Lilinah's Introduction to Magic
Focus on the Near and Middle East


Chapter 9:
**** MAGIC BOWLS ****


Introduction

Magical bowls are common through the Near East. In many cases they were made to ask for aid from dead. The supplicant or magic worker acting on their behalf, would write a prayer and request for help on a common clay bowl. (see "Dead Letters")

For protection, invocation and prayer was written on the bowl, often with crude stick figure drawings at the bottom of the inside, representing either protective magical spirits or the dangerous spirits from which to be guarded.

The Babylonians commonly inscribed the names of good spirits as well as prayers on shallow clay bowls, often including a crude painting in the center representing the evil spirit in chains. Such bowls were used especially against the Lilim, evil nocturnal female spirits. Then the magical worker would knock a small hole in the bowl and bury it in the floor of the house of the seeker of magical protection. The purpose of knocking the hole in the bowl has been speculated upon. Probably it was to "set" the spell so that it could not be undone.

In later times, magical workers in the Aramaic culture continued to make magic bowls, sometimes complete with crude drawings of themselves working against an "evil" magician.


Jewish Aramaic Bowl Inscription, possibly 6th century CE

A press which subdues demons, devils, satans, idols, evil spirits, impious pebble-charms, familiar-spirits, counter-charms, and male and female liliths which are attached to Adaq the son of Chatoi and Achat the daughter of Chatoi; which are attached to them and which dwell in their archways and multiply upon their thresholds and appear to them in various disguises and strike and cast down and kill. And this press am I pressing upon them during days, during months, during all years, and this day of all days and this month of all months, and this year of all years, and this time of all times. And I am coming and enchanting them in the thresholds of this their house, and I am binding and sealing them. Their doors are bound and all their roof. And this press am I pressing upon them on the authority of these seven words by which heaven and earth are subdued -- on the authority of the first word, Gishmin and Marbil; on the authority of the second word, Gishmin and Marbil; on the authority of the third word, Rachbil; on the authority of the fourth word, Mashbar; on the authority of the fifth word, Morah; on the authority of the sixth word, 'Ardibal; on the authority of the seventh word, Kibshin -- with which I am subduing and . . . through them may all evil spirits, impious pebble-charms, liliths -- male and female -- familiar-spirits, counter-charms, and words be vanquished, and may they not appear to 'Adaq the son of Chatoi and to 'Achat the daughter of Chatoi and to their children, neither in a dream of the night nor in sleep of the day. May they not come near to their right side or to their left side. May they not kill their children. May they not rule over their possessions which they now have or which they will have, from this day and forever. And whoever shall transgress against this press and does not receive these mysterious rites will burst open violently and split in the midst, and the sound of him will resound with the resonance of brass melting in the spheres of heaven, and his dwelling place will be in the seventh pit of the sea, even from this day and forever. Amen. Amen. Selah.

EXCERPTS from another bowl

Wholly bound and sealed and tied in knots and charmed that you go away and be sealed and depart from the house of NN the son of NN and NN the daughter of NN, that there may depart from them all evil liliths, all demons, devils, spells, idols, the vow, the curse, the invocation, evil black-arts, powerful practices, and everything hateful. You are bound with the seven spells and sealed with the seven seals in the names of Eldedabya Abi Ponan, the lord of spoil and curse. I adjure you in the name of the Great Prince that you guard NN the son of NN and NN the daughter of NN from the evil eye and from the mighty satan and from ... and from the many satyrs in the path of the desire of the many, in the name of [insert holy or deity names here]. Amen. Amen, Selah. . .

EXCERPTS from another bowl

. . . I am binding to you and sealing and I am doubly sealing to you the life and the house and the possessions and the bed-room of NN son of NN, in the name of Gabriel and Michael and Raphael, and in the name of the angel 'Asiel and 'Ermes the great Lord and the great 'Abbahu and the great Abraxas, the guardian of good spirits and the destroyer of evil spirits, I entrust to you the life and the house and the possessions of this NN son of NN, and I doubly seal to you the life and the house and the possessions of this NN daughter of NN, that there will not sin against you all evil and all magic circles, all necklace-charms, all invocations, all curses, all shameful losses, all dire sicknesses, all evil satans, all idols, all impious pebble-charms, and all might tormentors which under my own power I send forth from this house in the name of Parnagin the son of Parnagin, before whom the sea trembles and behind whom the mountains tremble, in the names of HH HH, and in the names of Bar-Meshteel, whose ban is invoked and whose guarding no one passes over. Lo, this mystery is for annulling you, mysteries, magic, poisoned water, bowls, knots, vows, necklace-charms, invocations, curses, evil spirits, and impious pebble-charms. And now, demons, demonesses, lilis, liliths, plagues, evil satans, and all evil tormentors that appear -- and all evil 'ZLYNYN -- in the likeness of vermin and reptile, in the likeness of beast and bird, in the likeness of husband and wife, and in every likeness and in all colors, cease and go away from the house, from the dwelling, and from the entire body of this NN son of NN, from his wife NN the daughter of NN, from their sons and daughters, and all the people of their household. Do not injure them with any evil injury, or bewilder them, or scatter them, or sin against them, or appear to them, either in a dream of the night or a slumber during the day, from this day and forever. Amen. Amen. Selah. And I further charge and adjure you. May the Great Prince frighten you away, the breaker of you bone and the remover of your rod. And by the seventy men who grasp the seventy sharp sickles to kill all evil demons and to expel all impious tormentors are they cast prostrate in troops and cast down upon their beds. Amen. Amen. Selah. . .

EXCERPTS from another bowl

Now you are conquered, you are bound, bound, you are bound and sealed in each one of the four corners of his house. . . I am binding you with an evil spell and a strong seal. . . Again, I am binding you with the spell by which are bound the seven stars and the twelve zodiac-signs unto the great day of judgment. . . And you will not sin against NN son of NN and NN daughter of NN, and they will not commit offenses against them, against all the people of the household of NN son of NN, either during the night or during the day, because his house is well-sealed and well-armed and I have surrounded it with a great wall of bronze. I grasp what I search for and I take what I ask for. . .

EXCERPTS from another bowl

. . . Depart! Depart! may he be removed even in the name of Michael and Gabriel the one who [ . . . ] in the name of Sariel, in the name of Saraphiel, Tsuriel, and Sarsamiel and Gadriel, Peniel, Nahriel. And all blast demons and evil harmers whose names are recorded in this bowl and whose names I have not recorded in this bowl. Oh! Oh! Depart! Depart!

SIMPLE FORMULA

(Bound,) Sealed and doubly sealed are the house and threshold/life of (this) NN daughter/son of NN from all evil -list evils here, any number more than 1- so that they/you may not come near to her/him, to her/his house, and to the threshold of NN daughter/son of NN who is sealed with the three signet rings and doubly sealed with the seven seals from -list evils here again-- so that they/you may not come near to her/him, to her/his house, and to the threshold of NN daughter/son of NN. Amen, Amen. Selah

Excerpt from another bowl

. . . They have vowed and performed by the gods of the heavens and the gods of the earth. They have vowed and performed by the male gods and the female Ishtars. They have vowed and performed by the idols and by the Ishtars. They have vowed and performed by NN the daughter of NN the daughter of NN.


Various evils the bowls cite against which they will protect

the chain of iron, the shining star which has fallen and is conquered, the evil chariot, the wound and the darkness, the ban and the bond, the evil king and the seal of the earth, knockings, rites, bands of spirits, howlers, harmers, circle-spirits, monsters, blast-demons, no-good-ones, roof-spirits, anything bad




Around the cornerTo the Next Essay on Magic
Back down the hallTo the Previous Essay on Magic
Way back down the hallTo the Magic Book Index
Back to the gatewayTo the Temple Directory
Send a Message in a BottleSend me e-mail with questions and comments

1997 Lilinah biti-Anat



Hosting by WebRing.