The Bornless Ritual: Interlinear Translation


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96. στηλη του ιεου του ζωγρ εισ
97. την επιστολην

στηλη του ιεου του ζωγρ(αφου) εισ την επιστολην
steelee tu ye-oo tu zografu ees teen epistoleen
inscription, stele of Ieu the painter; the hieroglyph-scribe in the letter
Inscription of Ieu1, the scribe, in the letter he wrote.2

Ieu. Betz renders this Jeu; English speakers are likely to mispronounce this like the word “Jew” instead of more like “you”, so I have chosen the “I” version. The name Ιεου is also given to the Primal Man in some Gnostic works, but since he is here called “the scribe”, he may be assumed to have been a normal human being of that name.

in the letter he wrote.  Calling it “his letter” is evidently an innovation of Preisendanz, followed by Betz; the word here is literally “the” letter, not “his” letter.  Nor is there an αυτου here which might support this: την επιστολην αυτου “the letter of the said (one)”, i.e. “the letter of Ieu”, “his letter”.

The use of “his” seems to be literary warrant, based on the fact that there is no context; what letter is the scribe talking about?  Perhaps “The Stele of Ieu in the letter [he wrote]”, hence “his letter.”

Section A. “The Oath”

98. σε καλω τον ακεφαλε τον κτισαν~
99. τα τα γην και ουρανον τον κτισαντα
100. νυκτα και ημεραν σε τον κτισαν~
101. τα τα φως  και σκοτος συ ει οσοροννω~
102. φρις ον ουδεις ειδε πωποτε συ
103. ει ιαβας συ ει ιαπως συ διεκρει~
104. νας το δικαιον και το αδικον συ ε~
105. ποιησας θηλυ και αρρεν συ εδει~
106. ξας σποραν και καρπους συ εποι~
107. ησας τουσ ανθρωπους αλληλοφι~
108. λειν και αλληλομισειν

σε καλω τον ακεφαλε τον κτισαντα τα γην και ουρανον
se kalo ton akefale ton ktisanta ta yeen ke uranon
Thee I call the Headless One the creator of the Earth and heaven
I invoke Thee,  the Headless One, the maker of Earth and Heaven,
τον κτισαντα νυκτα και ημεραν σε τον κτισαντα τα φως και σκοτος
ton ktisanta nikta ke himeran se ton ktisanta ta fos ke skotos
the creator of night and day thee the creator of light and darkness
the maker of night and day; Thee, the maker of light and darkness.
συ ει οσοροννωφρις ον ουδεις ειδε πωποτε
si ee osoronnofris on uðees eeðe popote
thou art Osoronnophris1 whom no one has seen ever
Thou art Osoronnophris, whom no one has seen at any time.
συ ει ιαβας συ ει ιαπως
si ee yavas si ee yapos
thou art Iabas thou art Iapos
Thou art Iabas; Thou art Iapos.
συ διεκρεινας το δικαιον και το αδικον συ εποιησας θηλυ και αρρεν
si ðiekrinas to ðikeon ke to aðikon si epeisas theely ke arren
thou hast distinguishest the just and the unjust thou makest female and male
Thou hast distinguished between the just and the unjust.  Thou makest female and male.
συ εδειξας σποραν και καρπους
 si eðixas sporan ke karpus
thou revealest seed and fruits
Thou hast revealed the seeds and the fruit.  
συ εποιησας τουσ ανθρωπους αλληλοφιλειν και αλληλομισειν
si epeisas tus anthropus alleelo-fileen ke alleelo-miseen
thou makest human beings to love each other and to hate each other
Thou makest human beings to love one another and to hate one another.

Osoronnophris. Hellenized from Egyptian Asar Wen-nefer or Un-nefer, “Osiris the Perfect One.”

Section Aa.

108. (cont.) εγω ειμι
109. μουσης ο προφητης σου ω παρεδω~
110. κας τα μυστηρια σου τα συντελου~
111. μενα ιστραηλ συ εδειξας υγρο
112. και ξηρον και πασαν τροφην ε~
113. πακουσον μου εγω ειμι αγγελος
114. του φαπρω οσοροννωφρις του~
115. το εστιν σου το ονομα το αληθινο
116. το παραδιδομενον τοις προφητ
117. ιστραηλ

εγω ειμι μουσης ο προφητης σου ωι παρεδωκας
ego eemi musees ho profitis su ho pareðokas
I am Moses the prophet of thee to whom thou delivered
I am Moses, thy prophet, unto whom thou didst reveal     
τα μυστηρια σου τα συντελουμενα ιστραηλ
ta mistiria su ta sintelumena istra’eel
the mysteries of thee the celebrated of Israel
thy mysteries, the ceremonies of Israel.     
συ εδειξας υγρο(ν) και ξηρον και πασαν τροφην
si eðixas higron ke ksiron ke pasan trofeen
thou revealest moist and dry and every food
Thou hast revealed the moist and the dry, and all kinds of nourishment.
επακουσον μου εγω ειμι αγγελος του φαπρω οσοροννωφρις
epakuson mu ego eemi angelos tu fapro osoronnofris
Hear thou me I am messenger1 of Phapro2 Osoronnophris
Hear thou me, for I am a messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris.
τουτο εστιν σου το ονομα το αληθινο(ν) το παραδιδομενον τοις προφητ(αις) ιστραηλ
tuto estin su to onoma to alithinon to paraðiðomenon tois profites istra’eel
this is of thee the name (the) true (the) handed over to the prophets of Israel
This is thy true name, handed down to the prophets of Israel.

1  Messenger. The Greek word αγγελος means “messenger”, but is also the source of the word “angel”, because angels are the messengers of God. Goodwin and Crowley have chosen “angel” as the translation for the word.

2  Phapro. Generally believed to mean “the Pharaoh”, the ruler of Egypt.  The word comes from Egyptian pa per-aa, “the Great House”, used euphemistically of the king and his position in much the same way the Office of the President of the USA might be referred to as “The White House said today …”

Section B. “Air.”

117. (cont.) επακουσον μου αρ[…]
118. θιαω ρειβετ αθελεβερσηθ α[…]
119. βλαθα α(λ)βευ εβενφ(χ)ι  χιτασ(γ)οη ιβ[…]
120. θ ιαω εισακουσον μου και αποστρεψο[…]
121. το δαιμονιον τουτο

επακουσον μου αρ[βα]θιαω ρειβετ αθελεβερσηθ α[ρα]
epakuson mu arvathiao reevet atheleversith ara
hear me Arbathiao1 Reibet Atheleberseth Ara2
Hear me: [magical names]
βλαθα αλβευ εβενφχι χιτασγοη ιβ[αω]θ ιαω
vlatha alvef evenfkhi khitasgoee eeva’oth ee-ah-oh
Blatha2 Albeu3 Ebenphchi4 Chitasgoe4 Ibaoth5 IAO5
[magical names]
εισακουσον μου και αποστρεψο[ν] το δαιμονιον τουτο
eesakuson mu ke apostrepson to ðemonion tuto
hear me and turn back, put away the demon this
Hear me, and drive away this demon.     

Arbathiao. Crowley and Goodwin have αρ … θιαω Ar Thiao.  Close inspection of the torn corner of the MS. shows a portion of letter after the Rho consistent with a Beta, and the name Arbathiao is known from other texts in the Greek magical corpus.  Preisendanz doesn’t even regard the Beta as doubtful, and writes “Αρβ[α]θιαω” (brackets in Preis.).

Ara, Blatha. Goodwin and Crowley have simply A instead of Ara here; however, ΑΡΑΒΛΑΘΑ is the name of a Syrian city mentioned in Josephus, and Preisendanz and Betz interpolate it as that word.

Albeu. Pronouncing this word is difficult.  Not only is the Beta problematic in this word (is it B or V?) but so is the -ΕΥ.  Classically that is a diphthong, but by the 4th century it was reaching its modern weirdness as a vowel-consonant pair -ef-ev (compare ευαγγελος, which is the source of the English evangel-). Additionally, the Lambda is written above the rest of the line; conventionally, this means the scribe slipped and skipped it when writing the word, then went back to add it. Crowley and Goodwin preserve Abeu.

Ebenphchi, Chitasgoe.  The Χ in Ebenphchi is written above the line, as is the Γ in Chitasgoe.  Goodwin omits those letters (as with Albeu above) and renders these two names (so given by Betz) as three: ΕΒΕΝ, ΦΙ, ΧΙΤΑΣΟΗ.  Crowley turns Goodwin’s Eben into Ebeu to match A(l)beu, and turns Goodwin’s Phi, Chitasoe into PhI-ThETA-SOE as though it were spelled ΦΙ, ΘΙΤΑΣΟΗ to make it fit his interpretation.

Ibaoth, IAO. Here Goodwin gives us ΙΒ … ΘΙΑΩ Ib … Thiao (ellipsis in Goodwin). Crowley as usual follows Goodwin.  Preisendantz interpolates missing letters torn at the end of the line: ΙΒ[ΑΩ]~ΘΙΑΩ. The torn portion, based on the margins of the complete edge, could indeed accommodate an Α after the ΙΒ; an additional Ω after that might be problematic, unless written over the missing Α.

Section C. “Fire.”

121. (cont.) επικαλουμε σε
122. τον εν τω κενω πνευματι δεινον
123. και αορατον θεον αρογογοροβραω
124. σοχου μοδοριω φαλαρχαω οοο
125. αγιε ακεφαλε απαλλαξον τον ΔΙ
126. απο του συνεχοντος αυτον δαιμον

επικαλουμε σε τον εν τωι κενωι πνευματι
epikalume se ton en to keno pnevmati
I call upon thee the in the empty spirit
I call upon thee, the one in the empty void of spirit1
δεινον και αορατον θεον αρογογοροβραω σοχου μοδοριω
ðenon ke aoraton theon arogogorovrao sokhu moðorio
awesome, terrible and invisible god Arogogorobrao Sochou Modorio
the awe-inspiring and invisible god. [magical names]
φαλαρχαω οοο αγιε ακεφαλε απαλλαξον
falarkhao oh oh oh ayie akefale apallaxon
Phalarchao2 OOO holy3 headless one release, deliver
[magical names]. Holy Headless One, deliver
τον ΔΙ απο του συνεχοντος αυτον δαιμον[ος]
ton ðeena apo tu sinekhontos afton ðemonos
this person from the affliction of the said daimon
this person from the affliction of this demon.

the empty void of spirit. Goodwin has “… the terrible and invisible god residing in the empty wind” (ΠΝΕΥΜΑ can indeed mean “wind”, “breath”, as well as “spirit”, “soul”). Crowley turns that into “the Terrible and Invisible God: Who dwellest in the Void Place of the Spirit”.  Betz has “… god with an empty spirit.”

Smyth tells us that the preposition ΕΝ can indeed mean “with”, either as a means or instrument (“to see with the eyes”), or meaning “in the power of, in the hands of”, as in “the matter rests with God”.

Reiling, in Hermas and Christian Prophecy, notes that Hermas and Irenaeus use the phrase to refer to the false prophecies of pagans, while asserting that in the PGM the phrase “indicates the place where the invoked god is, and denotes a cosmological concept”. Reiling cites Preisendanz and notes a parallel with another phrase in the PGM (P VII, line 961), εν τωι στερεωι πνευματι, en to stereo pnevmati, “in solid air/spirit/wind/space”.

Preisendanz has “der du in leeren Luftraum bist”, “you who are in empty airspace”.  Regarding the “solid” parallel noted by Reiling, Preisendanz (re P VII, 961) had cited Reitzenstein as saying “feste Luft, Umwallung des Kosmos”, “solid air, encirclement of the cosmos”.

I have chosen “void” here since it conveys the sense of an empty space and has a bit of an “unusual, weird” connotation to it, befitting it as a region in the spiritual realm.

Phalarchao. The MS. has an additional αρ written above the -αρ- already in the word.  The word’s own -αρ- is a little damaged, but far from illegibly so; perhaps the scribe was clarifying what (s)he meant in the slightly damaged spot.  Preisendanz notes: “das erste αρ war beschädigt oder (aus αι?) korrigiert, daher wohl die Überschriebung“, “the first αρ was damaged or corrected (from αι?), therefore the proper writing above.”

holy. The MS. is somewhat more damaged here. Goodwin reads the word as απε, treating it as an untranslated name, and this is what Crowley uses.  Kenyon has this reading as well. Preisendanz and Betz read Goodwin’s π as γι (especially given that the scribe writes Gamma in the “angular” rather than “loop” form: ΓΙ is easily confused for Π).  I adopt the αγιε reading, which allows the word to be translated as “holy”, describing the Headless One.

Section D. “Water.”

127. >ρουβριαω μαριωδαμ βαλβνα~
128. βαωθ ασσαδωναι αφνιαω ι[…]
129. θωληθ αβρασαξ αηοωυ ισχυρε
130. ακεφαλε απαλλαξον τον ΔΙ απο του
131. συνεχοντος αυτον δαιμονος

>ρουβριαω μαριωδαμ βαλβνα~βαωθ ασσαδωναι αφνιαω ιθωληθ
 ruvriao marioðam valvnavaoth assaðone afniao itholeeth
Roubriao1 Mariodam Balbnabaoth Assadonai2 Aphniao Itholeth3
[magical names]
αβρασαξ αηοωυ ισχυρε ακεφαλε απαλλαξον
avrasax ah-ee-oh-oo iskhire akefale apallaxon
Abrasax4 AEOOY mighty headless one release, deliver
[magical names]. Mighty Headless One, deliver
τον ΔΙ απο του συνεχοντος αυτον δαιμονος
ton ðeenon apo tu sinekhontos afton ðemonos
this person from the affliction of the said demon
this person from the affliction of this demon.

1 >ρουβριαω. The MS has the “>” sign before the word.

Assadonai. Goodwin has ασσαλοναι, and Crowley preserves the Lambda in his reading (“ASAL-ON-AI”). It’s unclear if the Lambda is a misreading by Goodwin or a simple typo at the print shop, but the MS (q.v.) has a very clear bottom line for the letter, making it a Delta, which Kenyon, Preisendanz, and Betz have.  Preisendanz in fact divides it into two words (αϲϲ ‘Αδωναι).  The latter component is of course Adonai, “my lord”, the euphemistic name for the Hebrew god.

I[ao] Tholeth. The MS has Ι…/ΘΩΛΗΘ.  Here my ellipsis indicates an odd lacuna which appears to be rubbed out rather than torn away, with a bit of a letter visible at the bottom of it, and the slash indicates a line break.  Kenyon interpolates the -ao for the lacuna. Most sources do not make Kenyon’s leap here, and have ΙΘΩΛΗΘ either as one word or broken as Ι, ΘΩΛΗΘ.  Preisendanz uses ΙΘΩΛΗΘ, but notes “am Schluß ein Buchst[abe] ausradiert (θ?)“, “at the end [of this line] a letter is rubbed out (θ?)”

The first Theta at the start of the next line protrudes out into the left margin of the page; it is to the left of where the other lines on the page begin.

My guess is: The scribe wrote a letter other than Theta by mistake after the Iota, ending the line with it, and then began the new line with ΩΛΗΘ, then realized the mistake, erased the incorrect letter after Iota, and inserted the correct Θ into the left margin of the next line instead of writing it over the erased spot at the end of the first line.  See the digitized version of the MS.

Abrasax is a common name in Gnostic and magical texts, used variously for an Archon or Aeon or other very powerful entity. It has the value 365. When mentioned by Latin writers such as Irenaeus it is often transposed to Abraxas.

Section E. “Earth.”

131. (cont.) μα
132. βαρραιω ιωηλ κοθα αθορηβα~
133. λω αβραωθ απαλλαξον τον ΔΙ

μα βαρραιω ιωηλ κοθα αθορηβαλω αβραωθ
ma varreo yo’eel kotha athorivalo avraoth
Ma Barraio Ioel Kotha Athorebalo Abraoth
[magical names]
απαλλαξον τον ΔΙ
apallaxon ton ðeenon
release, deliver this person
Deliver this person.

Next page: Interlinear Translation Part Two: Section F (Spirit) to Section Gg (The Attainment)