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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Abraxas

In Gnosticism, the name of a god, in charge of the various heavens. It is also encountered as a Kabalistic word which has been used as a charm. Helena P. BLAVATSKY considered it to be of Gnostic origin. She traces it to BASILIDES of Alexandria who used it as a title for a Divinity. She further considered Abraxas to be a counterpart of the Hindu ABHIMANIN and BRAHMA combined (TG, 4).

The theosophical writer G. R. S. MEAD suggested that Abraxas was a mystery-designation of the god who combined in himself the whole power of the seven planets, and also of the year of 365 days, the sum of the number value of the name working out to 365. This mysterious Being, he claimed, was the “Year,” but the Year as the Eternity (Hermes Trismegistus, vol. I, p. 402).

Abraxas was usually depicted with a human body, the head of a hawk and legs of serpents; he was sometimes shown with a knife in one hand and a shield in the other. Although the Ancient Egyptians depicted Horus as a hawk-headed human, it seems probable that in early times and in his purest significance, he was a sun god.

P.S.H.

 

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