How to use ancient Egypt magic Amulets part 7/7

May 11, 2011

How to use ancient Egypt magic Amulets part 7/7
Gold cylindrical pendant with granular decoration, c. 1900—1800
BC. These containers were used to hold written amulets or small objects used in protective rituals.
Amulets continued to be extremely popular with the living and the dead while Egypt was under Greek rule. These amulets are purely Egyptian in type but are found in a greater range of materials. Some of the finest specimens are in glass
In Roman Egypt, precious and semi-precious stones were frequently used to make amulets and many foreign motifs were introduced
Written amulets, in a variety of languages, were very popular. Some were long and complex; others consisted of a few divine names.


A simple anti-headache remedy was to write the sacred name Abrasax on a piece of red parchment and apply it like a plaster to the head. Abrasax or Abraxas is a common divine name on amuletic gemstones.
He was a solar deity found in Gnostic texts and is usually depicted with snakes for feet and the head of a cock. Many other divine beings from a whole range of cultures appear on these gems
These gems might be used on their own or set in jewellery. Some spells in the Graeco-Egyptian papyri describe the procedures for dedicating an amuletic ring. An amulet had to be 'consecrated' like a holy statue.
A ring for gaining success and favour was to be made with a heliotrope engraved with a device of a scarab shown inside a snake swallowing its own tail. This snake is known as Ouroboros and was symbol of totality. The names of the divine scarab and snake were to be written in hieroglyphs on the reverse of the stone.
The consecration involved reciting a complex invocation to Egyptian, Greek and Jewish deities. This was to be done three times a day for fourteen days, while pouring libations and perfumes. On the last day a black cock was to be sacrificed and cut open and the engraved gem left inside it for twenty-four hours. All this would finally result in the amuletic gem being 'made alive'.
The Graeco-Egyptian papyri also describe the type of temporary amulet to be worn by a magician during dangerous rites. A complex spell for invoking and controlling a deity advises the magician to take a linen cloth from a temple statue of Harpocrates. This may mean a piece of linen soaked in water poured over a Horus cippus or other magical temple statue.
The magician was to write on the cloth in myrrh ink a formula which identified him with Horus. Then he must take a long-lasting herb, roll the cloth round it, and tie it seven times with threads of Anubis.
This amulet was to be worn around the neck during the rite to protect the magician's whole body.
In a Demotic spell to summon the dead, it is the child medium who is protected by an amulet consisting of four white, four green, four blue, and four red threads woven into a band. This was stained with the blood of a hoopoe and attached to a winged scarab wrapped in fine linen.
Amuletic bracelets of multicoloured threads are still worn in Egypt today. A knotted leather string with a few scarabs and shapeless amulets may not look impressive sitting in a museum case, but it could be the only tangible remains of a complex rite.

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