The magical system of PGM IV 154-285 promises “a holy power” and the ability to evoke and obtain information from any spirit or god. Such operations of “miraculous nature” require that the practitioner first complete the initiation ritual that constitutes the majority of the text. It is through this rite that one obtains the necessary spiritual authority to call upon the gods and the spirits of the dead. The scribe identifies this empowerment as an “attach[ment] to Helios,” and as we have discussed in prior posts this is achieved by invoking the raw magical energy of Typhon who embodies the driving force behind the cosmic narrative of the solar deity and of the slain and reborn god. For the Graeco-Egyptian magicians of the PGM, Typhon is the σκηπτουχος (‘scepter bearer’) of utmost authority and the θεὲ θεῶν (‘god of gods’); he is the unbridled chaotic force of the cosmos in the form of primordial deity. To invoke such a power was to call forth the very force capable of altering universal order; and, to wield this power is to have the ability to destroy the boundary between the realm of the living and that of the gods and the dead. 
The scribe is very clear as to the intent of the initiation rite, he writes that upon completion the practitioner will arise as a “lord of a godlike nature” and will be “made equal to the original gods in power.” This apotheosis is achieved through a metaphorical death and rebirth in which the practitioner self-identifies with Osiris (in the ritual garments) and with Set (in the words of the invocation). I have written much about the symbolism and structure of this ritual in my previous posts. For anyone who desires to work this system, I strongly suggest that they revisit those posts to familiarize themselves with the contextual framework of PGM IV 154-285. The goal here is not to further delve into the meaning, mythology and scholarly analysis of the magical system, rather it is to present the initiation ritual as experienced by a modern-day practicing magician.
¤ The Ritual ¤
You will succeed by inquiring in this way: First, attach yourself to Helios in this manner: At whatever sunrise you want (provided it is the third day of the month), go up to the highest part of the house and spread a pure linen garment on the floor. Do this with a mystagogue. But as for you, crown yourself with dark ivy while the sun is in mid-heaven, at the fifth hour, and while looking upward lie down naked on the linen and order your eyes to be completely covered with a black band. And wrap yourself like a corpse, close your eyes and, keeping your direction toward the sun begin these words.
- PGM IV. 169-179
The third day of the month in a lunar or lunisolar calendar corresponds to the third day of the waxing crescent moon. In hellenic Egypt, the highest part of the house would have been the flat roof on top of the house (outdoors). Needless to say for those of us living in modern urban areas this will not be possible, thus a room with a southern facing window or a private yard or balcony will work. The important thing is that the sun be clearly visible during the rite.
Aside from the frankincense grains for the offering, there are three ritual items:
1. A large linen to function as a symbolic burial shroud. A white bed-sheet is perfect.
2. A black blindfold, ideally consecrated with the same symbolism as the Black of Isis.
3. A crown made of ivy.
In PGM IV 154-285: A complete Magical System we identified these three items as symbols of the initiatic journey of the solar hero and the mysteries of life, death and rebirth. It may be beneficial to keep these associations in mind during the rite.
At sunrise on the planned day, go to the area you will conduct the ritual. Clean it by removing all clutter, sweep, vacuum, and dust. Burn sage or your preferred cleansing incense to neutralize the energy. Lay the linen on the floor with the ivy crown and blindfold atop. Spend the day in contemplation and meditation on the symbolism of the ritual you are about to perform.
Just prior to the solar transit (look at an ephemeris to determine the exact time the sun will cross the meridian) , return to the designated location. Strip down naked and put on the ivy crown, lay on the ground and wrap the linen around your body “like a corpse.” Tie the blindfold and then cross your arms over your chest assuming the posture of an Egyptian mummy while pulling the linen sheet tightly around your body. Your head should be in the north and feet south so that you are facing the sun as it approaches midheaven (northern hemisphere). Center yourself in the darkness and when ready, recite the invocation three times.
Mighty Typhon, scepter-bearing almighty power and sovereign, god of gods; Lord
Disturber of the dark, bringer of thunder, sender of storms, lighting flasher of the night! You are the one who exhaled the cold and the heat. Stone-shaker, wall-breaker earth-quaker, boiler of the waters. You are the one who stirs the depths to motion,
IÔERBÊT AU TAUI MÊNI
I am he who searched the entire world to find the great Osiris, whom I brought you bound. I am he who together with you allied with the gods (others say against the gods); I am he who shut heaven’s double door and put to sleep the unseen serpent, who at the edge of you kingdom, stopped the sea, the streams, and the flowing rivers. But, as your soldier, I was defeated by the gods and was cast face down on account of empty wrath. Awaken me, I beseech you, I implore you, friend; do not leave me here cast upon the earth, o lord of gods:
Fill me with power, I beg you, grant me this grace, that whenever I call upon any one of the gods, they come to me swiftly and appear visibly before me.
NAINE BASANAPTATOU EAPTOU MÊNÔPhAESMÊ PAPTOU MÊNÔPh ·
AESIMÊ · TRAUAPTI · PEUChRÊ · TRAUARA · PTOUMÊPh · MOURAI · ANChOUChAPhAPTA ·
MOURSA · ARAMEI · IAÔ · AThThARAUI MÊNOKER · BORO PTOUMÊTh · AT TAUI MÊNI ChARChARA ·
PTOUMAU · LALAPsA · TRAUI TRAUEPsE MAMÔ PhORTOUChA ·
AEÊIO IOY OÊÔA · EAI AEÊI ÔI IAÔ AÊI AI IAÔ
After you have said this three times, there will be this sign of divine encounter, but you, armed by having this magical soul, be not alarmed. For a sea falcon flies down and strikes you on the body with its wings, signifying this: that you should arise. But as for you, rise up and clothe yourself with white garments and burn on an earthen censer uncut incense in grains while saying this:
- PGM IV. 209-215
As indicated by the passage, after the third invocation there will be an indication of the success. The experience may not be exactly as described above, but there will be a defined moment at which you will be instructed to rise. At this point, remove the blindfold and unwrap yourself from the linen. Stand up and get dressed in clean white clothes and step outside to burn the frankincense offering to the sky and sun overhead while reciting:
I have been attached to your holy form.I have been given power by your holy name. I have acquired your emanation of the goods, Lord, god of gods, master, daimon.
ANThThOUIN ThOUThOUI TAUANTI LAÔ APTATÔ
Having done this, return as lord of a godlike nature which is accomplished through this divine encounter.
- PGM IV. 209
¤ Personal Notes¤
I generally don’t discuss my personal experiences; however, I started this project with the intent to document my research and progress here on this blog. In the lines that follow I share some relevant portions of my personal notes including some of the intense visions. Please keep in mind that these visions are likely unique to my experience and others may or may not have similar encounters. Prior to delving into these, I’ll mention a few notes on the items that were used.
Last December around the time of winter solstice I consecrated a black linen cloth to the chthonic form of Isis under the new moon. I based my ritual on the symbolic principles discussed in Black of Isis, and have since been using the cloth as a blindfold in all my shamanic journeying and dream work.
Also around winter solstice, I put together a small vivarium to house the ivy that I would be using to create the crown. Given the associations of ivy to Dionysus and Osiris and thus to the earth, I decided that it would be suitable to add some dirt from a secluded area in the local mountains that I frequent for my magical work. This vivarium thus became a shrine not only to the chthonic nature of Dionysus/Osiris, but also to the spirit of place of my local landscape. This helped me form a strong magical bond to the ivy itself that I would be using to make the crown for this rite.
Given the use of a blindfold and the practitioner laying on the ground, I imagined this ritual would be similar to a shamanic journey. I was mistaken. Rather than my consciousness traveling to specific locations in the spiritual landscape (as with shamanic journeying); in this ritual, the spiritual world very much – and very quickly – came to me. Throughout the experience I was constantly aware of being ‘inside’ a physical body that underwent a transformation from organic matter to a lifeless shell. It was as if I experienced the process of decomposition after death from a fresh corpse to a skeleton of bone and finally a stone fossil… a process that takes millennia was experienced in minutes all while my soul and consciousness remained individually intact and immortal. Despite the blindfold, I could easily ’see’ and perceive the room and world around me, and at no point did I feel detached from my body.
Additionally, though I had committed the invocation to memory several times over, I found myself changing the wording as I progressed through the second and third iterations. The only reason was that it seemed natural to do so and as I became more aware of the energy that I was invoking, I felt more comfortable petitioning specific requests. For example the final lines before the 40 nominae magicae- “Fill me with power, I beg you, grant me this grace…” – became a much longer petition incorporating direct language from the invocation of the Lesser Key of Solomon and some elements of the Akephalos invocation from PGM V. 96-172.  These passages came to mind as particularly relevant while performing the rite and I was somehow able to recall them despite not having performed either in years.
By the second iteration of the invocation I became aware of an enormous serpentine entity around me. It was coiled atop itself extending high into the sky and forming a wall of scales so tall that I could not see its head. It was constantly in motion circumnavigating around and above me. By the third repetition of the invocation, the coils had become so large and radiated outward so far that they merged with the horizon…it seemed as if this serpent was literally encircling the planet. At this point, all the manmade structures around me vanished as if aeons of time had elapsed; day and night and the seasons passed in rapid succession one after another. I was no longer in a room, but out in the open surrounded by the natural landscape of my neighborhood. I was completely immobilized, yet my senses were hyper-attuned to the world around me. I could perceive all my surroundings in all directions and at all distances simultaneously.
Above me flew hawks, vultures, ravens and other large raptors. Below me, I could feel the stability and grounding weight of the earth and the pulsing currents of the underground water currents. I could feel and taste the salty spray of the ocean to the west, and the magnetic pull of the mountains to the east. In the far distance the enormous serpent continued it’s spiral coil around the horizon moving faster and faster resulting in howling winds around me and rabid waves crashing onto the shore and the earth trembling beneath me. I could clearly feel these sensation within and against the now hardened surface of what was once my body, everything was heightened. Even the flapping of the birds resonated within … I could feel all this physically but not in a human way. I was perceiving the natural world in a body of stone.
As the climate became more volatile and violent, the once familiar landscape gave way to an inhospitable world. The sea covered much of the land and giant waves threatened to topple the mountains, the mountains spewed lava and steam, the sky was ablaze in thunder and lightning yet the raptors remained circling above. Suddenly, they began to dive down, one by one, and three of them pecked at my body. I felt one on each shoulder and a third at my solar plexus. Hard impacts that vibrated deeply and caused me to gasp loudly as if I had been struck by hammer at these locations. I then heard a voice roaring above me. It was literally spoken in claps of thunder, yet intelligible, saying “rise up.” As I looked up to see the source of the voice, the storm clouds parted and I saw the full magnitude of the serpentine creature. It had the torso of an enormous bird, gigantic feathered wings that could enclose the entire sky in darkness, as they flapped day became night and night became day. The head had humanoid features but was formed by ash and dark stones ephemerally held together by a vortex of wind. He had two eye sockets but no discernible eyes only holes that opened into a radiant fiery abyss. When his mouth opened, bolts of lightning shot between the jaws as if they were strands of saliva. A magnificent and terrifying creature…I had no doubt that I was in the presence of the mighty Typhon.
As I began to regain the sensation of my human body and my flesh, Typhon vanished into the sky into thousands of serpent-like strands of electrical energy. I slowly and groggily unwrapped myself and removed my blindfold. I was sweating profusely and my heart was racing, I was exhilarated and reinvigorated. I put on clean white pants and a white tee and stepped outside to make the offering of frankincense. As soon as I opened the door, a gust of wind hit my body and sent an electric tingle up my spine, before me circled a hawk – not an extremely rare site, but a remarkable synchronicity in this context. Over the course of the next hour as I offered up the incense I felt remnants of that hyper-awareness I had experienced during the invocation, and I caught ‘astral’ glimpses of Typhon’s electric coils in the sky and along the horizon. It was during this time outside and under the rays of the sun that I had some more profound and personal experiences that will remain in the pages of my journal.
Without a doubt, this ritual has left me with a residual sensation of empowerment, something I continue to feel today as I write these words. As to obtaining the spiritual authority to call forth the gods and the dead, that is something I will soon test with the Evocationary Bowl Scrying practice of this magical system.
- “… have sent you this magical procedure which, with complete ease, produces a holy power. And after you have tested it, you too will be amazed at the miraculous nature of this magical operation. You will observe through bowl divination on whatever day or night you want, in whatever place you want, beholding the god in the water and hearing a voice from the god which speaks in verses in answers to whatever you want. You will attain both the ruler of the universe and whatever you command, and he will speak on other matters which you ask about.” (PGM IV. 154-168)
- See PGM IV 154-285: A complete Magical System .
- See PGM IV 154-285: Invocation of Typhon, PGM IV 154-285: A complete Magical System and PGM IV 154-285: Phylactery of 100 Letters.
- See PGM IV 154-285: A complete Magical System .
- The invocation is from my own translation of the passage. See PGM IV 154-285: Invocation of Typhon.
- For example: Fill me with power, I beg, grant me this grace that whensoever I call upon any of the gods or spirits of the dead that they come to me swiftly and appear before me in fair and human form without deformity and without delay. That they come visibly and affably speak unto me with a clear voice intelligible and without any ambiguity answering my questions and manifesting my desires. Grant me this authority so that all spirits become subject unto me: so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether; upon the earth and under the earth; on dry land or in the water; of whirling air or of rushing fire; and every spell and scourge of the vast Cosmos may be obedient unto me.