The Bornless Ritual: Interlinear Translation, Part 3

Previous page: Interlinear Translation, part 2: Section F (Spirit) to Gg (The Attainment).


159. τελετη της προκειμενης ποιησεω
160. γραψας τα ονοματα εις καινον χαρ~
161. ταριον και διατεινας απο κροτα~
162. φου εις κροταφον σεαυτου εντυγ~
163. χανε προς βορεαν τοις Ϛ ονομα~
164. σι λεγων υποταξον μοι παντα
165. τα δαιμονια ινα μοι ην υπηκο~
166. ος πας δαιμον ουρανιος και αι~
167. θεριος και επιγειος και υπογειος
168. και χερσαιο(ς) και ενυδρος και
169. πασα επιπομπη και μαστιξι
170. θεου και εσται σοι τα δαιμονια πα~
171. τα υπηκοα εστιν δε το αγαθον
172. ζωδιον :>

τελετη της προκειμενης ποιησεω(ς)
teleti tees prokimenis pee’iseos
ritual, celebration of the set before verses
The ritual of the preceding verses:
γραψας τα ονοματα εις καινον χαρταριον
grapsas ta onomata ees kenon khartarion
write the names into new piece of papyrus
Write the names on a new piece of papyrus
και διατεινας απο κροταφου εις κροταφον σεαυτου
ke ðiatinas apo krotafu ees krotafon seaftu
and extend from temple to temple of yourself
and extend it from one of your temples to the other,
εντυγχανε προς βορεαν τοις Ϛ ονομασι λεγων
entinkhane pros vorean tees hex onomasi legon
face towards north the six names saying
face north with the six names1, saying:
υποταξον μοι παντα τα δαιμονια
heepotaxon mee panta ta ðemonia
subject to me every one of the spirits
Subject all spirits to me,
ινα μοι ην υπηκοος πας δαιμον
ina mee een or ee2 heepikos pas ðemon
in order that to me may be subject every spirit
so that to me may be subject every spirit,
ουρανιος και αιθεριος και επιγειος και υπογειος και χερσαιο(ς) και ενυδρος
uranios ke etherios ke epiyios ke heepoyios ke kherseos ke enhidros
of heaven and of the air and upon the earth and under the earth and on dry land and in the water
of heaven and of the air, upon the earth and under the earth, on dry land and in the water,
και πασα επιπομπη και μαστιξι θεου
ke pasa epipompi ke mastix3 the’oo
and every spell, enchantment and scourge, whip of god
and every spell and scourge of God as well.4
και εσται σοι τα δαιμονια πα(ν)~τα υπηκοα
ke este see ta ðemonia panta heepikoa
and will be to thee the spirits all subject (to)
And all the spirits will be subject unto thee.
εστιν δε το αγαθον ζωδιον :>
estin ðe to agathon zoðion
is indeed the beneficial sign
Behold, the beneficial sign is “:>”.

with the six names“The six names” is in the dative case.  Goodwin says “turning towards the north to the six names”.  Betz has “read the 6 names, while you face north.”  Preisendanz has “tritt gegen Norden auf die 6 (am Rand mitgeteilten) Namen” (“move to face North to the 6 (mentioned in the margin) names”).

For a discussion of what the six names actually are, see below regarding the marginal notes, and the further discussion that follows.

ην. Goodwin sees this as a slip for ᾖ, “may be.”  Preisendanz leaves it intact, but also translates it into German as sei, “may be”.  If intact, it means “was”, past tense rather than subjunctive: “so that every spirit was subject …”

μαστιξι. Goodwin has this as a slip for μαστιξ, “scourge”, nominative case.   The dative of this word would be μαστιγι. Preisendanz interprets it as μαστιξ η, two words; but this seems unwarranted from an inspection of the MS, where there is no apparent lacuna or erasure turning an Η into an Ι.

Even if correct, η could only be how ᾖ “may be” would show up in our MS (lacking the iota subscript).  (The nominative feminine singular article is also η, but as θεου is masculine and genitive, that can’t be right).  Then the last portion of this sentence would be “and every spell and scourge may be of God”, but Preisendanz’s own translation does not say this: “und jede Sendung und Geißel Gottes”, “and every message and scourge of God”, with no additional form of “to be” included.

On balance, therefore, I am inclined to accept Goodwin’s reading that this is simply a slip for nominative μαστιξ, which seems to be supported by the declension of the other words; see next footnote.

every spell and scourge of God. Does this mean that the spirits are subject to the magician and to the spells and scourges of God?  Or does it mean that the spells and scourges of God, like the spirits, are subject to the magician?

The answer is in the declension.  “To me” is in the dative case, while the spirits are in the nominative: the spirits (nom.) may be subject (predicate) to me (dat.)  That much is clear.

As for the spells and scourges of God: πασα “every” is nominative, so “every spell” goes along with the spirits, and is subject to the magician.  (The dative would be πασῃ, with an iota subscript which would go unwritten, but the word would end in an Eta rather than an Alpha.)

And “scourge of God” fits with “every spell” by context, and as we saw in the previous footnote it appears that “scourge” is likewise nominative.

επιπομπη (“spell”, “message” is less helpful of a word; written thus it is nominative, but its dative is simply written επιπομπῃ, with the iota subscript which would not appear in our MS.  Fortunately πασα indicates the case unambiguously.

To reconsider the previous footnote: if μαστιξι is a slip for μαστιγι (dative) rather than μαστιξ (nominative), then our sentence would be “so that to me shall be subject every spirit … and every spell, and to a scourge of God.”  Since πασα “every” is nominative, it could not modify dative μαστιγι, leaving us with a scourge rather than every scourge, and now we have a long list of nominatives (spirits and spells) bracketed by two datives: “to me” and “to a scourge of God”.  In English this would be very stilted syntax.  I am not proficient enough with ancient Greek to say it would be incorrect, but it certainly seems awkward.  Reading μαστιξι as μαστιξ seems to give a much simpler result: every scourge, and subject to the magician like all the rest.

That something “of God” is subject to the magician need not trouble us, given that the magician is invoking a being of the highest order in the first place.  The whole effect becomes one of asking the supreme being to lend the magician its authority.

the beneficial sign. Nothing else in the MS. gives context for this beneficial sign. What is written on the piece of paper is the “six names”; the sign is not mentioned there. We simply have this final note saying “This is the beneficial sign” and then the sign is shown. The sign resembles a colon followed by a greater-than sign, ” :> “, or perhaps a colon followed by a modern Hindu-Arabic number 7, ” :7 “.

Goodwin has a different interpretation, however.  He notes that in another ritual on the papyrus (the eighth section of the papyrus in particular), “ζωδιον [sign] seems to be used as synonymous with θεος [god]”, and concludes “here αγαθον ζωδιον [good sign] may be equivalent to αγαθος δαιμων, the agathodæmon or principle of good.”

Certainly for those who use this ritual as Liber Samekh, “Behold, here is the Agathodaemon”, or “Here is the Holy Guardian Angel”, is an interesting reading.  However, when we read Section VIII of the papyrus, we find that ζωδιον is being used in the sense of a “figure”, as in the physical figurine or idol used in the ritual.  “It is indeed the good figurine” makes much less sense.

Preisendanz has “Das glückbringende (Amulet-) Zeichen ist …”, “The luck-bringing (amulet) symbol is …”, agreeing with the notion of it being a sign or symbol, perhaps simply the “:>” on the papyrus.

(Marginal Text.)

This is the text in the upper margin of the third page.  The page break is such that this text is above the text beginning “… and thunder” in Section Gg.

This text is very, very hard to read.  The chief sources are footnotes in Kenyon and Preisendanz, compared with inspection of the high-resolution scans of the MS.  Goodwin provides a transcription comparable to Preisendanz and Kenyon, but says “In the upper margin of the page of the MS. which contains the last 12 lines of this Section, are some unintelligible words and figures in a scrawling hand. I cannot tell to what they are meant to refer.  As nearly as I can make them out they are as follows: […]”

Line 1:

Goodwin: αιη αιωι  . . . αη αη ιω ωη αιηουευω
Kenyon: αιη αιωι . . . ιαη αη ιω ωη αιηουευω
Preisendanz: αιη αιωι η[υ]ιαη αηι ωωη αιηουευω […]

This line appears to be a string of vowels forming magical names.  It is important to note that I do not agree with Preisendanz’s reconstruction of an Upsilon in the third  “word” of the line; examining the MS., that particular letter is mostly gone.  I would not hazard a reconstruction from the MS. itself, but as we shall see in the discussion of the Six Names below, there may be an answer.

Line 2:

Goodwin: ιωη οαυ αεηυωυω . . . γρ μθ + ηφθ . . .
Kenyon: ιωη οαυ αεη υ ωυω + γρ μθ ψηφ θ// ρφθ
Preisendanz: ιωη οαυ αεη υωυω γι(νεται) γρ(αμματα) μθ ψηφ(οϲ) //θρφ(?)θ

Note that Kenyon and Preisendanz do not agree on where the two diagonal strokes I have rendered “//” fit, either before or after the Theta; Preisendanz’s reading of the MS. appears more correct as I inspect the document.

The first four groups of letters appear to continue the magical names in vowels.  Preisendanz’s expansion of the rest translates as (my English):

γι(νεται) γρ(αμματα) μθ ψηφ(οϲ) θρφθ
yeenete grammata ennea ke tettarakonta pseefos enakiskhilioi, enakosioi, ennea ke eneneekonta
becomes letters 49 count, value 9999
The value of the 49 letters comes to 9,999.

Line 3:

Goodwin: το εν τη αναζωπυρησει του κανθαρου γρ μθ ιηουκκουκ . . .
Kenyon: το εν τη αγια ζωπυρησει του κανθαρου γρ μθ ζητουκιστουμ
Preisendanz: [εϲτι δε ταυ]το εν τη αναζωπυρησει του κανθαρου γρ(αμματα) μθ ζητ(ει) ου κ(ειται) ετυμ[ον το ο]ν[ομα]

Note that in Preisendanz, the reconstructed words εϲτι δε are presumed at the end of the previous line, while the reconstructed ταυ is at the beginning of this line to form the word ταυτο with the plainly present το.  The translation of this rather ambitious reconstruction is thus (my English):

εστι δε (ταυ)το εν τη αναζωπυρησει του κανθαρου
esti ðe tafto en tee anazopeerisi tu kantharu
is indeed the same one in the revival of the scarab
The same one is indeed in the revival of the scarab. 
γρ(αμματα) μθ ζητ(ει) ου κ(ειται) ετυμ(ον) [το ονομα]
grammata ennea ke tettarakonta zeetee hu keete etimon to onoma
49 letters seek (imperative?) where is found (in) true the name, formula
Seek 49 letters.  It is found in the true formula.

Preisendanz quotes Richard Wünsch in his footnote about this marginal text: “der Schluß verweist wohl auf ein anderes Rezept, auf das auch P IV 795 anspielt” (“the conclusion surely lies in another [magical] recipe, to which PGM IV line 795 also points”).  PGM IV line 795 says (Betz tr.) “of the scarab revitalized through the 25 living birds …”

The scarab is possibly a clue to finding the six names of the formula  mentioned in the rubric.  Read on to learn more.

The Six Names

What are the six names?  As we have seen, Preisendanz considers that the margin note is about the six names: “die 6 (am Rand mitgeteilten) Namen”, “the 6 (mentioned in the margin) names”.  The margin note also mentions a scarab, and that the letters add to 9,999.

The author of the blog has written an exhaustive analysis of this problem, which I highly recommend.  This brought the following to my attention for further research.

The blog’s author concludes that the six names are found on a scarab, an amulet with an image of Harpocrates (Horus the Child), illustrated in Kieran Barry’s The Greek Qabalah.  The names are:


which in the Greek of the time the papyrus was written would be pronounced khavrakh, fneskheer, feekhro, fneero, fokho, vokh … and these add to 9,999.

Barry credits David Fideler’s Jesus Christ, Sun [sic!] of God (Quest Books, Wheaton, IL, 1993) for the illustration. I found that the original source of the illustration in question is Figures 1 & 2 of “The Numerical Value of a Magical Formula” by Campbell Bonner, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 16 (May 1930), pp. 6-9.  Bonner says that it is “a ‘gnostic’ stone which is a good specimen of a type known from several other examples”.  He notes that all seven Greek vowels occur in the formula, and in their proper alphabetic order (two Alphas, then an Epsilon, then an Eta, then an Iota, then an Omicron, then an Upsilon, and finally four Omegas), before noting that the isopsephic (gematric) value of the six words comes to 9,999, and notes places in Preisendanz where that number is equated with magical names.

For a further overview, see Bonner’s later Studies in Magical Amulets, p. 192. Bonner refers to these words as the “Chabrach” formula (from the first word or name of it), and it is depicted in his Plate X, visible on the reverse of amulets 204 and 205.  Amulet 205 is the stone described in his 1930 JEA article. (Bonner, Studies, p. 287)

The article also presents a logical argument for how to reconstruct the marginal vowels to get a series of 49 which likewise sum to 9,999, that series being:

αιη αιωι ηωιαη αη ιω ωη αιηουευωαι εαι υο ιαω ιωη οαυ αεη υωυω

Note here that the reconstructed second letter of the third “word” is Omega rather than Preisendanz’s Upsilon (see my comment above).

The 49 vowels would be involved in “revitalizing the scarab” per the margin notes; the six names would then be those called for in the Bornless rubric.

Alternatively, the six names in the “spirit” section of the present ritual (Aoth, Abaoth, Basym, Isak, Sabaoth, IAO) have been suggested for “the six names”.

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