The Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Helios is a powerful ritual for the consecration of a ring, charm, or other talisman for the sake of a specific person so as to bestow upon them strength, honor, courage, victory, luck, wisdom, protection, and success in all things. This ritual comes from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM IV.1596—1715), with the title “This is the consecration for all purposes; Spell to Helios”. Although the text gives the entire spoken part of the ritual, it does not present any ritual framework or method within which to employ the spoken words. The following my my development of such a ritual, including my emendations for completeness since parts of the ritual have lacunae. My adaptation of this ritual was first presented in this 2015 post.
The primary ritual mechanism of this ritual involves invoking the all-ruling, all-powerful Helios through his twelve “faces”, twelve different aspects or forms that the Sun’s power takes as expressed through a sacred name and animal, one face for each of the unequal hours of the day. Thus, in the first hour Helios has the form of a cat with the name Pharakūnēth, in the second hour the form of a dog with the name Sūphi, and so forth. The text suggests that the original author conceived of Helios as a monistic god that took on multiple forms through its ages and emanations, though still keeps in line with the Egyptian reckoning that Helios, like their own solar god, died at sunset and was reborn at sunrise.
The following table lists the twelve faces of Helios, their names (written in both the original Greek as well as transcribed into Roman script), the isopsephic value of the name (expressed in both Arabic and Greek numerals), the animal for the face, and the Egyptian hieroglyph for the face.
Each face of Helios bestows a particular blessing upon a charm or phylactery consecrated for a specific person, whether for strength, honor, glory, fortune, or some other type of favor. Once consecrated, this charm will only respond to and work for that specific person; nobody else will be able to derive any benefit from it. However, if the ritual is properly carried out, such a charm will be a powerful resource, protection, and boon for the one who carries it with them.
The ritual should be done at a time when the Sun is strong, but there are different approaches to such an idea. If the entire ritual is carried out in one single operation, then it may be done in a day and hour of the Sun after sunset when the Moon is waxing (ideally just before the Full Moon), during a strong solar election, the day when the Sun reaches its exaltation at 18° Aries, or when the Sun reaches its highest point in the summer skies (June solstice for the Northern hemisphere, December solstice for the Southern hemisphere). My recommended approach, if solar elections, solstices, or the exaltation of the Sun are not available times, is to use the seventh hour of the night (the third hour of the Sun of Monday, generally a little after solar midnight) between the sunset on Monday and the sunrise on Tuesday while the Moon is waxing.
For this ritual, you will need the following supplies:
- Twelve white, ivory, yellow, or gold-colored candles that burn for at at least an hour (such as tealights)
- One large white candle, slightly larger than the other twelve and which can be used to light the others (such as a simple taper candle)
- Strong red wine
- Olive oil
- Twelve small cups, not colored red (clear shotglasses are ideal)
- One large bowl with a flat bottom, large enough to contain the volume of the twelve small cups and then some, also not colored red
- White chalk
- Twelve large grains of frankincense
- Twelve large bay leaves, preferably fresh or high-quality dried leaves
- Incense, either pure frankincense or a blend of equal parts frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, and cinnamon
- A small object to be consecrated as a charm for the beneficiary of the ritual, such as a ring, pendant, or other phylactery
Prior to this ritual, at least starting at the preceding sunset, it is encouraged to fast and purify oneself. Abstain from intoxicants, sexual activity, violence, and other vices, and wash the whole body thoroughly. Loose-fitting, white or light-colored clothing is recommended, if any is chosen to be worn at all. This fast is to be continued through the ritual’s completion at the sunrise after the consecration proper. Note that this fast will last approximately twelve hours.
First, before the time the ritual is to begin, prepare the ritual area, preferably a large square or circular table at least a meter across, or a large clean non-carpeted floor. If a table is used, be sure there is enough space around the table to comfortably move; if on the floor, make sure it is large enough to move freely about within and around. Whether a table or the floor is used, the surface should be hard and flat enough to allow for it to be written upon with chalk. Clean, banish, and purify the ritual area from all impurity before setting anything up; using natron with purified river water as a cleansing agent is ideal, but not required.
In the center of the ritual area, write the hieroglyph for the Sun in white chalk:
Starting in the East, write the names of each of the twelve faces of Helios outward from the center of the ritual area in a circle, in 30° increments clockwise. At the end of each name, draw the hieroglyph for the animal of its respective face, with the face of the animal pointing counterclockwise. Outside the circle of hieroglyphs, write the names for each of the four solar guardians, each in their own direction, written so that the tops of the names are pointed inwards towards the center of the ritual area. If a table is used for the ritual area, the names of the guardians may be written on the vertical edges of the table instead of on the surface itself.
The resulting ritual area should look like this:
If desired, the numbers of the names of the faces may also be incorporated into the drawn layout, such as immediately around the hieroglyph for the Sun or outside the hieroglyph of that face. Also, a bounding circle between the hieroglyphs and the names of the solar directions may be drawn. However, these modifications to the basic ritual layout are not strictly necessary.
Set one of the small cups on each of the twelve animal hieroglyphs, and set one of the twelve smaller candles just on the other side of the cup from the hieroglyph. Add one bay leaf and one of the large grains of frankincense to each of these cups. Set the large bowl on top of the hieroglyph for the Sun, and place the charm to be consecrated into it. Set the large candle just to the east of the large bowl, towards the name of the first face of Helios.
Begin the ritual at the chosen time. Light the large candle and a little incense; if using resins, only add a little for now. Recite the preliminary invocation. Note that, wherever “NN.” is used in this and all other parts of this ritual, the name of the person for whom the consecration is to be spoken, preferably using a birth name of the person and a matronym, such as “John Doe, son of Jane Doe”.
I invoke you, the greatest god, eternal lord, world ruler, I who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, rising at dawn, shining from the east for the whole world, setting in the west. Come to me, you who rises from the four winds, joyous Agathos Daimon, for whom heaven has become the processional way. I call upon your holy and great and hidden names which you rejoice to hear. The earth flourished when you shone forth; the plants became fruitful when you laughed; the animals begat their young when you permitted. Give glory and honor and favor and fortune and power to this charm which I consecrate today for NN.
I invoke you, the greatest in heaven, ΗΙ ΛΑΝΧΥΧ ΑΚΑΡΗΝ ΒΑΛ ΜΙΣΘΡΗΝ ΜΑΡΤΑ ΜΑΘΑΘ ΛΑΙΛΑΜ ΜΟΥΣΟΥΘΙ ΣΙΕΘΩ ΒΑΘΑΒΑΘΙ ΙΑΤΜΩΝ ΑΛΕΙ ΙΑΒΑΘ ΑΒΑΩΘ ΣΑΒΑΩΘ ΑΔΩΝΑΙ, the great god, ΟΡΣΕΝΟΦΡΗ ΟΡΓΕΑΤΗΣ ΤΟΘΟΡΝΑΤΗΣΑ ΚΡΙΘΙ ΒΙΩΘΙ ΙΑΔΜΩ ΙΑΤΜΩΜΙ ΜΕΘΙΗΙ ΛΟΝΧΟΩ ΑΚΑΡΗ ΒΑΛ ΜΙΝΘΡΗ ΒΑΝΕ ΒΑΙΝΧΧΥΧΧ ΟΥΦΡΙ ΝΟΘΕΟΥΣΙ ΘΡΑΙ ΑΡΣΙΟΥΘ ΕΡΩΝΕΡΘΕΡ, the shining Helios, giving light throughout the whole world. You are the great Serpent, leader of all the gods, who control the beginning of Egypt and the end of the whole inhabited world, who mate in the ocean, ΨΟΙ ΦΝΟΥΘΙ ΝΙΝΘΗΡ. You are he who becomes visible each day and sets in the northwest of heaven, and rises in the southeast.
The second paragraph of the preliminary invocation, with barbarous words spelled in Roman script:
I invoke you, the greatest in heaven, ĒI LANKSYKS AKARĒN BAL MISTHRĒN MARTA MATHATH LAILAM MŪSŪPHI SIETHŌ BATHABATHI IATMŌN ALEI IABATH ABAŌTH SABAŌTH ADŌNAI, the great god, ORSENOPHRĒ ORGEASTĒS TOTHORNATĒS KRITHI BIŌTHI IADMŌ IATMŌMI METHIHĒI LONKSOHŌ AKARĒ BAL MINTHRĒ BANE BAINKSSYKSS ŪPHPI NOTHEŪSI THRAI ARSIŪTH ERŌNERTHER, the shining Helios, giving light throughout the whole world. You are the great Serpent, leader of all the gods, who control the beginning of Egypt and the end of the whole inhabited world, who mate in the ocean, PSOI PHNŪTHI NINTHĒR. You are he who becomes visible each day and sets in the northwest of heaven, and rises in the southeast.
Next, call upon each of the twelve faces of Helios to consecrate the charm. For each face, use the following schema:
- Light the face’s small candle with the large candle.
- Pour a small amount of olive oil into the face’s small cup.
- Fill the cup the rest of the way with red wine.
- If resin incense is used, add a bit more at this point.
- Face the direction of the face. If a table is used for the ritual, move to the opposite side of the table and face the face’s candle; if a floor is used, stand inside the circle of names with the center of the ritual area at your back, facing the face’s candle.
- Invoke the specific face of Helios.
- Dip the charm in the mixed wine and oil in the small cup, pass it through the incense smoke, then gently and carefully pass it through the fire of the small candle for the face in a number equaling that of the face (so once for the first face, twice for the second face, etc.).
- Lift the charm up, and supplicate the face of Helios for its favor and blessing.
The prayers of the Twelve Faces of Helios follow, with the names spelled in Roman script in parentheses. The first line of each prayer is the invocation proper, and the second line is the supplication for its specific favor.
In the first hour you have the form of a cat; your name is ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ (PHARAKŪNĒTH).
Give glory and favor to this charm.
In the second hour you have the form of a dog; your name is ΣΟΥΦΙ (SŪPHI).
Give strength and honor to this charm and to NN.
In the third hour you have the form of a serpent; your name is ΑΜΕΚΡΑΝΕΒΕΧΕΟ ΘΩΥΘ (AMEKRANEBEKHEO THŌUTH).
Give honor to the god NN.
In the fourth hour you have the form of a scarab; your name is ΣΕΝΘΕΝΙΨ (SENTHENIPS).
Mightily strengthen this charm for that which it is consecrated.
In the fifth hour you have the form of a donkey; your name is ΕΝΦΑΝΧΟΥΦ (ENPHANKŪPH).
Give strength and courage and power to the god NN.
In the sixth hour you have the form of a lion; your name is ΒΑΙ ΣΟΛΒΑΙ (BAI SOLBAI), the ruler of time.
Give success to this charm and glorious victory.
In the seventh hour you have the form of a goat; your name is ΟΥΜΕΣΘΩΘ (ŪMESTHŌTH).
Give sexual charm to this charm.
In the eighth hour you have the form of a bull; your name is ΔΙΑΤΙΦΗ (DIATIPHĒ), who becomes visible everywhere.
Let all things done by the use of this charm be accomplished.
In the ninth hour you have the form of a falcon; your name is ΦΗΟΥΣ ΦΩΟΥΘ (PHĒŪS PHŌŪTH), the lotus emerged from the abyss.
Give success and good luck to this charm.
In the tenth hour you have the form of a baboon; your name is ΒΕΣΒΥΚΙ (BESBYKI).
Give power and wisdom in all things to the god NN. for whom this charm is consecrated.
In the eleventh hour you have the form of an ibis; your name is ΜΟΥ ΡΩΦ (MŪ RŌPH).
Protect this great charm for lucky use by NN. from this present day for all time.
In the twelfth hour you have the form of a crocodile; your name is ΑΕΡΘΟΗ (AERTHOĒ).
Give the greatest protection to NN. by this charm.
Once all twelve faces have been invoked and supplicated, take the charm and dip it in each face’s cup, pass it through each face’s candle once more, face the quadrant where the Sun is currently located. Add more incense, then hold the charm in the incense smoke and recite the Close of Nighttime:
You who have set at evening as an old man, who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, hear my voice in this night, in these holy hours, and let all things done by this charm be brought to fulfillment, and especially for the need for which I consecrate it, for the sake of NN. Please, lord ΚΜΗΦ ΛΟΥΘΕΟΥΘ ΟΡΦΟΙΧΕ ΟΡΤΙΛΙΒΕΧΟΥΧ ΙΕΡΧΕ ΡΟΥΜ ΙΠΕΡΙΤΑΩ ΥΑΙ, I conjure earth and heaven and light and darkness and the great god who created all, ΣΑΡΟΥΣΙΝ, you, Agathon Daimonion the Helper, to accomplish for NN. everything done by the use of this charm.
The Close of Nighttime, with barbarous words spelled in Roman script:
You who have set at evening as an old man, who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, hear my voice in this night, in these holy hours, and let all things done by this charm be brought to fulfillment, and especially for the need for which I consecrate it, for the sake of NN. Please, lord KMĒPH LŪTHEŪTH ORPHOIKHE ORTILIBEKHŪKH IERKHE RŪM IPERITAŌ YAI, I conjure earth and heaven and light and darkness and the great god who created all, SARŪSIN, you, Agathon Daimonion the Helper, to accomplish for NN. everything done by the use of this charm.
Pick the large bowl up, place the charm directly on top of the hieroglyph of the Sun, place the bowl upside-down above the charm, and set the large candle on top of the bowl. Face north, and with the arms outstretched, recite the final seal of the ritual:
The one Zeus is Serapis.
With this, let the candles burn out on their own. At sunrise the following day, take the large bowl and pour the contents of the twelve smaller cups into it, straining out the wine-soaked frankincense and bay leaves. In a place where you can see the rising Sun, burn the wine-soaked frankincense and bay leaves as incense and pour out the oil-mixed wine as an offering to the Sun. Hold the charm up so that it catches the Sun’s rising light, and pray that Helios and all its faces bless and empower the charm for the purposes for which it was made; reciting the invocations and supplications is a good practice, but not required for this. At this point, the fast may be broken, but let the charm hang to dry in the sunlight throughout the day, then collect it at sunset. With this, the charm is complete.
Alternatively, the ritual may be carried out across twelve operations, one for each unequal hour of the day, and is most appropriate for solstices or the day of the exaltation of the Sun. This approach requires a different ritual setup and some modifications to the invocations. For this form of the ritual, you will need larger candles that burn for at least twelve hours, if not longer.
Instead of writing the names and hieroglyphs of Helios out in a circle, draw them out in a semicircle, with the first face written towards the East and the twelfth face written towards the West in 15° increments clockwise, again with the faces of the hieroglyphs pointed counterclockwise. Write the names of the four solar guardians directly around the hieroglyph for the Sun in the center.
Begin your fast, abstinence, and purification at sunset before the ritual, and prepare the ritual space at some point during the nighttime. Be aware that the fast will last at least 36 hours, longer if it is chosen to start before the sunset preceding the ritual proper.
At the moment of sunrise, which is the start of the first hour of the day, start the ritual as before: light the large candle, burn some incense, recite the preliminary invocation, then invoke the first face of Helios as before, including all the steps for offering wine, oil, and so forth. However, after this, instead of continuing to the second face or the Close of Nighttime, recite instead the Close of Daytime:
You who will set at evening as an old man, who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, hear my voice in this present day, in these holy hours, and let all things I seek be brought to fulfillment for the sake and power of NN.
Set the charm down in the large bowl in the middle, and set the large candle by the bowl in the direction of the first face of Helios.
For the rest of the hours of the day, repeat the above process for the second through twelfth faces of Helios, but repeat the invocations and supplications of all the previous faces until the desired one is reached. Thus, at the second hour of the day, recite the prayers for both the first and second faces; at the third hour, the prayers for the first through third faces; and so forth until the twelfth hour with all twelve faces invoked and supplicated. However, only offer wine and oil once for each face, the first time it is invoked. At the end of each invocation, place the large candle by the bowl in the direction of the last face just invoked for the first time.
At sunset, proceed through the entire ritual as if it were done in one single session, but offer no wine or oil, just incense. Once all twelve faces of Helios have been invoked for the final time, recite the Close of Nighttime, cover the charm with the large bowl, and recite the final seal of the ritual. At sunrise the following morning, make the final offering of oil-mixed wine and wine-soaked incense to the Sun as before. If any candles are continuing to burn, let them continue to burn near where the charm is hung to dry in the sunlight as a continued offering.