By Frater S.C.F.V.
Introduction: Apotheosis, Theo-Identification and Graeco-Egyptian Magic
After a powerful Invocation of Cassiel, Archangel of Saturn and Angel of Saturday from the Heptameron on the Day and Hour of Saturn during Day 6 of a Novena, I recently felt moved to perform a powerful and ancient Rite.
The Stele of Jeu or Rite of the Headless One occurs in the Greek Magical Papyri or Papyri Graecae Magicae V. 96-172. As Dee Rapposelli (2016) points out,
The Greek Magical Papyri are a compilation of highly syncretic texts that date from the 2 century BCE to 5 century CE of Hellenistic Egypt. They are Graeco-Egyptian magical spells and are loaded with Egyptian, Greek, Gnostic, Orphic, and Hebrew [Divine Names]—sometimes all in the same [papyrus.]
The Rite has classically been understood as a powerful ritual of exorcism, for it contains repeated references to subjugating all daimons that may be adversely influencing one’s life (e.g. “deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune“).
The manner in which it does this goes far beyond any ordinary exorcism, however. After first identifying with Moses and “the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris,” the Magician completely casts his or her earthly human identity into the great Void of the Eternal and primordial to temporarily abide as no less than the Supreme “One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, who created the Light and the Darkness.”
As such, the Stele of Jeu can additionally be seen through another lens, not only as a rite of exorcism, but also as a rite of Theurgy and mystical identification with the Godhead. Indeed, my yogic teachers might describe it as a way of realizing and abiding as Brahman, the ultimate reality that appears both as and beyond all things.
This is no small feat in itself, but the Headless Rite is even more than this. It is a Graeco-Egyptian hybrid of invocation and evocation conducted simultaneously. As Rachel Isabella (2003) explains:
To evoke a spirit is to call it/her/him to one’s immediate vicinity. To invoke a spirit is to call it/her/him into oneself. This Rite does both at once. It’s customary upon completion of the Rite, with the invoked power still humming in you, to state a specific intent or prayer in the voice of the God.
The result of this total identification with the Godhead is intense to say the least. It can feel disorienting, possessing, transformative, and moving beyond explication and articulation. It is nothing short of a mystico-magical Apotheosis, as Leonardo of Voces Magicae (2015) explains:
Invocations such as the Stele of Jeu (PGM V. 96-172) and the Invocation of Typhon from PGM IV. 154-285 reach a magical crescendo when the ritualist self-identifies with the target of the invocation and speaks as that Deity.
This ritual apotheosis heralds the moment at which the practitioner wields the necessary authority to manifest their desire – whether to call forth a spirit to appear or to successfully cast a spell.
This method is, of course, very reminiscent of Ancient Egyptian spells from the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which involve the priest assuming the identity of a god and speaking and acting magically within the power of the assumed Divinity. It is ancient magic par-excellence with syncretic Hellenistic, Gnostic, and Jewish twists. And it is powerful indeed.
The Experience of the Stele of Jeu
On this particular occasion, I performed thr version of the Stele found in Dr. Maleficarus Strangefellow’s Prayer Book of the Order of Saint Cyprian of Antioch (OSC), Cyprian Orisons (2017).
Standing in the Circle, with Offerings of Candles and Incense burning before me, clad in my robe and Stole and wearing a golden Crown, I held my Wand and began the ritual.
As I began the ritual, I immediately felt myself hooked into its ancient Graeco-Egyptian current of power. Wearing my Saturn ring, I loudly proclaimed the assertive words of the text’s opening, which, in English translation, read:
Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.
I summon you, Headless One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, you who created the Light and the Darkness; you are Osoronnophris whom none has ever seen; you are Iabas; you are Iapos; you have distinguished the just from the unjust; you have made female and male; you have revealed seed and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.
The evocatory formula within the ritual is perhaps most evident here, but already the power of this potent Being as Source of all begins to be laid clear.
After this point, the Ritualist self-identifies first as Moses then as a Messenger of Osiris, declaring:
I am Moses your prophet to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me.
I am the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the prophets of Israel. Hear me, ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHCHI CHITASGOĒ IBAŌTH IA; subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.
Thereafter, the text shifts into an Invocatory mode. As I bellowed these words, I felt the boundaries of my body begin to feel less and less distinct, as a potent and ancient force seemed to wash over me like warm and invigourating water…
I call upon you, awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit, AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOCHOU MODORIŌ PHALARCHAŌ OOO. Holy Headless One, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune, ROUBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNABAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLETH ABRASAX AĒŌŌY; mighty Headless One, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune. MABARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune, AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ.
He is the Lord of the gods; he is the Lord of the Inhabited World; he is the one whom the winds fear; he is the one who made all things by command of his voice.
Lord, King, Master, Helper, I call upon you, IEOU PYR IOU IAŌT IAĒŌ IOOU ABRASAX SABRIAM OO YY EY OO YY ADŌNAIE, immediately, immediately, good messenger of God ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIACHANNA CHORYN.
Thereafter, the strangest thing began to happen: my voice shifted. It grew deeper, raspier, and sounded both intimate and foreign at once. This shift continued to grow stronger and stronger through the words that followed…
I am the Headless Daimon with sight in my feet; I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll; I am the one whose sweat falls upon the earth as rain so that life can begin; I am the one whose mouth burns completely; I am the one who begets and destroys; I am the Favor of the Aion; my name is a Heart Encircled by a Serpent; Come Forth and Follow.
Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and the sages. He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds-he, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.
Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure and pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are created by Me alone.
As these words were spoken forth, my perspective seemed to become less and less “my” perspective… “I” became That which saw the Magician “Adam” standing in his Temple speaking the words; the sense of being shifted from the relative human stance to the primordial Absolute, back and forth, back and forth…
The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the progenitors of mankind are born out of My mind, and all creatures in these planets descend from them.
He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine engages in unalloyed devotional service; of this there is no doubt.
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
More and more, a frenzy of energy began to whirl through the room, and the Ancient Presence began to shake and tremble the body as my raspy, deepened, and strangely transformed voice proclaimed the words of the Rite at an increasingly fast pace, whipping into an ecstatic stream of syllables…
Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.
Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.
Furthermore, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being-moving or unmoving-that can exist without Me. Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor. With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.
Thus completing the Rite, the ritual text fell from my hand. And the strangest things began to happen. A cosmic awareness felt like it encompassed all that it held within it; like it was all that could be experienced. I was the candle, the incense, and the Altar. I was the Circle, the walls, and the Temple. I was the breathing man wielding the Wand. I was the air in the room, the beginning and the end, the order and chaos, the All and the None.
I watched as my human body began to shake in strange ways as the ancient force convalesced and convulsed through it in powerful tremors like the earthquakes Archangel Cassiel had shown me…
Then my body began to sway and sway as if dancing, as the vibrating, humming energy reached a fever pitch. My hands formed strange spiritual gestures or mudras. My body swayed and swayed. My arms drifted this way and that in the graceful movements of a dancer. On and on it went…
My eyes fell shut. I was a cosmic light. I was before the cosmos. I was the universe in its arising, sustaining, and destruction. I was the first and the last, the living and the dead. I stood as Osiris, with green skin and white wrappings. I stood as Christ, nailed to the Cross. I stood as the Godhead, formless and birthing all form. As all of this was inwardly seen and felt, still my body continued to dance its strange and graceful movements, shifting in and out of tremors and shaking…
At once, my eyes burst back open and my awareness drifted back into the confines of the body-mind. Once again, I became local. I was somewhere, somewhen. Here. Now.
And yet, I had not forgotten my Divine nature beyond this humble human form.
I remained That; and That continued to appear as “me.”
Breathing deeply, there I was, fully human, and That which appeared as human without being bound by it.
Thus is the power and the mystery of the Stele of Jeu.