As a former military weapons technician, I want you guys to realize something about how terrifying my homegirl Sinon is in GGO. Pictured here is a PGM Hécate II (I know that in the books, Kawahara-san calls it a PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II, but a light novel author does not a weapons expert make. The Ultima Ratio is sort of a “baby sister” to the Hecate II, and you’re about to read why the Hecate II is a monster by comparison). Let me fill you in on the stats:
Weight - 13.8kg (without optic)
Length - 138cm
Cartridge - .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO)
Muzzle Velocity - 825 m/s
Effective firing range - 1.8km
Maximum firing range - over 2km
This rifle weighs as much as three and a half gallons of water, or your neighbour’s toddler. This rifle is just 20cm shorter than Hirasawa Yui. This rifle fires projectiles that are HALF AN INCH in diameter fast enough to cover two kilometers in just under three seconds.
This rifle is so powerful, that it’s actually considered a war crime to shoot living targets. It is instead used for things like… exploding ordinance from a safe distance, counter-sniping, harassing fire, and making use of high explosive incendiary/armour piercing (HEIAP) ammo to do things like DISABLE VEHICLE ENGINES.
“Prayer to Selene for any spell: ‘Come” to me, O beloved mistress, Three-faced Selene; kindly hear my sacred chants; Night’s ornament, young, bringing light to mortals, O child of morn who ride upon fierce bulls, O queen who drive your car on equal course With Helios, who with the triple forms Of triple Graces dance in revel with The stars. You’re Justice and the Moira’s threads: Klotho and Lachcsis and Atropos Three-headed, you’re Persephone, Megaira, Allekto, many-formed, who arm your hands With dreaded, murky lamps, who shake your locks Of fearful serpents on your brow; who sound The roar of bulls out from your mouths, whose womb Is decked out with the scales of creeping things, I With pois'nous rows of serpents down the back, Bound down your backs with horrifying chains Night-Crier, bull-faced, loving solitude, Bull-headed, you have eyes of bulls, / the voice Of dogs; you hide your forms in shanks of lions Your ankle is wolf-shaped, fierce dogs are dear To you, wherefore they call you Hekate, Many-named, Mene, cleaving air just like Dart-shooter Artemis, Persephone, Shooter of deer, night / shining, triple-sounding, Triple-headed, triple-voiced Selene Triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked, And goddess of the triple ways, who hold Untiring flaming fire in triple baskets, I And you who oft frequent the triple way And rule the triple decades, unto me Who’m calling you be gracious and with kindness Give heed, you who protect the spacious world At night, before whom daimons quake in fear And gods immortal tremble, goddess who Exalt men, you of many names, who hear Fair offspring, bull-eyed, horned, mother of gods And men, and Nature. Mother of all things, For you frequent Olympos, and the broad And boundless chasm you traverse. Beginning And end are you, and you alone rule all. For all things are from you; and in you do All things, Eternal one, come to their end. As everlasting I band around your temples You wear great Kronos’ chains, unbreakable And unremovable, and you hold in Your hands a golden scepter. Letters 'round Your scepter Kronos wrote himself and gave To you to wear that all things stay steadfast: Subduer and subdued, mankind’s subduer, And force-subduer; Chaos, too, you rule. Hail, goddess, and attend your epithets, I burn for you this spice, O child of Zeus, Dart-shooter; heav'nly one, goddess of harbors, Who roam the mountains, goddess of crossroads, I O nether and nocturnal, and infernal, Goddess of dark, quiet and frightful one, O you who have your meal amid the graves? Night, Darkness, broad Chaos: Necessity Hard to escape are you; you’re Moira and Erinys, torment, Justice and Destroyer, And you keep Kerberos in chains, with scales Of serpents are you dark, O you with hair Of serpents, serpent-girded, who drink blood, I Who bring death and destruction, and who feast On hearts, flesh eater, who devour those dead Untimely, and you who make grief resound And spread madness, come to my sacrifices, And now for me do you fulfill this matter.’
Offering for the rite: For doing good, offer storax, myrrh, sage, frankincense, a fruit pit. But for doing harm, offer magical material of a dog and a dappled goat (or in a similar way, of a virgin untimely dead). Protective charm for the rite: Take a lodestone and on it have carved a threefaced Hekate. And let the middle face be that of a maiden wearing horns, and the left face that of a dog, and the one on the right that of a goat. After the carving is done, clean with natron and water, and dip in the blood of one who has died a violent death. Then make a food offering to it and say the same spell at the time of the ritual.“
All these names show up in the PGM You can see Abrasax/Abraxas and IAO on the Gnostic Gems, as well as the Lion-serpent motif. Each of these figures seems to form some kind of demiurgic (in the original sense as divivine craftsman) role, which is to say they are in some sense, a link with the ‘pleromatic’ and provide a fundamental impulse which creates the worlds and spheres we know.
They are in some senses then, a manifestation of the Eternal which gives rise to the phenomenal. The reason certain Gnostic sects thought YHVH to be an ‘evil’ demiurge was that his proclamation that he had created all things was arrogant - i.e, he had forgotten where he had come from. That he was not the Highest, and that He had forgotten his role as a servant of a higher One.
In essence to certain of those gnostic schools, YHVH was ‘a bad copy’.
Abraxas, Iao, and others were the Makers who made the world, and by attcahing and empowering one’s soul to/with them, one could allow the power of the ‘pleromatic’ to enhance one’s words to essentially to rise to become like-unto the thing which brings life to the world, but also to recognise this Life in all things within the created worlds and be able to manipulate it.
The work is recognising that the magician is in fact an immortal daimon, awakening from the false perceptions of the world, and then arising to become as Heraclitus would say ‘a watcher over the quick and the dead’. Empedocles, Parmeneides, all these declared themselves immortal daimons, who thanks to the attachment of their souls to certain deities became ‘children of that deity’.
And that’s the trick, because one can’t go around declaring such things until you’ve done the attaching and deconditioning.
This is delineated very neatly in the Rite of the Headless One. First, you call on that 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 Osonnophris 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.
Then you identify yourself:
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 Pharoah 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 IAŌ; listen to me and turn away this daimon.”
Then you lay down the request:
I call upon you, awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit, AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOCHOU MODORIŌ PHALARCHAŌ OOO. Holy Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon that restrains him, ROUBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNABAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLETH ABRASAX AĒŌŌY; mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him. MABARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH, deliver him, NN, 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, save the soul, 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.”
Again, note the Lord of the Gods, the one whom the winds fear - both gods and winds are natural functions of the kosmos. Without the kosmos there would be no gods, and without the gods, no kosmos.
And yet here is this Headless One, who not only can jerk gods and daimons around as he chooses but he is the one who made all things by command of his voice.
Think about this, beyond the traditional Abrahamic fiat lux. Consider the power of song and word, of evocation, of hieroglyph. Consider the logos of Heraclitus which came after he made enquiry to the oracle inside himself.
“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 it can inseminate it; 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.”
The magician is-as-the-Headless-One, commanding those daimons that afflict the soul (either his own or another’s) to come out, and rather than dismissing them , he commands them to follow him
This motif recurs throughout the PGM - the fact that if you’re tight with someone big and scary, the other folks will do what you say. Which ties into what @bodaciousbanshee and @theheadlesshashasheen were talking about the other day re dealing with deities & daimons that get abusive.
(Which also, incidentally means, that when the magician gives up the appearance of mortality, they may serve in their God-patron’s retinue. And, y’know provide a method of communicating with, and take on the role of that god. Which is why you don’t often get a god but their representative-who-is-as-them so much that there’s literally no difference.
Yeah, I’m looking at you Nazarene. Such a a shame they messed that up for you by misunderstanding. Not your fault, I know)
So, ultimately,going back to the Gnostic-Solar thing, the sun is less the terrestrial sun and more the phosphorescence of the ‘pleromatic’ sun which is why you’ll often see such figure bridge the gap between the known spheres, and what lies beyond.
Not that I’m saying these Names are the same. They’re not (mostly) but they do similar things, kinda - it’s way more complicated obviously, but that’s a brief overview of my take.
“Among the Egyptians herbs are always obtained like this: the herbalist first purifies his own body, then sprinkles with natron and fumigates the herb with resin from a pine tree after carrying it around the place 3 times. Then, after burning kyphi and pouring the libation of milk as he prays, he pulls up the plant while invoking by name the daimon to whom the herb is being dedicated and calling upon him to be more effective for the use for which it is being acquired.”
– Hans Dieter Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri (p.95)
An epithet applied to a range of goddesses and even mortal
women, denoting great beauty. Best known for being given to Hera, who has many
associations with cattle.
Hera Boopis is best known as the Goddess of Argolis. Io was
a priestess of Hera before she was turned into a cow and pursued by Zeus. Hera’s epithet dates back to Homer, and many
scholars believe that she has her origins in a Cow Goddess. Marguerite
Rigoglioso sees a parallel between cow-eyed Hera and the Kemetic HetHert, who
often is depicted as a cow or as cow-headed. Burkert says that Boopis is the
only cow epithet that the Greeks used with Hera, shying away from other
appellations that connected cows with Hera.
Burkert nonetheless lists the “wide, fertile plains with grazing herds
of cattle and cattle sacrifices,” as a part of Hera’s province (pg. 131). Some
believe the epithet is a reference to Hera’s modesty, appropriate to an ancient
Greek woman’s character. For the Boiotians, they often hid the cow-eyed
epithet behind suggestive epithets such as megalophthalmos (“large-eyed”) and
euophthalmos (“gracefully eyed”). Excavations consistently show that her cultus
preferred to sacrifice cattle, particularly in Samos, where there are also
caches of terracotta oxen. Elsewhere Hera is described as being on the plain,
or being the Goddess of the Yoke. And unmarried girls are known colloquially as
“unyoked.” Some scholars believe that the plethora of cow-related terms and in
particular Boopi suggests that Hera is the Cattle-Lady, Bowia, found mentioned
in Linear B.
It isn’t until the Hellenistic Era that we find Hekate
Boopis, and then it is found in the esoteric PGM (IV 2708-2784) which combines
Hekate with Artemis and Persephone. This prayer asks the goddess to grant her
power to a love spell, one which will cause sleeplessness and soul-deep longing
for the magician. Another prayer from the PGM IV (2006-2124) describes drawing
Hekate with three animal heads, including a cow. Other epithets of the Goddess
of Three Ways include two that call her the Bull-Herder.
The epithet was also given to Euryphaessa, the mother of
Helios and Selene.
There is also the cow-eyed nymph, Pluto, who slept with Zeus
and gave birth to the King Tantalos of Lydia.
Artemis too is closely tied to cattle, being the protectress
of herds and having received them as offerings often enough, yet She never
bears this particular epithet. Instead she is Tauropolos (Bull-Herder). We must remember that cattle was precious to
the ancient world, as they provided cheese and meat.
The various Goddesses associated with the Moon were also
associated with cattle, and received them, but again, few of them are
specifically cow-eyed. There are dozens of cattle related epithets and they are
used in preference. Indeed, with the way that Artemis slowly absorbed lunar qualities
(and Hekate too) there’s a possibility that the Moon gave them their
Many scholars view cow-eyed to be formulaic, a means of the
poet to easily modify his performance without having to always write a totally
new descriptor. As a result one often encounters Grey-Eyed Athene, or, in this
case, Cow-Eyed Hera. They were shortcuts for the poet that did not require any
explanation, for the audience was guaranteed to understand it. Sadly, we are
not so steeped in the culture of the ancients as to have that insight. We may
never know just how widespread the epithet boopis was given nor the particulars
of why, but we can learn as much as we are able nonetheless.
Betz, Hans Dieter, ed. The
Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, vol. 1,
Univ. Chicago, 1996.
Bevan, Elinor. Representations of Animals
in Sanctuaries of Artemis and Other Olympian Deities, part 1. BAR, 1986.
Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion.
Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Deuel, Leo and Heinrich Schlieman. Memoirs
of Heinrich Schliemann: a documentary portrait drawn from his autobiographical
writings, letters, and excavation reports. Harper & Row, 1977.
Devereux, George. Dreams in Greek
Tragedy: An Ethno-psycho-analytical Study. Univ. California, 1976.
Farnell, Lewis Richard. The Cults of the
Greek States, Vol. 2. Caratzas, 1896.
Hard, Robin. The Routledge Handbook of
Greek Mythology. Psych, 2004.
Jevons, F.B. “Report on Greek Mythology,” in Folklore, vol. 2 edited by Joseph Jacobs, et al. Folklore Society,
McInerney, Jeremy. The Cattle of the Sun:
Cows and Culture in the World of the Ancient Greeks. Princeton, 2010.
North, John Harry. Winckelmann’s ‘Philosophy
of Art’: a prelude to German Classicism. Cambridge, 2013.
Orlin, Eric, ed. Routledge Encyclopedia
of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Routledge, 2015.
Rigoglioso, Marguerite. The Cult of
Divine Birth in Ancient Greece. MacMillan, 2009.
Throughout the funerary literature of ancient Egypt, from the Pyramid Texts to the Book of the Dead, there is abundant evidence that ancient Egyptians thought that human beings could become deities. Deities were seen as possessing ‘heku’, magic, an aspect of the original creative power that formed the cosmos. Thus, magic was perceived to be an intrinsic part of reality and the divine. The Coffin Texts provide a guide book for the deceased to help her or him retain what magic they already possess and to gain more. Naming is extremely important in this experience and it is the ability to name all the gods and objects encountered that proves one has acquired enough magic to sit with the gods.
“On an unbaked piece of pottery write with a bronze stylus: "Hecate, you, Hecate, triple-formed, since every seal of every [love spell of attraction] has been completed, I adjure you by thc great name of ABLANATHANALBA and by the power of AGRAMARI, because I adjure you, you who possess the fire, ONYR, and those in it, that she, ____ , be set afire, that she come in pursuit of me, ____ , because I am holding in my right hand the two serpents and the victory of IAO SABAOTH and the great name BILKATRI MOPHECHE, who brandishes fire, … that she love me I completely and be dame and on fire for me; aye, and tortured too. I am SYNKOUTOUEL.” [Write] 8 characters Like this: “Grant me, indeed the favor of all, ADONAI”
“Indeed, as Betz continues to explain, the PGM preserves the common folk traditions of the ancient Mediterranean and is a far more accurate representation of the local and household beliefs, practices and cults of the people than any of the state mythologies.
While the major state gods are acknowledged as part of the vast spiritual landscape, they are generally not the deities to whom spells and petitions are directed. The most called upon – and perhaps even patron gods – of the PGM have relatively minor and even adversarial roles in the state religions of late antiquity.
One such example is Typhon who emerges from the PGM as a primordial deity of raw magical force and shares epithets of authority with Apollo. He and Set and the conflated Typhon-Set are far more significant and venerated in the papyri than in Olympic and Osirian myth where they are portrayed as demonized rebels.
Fittingly, the traditional goddess of witchcraft, Hekate, reigns as the supreme female divinity of the papyri – chthonic, celestial and terrestrial, she leads the spirits of the restless dead and is the ancestral mother of all.
There is no ordered pantheon of white-clad aristocratic gods reflecting a stratified society; no, the spiritual landscape of the PGM is one of animated forces, volatile and visceral spirits. It is a landscape of magic and witchcraft, in which the flow of power and information is multi-branched and multi-directional.
Spirits called angelos carry messages and omens from the gods to mankind, while operating spirits, daemons, work on behalf of the magicians and carry messages in the opposite direction – from mankind to the gods and the dead. Needless to say, these terms did not carry with them any sense of morality, a daemon or an angelos is neither good nor evil, as they are rather ambivalent and indifferent to our moral codes.
If there is one take-away from the PGM, it is that spirits are everywhere; they howl and hiss wildly in the wind, they meet us in our dreams, they fuel our passions, protect our homes and inhabit the liminal wilds. Even the spirits of plants must be approached appropriately on the correct day, under the correct moon phase and with the appropriate ritual decorum in order to ensure the magical potency of an herb. The PGM preserves a tradition in which these spirits and gods are invoked, venerated, conjured, petitioned, compelled, bribed and brought into pacts via offerings and potent incantations.Some even require blood sacrifices and mysterious rites performed at riverbanks, crossroads, graveyards and other liminal places under the darkness of night. “
Anyone ever wondering why I find the PGM so important? This is why