Also Abracax, Abrasax, Abanathabla and Ablathanabla.
A mystical word, probably of Gnostic or Kabbalistic origins, which conveys gematrically the number 365 and is connected with the solar cycle. The word is also associated with the highest Gnostic deity, represented by the image of a man with the head of a cock and serpents for feet, holding a shield and whip. The image is often found on ancient gems or stones of Basilidian origin, that were commonly used as amulets. These were inscribed with bizarre symbols and formulas and were called Abrasax as well.
The Gnostics, a Basilidian sect of the 2nd century, claimed Abraxas as their supreme god, and said that Jesus Christ was only a phantom sent to earth by him. They believed that his name contained great mysteries, as it was composed of the seven Greek letters that formed the number 365, which is also number of days in a year. Abraxas, they thought, had under his command 365 gods, to whom they attributed 365 virtues, one for each day.
"Abrasax represented the 365 Aeons or emanations from the First Cause, and as a Pantheus, i.e. All-God, he appears on the amulets with the head of a cock (Phoebus) or of a lion (Ra or Mithras), the body of a man, and his legs are serpents which terminate in scorpions, types of the Agathodaimon. In his right hand he grasps a club, or a flail, and in his left is a round or oval shield." (E. A. Wallis Budge's Amulets and Talismans)
Ancient mythologists placed Abraxas among the Egyptian gods. Abraxas was also the Persian sun god, and in Syria he was a form of Iao (aspect or name for Yahveh, Yahweh, or Jehovah). It is said that the name was created to replace the unmentionable name of the Supreme Being.
Other occultists, mainly demonologists, thought of Abraxas as a demon, with similar appearance to the Gnostic god of the same name (the head of a king and serpents forming his feet, with a whip in his hand). It was very common for the gods and goddesses of pagan religions and heretic cults to be lessen to the status of demons by Christian writers. In fact, deities of heretic religions were the main source for Christian demons.
"A god in certain Asian theogonies. From his name is derived the magical word Abracadabra. He is represented on amulets as having the head of a cock, the feet of a dragon, and a whip in his hand. Demonologists have made him a demon with the head of a king and with serpents for his legs. The Egyptian Basilides, second-century heretics, looked upon him as their supreme god. Finding that the seven Greek letters contained in his name amounted to 365, the number of days in the year, they placed at his command several spirits who presided over the 365 heavens and to whom they attributed 365 virtues, one for each day. The Basilides also said that Jesus Christ, Our Savior, was but a benevolent spirit sent to earth by Abrasax. They deviated from the doctrine of their leader." (Colin de Plancy, 'Dictionnaire Infernal', 1863)
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