Researchers have deciphered an ancient handbook which reveals a series of spells and invocations.
The book referred to as the ‘Handbook Of Ritual Power’, instructs its readers on the invocation of love spells, exorcisms, and treat ‘black jaundice’, which is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that still exists today.
The book dates back about 1300 years and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. Made of bound pieces of parchment, it is a type of book that researchers commonly refer to as a codex.
“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power” (Brepols, 2014).
“…starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power,” they write. “These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business.”
For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then “drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left.”
Many of the invocations refer to Jesus, and many of the Egyptians of the era were converted Christians, however it is interesting to note that some of the invocations refer to the Sethians, a group who worshipped ‘Seth’, the third son of Adam and Eve. One of the invocations calls “Seth, Seth, the living Christ.”
Another interesting tidbit from the codex is in the opening it refers to a divine being called ‘Baktiotha’, which has researchers puzzled. The lines read, “I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents,” according to the translation. The identity of this being is a complete mystery.