Abraxas
(Abrasax, Abraxis)
   Gnostic name for the demigod who rules the 365th (highest and final) aeon, or sphere, ascending to the unknowable God. Christian demonologists put Abraxas in the ranks of DEMONs. Abraxas also was the name of a sun mounting an ouroborus (a snake biting its tail) held by the highest Egyptian goddess, Isis, the creator of the Sun and mistress of all the gods. Isis mythology found its way into Gnosticism. In addition, Abraxas was associated with the Mithraic mystery religion of Persian origin, the chief rival of Christianity in Rome in its first 400 years. As did Gnosticism, Mithraism featured a complex astrology and numerology. Numerical values of Mithra’s and Abraxas’ names each total 365.
   The Gnostic Abraxas created the material world and also had demonic qualities. He is the supreme power of being, in whom light and darkness are both united and transcended. Orthodox Christians viewed Abraxas as a demon. In turn, Abraxas became a favorite deity of heretical sects of the Middle Ages.
   Gnostic talismans made of carved opal show Abraxas as a figure with a human body, the head of a rooster (or occasionally a hawk), and SERPENT legs. His hands hold a shield and a whip, the shield usually inscribed with the name Iao, reminiscent of the Jewish four-letter name of God. He is often mounted on a chariot drawn by four white horses, with both Sun and Moon overhead. The rooster represents wakefulness and is related to the human heart and the universal heart, the Sun. The human torso embodies the principle of logos, or articulated thought. The snake legs indicate prudence. The shield is symbolic of wisdom, the great protector of divine warriors. The whip denotes the relentless driving power of life. The four horses symbolize the four ethers by which solar power is circulated throughout the universe. The seven letters of the name of Abraxas represent the seven creative powers and planetary spheres, or ANGELs, recognized in the ancient world. The letters add up to a numerological value of 365, the number of days and powers of the year.
   Carl G. Jung called Abraxas the “truly terrible one” because of his ability to generate truth and falsehood, good and evil, light and darkness with the same word and in the same deed. In Jungian psychology there is no easy way out of psychic conflict; one must not only fight on the side of the angels but occasionally join the host of the FALLEN ANGELs. According to Jung, fear of Abraxas is the beginning of wisdom, and liberation, or gnosis, is achieved by not resisting.
   FURTHER READING:
   - Hoeller, Stephan A. The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead. Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1982.
   - Hyatt, Victoria, and Joseph W. Charles. The Book of Demons. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
   - The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vols. 1 & 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 1983. Reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1985.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • abraxas — ● abraxas nom masculin Nom générique de la phalène du groseillier. Synonyme de abrasax. ● abraxas (synonymes) nom masculin Synonymes : abrasax ● abrasax ou abraxas nom masculin (grec abraksas) Démiurge du monde inférieur, selon les gnostiques.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Abráxas — Abráxas, ein mystisch theosoph. Wort, das nach Bellermann ägyptischen, nach Grotefend pehlewischen Ursprungs ist. Nach Irenäus nannte der christliche Gnostiker Basilides (um 130) den Inbegriff der 365 Tagesschöpfungen (Himmel oder Geisterreiche) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • abraxas — abráxas s. n. cuvânt mistic la gnostici, scris mai ales pe amulete. (< fr. abraxas) Trimis de tavi, 08.01.2003. Sursa: MDN  ABRÁXAS s.n. (Rar) Cuvânt mistic al gnosticilor, scris mai ales pe amulete. [var. abrasax s.n. / cf. fr. abraxas].… …   Dicționar Român

  • Abraxas — Abraxas, mystisches Wort, das auf geschnittenen Steinen vorkommt, die daher Abraxasgemmen heißen. Nach einigen entsteht der Name A., indem die griechischen Zahlzeichen (α = 1, β = 2, ρ = 100, α = 1, ξ = 60, α = 1, ς = 200, zusammen 365) als… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Abraxas — A*brax as, n. [A name adopted by the Egyptian Gnostic Basilides, containing the Greek letters [alpha], [beta], [rho], [alpha], [xi], [alpha], [sigma], which, as numerals, amounted to 365. It was used to signify the supreme deity as ruler of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abraxas — Abraxas, Wort, durch Zusammensetzung griech. Buchstaben entstanden, deren Zahlenwerth 365 ist, nach Einigen als Messias, nach Andern als Mithras (Sonne) gedeutet; nach Bellermann aus dem ägypt. Abrac u. Sax zusammengesetzt, bedeutet es das heilig …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • abraxas — Cabalistic word, 1738, of uncertain origin …   Etymology dictionary

  • ABRAXAS — (священное слово или «благословенное имя»), каббалистическое слово, выражающее по цифровому значению греч. букв совокупное понятие 365 небесных царств, в к рых, по аналогии с 365 днями в году, проявляется божество. А. служит амулетом… …   Большая медицинская энциклопедия

  • ABRAXAS — ABRAXAS, род бабочек из сем. Geometri dae (пяденицы). Представитель этого рода А. grossulariata L. (крыжовниковая пяденица ■ вредитель крыжовника и смородины) послужил для выяснения механизма наследования пола. Кроме обычных A.… …   Большая медицинская энциклопедия

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