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Category: Wax Figures

The Names of Apep

“But among the beings whom the deceased wished to avoid in the underworld were the beings who “lay snares, and who work the nets, and who are fishers,” and who would draw him into their nets.

It seems as if it were absolutely necessary that he should fall in with these beings and their nets, for a whole chapter of the Book of the Dead was written with the view of enabling him to escape from them unharmed; the god their leader is called “the god whose face is behind him,” and “the god who hath gained the mastery over his heart.”

To escape from the net which was worked by “the fishers who lay snares with their nets and who go round about in the chambers of the waters,” the deceased had to know the names of the net, and of the ropes, and of the pole, and of the hooks, and of each and every part of it; without this knowledge nothing could save him from calamity.

We unfortunately understand very few of the allusions to mythological events which are contained in the names of the various parts of the machinery which work the net, but it is quite certain that they have reference to certain events in the lives of the gods who are mentioned, and that these were well known to the writers and readers of religious texts.

From the above descriptions of the means whereby the deceased made his way through the gates and the halls of the underworld and escaped from the fowler and his net, it will be readily understood that the knowledge of the name alone was, in some cases, sufficient to help him out of his difficulties; but in others it was necessary to have the name which was possessed of magical power inscribed upon some object, amulet or otherwise.

Moreover, some gods and devils were thought to have the power to assume different forms, and as each form carried with it its own name, to have absolute power over a god of many forms it was necessary to know all his names.

Thus in the “Book of Overthrowing Âpep” (Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu, col. xxiii. 1. 6. (Archæologia, vol. LII)) we are told not only to make a wax figure of the monster, but also to write his name upon it, so that when the figure is destroyed by being burnt in the fire his name also may be destroyed; this is a striking example of the belief that the name was an integral part of the economy of a living creature.

But Âpep possessed many forms and therefore many names, and unless he could be invoked by these names he still had the power to do evil; the above-mentioned book (ibid., col. xxxii. 1. 13 f) therefore supplies us with a list of his names, among which occur the following:—

“Tutu (i.e., “Doubly evil one”), Hau-hra (i.e., “Backward Face”), Hemhemti (i.e., “Roarer”), Qetu (i.e., “Evil-doer”), Âmam (i.e., “Devourer”), Saatet-ta (i.e., “Darkener of earth”), Iubani, Khermuti, Unti, Karauememti, Khesef-hra, Sekhem-hra, Khak-ab, Nâi, Uai, Beteshu, Kharebutu “the fourfold fiend,” etc.

All these names represent, as may be seen from the few of which translations are given, various aspects of Âpep, the devil of thunder, lightning, cloud, rain, mist, storm, and the like, and the anxiety to personify these so that the personifications might be attacked by means of magical ceremonies and words of power seems positively childish.”

E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic, London, 1901. P. 170-2.

More on Wax Figurines in Magic

The art of making such figures King James I. attributes to the “Divell,” and says in describing the things which witches are able to “effectuate by the power of their master (the following words are put into the mouth of Epistemon in Dæmonologie, in Forme of one Dialogue, London, 1603, Second Booke, Chap. V. pp. 44, 45)”:—

“To some others at these times hee teacheth, how to make pictures of waxe or clay: That by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the name of, may be continually melted or dried away by continuall sicknesse. . . .

They can bewitch and take the life of men or women, by roasting of the pictures, as I spake of before, which likewise is verie possible to their Maister to performe, for although (as I said before) that instrument of waxe have no vertue in that turne doing, yet may hee not very well, even by the same measure that his conjured slaves, melts that waxe at the fire, may hee not, I say at these same times, subtily, as a sprite, so weaken and scatter the spirites of life of the patient, as may make him on the one part, for faintnesse, so sweate it out the humour of his bodie: And on the other parte, for the not concurrence of these spirites, which causes his digestion, so debilitate his stomacke, that this humour radicall continually sweating out on the one part, and no new good sucke being put in the place thereof, for lacke of digestion on the other, he at last shall vanish away, even as his picture will die at the fire?

And that knavish and cunning workeman, by troubling him, onely at sometimes, makes a proportion, so neere betwixt the working of the one and the other, that both shall end as it were at one time.”

Thus we have seen that the belief in the efficacy of wax figures is at least six thousand years old, and judging from passages in the works of modern writers its existence is not unknown in our own country at the present time.

E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic, London, 1901. Pp. 100-2.

On Nectanebus, the Last Native King of Egypt, BC 318

“But of all the Egyptians who were skilled in working magic, Nectanebus, the last native king of Egypt, about B.C. 318, was the chief, if we may believe Greek tradition.

According to Pseudo-Callisthenes, and the versions of his works which were translated into Pehlevi, Arabic, Syriac, and a score of other languages and dialects, this king was famous as a magician and a sage, and he was deeply learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.

He knew what was in the depths of the Nile and of heaven, he was skilled in reading the stars, in interpreting omens, in casting nativities, in telling fortunes, and in predicting the future of the unborn child, and in working magic of every kind, as we shall see; he was said to be the lord of the earth, and to rule all kings by means of his magical powers.

Whenever he was threatened with invasion by sea or by land he succeeded in destroying the power of his enemies, and in driving them from his coasts or frontiers; and this he did by the following means.

If the enemy came against him by sea, instead of sending out his sailors to fight them, he retired into a certain chamber, and having brought forth a bowl which he kept for the purpose, he filled it with water, and then, having made wax figures of the ships and men of the enemy, and also of his own men and ships, he set them upon the water in the bowl, his men on one side, and those of the enemy on the other.

He then came out, and having put on the cloak of an Egyptian prophet and taken an ebony rod in his hand, he returned into the chamber, and uttering words of power he invoked the gods who help men to work magic, and the winds, and the subterranean demons, which straightway came to his aid.

By their means the figures of the men in wax sprang into life and began to fight, and the ships of wax began to move about likewise; but the figures which represented his own men vanquished those which represented the enemy, and as the figures of the ships and men of the hostile fleet sank through the water to the bottom of the bowl, even so did the real ships and men sink through the waters to the bottom of the sea.”

E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic, London, 1901. Pp. 91-2.

Egyptian Magic 101: Step-by-Step Instructions

“In another part of the work, after a series of curses which are ordered to be said over Âpep, the rubric directs that they shall be recited by a person who hath washed himself and is ceremonially clean, and when this has been done he is to write in green colour upon a piece of new papyrus the names of all the fiends who are in the train of Âpep, as well as those of their fathers, and mothers, and children.

He must then make figures of all these fiends in wax, and having inscribed their names upon them, must tie them up with black hair, and then cast them on the ground and kick them with the left foot, and pierce them with a stone spear; this done they are to be thrown into the fire.

More than once is it said, “It is good for a man to recite this book before the august god regularly,” for the doing of it was believed to give great power “to him, both upon earth and in the underworld.”

Finally, after the names of Âpep are enumerated, he who would benefit by the knowledge of them is bidden to “make the figure of a serpent with his tail in his mouth, and having stuck a knife in his back, cast him down upon the ground and say, “‘Âpep, Fiend, Betet.’”

Then, in order to destroy the fiends who are in the train of Âpep, other images or figures of them must be made with their hands tied behind them; these are to be called “Children of inactivity.”

The papyrus then continues, “Make another serpent with the face of a cat, and with a knife stuck in his back, and call it ‘Hemhem‘ (Roarer).

Make another with the face of a crocodile, and with a knife stuck in his back, and call it ‘Hauna-aru-her-hra.’

Make another with the face of a duck, and with a knife stuck in his back, and call it ‘Aluti.’

Make another with the face of a white cat, and with a knife stuck in his back, and tie it up and bind it tightly, and call it ‘Âpep the Enemy.’”

Such are the means which the Egyptians adopted when they wanted to keep away rain and storm, thunder and lightning, and mist and cloud, and to ensure a bright clear sky wherein the sun might run his course.”

E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic, London, 1901. Pp. 82-4.

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