Abraxas, also known as Abrasax, is a Gnostic solar deity associated by the ancients with Yahweh, Mithras and the Celtic Belenus, as well as Yeshu (Jesus). Amulets and seals bearing the figure of Abraxas were common in the second century, and were used as recently as the thirteenth century in the seals of the Knights Templar. By medieval times, Abraxas was relegated to the ranks of demons.
The image most associated with Abraxas is that of a composite creature with the head of a rooster, the body of a man, and legs made of serpents or scorpions. He carries a whip and shield, called power and wisdom, respectively. Abraxas is occasionally depicted driving a chariot drawn by four horses, which representing the four elements.A Gnostic gem with a talismanic inscription
The word Abraxas was first proposed by the Alexandrian Gnostic scholar Basilides, and is created using the first letters of the names of the seven visible planets. Gematrically, the letters in Abraxas add to 365, the number of days in a solar year, and the number of Aeons, or divine emanations, in Gnostic cosmology. Each of the seven letters represents one of the seven planetary powers. Church father Tertullian, speaking of Basilides’ description of Abraxas:
“Afterwards broke out the heretic Basilides. He affirms that there is a supreme Deity, by name Abraxas, by whom was created Mind, which in Greek he calls Nous; that thence sprang the Word; that of Him issued Providence, Virtue, and Wisdom; that out of these subsequently were made Principalities, powers, and Angels; that there ensued infinite issues and processions of angels; that by these angels 365 heavens were formed, and the world, in honour of Abraxas, whose name, if computed, has in itself this number. Now, among the last of the angels, those who made this world, he places the God of the Jews latest, that is, the God of the Law and of the Prophets, whom he denies to be a God, but affirms to be an angel.”
Images of Abraxas (coming soon)
Alternate Spellings: Abrasax, Abrasacks, Abraxis