Ancient Egyptian book of spells translated
A 1,300 year old Egyptian book of spells and incantations has been deciphered, revealing a single, massive spell. The codex is called the “Handbook of Ritual Power,” and contains love spells, explains how to exercise demons, and includes instructions on how to treat illnesses, according to Live Science.
“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, Australian professors at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, wrote.
The book was originally thought to contain 27 separate spells and invocations, but following the complete translation, researchers now believe the document is intended to be seen as one. The spells are meant to form a “single instrument of power.”
The book is written in Coptic, a language spoken by the Copts, a group of Christians native to Egypt. The book was written during a period when Christianity was the dominant religion in Egypt, prior to the Arab invasion of the area. During the time, Coptic Christians frequently practiced this type of magic.
The codex “starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power,” Choats and Gardner wrote. “These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business.
The researchers also claim that the text seems to have been written by a group of Sethians, a sect of Christianity that worshiped Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. The text references “Seth, the living Christ.”
There are also references to a mysterious diving being known as “Baktioha.”
“The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm,” Choat and Gardner said.
The Sethians eventually ran afoul of other Christians, and were branded heretics at some point in the 7th Century. They went extinct soon after.
The codex was kept as part of a private collection until 1981, but before that its origins are unknown. It is now on display in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney. A complete translation is available for purchase, but it will run you about $80.