Abraxas Name Meaning & Origin
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Abrasax (Gk. ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ, which is far more common in the sources than the variant form Abraxas, ΑΒΡΑΞΑΣ) was a word of mystic meaning in the system of the Gnostic Basilides, being there applied to the “Great Archon” (Gk., megas archōn), the princeps of the 365 spheres (Gk., ouranoi).1 In Gnostic cosmology, the 7 letters spelling its name represent each of the 7 classic planets—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.2
The word is found in Gnostic texts such as the Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, and also appears in the Greek Magical Papyri. It was engraved on certain antique gemstones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which were used as amulets or charms. As the initial spelling on stones was 'Abrasax' (Αβρασαξ), the spelling of 'Abraxas' seen today probably originates in the confusion made between the Greek letters Sigma and Xi in the Latin transliteration. The word may be related to Abracadabra, although other explanations exist.
There are similarities and differences between such figures in reports about Basilides' teaching, ancient Gnostic texts, the larger Greco-Roman magical traditions, and modern magical and esoteric writings. Opinions abound on Abraxas, who in recent centuries has been claimed to be both an Egyptian god and a demon.3 The Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung wrote a short Gnostic treatise in 1916 called The Seven Sermons to the Dead, which called Abraxas a God higher than the Christian God and Devil, that combines all opposites into one Being.
From a word thought to have originated with the Gnostics or the Egyptians, found on many amulets during the last years of the Roman Empire. Abraxas was used by the Basilideans, a Gnostic sect of the 2nd century, to refer to the Supreme Being or god whom they worshipped; they believed it to be a name of power because it contained the seven Greek letters which, computed numerically, equal the number 365 (the number of days in the year). However, older mythologists placed Abraxas among the Egyptian gods, while some demonologists cite him as a demon with the head of a king and serpents forming his feet. He has been represented on amulets with a whip in his hand. The mystic word abracadabra is supposedly derived from his name (itself perhaps derived from Aramaic avra kedabra "what was said, occurred" or "I will create as I speak"). Many stones and gems were cut with his capricious symbolic markings, such as a human body having a fowl's or lion's head, and snakes as limbs, which were worn by the Basilideans as amulets. Gnostic symbols were later adopted by many societies devoted to magic and alchemy, therefore it is likely that most "abraxas-stones" made in the Middle Ages that contained kabbalistic symbols were talismans.
According to some sources this was an alternative name of one of the four immortal horses of the Greek sun god Helios. It was used by author J. K. Rowling in her 'Harry Potter' series of books for a minor character, the grandfather of Draco Malfoy.
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Harry Potter - Draco Malfoy's grandfather
Abraxas-1970 Album by Santana