The Practice of Sending Peace

A little over a year ago, I mused a bit on the nature of peace, especially in the context of it being a blessing from God.  Between why it wasn’t listed as part of the ten mercies of God from CH XIII and the etymology of “peace” in Indo-European languages versus those of Semitic languages, I wrestled with how to place it in my own practice and how it relates to the other mercies or notions of blessings we have in various strains of Hermetic and (especially) Abrahamic practices:

In this light, peace is both the means to blessing and a blessing unto itself, but it’s not like other blessings like prosperity or health.  Sure, prosperity resolves poverty, health resolves illness, and the like, and all those things lead to peace, but only when all problems are resolved can total, complete, and full peace be obtained.  Thus, to wish for such peace upon someone is to inherently wish for the resolution of all their problems in every way.  At the same time, the presence of a smaller, incomplete peace in one way helps bring about other smaller peaces in other ways: if you’re sick and poor, having health can help you resolve being poor faster, just as being prosperous can help you regain health faster.  Every little bit of peace we get helps bring about more peace, and the blessing of peace itself is all encompassing of everything else we do.  In praying for a small peace for ourselves, we bring about bigger peace for ourselves; in praying for peace for ourselves, we bring about peace for others; in praying for peace for the world, we bring about peace for ourselves.  Peace is, in many ways, the origin as well as the result of all other blessings.  In this, it precedes and fulfills everything else we do and work for and pray for, every other kind of well-being, every other kind of problem resolution, every other kind of abating of torment, whether for ourselves or for others.

Thinking more on this since then, I’ve come to the realization that I consider peace—true, divine peace as the highest blessing from God—to be much akin to the Hellenic philosophical notion of eudaimonia.  Although that word literally means “happiness” or “welfare”, more literally “good-spiritedness” and more metaphorically “blessedness”, it was largely considered by many of the ancient Greek philosophers to be one of the outcomes of living life properly and well.  Socrates agreed with pretty much everyone else in his time that all human beings strove for eudaimonia, but unlike (most of?) the rest, he argued that virtue (aretē) was both necessary and sufficient for attaining it.  The Stoics claimed that it was living “a good flow of life” in agreement with Nature; the Epicureans advocated a maximizing of pleasure through virtue such that the eudaimonious life was the most pleasurable one because virtue brings pleasure; the Aristotelians argued that virtue was necessary but alone insufficient for eudaimonia, achievable along with virtue through both rational activity as well as good such as friends, wealth, power, and the like.  In all cases, however, eudaimonia is something that all humans strive for; although the philosophers disagreed on the proper way of achieving it, they all agreed that it was something that could be achieved, and those who managed to do so were held as sages in their own right.  To me, then, this classical notion of eudaimonia rings so strongly of my notion of peace that I’d venture to say that I’m converging onto the same thing, just from a different (and not necessarily virtue-based) perspective.

In my post from last year, I mentioned that there’s a particular prayer I end my daily prayer routine with.  It’s not so much an “offering”, but more of a litany of sorts, a series of requests for the blessing of peace upon…well, anyone and everyone, really.  It’s that prayer, the “Sending of Peace”, that I’d like to share with you all today.  This prayer is loosely based on the Ṣalawāt salutation phrases used for the prophets, angels, and saints conventional to Islam (e.g. “peace be upon him”) as well as those used in the daily Islamic prayers.  It’s not meant to replace them, of course, and it’s not even that general of a prayer to begin with; it’s a prayer specifically to pray for the peace (and eudaimonia) of all the people, spirits, and divine entities in your life and in your world, including yourself.  And it really is to pray for the peace of all entities in the cosmos; although I don’t have a lot of practices along these lines, this is one of the closest I’ve come up with to the general “dedication of merit to all sentient beings” or similar blessing (like my favorite, the Cullamangalacakkavāla Paritta) common to some Buddhist practices, and it’s one I like using for a similar purpose.  Although I give my general rubric below, it can be easily extended or modified to suit one’s own practice as best as one might need it.

I should also note that this a prayer I didn’t include in either my recent Preces Castri or Preces Templi ebooks.  I originally developed it as part of my “geomantic-theurgic Hermetic” practice with heavy Islamic influence (as noted above), but I decided to hold off on putting out so I could make it more public in its own way.  It didn’t seem to really fit with either my Luxoric or Papetic approaches to prayer, and really kinda belongs to both in its own ways.  It was written to be extensible and customizable, but more than that, I figured that this is something I think should just be put out there.  I hesitated last year on sharing it, but I figured now’s as good a time as any.  After all, in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, we’re now in Advent and Christmas will be upon us soon, as well as the New Year in general, so maybe this is a good time to start praying for peace in the world and for ourselves more.  To that end, I hope you can find it at least somewhat useful, dear reader; give it a whirl and see if it adds anything to your practice.

The prayer process is broken down into several sections: an initial invocation of the divine, praying for the blessing of peace upon different entities or groups of entities or people, and finally upon oneself.  Each step is accompanied with a particular gesture or pose and simple visualization to further focus and refine the prayer.  We’ll take it step by step below.

The Glorification of God

To invoke and venerate God.  A pretty standard, short thing unto itself, not uncommon as far as a lot of the Luxoric/Abrahamic stuff I do.

Praised, exalted, glorified, and blessed be God,
Lord of Heaven and Earth,
Master of the Seen and the Unseen,
King of all that is, was, will be, and may be!

This should be said while gazing (or otherwise directed to) at a shrine lamp, holy fire, or other devotional focus used to represent the divine presence of God (crucifix, qiblah, whatever), ideally with hands in an orans position or other conventional pose.  If you wish to augment this with a visualization or imagination, visualize this focus swelling with a pure, holy light, radiating pure peace and clarity.

Upon the Agathodaimōn

To pray for the peace of one’s own tutelary divinity.

Peace be upon my Agathodaimōn, my neverborn friend and guardian, who leads me in all my ways in all my days.

If an icon or image of the agathodaimōn is present, this should be said while gazing at it.  Otherwise, it may be directed to the same direction as the “Glorification of God”.  Again, hands in an orans or other offering pose.  Visualize or imagine a “ray” or “beam” of pure light radiating and flowing from the focus of divinity towards your agathodaimōn, covering and filling them with peaceful light.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon him” (or whatever gender you assign to your agathodaimōn).

Instead of saying “Agathodaimōn” here, you might also say “(holy) guardian angel”, “Perfect Nature”, or another similar term depending on your approach to this entity.  If you know the name of this entity, you might also say it before their role, viz. “Peace be upon NN., my Agathodaimōn…”.

Upon the Powers

To pray for the peace of the various powers and spirits of the cosmos.

Peace be upon all the spirits of this place.
Peace be upon all the spirits of this hour and this day.
Peace be upon all the spirits of every hour and every day.
Peace be upon all the spirits of the cosmos in all their works and all their ways.
Peace be upon all the powers of sky, of sea, of land, of light, of darkness.
Peace be upon all the heavenly powers who fulfill the will of God.
Peace be upon all the earthly powers who complete the work of God.

Face straight ahead and unfocus your gaze, or (if desired) face any direction you might feel appropriate to the specific set of entities being prayed for (e.g. “heavenly powers” looking up rotating the gaze from right to left, “earthly powers” looking down panning the gaze from left to right, etc.). Again, hands in an orans or other offering pose.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each group of entities.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon them all” after each invocation.

If you wish to pray for the peace of any specific named powers as opposed to general groups of powers, you might do so here now after the above; see below for “Upon the Named Angels” for guidance on an approach to this.

Upon the Myriad Angels

To pray for peace of all the innumerable angels.  This section, along with the following, is more geared towards those who recognize the presence and role of angels in a largely Abrahamic context, so it may be skipped if one does not work with or recognize angels apart or away from other powers.

Peace be upon all the blessed archangels who stand before the Throne.
Peace be upon all the elder angels who preside over the precessional way.
Peace be upon all the glorious angels who praise God in every sphere.

This should be said while gazing upwards, higher and higher for each line, from a somewhat inclined pose for “blessed archangels” (or otherwise at the same direction as the “Glorification of God”) all the way to directly upwards for “glorious angels”.  Again, hands in an orans or other offering pose.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each group of angels.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon them all” after each invocation.

Upon the Named Angels

To pray for peace of any angel whose name is known and wishes to be specifically prayed for.  This section, like the one above, is more geared towards those who recognize the presence and role of angels in a largely Abrahamic context, so it may be skipped if one does not work with or recognize angels apart or away from other powers. 

Peace be upon Gabriel, the Holy Archangel, Teacher of the Mysteries.
Peace be upon Uriel, the Holy Archangel, Keeper of the Mysteries.
Peace be upon Michael, the Holy Archangel, Defender of the Mysteries.
Peace be upon Raphael, the Holy Archangel, Healer of the Mysteries.

Peace be upon Jehudiel, the Blessed Archangel, Praise of the Throne.
Peace be upon Barachiel, the Blessed Archangel, Blessing of the Throne.
Peace be upon Sealtiel, the Blessed Archangel, Prayer of the Throne.
Peace be upon Jerachmiel, the Blessed Archangel, Mercy of the Throne.

Peace be upon Samael, the Glorious Angel, Venom of the Heavens.
Peace be upon Sachiel, the Glorious Angel, Righteousness of the Heavens.
Peace be upon Anael, the Glorious Angel, Grace of the Heavens.
Peace be upon Cassiel, the Glorious Angel, Prudence of the Heavens.

Peace be upon Abadiel, the Tailless Watcher, Eternal Destroyer of all that ever was.
Peace be upon Azaliel, the Headless Watcher, Timeless Deserter of all that is to be.
Peace be upon Azrael, the Help of God, messenger of Death and receiver of souls.

If images of these angels are present, each blessing should be said directed to each image as appropriate.  Otherwise, they may be said directed to a general inclined direction, or to the same direction as the “Glorification of God”.  Again, hands in an orans or other offering pose.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each angel.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon him” (or whatever gender you assign to each individual angel) after each invocation.

Unlike the preceding section, this section is for specific angels with individual names, roles, or functions that one might recognize.  This can consist of any number, from as few as one to as many as you might like; as an example, I gave here above a set of the angels I recognize as part of my own Abrahamic/Luxoric work.  The first block of names are the four big archangels everyone recognizes, the second block for the other archangels from the Orthodox tradition (including Jerachmiel, the eighth archangel, more common in some Russian or occult communities), the third block for the planetary angels who do not overlap with the other archangels, and the last block for three other angels I hold as part of my own unique practice.  You can kinda see a theme in how I divvied up the different groups, too, based on how I phrased each set of invocations.  Note how each address to an angel is tripartite: name, station or title, and function or role.

Upon the Dead

To pray for the peace of the dead who have gone before us.

Peace be upon all the prophets who reveal to us the mysteries once revealed to them.
Peace be upon all my blessed dead of my family, my bone, my flesh, and my name.
Peace be upon all my blessed dead of my faith, my works, my practices, and my traditions.
Peace be upon all the blessed dead of the mighty and the meek, whose names we all remember and whose names we have all forgotten,  whose presence lives on with us still.

If images of the prophets or the general dead are present, these should be said facing them as appropriate.  Otherwise, the head should be downturned, with the gaze fixed upon the ground.  The hands should be lowered and out to the sides, palms facing the ground.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each group of the dead.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon them all” after each invocation.

As with before for the named angels, if you wish to pray for the blessing of any specific named prophets or other dead, feel free to do so immediately after the general invocation for the group most appropriate to that dead (e.g. for one’s deceased grandmother immediately after “all my blessed dead of my family”, but before “all my blessed dead of my faith”).  The prophets are meant for any religious leader, teacher, or founder one wishes to specifically honor as one’s gateway to divinity, the “blessed dead of the mighty and the meek” for culture heroes and the forgotten/lost dead together, and the “blessed dead of my family” and the “blessed dead of my faith” being fairly straightforward.

Upon the Living

To pray for the peace of the living who are still with us.

Peace be upon all the great family of the blood I have of my body.
Peace be upon all the great family of the water I share of my soul.
Peace be upon all my kind teachers who teach me and all those who taught them.
Peace be upon all those who have helped me and all those whom I am to help.

If images of the living family, godfamily, teachers, or other notable people are present, these should be said facing them as appropriate.  Otherwise, the head should be fixed more-or-less straight ahead, with the gaze unfocused.  The hands should be held close to the chest in front of it, with the palms upturned.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each group of people.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon them all” after each invocation.

As with before for the named angels and the dead, if you wish to pray for the blessing of any specific named living people, feel free to do so immediately after the general invocation for the group most appropriate to that living person.  The “great family of the blood I have of my body” is for one’s blood-related kin, the “great family of the water I share of my soul” being for godfamily or one’s spiritual community, the “kind teachers who teach me and all those who taught them” being for living lineage-holders who initiated you into your current place and position as well as for all teachers who enabled you to get you to where you are today, and “all those who have helped me and all those whom I am to help” being for exactly whom it says.

Upon the Companions

To pray for the peace of the living who are still with us.  This is more specific than the preceding section, and is more geared towards communal prayer when one is praying alongside others, or when one is involved in a spiritual community of like-minded people.  This notion is extended not just to those in one’s immediate presence, but to all people in the world (and, by extension, all creatures in the cosmos).

Peace be upon all those who study the mysteries.
Peace be upon all those who seek the truth.
Peace be upon all those who sustain their people.
Peace be upon all those who live in the world.

For “all those who study the mysteries”, turn the head to the left and look over your left shoulder.  For “all those who seek the truth”, turn the head to the right and look over your right shoulder.  For “all those who sustain their people”, face straight ahead and look downwards.  For “all those who live in the world”, look straight ahead.  The hands should be out to the sides with the palms upturned.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity towards each group of people around you, and then into the whole world beyond you.  Silently or mentally recite “May God send his peace upon us all” after each invocation.

Given the nature of this section, naming specific people is not so recommended here unlike the previous several sections; they’re meant for all those who surround you in the Work in one sense or another.  “Those who study the mysteries” can be thought of to include all those who work with you in the same way and manner as you do, “those who seek the truth” to include all those who do not work with you or like you but for the same ends, “those who sustain their people” being all those who work for the betterment and sustenance of humanity, and “all those who live in the world” being for exactly whom it says.

Upon Oneself

To pray for the peace of yourself in your own life.

Let there be peace and peace and peace and peace,
and may God send his peace upon me!
Glory be to God, from whom there is no higher blessing than peace.

As with the “Glorification of God”: face whatever focus you use for representing the divine presence of God, returning the hands to the usual orans pose or whatever conventional pose you use for prayer to God.  Visualize a ray of light radiating from the focus of divinity directly towards, around, and into you, uniting you in peaceful light with all the cosmos and with the Divine itself.

After this final part, the “Sending of Peace” as a whole is complete.  Say “amēn” or another phrase of closing and sealing to end the prayer, according to your custom.  If desired, follow up with any other supplications for peace or similar blessings, like the “Prosperity for All” prayer by Śrı̄ Vēthāthiri Mahaṛṣi or my own variant I gave in the post from last year, or any other closing prayers you might find appropriate to your own practice.

In sharing this prayer, I hope you can make use of it, and that you might join me in praying for peace for yourself, for all those in your life, and for the whole world.  In praying for it, may we also find it, and work towards it for all.

New ebook for sale: Preces Templi!

Not that long ago, I put out an ebook, Preces Castri or “Prayers of the Castle”, being a prayerbook consisting of over a hundred prayers for a variety of devotional and ritual purposes, ranging from blessings of various ritual implements and supplies to invocations of the planets to general prayers and meditations on the divinity of God.  In many ways, I consider this to be a compendium of many of the things I’ve written, compiled, or composed based on existing ritual, grimoiric, and religious texts as part of my own spiritual work.  The thing is, however, that this text is…arguably not for all of my readers.  Not that this is a particularly advanced text—it’s definitely not by any stretch of the imagination—but the flavor of these prayers is largely Abrahamic in nature.  To be sure, I still consider all these to be solidly Hermetic in their foundation, but the word “Hermetic” can be used to mean any number of things, really, given how it’s been so mixed and remixed time and time again over the past 1500 years across so many religious traditions, Christianity and Islam notably among them.  As a result, many of those prayers in Preces Castri have a heavy Islamic, Christian, or otherwise Abrahamic monotheistic flair to them, which may not be so tasteful for all of my readers.  But, as I hinted when I published that text and on some of the more recent podcasts I’ve been on, that’s not the only kind of Hermetic work I do, not by a long shot.

The reason why I named that ebook Preces Castri, “Prayers of the Castle”, is given in the introduction to it.  Some time ago on Twitter, I gave some thought to how my own spiritual practice might be termed beyond simply “Hermetic”, and decided to use the ancient Egyptian city of Thēbes as a basis for naming it.  After all, Thēbes is the source for many of the papyri that form the collection we today call the “Greek Magical Papyri”, and was one of the two ancient capitals of Egypt, conveniently located in the middle area between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.  Although many Hermeticists might find that Alexandria to be the Egyptian source of so much of our tradition, I would rather give that to multiple cities throughout Egypt, with Thēbes at the top of the list.  Of course, Thēbes was just the usual Greek name for the city; towards the end of the classical period and into the Islamic one of Egypt, there were two other names for the city, one of which is still in use today:

  • Pape, from Coptic ⲠⲀⲠⲈ (earlier Egyptian p’ jp.t), meaning “the adyton”
  • Luxor, from Arabic al-`Uqṣur meaning “the castles”

It’s from these two names that I derived the terms “Papetic” and “Luxoric” to refer to the two styles of spiritual work I do, “Luxoric” referring to the more Abrahamic and monotheistic approach and “Papetic” to refer to the more pagan, Greco-Egyptian, and polytheistic approach.  Mind you, this is entirely a distinction I make for my own convenience, mostly for the purposes of organizing rituals and chaining prayers together (I find the whiplash from going between one to the other to be too jarring at times for myself), and is meant solely for the purposes of practical approaches rather than anything deeper regarding cosmology or syncretism without making use of the problematic terms “Abrahamic” or “pagan” to describe what it is I’m doing.  Still, all that being said, Preces Castri is a good example of the Luxoric stuff I do and have written about.  But what of the Papetic stuff, then?

Well, I’m happy to announce a new ebook for sale just for that: Preces Templi, or “Prayers of the Temple”, available through my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store for US$18!

(Yes, I did basically reuse the ring design from the write-up I did of the Royal Ring of Abrasax ritual from PGM XII.  I had a hard time trying to make a companion frontispiece like the one I used for Preces Castri, and opted for a different approach.  It makes sense in the context here, trust me.)

As with Preces CastriPreces Templi (extending the meaning of “the adyton” to “temple” more generally) is a prayerbook that I’ve written, both from scratch or composed from existing sources (mostly the Corpus Hermeticum, the Stobaean Fragments, the Nag Hammadi Codices, and the PGM), or otherwise compiled from other sources (e.g. Stoic and Neoplatonic hymns or Egyptian votive texts).  Unlike Preces CastriPreces Templi is much more pagan and polytheistic in its outlook and approach, with a heavy Hellenistic (though not necessarily Hellenic) and Greco-Egyptian flair, and may be more fitting for those who eschew purely monotheistic or Abrahamic approaches to Hermetic magic and devotional work.  To be sure, I’ve certainly shared a few such prayers on my blog previously (like here, here, or here), but again, there’s much more in here (well over 100 prayers total!) that I haven’t shared publicly before:

  • Various prayers and hymns to God from or based on the Hermetic texts or other attestations of the prayers and invocations of Hermēs Trismegistos
  • The “Epitomes of the Divine”, a series of 21 ten-line stanzas on Hermetic doctrine for use in contemplation as well as daily recital across the three ten-day decans across a single sign of the Zodiac (or across the three decamera of a lunar month) and the seven-day weeks
  • General prayers for ritual work
  • PGM invocations to Aiōn as the god of the gods
  • Hymns to the various gods of the Hellenistic/Greco-Egyptian world, including original prayers to Poimandrēs, Ammōn, and Asklēpios-Imhotep
  • Invocations of the 36 decans
  • And more!

This prayerbook is intended to be used by anyone who operates within what might be termed a “syncretic Hellenistic approach”.  Consider the overall outlook of the various rituals of the PGM: it’s an incredibly mixed bag of stuff, calling on Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and other powers using at least as many ritual forms from such traditions, switching between what we might consider to be monotheistic, polytheistic, or henotheistic, sometimes even in the same sentence.  As opposed to a more monotheistic or Abrahamic approach, this prayerbook is more geared towards those who are more freewheeling, open to syncretism, or outright polytheistic (though, at least for the “pure Hermetic” stuff, with a focus on a hierarchical single-god-above-the-rest-of-the-gods) approach.  Again, this is only a collection of prayers, not of rituals, but those who have even an ounce of ingenuity will be able to construct or adapt these prayers to their own ritual needs, perhaps augmenting what they already have or making new rituals with them.

This prayerbook is one that I’m really proud of and one that I’m genuinely happy to have put out—so what are you waiting for?  Head over to my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store and get yourself a copy today, and I hope that these prayers serve you well in your own Work!

The Three Versions of the Hermetic Thanksgiving Prayer

Another year, another Thanksgiving has gone by.  I meant to get this written last week or so, but as we’ve all been discovering this year, linear time is a lie.

Around Thanksigiving each year, I like to draw attention to the Hermetic Prayer of Thanksgiving.  It’s one of the more famous prayers from the Hermetic texts, made especially well-known in its appearance in the final section of the Asclepius.  However, those who have a sharp eye will also pick up on its presence in two other locations: one in PGM III in a ritual to establish a relationship with Hēlios, and the other in the Nag Hammadi Codices.  What’s fascinating is that we have three versions of the same prayer, each preserved in a different language (Latin in the Asclepius, Greek in the PGM, and Coptic in the Nag Hammadi Codices).  Getting access to the Latin and Greek version is easy enough—Preisendanz is the most easily-accessible critical edition of PGM III, and the Asclepius is everywhere in the Western world since the time of Ficino—but getting access to the Coptic text was a bit more of a challenge, because for the longest time all I could find was versions of the Nag Hammadi texts in English translation.  However, not that long ago, I got my hands on a copy of volume 11 of the Nag Hammadi Studies, a part of the Coptic Gnostic Library from Leiden, which gives the only complete collection of  the Coptic texts from the Nag Hammadi Codices in full, both in Coptic and in English translation.  Once I found this, I wanted to finally do something I’ve been aiming to do for a while: a side-by-side comparison of these three texts to see exactly how far they’re alike and how far they’re not.  Happily, it seems that the scholars who worked on this specific section of the Nag Hammadi texts (Peter Dirkse and James Brashler) had the same idea, and gave a side-by-side comparison of the three versions of the Prayer of Thanksgiving in their publication of it.  Between their notes and my own observations, I’m thrilled to finally be able to show off a bit of fun stuff on my blog for this.

First, a bit of context.  The Prayer of Thanksgiving is in all three sources as a pretty-much perfectly-preserved (or as perfectly as one can expect over 2000 years under the knife of time and the redactor’s pen) Hermetic prayer, and is more than just a simple hymn of gratitude to God.  In each text it appears in, it seems to fulfill a ritual role in a broader context, though its wholly self-contained structure suggests that it .

  • In the context of the Asclepius, Hermēs recites this prayer with Tat, Asklēpios, and Ammōn outside the temple (facing east at sunrise or south at sunset) after the long and holy sermon he gave to them inside.  Similar to the Coptic text, the final line of this final section of the Asclepius ends with the note “with such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes without any flesh of animals”, phrased as a spoken end to the prayer.
  • For the Coptic Nag Hammadi text, this prayer appears immediately after the Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth; the placement suggests that it was recited by Hermēs and Tat(?) immediately after their ritual work described in that text, especially given the incipit introducing the Prayer of Thanksgiving (“this is the prayer that they spoke”) and the closing lines of it (“when they said these things in prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eath their holy food which has no blood in it”).  Immediately after the prayer comes the “Scribal Note”, a small addendum by whoever transcribed the prayer indicating that it was sent to someone who was likely already familiar with many such Hermetic texts or prayers; after that comes a Coptic translation of several sections from a now-lost version of the Greek Asclepius (though notably of a slightly different lineage of texts than what the Latin Asclepius preserves).
  • For the Greek text from PGM III.591—611, the Prayer of Thanksgiving occurs in the middle of a longer oration as part of an operation to “establish a relationship with Hēlios”.  After calling on the names, forms, plants, stones, birds, and animals associated with the twelve hours of the Sun in its daytime course through the heavens (much like the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Hēlios from PGM IV.1596—1715, yet with more attributions yet in much poorer shape) and after a short hymn in verse (Preisendanz’s Hymn 2, which he says is addressed to the “All-Creator” and which I find to be an exceedingly appropriate companion to CH III) along with general requests, this thanksgiving prayer is used. 

The introduction to the Prayer given by Dirske and Brashler is highly informative, as is Jean-Pierre Mahé’s introduction in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts edited by Marvin Meyer, as well as Copenhaver’s notes in his Hermetica.  A few highlights from their analyses of the text in question:

  • From Dirske and Brashler:
    • This prayer is “especially significant for the clear evidence it presents of the existence of [classical] Hermetic cultic practices”, and “the prayer itself is certainly liturgical, as its balanced language attests”.
  • From Mahé:
    • This prayer is “particularly appropriate to conclude a dialogue describing the final stage of [a] Hermetic initiation”.
    • Although the prayer describes “the three gifts of mind, word, and knowledge…to be granted simultaneously”, other Hermetic texts (like the preceding Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth) suggest that these “fulfill successive functions on the ‘way of immortality’).
    • “Knowledge divinizes human beings not by itself alone, but jointly with word and mind, which both remain indispensable to cover ‘the way of immortality’ up to its end” (cf. CH I.26: “this is the final good for those who have received knowledge: to be made god”).
    • There is a description of sacred sexuality in the text, especially in the final parts, and Mahé interprets “light of mind” as a male principle and “life of life” as a female one, coming together to describe God not just as someone with both male and female sexual organs but also as one who never stops impregnating their own womb.
  • From Copenhaver:
    • Some scholars argue that the presence of the Prayer of Thanksgiving with a rubric (directions to face before the prayer, instructions for a ritual meal afterwards) in the Asclepius without other magical rituals present, as well as at the final part of a magical ritual in the PGM, suggests that “the survival of a thanksgiving for gnōsis in ‘a magician’s handbook testifies to a certain amount of sharing between Hermeticism and the magicians who produced the Greek Magical Papyri”.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the actual texts themselves in their original languages with Romanized transliteration.  First up, the Sahidic Coptic text from NHC VI.7, page 63 line 34 through page 65 line 2.  For the Coptic transliteration below, note that the schwa letter (“ə”) transcribes the supralineal stroke above a letter, indicating a weak/movable vowel or one that turns the marked consonant into a vocalized one.    

# Coptic Transliteration
1 ⲦⲚ̄ϢⲠ̄ ϨⲘⲞⲦ Ⲛ̄ⲦⲞⲞⲦⲔ̄ tənšəp hmot ənto’tək
2 ⲮⲨⲬⲎ ⲚⲒⲘ ⲀⲨⲰ ⲪⲎⲦ ⲠⲞⲢϢ̄ ϢⲀⲢⲞⲔ psukhē nim awō phēt porəš šarok
3 Ⲱ ⲠⲒⲢⲀⲚ ⲈⲨⲢ̄ⲈⲚⲰⲬⲖⲈⲒ ⲚⲀϤ ⲀⲚ ō piran ewərenōkhli naf an
4 ⲈϤⲦⲀⲈⲒⲀⲈⲒⲦ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲞⲚⲞⲘⲀⲤⲒⲀ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ eftaiait hən tonomasia əmpnute
5 ⲀⲨⲰ ⲈⲨⲤⲘⲞⲨ ⲈⲢⲞϤ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲞⲚⲞⲘⲀⲤⲒⲀ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲒⲰⲦ awō ewsmu erof hən tonomasia əmpiōt
6 ϪⲈ je
7 ϢⲀ ⲞⲨⲞⲚ ⲚⲒⲘ ⲀⲨⲰ ϢⲀ ⲠⲦⲎⲢϤ̄ ša won nim awō ša ptērəf
8    
9 ⲦⲈⲨⲚⲞⲒⲀ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲈⲒⲰⲦ ⲘⲚ̄ ⲠⲘⲈ ⲘⲚ̄ ⲠⲞⲨⲰϢ teunoia əmpeiōt mən pme mən pwoš
10 ⲀⲨⲰ ⲈϢϪⲈ ⲞⲨⲚ̄ ⲞⲨⲤⲂⲰ ⲈⲤϨⲀⲖⲈϬ ⲈⲤⲞ Ⲛ̄ϨⲀⲠⲖⲞⲨⲤ awō ešje wən usbō eshalec eso ənhaplus
11 ⲈⲤⲢ̄ⲔⲀⲢⲒⲌⲈ ⲚⲀⲚ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲚⲞⲨⲤ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲖⲞⲄⲞⲤ Ⲛ̄ ⲦⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ esərkarize nan əmpnus əmplogos ən tgnōsis
12 ⲠⲚⲞⲨⲤ ⲘⲈⲚ ϪⲈⲔⲀⲀⲤ ⲈⲚⲀⲢ̄ⲚⲞⲨⲈⲒ Ⲙ̄ⲘⲞⲔ pnus men jeka’s enaərnui əmmok
13 ⲠⲖⲞⲄⲞⲤ ⲆⲈ ϪⲈⲔⲀⲀⲤ ⲈⲚⲀϨⲈⲢⲘⲎⲚⲈⲨⲈ Ⲙ̄ⲘⲞⲔ plogos de jeka’s enahermē newe əmmok
14 ⲦⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ ⲆⲈ ϪⲈⲔⲀⲀⲤ ⲈⲚⲚⲀⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲔ̄ tgnōsis de jeka’s ennaswōnək
15 ⲦⲚ̄ⲢⲀϢⲈ tənraše
16 Ⲛ̄ⲦⲀⲢⲚ̄ϪⲒ ⲞⲨⲞⲈⲒⲚ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲈⲔⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ əntarənji woin hən tekgnōsis
17 ⲦⲚ̄ⲢⲀϢⲈ tənraše
18 ϪⲈ ⲀⲔⲦⲤⲈⲂⲞⲚ ⲈⲢⲞⲔ je aktsebon erok
19 ⲦⲚ̄ⲢⲀϢⲈ tənraše
20 ϪⲈ ⲈⲚϨⲚ̄ ⲤⲰⲘⲀ je enhən sōma
21 ⲀⲔⲀⲀⲚ Ⲛ̄ⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲈⲔⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ aka’n ənnute hən tekgnōsis
22 ⲠϢⲠ ϨⲘⲀⲦ Ⲛ̄ⲠⲢⲰⲘⲈ ⲈⲦⲠⲎϨ ϢⲀⲢⲞⲔ ⲞⲨⲀ ⲠⲈ pš[ə]p hmat ənprōme et-pēh šarok wa pe
23 ϪⲈⲔⲀⲤ ⲀⲦⲢⲚ̄ ⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲔ̄ jekas atrən swōnək
24 ⲀⲚⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲔ̄ answōnək
25 Ⲱ ⲠⲞⲨⲞⲈⲒⲚ Ⲛ̄ⲚⲞⲎⲦⲞⲚ ō pwoin ənoēton
26 Ⲱ ⲠⲰⲚϨ̄ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲰⲚϨ̄ ō pōnəh əmpōnəh
27 ⲀⲚⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲔ̄ answōnək
28 Ⲱ ⲦⲘⲎⲦⲢⲀ Ⲛ̄ϪⲞ ⲚⲒⲘ ō tmētra ənjo nim
29 ⲀⲚⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲈ answōne
30 Ⲱ ⲦⲘⲎⲦⲢⲀ ⲈⲦϪⲠⲞ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲪⲨⲤⲒⲤ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲒⲰⲦ ō tmētra et-j[ə]po hən t[ə]phusis əmpiōt
31 ⲀⲚⲤⲞⲨⲰⲚⲈ answōne
32 Ⲱ ⲠⲘⲞⲨⲚ ⲈⲂⲞⲖ ϢⲀ ⲈⲚⲈϨ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲈⲒⲰⲦ ⲈⲦϪⲠⲞ ō pmun ebol ša eneh əmpeiōt et-j[ə]po
33 ⲦⲈⲒ̈ϨⲈ ⲀⲚ ⲞⲨⲰϢⲦ̄ Ⲙ̄ⲠⲈⲔⲀⲄⲀⲐⲞⲚ ⲞⲨ teïhe an wōšət əmpekagathon u
34 ⲞⲨⲰϢⲈ ⲞⲨⲰⲦ ⲠⲈⲦⲚ̄Ⲣ̄ⲀⲒⲦⲈⲒ Ⲙ̄ⲘⲞϤ wōše wōt petənəraiti əmmof
35 ⲈⲚⲞⲨⲰϢ ⲈⲦⲢⲈⲨⲢ̄ ⲦⲎⲢⲈⲒ Ⲙ̄ⲘⲞⲚ ϨⲚ̄ ⲦⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ enwōš etrewər tēri əmmon hən tgnōsis
36 ⲞⲨⲀⲢⲈϨ ⲆⲈ ⲞⲨⲰⲦ ⲠⲈⲦⲈⲚ ⲞⲨⲞϢϤ̄ wareh de wōt peten wōšəf
37 ⲈⲦⲘ̄ⲦⲢⲈⲚⲤⲖⲀⲀⲦⲈ ϨⲘ̄ ⲠⲈⲈⲒⲂⲒⲞⲤ Ⲛ̄ϮⲘⲒⲚⲈ etəmtrensla’te həm peibios əntimine

Yes, I know line 8 is empty.  There’ll be some oddities in how this and the following Greek and Latin text are arranged or how the lines are numbered; bear with me, and it’ll make sense further on.

Next, the Koiné Greek text from the Papyrus Mimaut (Louvre P. 2391) column XVIII lines 591—611, aka PGM III.591—611 (broader entry PGM III.494—611, possibly continued through line 731).   Unfortunately, the final two lines (after the end of the prayer proper) are in too poor a shape to read.  For the Greek text here, Dirske and Brashler used Preisendanz’s version of the PGM emended with suggestions from Mahé and “an independent collation from published photos” of the papyrus.  (I know I’m using my idiosyncratic style of transliteration here, so just bear with me.)

# Greek Transliteration
1 Χάριν σοι οἴδαμεν Khárin soi oídamen
2 Ψυχὴ πᾶσα καὶ καρδίαν πρὸς σὲ ἀνατεταμένην psukhḕ pâsa kaì kardían pròs sè anatetaménēn
3 ἄφραστον ὄνομα τετιμημένον áphraston ónoma tetimēménon
4 τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ προσηγορίᾳ têy toû theû prosēgoríay kaì elogoúmenon
5 καὶ ελογούμενον τῇ τοῦ πατρὸς ὀνομασίᾳ têy toû patròs onomasíay
6 Ὁς Hos
7 πρὸς πάντας καὶ πρὸς πάντας pròs pántas kaì pròs pántas
8 πατρικὴν εὔνοιαν καὶ στρογὴν καὶ φιλίαν patrikḕn eúnoian kaì storgḕn kaì philían
9 καὶ ἐπιγλυκυτά την ἐνεργίαν kaì epiglukutá tēn energían
10 ἐνεδίξω enedíksō,
11 χαρισάμενος ἠμῖν νοῦν, λόγον, γνῶσιν kharisámenos ēmîn noûn, lógon, gnôsin:
12 νοῦν μὲν ἵνα σε νοήσωμεν noûn mèn hína se noḗsōmen,
13 λόγον δὲ ἵνα σε ἐπικαλέσωμεν lógon dè hína se epikalésōmen,
14 γνῶσιν δὲ ἵνα σε ἐπιγνώσωμεν gnôsin dè hína se epignṓsōmen.
15    
16    
17 Χαίρομεν Khaíromen,
18 ὅτι σεαυτὸν ἡμῖν ἔδιξας hōti seautòn hēmîn édiksas.
19 Χαίρομεν Khaíromen,
20 ὅτι ἐν πλὰσμασιν ἡμᾶς ὄντας hóti en plàsmasin hēmâs óntas
21 ἀπεθέωσας τῇ σεαυτοῦ γνώσει apethéōsas têy seautoû gnṓsei.
22 Χάρις ἀνθρώπου πρὸς σὲ μία Kháris anthrṓpou pròs sè mía:
23 τὸ γνωρίσαι σε tò gnōrísai se.
24 Ἐγνωρίσαμεν σε Egnōísamen se,
25 ὦ φῶς νοητόν ô phôs noētón,
26 ὦ τῆς ἀνθρςπίνης ζωῆς ζωή ô tês anthrōpínēs zōês zoḗ.
27 Ἐγνωρίσαμεν σε Egnōísamen se,
28 ὦ μήτρα πάσης φύσεως ō̂ mḗtra pásēs phúseōs.
29 Ἐγνωρίσαμεν σε Egnōísamen se,
30 ὦ μήτρα κυηφόρε ἐμ πατρὸς φυτίᾳ ō̂ mḗtra kuēphóre em patròs phutíay.
31 Ἐγνωρίσαμεν σε Egnōísamen se,
32 ὦ πατρὸς κυηφοροῦντος αἰώνιος διαμονή ō̂ patròs kuēphoroûntos aiṓnios diamonḗ.
33 Οὕτο τὸν σοῦ ἀγαθὸν προσκυνήσαντες Hoúto tòn soû agathòn proskunḗsantes,
34 μηδεμίαν ᾐτήσαμεν χάριν πλὴν mēdemían hēytḗsamen khárin plḕn:
35 Θελησον ἡμᾶς διατηρηθῆναι ἐν τῇ σῇ γνῶσει thelēson hēmâs diatērēthênai en têy sêy gnôsei;
36 Μία δὲ τήρησις mía dè tḗrēsis:
37 τὸ μὴ σφαλῆναι τοῦ τοιούτου βίου τούτου tò mḕ sphalênai toû toioútou bíou toútou.

Finally, the Latin text from the Asclepius, section 41.  The Latin here is taken from Nock’s and Festugière’s Hermès Trismégiste vol. II, pages 353—355, compiled from a number of Latin manuscripts written in the 12th or 13th centuries.  Because the text is in Latin, no transcription is needed here.

  1. Gratias tibi / summe exsuperantissime / tua enim gratia tantum sumus cognitionis tuae lumen consecuti,
  2. Nomen sanctum et honorandum,
  3. nomen unum quo solus deus est benedicendus
  4. religione paterna,
  5. quoniam
  6. omnibus
  7. paternam pietatem et religionem et amorem
  8. et quaecumque est dulcior efficacia
  9. praebere dignaris
  10. condonans nos sensu, ratione, intelligentia:
  11. sensu ut te cognouerimus,
  12. ratione ut te suspicionibus indagemus,
  13. cognitione ut te cognoscentes gaudeamus.
  14. Ac numine saluati tuo
  15. gaudemus,
  16. quod te nobis ostenderis totum;
  17. gaudemus
  18. quod nos in corporibus sitos aeternitati
  19. fueris consecrare dignatus.
  20. Haec est enim humana sola gratulatio:
  21. cognitio maiestatis tuae.
  22. Cognouimus te
  23. et lumen maximum solo intellectu sensibile.
  24. Intellegimus te,
  25. o uitae uera uita.
  26. O naturarum omnium fecunda praegnatio;
  27. cognouimus te.
  28. totius naturae tuo conceptu plenissimae aeterna perseueratio.
  29. In omni enum ista oriatione adorantes bonum bonitatus tuae
  30. hoc tantum deprecamur,
  31. ut nos uelis seruare persuerantes in amore conitionis tuae
  32. et numquam ab hoc uitae genere seperari.

Having the original texts in their original languages is nice, but now it’s time to actually get to the translation.  Although these are all fundamentally the same text, a side-by-side comparison will show the differences in both their orders and their specific wordings.  To better establish a concordance between the different bits and parts of the Coptic, Greek, and Latin texts, I essentially used the Coptic text as a base to give each part of the prayer a number, which is why the numbering in the above sections looks so weird, but it’ll help make the concordance easier to handle.  Take a look:

# Coptic   # Greek   # Latin
1 We give thanks to you.   1 We give thanks to you,   1 We thank you,
            1a o most high and most excellent,
            1b for by your grace have we received the great light of your knowledge.
2 Every soul and heart is lifted up to you,   2 every soul and heart stretched out to you,      
3 o undisturbed name   3 o inexpressible name   3 Your name is holy and to be honored,
4 honored with the name of “God”,   4 honored with the designation of “God”   4 the only name by which God alone is to be blessed
5 and praised with the name of “Father”,   5 and blessed with the name of “Father”,   5 with ancestral reverence,
6 for   6 for   6 because
7 to everyone and everything   7 to everyone and to all things   7 to all things
8 [comes]            
9 the fatherly kindness and affection and love   9 paternal kindness, devotion, love   9 paternal kindness, devotion, love
10 and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain,   10 and yet sweeter action   10 and whatever virtue may be more sweet,
      8 you have displayed,   8 you think it good to display
11 giving us mind, word, and knowledge:   11 having granted to us mind, word, and knowledge:   11 granting to us mind, reason, and knowledge:
12 mind so that we may understand you,   12 mind in order that we may understand you,   12 mind in order that we may understand you,
13 word so that we may expound you,   13 word in order that we may call upon you,   13 reason in order that by means of hints we may investigate you,
14 knowledge so that we may know you.   14 knowledge in order that we may know you.   14 knowledge in order that, knowing you, we may rejoice.
15 We rejoice,   15        
16 having been illumined by your knowledge.   16     16 Redeemed by your power,
17 We rejoice   17 We rejoice   17 we rejoice,
18 because you have shown us yourself.   18 because you have shown yourself to us.   18 that you have shown yourself to us completely.
19 We rejoice   19 We rejoice   19 We rejoice,
20 because while we were in the body   20 because while we were yet in molded shapes      
21 you have made us divine through your knowledge.   21 you deified us by the knowledge of yourself.   21 that you have thought it good to deify us for eternity
            20 while we are yet situated in bodies.
22 The thanksgiving of the man who attains to you is one thing:   22 The thanksgiving of a man to you is one:   22 For this is the only human gratitude:
23 that we may know you.   23 to know you.   23 the knowledge of your majesty.
24 We have known you,   24 We have known you,   24 We know you
25 o intellectual light.   25 o intellectual light,   25 and the greatest light perceptible to the intellect alone.
            27 We understand you,
26 O life of life,   26 o life of human life.   26 o true life of life.
27 we have known you.   27 We have known you,      
28 O womb of every creature,   28 o womb of all nature.   28 O pregnancy fertile with all natures,
29 we have known you.   29 We have known you,   29 we know you,
30 O womb pregnant with the nature of the Father,   30 o womb pregnant in the nature of the Father.      
31 we have known you.   31 We have known you,      
32 O eternal permanence of the begetting Father,   32 o eternal continuation of the impregnating Father.   32 eternal continuation of all nature most full of your impregnating activity
33 thus have we worshiped your goodness.   33 Thus having worshiped your goodness,   33 For worshiping the good of your goodness in this whole prayer
34 There is one petition that we ask:   34 we ask only one favor:   34 we pray for just one thing:
35 we would be preserved in knowledge.   35 that you might will that we will be preserved in your knowledge;   35 that you will to keep us preserving in the love of your knowledge
36 And there is one protection that we desire:   36 and one protection:      
37 that we not stumble in this kind of life.   37 that we not fall away from a life such as this.   37 and never to be separated from a life such as this.

Notes on the side-by-side comparison:

  1. For the most part, it’s clear that the Coptic and Greek versions are nearly identical in structure, although the Greek version seems to have dropped lines 15 and 16 (“we rejoice, having been illumined by your knowledge”), and the Coptic lacks any explicit verb corresponding to “you have displayed” on line 8 present in both the Greek and Latin (though this appears after the list of the gifts of God).
  2. The Latin version, on the other hand, is much more variant, with several lines appearing out of order compared to the Coptic or Greek text (e.g. lines 21 and 20), extra adoration to God (lines 1a and 1b), or outright missing lines usually due to structural simplification or modification (e.g. line 15).
  3. Line 2, “every soul and heart is lifted up/stretched out to you”, echoes CH I.31: “accept pure speech offerings from a soul and heart that reach up to you” (ἀπὸ ψυχῆς καὶ καρδίας πρὸς σὲ ἀνατεταμένης).  The Greek text from PGM III is corrupt at this point, so the Greek from the CH is used to emend it.
  4. Line 3 in Coptic has “undisturbed” (ⲈⲨⲢ̄ⲈⲚⲰⲬⲖⲈⲒ ⲚⲀϤ ⲀⲚ “him not being disturbed” from Greek ένοχλεῖν “to disturb, trouble”), but the Greek uses ἄφραστον “inexpressible”.  This is one of several bits of evidence that the Coptic prayer was a translation from a Greek prayer, but from a different textual lineage from what was used in PGM III.  The use of “undisturbed” here is difficult for me to parse, but based on the use of the Greek “inexpressible”, perhaps it’s in a sense of “one who cannot be disturbed by calling”.
  5. Line 5 in the Coptic and Greek pretty much agree exactly (“praised/blessed with the name of ‘[the] Father'”), but the corresponding line in Latin is weird.  I assume some corruption crept into the Latin text over time, so it kinda got the overall gist of what was being said (religione paterna) even if not the precise meaning.
  6. Line 10 uses the adjective “sweet”, but the different texts use it in different ways, and evidence here suggests that the Greek text has the better structure and meaning.
  7. In line 10, although the Coptic uses “teaching” (ⲤⲂⲞ) to translate Greek ἔνδειξιν, the Greek text from PGM III uses ἐνδείξω.  It may be that the original prayer in Greek uses ἐνδείξω and a Coptic translator misread the final -ω for -ιν, changing the verb into a noun.
  8. In line 10, the Coptic uses “plain” (ϨⲀⲠⲖⲞⲨⲤ from Greek ἁπλοῦς), which is likely a translation from the Greek ἐναργήν (“visible”, “palpable”, “manifest”), which was sometimes confused for ἐνεργήν (“active”, “effective”).  Alternatively, it may have been confused for ἐνεργίαν/ἐνεργεῖαν (“energy”, “activity”), which would relate better to both the Greek ἐνεργίαν and the Latin efficacia.
  9. Line 13 is a fun one: “word, that we may ____ you”.  Each version gives a different word here: the Latin gives “investigate by means of hints”, the Greek gives “call upon” (ἐπικαλέσωμεν), and the Coptic has “expound” (ⲈⲚⲀϨⲈⲢⲘⲎⲚⲈⲨⲈ, from Greek ἑρμηνεύειν meaning “interpret”).  It’s the use of the Coptic-Greek word here that is a fun link to Hermēs, given the long history between the Greek name of the god and the word “to interpret”, which can also be used for “to give voice/utterance to” or “to put into words”.  I like that, but there’s no clean way to translate that with the richness of the pun here, so the best English translation might be the one from the Greek, in my opinion.
  10. The Latin text, given that it’s a translation from an earlier Greek one, is fairly dutiful in how it represents the original Greek despite how the English translation might look.  The two Latin verbs cognouerimus and cognoscentes correspond to Greek νοήσωμεν and ἐπιγνώσωμεν, meaning “to understand/think” and “to discern/come to know”, respectively.
  11. The word “light” or “illumination” (ⲞⲨⲞⲈⲒⲚ) on line 16 the Coptic suggests that the corresponding Latin should read “light” instead of “power” (lumine instead of numine).
  12. Lines 19-21 are interesting; all the texts agree on what’s being said (“we rejoice, for while we were yet in the body, you made us divine through your knowledge”).  However, this does admittedly fly against several Hermetic texts that state that divinity and divinization/deification cannot be done while in the body (e.g. CH I.26, CH IV.7, CH X.6).  However, CH XIII talks about how spiritual rebirth does occur in the body once one receives the divine mercies of God to chase away the tormentors once physical perception has been transcended.
  13. Although line 21 has Greek ἀπεθέωσας (perhaps better spelled ἀποθεώσας) and Coptic ⲀⲔⲀⲀⲚ Ⲛ̄ⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ (“make gods”, I think?), the Latin has consecrare, which isn’t the same thing as deification, just “make holy”.  Copenhaver in his notes to his translation of the Asclepius points out a possible modesty or shyness on the part of the Latin translator (or later redactors) about using the term “deification”, especially in light of an increasingly Christian audience.
  14. There’s a nuance to the phrase “we know you” in lines 23 through 31.  In Greek, this verb is in the aorist tense, which has no direct correspondence to an English one; it indicates an undivided events (like the individual steps in a continuous process) or to express events that happen in general without asserting a time.  Knowing God is a divinely simple action, complete and indivisible unto itself, and the use here is almost like a completed action; it’s like a cross between “we know you indefinitely and without restriction” and “we have undergone the process to make you known to us”.
  15. Although line 32 has the translation of “permanence” from Coptic and “continuation” from Greek (διαμονή) and Latin (peveratio), even the Greek word is used in both senses/translations, so I don’t know if there’s much of a difference here implied by the use of “permanence” vs. “continuation”.  Likewise, the Latin word used here can also be used for “persistance” or “perseverance” or “duration”, as can the Coptic word.
  16. Line 35 in the Coptic reads “knowledge” (ⲦⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ), but should probably be emended to read ⲦⲈⲔⲄⲚⲰⲤⲒⲤ (“your knowledge”) which would make it agree with both the Greek and Latin and to agree with its own line 21 above.

I’m honestly glad I had the chance—and enough of what few meager language chops I can bring to bear—to actually take a look at all three texts side-by-side.  It’s this kind of analysis that helps me (and, more than likely, a good few of us) get a better understanding at the text itself as well as the other texts in which it appears as a component.  Plus, it helps us come up with a sort of “synthesized” version of the prayers; lacking any original, we can still make an attempt at coming up with a “uniform” version that bridges the gaps between its different appearances between the Asclepius, PGM, and NHC.  I’ve done so before on my old page write-up for the Prayer of Thanksgiving, which I’m going to update as a matter-of-course now that I’ve done this analysis, but I think I should make a slight update to (if not a new stab at) what I had before as a synthesized version of the prayer.

We give thanks to you!
Every soul and heart reaches up to you,
o ineffable Name
honored as “God” and praised as “Father”,
for to everyone and everything you have shown
fatherly kindness, affection, love, and sweetest activity,
granting to us mind, word, and knowledge:
mind, that we may understand you;
word, that we may call upon you;
knowledge, that we may know you.
We rejoice, for we have been illuminated by your knowledge.
We rejoice, for you have revealed yourself to us.
We rejoice, for you have made us incarnate divine by your knowledge.

The thanksgiving of mankind to you is this alone:
that we may know you.
O Light of Mind, we know you.
O Life of Life, we know you.
O Womb of every creature, we know you.
O Womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we know you.
O eternal permanence of the begetting Father, we know you.

Thus do we worship your goodness.
Thus do we ask for one favor: that we be preserved in your knowledge.
Thus do we ask for one protection: that we not fall away from this sort of life.

New ebook for sale: Preces Castri (also now using Ko-fi Shop)!

Well, that was a pleasant break, if I do say so myself.  I took two weeks off from office work that I spent alternatively playing FFXIV or tending to my shrines for my birthday, and then just spent the rest of the month relaxing and taking things easy.  Admittedly, it’s hard to get back to a normal sleep schedule, given my natural propensity to be nocturnal and yet needing to be up for such trivial things as meetings with coworkers, but oh well.  Despite the crazy astro-weather we’ve been having, I hope you all had a relaxing time, too!

First, before we get to the main topic of this post, I want to mention that I’ve slightly redesigned how I offer my ebooks and services.  Before, I had my WordPress site set up to have payments through PayPal directly through the website, but recently, Ko-fi made a new feature, Ko-fi Shops, which I’m taking advantage of for my ebooks from now on.  This way, much as with Etsy, when you purchase an ebook from my store there, you’ll get a link sent to you automatically to download the ebook rather than having to wait for me to manually send it to you over email.  In addition, I’ve stopped offering services directly through my website, and instead offer them as commissions through my Ko-fi page (just click on the “Commissions” tab on the page).  As a result, I’ve reworked the Books and Services pages on this website to reflect how you can buy these things from me going forward.  If you’re interested in getting a reading or consultation (now that I’m off hiatus and getting back to Work), or if you’re interested in my ebooks (which you should be after reading this post if you’re not already), then check out my Ko-fi page!

Also, while knowing that there’re plenty of much more worthy recipients of your generosity and charity, remember that you can always support me and my endeavors by making a charitable contribution and donation to me through Ko-fi, whether you just want it to be a once-off thing or a repeating donation.  It’s by no means obligatory, of course, but if you find yourself exceedingly grateful and generous, please consider supporting me in the various costs and fees for Ko-fi Gold, Zoom, webhosting, books, classes, and supplies I go through in the course of my work.  Every little bit helps, and I’m deeply appreciative of all that my amazing readers to for me!

With that out of the way, I’m happy to announce a new ebook for sale: Preces Castri, or “Prayers of the Castle”, available through my Ko-fi store or my Etsy store for US$18!

As many of my readers know, the past three years or so have been an incredibly productive time for me when it comes to the writing of prayers and rituals, but as my practice has shifted and changed to match where I am along my own spiritual development, I realized that not all the prayers I had been writing were as useful as I had anticipated.  To be sure, there are some I still say frequently if not daily, or use in any number of ritual practices I have, but others either fell out of favor or never found a place at all.  I still find that having written them was deeply worthwhile, but otherwise, many of these prayers are just kinda…sitting around, doing neither me nor anyone else any good.  To that end, I decided to compile many of these prayers into an ebook, a bit of my own devotional writing and meditations, for those who are interested to make good use of them, or at least better use of them than I can.

These prayers are a collection of those that I’ve written from scratch, those that have been influenced by the various Abrahamic and monotheistic religious and magical traditions that I rely on in my work, from Judaism to Islam and from Spiritism to the Arbatel.  In addition to these, there are a few prayers that I didn’t write but are so useful that I couldn’t not include them in this vademecum of over a hundred pages, consisting of more than a hundred prayers.  Some of these prayers I’ve written or composed from existing sources are those I’ve already shared on my blog previously (like here, here, here, here, or here), but there are far more have not been shared publicly before, and I think it’s high time to share at least some of the fruits of my labors.  Between them all, there are plenty of prayers for a wide variety of purposes:

  • Various prayers and hymns to God, whether for general devotions or for specific needs
  • Prayers and invocations of the archangels and guardian angel
  • Prayers to the planets
  • Prayers for the dead
  • Prayers for the seven days of the week, the four solar points of the day, and the different points of the lunar month
  • Over two dozen prayer rules for the misbaḥa (Islamic prayer beads) for different entities and purposes
  • Prayers for ritual processes, blessings, and dedications of offerings
  • And more!

This prayerbook is intended to be used by anyone who operates within a roughly monotheistic or monolatric approach to divinity;  as such, the prayers within have been heavily influenced by Abrahamic prayers, especially the rich Islamic literature of supplications and other Qur’ānic verses, giving these prayers a distinctly Islamic flavor on top of the various magical and grimoiric sources that I drew on.  For that reason, it may not be to the tastes of all my readers, especially those who want to keep away from Abrahamic influences in their magic and spirituality, but I claim that there’s enough in this collection influenced by the PGM and other pagan sources that can be used by anyone who works within a post-classical Western or European approach to magic and spirituality.  To be fair, this is only a collection of prayers, not of rituals, but those who have even an ounce of ingenuity will be able to construct or adapt these prayers to their own ritual needs, perhaps augmenting what they already have or making new rituals with them.  (And yes, I do have plenty of other prayers I’ve been writing that aren’t nearly so monotheistic or Abrahamic, appropriate for a polytheistic, Hellenic, or Hellenized Egyptian approach, but those aren’t nearly as ready for publication.)

So what are you waiting for?  Head over to my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store and get yourself a copy today, and I hope that these prayers serve you well in your own Work!