Thoughts on PGM I.195—222 and Invocations to Hēlios

There are always surprises to be found in the wonderful treasure trove of the Greek Magical Papyri, as I think we’re all familiar with by now.  It’s a fantastic, if not sometimes hard-to-piece-together, resource of various approaches to magic both theurgic and thaumaturgic from Hellenic Egypt around the early centuries of the Roman Empire, giving us a blessed and bounteous buffet of works, notes, prayers, and rituals from a variety of magicians, priests, and occultists from back in the day.  Although it’s folly to treat the PGM as one single work, given that its various papyri were written and collected from various parts of Egypt across several centuries, there are sometimes neat connections you can make between different texts within the PGM that show a thread of common practice or other commonalities in how the different magicians back then worked for their desired and necessary ends—beyond just “add the usual”, of course.

I was flipping through my loved copy of Betz recently, this time on something of a mission.  I was looking for a relatively short invocation of the Sun to use as part of other works related to the decans and other solar-focused projects, and I wanted to focus this time on the papyri given earlier in the collection, which I don’t often turn to (even though they’re among the longest and most well-preserved of them all).  This time, I had taken note of a section from PGM I, also known as Papyrus 5025 housed in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, Germany, and I found PGM I.195—222, “the prayer of deliverance for the first-begotten and first-born god”.  It’s a relatively short prayer with only two reasonably-sized strings of barbarous words, and the text of it is pretty par-for-the-course as far as invocations to an almighty god for divine aid go, and is explicitly associated with Hēlios at the end of the text.

Below is my own version of the prayer in English, a slightly modified translation based on Betz:

I call upon you, o Lord!
Hear me, o holy god who rests among the holy ones,
at whose side the glorious angels stand forever!
I call upon you, o Forefather, and I beseech you, o Aiōn of Aiōns,
o unmoved ruler, eternal ruler of the celestial pole,
you who are established upon the seven-part heavens!
Υou who hold fast to the root of the cosmos!
you who possess the powerful name hallowed by all the angels!
Hear me, you who have established the mighty decans and archangels,
beside whom stands untold myriads of angels!
You have been exalted to Heaven by the Lord,
having borne witness to your wisdom and having praised your power,
having declared that your strength is as his in every way in this world.

I call upon you, o Lord of the All, in my hour of need;
hear me, for my soul is distressed, and I am troubled and in want of everything.
Come to me, who you are lord over all the angels;
shield me against all excess of power of the aerial Daimōn and of Fate.
O Lord, hear me, for I call upon you by your secret name
that reaches from the heights of Heaven to the depths of the Abyss:
Rescue me in an hour of need!

The two sets of barbarous words, transliterated into Roman text (and with my own aspirations of <h> thrown in for good measure where I find them to be appropriate):


In the above prayer, which is more-or-less readable from the papyrus (though with plenty of emendations from Preisendanz since the papyrus isn’t in the best state), there’s only one real lacuna, in the first string of words in the name ΗΚΕΩΦΥΗΙΔΡΥΜΗΩ.  Based on where the papyrus has degraded, Preisendanz identifies this as being two characters (ΗΚΕ__ΦΥΗΙΔΡΘΜΗΩ), which I initially guessed would be filled in with ΘΕ.  My choice of this here is really more of a guess than anything else, since there’s no real way of telling given the condition of the papyrus and the ink, but from what remains and based on the handwriting, ΘΕ seems to fit here, though I’m sure there are other possibilities.  ΣΑ would be another choice, but given how rarely sigma appears in this section’s barbarous words, and given how often thēta appears, I’d be more inclined with that.  Looking at the papyrus itself, we start PGM I.195ff at the line just above the centered single-word line on the first column in the digitized scan from the Staatliche Museen:

Upon checking out Preisendanz’ footnotes, he mentions that the word ΡΩΣΕΡΩΘ also appears in PGM IV, specifically in PGM IV.1167—1226 “the stele that is useful for all things”, which I myself call the Stele of Aiōn.  There are several parallels between PGM I.195ff and PGM IV.1167ff, including that both are fundamentally addressed to Aiōn-qua-Hēlios, both have connotations of being used in emergency situations to free one from death or extreme danger, both have a number of phraseological similarities throughout.  Most interestingly, however, we see a string of barbarous words there that are extremely similar to the one given in PGM I.195ff here:


In this light, and given the extreme similarity between these two strings, I went with the PGM IV.1167ff suggestion of ΗΚΕΩΦΥΗΙΔΡΥΜΗΩ (noting that an ōmega here would be about two characters wide and of roughly similar shape as ΘΕ).  In fact, given the number of emendations and suggestions Preisendanz had to make for PGM I given its condition, it might not be a bad idea to replace the whole string of barbarous words here in PGM I.195ff with that of PGM IV.1167ff.

Also, we should make a note here of the use of the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Josiah (not Jacob? weird) in the barbarous words, along with a number of other noted parallels to Psalms and a number of other books of the Bible.  Though, what’s interesting here is that, when we compare this part of PGM I.195ff to the Stele of Aiōn from PGM IV.1167ff again, we notice all the biblical names vanish (along with some of the biblical language, though other Judaizing elements are introduced).  Even with the changes to the barbarous words, the overall structure and spelling is still highly similar.


Notably, that string of barbarous names in PGM IV.1167ff is specifically labeled as a hundred-letter name, and the same quality holds in PGM I, as well, even accounting for the variations and differences in spelling and vocalization.  Whoever wrote these prayers and based one on the other or as variants of the same source knew what they were doing in keeping to that quality.

In any case, what PGM I.195ff gives us is indeed a “prayer of deliverance”, and it ends with the sole instruction of “say this to Hēlios or whenever you are forced to do so” (though Betz notes that the translation is tentative at this point), and although the purpose of this prayer is not exactly given explicitly except as “deliverance”, the phrasing given towards the end of the prayer (“shield me against all excess of power of the aerial Daimōn and of Fate”) and in this sole instruction suggest that it is deliverance from the onslaught of a demonic attack.  However, I’d like to propose a slightly different translation for “you are forced to do so”, given the Greek καταληφθῇς used here.  If we take out the aspiration, we end up with καταληπτῇς, which more has connotations of being seized or arrested.  This, again, has parallels with PGM IV.1167ff, which “is useful for all things; it even delivers from death”.  Again, that notion of deliverance, and in PGM IV.1167ff, it asks for protection “from every excess of power and from every violent act”.  While both of these prayers can certainly be used and interpreted as asking for deliverance from demonic/spiritual attack, I think that the crux of it is really more specifically about demonic obsession or possession, to be recited by someone who is being so accosted by spirits that they threaten to take over the body, or alternatively, an actual plea to divinity for help in being restrained, abducted, arrested, or detained by worldly authorities (which is just a material and potentially more archonic parallel of demonic possession).  What leads me to think that this is also to be used for worldly restraints is that notion of being saved “from every excess of power of the aerial Daimōn or of Fate“.  It’s that “or of Fate” bit that suggests that there’s more going on here than spiritual attack, but the actual workings of the cosmos that happen to be working against you at that moment in whatever form they might take.

What I was looking for was a general prayer to Hēlios, but PGM I.195ff doesn’t seem to cut it for me; although potent, to be sure, it seems too tailored for a specific (dire) situation to be used more generally as an invocation.  Although the parallels between this and PGM IV.1167ff are strong, and although that latter is a prayer “useful for all things”, I think the usefulness there is for extreme cases of need of deliverance, saving, and protection from actual harm rather than for use as an invocation or simple praise.  I could be simply limiting myself out of an excess of caution, but something about reciting either of these prayers too freely seems to cheapen their power a bit.  After all, an alternative reading of that last line from PGM I.195ff, λέγε Ἡλίῳ ἣ ὄποθ ἑὰν καταληφθῇς, instead of being “say this to Hēlios or whenever you are seized/forced to do so”, could also be “say this to Hēlios if you are truly seized”.  There are other prayers in PGM I, II, III, and others that give invocations to Hēlios in one form or another, I suppose, that could be investigated besides, and I know that some other PGM-minded magicians use PGM IV.1167ff as a prayer to Hēlios along these lines, though I’m not sure I agree with the use of it in this way for the reasons noted above.

On top of that, there’s another thing that nags me about this prayer.  I was originally looking for a prayer to Hēlios, and sure enough, this “prayer of deliverance” is meant to be said to Hēlios, but…well, it’s not all that solar of a prayer.  I mean, sure, Betz has the initial invocation directed to the “eternal ruler of the sun’s rays”, but Preisendanz translates this instead as berharrender Herrscher “persistent ruler”, and the original Greek has it as ἀκινοκράτωρ which I translate as “unmoved ruler”; I’m not really sure where Betz got “eternal ruler of the sun’s rays” from.  It’s really not all that solar of a prayer at all, and when we also consider the notion of “eternal ruler of the pole” (αἰωνοπολοκράτωρ which, again, Betz weirdly translates as “eternal ruler of the celestial orb”), that ties it more into the much bigger divinity of Aiōn a la the Heptagram Rite from PGM XIII or other high-cosmic deities that go well above and beyond the Sun’s station.  True, PGM IV.1167ff does explicitly address that prayer to Hēlios, but I’d be more inclined to interpret that as Hēlios as an attribute of Aiōn rather than Hēlios as Aiōn.  Instead of interpreting that final line of PGM I.195ff as addressing the prayer to Hēlios the deity, I think it’d be at least as appropriate to interpret it as meaning that the prayer is to be said facing the Sun, a literal direction instead of a metaphorical one, and using the physical Sun (wherever it might be placed in the sky, though presumably only at daytime) as a focal point for the higher deity of Aiōn.

Oh well, I guess the search continues.  In the meantime, however, I’d like to share a small invocation that I use for the Sun in the mornings after my usual daily prayers and routine.  This is a mix of Julian’s Prayer to Hēlios, the invocation from Orphic gold mystery tablets, several divine names associated with the Sun from the PGM, and my own invocations.

Hail to you, Lord Hēlios, Lord of the All!
O Spirit of the Cosmos, Power of the Cosmos, Light of the Cosmos,
be kind to us, be gracious to us, be propitious to us all!
Shine upon us, your children, the children of starry Heaven and fertile Earth:
you whose light is unconquerable, you whose light is for ever,
as you rise from the darkness under the Earth into the brightness of the heavens!
Bless us, your children, the children of starry Heaven and fertile Earth:
grant us your Spirit that we might live,
your Power that we might work,
your Light that we might see,
and your Fire to fuel and temper the flames of want and will in our own hearts!


The bit in Greek text at the bottom is a combination of several things:

  • ΗΙ ΙΕΟΥ from PGM XII.270—350 as an exclamatory invocation corresponding to the Egyptian i iꜣw, “o hail”.
  • ΑΧΕΒΥΚΡΩΜ from PGM XIII.1—343 (the Heptagram Rite), an explicit name of Hēlios, specifically “the flame and radiance of the [solar] disc”.
  • ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ is Abrasax, whose solar connections are obvious and replete through the PGM.
  • ΣΕΜΕΣΕΙΛΑΜ from various parts of the PGM, a Hellenization of Hebrew shemesh `olam, “eternal Sun”.
  • ΨΟΙ ΦΝΟΥΘΙ ΝΙΝΘΗΡ from PGM IV.1596—1715 (the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Hēlios) as a name of the Sun, but which in Egyptian corresponds to “the Agathodaimōn, the god of gods”.
  • ΧΑΙΡΕ ΗΛΙΕ ΠΑΝΤΟΚΡΑΤΟΡ is just Greek for “Hail, Sun, All-Ruler”.

The line “as you rise from the darkness under the Earth into the brightness of the heavens” was written with the intent that this salutation and invocation of the Sun would be done in the morning around sunrise, but it could be modified or replaced for any of the four solar points of the day, Liber Resh style if one so chooses:

  • Sunrise: …as you rise from the darkness under the Earth into the brightness of the heavens!
  • Noon: …as you culminate in the highest heights of the bright summit of the heavens!
  • Sunset: …as you descend from the brightness of the heavens into the darkness of the Earth!
  • Midnight: …as you settle in the deepest depths of the dark womb of the Earth!

I hope this short invocation can be of some use to others, now that spring is here in the northern hemisphere and as the Sun has moved into its own exaltation of Aries.

Select posts to be translated into Russian at Teurgia.Org!

Not too long ago, the good people at the Russian occult website Teurgia.Org contacted me asking if they could translate some of my articles, posts, and pages into Russian for their website.  Granted that I don’t speak Russian, but they seem to be a pretty excellent Russian-language resource for Hermetic practices, ceremonial magic, grimoires, and other occult and magical works, and have been around since 2009.  Specifically, they wanted to translate my Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Hēlios ritual into Russian for their website, and I agreed, and gave them permission to periodically translate some of my other posts and pages into Russian for their site, linking back here to the Digital Ambler.  To that end, they recently put up their translation over at this page on their website.  Over time, they may translate more posts of mine to make them more accessible to the wider non-Anglophonic world.

If you’re a speaker of Russian or know anyone who’s more comfortable learning occult stuff in Russian than English, tell them to check out Teurgia.Org!

A PGM List of Nighttime Hour Rulers

One of my favorite things about the Greek Magical Papyri is that, if some technique or concept exists in modern magic, chances are extraordinarily high there’s a parallel, variant, or outright origin of the thing in the PGM.  In some cases, the stuff we find in the PGM is in the same league as the direct ancestors of what we do today; it may not be the great-great-great-great-grandfather of a particular thing, but his brother or adopted sister that he grew up with.  This makes sense, given the naturally syncretic and eclectic collection of texts present in the PGM and PDM, representing a…not a cacophony, but a callophony of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Indian, Babylonian, Persian, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, messianic, apocalyptic, theurgic, goetic, mantic, prophetic, and other influences that collectively laid the foundations for Hermetic practice.  Of course, it’d be folly to read the PGM and similar texts as a single grimoire; this is not a cohesive selection of texts from a single author, magician, tradition, or practice, but a collection of texts from a variety of authors, magicians, traditions, and practices that spanned several centuries.  It’s important to bear that in mind, because not all the texts agree with each other in terms of doctrine or practice, and some don’t even agree within themselves.

On occasion, I’ll find something great in the PGM that, even though it’s great, strikes me as being incomplete for something I want to accomplish.  Case in point: the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Hēlios ritual from PGM IV.1596—1715 gives an incredibly useful list of names, specifically the twelve “faces” of the Sun as he traverses the skies in the twelve hours of the day.  Though these are essentially transformations of Hēlios into different forms, they do describe different temporal realms and, therefore, can be used as a way to refer to the hours of the day in a magical sense, much like how the Heptameron or the Ars Paulina of the Lemegeton give names for the hours or their rulers.  The frustrating thing about the Twelve Faces of Hēlios ritual is that it only gives the names of the twelve hour rulers for the day; it gives nothing for the twelve hours of the night, and as far as I’m aware, there’s no list in the PGM that gives a list of 24 such names.

Recently, however, I think I found something that’d be perfect for what I’d need.

Behold PGM VII.862—918, “Lunar spell of Claudianus and [the ritual] of Heaven and the North Star over lunar offerings”.  According to the text, this “papyrus itself, the personal property of the Twelve Gods, was found in Aphroditopolis [beside] the greatest goddess, Aphroditē Ourania, who embraces the universe”.  Aphroditopolis, in this instance, could refer to one of two ancient Egyptian cities, Tpyhwt (modern Atfih) or Per Hathor (modern Gebelein), with the latter being more likely.  This text associates Aphroditē Ourania (Heavenly Aphroditē) with Selēnē, the Moon.  The ritual is phrased as a love-binding spell, where one calls upon Selēnē to cause a particular person to fall madly in love with the magician by means of sending dreams and images, but dreams of other types may be sent to whomever to accomplish whatever it is you want by them.

The ritual is done by first preparing a special clay statue according to a particular scheme (which is missing in the text, but likely resembles Hathor) and consecrating her in a shrine of olive wood without letting her ever come in contact with sunlight:

  1. Make a shrine of olive wood, being sure to keep it in a place that sunlight does not touch.  (I imagine this is essentially a cabinet with a door that can close.)
  2. Prepare the statue of “Mistress Selēnē the Egyptian…in the form of the Universe” from “clay from a potter’s wheel” mixed with sulfur and the blood of a dappled goat.  (There exist extant images of Isis-Aphroditē which is often also associated with Hathor-Aphroditē, such as examples here, here, and here.)
  3. Dedicate the statue with “the ritual that works for everything”.
  4. Anoint the statue with “lunar ointment” and wreathe it.
  5. Stow the statue away in the shrine in advance of the ritual itself.

In the fifth hour of the night, the magician is to make a “lunar offering” and anointing oneself with “lunar anointment”, face the image of Selēnē, and recite the following invocation:

I call upon you, Mistress of the entire world, ruler of the entire cosmic system, greatly powerful goddess, gracious daimōn, lady of night, who travels through the air, ΦΕΡΟΦΟΡΗ ΑΝΑΘΡΑ…ΟΥΘΡΑ.  Heed your sacred symbols and give a rustling sound, and give a sacred angel or a holy assistant who serves this very night, in this very hour, ΠΡΟΚΥΝΗ ΒΑΥΒΩ ΦΟΒΕΙΟΥΣ ΜΗΕ, and order the angel to go off to her, NN., to draw her by her hair, by her feet; may she, in fear, seeing phantoms, sleepless because of her passion for me and her love for me, NN., come to my consecrated bedroom.

The charge for the angel can likely be replaced with whatever one might need or wish.  At this point, the magician should see the divine statue of Selēnē turning red, which indicates that “she is now attracting”.  The magician is then to continue the invocation:

Mistress, send forth your angel from among those who assist you, one who is leader of night, because I adjure you by your great names, because of which no aerial or infernal daimōn can ignore you, ΜΕΣΟΥΡΦΑΒΑΒΟΡ ΒΡΑΛ ΙΗΩ ΙΣΙ Η!  Come to me, as I summon you, ΟΡΘΩ ΒΑΥΒΩ ΝΟΗΡΕ ΚΟΔΗΡΕ ΣΟΙΡΕ ΣΟΙΡΕ ΕΡΕΣΧΙΓΑΛ ΣΑΓΚΙΣΤΗ ΔΩΔΕΚΑΚΙΣΤΗ ΑΚΡΟΥΡΟΒΟΡΕ ΚΟΔΗΡΕ ΣΑΜΨΕΙ!

Hear my words and send forth your angel who is appointed over the first hour, ΜΕΝΕΒΑΙΝ
and the one over the second hour, ΝΕΒΟΥΝ
and the one over the third hour, ΛΗΜΝΕΙ
and the one over the fourth hour, ΜΟΡΜΟΘ
and the one over the fifth hour, ΝΟΥΦΙΗΡ
and the one over the sixth hour, ΧΟΡΒΟΡΒΑΘ
and the one over the seventh hour, ΟΡΒΕΗΘ
and the one over the eighth hour, ΠΑΝΜΩΘ
and the one over the ninth hour, ΘΥΜΕΝΦΡΙ
and the one over the tenth hour, ΣΑΡΝΟΧΟΙΒΑΛ
and the one over the eleventh hour, ΒΑΘΙΑΒΗΛ
and the one over the twelfth hour, ΑΡΒΡΑΘΙΑΒΡΙ
so that you may do this for me, that you may attract, that you may tame on this very night, so that she, NN. (or “he, NN.”) be unable to have success until coming to me, NN.!  May she remain fully satisfied, loving, desiring me, NN., and may she be unable to have intercourse with another man, except with me alone.

As a personal observation, I like the casual inclusion of “or he” towards the end of the ritual.  I guess it doesn’t just work on women, which pleases me greatly.

Anyway, this second invocation is to be recited many times, and “it will attract and bind, and she will love you for all the time of your life”.  However, after you two meet and have sex, the sacred image of Selēnē is to be stowed away “giving her magical material”; so long as the image of Selēnē is kept from sunlight, your success in the matter will continue.

At any rate, look at what we have here: a list of names for the twelve hours, but focusing on the messengers/angels (in a sense, rulers) under Selēnē!  What’s fascinating about this is that we have, as far as I can tell, the only list of hours of the night in the PGM.  Other instances of hour-name lists focus on the twelve hours of the day, but now we have a matching one for the night.  In addition to that, but this one pairs quite nicely with the Twelve Faces of Hēlios list; while that has a list of explicitly solar daytime hours, here we now have a list of explicitly nocturnal lunar hours.  The only conceptual difference between the two is that the former are all different aspects of the same celestial entity, while the latter are all subordinate spirits who rule in the name of another celestial entity.  In effect, however, the idea is the same: we have a list of names that correspond to the ruling celestial power according to the time in which we call them.

The only issue I can think of is that, because lists of hours for the night are so uncommon while lists of hours for the day are more common, it could be thought instead that the list in the ritual above actually correspond to the twelve hours of the day; after all, Stephen Skinner in his Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic gives the above list as “angels for each hour of the day”.  However, given that everything in this ritual is oriented towards the night and to nocturnal darkness, from keeping the image of Selēnē away from the sun to the ritual being done at night and how Selēnē is explicitly hailed as “leader of night” or “lady of night”, it makes more sense to me that these names are for the nocturnal hours rather than the diurnal hours.

To that end, I present this table of PGM-style hour ruler names, in both Greek script and Roman transcription for use and experimentation:

 Hour Diurnal Nocturnal

Bearing this in mind, how might we invoke these names of the rulers of the hours outside their original rituals?  Because of the difference in nature between the solar-diurnal hour names and the lunar-nocturnal hour names, I hesitate to give a general invocation, though something short and sweet can easily be made, especially given a line from PDM xiv.1—92.  For instance, for the first hour of the day and the night, I might recommend these short invocations:

  1. Solar-diurnal hour: “Bright face of Hēlios, ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ, you whose hand is this moment, who belongs to this first hour of the day, bring your light to me!”
  2. Lunar-nocturnal hour: “Bright angel of Selēnē, ΜΕΝΕΒΑΙΝ, you whose hand is this moment, who belongs to this first hour of the night, bring your light to me!”

Of course, fuller invocations can be developed based on the original rituals to more properly call upon the ruler of the hour.  For example, I would suggest these abbreviations of those rituals as a solar invocation of the face of the diurnal hour:

Greatest god, eternal lord, world ruler, 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!  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!  In the first hour, your name is ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ!  Hear my words and aid me in this your time!

And a lunar invocation of the angel of the nocturnal hour:

Mistress of the entire world, ruler of the entire cosmic system, greatly powerful goddess, gracious daimōn, lady of night, who travels through the air, send forth your angel from among those who assist you, the one who is leader of night, because I adjure you by your great names, because of which no aerial or infernal daimōn can ignore you, ΜΕΣΟΥΡΦΑΒΑΒΟΡ ΒΡΑΛ ΙΗΩ ΙΣΙ Η!  Hear my words and send forth your angel who is appointed over the first hour, ΜΕΝΕΒΑΙΝ!

As I noted before in my discussion on the angels of the hours of the Ars Paulina, working with these names and at least making a perfunctory gesture to recognize the ruler of the current time can be huge for ensuring success and smoothness in magical workings.  Just as how the Ars Paulina invokes the angels of the hours instead of the angels of the planets because the former “closer” to us on the ladder of manifestation than the latter, especially in a temporal sense, we can recognize these specific emanations of the Sun and Moon as genii temporum, “spirits of the times”, much like how we recognize genii locorum, “spirits of the places”, when recognizing, appeasing, and working with the spirits of the place where we work.  Except, with this combined system, we now have a full PGM parallel to accommodate such a need.

With that, I’m gonna try experimenting with these names as lords of the hours.  And maybe give the Lunar Spell of Klaudianos a try at some point, too.

Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Helios

(Update 1/9/2018: Interested in more about this ritual?  Check out my more polished, fleshed-out writeup over on this page!)

As I mentioned last time in that post detailing a list of neat shit I found for use in my own magic, there’s one particular ritual that I hadn’t used before or included in my original enchiridion, but that I thought would be worth it to include.  This is a ritual from the Greek Magical Papyri, that awesome Dead Sea Scrolls collection of magic, and specifically comes from PGM IV.1596—1715, under the title This is the consecration for all purposes; Spell to Helios.  It’s a somewhat lengthy incantation, and doesn’t provide any ritual instructions nor does it seem immediately connected to any other ritual found close to it in the PGM, but it’s a fascinating method of consecration of a charm, stone, ring, phylactery, or other object for power under Helios, the sun god of the Greeks.

However, it being the PGM, its’s not that straightforward.  Besides the usual barbarous words of power, this ritual has several fascinating aspects to it.  For one, the ritual associates Helios with the Αγαθος Δαιμον, the Good Spirit or Genius, with heavy references to a Serpent God and even an explicit one to Serapis, none of which is too surprising given the PGM context in which we find this ritual.  More fascinating than this, however, this ritual has Helios with twelve forms and twelve names, each form and name for each of the twelve hours of the day.  This is much like the names of the hours of the Heptameron, and has corollaries to the names of angels from the Key of Solomon; however, the practice of giving names and gods to the individual hours of the day is old and definitely has its origins in ancient Egyptian practice.  There is another ritual, PGM III.494, which provides a partial list of the gods of the hours, but it’s incomplete, making PGM IV.1596 the only complete one in the text.  For reference, the names (in Greek along with their isopsephic values) and forms of Helios in the twelve hours are listed below, along with the hieroglyph for each animal (as close as I can ascertain, for reasons which will soon become clear):

Hour Name Animal
1159 (ΩΨΝΘ)
Cat Hieroglyph for "Cat"
1180 (ΩΤΠ)
Dog Hieroglyph for "Dog"
2122 (ΩΨΧΚΒ)
Serpent Hieroglyph for "Snake"
1029 (ΩΣΚΘ)
Scarab Hieroglyph for "Dung beetle"
2176 (ΩΨΧΟΕΑ)
Donkey Hieroglyph for "Donkey"
326 (ΤΚΕΑ)
Lion Hieroglyph for "Lion"
1533 (ΩΨΛG)
Goat Hieroglyph for "Ibex"
833 (ΩΛΓ)
Bull Hieroglyph for "Bull"
2957 (ΩΨΧΦΤΝΖ)
Falcon Hieroglyph for "Falcon"
639 (ΧΛΘ)
Baboon Hieroglyph for "Sacred baboon"
1910 (ΩΨΥΙ)
Ibis Hieroglyph for "Crested ibis"
193 (ΡΠΓ)
Crocodile Hieroglyph for "Crocodile"

There’s a small bit written about the forms of the Helios, mostly in German, and I don’t propose to get into it too deeply here.  However, I did mention above that there is another list of names and forms of the Sun through the hours earlier in the PGM, but it’s incomplete; Stephen Flowers in his Hermetic Magic attempts a reconstruction, but…well, suffice to say that I’m not particularly sanguine about his work.  Mind you, this is focusing on the twelve hours of the day, since Helios (in the Egyptian reckoning) dies and goes into the underworld during the nighttime.  Some of the faces of Helios have small descriptions appended to them, such as that of the ninth face ΦΗΟΥΣ ΦΩΟΥΘ as “the lotus emerged from the abyss”, of which the lotus is a traditional throne of Harpokrates, also known as Horus, given the animal form of a falcon.  It might be that the Sun was thought of by the author as an ultimate, monistic god that took on multiple forms, especially given his laudation of the Sun as “the great Serpent, leader of all the gods, who control the beginning of Egypt and the end of the whole inhabited world” and other praises.  Other notably Egyptian names can be found amidst the other barbarous words in this ritual.

Now, while the ritual as given in the PGM is well-preserved, there are two main issues, as I see it.  For one, each one of the twelve hours has an associated benediction for the phylactery or charm to be consecrated except for the tenth and twelfth hours; Betz notes that it’s likely a copyist omission that left out the consecration for the these hours.  Moreover, the bigger issue we have is that we don’t know exactly how to employ the ritual, as no framework for the ritual was given.  To that end, here are some of my thoughts on setting up such a ritual employing this consecration:

  • When it comes to timing, I think it’d be good for us modern Hermetic magi to stick to a time powerful for the Sun, such as during a day and hour of the Sun, during a good astrological election of the Sun, or using the day when the Sun hits his exaltation at 18° Aries (which, barring unusual circumstances, only happens once a year sometime around April 7).  As this is a consecration, choosing a day when the Moon is waxing or full would be preferred.  The wording of the text suggests that the Sun, at the time of uttering the spell, has already set, meaning that the ritual would have been done at nighttime, leading to a peculiar necromantic-solar vibe.  However, there’s room for fleshing this out, and I think doing it in the daytime could be done just as well.
  • No offerings are mentioned, but strong red wine would be a safe bet.
  • Ritual setup could involve six candles (six being the Qabbalistic number of the Sun), but I think it’d be better to have twelve candles, one each for the twelve faces of Helios.  Alternatively, oil lamps would work equally well.
  • Frankincense would be an obvious choice for a suffumigation, but if you wanted to go fancier, you could make a more complicated and delectable solar blend.  If you wanted to go old-school, perhaps kyphi would also work.
  • The usual solar decorations of gold, yellow, bay laurel, and the like would be nice, perhaps substituting the number 6 for 12 (such as using a duodecadon or a double hexagon instead of a single hexagon).
  • Even though the ritual text lacks benedictions for the tenth and twelfth hours, it’s not terribly hard to fill in the blanks with related ones.

So, with all that in mind, here’s what I have planned for the full ritual of the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of .  For the full ritual, it will take place over the course of a full day from the moment of sunrise to the moment of sunset, with thirteen total invocations to be done, but later on I’ll also describe a one-fell-swoop approach to doing the whole ritual.

Prepare the following supplies:

  • Thirteen white, ivory, yellow, or gold candles that burn for at least 12 hours, or thirteen clean oil lamps that have not been painted red filled with enough oil to burn for at least 12 hours
  • A bottle of red wine
  • Twelve small cups and one large bowl, if the ritual is done inside
  • Non-red (preferably white or yellow) chalk, paint, or ink, if the ritual is done inside and/or upon some sort of writable ground or surface
  • Incense, either purely of frankincense or compounded of equal parts frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and cinnamon
  • Oil, either pure olive oil or some sort of blessing/magical oil
  • An object to be consecrated, henceforth known as the “charm” (but change the word in the instructions and ritual text as necessary to “ring”, “phylactery”, &c.)

The ritual will take place at thirteen different points in time throughout the same day: at the first hour of the day (moment of sunrise), at the second, third…twelfth, and at the thirteenth hour of the day (moment of sunset).  Be sure to calculate these specific times for the ritual in the same way as you’d calculate planetary hours, focusing only on the diurnal hours plus the first nocturnal hour (sunset).  One is to strictly fast from all food, all drinks except water, all sexual activity, and all impurity from the moment the ritual begins until it is concluded after sunset.

Prepare the ritual area:

  1. Clean, purify, and banish the ritual area from all impurity before setting anything up.  Using natron as a purifying agent is suggested, but not required.
  2. Arrange twelve of the candles in a large semicircle, so that the open side faces the north. The twelve candles may be spaced so that the first candle is oriented due east and the last candle due west, or they may be spaced so that the first candle is oriented towards the exact direction of sunrise and the last candle towards the exact direction of the Sun’s position in its twelfth hour of the day.
  3. If done inside or in such an area as to permit a writable surface, write out the name of the twelve faces of Helios between the object to be consecrated and each of the candles, so that ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ is written between the object and towards the easternmost candle, ΣΟΥΦΙ towards the next one just to the south, and so forth.  If space is tight, use the isopsephic value of each name instead, written either in Arabic or Greek numerals.  Outside the semicircle beside each candle, write the Egyptian hieroglyph for the animal associated with that candle’s hour and name.  Additionally, write the hieroglyph for the Sun in the focal point of the semicircle.
    Hieroglyph for "Sun"
  4. If the ritual is done inside, place the bowl at the focal point of the semicircle, then put the charm inside the bowl.  If outside, place the charm at the focal point on the ground.
  5. If the ritual is done inside, set a small cup just beyond each candle (either on or beyond the hieroglyph if on a writable surface).
  6. Place the censer for the incense behind the focal point, a little bit away from the charm towards the north.
  7. If desired, write the names of the four guardians of the directions ΕΡΒΗΘ to the east, ΛΕΡΘΕΞΑΝΑΞ to the south, ΑΒΛΑΝΑΘΑΝΑΛΒΑ to the west, and ΣΕΣΕΓΓΕΝΒΑΡΦΑΡΑΓΓΗΣ to the north around the whole ritual area.  I’ve found these names of power to represent the entities guarding the stations of the Sun as he progresses through the heavens and hells, but it’s optional.  Likewise, if desired and if space permits, you may also want to “close off” the area by drawing a second semicircle to the north so as to make a more-or-less complete circle.

The resulting layout for the ritual, assuming we use the due-east/due-west orientation of the candles with all the extra things and large enough to walk within, would look like this:

Daytime Consecration to the 12 Faces of Helios Arrangement

Before sunrise on the day of the ritual, prepare the temple space so that it is clean, banished, and prepared accordingly. Just before sunrise, invoke the four guardians of the directions, if desired, or other watchtower-type entities. At sunrise, the ritual fast and actions begin; light the thirteenth candle (henceforth referred to as the Sun candle) that has not been set out in the semicircle.  Light the incense, then take the Sun candle in in the left hand, salute the rising Sun with the right, and begin the preliminary invocation (state your name or whoever’s the beneficiary of the charm wherever “NN.” is used):

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.

Proceed to the first candle in the semicircle and light it with the Sun candle; if the circle is large enough to walk in, stand on top of the name of the face for the first hour and face the candle, but otherwise stand behind the charm towards the north and facing the candle of the first hour. Say the invocation of the first hour while saluting the first candle with the right hand:

In the first hour you have the form of a cat; your name is ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ. Give glory and favor to this charm.

Pour out an offering of wine, either directly on the ground on top of the hieroglyph (if outside) or in its proper cup (if inside). Follow this with the following supplication:

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 done by this charm be brought to fulfillment, and especially for the need for which I consecrate it, for the sake of NN.

Set the Sun candle down by or on top of the charm. The ritual for the first hour is complete.

At each of the successive hours of the day through the twelfth hour, repeat the process by lighting more incense, taking up the Sun candle, and proceeding to go through each invocation for each of the hour, saluting each candle, until you reach the proper candle for the appropriate hour, where you’ll light that hour’s candle, recite the invocation to that hour while saluting the candle, pour out wine for that hour, and finish with the final supplication before putting the Sun candle down by the charm. The rest of the hour invocations are (supplemented with my own additions for the tenth and twelfth hours):

  1. In the second hour you have the form of a dog; your name is ΣΟΥΦΙ.  Give strength and honor to this charm and to NN.
  2. In the third hour you have the form of a serpent; your name is ΑΜΕΚΡΑΝΕΒΕΧΕΟ ΘΩΥΘ.  Give honor to the god NN.
  3. In the fourth hour you have the form of a scarab; your name is ΣΕΝΘΕΝΙΨ.  Mightily strengthen this charm for that which it is consecrated.
  4. In the fifth hour you have the form of a donkey; your name is ΕΝΦΑΝΧΟΥΦ.  Give strength and courage and power to the god NN.
  5. In the sixth hour you have the form of a lion; your name is ΒΑΙ ΣΟΛΒΑΙ, the ruler of time.  Give success to this charm and glorious victory.
  6. In the seventh hour you have the form of a goat; your name is ΟΥΜΕΣΘΩΘ.  Give sexual charm to this charm.
  7. In the eighth hour you have the form of a bull; your name is ΔΙΑΤΙΦΗ, who becomes visible everywhere.  Let all things done by the use of this charm be accomplished.
  8. In the ninth hour you have the form of a falcon; your name is ΦΗΟΥΣ ΦΩΟΥΘ, the lotus emerged from the abyss.  Give success and good luck to this charm.
  9. In the tenth hour you have the form of a baboon; your name is ΒΕΣΒΥΚΙ.  Give power and wisdom in all things to the god NN. for whom this charm is consecrated.
  10. In the eleventh hour you have the form of an ibis; your name is ΜΟΥ ΡΩΦ.  Protect this great charm for lucky use by NN. from this present day for all time.
  11. In the twelfth hour you have the form of a crocodile; your name is ΑΕΡΘΟΗ.  Give the greatest protection to NN. by this charm.

At sunset, go through the entire ritual once more, burning more incense and invoking and saluting each of the hours as before.  Regardless of whether the circle is large enough to walk through, stand behind the censer facing south towards the candles, and hold the charm in the incense smoke throughout the entire set of invocations.  After this, continuing to hold the charm in the incense smoke, recite the following prayer:

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.

Put the charm back down in the focal point of the semicircle, either on the ground (if outside) or inside the bowl (if inside).  Pour out a new offering of wine on top of the charm. Set the candle by or on top of the charm.  Face north with the candles to your back.  With arms outstretched, say the concluding formula:

The one Zeus is Serapis.

The ritual is complete, and the ritual fast may now be broken.  Let all the candles burn out on their own, and at the first sunrise after all the candles have burned out. If done inside, take the bowl with the wine and the charm, remove the charm from the bowl and set it on the ground facing the Sun, and pour out the wine on top of the charm while facing the Sun. Whether done inside or outside, once the charm can be removed from the ritual area, gently clean off the charm with pure water and let it dry in the Sun’s light after anointing it with oil.  Keep the charm nearby whenever you need its power or whenever you need to use it.

Nighttime Simultaneous Ritual
An alternative method of employing the ritual is, instead of progressively building up to the full consecration throughout the twelve hours of the day, is to do it all at once at night.  For this, the general ritual setup would be similar with the fast starting at the sunset before the ritual and ending at sunrise after the ritual, but the ritual is to be done precisely at solar midnight, the balance-point between sunset of the previous day and sunrise of the next (which, especially if you’re on summer time/DST, may closer to 1 a.m. instead of 12 a.m.).  In addition, the candles may last any length of time; I’d recommend twelve tealights and a single taper candle.  Perform any banishing or invocation as desired and set up the ritual space, but instead of using the semicircular arrangement as above, use a circular arrangement with the first face oriented to the east; the censer should be put off to the side somewhere, with the twelve candles surrounding the charm.

Nighttime Consecration to the 12 Faces of Helios Arrangement

At true midnight, light the incense and light the Sun candle, and begin the preliminary invocation.  For each of the twelve faces of Helios in order, light its candle, salute, invoke, and pour wine out for the face.  Afterwards, finish with the final supplication (the one involving barbarous words), pouring out of wine on top of the charm, and concluding with the concluding formula.  Let the candles burn out and clean up at sunrise as you otherwise would.

Other Variations
I’ve seen vague references to other magicians employing this ritual for other purposes, not just for the consecration of a charm but for general empowerment or wealth, and this ritual can be modified accordingly merely by tweaking the text for the benedictions of each hour as well as the final supplications.  For a more initiatory ritual, you might use the circular arrangement, even in daytime, with you standing at the center being the thing consecrated, building up after a fast and performing the ritual at least once, if not at nighttime then multiple times throughout the day.