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Definition and meaning

Abraxas is a term used by the Basilideans, a Gnostic sect of the second century, designating the Supreme Being or god whom they worshipped. They believed that Jesus Christ emanated from Abraxas and was a phantom while here on earth. They believed the name contained great mysteries because it contained the seven Greek letters when computed numerically equaled the number 365, which is the number of days in the year.

It was further believed that Abraxas commanded 365 gods, each possessing a virtue, so there was a virtue for each day of the year.

Basilides used the voice Abraxas as a name of divinity; He said that he was the supreme deity among the seven principal ones, and that he was endowed with 365 virtues. This was something symbolic and has to do with the Greek numeration: a = 1, b = 2, r = 100, a = 1, x = 60, a = 1, s = 200, TOTAL 365. That is, the sum of the numerical values that they attributed to each letter of the word Abraxas forms a total of 365, which corresponded to the 365 days of the solar year, or what is equal a cycle of “divine action”, the set of the 365 successive manifestations attributed to God in one year.

It was believed that Abraxas was the name of a god who represented Good and Evil, a god and deity worshiped and a feared demon in a single entity. He was considered the oldest of the gods



However, older mythologists place Abraxas among the Egyptian gods, while some demonologists cite him to be a demon with the head of a king and serpents forming his feet. He has been represented on amulets with a whip in his hand. The mystic word abracadabra was derived from his name.



The meaning of the double snake tail that forms the legs of the solar cock of the Abraxas. One is the ascending serpent, the copper serpent of Moses, the other is the descending serpent.

abraxas symbol



Many stones and gems were cut with his capricious symbolic markings, such as a human body having a fowl’s or lion’s heads, and snakes as limbs, which were worn by the Basilideans as amulets. Also, a favorite amulet bore the number 365.

Later Gnostic symbols were adopted by many societies devoted to magic and alchemy. It is most likely, therefore, that most abraxas stones that contained kabbalistic symbols made in the Middle Ages were talismansA.G.H.

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