single vessel. If more people are present, a large bowl may be used, with all participants taking a cupful for themselves and practicing the ritual motions starting at “Hail Arebrais…”, drinking the liquid in unison at the end; I envision the ritual leader performing the initial few parts on their own, with everyone reciting the ritual once everyone has their own cup.
A few notes on the foregoing ritual:
- I found another copy of the same text in an online publication, located here; its author, the Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley, concludes that this ritual is less a simple blessing of a cup and more a Christian variant of the Egyptian Books of Breathing, funerary texts used to enable people to survive in the afterlife, similar to the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It is to be noted that Nibley translated and understood these texts through a Mormon lens and interpreted this as an early Christian variant of the Mormon “prayer circle”.
- The text begins with a Tau-Rho sign (not the usual Chi-Rho), similar to an ankh. Meyer presents this as a cross, although Nibley says that this is supposed to be closer to an ankh than a cross.
- The use of the name “Bathuriel” is uncommon and little used. What I was able to find on this name was that this is a name used in a few Gnostic texts to refer to God the Father, so when the text begins “Hail, El Bathuriel…”, it might be considered an epithet of God. Nibley’s derivation of the name comes from Hebrew Bait-suri-el, or “the house of my strength is God”. In other texts, this name is described as the “Great Power” or “Great True Name” of God.
- Adonai and Eloi aren’t surprising appellations of God to find here, being Hebrew/Aramaic for “my Lord” and “my God”, respectively. Abrasax, however, seems to be an appellation of God as well, not his own entity as might otherwise be seen in other Hermetic texts; this use of the name gives a distinct solar power to the God of this ritual, but also as divine mystagogue.
- Mizrael (or Mistrael) may be considered an angel here, but as the embodiment of the divine authority of God, enabling him to see the true face of God behind the veil.
- “SŪSA SŪSA SŪSA” may be barbarous words of power, and so are not translated from the original text, but given the context, it could be an ejaculatory cry for help, recalling the Greek σωζε or σωσαι, meaning “rescue”.
- The use of Jesus’ cry “ELOI ELOI SABAKTANI” (more canonically written Eloi eloi lema sabachthani) is a hugely popular phrase to use in many Coptic spells including the translation of it into the language of the source text. The original text had it in a very corrupt form on its own: “ELOI ELOI AHLEBAKS ATŌNĒ”.
- Harmosiel is another angelic entity, the one who sounds the trumpet of the presence of God and shares with Mizrael the privilege of beholding the face of God behind the veil.
- In my view, the “Tribes of the Twelve Worlds” as well as the “twelve little children” and describe the twelve Zodiac signs and their embodiments as the twelve tribes of Israel.
- The name “Arebrais” is lacking in full in Meyer (present as “Ab[…]ais”), but present in Nibley.
- The description of the “twelve vessels” with water that scatter the rays of the Sun to preserve vegetation is noted by Nibley has having a more mundane task than representing the high angels of the Zodiac; he describes them like the atmosphere and its moisture scattering the harmful rays of the Sun that would cause harm to living creatures.
- “Garden of the Saints of the Father” could also be interpreted as “Authority of the Saints of the Father”, as the same word works for both. Nibley notes that the garden is the sanctified inheritance of the saints, and the authority as that with which the saints have been invested.