The Headless Rite

Often referred to as “The Bornless Ritual” or “Liber Samekh” in modern times, the Headless Rite is a powerful ritual that has gained no small following in the Western magical community for over a century now.  Originally one of the more famous rituals of the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM V.96—172 to be specific), it was popularized by Aleister Crowley and Samuel L. MacGregor Mathers in their version of the Lemegeton Goetia, and by Crowley’s republishing of it as Liber Samekh within the A∴A∴.  Perhaps most famously, this ritual has been used famously for the work of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel as a sort of modern replacement of older approaches such as the Abramelin Operation, but has many other uses that may not be immediately apparent.  My original write-up of this ritual was from 2012 in this post, but this page presents a fuller explanation and description of the ritual.

Central to PGM V.96—172 is the invocation of the Akephalos, literally “Headless One”, which is an entity not commonly found in either a Hellenic or Egyptian context, and is rarely even mentioned elsewhere in the PGM.  There are archetypal parallels and suggestions between this and other headless entities in other traditions, but in this context, the Akephalos is considered to be a high divinity figure.  Crowley and Mathers interpreted this to be “Bornless” by recalling that the Hebrew word for “head” can also mean “start” or “beginning”; thus, one that has no head has no beginning or birth, and is in a sense “bornless”, i.e. an eternal entity.  The original ritual calls upon the Akephalos first to exorcise someone from a demon, but as the ritual culminates towards its end, the magician switches from simply invoking Akephalos to speaking as Akephalos, becoming a divine entity themselves.  Because of this interesting shift in perspective, this ritual was adapted by Crowley from a ritual of external exorcism into a ritual of self-exorcism, purifying one’s own form so that the divine presence of Akephalos can better inhabit the body, allowing one to assume the form, power, and presence of a God or one of his messengers or avatars; this was the innovation that allows for this ritual to be used for the modern Abramelin-inspired endeavor for pursuing contact with one’s own agathodaimon or Holy Guardian Angel.

The original Greek from PGM V.96—172, formally titled “Στήλη τοῦ Ἰέου τοῦ Ζωγρ εἰς τὴν ἐπιστολήν” (Stēlē toû Iéou toû Zōgr. eis tḕn epistolḗn) or “The Stele of Ieu the Hieroglyphist in His Letter” reads as follows, according to Preisendanz’s transcription of the PGM:

Σὲ καλῶ, τὸν Ἀκέφαλον, τὸν κτίσαντα γῆν καὶ οὐρανόν, τὸν κτίσαντα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, σὲ τὸν κτίσαντα φῶς καὶ σκότος.
Σὺ εἶ Ὀσοροννωφρις, ὃν οὐδεὶς εἶδε πώποτε.
Σὺ εἶ ΙΑΒΑΣ! Σὺ εἶ ΙΑΠΩΣ!
Σὺ διέκρινας τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὸ ἄδικον.
Σὺ ἐποίησας θῆλυ καὶ ἄρρεν.
Σὺ ἔδειξας σπορὰν καὶ καρπούς.
Σὺ ἐποίησας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀλληλοφιλεῖν καὶ ἀλληλομισεῖν.
Ἐγώ εἰμι Μοϋσῆς ὁ προφήτης σου, ᾧ παρέδωκας τὰ μυστήριά σου τὰ συντελούμενα Ἰστραήλ.
Σὺ ἔδειξας ὑγρὸν καὶ ξηρὸν καὶ πᾶσαν τροφήν.
Ἐπάκουσόν μου!

Ἐγώ εἰμι ἄγγελος τοῦ Φαπρω Ὀσοροννωφρις.
Τοῦτό ἐστιν σοῦ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἀληθινὸν τὸ παραδιδόμενον τοῖς προφήταις Ἰστραήλ.

Ἐπάκουσόν μου·
ΑΡΒΑΘΙΑΩ ΡΕΙΒΕΤ ΑΘΕΛΕΒΕΡΣΗΘ ΑΡΑ ΒΛΑΘΑ ΑΛΒΕΥ ΕΒΕΝΦΧΙ ΧΙΤΑΣΓΟΗ ΙΒ ΑΩΘ ΙΑΩ
Εἰσάκουσόν μου καὶ ἀποστρεψον τὸ δαιμόνιον τοῦτο.

Ἐπικαλοῦμαί σε, τὸν ἐν τῷ κενῷ πνεύματι δεινὸν καὶ ἀόρατον θεὸν·
ΑΡΟΓΟΓΟΡΟΒΡΑΩ ΣΟΧΟΥ ΜΟΔΟΡΙΩ ΦΑΛΑΡΧΑΩ ΟΟΟ

Ἅγιε Ἀκέφαλε!
Ἀπάλλαξον τὸν δεῖνα ἀπὸ τοῦ συνέχοντος αὐτὸν δαίμονος·
ΡΟΥΒΡΙΑΩ ΜΑΡΙ ΩΔΑΜ ΒΑΑΒΝΑΒΑΩΘ ΑΣΣ ΑΔΩΝΑΙ ΑΦΝΙΑΩ ΙΘΩΛΗΘ ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ ΑΗΟΩΥ

Ἰσχυρὲ Ἀκέφαλε!
Ἀπάλλαξον τὸν δεῖνα ἀπὸ τοῦ συνέχοντος αὐτὸν δαίμονος·
ΜΑΒΑΡΡΑΙΩ ΙΟΗΛ ΚΟΘΑ ΑΘΟΡΗΒΑΛΩ ΑΒΡΑΩΘ

Ἀπάλλαξον τὸν δεῖνα·
ΑΩΘ ΑΒΡΑΩΘ ΒΑΣΥΜ ΙΣΑΚ ΣΑΒΑΩΘ ΙΑΩ

Οὗτος ἐστιν ὁ κύριος τῶν θεῶν.
Οὗτος ἐστιν ὁ κύριος τῆς οἰκουμένης.
Οὗτος ἐστιν ὂν οἱ ἄνεμοι φοβοῦνται.
Οὗτος ἐστιν ὁ ποιήσας φωνῆς προστάγματι ἑαυτοῦ πάντα.
Κύριε! Βασιλεῦ! Δυνάστα! Βοηθέ! Σῶσον ψυχὴν·
ΙΕΟΥ ΠΥΡ ΙΟΥ ΠΥΡ ΙΑΩΤ ΙΑΗΩ ΙΟΟΥ ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ ΣΑΒΡΙΑΜ ΟΟ ΥΥ ΕΥ ΟΟ ΥΥ ΑΔΩΝΑΙΕ

Ηδη εδη, εὐαγγελος τοῦ θεοῦ·
ΑΝΛΑΛΑ ΛΑΙ ΓΑΙΑ ΑΠΑ ΔΙΑΧΑΝΝΑ ΧΟΡΥΝ

Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Ἀκέφαλος Δαίμων, ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν ἔχων τὴν ὅρασιν, Ἰσχυρὸς, ὁ ἔχων τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἀθάνατον.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ Ἀλήθεια, ὁ μισῶν ἀδικήματα γίνεσθαι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἀστράπτων καὶ βροντῶν.
Ἐγώ εἰμι οὗ ἐστιν ὁ ἱδρὼς ὄμβρος ἐπιπίπτων ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἵνα ὀχεύῃ.
Ἐγώ εἰμι οὗ τὸ στόμα καίεται δι’ ὅλου.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ γεννῶν καὶ ἀπογεννῶν.
Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ Χάρις τοῦ Αἰῶνος, ὄνομά μοι καρδία περιεζωσμένη ὄφιν.
Ἔξελθε καὶ ἀκολούθησον.

At the end of the text, there’s a small section entitled “Preparation for the foregoing ritual” (Τελετὴ τῆς προκειμένης ποιήσεως), which reads:

Τελετὴ τῆς προκειμένης ποιήσεως·
γράψας τὸ ὄνομα εἰς καινὸν χαρτάριον καὶ διατείνας ἀπὸ κροτάφου εἰς κρόταφον σεαυτοῦ ἐντύγχανε πρὸς βορέαν τοῖς Ϝ´ ὀνόμασι, λέγον·

Ὑπόταξόν μοι πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια, ἵνα μοι ἦν ὑπήκοος πᾶς δαίμων οὐράνιος καὶ αἰθέριος καὶ ἐπίγειος και ὑπόγειος καὶ χερσαῖος καὶ ἔνυδρος καὶ πᾶσα ἐπιπομπὴ καὶ μάστιξ ἡ θεοῦ.

Καὶ ἔσται σοι τὰ δαιαμόνια πάντα ὑπήκοα. Ἔστὶν δὲ τὸ ἀγαθὸν ζῴδιον· :7

Transliterated into Roman script, we have the following:

Sè kalô, tòn Aképhalon, tòn ktísanta gên kaì ouranón, tòn ktísanta núkta kaì hēméran, sè tòn ktísanta phôs kaì skótos.
Sù eî Osoronnōphris, hòn oudeìs eîde pṓpote.
Sù eî IABAS! Sù eî IAPŌS!
Sù diékrinas tò díkaion kaì tò ádikon.
Sù epoíēsas thêlu kaì árren.
Sù édeiksas sporàn kaì karpoús.
Sù epoíēsas toùs anthrṓpous allēlophileîn kaì allēlomiseîn.
Egṓ eimi Moüsês ho prophḗtēs sou, hôy parédōkas tà mustḗriá sou tà sunteloúmena Istraḗl.
Sù édeiksas hugròn kaì ksēròn kaì pâsan trophḗn.
Epákousón mou!

Egṓ eimi ággelos toû Phaprō Osoronnōphris.
Toûtó estin soû tò ónoma tò alēthinòn tò paradidómenon toîs prophḗtais Istraḗl.
Epákousón mou:
ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHKHI KHITASGOĒ IB AŌTH IAŌ
Eisákousón mou kaì apostrepson tò daimónion toûto.

Epikaloûmaí se, tòn en tôy kenôy pneúmati deinòn kaì aóraton theòn:
AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOKHŪ MODORIŌ PHALARKHAŌ OOO

Ágie Aképhale!
Apállakson tòn deîna apò toû sunékhontos autòn daímonos:
RŪBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNA BAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLĒTH ABRASAKS AĒOŌU

Iskhurè Aképhale!
Apállakson tòn deîna apò toû sunékhontos autòn daímonos:
MA BARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH

Apállakson tòn deîna:
AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASUM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ

Hoûtos estin ho kúrios tôn theôn.
Hoûtos estin ho kúrios tês oikouménēs.
Hoûtos estin òn hoi ánemoi phoboûntai.
Hoûtos estin ho poiḗsas phōnês prostágmati heautoû pánta.
Kúrie! Basileû! Dunásta! Boēthé! Sôson psukhḕn:
IEŪ PUR IŪ PUR IAŌT IAĒŌ IOŪ ABRASAKS SABRIAM OO UU EU OO UU ADŌNAIE

Ēdē edē, euaggelos toû theoû:
ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIAKHANNA KHORUN

Egṓ eimi ho Aképhalos Daímōn, en toîs posìn ékhōn tḕn hórasin, Iskhuròs, ho ékhōn tò pûr tò athánaton.
Egṓ eimi hē Alḗtheia, ho misôn adikḗmata gínesthai en tôy kósmōy.
Egṓ eimi ho astráptōn kaì brontôn.
Egṓ eimi hoû estin ho hidrṑs ómbros epipíptōn epì tḕn gên hína okheúēy.
Egṓ eimi hoû tò stóma kaíetai di’ hólou.
Egṓ eimi ho gennôn kaì apogennôn.
Egṓ eimi hē Kháris toû Aiônos, ónomá moi kardía periezōsménē óphin.
Ékselthe kaì akoloúthēson.

Teletḕ tês prokeiménēs poiḗseōs: grápsas tò ónoma eis kainòn khartárion kaì diateínas apò krotáphou eis krótaphon seautoû entúgkhane pròs boréan toîs 6 onómasi, légon:

Hupótaksón moi pánta tà daimónia, hína moi ên hupḗkoos pâs daímōn ouránios kaì aithérios kaì epígeios kai hupógeios kaì khersaîos kaì énudros kaì pâsa epipompḕ kaì mástiks hē theoû.

Kaì éstai soi tà daiamónia pánta hupḗkoa. Éstìn dè tò agathòn zṓydion: :7

And a more-or-less strict translation of the foregoing, based on that in Betz’s translation of the PGM:

I summon you, Headless One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, you who created light and darkness.
You are Osoronnophris whom none has ever seen.
You are IABAS!  You are IAPOS!
You have distinguished the just and the unjust.
You have made female and male.
You have revealed seed and fruits.
You have made men love each other and hate each other.
I am Moses your prophet to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel.
You have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment.
Hear me!

I am the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris.
This is your true name which has been handed down to the prophets of Israel.
Hear me!
ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHKHI KHITASGOĒ IB AŌTH IAŌ
Hearken to me and turn back this daimon!

I call upon you, terrible and unseen god, with an empty spirit:
AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOKHŪ MODORIŌ PHALARKHAŌ OOO

Holy Headless One!
Deliver him, NN., from the daimon that holds onto him:
RŪBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNA BAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLĒTH ABRASAKS AĒOŌU

Strong Headless One!
Deliver him, NN., from the daimon that holds onto him:
MA BARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH

Deliver him, NN.:
AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASUM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ

He is the lord of the gods.
He is the lord of the inhabited world.
He is the one whom the winds fear.
He is the one who made all things by the command of his voice.
Lord! King! Master! Helper! Save the soul:
IEŪ PUR IŪ PUR IAŌT IAĒŌ IOŪ ABRASAKS SABRIAM OO UU EU OO UU ADŌNAIE

Quickly, quickly, good messenger of god:
ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIAKHANNA KHORUN

I am the Headless Daimon with sight in my feet, the Mighty One who possesses the immortal fire.
I am the Truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world.
I am the one who causes lightning and thunder.
I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated.
I am the one whose mouth burns completely.
I am the one who begets and creates.
I am the Favor of the Aiōn, my name is a heart encircled by a serpent.
Come forth and follow.

Preparation for the foregoing ritual: write the name on a new sheet of papyrus, and after extending it from one of your temples to the other, read the 6 names while you face north, saying:

Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment which is from God.

And all daimons will be obedient to you.  The good sign is: :7

With all said, let’s talk about how to apply it and what all the Greek actually means.

First, decide upon the purpose for your use of the Headless Rite, and phrase it to become a charge or statement of intent for the ritual.  I personally use the Headless Rite for one of four purposes, each with their own charge:

  • Exorcism: “Deliver NN. from the demon that restrains him!”
    • Here, NN. is the name of the person to be exorcised.
    • This is the original “rubric” as used in the PGM version of the text, since this was originally intended as an exorcism ritual.
  • Banishing: “Deliver me, NN., from any and all demons, death, defilement, illness, impurity, infirmity, pain, plague, or poison that restrains me!”
    • Here, NN. is your own name.
  • Empowering: “Subject to me all spirits so that every spirit whether heavenly or ethereal, upon the earth or under the earth, on dry land or in the water, of whirling air or rushing fire, and every spell and scourge of God may be obedient to me!”
    • This is the version used in Liber Samekh, which is just a more fleshed-out version of the charge used for donning the coronet, as discussed below.
    • Note that the Liber Samekh version includes “of whirling air and rushing fire” to account for all four elements, as opposed to just referencing earth and water.
  • K&CHGA: “Send to me my neverborn friend and guardian, my supernatural assistant, my agathodaimon, my holy guardian angel!  Send to me the spirit NN. whose duty it is to guide, lead, assist, and protect me through this and all lives!”
    • Here, NN. in this case refers to the name of the guardian angel, if known.  Otherwise, omit the use of a name entirely and refer to the guardian angel generally.

Once the specific charge is decided upon, remember it and recite it at specific moments in the Headless Rite proper.  I only use one charge for each instance of the ritual; I do not mix different intents in the same instance of the ritual, so as to maintain focus and simplicity in purpose.

Next, decide upon your own magical name and station.  In the text proper, this is declared as “Moses”, the “messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris”, who has been passed down the mysteries “celebrated by Israel”.  Crowley in his version gives a more Egyptianized “Ankh-af-an-Khonsu” the prophet of “Khem”; Jason Miller, in a delightful stroke in his book The Sorcerer’s Secrets, uses no name at all (but your own name may be used) to whom has been given the “whole quintessence of Mageia” in general.  I replace this with a slightly more general statement, using your own name (magical or birth or chosen or whatever) to whom has been given “the whole of the mysteries of God”.

Prepare yourself a coronet, preferably from “a new sheet of papyrus” (a fresh sheet of white paper is fine), and write upon it the six sacred names in Greek letters “ΑΩΘ ΑΒΡΑΩΘ ΒΑΣΥΜ ΙΣΑΚ ΣΑΒΑΩΘ ΙΑΩ” in ink that is neither red nor brown.  These names may be translated as “AŌTH ABRAŌTH, in the name of [the god of] Isaac, SABAŌTH IAŌ”, with those last two names being a Hellenicized version of the Hebrew name of God יהוה צבאות “YHVH Tzabaoth”, or “God of Hosts”.  ΒΑΣΥΜ ΙΣΑΚ could well be a Hellenicization of the Hebrew בשם יצחק, “b’shem Yitzḥak”, or “in the name [of] Isaac”, with the whole phrase being something like “AŌTH ABRAŌTH, in the name of [the God of] Isaac, YHVH Tzabaoth”.

The text on the coronet should span the width of your forehead (“from one of your temples to the other”).  Also on this coronet should be inscribed “the good sign”, which further cements one’s power over all spirits to ensure their obedience.  This glyph can take slightly different forms depending on which specific translation you’re looking at:

  • The critical transcription of the ritual from Greek Papyri in the British Museum as edited by F. G. Kenyon (1893, p70) describes it looking like a colon beside an Arabic numeral seven, as in :7
  • Preisendanz in his transcription of the PGM gives it in a far more angular form, as a right angle pointing directly to the right with two dots vertically placed in the hollow of it.  Betz follows his example.
  • Stephen Flowers in Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Papyrus of Abaris (2009, p182) shows it also as a right angle pointing to the right, but with a backwards C shape in the hollow.

My personal interpretation of this glyph is that it functions as a powerful defensive-offensive symbol, combining the images of a shield with inner power to burst through any oncoming force.  Whatever form of “the good sign” you choose, write the glyph in the center of this string of names between “ΒΑΣΥΜ” and “ΙΣΑΚ”, or underneath and centered below the names.

Before the ritual proper, I recommend to purify oneself according to your usual methods, as well as performing any preliminary meditation and energy work.  Wearing loose, white- or light-colored clothing is preferable, if any.

Stand and face north.  Don the coronet and recite the following:

AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ

Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aetherial, upon the earth or under the earth, on dry land or in the water, of whirling air and rushing fire, and every spell and scourge of God might be obedient to me!

Continue to face north.  Calm the mind, focus yourself, raise the arms either in an orans gesture or with the dominant hand raised towards the heavens with the palm facing outward, and proceed with the ritual.  Speak authoritatively and with the surety of the voice of God.  Whenever “[Charge]” is encountered in the ritual, recite the statement of intent as discussed above.

AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ
Thee I invoke, the Headless One!
Thee, who created Earth and the Heavens!
Thee, who created Night and Day!
Thee, who created Darkness and Light!
Thou art OSORONNŌPHRIS, whom no man hath ever seen!
Thou art IABAS!
Thou art IAPŌS!
Thou hast distinguished between the just and the unjust!
Thou hast made the female and the male!
Thou has revealed the seed and the fruit!
Thou hast made men to love each other and hate each other!
I am thy prophet NN. to whom thou hast given all thy mysteries, the whole of the mysteries of God!

Hear me!  I am the messenger of OSORONNŌPHRIS!
This is thy true name handed down to the prophets:
ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHKHI KHITASGOĒ IB AŌTH IAŌ
[Charge]

I call upon thee with an empty spirit, oh awesome and unseen god:
AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOKHŪ MODORIŌ PHALARKHAŌ OHOHO
[Charge]

Holy Headless One, hear me:
RŪBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNA BAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLĒTH ABRASAKS AĒOŌU
[Charge]

MA BARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH
[Charge]

AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ
He is the Lord of the Gods!
He is the Lord of the Living World!
He is the one whom the Winds fear!
He is the one who made all things by the command of his Voice!
Lord, King, Master, Helper, empower my soul:
IEŪ PYR IŪ PYR IAŌT IAĒŌ IOŪ ABRASAKS SABRIAM OHO UHU EU OHO UHU ADŌNAIE

Quickly, quickly, o good angel of God:
ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIAKHANNA KHORYN

At this point in the invocation, center yourself, and visualize yourself existing in all moments and in all places, a body that is pure spiritual light burning through fire itself, transcendent of and immanent throughout the whole Cosmos.  As the Headless One, you exist completely outside all physical time and space, yet present in the most immediate here and now.

I am the Headless One with Sight in the feet!
I am the Mighty One who possesses the immortal Fire!
I am the Truth that hates that evil is wrought in the world!
I am the one who makes the Lightning flash and the Thunder roll!
I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain that falls to make the Earth fertile!
I am the one whose Mouth is utterly aflame!
I am the one who begets and destroys!
I am the Grace of the World!
“HEART GIRT WITH A SERPENT” is my name!

Come and follow, that every spirit, whether heavenly or ethereal, upon the earth or under the earth, on dry land or in the water, of whirling air or rushing fire, and every spell and scourge of God may be obedient unto me.

IAŌ SABAŌTH

Having assumed such a form, having spoken with such definiteness and power, dwell within the divine form of the Headless One and continue with whatever work and charge you set out to do.  Once finished with whatever task you have set out to do, release yourself from transcendence back into pure immanence; become human again, ground yourself, and close the ritual however you’re accustomed to doing.

Some final notes about the translation and procedure given above:

  • Osoronnōphris here is usually interpreted as a praise name of Osiris, Asar-un-Nefer, or “Osiris made perfect”.
  • As usual, the sacred names and barbarous words of power tend to defy explanation, though some of them are commonly known from similar works of occult and spiritual literature (especially Ιαω, Σαβαωθ, Αβρασαξ, etc.).  Kenyon and Betz offer some academic notes on some of the terms and phrases used, while Crowley attempts to offer a syllable-by-syllable breakdown of meaning for every word based on his gematria-based interpretations.  Personally, I decline to translate or offer meaning for these phrases, leaving them as divine speech intelligible only on a level above human understanding.
  • My interpretation of “being headless” while also having “sight in the feet” is a description of being both transcendent and immanent.  Despite their general flaws in interpretation, Crowley and Mather’s interpretation of “headless” as “bornless” makes good sense to me: being “headless” means having no beginning, and so the Headless One has always existed outside of time and space, a truly eternal and transcendent entity.  However, by having “sight in the feet”, he is immanent as well.  Consider: where are your feet?  Where you stand.  Where do you stand?  In the here and now.  Without a head, the Headless One would be limited to observing creation only from a transcendent, external perspective without the ability to interact with it.  However, even though he is outside time and space, he is also present within it in this exact time and space, perceiving and acting in this precious present Moment.
  • The ritual text specifies that the magician is to face north for the ritual; given the Egyptian context of the PGM, this makes sense, since north was the directional home of the polar stars, which were conceived of as both symbols of immortality and as divine immortal gods themselves.  Further, the use of the polar stars may also function as a heavenly portal through which divinities may pass into our world.  That said, for those working in a more modern or Western milieu, one may face east instead given its association of bringing light, divinity, and everlasting life.
  • The use of the papyrus/paper coronet is not strictly necessary, in my experience.  Instead of that, a medallion with the six divine names on one side and “the good sign” on the other works as well, which may be worn around the neck as a pendant or fixed to the center of the forehead as a circlet or diadem.  For those who wish to take a more modern approach, anointing the forehead and palms with Abramelin oil while visualizing the six names and the good sign emblazoned upon the forehead in light may also work.
  • I specified above that, if written upon paper or papyrus, the ink used for the names and the sign should not be red or brown; these colors were associated with the Egyptian god Set, and considered to be malignant or harmful to most magical workings in the PGM unless specifically said otherwise.  Some authors, such as Jake Stratton-Kent, interpret this ritual to be of a specifically Sethian or Typhonian nature, but I disagree with such an interpretation.  Given some of the phrases used in the ritual, the Headless One bears more resemblance to the pantokrator or omnipotent versions of Thoth in some Egyptian magical texts than any other divinity.