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Abracadabra & Abraxas Formulae

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The Holy Spirit in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God Most High (Hebrew El Elyon) over the universe or over God's creatures, in given contexts. The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruaḥ ha-qodesh) is used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH (רוח יהוה). It literally means "the spirit of holiness." The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshekha, "thy holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ), and ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ) also occur. (When a possessive suffix is added the definite article is dropped.)

אב, בן, רוח הקודש - av, ben, ruach hakodesh - "Father, Son, Holy Spirit".


The exact origin of the word is up for debate, but perhaps one of the oldest records we have of “Abracadabra” being used is a snippet from a Roman sage named Serenus Sammonicus in the 2nd century AD from his Liber Medicinalis 923-941):

'Mortiferum magis est quod Graecis hmitritaion Vulgatur verbis: hoc nostra dicere lingua Non potuere ulli, puto, nec volvere parentes. Inscribes chartae quod dicitur abracadabra, Saepius, et subter repetis, sed detrahe summae, Et magis atque magis desint elementa figuris Singula, quae semper rapies, et cetera figes, Donec in angustum redigatur littera conum: His lino nexis collum redimire memento'.

Transl: 'The malady the Greeks call hemitritaeos is more deadly. None of our ancestors could name this disease in our own language, nor did they feel the need to. On a piece of parchment, write the so-called “abracadabra” several times, repeating it on the line below; but take off the end, so that gradually individual letters, which you will take away each time, are missing from the word. Continue until the (last) letter makes the apex of a cone. Remember to wind this with linen and hang it around the neck. Many people say that the lard of a lion is effective' .

It’s unlikely that Sammonicus Serenus came up with the word on his own and it is thought to have been in use before then. There are a couple of theories as to where it might have ultimately come from. First, it could have been derived from the equally magical word “abraxas” whose letters, in Greek numerology, add up to 365—the number of days in the year. It could be that early sages thought this was a powerful word and somehow created “abracadabra” out of it and turned it into a “cure.”

This amulet, writes Sammonicus Serenus, should be worn around the neck for nine days. On the morning of the tenth day, the patient should rise before dawn and discard the amulet in a flowing river, whereupon he or she will be cured.

“Abracadabra belongs (not sure) to Aramaic, a Semitic language that shares many of the same grammar rules as Hebrew,” says Cohen in “Win the Crowd.” “'Abra' is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew 'avra,' meaning, 'I will create.' While 'cadabra' is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew 'kedoobar,' meaning 'as was spoken.' Together the phrase means, 'I will create as has been spoken'.

The word is of Hebrew or Aramaic origin, being derived either from the Hebrew words 'ab' (father), 'ben' (son), and 'ruach hakodesh' (holy spirit), or from the Aramaic 'avra kadavra', meaning 'it will be created in my words'.

Ha brakha dabra (הברכה דברה) > The blessing (הברכה) has spoken (דברה).

Ha brachah dabarah

Ab Ben Ruach hA CADosh > Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Abracadabra > אברקאדברא

- k'davra avra - "I will create as I speak";

הברכה ודברה - "I will bless, I will speak"; 

According to M-A Ouaknin, Abracadabra is born of confusion between the Dibour and the Amira. Abracadabra literally means 'in his view': "he created as he spoke" (hou bara kémo chedibère).

ABRACADABRA, magic word or formula used mainly in folk medicine, as an incantation against fevers and inflammations. Several origins for the obscure word have been proposed, most of them regarding it as a derivative of an Aramaic demon-name, now unrecognizable. It occurs first in the writings of Severus Sammonicus, a gnostic physician of the second century C.E. In the same manner as Abracadabra, the name of Shabriri, the demon of blindness, and other magic words were used in Jewish magic, incantations, and amulets. An amulet still in use among some Oriental Jews utilizes a talmudic formula:

(Pes. 112a; Av. Zar. 12b)



Abraxas (Greek: Αβραξας), Abrasas, or Abracax, is a Gnostic term used notably by Basilides, which refers to the 365 emanations of the supreme god. It would indeed altered transcription of a Hebrew original cryptogram, the interpretation refers to isopséphique 365. The term is found engraved on amulets or talismans called abraxas by métonymie. For Orthodox Christians the term refers to a démon. (Wikipédia).

Several interpretations of the term exist:

The Basilidians, heretics of the second century, would have used the term to refer to all the eons, divine emanations, types of spirits or angels, who presided over the 365 heavens. Others interpret the term as the supreme god, but it is not consistent with the doctrine of Basilides.

The term abraxas composed of seven letters referenced in the Gnostic system to the seven planets (and by extension to the seven archangels, the seven deadly sins, the seven days, etc.) broken down according to the Greek numbering system (A = 1, B = 2 R = 100, X = 60, S = 200), and then added together, the seven letters of the word gives the number of days of the annual cycle, or 365; By a similar logic to that of the Great Year, it could be the symbol of all of Creation, the cosmos and Knowledge (gnosis).

According to St. Jerome, Abraxas would correspond to the mystical and hidden name of Mithras or the Sun, the sum of whose letters in Greek (αβραξας) shows the number corresponding to 365 days of a solar year.

According to Jacques Basnage De Beauval, Abraxas originated from Egyptians, as we found many amulets on which Harpocrates is depicted sitting on his lotus with a whip in his hand and the word Abraxas.It would be a cryptogram of Hebrew origin, originally written on two lines ABRA / XAS, which read in Hebrew boustrophedon, are ARBA / XAS, that is to say, "God (ARBA) protects (XAS)".

(NB: This posts is subject to be updated.)