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"Delphic Oracle" Painting by Heinrich Leutemann. Image source: art-prints-on-demand.com

Spells, Charms, Erotic Dolls: Love Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean

It was a well-kept secret among historians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the practice of magic was widespread in the ancient Mediterranean. Historians wanted to keep the activity...
Kings' Fairy Tale, 1909, by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

The Lost Charms and Incantations That Molded Celtic Reality

Since men and woman have been capable of making vocal sounds, incantations have been floated on airwaves by enchanters, who whispering charms, spells in rituals, hymns and prayers, invoked curses,...
The Gospel of Satan: Grand Grimoire is One of the Creepiest Medieval Manuscripts Out There!

The Gospel of Satan: Grand Grimoire is One of the Creepiest Medieval Manuscripts Out There!

The Grand Grimoire, sometimes referred to as the ‘Red Dragon’ or the ‘Gospel of Satan’, is a medieval grimoire believed to possess immense powers. According to legend, it was written by an apocryphal...
Collection of Egyptian Busts and Shabtis, design by Anand Balaji

Nefertiti and the Perfect Serenity of Death: Mesmeric Shabtis of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun —Part II

Archeological records and a trove of recovered specimens inform us that shabtis (funerary figurines) produced from different materials were placed in the tombs of Eighteenth Dynasty Pharaoh...
Collection of Egyptian Shabtis, design by Anand Balaji

Deputies of the Dead from Amarna to Thebes: Mesmeric Shabtis of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun—Part I

Among the most important items that made it into the crypts of both kings and commoners alike were shabti figurines that served to ensure that the Afterlife was one long holiday for their masters...
Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji

Life after Life: Guidebook to Conquering Dangerous Demons and Dark Waters in Duat – Part II

One of the pivots for the successful implementation of ‘heka’, the ancient Egyptian term for magic, was words – both spoken and written – and the latter was considered the most powerful form. Scores...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji

Life after Life: In the Quest for Eternity, Death is Only the Beginning – Part I

The ancient Egyptians took great care to prepare for the Afterlife. In fact, they were so meticulous about getting every minute detail in order, that to us they come across as having been obsessed...
Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Usually, the Empress of the Han Dynasty was invincible, untouchable, and protected by the law more than anyone else. However, in the case of Empress Chen of Wu, the accusation of practicing black...
Friedrich Paul Thumann, (1834-1908), "Cupid (Eros) and Psyche."

Four Ways to Love: How the Ancient Greeks Used Magic to Fulfil Hopes, Dreams, and Desires

For the ancient Greeks, 'love' was categorized into distinct words, each representing a different kind of infatuation; which is considerably different from our ideas of generalizing all aspects and...
Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Many old spells have been lost or forgotten over the years, but careful readers of medieval books can still recognize some of them tucked within old tomes. There is a spell from a 10th-century book...
How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

Though it may seem as if Halloween is a modern con trick designed to get us spending our hard-earned cash on an American celebration, this is not the case. In fact, dressing up, knocking on neighbors...
Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires

Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires

Grimoires are books containing magic spells and instructions for the making of amulets and talismans, but some of them also contained directions on how to summon and control demons. Grimoires have...
Newly translated Egyptian papyrus reveals evil spells of coercion, love incantations and healing recipes

Newly Translated Egyptian Papyrus Reveals Evil Spells of Coercion, Love Incantations and Healing Recipes

Some ancient Egyptian papyri have recently been translated and were found to be magic incantations intended to cast love spells, treat disease and force people to do the bidding of the person casting...
From Mal Corvus Witchcraft & Folklore artifact private collection owned by Malcolm Lidbury.

Weird Witch Bottles, Historic Efforts to Ward Off Evil Spells and Witchcraft

Witch bottles (known also as ‘spell bottles’) are apotropaic devices (things believed to have the power to avert evil influences). These objects are believed to protect their owners from the negative...
Person holding an ancient grimoire

Magic of the Ancients: Five Incredible Texts of Spells, Curses, and Incantations

As long as humanity has had beliefs in a higher power, the use of magic, spells, curses, and incantations have featured widely across cultures. A number of influential texts or ‘grimoires’ (textbooks...

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