Mythical Wednesday: Abracadabra

How many of you thought this was a made up word? I did, but one day I was surfing the internet and found this interesting article;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abracadabra

Abracadabra is a much older term, turning up first in a second-century poem. It was used by the Gnostics, early Christians who placed great stock in esoteric knowledge. The term has been explained as (1) a combination of the Hebrew words ab (“father”), ben (“son”), and ruach acadosch (“holy spirit”); (2) a derivation of the name of one Gnostic leader, Abrasax; or (3) a derivation of Abraxas, a Gnostic word for God, “the source of 365 emanations.” Allegedly the Greek letters for Abraxas add up to 365 when translated according to numerological principles. If you wrote abracadabra on a parchment in a triangular arrangement–

A B R A C A D A B R A

A B R A C A D A B R

A B R A C A D A B

–etc., and hung it around your neck, you’d supposedly be cured of the fever. Words are very powerful. Used for more than communications, words can be used as a focal point for raising energy.

No one is sure as to the origin of the strange word ‘abracadabra’. It is known to have been in use in 4th century Latin but there are several theories that place the derivation before that, including:

Roman sages, notably Serenus Sammonicus, coined the word and devised the repeated word formula in the 2nd century AD.

It being related to another magical word – ‘abraxas’. In the Greek system of alphabetic numerology this word is significant in that it contains letters that add up to 365, the number of days in the year.

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’.

Sadly, none of these theories stands up to close examination and actual documentary evidence is as insubstantial as those fragments of mediaeval paper.

*reference links*

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/abracadabra.html

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1313/whats-the-origin-of-abracadabra-hocus-pocus-and-presto

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

2 Responses to Mythical Wednesday: Abracadabra

  1. I’ve always felt there was a nugget of truth in all legends and heresay.

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