Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Greek Magic

Greek Magic is the whole of those methods and practices of Magic that originated and/or are exclusively used by Greeks. I differentiate between Greek folk Magic, which refers to the magical methods used till later antiquity up to nowadays and are largely deity-free (meaning deities are, less often than not, called upon) and ancient Greek Magic which refers to the magical methods used in actual antiquity (mostly Classical and Hellenistic eras).

Greek folk Magic: mainly usage of herbal lore, folklore (i.e. stories and legends dealing with the Otherworld like fae and nymphs), chants, incantations, simple spells, “superstitious” actions, (casting out) the evil eye etc. I’m more well-versed in this because I have experienced it way before I even knew what Witchcraft is. Simple formulae like using herbs in a certain way, specific actions to bring about a desired effect, words of power etc are common methods of Greek folk Magic. Its characteristics are simplicity and effectivity. It touches the field of superstition because the old formulae can easily be shrugged off as nonsensical or their meanings forgotten. It can be exceptionally potent though, mainly due to the faith and energy backing it up through the centuries.

Ancient Greek Magic: I have to say I don’t know all that much about this mainly because I started studying it quite recently. However, I found out that the following practices were predominant: the use of effigies/poppets called “Kolossoi” and the use of bindings or “curse tablets” called “katadesmoi” (bindings). The use of spells is also quite common. It includes theurgy as well as theistic shrinecraft (in effect “enslaving” some of the Gods to do one’s bidding – possibly a cultural loan from Egypt). Although, Gods are rarely called upon to aid, their power is often utilized either by tapping in the energies of their holy sites and symbols (e.g. altars, temples, statues, groves, celestial bodies, plants and animals etc) or by the aforementioned “enslavement”. I have to say that I am not very interested in the latter and wish to modify any practices I take up according to my own desires and preferences.

Examples of Greek Folk Magic:

For protection from daemons*, curses** and enemies:

- Some fresh clover, soaked in vinegar and used to spatter the corners
of every room in the house, protects your home from daemons.
- Dried marjoram inside tulle and hanged from the main entrance of the
house, protects all residents from curses.
- Burn some dry ragweed in your fireplace (or elsewhere) and say the
name of the person who wishes to harm you outloud in order to free
yourself from his/her power/influence.
- A few willow leaves in the corners of the house, protect from curses.
- A few oak blossoms on the threshold guard from unwanted guests.
- If something of yours has been stolen, place a small sunflower
gathered in August near (or under if possible) your pillow and you'll
dream of the thief.
- A lemon tree leaf with your name inscribed with red ink (to
resemble/symbolize blood) on it and carried with you, protects you from
enemies.
- To drive daemons away from a house, bedew the corners with fresh
angelica (soaked in water) and chant: "Spirits of evil leave my place,
only spirits of good I want in this space!".
- To protect a house from curses, mix carrots leaves with salt and
sprinkle the mix around the house.

For good luck, health and wealth:

- Throw some fresh rose petals or blossoms in your fireplace to ensure
good luck.
- Some dry peony leaves in your purse or wallet, protect from bad luck.
- Some fresh clover in a pouch of red fabric brings good luck.
- Alfalfa in a cupboard, guards the family from poverty.
- A fresh, pink carnation carried with you, brings good luck and good
health.
- Wash your feet every night with rosewater so that they will "guide you
to treasures and money on earth".
- A piece of a May apple protects the bearer from poverty.
- After a blessing or a cleansing, burn some dry mint leaves along with
your incense to attract money.
- Soak some basil in water while reciting a chant/prayer of your faith
(e.g. a blessing or something along those lines) and then spatter with
it around your house or shop to ensure good luck and money.
- To increase wealth, keep your money in a wooden box made of cedar.

For love:

- Some sunflower seeds in your bathwater makes you irresistible.
- Some daisies in your bathwater make others more respectful and
admirring of you.
- Some dry laurel carried by a woman ensures a long and happy
relationship.
- To provoke love, give to the desired person a small pouch with dried
spearmint.
- Hold a few carnations in your hands tightly while you think of a
person intensely. It is believed that person will be swayed by you to do
as you please.

For wishes to come true:

- Burn some dried laurel leaves in your bedroom and before 7 days pass,
all your dreams will come true.
- Put some lavender under your pillow and before you sleep, think of
your desire/wish. If you dream something relevant then your desire/wish
will come true.
- Write what you desire on a piece of paper and fold it neatly along
with some peony and seal it with red wax. Hid it somewher ein the house
while saying: "Grant me today a wish, a big wish, a small wish, a tiny
wish, a huge wish. A wish here, a wish there, everywhere fast it grows,
grant me a wish to be happy.". Every 3 days move the charm and repeat
the chant. When the wish comes true, burn it.

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NOTES:

The style and beliefs appearing in these formulas are totally those of
mainly old, country folk. That's why they appear quite simple and
picturesque.

Explanatory notes:

Daemons: In Greek folklore and language, a daemon is simply the
general term for ANY spirit though mostly for malevolent ones (due to the Christian usage of the word) or of, at least, questionable morality. Thus, whenever the word
"daemon" appears in these formulas, it may mean any kind of
hostile/dangerous/malevolent/malicious spirit from a "ghost" to some of
the fae.
The actual word in the Greek text was "δαιμόνια".

Curses: In Greek folklore and language, a curse is any verbal or
magical act that brings about harm. From the mere "go to hell" to the
more elaborate magical methods the word "curse" is used.
The actual word in the Greek text was "κατάρες".

Credit for the compilation of these traditional/folk, magical formulas
goes to the Greek occult website http://artofwise.gr/main.html
The direct link to the "Traditional Folk Rites" is: http://artofwise.gr/html/categories_content/praktiki/paradosiakesgities.html

In the next post, I’ll explore some of the possible uses of some of the ancient Greek magical methods, specifically, how I intend using them.