Friday, August 30, 2013
Abraxax is actually the more "official" spelling, but I've seen this version more often in baby name resources. This name doesn't have a meaning in the traditional sense. It has more of a mystical meaning. The seven letters that make up the name are meant to represent the seven planets known in antiquity: the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Historians have proposed other etymologies but none of them had any proof to back up their claims.
Abraxas (pronounced "ah-BRAKS-us") is a Gnostic name that appears in many ancient texts. I should probably explain what "Gnostic" means, otherwise the rest of this profile will not make much sense. Gnosticism is an ancient belief system that states that in order to be fully embraced by God's world, you must reject the material world. Gnostics were dedicated to the search for wisdom and philanthropy. And they were most certainly spellcasters. I'll be honest, I'm having a hard time understanding Gnosticism, so please bear with my broad, sweeping generalizations.
Abraxas is a complicated figure whose image has changed with the passing of time. A lot of what we know about him was recorded through the filter of Christian heresy hunters who, as we all know, were not always right. But as far as we can tell, originally he is the head of 365 other spiritual beings worshipped in Gnosticism. He was oftentimes depicted as a half-man/half-basilisk creature, which we know because of all the ancient amulets with his image engraved on them.
In more recent years, Abraxas has been interpreted as a deity that mixes both God and the Devil into one being. That was the opinion of psychologist Carl Jung, which he recorded in his book Seven Sermons to the Dead. In other texts Abraxas is an Aeon, meaning that he's an emanation of the superior God. In medieval demonology he is a demon. Sadly, this is probably how a lot of people are introduced to this name.
Interestingly, some believe that this name is the origin of the famous magic word Abracadabra. Abraxas is also mentioned in several works of fiction like Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and Demian by Herman Hesse. It's the name of Draco Malfoy's grandfather in the Harry Potter series.
Abraxas has never been a common name in the United States. I can't decide if that's because of the "devil" tag or because of unfamiliarity. It's probably the later. I don't think it's well known enough to be considered a controversial name. I'm not certain how many modern Pagans will be familiar with all of this. Demonology is not really a facet of the Wiccan religion, I don't care how many crappy paranormal television shows state otherwise. And Gnosticism remains mysterious to most people.
Still, Abraxas does have an appealing sound. And some people will pick this name because of the dark associations. I just can't imagine many Pagans using it.
Found via http://www.pinterest.com