Leigh Fetner

Chapter 6, Magika Hiera


Dreams and Divination in Magical Ritual

Samson Eitrem


I. Magical Dream Power

A. Egyptian Papyri

1. Information about inducing a dream or causing someone else to dream

2. Greek and Egyptian practices merge

i. Hermes and Apollo side by side with Ra, Thoth, Bes, Isis

ii. Olive and laurel branches mixed with Egyptian plants

iii. Tripod with magical dolls and magical songs

3. Christian angels first appear

B. Light

1.Lamp or lantern magic used---nocturnal sun exploited

2.Night offered the magician best opportunity for exercising his/her art

C. Examples of Spells

1. "Pitys the Thessalian" for "the interrogation of a corpse"

i. 2 magic words written in magic ink on flax leaf then stuffed into corpse's mouth

ii. Context will make clear if the magician is to dream or to transmit the dream to others

iii. Hermes will appear

2. Another example

i. Hermes is painted with blood of quail on a strip of linen (Note: Hermes' face is that of an ibis and is identified with the Egyptian god Thoth)

ii. Name is added in myrrh ink

iii. God is invoked plus his parents (Osiris and Isis)

iv. Invocation ends with "Tell me about the matter at hand, about everything that I wish to know"

v. Practitioner lies down to sleep with the belief that the god will appear

3. Use of Lamp:

i. Magic name and entire invocation is written on papyrus leaf and placed under a lamp

ii. Practitioner is to sleep in a "pure state"

4. No lamp:

i. Tin tablet is inscribed with invocation lords, gods

ii. Crowned with myrtle

iii. Carried around burnt offering of frankincense is placed beneath one's pillow

5. Invocation of Helios-Apollo

Definition--Systasis- 'union' with a divinity

i. Prayer said toward either the east or west on the 2nd or 4th day of the new moon

ii. Smoke of incense on an alter and a lamp (that has not been colored red) placed on a wolf's head

iii. Laurel branch held in right hand and ebony staff in the left

iv. Call upon the "heavenly gods and the daemons of the earth" then pronounces in order "the holy and divine names" so they may send to the dreamer "the divine spirit"

6. Apollo's Tripod

i. No mention of his name

ii. Three reeds are plucked from the ground while the magic formula is recited (the purpose of the request is stated as the third reed is plucked)

iii. Reeds are written upon with magic ink and practitioner recites what he request

iv. Lamp is filled with pure oil (not been colored red)

v. Fashion a wick from pure materials and magic names are inscribed on it while they pronounce seven times facing the lamp

vi. Lamp turned towards the east

vii. Lumps of frankincense offered up in a censer

viii. Put reeds together to form a tripod

ix. Crown one's head with olive branches

x. Sleep in a room on flat ground and without light

7. Invocation of Hecate

i. Summoned at night at an intersection of three roads

ii. "She will give you in a dream all the information you desire, even if you are in the face of death."

iii. Leave the intersection quickly

8. Invocation to a star angel Zizaubio

i. On a laurel branch with twelve leaves the zodiac is drawn on each leaf and is traced with a magic word and character

ii. Name of the god is written on special laurel branch

iii. Leaves wrapped in a new "sweat cloth" then placed under his head for three nights while he sleeps

iv. On the last day, facing west, offering of franckincense ( involves the angel and the twelve other angels of thePleiades and Helios

v. Laurel branch held over burning incense and then bent around one's head as a crown

9. Invocation to "weak-sighted" Bes

Protection against everything evil, the evil eye, and against anything that disturbs the sleeper

II. Dream Transmission and the Papyri

A. Olympians

1. Dreams were under the control of the Olympian deities

2. Olympians didn't make an effort to bring dreams themselves

3. Practitioners pressed the Olympians into service in order that they might direct dreams in the proper direction (according to the magician's wishes)

B. Moon Goddess

1. Appears to the individual concerned in the form of that divinity or daemon to whom "NN" habitually prayed

2. Has the objective of leading a loved one to the practitioner and also useful in magicial binding and dream transmission

3. Making the moon goddess work

i. Magic likeness of the "Egyptian Lady Selene" is made from a magic mixture of potter's clay, sulfur, and the blood of a spotted goat

ii. Figure is anointed and crowned and place in a shrine made of olive wood erected late at night in the 5th hour facing the moon

iii. Offering of incense is made to Selene and coercive prayer is addressed to her

iv. Ask the moon goddess to send a different angel at each the twelve hours of the night

4. Assistants--one of the many spirits, stellar angels, or daemons of the dead, may contribute anything including dream transmission and revelation by dreams

5. Dream transmission that involve animals

i. Agathocles involved a "violently slain tomcat"

ii. Zminis of Tentyra involves a winged daemon with the horns of a bull and tail of a bird with diadem on its head and swords at its feet

iii. Hippopotamus is fashioned from reddish wax; gold, silver, and iron are inserted in its belly and then placed at a clean window

iv. Serpent that bites its own tail and carved on a heliotrope stone and worn as a ring (makes the wearer capable of all types of magic)

6. Sympathy dolls

i. Instructions handed down in the papyri for the transmission of dreams

ii. Possible that the doll might not have been present in the original magical operation

iii. Doll fashioned after the investigation of the planetary constellation

iv. Given the name of the dreamer and adorned with the symbol of Hermes and the names of both Hermes and Selene

v. Doll then told what individual should dream

7.Christians and Dreams

i. Horrified by the transmission of dreams and magic of sorcerers

ii. Evil daemons were invented to beguile the weak and subjugate them to their power

iii. Justin Martyr protested against daemon-mania

iv. Peter said that and evil daemon had in the dream the best opportunity to pass himself off as being sent by God

v. Peter also said that fears and desires called forth dreams which were then shaped by either by a daemon or one's psyche

vi. Other Christians were convinced that God could reveal his will and counsel to men in dreams Ex. Monica

Return to Main Page: CLST 4003H. Greek Religion Honors Colloquium. Spring 2002.