As I mentioned yesterday, I was able to have my rather low-key ritual reading of All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power last night, and it was an interesting experience in so many respects. It’s amazing how caught up in the story I got, and how much I had forgotten was in it…re-reading it, there were moments of suspense in it that I honestly wasn’t expecting, and shouldn’t have had! (But then again, I’ve not been firing on all mental cylinders lately in general…!?!) Perhaps I was so caught up in mythic time and “suspension of disbelief” that in a strange way, I really had forgotten what I’d written and it was as if it was new to me, despite the fact that I have a pretty good memory most of the time. Interesting!
I had some dreams in the late afternoon when I had a nap that involved looking at the book and choosing some sections or letters out of it…I wasn’t exactly sure which ones in the aftermath of it, but I have been thinking about ways to symbolize the Tetrad in shorthand apart from their sigil, and possible technologies to make such things portable and usable in rituals elsewhere, etc. More on that as it develops…
But, after the two-and-a-half hours it took me to read the book again (like I said, slow reader!), I had a little while and wasn’t sure what else to do. Just reading “something else” wasn’t going to cut it, and I was feeling in a kind of crafty mood, so I looked at the list of things that I’d like to get done soon, and there was a curious matter that caught my eye: “Ephesia Grammata.” While many people familiar with the ancient Mediterranean world’s magical practices will recognize that phrase, something I’m having trouble locating a direct reference to at the moment is the possibility of the usage of the Ephesia Grammata not as voces magicae, or even considering them as individual beings (possibly the Telchines or the Idaean Dactyls), but instead as being used for divination…I’ll have to figure out where I saw that…
Someone commented to me recently that I should do some basic sortilege-based divination on a particular matter I wondered about, and I realized that even though such a system or technology is appealing to me, I didn’t really have one ready to hand. The cartomantic systems I used to use are somewhere in storage, and I haven’t practiced with any of them for a very long time; and as much as I like other sortilege-based systems (e.g. runes, ogam, Hebrew lots, etc.), I don’t practice any of them myself at present. But, I got the idea for several, and thinking I had read that the Ephesia Grammata were used in this manner, I decided to see if I could pursue that.
And, I’ve had some interesting results! Though, the process of “making” them was also rather amusing…
After I read up on them a bit and refreshed my general memory and worked out how I’d like to use the system, I then needed something to write the Ephesia Grammata upon, and little pieces of paper wasn’t going to cut it. I thought that writing them on small pieces of wood would be perfect, but I don’t really have any wood laying around in my room. I looked around for a little while, and thought about it, and then went out to the kitchen and looked in the first of two “junk drawers.” Nothing in the first one–there was a wine cork, which I considered slicing up, but that wouldn’t have been very elegant, I don’t think. So, I looked in the second drawer, and found an odd-shaped piece of wood…and then another of the same shape. I’d need six of them to make a “full set” at this point, and guess what? There were exactly six of those pieces of wood in the drawer! I thus took that as a sign that this was a good thing to do tonight, and took up those pieces of wood and then looked for a bag for them. I set up a small working altar, with four candles, laying on a deerskin, with my Sabazios tile and the tile of Antinous the Navigator (which seemed the most appropriate to me), and also the “Doctor’s Edition” book that I have, which is a kind of potent magical tool/artifact in itself. I wrote each letter out, breathed it six times, thought of the meanings of it, and after I had the full set (placing each one on Sabazios’ hand afterwards), I then placed them onto Antinous the Navigator’s tile in turn and pronounced their names, and then spread them out and repeated the phrase of all their names in sequence several times.
Before I tell you the initial results I had, I should tell you what the six Ephesia Grammata are!
They were said to have been written on the base of Artemis of Ephesus’ statue (hence their name), and that reciting them expelled demons, and carrying them on one’s person was a kind of protective amulet. An interpretation of their meanings comes from the writings of Clement of Alexandria, who quotes from the first-century BCE Pythagorean writer Androcydes’ writings to interpret them as follows:
ΑΣΚΙΟΝ: “shadowless,” thus darkness
ΚΑΤΑΣΚΙΟΝ: “shadowy,” thus brightness
ΤΕΤΡΑΞ: “fourfold,” thus the year/the four seasons
ΑΙΣΙΑ: “right/fitting/auspicious,” and thus Logos
I’m taking these meanings in the following way: “darkness” basically means “no,” “brightness” means “yes” (but not very strongly), “Earth” means there’s a solidity to the question, but probably more nuance is needed; “the year/seasons” means eventually or in time/with time; “Sun” is an unequivocal “YES!”; and “Logos” is sort of “in your mind/your thoughts/you may think so, but not necessarily.” Although other interpretations can be possible in given contexts that are a bit more literal…
The initial results were rather interesting. After mixing them very well outside of the bag, and then putting them in the bag, I mixed them more, and the first question I asked was “Is Antinous my main god?” The answer was ΔΑΜΝΑΜΕΝΕΥΣ, which is pretty much “FUCK YEAH!” I asked a few other questions, including whether or not I’d mastered the Ephesia Grammata system, and I got ΚΑΤΑΣΚΙΟΝ for that. The only “dud” responses to questions I had involved things like saying “Do I have a huge amount of monetary wealth?” (which in the actual fact of my situation at present is “no,” as I have single digits of currency at present), and I got ΔΑΜΝΑΜΕΝΕΥΣ, which I couldn’t really see how it could be true. So, I don’t know…there may still be some bugs to be worked out, but I’m going to keep trying it, and will take the Ephesia Grammata with me along with my other collection of amulets and such, in case their best use is, in fact, as a portable and very powerful protective charm.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if any of you have experimented with the Ephesia Grammata previously in any context, please share your experiences!