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Writer Resources: Ancient Egyptian magic cheat sheet

Magpie of research data that I am, here’s some more of my reference, this time on Egyptian magic. Sad to say, when I scratched down my handwritten notes at the library, I didn’t fully document sources (I know, I should be shot).

To the best of my memory, some of this came from a translation of the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical papyrus of magical herbal knowledge from about 1500BC. It lists dozens of Egyptian magic incantations and compounds to turn away demons that cause disease. Having bought this translation in the interim, I can verify the largest portion of these definitely come from The Leyden Papyrus (The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden). Nowadays and lucky for you, there’s also an electronic version if you want a look. I think the rest came from the London Medical Papyrus in the British Museum in London which has incantations for skin and eye complaints, burns, bleeding and some hymns. That one dates from the reign of Tutankhamun, so New Kingdom era. If you happen to know for certain if any of these came from another source beyond those I noted, jot down the info in the comments for me and I’ll add the citation to the post.

Since this was for my own reference, I only noted some of the more interesting (okay weird and gross) ancient Egyptian magic recipes. There’s many more than these in the original documents. They’re copied verbatim from translations, so as with a lot of these old translations, there’s chunks missing due to holes in the papyrus -these are noted by ellipses. Unknown or uncertain words are noted with question marks. The numbers in brackets are verses and column numbers off the original papyrus. I wanted the originals, so I could use artistic licence to add to them while I bent them to my own purposes and maybe you can, too.


Ancient Egyptian magic cheat sheet

(1) [Spell to] make mad any man or any woman.
(2) You take the hair of the man whom you wish, together with the hair (3) of a dead (murdered ?) man; and you tie them to each other, (4) and tie them to the body of a hawk, and you release (?) it (5) alive. If you wish to do it for some days, (6) you put the hawk in a place and you feed it in your house.

Spells for Killing and Blinding a Man
(27) A medicament for catalepsy (?):
gall of cerastes, pips(?) of western apples, herb of klo, (28)pound them together; make into a pill, put (it) into the food(?).

(29) Another spell for killing a man
You put camel’s blood with the blood of a dead man (30) into the wine; you make the man drink it; then he dies.

(31) Spell for blinding a man
You put a night-jar’s blood into his eye; then he is blinded.

(32) Another for blinding
You put a bat’s blood [into his eye]; this is the manner of it again.

(33) Another
You drown a hawk in a jar of wine; you make the man drink it; (34) then it does its work.

A shrew-mouse (?) in the same way; it does (35) its work also. Its gall also, you add it to the wine, (36) then it does its work very much.

You put the gall (37) of an Alexandrian weasel into any food; then it does its work.

You put a (38) two-tailed lizard into the oil and you cook it with it; you anoint (39) the man with it;then it does its work.

Prescriptions for divination and calling up spirits

scarab ring - Egyptian magic

Prescription for enchanting the vessel quickly so that the gods enter and tell (21) you answer truthfully. You put the shell of a crocodile’s egg, or that which is inside it, 011 the flame ; it will be enchanted instantly.

Prescription to make them (22) speak you put a frog’s head on the brazier, then they speak.

Prescription for bringing the gods in by force you put the bile (23) of a crocodile with pounded frankincense on the brazier.

If you wish to make them come in quickly again, you put stalks (?) of anise (?) on the brazier together with the (24) egg-shell as above, then the charm works at once.

If you wish to bring in a living man, you put sulphate of copper on the brazier, then he comes in.

(25) If you wish to bring in a spirit, you put sa-wr stone with stone of ilkh on the brazier, then the spirit comes in. You put the heart (26) of a hyaena or a hare, excellent (bis).

If you wish to bring in a drowned man, you put sea-karab-stone (?) on the brazier.

(27) If you wish to bring in a murdered (?) man, you put ass’s dung with an amulet of Nephthys on the brazier, then he comes in.

If you (28) wish to make them all depart, you put ape’s dung on the brazier, then they all depart to their place, and you utter their spell of dismissal also.

The charm which you pronounce when you (30) dismiss them to their place: ‘Good dispatch, joyful dispatch!’

(31) If you wish to make the gods come in to you and that the vessel work its magic quickly, you take a scarab and drown it in the mild of a black cow (32) and put it on the brazier; then it works magic in the moment named and the light comes.

The ointment which you put on your eyes when you are about to inquire of the lamp in any lamp-divination: you take some flowers (25) of the Greek bean ; you find them in the place of the garland-seller, otherwise said of the lupin-seller; you take them fresh and put them (26) in a Zok-vessel of glass and stop its mouth very well for twenty days in a secret dark place. After twenty days, if you (27) take it out and open it, you find a pair (?) of testicles in it with a phallus. You leave it for forty days and when you take it out (28) and open it, you find that it has become bloody; then you put it on a glass thing and put the glass thing into a pottery thing (29) in a place hidden at all times. When you desire to make inquiry of the lamp with it at any time if you fill your eyes with this (30) blood aforesaid, and if you go in to pronounce a spell over the lamp you see a figure of a god standing behind (?) the lamp, and he speaks (31) with you concerning the question which you wish ; or you lie down and he comes to you.

frankincense(Eye Ointment)
(1)…………. tested.(2) Behold [the ointment which you] put on your eye when you (3) approach the vessel of inquiry alone: green eye-paint, (4) stibium, qes-ankh (?), amulet of …, flowers of black sher-o (?) (5) which are beans (?), blood of hoopoe, (6) pound, [make] into a ball, and paint your eye with it, together with juice (7) of Egyptian (?) grapes, and set-stone(?) of Ethiopia; then (8) you see the shadow of every god and every goddess.

(incantation that goes with this eye ointment)
(9) Its ………. ‘I invoke you (plur.), ye great gods who shine with the sun, Themouks (10) Amp … Piam, Enpaia, Eiboth, Eiae, Sabaoth, (11) open (?) to me (bis), ye great gods who shine with the sun, let my eyes be opened to the (12) light, and let me see the god who inquires to-day, hasten (bis) for the protection. (13) Ablanathanalba, the mighty god, Marara, Atone, Abeiath, (14) N …. Senen(?), [Psh]oi, Zatraperkemei, Osiris,(15) Lilam is his name. Open to me (bis), ye great gods, let my eyes be opened to the light, (16) and let me see the god who inquires to-day. Open to me (bis). I cast the fury on you (plur.) of the great (bis) god, (17) …. whose might is great (?),

who lives for ever, give power to the name (?) (18) …….. the name of the god (?) ……. open to me (bis), (19) ye great [gods] who shine with the sun, let [my eyes] be opened [to the light, and let] me (20) [see the god] who answers to-day, hasten (bis) … times …’

A spell for bringing a woman out of her house.
You take a ….(2) of a wild she-cat; you dry it; you take a heel-tendon (?) [of a (?)…. which has been (?)] (3) drowned; you fashion a ring the body (? bezel) of which is variegated (?) with gold [in the form of two (?)] (4) lions, their mouths being open, the face of each being turned to the other; you put some … its face (?). (5) If you wish to bring a woman to you at any time, you place the ring on the upper part of a lamp, (6) which is lighted, you say, ‘Bring N. daughter of N. to this place (7) in which I am, quickly in these moments of to-day.’ Then she comes at once.

To cause a woman to love her husband
Pods of acacia, pound with honey, anoint your phallus with it (11) and lie with the woman.

To Cause a Woman to Love Sex
Foam of a stallion’s mouth. Anoint your phallus with it and lie with the woman.

A spell to bring [a woman] to a man (and ?) to send dreams, otherwise said, to dream dreams, also.
(A line of symbols or secret signs.) (3) You write this on a rush-leaf and you place (it) under your head; you go to sleep; then (4) it makes dreams and it sends dreams. If you will do it to send dreams, you put it (the leaf) on the mouth of a mummy. (5) It brings a woman also; you write this name on the rush-leaf with the blood of a …. or a hoopoe (?); (6) and you put the hair of the woman in the leaf, and put it on the mouth of the mummy; and you write on the earth with this name, saying: ‘Bring (7) N. daughter of N. to the house in the sleeping-place in which is N. son of N.’ (8) Now it is also an *agogimon (*agogimon – a binding spell that leads the victim to the practitioner).


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