Dream Magic from the Greek Magical Papyri

in #occult2 years ago

A couple weeks ago I posted that I would be trying out some dream magic from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM). There are quite a few dream oracle spells in the PGM, so I took some time to sort through them to figure out what they have in common and which would be the easiest to perform.

A few of the dream oracle spells involve working with Isis and Bes. These were more complicated and looked like they would need more tools and ingredients. I finally settled on adapting one of the tinfoil based spells, which I reproduced below.

This spell ended up being very effective. I performed the ritual and immediately went to bed around 11:00pm without talking to anybody, not even my cat. At around 1:30am, my cat woke me up. I had been having some really intense dreams and was able to recall and record four of them, which I have been trying to interpret as an answer to my question. This isn't very straightforward, of course, because they are dreams, and dreams can be weird.

I would like to hear if this ritual is effective for anybody else, so I'm sharing a picture of the single-use dream talisman I created and the ritual I ended up using. Try it out and see!


Ritual to Request a Dream Oracle

This ritual is based on the request for a dream oracle outlined in the Greek Magical Papyri, PGM VII.740-55. The goal is to specifically invoke a dream to help address a specific issue. Results and queries should be recorded in the magician's dream journal. The importance of a dream journal cannot be overemphasized.

Preparation and Materials

To prepare for this ritual, you should keep yourself ritually pure for three days. What this means probably differs from person to person. This may mean that you fast, or that you avoid specific activities, or that you engage in daily prayer and meditation. In addition, you will want the following materials.

  • Tin or aluminum foil (The PGM specifies tinfoil, but aluminum is far easier to get and should make a suitable substitute.)
  • A copper stylus or permanent marker
  • A censer and charcoal for burning incense
  • Frankincense resin
  • Freshly laundered sheets

Writing on the Foil

On the foil, write the following with the marker or stylus.



Around the writing, draw a crown of myrtle similar to this.


Ritual Execution

The ritual prayer should happen just before you go to bed. Make sure that you also change your sheets and have a fresh pillowcase.

  1. Light the charcoal in the censer and burn frankincense.

  2. Open with a prayer of invocation.

  3. Perform the sevenfold breath.

  4. Put more frankincense on the charcoal and incense the piece of foil prepared earlier. Move it in a clockwise direction only. You can chant the formula written on the foil to enter the proper trance state.

  5. Recite the following while incensing the foil:

    Lords, gods, reveal to me concerning NN tonight, in the coming hours. Emphatically I beg, I supplicate, I your devoted and enthroned servant, ZZ.

    (NN is the subject you wish to receive an oracle for, and ZZ is your name or magical name.)

  6. Close with a prayer of thanks.

  7. Immediately go to bed without speaking to anybody. Put the foil under your pillow or in your pillowcase.

  8. Go to sleep.

The myrtle crown image is from Wikimedia.

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Very interesting. I think I'll try a customized version of this myself. I cannot sincerely refer to myself as a servant of any gods, and there are a couple other things I would personally change, but I could definitely utilize the general structure, etc... Got family visiting right now but will let you know if I get a chance to try it out. Thanks for sharing this!

I'd love to hear your results! There are other dream oracle methods in the PGM that I also plan to try, but they are a little more work. Now that I've had success with the really easy one, I am going to try working with some of the more complicated ones.

The PGM is pretty confused about the gods. Sometimes they are treated like things to be venerated, and other times they are treated like spirits to be commanded and controlled. I am sure whatever alternate you come up with will be a good one.


I will be giving this a go. So excited to have you on Nox Mente tomorrow. <3

I'm really looking forward to Nox Mente, too!

hello and great article. I was curious if you have had any follow up from this ritual since you posted...any meaningful synchronocities, dreams, etc? cheers, and thanks again for publishing this

Hi, check out my appearance on Nox Mente for more discussion of this ritual and its results.

Hello, and thank you! The dreams that I had just after the ritual were certainly significant. I have not noticed an increase in synchronicities since that first night, though I have been given a lot to think about.

My impression from the dream oracle is that I have work to do, and tackling the problem isn't going to be about sitting around and waiting, but about being active toward seeking a solution. Because of this, I am not expecting further synchronicities or dreams tied to the ritual.

It was a great and lively show! I am not all the way through it quite yet..because ya'll sent me down a rabbit hole with dr. skinners work...WOW(i listen to the show while working)
i appreciate your easy language and no-frills or shall i say no hot-topic dress code way of being. i look forward to checking out the podcast too. thank you!

Thank you! I really hope you enjoy the podcast. We try to keep things casual and down to earth. I'm pretty sure we succeed about 13% of the time. Dive in and join us!

Interesting - thanks for the reply. I'll take a listen to your interview you too. I believe I'm talking to Jerry and company in May - I really like the format of their program, and the goal to attempt to make some sense of the collective unconscious. thanks again!

How can this be from the Greek anything! when you need to use materials that did not exist in ancient times - especially the foil, of either kind.

Well, it's obviously an adaptation. The PGM doesn't give complete rites most of the time, so you gotta take what you can get. The phrase for "tin foil" is "πτύχιον κασσιτέρινον" and is found at PGM VII.740. I am not a scholar, so I'm relying on translations from others. Betz translates it "tin foil" and Preisendanz translates it as "zinneres Täfelchen." "πτύχιον" means a tablet that can be folded, so a foldable piece of tin. Why not tin foil?

I went with aluminum because I didn't have any tin handy and I was on a deadline. In any case, it worked. I'm pretty happy with it the results and feel like experiments like this can help others put the PGM to good use. Here is a screenshot of the original Koine in case you want to translate it yourself.

Screenshot from 2018-03-27 10-07-22.png