TIDBITS - Abraxas


This one gets a little convoluted folks. Abraxas was a Gnostic
god and gnosticism was a religious movement of late antiquity
which can be traced back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. To some
he was a favorite deity, to others he was a demon. The Greek
letters of his name–abraxas–each had a numerical equivalent and
when these numerical equivalents were added up, they totaled
365…which…obviously…also equaled the amount of days in the
solar year.

Abraxas was also the name given to the spirits which emanated
from the supreme being. Each of these spirits inhabited its own
heaven and each heaven followed a hierarchal series wherein the
heaven beneath the one above it was also slightly inferior in
quality to the one more highly ranked. You all following this?
You all wondering what this has to do with jewelry? Hmmm? Ahh…
patience my friends. It’ll all make sense in a minute.

Now then…here we have a most unorthodox god–his followers
were considered heretics–who had within the very structure of
his name, enormous significance. How is this guy best used? Aw
heck folks…an amulet would be a great idea. Great magical
powers were attributed to Abraxas, and so symbols of his image
were engraved upon amulets and worn to protect against untold

Abraxas was etched upon various semi-precious stones, enhancing
the magical quality of those stones and giving the wearer an
extra level of protection against diseases, and evil spirits, and
probably also evil thoughts and wishes slung in their direction
by untold enemies. They didn’t have guns yet in them thar
days…nor did they have nerve gases or atom bombs…but by
Jove…they had amulets and they had Abraxas…and when you’ve
got that you need little else.

Abraxas and the amulets upon which he was etched lasted well into
the Roman Empire. So widespread was his popularity folks, that a
whole enterprise was devoted to the manufacturing of the amulets
the populace clearly needed. It’s even quite possible that an
elder of the Roman Empire existed by the name of Benjaminus
Markus, clearly and ancestral forerunner to “moi”, who probably
ran a factory called Tylerus-Adamus, which made the very amulets
which protected the citizenry of the day from untold misfortunes.
Who’s to say it ain’t so? Huh?

Of course, amulets with engravings of Abraxas were not the only
amulets around. At one end of the spectrum was Isis, who had her
own amulets…and on the other end of the spectrum were owners of
racehorses…who had their own amulets which assured success at
the track. Now then…for you folks who like to frequent Belmont,
and Saratoga, and other famous tracks…for you folks who’d like
a bit more control over chance…why not give your favorite
jeweler a call…and see if he’s got anything on hand that you
could wear around your neck, or on your finger…
something…anything…that would ensure that horse came in first
instead of last. If you can’t find a jeweler that has resources
for magical amulets…well…as a pure act of altruism…let me
know and I’ll see if I can help.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.

Take care,
Benjamin Mark

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