Isis - Isis the Prophetess to Her Son Horus

Isis the Prophetess to Her Son Horus

From the Codex Marcianus, 11th century

Attributed to Zosimos of Panoplis, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt c. 300 CE

From a series of Greek fragments which were collected and preserved within the Codex Marcianus. Although the text below serves as a preface for a series of archaic, metallurgic recipes, the narrative itself is alchemical in nature.

Isis the Prophetess to her son Horus: “You decided my son, to set out and go to battle with the infidel Typhon, for the throne of your father. Myself, I went to Hermopolis, city of the sacred arts of Egypt. I stayed there some time. In the course of events and the necessary revolution of the spheres, and after a certain passing of the kairoi, one of the angels who reside in the first firmament saw me from above and wanted to unite with me. He advanced, intending to arrive at his goal, but I refused to yield, wanting to learn from him the preparation of gold and silver. When I questioned him, he told me that he was not permitted to explain in this regard, in view of the high importance of these mysteries, but that the following day, a greater angel, the angel Amnael would come and would be able to provide me with the answer to the question.

He told me that Amnael would carry a sign on his head and would display a small vase that was not covered with pitch, rather, full of transparent water. He would be able to reveal the truth.

Next day, before the sun was neared its course, the angel Amnael appeared, greater than the first. Taken by the same desire with my regard, he descended towards me. He did not stay immobile, but hastened to where I held myself. And I, I did not stop asking him the question.

And when he delayed to answer, I did not yield a bit. But I resisted his desire until he let me see the sign which he had on his head and transmitted to me without reserve and with sincerity the mysteries that I sought.

At last, he showed me the sign and began the revelation of the mysteries. Offering oaths, he expressed himself this way: “I adjure you to heaven, earth, light, and darkness. I adjure you by fire, water, air, and earth. I adjure you by the height of the heaven, by the depth of the earth and of Tartaros. I adjure you by Hermes, by Anubis, by the roaring of Kerberos, by the serpent who guards the temple. I adjure you by the Ferry and by the Boatman of the Acheron. I adjure you by the Three Fates, by the Furies, and by the Sword.”

After all these oaths, he demanded that I communicate nothing to anyone whatever except my beloved and legitimate son, so that you might be he and he you. So then, observe in passing, ask a certain laborer, the farmer Acharantos [or Achaab] and learn from him what is sown and what is harvested, and you will learn from him that the man who sows wheat also harvests wheat, and the man who sows barley also harvests barley. Learn to comprehend the whole fabrication, demiourgia, and generation of things and know that it is the condition of man to engender a man, of a lion to engender a lion, of a dog to engender a dog. One must stay with existing nature and the matter one has in hand in order to prepare things. Nature rejoices in nature, that which is engendered against the order of nature cannot subsist. Just as I said before, wheat creates wheat, a man begets a man and thus gold will harvest gold, like produces like. Now I have manifested the mystery to you. Now realize the mystery, my son, the drug, the elixir of the widow."

The adepts having participated in the divine power, and having recourse to divine assistance, clarified by virtue of the question of Isis: they must make preparations with certain metallic minerals, without using other substances. Now the mystery has been revealed.

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Note: elixir of the widow = pharmakon te ̄s che ̄ras