Mythical Wednesday: Abracadabra
September 5, 2012 2 Comments
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;
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.