Astrapsoukos' Spell for the Favor of Hermes [1]

© 1999, John Opsopaus

  1. Preparation
  2. Spell
  3. Notes
  4. References


Make from olive wood a small statue of a dog-faced baboon with Hermes' winged hat on its head. There should be a box in its back with a lid to close it. Write with myrrh ink on papyrus the following name of Hermes:
Phthoron Phthionê Thôuth.[2]
You may add the following Great Names:
Iaô Sabaôth Adônaie[3]

Give Thou: business, favor, elegance, prosperity,
to [a certain one][6] and to his/her work.
Now! Now! Quickly! Quickly!
{Nu=n.  Nu=n.  )/Hdh.  )/Hdh.}
Nun! Nun! Êdê! Êdê!

While you do so, pray for what you want. Put the papyrus in the statue and put on the lid. Burn incense before it and recite the following spell.


Come to me, Lord Hermes,
  just as fetuses come into Women's Coils.[7]
Come to me, Lord Hermes,
  gathering the sustenance of Gods and men.
Come to me, Lord Hermes,
  to [a certain one], and give me:
  sustenance and grace, fair face, charm, good living,
  victory, and strength of every man and woman.

Hear Thy names in Heaven:[8]

Lamphen Ouôthi : Ouasthen Ouôthi : Oamenôth : Enthomoukh
for these names are in the Quarters of the Heavens.
Yes, I know Thee, and I know what are Thy Shapes:[9]

  in the East Thou hast the figure of an Ibis;
  in the West Thou hast the figure of a Dog-baboon;
  in the North Thou hast the figure of a Snake;
  in the South Thou hast the figure of a Wolf;

and I know Thy Plant: the Grape that is an Olive;
and I know Thy Wood, for it is Ebony.
Yes, I know Thee, Hermes, who Thou art and also
  where You're from, which town: Hermopolis.

Come to me, Lord Hermes,
  Many-named One, knowing secrets under Earth and Sky.
Come to me, Lord Hermes, to [a certain one].
Kindly help me, benefactor of our world.
Hear me!

[Make me pleasing to all forms throughout the world;
open for me hands of all who may grant gifts;
make them give me what they're holding in their hands.][10]

Yes, I know Thee and Thy Names Barbarian:

Pharnathar : Barakhêl : Khtha.
For these are Thy Names Barbarian!

And whenever Isis, Greatest of the Gods,
  hath invoked Thee, Yea! in every crisis,
  and in every place, 'gainst people, Gods and daimons,
  and what lives beneath the sea and on the land,
She hath held Thy favor and had victory
  over Gods and men with every creature in the world.
Therefore also I, [a certain one], invoke Thee!

For[11] this reason, give me beauty, form and grace.

Hear me, Hermes, Helper, who invented drugs;
be Thou easy to converse with and attend;
Thou hast done all things shaped like Thine Ethiopian
  dog-baboon, the Lord of Daimons Underground.
Calm them all and give me strength.
  Make [add the usual][12]

[Let them give me gold, silver, endless sustenance.
Save me always and through all eternity --
from deceits, all slander, poisons, evil tongues;
from possession, hatred of both Gods and men.
Let them give me favor, victory and wealth.][10]

Inasmuch as Thou art I, and I am Thou,
and because Thy name is mine, and mine is Thine,
and because of this: I am Thine effigy.

If perhaps some evil should occur for me,
any time this year or month or day or hour,
it will happen to the Great God {)AXXEMEN )ESTROF} (Akhkhemen Estroph);
thus the prow of the most holy ship is carved.

Thy True Name is graven on the Sacred Stêlê,
set up in the Shrine at Thy birth-place Hermopolis.
Thy True Name: {)OSERGARIAX NOMAFI} (Osergariakh Nomaphi),[13]
for this is Thy name of fifteen characters,
and the number of the days the Moon doth rise;
and Thy second name doth have the number seven,
corresponding to the Ones who Rule the World.[14]
Truly: {)ABRASAC} (Abrasax).[15]
  Yes, I know Thee, Hermes, and Thou knowest me;
  I am Thou and Thou art I.
Therefore, do Thou everything for me I ask;
with Good Fortune and Good Daimon turn to me.
Now! Now! Quickly! Quickly!
{Nu=n.  Nu=n.  )/Hdh.  )/Hdh.}
Nun! Nun! Êdê! Êdê!


  1. From London Papyrus 122 (PGM VIII), a magical handbook dating to the fourth or fifth century CE, lines 1-63. It is a kharistêrion (spell for favor) written in Greek (except for one phrase in Coptic written in Greek letters). It is attributed to Astrapsoukos, which is perhaps supposed to be "Astrampsukhos," a name of at least one Persian magician (Betz 145n1). The spell is syncretic, but this is an authentic aspect of ancient Greek magic, which invokes Gods through Their Egyptian names, attributes, etc. because they are alien. This is part of creating the correct frame of mind for effective magic (see also note 8, below). For the same reason I have put the spell in verse, although the original is prose. The first 27 lines of the spell are in my translation.
  2. Thoth, identified with Hermes.
  3. Obviously, Hebrew God-names.
  4. A common magical palindrome, generally used for beneficial purposes, which may derive from Hebrew (Betz 331).
  5. A common magical name, generally used for beneficial purposes, which may derive from Hebrew (Betz 332).
  6. Fill in the beneficiary's name, usually in the form "[name], son/daughter of [mother's name]."
  7. "Women's Coils" refers to the uterus, but also alludes to the Coils of the Underworld and the Cosmic Womb of Hekate through which manifestation takes place. (See "Fire" in my "Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements.") Thus, Hermes is to come to the magician as a soul enters a mother's womb (Graf, Mag. Anc. World, p. 299n28).
  8. According to Iamblichus (Myst. Eg. VII), these are the earliest names of the Gods and especially dear to Them (Graf, Mag. Anc. World, 219-20).
  9. The Ibis is Thoth, the Dog-(faced) baboon (Kunokephalos) is Anubis (often in the West), the Snake is Uto (often in the North), the Wolf is Anubis (often in the South). (Betz 145n4)
  10. Of course you can replace these rather servile requests with a more enlightened petition.
  11. The remainder of the spell is adapted from E. N. O'Neill's translation (Betz 145-6).
  12. Fill in what you want.
  13. Contrary to the following statements, the full name has 16 (Greek) letters, rather than 15 (the extra seemse to be in the first name), and six letters in the second name, rather than seven (unless he is referring forward to {)ABRASAC}. I will leave corrections to the reader.
  14. The seven planets.
  15. As is well-known, the numerical value of {)ABRASAC} (Abrasax) is 365.


  1. Betz, Hans Dieter (ed.), The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, including the Demotic Spells, 2nd ed. Univ. Chicago Press, 1992.
  2. Graf, Fritz, Magic in the Ancient World, tr. Franklin Philip. Harvard Univ. Press, 1997.
  3. Graf, Fritz, "Prayer in Magical and Religious Ritual," in: Christopher A. Faraone & Dirk Obbink (eds.), Magika Hiera: Ancient Greek Magic and Ritual, Oxford Univ. Press, 1991, pp. 188-213.

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